Rockwell Rocks It Again

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Industrial automation products and services provider Rockwell Automation (NYS: ROK) posted a rocking quarter yet again. The company saw double-digit revenue growth for the fifth consecutive quarter, generating strong revenue figures across all geographical regions. Shares of the company reflected this robust performance, gaining 33% in its fourth quarter.

Let's dig deeper.

A solid quarter
Wisconsin-based Rockwell Automation saw net income rise $201.8 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, a 53.7% surge from 2010's fourth quarter. This translated into earnings per share of $1.39, which comfortably beat the Street estimates of $1.21 per share for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Sales grew to $1.65 billion, a 22% increase from the previous-year quarter. These numbers look even brighter when compared to competitor Emerson Electric's (NYS: EMR) revenue, which posted just a 2% increase in its fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings, being hurt by rising raw material costs.

Rocking home market
On the home front, Rockwell saw an 18% growth in U.S. sales compared with last year. Demand for automated products in the U.S. remained strong as many companies tried to cut jobs and curb labor costs.

Management continues to take advantage of growth from the automobile industry, a key customer base, as it's rebounding from the 2008 recession. Additionally, demand from food and beverage companies is also on the rise.

Rockwell's control products and solutions segment, which accounts for more than half of its revenues, saw 24% growth in this quarter, while the architecture and software segment grew by 19%.

Emerging trends
Emerging markets now represent nearly 22% of Rockwell's revenue. These markets are growing at a rapid 30% due to increasing need for "automation investment" and because of lack of proper infrastructure in these countries. The potential for Rockwell to expand is high in these regions.

Competitors
Siemens
(NYS: SI) is also increasingly depending on high growth emerging as Europe has been showing signs of slowdown. One-third of the company's revenue comes from these rapidly growing emerging markets. However, the U.S. still remains its largest market.

Automation technology provider ABB (NYS: ABB) remains cautious regarding the demand in the forthcoming quarters due to economic fears. The company warned of slowing demand from its construction and general industry sectors.

The Foolish bottom line
Rockwell Automation has been performing better than expected for the past few quarters. Moreover, the company is geared up for acquisitions to strengthen its position. Better numbers and better margins keep me interested in this stock. Fools should follow this company for more analysis. Click here to add Rockwell Automation to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Navjot Kaur does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Emerson Electric and ABB. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

At the time this article was published

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