You can run, but you can't hide from FLIR Systems -- they're all about surveillance and detection. FLIR's thermal imaging and obscurant-proof camera systems detect heat and radiation, allowing operators to see objects through fog, darkness, or smoke. Its sensors and imaging products enhance vision for military and commercial applications, such as search and rescue, drug interdiction, border patrol, and navigation. Industrial customers use FLIR's thermography products, which employ cooled and uncooled infrared technologies to measure temperatures from a distance, for equipment monitoring, process control, product development, and other applications. Almost half of FLIR's sales are generated outside the US.
FLIR Systems organizes its business into two divisions: Commercial Systems and Government Systems. Commercial Systems is made up of two segments, Thermal Vision and Measurement and Raymarine, while the Government Systems division has three -- Surveillance, Detection and Integrated Systems.
Thermal Vision and Measurement is its largest segment, accounting for more than 40% of sales in 2011. Its products include night vision cameras and infrared sensors. Raymarine, which FLIR Systems bought in 2010 for $180 million, makes marine radar and GPS systems for boats. The acquisition brought 1,000 dealer outlets and more than 400 marine OEMs that boosted FLIR's marine market; Raymarine made up about 10% of FLIR's overall sales in 2011.
Within the company's Government Systems division, Surveillance is its largest segment, accounting for more than 35% of sales. Surveillance makes advanced imaging and sensor for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); search and rescue; and other applications. Surveillance products are either sold off-the-shelf or customized with additional sensors such as low light cameras or laser illuminators. Surveillance products range in price from less than $10,000 for hand-held and weapon-mounted systems to more than $1 million for advanced targeting systems. The Detection and Integrated Systems segments combined about for about 10% of overall revenues. The majority of products offered by Detection and Integrated Systems come from FLIR's 2010 acquisition of ICx Technologies. FLIR spent $268 million for ICx's advanced radars and integrated platforms; it also makes sensors and sensing technologies for homeland security, force protection, and other commercial applications.
FLIR Systems depends on periodic acquisitions, such as the additions of ICx and Raymarine. Altogether it has bought more than a dozen companies since 2006. In mid-2011 it bought California-based Aerius Photonics, LLC, a provider of short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) detectors and advanced laser components. It paid $27 million in cash for Aerius, whose products are used by both the commercial and military markets. Late in 2012 FLIR bought Ontario-based LOREX Technology for $60 million; LOREX offers complementary products and will give the company an opportunity to expand into new markets. Also that year it acquired Belgium-based Traficon International for $46 million to expand the adoption of FLIR technology for video-based traffic control applications.
These acquisitions helped boost the company's top line in 2011. Overall sales grew more than 10% over 2010 once ICx and Raymarine's operations were added to the mix. While sales outside the US account for almost half of revenues, within the US, government agencies are a top customer. FLIR Systems derived 29% of its overall sales from the US government in 2011; that year it won almost $140 million in new purchasing contracts from the Army and the Navy. FLIR Systems expects 2012 revenues to grow a maximum of 7%.
The company manufactures many of its critical components and develops much of its software for use in more than 60 countries. FLIR purchases other parts and assembles them at one of its primary production facilities located in Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Sweden, and the US. (Raymarine products are produced by contract manufacturers.) To stay on top of the market, FLIR spent almost $150 million in 2011 on research and development. – less