TWST: What is CLARCOR?
Mr. Johnson: CLARCOR's origin goes back 100 years to its founding as a packaging company and has evolved to become one of the largest filtration companies in the world. We remain in the packaging business: it is about 10% of our sales and is still very important to us. Our entry to filtration was the railroad industry where we supply all of the filters used on diesel locomotive. In 1980 Baldwin Filters was acquired, which is a leader in heavy-duty engine mobile filtration, with the two biggest customer categories being over the road trucks and construction equipment. We then broadened out into the other two segments of filtration, environmental air and process liquid, giving us a presence in the three main segments of filtration. The filtration industry is about $30 billion dollars in sales and has been growing 2-3 points more than GDP because, as we all know, the world needs cleaner air and liquids.
TWST: What are the keys at the industry level today as far as some of the fundamentals, assumptions and variables?
Mr. Johnson: As I said earlier, the overall growth driver is the world needs cleaner liquids and air. On the engine side of the business, we have been very fortunate that the global transportation needs of the economy have changed. Using a very simple example, while freight used to be shipped from Chicago to Detroit, it is now shipped from Shanghai to Detroit or someplace else around the world. The point is, the transportation distances are longer and as a result, there are more filtration needs because there are more miles driven resulting in more filter usage.
In terms of environmental air, we are all aware of the concerns regarding cleaner air, whether it is dirty emissions from factories or power plants that need to be cleaned or the need for pure intake air in a hospital operating room or gas turbine intake. Overall business has been very strong for us. We make filters for hundreds ofthousands of different applications. We serve a broad variety of industries. Imagine yourself in a large city on the top floor of a large building. Look out the window and you see trucks, planes and buildings: all of them take a filter. It's one of the few businesses that everybody uses every day and they probably don't even know it.