Production needs driving Moog Inc.’s expansion

These are busy times for Moog Inc.

The manufacturer is planning a $77 million project to add a new building to its Elma campus, as it gears up for increased production.

“It’s reflecting the strength of the business and its growth in future years,” said Patrick Roche, who took the reins as Moog’s president and CEO this week.

With good-paying jobs, strong customer connections and technical expertise, Moog’s operations are the type of manufacturing that the region’s business recruiters are eager for more of.

The planned building will house “advanced manufacturing capabilities that we are developing,” Roche said. “We’re both developing our skills and adding our capacity to the facility here.”

Moog needs more production space with more work on the way in its aircraft controls and space and defense controls businesses. The project is the first of what could be three new buildings at the campus, a hub of manufacturing in the Buffalo Niagara region.

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A big project on the horizon involves supporting production of a next-generation helicopter for the Army. Moog was part of the Bell Textron team whose bid was chosen over Lockheed Martin’s. Lockheed Martin has filed a protest, and the Government Accountability Office has until April 7 to issue a decision.

“We are expecting that that will be favorable for Textron, but at the moment we are in a hold while we await the outcome of that protest,” Roche said.

Patrick J. Roche

Patrick J. Roche, Moog’s president and CEO.

Moog on Friday reported net income of $46 million in the first quarter of its fiscal year, essentially unchanged from a year ago. Sales rose for each of its three business groups.

Moog’s aircraft controls sales business benefited from stronger commercial aftermarket sales, driven by an upswing in air travel.

“As we’ve had the recovery of flights, the airlines have really increased the usage of the widebody – the 787 and A350 – because they’re fuel-efficient airplanes, so we’ve seen that the flight hours of those have increased, actually up above pre-pandemic levels,” Roche said. “As a consequence of that, more flight hours and more aftermarket work for us.”

In its space and defense controls business, Moog has stepped up its production of turrets for Army vehicles. It’s a $250 million contract, one of Moog’s biggest outside of its aircraft business.

“It’s really positive and actually we’re pursuing further follow-on contracts to keep that business going beyond those two years,” Roche said. “We see a lot of opportunity there.”

And Roche said Moog’s industrial systems business is in solid shape, with a strong book of business for the coming year.

Supply chain issues are a continuing cause of uncertainty, Roche said. “That is no better or worse than 90 days ago,” he said. He predicted supply chain constraints will begin to ease toward the end of the fiscal year.

Roche succeeds John Scannell, who retired as CEO but remains nonexecutive chairman of the board. Roche praised Scannell during a Friday conference call with analysts.

“Over the last 11 years, John has led with passion, conviction and integrity,” Roche said. “Under his guidance, we have become financially stronger, with sales growth from $2.3 (billion) to $3 billion, and more innovative, which has led to new startup opportunities.”

Roche, who was elevated from chief operating officer, outlined his priorities as CEO in three areas: customer focus; people, community and planet; and financial strength.

“I believe that our workforce should be more diverse and reflective of the communities that host us,” he said. “I’m convinced that this will strengthen us as a company.”

Roche also pledged that Moog would do more to reduce emissions from its manufacturing operations.

Matt Glynn

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