National Instruments Corporation (NATI) is a supplier of products that engineers and scientists use in a range of industries. These industries consist of a diverse market for design, control and test applications. The company provides graphical application software and modular hardware to create measurement, automation and embedded systems. Its segment is based on geographic regions, which include the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. National Instruments' growth comes primarily from Asia while Europe and America provide a stable source of revenue. The test and measurement industry is mature, with a 90% market penetration of the industry's target audience.
While the most recent recession was one of the most challenging financial periods in history, National Instruments continued to invest in research and development and its field sales force, which has produced a pipeline of innovative products and strengthened relationships with key customers. Due to a commitment to maintaining its growth in its core business, NATI has improved its net margin from 2.5% in 2009 and 10.3% in 2008 to 12.5% in 2010.
About 30% of NATI's revenues come from Asia. Asia has lower overhead costs, and it is also convenient to be located near major electronics markets such as Japan and China. The large growth potential in China could be a major factor for semiconductor demand in years to come. In comparison to a 22% growth in America and 24% growth in Europe, NATI's Asian business grew at 45%.
Overall, this diversified business model is expected to net gains, and is expected act as a buffer against economic slowdowns or changes in customer industries. However, the test and measurement industry is relatively mature, with greater than 90% penetration in many of its market segments. Its growth will probably derive mainly from the growth of its end markets, estimated to be 6.5% per year in the long term. While National Instruments' diversified model will help the company weather any moderate economic slowdowns, it, like many other companies in any industry, would feel the effects of a significant economic slowdown.
National Instruments' competitors are:
Agilent Technologies (A) competes with National Instruments on all of its segments. The others have divisions that compete with National Instruments. Agilent Technologies and National Instruments are the largest companies focused only in the test and measurement industry.