Esterline Technologies has a trio of aerospace, defense, and commercial business segments: Avionics & Controls, Sensors & Systems, and Advanced Materials. Avionics & Controls makes interface systems (switches, indicators, keyboards, displays, GPS systems) for aircraft and military vehicles, communications systems, and medical equipment. Sensors & Systems operations include temperature and pressure sensors, as well as power switching, data communications, and fluid control devices. Advanced Materials makes elastomer products and, through the defense group, ordnance and military countermeasures. Esterline also offers aftermarket parts and service, which have higher sales margins than OEM sales.
Esterline has manufacturing facilities located in Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco, the UK, and the US, and sales and service operations in Brazil, China, Singapore, and the US. In fiscal year 2012 the US accounted for 49% of the company's revenues.
Sales and Marketing
Esterline's market segments are balanced and diverse, with a focus on niche markets. Its sales are fairly evenly distributed between the defense market and commercial aerospace customers; a minority of sales is generated by the general industrial market. Esterline gets a substantial amount of sales from the US government, including the US Department of Defense. Other top customers include Astrium, Boeing, Bombardier, and Lockheed Martin.
The company's businesses are Avionics & Controls, Sensors & Systems, and Advanced Materials.
Avionics & Controls focuses on integrated cockpit systems, technology interface systems for commercial and military aircraft, and similar devices for land- and sea-based military vehicles, secure communication systems, military audio and data products, embedded communication intercept receivers, specialized medical equipment and other industrial applications.
Sensors & Systems includes operations that produce high-precision temperature and pressure sensors, electrical power switching, electrical interconnection systems, and other related systems principally for aerospace and defense customers.
Advanced Materials focuses on thermally engineered components for critical aerospace applications, high-performance elastomer products used in a wide range of commercial aerospace and military applications, and combustible ordnance and warfare countermeasure devices. All segments include sales to domestic, international, defense and commercial customers.
Esterline's overall revenues increased by 16% in fiscal year 2012 due to growth in the Sensors & Systems segment from incremental sales from the Souriau acquisition and increased sales volume of advanced sensors and power systems. About 60% of the increase in advanced sensors and power systems sales came from stronger sales of power systems due to higher demand for commercial aviation products. The Advanced Materials principally reflected increased sales volumes of engineered materials.
The Avionic & Control Segment, which accounted for 40% of fiscal year 2012 revenues, saw its number drop 6% due to decreased sales volumes, while Sensor & Systems, which accounted for 35% of sales, saw its revenue grow 69%. Advanced Materials Segment, which accounted for 25% of sales, saw its revenues grow by 8%.
Esterline's net income decreased by 15% in fiscal year 2012 due to an increase in selling, general, and administrative expenses at the company's Sensors & Systems segment because of incremental selling, general and administrative expenses from the Souriau acquisition; Avionics & Controls and Advanced Materials bad debt due to the bankruptcy filing of Hawker Beechcraft; and administrative expenses from the Eclipse acquisition. The increase in research, development, and related engineering expenses reflected incremental spending on connection technologies, reflecting the full-year impact of the acquisition of Souriau on power systems.
Intent upon growing its business to maintain a leadership position in niche markets for the development and manufacture of highly engineered products, in 2011 the company acquired Texas-based Eclipse Electronic Systems (a supplier of signals intelligence and communications intelligence receiver hardware for use in surveillance and reconnaissance applications) for $120 million. Also that year Esterline acquired Souriau, a French company with commercial and military aircraft operations. With facilities in six countries and a customer list that includes Airbus, Boeing, Raytheon, and Thales; Souriau increased the company's European presence and expanded its product offerings.
Part of Esterline's strategy includes divesting some noncore assets. The company sold Pressure Systems, Inc., a sensors and sensor-based systems manufacturer, to Measurement Specialties in 2010 for $25 million.