Sun Hydraulics Corporation has reported un-audited sales for the fourth quarter and year ended December 27, 2014. Sales in the fourth quarter were $54.8 million, an increase of 12% over the fourth quarter of 2013. Annual sales for 2014 were $227.7 million, up 11% from the prior year.
"In 2014, we increased investment in capacity and capabilities, product development, and growing our end markets," says Allen Carlson, Sun's President and CEO. "This was done with a clear focus to support future growth and better serve our customers. Early this year our third facility in Sarasota became fully engaged in operations. This facility combined and improved critical functions, including design, production, and assembly of integrated packages. It added the physical space to enhance other operations, including shipping and high-volume cartridge valve production. Ultimately, the customer can expect greater product offerings and faster response times, while providing Sun the physical capacity to grow through the next business cycle.
"We made strides in research and product development in 2014, primarily in the area of electronics and electrically actuated valves," adds Carlson. "More frequently, electronics and hydraulics are being combined to provide superior solutions to the marketplace. We released several new products in 2014, including electronic controllers via HCT, a line of lower pressure and flow electrically-actuated cartridge valves, and enhancements to Sun's QuickDesign program, a web-based integrated package design tool. These are just a few examples of products that enhance our ability to provide complete customized solutions to our customers."
Carlson continues, "We consistently carry out in-house development, and also leverage outside technology to advance our products and markets. In November, we partnered with Sturman Industries to utilize Sturman's digital valve technology. These next-generation electro-hydraulic valves will be smaller in size, lighter in weight, use less power, and operate faster. These benefits translate to unique solutions for customer applications and new market opportunities for Sun. We look forward to bringing these and other products in the pipeline to market in 2015.
"The fourth quarter was a strong ending to a great year for Sun. All geographic markets expanded in the fourth quarter, led by robust North American demand. For the year, we experienced significant growth in all major global markets. We continue to place an emphasis on Asia and believe this region will provide future growth for Sun. In 2014, we relocated a senior leader from Sun US to Asia and added resources to expand our marketing and engineering capabilities in this important market. Our largest markets, Korea and China, were up 9% and 11%, respectively. Sun continues to grow its customer base and strengthen its brand in this region."
Carlson concludes, "2014 was an important year for Sun. We continued to invest for future growth, while remaining focused on serving our customers. The result was another record year for Sun. Our strong financial performance allowed us to give cash back to shareholders. In addition to our quarterly dividends, we paid a shared distribution dividend in March of last year and a special $1.00 dividend in October. Our success has benefited all stakeholders and we look forward to tackling 2015."