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Coronavirus has not hurt our business: industrial giant CEO

Brian Sozzi

For the most part, it’s business as usual in China for industrial automation giant Rockwell Automation (ROK) despite the spread of coronavirus.

“I would say our first concern is for the safety of our employees. We do have a sizable footprint in China. So first actions are to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep our employees safe and well,” Rockwell Automation CEO Blake Moret said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. “At the same time, looking at our own manufacturing footprint — and that of our supply chain — we are constantly assessing what the impact would be. It’s an extremely dynamic situation. Right now we don’t expect an impact on our performance in the quarter, but we are watching it hourly.”

Rockwell Automation (ROK) has 244,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity in China. The space spans two sites in Harbin and Shanghai. Rockwell also sells products in China.

KIEV, UKRAINE - 2019/01/01: In this photo illustration, the Rockwell Automation Company logo seen displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Others in Corporate America haven’t been so lucky as Rockwell Automation when it comes to the coronavirus.

Starbucks and Apple in China

Starbucks said Tuesday evening it closed 2,000 stores in China — roughly half of is locations in the country— in the wake of the spreading of the coronavirus. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson told analysts on a conference call that the situation in China would have a “material” impact on financial results in the current quarter and full year. Starbucks was unable to quantify the financial impact or when its stores in the country would reopen.

Meantime, Apple divulged yesterday in its earnings that it had closed one retail store in China. Apple CEO Tim Cook said production at key factories — which are closed — would resume on Feb. 10. But even Cook was unsure on the financial impact or how the developing situation in China will unfold.

“With respect to the supply chain, we do have some suppliers in the Wuhan area. All of these suppliers, they’re our ultimate sources, and we’re obviously working on mitigation plans to make up any expected production loss. We've factored best thinking and the guidance that we've provided you. With respect to supply sources that are outside the Wuhan area, the impact is less clear at this time,” Cook told analysts on a conference call.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Watch The First Trade each day here at 9:00 a.m. ET or on Verizon FIOS channel 604. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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