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Mixed results for automation giant

Rockwell Automation Inc said on Tuesday that 2009 will be a challenging year for the manufacturing solutions provider, with profits expected to fall 18.5 per cent by the end of the fiscal year, according to a report from Reuters.

The group has been full of tumultuous news of late, with an announcement last month that it would cut 2 per cent or 600 of its administration and sales staff, and the most recent local announcement this week that it will streamline its Australian distribution model from the current 27 outlets country-wide to only two companies next year.

According to Reuters, Rockwell expects recessionary conditions to worsen in Europe and the United States, but is hoping this doesn’t affect Asia and Latin America — which produce the bullk of the world’s manufacturing centres — too much.

“Where we’re now thinking we’ll see some growth in Asia, some growth in Latin America, if there’s a very deep European and U.S. recession, that could bring those growth rates negative,” said Rockwell chief executive Keith Nosbusch in a phone interview with Reuters.

Rockwell will release its fourth quarter 2009 financial results in a meeting with board members this Thursday 13th November.

According to an analyst on Monday, Rockwell’s plan to slash staff has provided a positive outcome for the multinational.

“Since the company started bringing down their numbers in the middle of the year, it seems like their planning since that point has been pretty good,” said an analyst from New York, as quoted by Reuters.

“That should give investors some level of comfort — as much as you can have right now — that they are trying to take every potential headwind into account.”

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