CIRCOR International is overflowing with valves and other highly engineered products used in the energy, industrial, and aerospace markets. The global diversified company designs, manufactures, and markets more than 10,000 products, namely a wide variety of valves used in flow control applications by the oil and gas, petrochemical, power generation, and processing industries. It also makes landing gear, sensors, and controls for military and commercial aircraft. Products are sold directly and through about 1,000 distributors in some 100 countries around the world. CIRCOR operates 24 major manufacturing facilities in the US, Canada, Brazil, Morocco, India, China, and parts of western Europe.
CIRCOR's business is divided into three main segments -- Energy, Flow Technologies, and Aerospace -- each responsible for generating a fair share of the company's revenues. Its largest segment, Energy, primarily serves large, international upstream and midstream oil and gas projects and the North American energy market, which use CIRCOR's ball valves and other products for drilling, production, separation, liquefaction, gathering, and transmission applications. Pipeline construction and services companies are also customers, buying CIRCOR's products for measuring the transfer of oil and gas in pipelines and for cleaning and maintaining pipeline integrity. Significant brands in this segment include KF, Pibiviesse, Mallard Control, Hydroseal, and Sagebrush.
Its Flow Technologies segment manufactures and distributes butterfly, control, precision, and relief valves, as well as compression tube fittings and regulators, for a diverse set of end uses, among them instrumentation, cryogenic, power generation, and steam applications. In addition to serving power generation, processing, industrial and commercial HVAC, and chemical and refining customers, this segment supplies products specifically designed for the US Navy. Key brands include Cambridge Fluid Systems, Hale Hamilton, and Leslie Controls. The latter, which was acquired by CIRCOR in 1989, emerged by bankruptcy protection in 2011 after establishing a trust to resolve numerous lawsuits stemming from claims that its fluid control products caused asbestos-related illness.
Meanwhile, products made by CIRCOR's Aerospace segment are geared at most of the major military and commercial aircraft manufacturers and aircraft engine manufacturers, such as Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, and Bombardier. It also markets its aerospace products to tier one suppliers, including Parker-Hannifin, Eaton, Goodrich, SAFRAN, and Triumph, some of which are also key competitors of CIRCOR. Major brands in this segment include Aerodyne Controls, Circle Seal Controls, Loud Engineering, Castle Precision Engineering, and Bodet Aero.
Although 2009 was a rough year for CIRCOR -- revenues declines 20% compared to the prior year and cost-cutting measures resulted in a 20% reduction in its workforce -- the company began experiencing some financial recovery in 2010. It recorded a 7% increase in revenues over 2009, which included increases in all three of its segments. It also has a sizable and growing backlog across all businesses to work with going forward, including a plum contract with SAFRAN to design, develop, and manufacture a sensing and control system for the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft.
In terms of longer-term growth, CIRCOR see acquisitions as a way to gain a foothold in certain emerging international markets where it doesn't already have a large marketing presence, such as Brazil, China, India, and parts of the Middle East. In 2010 it made a strategic investment in India by acquiring the valves division of Mazda Ltd. (the India-based arm of Mazda) to boost its Flow Technologies segment. In 2011 CIRCOR picked up a piece of the Brazilian energy market when it acquired São Paulo-based Válvulas S.F. Indústria e Comércio (now called SF Valves). Brazil's oil and gas valves market generates about half a billion dollars each year. – less