The Timken Company keeps its bearings straight. The company makes bearings that find their way into products from consumer appliances to railroad cars. Timken also makes power transmission components, including automotive gear shafts and connecting rods to aircraft engine components. The company manufactures more than 450 grades of alloy and carbon steels, producing bars, billets, tubing, and custom components for automotive and industrial applications. It also offers lubricants, seals, and motion control systems. Timken serves 30 countries through some 60 manufacturing facilities, 10 technology/engineering centers, and 14 distribution centers and warehouses.
Timken is structured into two groups which focus on target markets: Bearings & Power Transmission and Steel. The Bearings & Power Transmission group is divided into three market-based divisions. Mobile Industries targets manufacturers of cars, light and heavy-duty trucks, rail cars and locomotives, as well as construction, agricultural, and mining vehicles; Process Industries serves the energy, paper and saw mills, power transmission, and heavy machinery and equipment industries; and Aerospace & Defense sells to customers in the civilian and military aviation markets.
The company has two distinct strategies for growth: differentiation and expansion. Strengthening its presence in the mechanical power transmission equipment market, in mid-2011 Timken purchased Philadelphia Gear. The company spent $200 million to acquire Philadelphia Gear, which makes and services gear drives and drive components, and also provides inspection and repair services for the industrial and military marine sectors. Other purchases that bolstered Timken's mechanical power transmission offerings included its 2011 acquisition of Drives LLC, a maker of drive-chains, conveyor augers, and other drive equipment for machinery. The transaction was valued at $92 million.
Further expansion initiatives include investing more than $200 million in its Ohio plants in a move that will boost its steel capacity and expand its product range. Timken's differentiation strategy drove it to expand production capacity at its South Carolina plants to make more large-bore bearings used in the main-rotor shafts and gear drives of wind turbines. (Wind power is seeing increased usage around the world as an alternative to fossil fuel-based power generation, driving higher sales of wind turbines from such manufacturers as Gamesa, GE Energy, and Vestas Wind Systems.) Timken additionally made upgrades in fall 2010 to its Mesa, Arizona, plant to allow for all of its MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) work to be consolidated in that facility.
To make certain it has the materials to make new and existing products, Timken is taking steps to ensure that it has reliable sources of ferrous scrap for its steelmaking operations. It uses almost 100% recycled material to produce new steel bars and tubes. To this end, it purchased Ohio-based City Scrap and Salvage (for inclusion in its TSB Metal Recycling subsidiary) in late 2010. Timken also picked up Washington-based QM Bearings and Power Transmission for sawmill and logging applications.
These strategies and initiatives had a positive influence on Timken's net sales for 2011, which increased almost 30% from $4.1 billion to $5.2 billion. Its net income skyrocketed by 65%, from $275 million to $454 million in 2011. The company cited higher volumes, especially in its light-vehicle, off-highway, and heavy truck sectors, as well as energy and power transmission, and steel markets. All segments, except for Aerospace and Defense, showed improvement based on strong demand, improvement in end-market sectors (as a result of economic recovery), better manufacturing performance, and higher surcharges. Looking forward, Timken expects 5% to 8% higher sales in 2012 due to the potential for stronger sales in its Steel, Process Industries, and Aerospace & Defense segments, and the impact on acquisitions it has made.
The Timken family, through individual holdings and its foundation, controls a little more than 10% of the company. Five generations of the Timken family have served the company since its founding by onetime carriage maker Henry Timken in 1899. – less