posted on 11/8/2011 3:37:03 PM
Growth in emerging markets and more OEM activity played a major role in the company’s 24% year-over-year revenue increase. The outlook for next fiscal year is just as bright as Rockwell expects more technology investment in sectors such as manufacturing intelligence.
It was a banner year for Rockwell Automation, which reported $6 billion in sales in its 2011 fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011, up 24% compared to $4.9 billion in fiscal 2010.
Despite an uncertain economy, the company attributes its growth to modernization efforts in the process industries, while discrete manufacturers, such as the automotive sector, are beginning to make technology investments that go beyond the traditional automation platform architecture and into areas like manufacturing intelligence.
Both of the company’s business units ended the year on a high note. The Architecture & Software group reported $2.6 billion in sales and operating earnings of $659 million, compared to sales of $2.1 billion and earnings of $475 million in fiscal 2010. The Control Products & Solutions group saw sales of $3.4 billion and operating earnings of $368 million, compared to sales of $2.7 billion and earnings of $241 million a year ago.
According to the company, sales of its Logix control platform—an integrated architecture that combines discrete, motion, process, drive control, and safety components—surged by 29% this year. In addition, sales to emerging markets grew more than 30% and now represent 22% of the total.
Emerging automotive markets, including Brazil and China, will be spending more money on capacity expansion in the coming year, Rockwell Chairman and CEO Keith Nosbusch predicts. Meanwhile, developed countries including the U.S., Canada, and western European nations, will be spending money on modernization, productivity, or cost reduction efforts. To that end, the Rockwell chief expects the vendor’s software portfolio to show an uptick in sales activity in the coming year.
“The [automotive manufacturers] still have to invest specifically in automation on their plant lines, whether that be in their power-train, stamping, body, and assembly areas, or final assembly areas,” said Nosbusch in an interview. “But they are starting to invest in some alternate power-train technologies that require changes in transmission and engines. And they are putting more manufacturing intelligence on the plant floor as a way to improve productivity.”
With that in mind, Rockwell is forecasting a 5%-9% increase in sales for its 2012 fiscal year, to a total of $6.2 to $6.5 billion, and an earnings-per-share guidance of $5.05 to $5.45.
Commenting on the outlook, Nosbusch added, “Despite an uncertain global economic picture and moderating growth rates, we are cautiously optimistic that market growth will continue in 2012. We enter the year with a sound strategy, a track record of success in our growth initiatives, and a robust new product pipeline.”