Rockwell CEO sees increasing optimism among manufacturers

Anecdotal evidence of offshoring being limited

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation's Milwaukee headquarters.

Rockwell Automation chief executive officer Blake Moret said there’s optimism among manufacturers about a more competitive environment under President Donald Trump and while there haven’t been signs of large amounts of reshoring, some customers have slowed or delayed plans to move work overseas.

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation’s Milwaukee headquarters.

“There’s no question that there’s a pervasive optimism amongst most manufacturers about the prospects for a more competitive environment going forward,” Moret said, adding it doesn’t seem business are yet factoring in “tangible changes” from what a potential tax reform package could include.


“We haven’t seen large evidence of wholesale reshoring,” he said. “We have manufacturing out of the U.S. and we certainly see manufacturers, both U.S.-based manufacturers and manufacturers from the rest of the world, optimistic about the power of the American consumer.”

The Milwaukee-based maker of industrial automation and controls systems reported its second quarter results Wednesday. Rockwell reported net income of $189.5 million for the quarter, up 12.8 percent over last year and earnings improved from $1.28 to $1.45 per diluted share.

Revenue was up 7.9 percent to $1.55 billion. The company’s architecture and software segment improved revenue 14.2 percent to $719 million and the control products and solutions segment was up 3 percent to $835 million.

Sales were up 6.8 percent organically and acquisitions contributed 1.7 percent to the sales increase. Moret said the growth was broad-based across most regions and industries. He highlighted transportation as a particularly strong area and said there are signs of improvement in some heavy industries.

“The macro outlook continues to improve,” Moret said. “We expect continued growth in the consumer and transportation verticals, we now expect heavy industries to be slightly up for the year, even with continued softness in oil and gas and mining.”

The company increased its revenue guidance for the year  by $250 million to a midpoint of $6.25 billion. The adjusted earnings outlook was increased from a range of $5.95 to $6.35 per share to $6.45 to $6.75.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at 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.

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