Monday, September 12, 2011

Business and economic news

Two interesting items crossed my desk today. The first was a press release from the AIA titled “Machine Vision Market in North America Posts Healthy Results in Second Quarter 2011”. This good news came as something of a surprise, given all the doom and gloom we’ve been hearing. I suppose though that the outlook was brighter back in the April to June time period where sales were reported as 16% higher than in the same period in 2010. It may also be that some vendors had pushed through some fairly steep price increases, which would inflate the numbers if not the actual units moved.

The second item was an announcement from Basler of their half year results. (Find it under “Financial Reports.”

Basler earns less than a quarter of its revenue from North America, so this may reflect trends in different parts of the world, but the key points were that sales were up 22% and earnings up 50%. So if they saw only the same increase in North America as the rest of the industry it must be that other markets are really booming.

And to my point about price increases, Basler noted that they are making record numbers of cameras. So it’s not all from inflation; it seems their business is still growing quickly.

If you’re interested in comparing these data points with those from other companies, take a look back at “Business outlook for machine vision” which I posted on August 4th.

This is all good news, but there is unfortunately a cloud on the horizon. In their mid-year report Basler noted that, “The global economic upturn has lost momentum in the second quarter.” So is it time to panic?

I don’t think so. I believe we’ve seen the end of the rebound and we’re back to the steady growth our industry has been seeing for many years. The outlook, in my humble opinion, remains good.

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