Littelfuse, Inc.and its subsidiaries (the "company" or "Littelfuse") is the worldwide leader in circuit protection offering the industry's broadest and deepest portfolio of circuit protection products and solutions. The company's devices protect products in virtually every market that uses electrical energy, from consumer electronics to automobiles to industrial equipment. The company's worldwide revenue in 2012 was $667.9 millionand net earnings were $75.3 million. The company conducts its business through three reportable segments, which are defined by markets and consist of Electronics, Automotive, and Electrical. The company's customer base includes original equipment manufacturers, tier one automotive suppliers and distributors. In addition to protecting and growing its core circuit protection business, Littelfusehas been investing in power control and sensing technologies. These newer platforms combined with the company's strong balance sheet and operating cash flow, provide opportunities for increased organic and acquisition growth. The company has set a target to grow 15% per year, 5% organically and 10% through acquisitions.
To maximize shareholder value, the company's primary strategic goals are to:
? Grow organically faster than its markets; ? Double the pace of acquisitions; ? Sustain high-teens operating margins; ? Improve return on investment; and ? Return excess cash to shareholders. The company serves markets that are directly impacted by global economic trends with significant exposures to the consumer electronics, automotive, industrial and mining end markets. The company's results will be impacted positively or negatively by changes in these end markets.
The Electronics segment sells passive and semiconductor components and modules primarily into the global consumer electronics, general industrial and telecommunications markets. The core electronics markets are characterized by significant
Asiacompetition and price erosion. As a result the company is focusing additional efforts on higher growth, less price sensitive niche markets such as LED lighting and higher-power industrial applications. The Hamlin acquisition expands the company's product offering into reed switches which are used in a wide variety of electronic products and go through the same channels as the company's core electronics products.
The Automotive segment is comprised of passenger vehicle circuit protection, commercial vehicle products and sensors. The primary growth drivers for these businesses are increasing global demand for passenger and commercial vehicles and increasing content per vehicle for both circuit protection and sensing products. The move away from internal combustion engines to hybrid and electric drive systems that require more circuit protection is expected to be an additional growth driver. The Hamlin acquisition significantly expands the company's position in automotive sensors.
The Electrical segment derives its revenues from power fuses, protection relays and custom products selling primarily into the industrial, mining, solar and oil and gas markets. The power fuse business continues to perform well with sales growing in the high single digits or better for six consecutive quarters. Custom products sales, after several years of strong growth, have declined due to several large Canadian potash mining projects nearing completion. The company intends to expand this business by moving into new markets such as non-potash mining and oil and gas. Protection relay sales have also slowed due to the general slowdown in the global mining market.