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Cognex posts $520m record annual revenue

Cognex has recorded annual revenue for 2016 of $520.75 million, an increase of 16 per cent over 2015. Its revenue for Q4 2016 also increased 32 per cent from Q4 2015, although declined 13 per cent from Q3 2016 due to seasonality in the consumer electronics industry.

The three largest industries contributing to revenue – automotive, consumer electronics and logistics – all showed double-digit growth, as did all of the company's major geographic regions.

Robert Willett, CEO of Cognex, commented: ‘While there's uncertainty in the world today, we're encouraged by the level of demand that we experienced in the second half of the year. Our fourth quarter results were higher than our guidance to investors in October and that momentum continued into January, which leads us to expect strong year-on-year growth in Q1 [2017].’

Cognex completed four acquisitions in 2016, three of which were 3D vision companies, which reflects a strategy for Cognex to play a larger role in the 3D vision market.

Cognex's financial position, as of 31 December 2016, was $745 million in cash and investments and no debt. Cash and investments increased by $124 million from the end of 2015, the net result of $182 million in cash generated from operations and $43 million in cash received from the exercise of employee stock options. This was offset by $25 million in dividends paid to shareholders, payments of $14 million to acquire four companies, and $47 million spent to repurchase 894,000 shares of Cognex's common stock.

Revenue for Q1 2017 is expected to be between $122 million and $125 million, which represents growth of 27 per cent to 30 per cent year-on-year. On a sequential basis, Cognex expects the typical seasonal decline from Q4 to Q1 in factory automation.

Cognex has also announced the retirement of Richard Morin, executive vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer, after 18 years with the company.

John Curran, Cognex's senior vice president of finance, will succeed Morin as CFO. Curran joined Cognex in September 2016 after a 21-year career at EMC, where he most recently served as senior vice president of finance and corporate controller.

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