Emerson (NYSE: EMR), St. Louis, MO, reported sales for the first quarter ended Dec. 31, 2014, of $5.6 billion, a 0.3 percent decrease compared to the previous year, with underlying sales up 6 percent. Profit increased 11 percent to $529 million.
Demand was mixed across geographies and markets, with the U.S. up 8 percent and Asia up 2 percent, while Europe grew slightly as large projects offset pronounced short cycle weakness. Underlying sales were led by 17 percent growth in climate technologies, which benefited from U.S. air conditioning customers increasing inventory in anticipation of regulatory changes effective Jan. 1.
"The first quarter was a solid start to the year despite an increasingly uncertain and volatile macroeconomic backdrop," said CEO David N. Farr. "The strength of the U.S. dollar and rapid decline of oil prices present a challenging and unpredictable global operating environment."
Process management sales grew 3 percent, with underlying sales increasing 6 percent. Industrial automation sales were flat with underlying sales up 4 percent offset by unfavorable currency translation of 4 percent. Network power sales decreased 14 percent, as divestitures deducted 12 percent and currency translation deducted 3 percent. Climate technologies sales increased 15 percent, as U.S. air conditioning customers built inventory in the quarter ahead of regulatory changes. Commercial and residential solutions net sales increased 3 percent, with underlying sales up 4 percent.