While the bulls have been running U.S. stock markets for the past six years, the pace of growth hasn't been as rapid for some multinational corporations.
“Since the recession, we really only had one recovery year, and that was 2010,” says David Cote, Honeywell CEO. Honeywell (HON), the maker products ranging from thermostats, to rubber boots, automotive turbochargers, has a workforce of 122,000 in over 100 countries.
“Everything since that time has been a slow growth environment,” Cote adds, noting that this slow growth trend will likely “continue for the next three or four years, no matter where you go around the world.”
Despite recent turbulence in emerging markets, such as China, Honeywell is not rethinking its strategy abroad. In 2013, Cote notes, China became Honeywell's biggest country for sales outside of the U.S.
“[China] has a lot of issues, but they're working their way through them. At the same time they're trying to shift from an export economy to a consumer based economy, and so far they've proven pretty adept at being able to figure things out,” he says, “I'm a long term believer in their economy."
As for managing intellectual property in China, Cote says that he’s very thoughtful about what IP he’s willing to put into the country.
“I think that's part of what you get when you have an economy that's developing as rapidly as theirs,” he says. “You're going to see increasing IP law within China because they now have to start to protect their own technology development.”
Earlier this month, China's Supreme People's Court ruled in favor of Honeywell and blocked a manufacturer from registering the name “Galitt” as a trademark for automobile turbochargers, products Honeywell sells under its Garrett brand.
“Now I don't think anybody would have said that was possible seven or eight years ago, but we just got that ruling from their High Court and it put a bunch of local guys who are ripping us off out of business,” Cote says.
In the U.S., the market turmoil has provided some good opportunities for Honeywell.
"I'm a big believer that you don't buy during the boom, you buy during the bust...people get a little more realistic about things, you just stand a better chance of being able to get a deal done,” he says. “Having downturns like that can actually be pretty helpful.”