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Rockwell CEO predicts sustained recovery

01 November, 2004

Rockwell Automation has reported an 18% increase in revenues for the last quarter of its financial year, and a 10% growth in sales for the year as a whole, to $4.4bn. Chief executive Keith Nosbusch is confident that that growth will continue into 2005, but at a slower rate of 6-8%. "We are optimistic that a gradual uptrend is sustainable," he says.

Sales in Rockwell`s control systems division rose 11% during the year to reach $3.66bn, spurred by a 30% increase in sales of its Logix platform. According to Nosbusch, growth in Rockwell`s standard drives and industrial components businesses was also "very strong".

While revenue from Rockwell`s European organisation grew by 14% during 2004, to reach almost $780m, the real growth was a more modest 2%, once adjustments had been made for currency fluctuations.

Speaking exclusively to Drives & Controls at the recent Rockwell Automation Fair, Nosbusch said that Europe has lagged behind North America`s recovery but that it started to show signs of picking up half way through the year. But, he adds, "it is not a dramatic recovery".

At present, about 40% of Rockwell`s business is outside North America, but "we would like to see that get to 50%" within five years.

Nosbusch`s aims for 2005 include expanding Rockwell`s integrated architecture platform and accelerating its penetration of the batch and hybrid batch-process markets.

He says that Rockwell is still on the lookout for acquisitions but recently "we haven`t found one that we feel strongly about".

• Rockwell has announced that Keith Nosbusch will suceed Don Davis as chairman of Rockwell Automation, when Davis retires in February 2005. Nosbusch`s new position will be in addition to his roles as president and chief executive which he has held since February 2004. Davis joined Allen-Bradley in 1963 as an engineering sales trainee. He became preseident of Allen-Bradley in 1989, president of Rockwell Automation in 1996, chief executive in 1997, and chairman in 1998.

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