Rockwell CEO says manufacturing in “early stages” of expansion cycle

Broad demand pushes company sales, earnings higher

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation's Milwaukee headquarters.

Blake Moret said Wednesday a favorable manufacturing environment globally and positive macroeconomic indicators suggest the sector is in the beginning stages of an expansion cycle.

“We believe that we are in the early stages of a manufacturing expansion cycle and we will benefit from the very broad array of industries that we serve,” Moret, chairman and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation Inc., said during the company’s earnings call.

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation’s Milwaukee headquarters.

He said higher forecasts for industrial production and customer emphasis on productivity are encouraging for the company.

Rockwell reported a 20 percent increase in net income and a 6.9 percent increase in revenue that executives said was driven by a number of sources.

“Demand for the quarter was fairly broad-based across regions and verticals, enabling us to achieve organic sales growth of 3.5 percent, as we expected,” said Moret.

He specifically pointed to growth in heavy industries, including oil and gas, mining, metals and semiconductors. He also said Rockwell’s information solutions and connected services business grew double digits.

Revenue for the quarter, the second in the company’s fiscal year, was up from $1.55 billion to $1.65 billon. Net income increased from $189.5 million to $227.4 million and earnings improved from $1.45 to $1.77 per diluted share.

“The global manufacturing environment remains favorable and macroeconomic indicators are positive,” Moret said, noting the company was maintaining its revenue guidance, up 3.5 to 6.5 percent organically, and increased its adjusted earnings guidance.

“We are ramping up investments to accelerate profitable growth and increase long-term differentiation,” he said. “These include software development and commercial resources to fuel the growth of our information solutions and connected services offerings, accelerated investments to expand our process capabilities, and projects to enhance employee engagement globally.”

Those investments include a new center of excellence to support electric vehicle customers. The center will be co-located with existing operations in San Jose.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.