A half-dozen major HVACR manufacturers achieved strong financial results in the second quarter even as they navigated supply-chain issues, COVID-19-related lockdowns in China, and inflationary pressures.
Modine Manufacturing Co., AAON Inc., Emerson Electric Co., Trane Technologies, and Lennox International Inc. all reported sales or revenue growth for the quarter that ended June 30, compared to the second quarter of 2021, while Carrier Global Corp. reported a 4% dip in sales, to $5.2 billion. But, not counting sales lost because of the divestiture of Chubb Fire & Security, a former Carrier subsidiary, sales were up 7% from the same quarter a year ago, the company said.
Carrier’s sales in both commercial and residential HVAC were up by double digits, while refrigeration segment sales were up by 9%, the company said in an earnings statement.
Lennox reported record quarterly revenue of $1.37 billion, up 10%. Revenues from the company’s residential and refrigeration segments were up 17% and 14%, respectively, while commercial revenue was down 13%.
CEO Alok Maskara, who arrived at Lennox in May, suggested the company could’ve done better but for factors beyond its control.
“Supply-chain disruptions continue to constrain production and our ability to meet strong demand,” he told investors in a recent conference call.
Lennox CFO Joseph Reitmeier said cost inflation for commodities appeared to be easing slightly, while prices for components and other materials were predicted to continue increasing and now pose a $100 million headwind for the company rather than the $70 million that had been predicted earlier.
At Emerson, president and CEO Lal Karsanbhai also spoke of obstacles when he reported a 7% growth in sales, driven by sales in the Americas, which grew by 14%. Emerson’s sales revenue totaled $5 billion.
“This performance occurred despite lockdowns in Shanghai, which impacted six plants for two months,” and also despite difficulty obtaining electronic components, Karsanbhai said during a call with investors.
Net sales in Emerson’s automation segment were flat for the quarter, while residential and commercial solutions sales were up by 8%.
At AAON, quarterly revenue was up more than 45%, totaling more than $208 million. Much of that, the company said, was due to its acquisition of BasX Solutions, which specializes in commercial, industrial, and institutional HVAC products. Even without BasX’s sales, AAON said, volume growth was up 10.3%.
AAON president and CEO Gary Fields said in a press release that the company is continuing to hire, with the number of employees, not including those at BasX, up about 20% from a year ago. A larger work force, a flexible engineering team and “configurable” manufacturing, Fields said, are “helping drive record production rates,” maintain competitive lead times, and gain market share.
However, “Supply chain constraints remain a week-to-week issue, resulting in inefficiencies and larger-than-normal inventory,” Fields added.
Modine reported net quarterly sales of $541 million, a 9% increase. Sales in its climate solutions segment were up 18%, while the performance technologies segment reported a 2% increase.
Trane reported net revenue of $4.19 billion, also up about 9%, driven by a 14% increase in revenue from its Americas segment. Quarterly revenue from Trane’s Europe, Middle East and Africa segment changed little compared to the second quarter of 2021, and revenue from its Asia Pacific segment was down by about 16%.
The upbeat reports came amid rising interest rates and talk of a recession in the U.S. economy.
According to Associated Builders and Contractors, a construction industry trade association, investment in nonresidential structures decreased by an annualized rate of 11.7% in the second quarter and has contracted for 10 of the last 11 quarters. Commercial construction spending is directly linked to HVAC equipment purchases.
“While it is possible that we have passed the point of peak inflation, nominal growth is also set to slow in the context of weakening consumer spending, pervasive pessimism, rising borrowing costs and a global economy that is aggressively downshifting,” ABC chief economist Anirban Basu said in a press release.
At Lennox, CEO Maskara told investors, the company is ready.
“We are mindful of a potential slowdown in the economy,” he said. “We are prepared and have contingency plans in place. But to be clear, that’s not what we are seeing in our business today. Demand continues to run ahead of our ability to fully satisfy our customers.”