You couldn't build an entire jet just from Esterline Technologies products, but it would hard to fly one without them. The aerospace company's offerings extend from the cockpit to electrical subsystems to materials inside and outside aircraft. It make avionics that control and communicate, sensors and power switching devices that monitor conditions, and materials necessary for commercial and military aircraft. Esterline, with $1.7 billion in sales, sells mostly to the US government, particularly the Department of Defense, and aircraft manufacturers. There can be as much as $1 million worth of Esterline products in jet fighters and airliners. About a fifth of sales come from high-end non-aerospace products.
The company's businesses are Avionics & Controls, Sensors & Systems, and Advanced Materials. Avionics & Controls, about 41% of sales, 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, also about 36% of sales, 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, 23% of sales, 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.
About 80% of revenue comes from the commercial aerospace and defense markets.
Esterline has manufacturing facilities in Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, France, Japan, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco, the UK, and the US, and sales and service operations in Brazil, China, Singapore, and the US. In 2015 customers in the US accounted for 46% 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 Northrop Grumman, Rolls-Royce, Boeing, General Electric, Honeywell, Airbus, and Lockheed Martin.
Esterline adjusted its fiscal year to end in October so its 2015 year was 11 months compared to 12 months of 2014.
Esterline's revenue dropped 13.5% in 2015 to $1.7 billion from $2 billion in 2014. The avionics business increased 8%, but sales in sensors and system and advanced materials fell 7% and 8%, respectively.
The company's net income tumbled some 40% in 2015 to about $60 million from$102 million in 2014. An acquisition brought higher costs from sales and administrative to research, development, and engineering, which along with decreased sales, reduced profit.
Cash flow from operations dropped to $114 million in 2015 from $216 million in 2014.
Esterline invests about 5% of revenue annually in research and development. It also sheds non-core businesses and realigns operations to promote collaboration and efficiency.
In 2015, Esterline sold its Pacific Aerospace & Electronics subsidiary to an affiliate of ShoreView Industries, a private equity firm. PA&E produces electronics packaging and connector products as well as machining and sealing processes to protect equipment in the defense, medical, oil & gas and other industrial markets. It also sold its UK-based subsidiary, Wallop Defence Systems to Chemring Group.
Mergers and Acquistions
In 2014, Esterline acquired the defense, aerospace and training display businesses of Barco, which designs and manufactures displays, including a line for use in harsh environments and other visualization systems. It sells to avionics, defense, air traffic control, and training and simulation markets. The purchase price was about $187 million. The former Barco businesses are part of the Avionics & Controls segment.
In the previous year, Esterline purchased Sunbank Family of Companies, a maker of electric cables, conduits and accessories, to be part of its Sensors & Systems group. It also bought gaming input device maker Gamesman Group, which is now part of Avionics & Controls. The deals cost $45 million and $41 million, respectively.