The Timken Company, Canton, OH, reported sales of $5 billion for 2006, up 3% from a year ago. Sales exclude Latrobe Steel, which the company sold in December and has accounted for as discontinued operations.   ; Timken benefited from strength in global industrial markets, partially offset by declines in demand from the company's North American automotive customers during the second half of 2006.   ; Timken benefited from strong industrial markets in 2006, although lower automotive demand constrained our overall performance, said James W. Griffith, Timken's president and CEO. More importantly, we advanced sweeping changes across the company, including initiatives to grow in Asia and key industrial markets, investments to differentiate our alloy steel products, restructuring of our Automotive business and divestment of underperforming assets and Latrobe Steel."   ;   ; In 2006, Timken:
Grew in global industrial markets with addition of capacity in aerospace and large industrial bearing products, including the acquisition of Turbo Engines.
Built infrastructure to support Asian growth initiative by investing in three new plants, raising employment to about 4,000 in that region, and growing sales there by 16%.
Divested Timken's automotive steering business, its European precision steel components business and Latrobe Steel.
Completed a pilot program in Canada of Project O.N.E., a program designed to improve business processes and systems, with the first U.S. implementation to come in 2007.
In the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2006, sales were $1.2 billion, an increase of 3% from a year ago. Strong sales in industrial markets were partially offset by weaker demand from North American automotive customers.   ; Industrial Group Industrial Group sales in 2006 increased by 8% from 2005 to $2.1 billion. The increase came from multiple markets sectors, including aerospace, oil and gas, mining, metals and rail, which also drove strong distribution sales. The Industrial Group also benefited from its Asian growth initiative, particularly in China where sales rose 20% over 2005.   ; Sales in the fourth quarter of 2006 were $539.7 million, up 10% from the fourth quarter of 2005, with continued strength across most Industrial markets, as well as particularly strong distribution sales.   ; More details here.