A few controls users, suppliers pierce overall economic gloom

Industries that use and produce industrial did not have a very good year in 2002, if you examine their sales and profits compared to the year before. In one of the more useful sources of analysis, Business Week magazine takes the financial results of more than 900 companies in more than 20 industry segments, and publishes them in its "BW Corporate Scoreboard.

04/01/2003


Industries that use and produce industrial did not have a very good year in 2002, if you examine their sales and profits compared to the year before. In one of the more useful sources of analysis, Business Week magazine takes the financial results of more than 900 companies in more than 20 industry segments, and publishes them in its 'BW Corporate Scoreboard.' The data shown here (see bar chart) were recently compiled for eight industry segments that use controls and two that produce those controls.

Two of these 'user' industries showed decent increases in 2002, namely Food Processing with 12% and Pharmaceuticals at 8%. Two other user industries, Chemicals and Metals and Mining, were totally flat with no increase in sales from 2001 to 2002. The remaining user industries were also essentially flat, posting

Profits also vary widely

Meanwhile, profits for 2002 compared to 2001 also varied widely, from a high of 28% to a low of -44% for these same user industries. Widely disparate results also occurred between the two supplier industries. Instruments and Electronics performance was essentially unchanged, though unfortunately there were profit losses in each year.

Increased profits in Electrical Products during 2002 brought a significant expectation to the supplier industries. The 44% profit increase of 2002 over 2001 was due mainly to very gratifying results posted by Emerson and Rockwell Automation, which both increased their profits over the previous year.

The results of all 900 companies show an increase of 3% in sales, which isn't great, but is an increase nonetheless. The scoreboard's All-Industry profit picture is somewhat better at 7%, but it must be tempered by the ominous decrease of 35%, when comparing just the quarters of 4Q02 to 4Q01.

All in all, the performance of the controls industries wasn't great, but it was generally no worse than the overall economy. When all the war jitters are done and the stock market improves, recovery of the industrial controls sector will no doubt lead the way as it has done in the past.






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