Eaton Corp.
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Eaton Moves into 2020 with Major Portfolio Changes

Feb. 4, 2020
The power-management company highlighted its sales and purchases in its Q4 earnings report.

Eaton Corp., headquartered out of Dublin, Ireland, announced its fourth-quarter earnings for 2019 on February 4. The power management company reported earnings per share of $1.09, flat with earnings per share in the fourth quarter of 2018. Eaton’s full-year revenues for 2019 were $21.4 billion and sales overall were $5.2 billion.

Craig Arnold, Eaton CEO, noted that Eaton “made a number of major portfolio changes during 2019.” Those included the sale of Eaton’s Automotive Fluid Conveyance business and a January 21 agreement to sell their hydraulics segment to Danfoss.

That hydraulics unit reported a loss of 13% in sales compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Eaton attributed an 11% drop in orders to continued weakness in the global mobile equipment market. On an earnings call, CEO Craig Arnold said that Danfoss is committed to closing on the deal.

On the acquisition side of things, Eaton purchased three businesses—Souriau-Sunbank, Ulusoy, and Innovative Switchgear—and yesterday announced plans to acquire a fourth, Power Distribution, Inc. A supplier of static switching, power monitoring and power distribution equipment, PDI will add to Eaton’s existing services in electric, hydraulic, and mechanical energy management.

Brian Brickhouse, president of Eaton’s electrical sector for the Americas region, said the most recently announced acquisition would improve Eaton’s ability to serve customers in data centers. “We have watched the growth of PDI for the last decade and are excited to have them become part of Eaton,” he said in a statement. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.

Eaton has also signed but not yet closed a sale of their lighting business, which dragged down the electric products segment to a 2% loss from 2018. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. Excluding lighting, the electric products segment segment grew 1%. Sales for the segment were $1.7 billion, up 4 % over the same quarter in 2018, with recent acquisitions Ulusoy and Innovative Switchgear adding 2% to that figure.

Eaton’s vehicle segment took a significant blow from the GM strike, according to Arnold. It posted sales of $664 million, down almost 20% from last year. Arnold also cited “continued global weakness in light vehicles.”

Aerospace segment sales were $512 million, which beat 2018’s fourth quarter by 3%. Souriau-Sunbank added 1%. “We are excited by the growth opportunities in the Aerospace connector market and by the opportunity to take connectors into non-Aerospace markets,” said Arnold.

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