Hurco Companies inc   (HURC)
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Hurco Companies inc

Business Description

Hurco Companies, Inc. is an industrial technology company. We design, manufacture and sell computerized (i.e., Computer Numeric Control) machine tools, consisting primarily of vertical machining centers (mills) and turning centers (lathes), to companies in the metal cutting industry through a worldwide sales, service and distribution network. Although our computer control systems and software products are proprietary, they predominantly use industry standard personal computer components. Our computer control systems and software products are primarily sold as integral components of our computerized machine tool products.

Milltronics manufactures and sells Computer Numerical Control (“CNC”) knee mills, tool room bed mills, vertical machining centers, combination lathes, slant-bed lathes, horizontal machining centers, and bed mills. During the third quarter of fiscal 2015, we also acquired the assets of the machine tool business of Takumi Machinery Co., Ltd. (“Takumi”), a Taiwanese company that designs and manufactures CNC vertical machining centers, double column machining centers, high speed bridge machines and other machine tools, with sales primarily in Taiwan, China and Europe. Takumi machines are equipped with industrial controls from Fanuc®, Siemens®, Mitsubishi® or Heidenhain®*, which can be used in high-volume parts manufacturing. We are operating this Taiwanese business through our subsidiary, Hurco Manufacturing Limited (“HML”). These acquisitions contribute to our efforts to expand our consolidated product range, customer base and global platform, and we believe may accelerate emerging market penetration, particularly in strategic markets such as China and South America. The combined Hurco, Milltronics and Takumi businesses represent a comprehensive product portfolio with more than 150 different models. The combined machine tool product lines also provide benefits related to the development of product enhancements, technologies and models due to leverage of shared resources and cross-utilization of proven engineering designs that allow us to achieve manufacturing cost reductions from economies of scale and manufacturing efficiencies.

Machine tool products are considered capital goods, which makes them part of an industry that has historically been highly cyclical.

Although industry association data for the U.S. machine tool market is available, that market only accounts for approximately 14% of worldwide consumption. Reports available for the U.S. machine tool market include:

United States Machine Tool Consumption – generated by the Association for Manufacturing Technology, this report includes metal cutting machines of all types and sizes, including segments in which we do not compete
Purchasing Manager’s Index - developed by the Institute for Supply Management, this report includes activity levels in U.S. manufacturing plants that purchase machine tools
Capacity Utilization of Manufacturing Companies – issued by the Federal Reserve Board

A limited amount of information is available for foreign markets, and different reporting methodologies are used by various countries. Machine tool consumption data published by Gardner Publications, Inc., calculates machine tool consumption annually by country. It is important to note that data for foreign countries are based on government reports that may lag 6 to 12 months and, therefore, are unreliable for forecasting purposes.

Demand for capital equipment can fluctuate significantly during periods of changing economic conditions. Manufacturers and suppliers of capital goods, such as our company, are often the first to experience these changes in demand. Additionally, since our typical order backlog is approximately 45 days, it is difficult to estimate demand with any reasonable certainty. Therefore, we do not have the benefit of relying on the common leading indicators that other industries use for market analysis and forecasting purposes.

Our core products consist of general purpose computerized machine tools for the metal cutting industry, principally, vertical machining centers (mills) and turning centers (lathes). The majority of our machine tools are equipped and integrated fully with our proprietary software and computer control systems, while a small percentage are equipped with industry standard controls. Additionally, we produce and distribute software options, control upgrades, hardware accessories and replacement parts for our machine tool product lines, and we provide operator training and support services to our customers. We also produce computer control systems and related software for press brake applications that are sold as retrofit units for installation on existing or new press brake machines.

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