CEO says Rockwell Collins focusing on growth opportunities

Company last month raised it earnings outlook for all of fiscal 2014

George Ford
Published: February 6 2014 | 1:31 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:17 am in

With the future of government defense spending expected continue to trend lower, Rockwell Collins is looking to commercial aviation and international markets to drive its return to growth.

President and CEO Kelly Ortberg told shareholders Thursday at the company's annual shareholders meeting that 36 percent of the Cedar Rapids annual company's revenues in 2013 come from overseas sales, a figure he expects to see grow to more than 50 percent by the end of the decade.

"It's a huge shift, and we have a lot of new programs and opportunities that are building that backlog," Ortberg said. "We have shifted our resources from low-growth areas -- particularly in western Europe -- into some of these new emerging regions like Brazil and the Middle East.

"Every time that I sit down with the technical teams working in those regions, there are more opportunities because they really need the kind of products that we manufacture here."

Ortberg said Rockwell Collins employment in Iowa -- roughly 10,000 -- has been stable and is expected to remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.

"We probably hire between 400 and 500 people each year to cover retirements and attrition." Ortberg said. "We're always looking for people with critical engineering skills. We will probably not do any significant hiring until we see some major recovery in our end markets."

Ortberg said Rockwell Collins expects about $400 million to $430 million of annual sales  from ARINC, a business that it acquired in December for $1.4 billion. Annapolis, Md.-based ARINC was combined with Rockwell Collins Flight Information Solutions business and its Ascend family of products and services to form a new business unit, Information Management Services.

Rockwell Collins last month raised it earnings outlook for all of fiscal 2014 to a range of $4.35 to $4.55 per share, compared with its previous forecast of $4.30 to $4.50 per share. The company also raised its full-year sales projection to a range of $4.95 billion to $5.05 billion from the previous range of  $4.5 billion to $4.6 billion.

With the addition of ARINC, Rockwell Collins employs about 21,000 worldwide.

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