Filings buzz in the power industry: 20% increase in robotics mentions in Q3 of 2021

Mentions of robotics within the filings of companies in the power industry rose 20% between the second and third quarters of 2021. In total, the frequency of sentences related to robotics between October 2020 and September 2021 was 310% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When companies in the power industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports, and other filings, GlobalData analyzes the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Robotics is one of these topics – companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether robotics is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the power industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies that have mentioned robotics at least once in filings during the past 12 months – this was 32% compared to 9% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analyzed sentences that referred to robotics.

Of the 50 largest employers in the power industry, ABB was the company that referred to robotics the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified 235 robotics-related sentences in the Switzerland-based company filings – 3.2% of all sentences. JA Solar Technology mentioned robotics the second most – the issue was referred to in 0.19% of sentences in the company’s filings. Other top employers with high robotics mentions included National Grid, Enel SpA and Electricite de France.

Across all companies in the power industry, the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 that exhibited the greatest focus on robotics came from En + Group. Of the document’s 2,501 sentences, six (0.2%) referred to robotics.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on robotics and how important the issue is considered within the power industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning robotics more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilizing new techniques or prioritizing the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company’s ventures into robotics have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, companies in the power industry based in Western Europe were most likely to mention robotics, with 0.1% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in the US mentioned robotics in just 0.01% of sentences.

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