Rockwell looks for better performance in 2017

Company ends fiscal 2016 with revenue, profit down

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation's Milwaukee headquarters.

Fourth quarter results were better than expected, but Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation Inc. still finished the fiscal year with a drop in revenue and earnings.

Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation’s Milwaukee headquarters.

Blake Moret, Rockwell president and chief executive officer, said the declines were the result of challenging market conditions.

Net income for the year was down 11.8 percent to $729.7 million as earnings dropped from $6.09 to $5.56 per diluted share. Revenue was down 6.8 percent to $5.9 billion.

In the fourth quarter, net income was down 8 percent to $185.2 million and earnings fell from $1.50 to $1.43 per diluted share. Revenue was down 4.3 percent to $1.5 billion.

“The results for the last quarter of fiscal 2016 were a little better than our expectations,” Moret said. “We saw positive year-over-year organic growth in the architecture and software segments for the first time this year and some heavy industry markets appear to be stabilizing.”

The architecture and software segment reported revenue of $696.4 million for the quarter while the control products and solutions segment was down 8.8 percent to $842.2 million.

“We saw solid sequential growth in our product businesses over the last two quarters that we project will continue into fiscal 2017,” Moret said. “We expect heavy industries to be about flat year-over-year, with continued growth in our automotive and consumer verticals.”

Rockwell set guidance for fiscal 2017, with earnings expected to come in between $5.46 and $5.86 per diluted share. The company expects revenue to increase 1 to 5 percent, with organic sales flat to up 4 percent.

“We will continue to invest in technology and domain expertise to expand the value we provide to our customers. I am confident in our strategy and our ability to execute,” Moret said.

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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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