Friday, March 28, 2008

CORRECTED - UPDATE 2-Jabil says economy dampens forecast

Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:46pm EDT

(Corrects decline in share price for Flextronics)

(Recasts, adds executive comment)

By Scott Hillis

SAN FRANCISCO, March 25 (Reuters) - Contract electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit Inc (JBL.N: Quote, Profile, Research) gave a profit forecast below Wall Street estimates, saying an economic "air pocket" was hurting demand for products like mobile phones and televisions, and its shares fell as much as 13 percent.

Jabil, which makes products for companies such as network gear supplier Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O: Quote, Profile, Research), mobile phone giant Nokia (NOK1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research) and personal computer company Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: Quote, Profile, Research), said revenue fell in the quarter ended last month from the previous quarter, but said business could bounce back as early as late summer.

"This is clearly a sign of the softening macroeconomic environment ... not market-share loss," Chief Executive Timothy Main told a conference call. The company's rivals include Flextronics International Ltd (FLEX.O: Quote, Profile, Research).

"We are hitting a pretty significant macroceconomic air pocket and I don't think anybody is immune to that," Main said.

Jabil said that revenue from its mobility segment fell 31 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter, while display revenue fell 40 percent.

Main said previous slowdowns lasted a quarter or two before customers resumed ordering. He said a slowing economy also tended to prompt companies to turn more to outsourcing, and pushed weaker players out of the market.

"We might be in a bottoming period right now and we might see a nice bounce-back in late summer, early fall," Main said when asked how long the economic downturn would last.

Jabil said that for its current fiscal quarter it expected to post revenue of $3.05 billion to $3.15 billion, below the $3.25 billion that was the average analyst forecast on Reuters Estimates.

The company said it expected a net profit of 9 cents to 13 cents per share and core earnings of 18 cents to 22 cents per share.

Analysts had been looking for Jabil to show a net profit of 20 cents per share and a profit excluding items such as stock-based compensation and amortization of intangibles of 34 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Jabil shares fell to $9.91 in extended trading, down 12.9 percent from their close of $11.38 on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have fallen 49 percent over the past year, compared to a 9 percent decline in Flextronics' share price over the same time.

Flextronics shares were unchanged after Jabil's report at $10.21.

Jabil also posted a net loss for its second fiscal quarter ended Feb. 29 of $24 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a net profit of $13.9 million, or 7 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue was $3.06 billion, up 4 percent from $2.93 billion a year earlier.

The company said the loss was due mainly to restructuring charges that were $41 million higher than a year earlier.

The $24 million loss compared with Wall Street's expectation of a $7 million net profit, according to Reuters Estimates. (Reporting by Scott Hillis, editing by Phil Berlowitz, Gary Hill)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

BuhlerPrince sells QPC; plans to grow in Holland

BuhlerPrince sells QPC; plans to grow in Holland

By Joe Boomgaard | MiBiz

HOLLAND — BuhlerPrince Inc., a die casting company, has sold its Quality Process Control Systems to the division’s general manager, Craig Nelson.

Buhler AG, a Swiss company, bought IdraPrince, formerly Prince Machine, in August 2006 because the Holland company had about 50 percent of the North American die-casting machinery business. After the purchase, the company began to transition some of the manufacturing from Switzerland to Holland.

According to BuhlerPrince President and CEO Mark Los, the company is adding about $1.5 million in additional milling equipment to the Holland facility in 2008.

"The focus for BuhlerPrince is mostly on the large, die casting machines, primarily (for the) automotive (industry)," Los said. "As we add additional capacity and additional investment, the focus is on really big pieces."

BuhlerPrince manufactures machines weighing from 100,000-500,000 pounds, whereas QPC manufactures much smaller machines in the 100- 1,000-pound range.

"It’s a completely different manufacturing strategy," Los said. "We continue to use products from QPC integrated into our machines. But from an overall manufacturing perspective, we wanted to focus on the really big pieces and buy from other companies the smaller pieces. We want to focus on the die-cast machinery side and not the small auxiliary pieces of equipment."

Therefore, BuhlerPrince decided to sell QPC to Nelson, who originally joined the company in 1999. QPC designs and builds water and oil circulating temperature control units, chillers, plant water recirculating systems and cooling tower cells.

QPC, founded in 1991, was purchased by Prince Machine in 1998 as the company looked to be more of a vertically integrated company, a one-stop shop for people buying die casting equipment, according to Nelson.

In essence, the company makes liquid circulating temperature control systems for BuhlerPrince’s die casting operation, but has other opportunities in the plastic injection molding and chemical and food processing industries.

"Die casting is 25 percent of (QPC’s) market. Our channel has been focused on that relatively narrow niche for the products at QPC," Los said. "What Craig’s got the opportunity to do now is to expand beyond this little slice that (BuhlerPrince) has and get into (other industries)."

Nelson, who started as a sales engineer seven years ago, is excited about the prospects of owning the company.

"I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak," Nelson told MiBiz. "I’ve been dreaming about having my own business. Finally the opportunity arose, and I was in a position where I could make a purchase."

QPC contracts with BuhlerPrince for all manpower and business support systems, allowing Nelson to get launched at a low cost.

"We think it’s a great opportunity to have this business incubated within our walls," Los said. "There are a lot of things that we’re going to continue to share just to make sure QPC gets a running start. It helps him get launched and not have to have the commitment to full-time employees on his payroll. He gets some real talented people on an as-needed basis."

Nelson said he’d like to see a 20-percent per year growth rate for QPC.

"Rather than start a new business from scratch, the opportunity to take something private that I’ve been working at for the last seven years and have put a significant amount of myself into, it just felt like it was a natural progression. It’s a good fit for me at this time," Nelson said.

Los said 2007 was a tough year for BuhlerPrince, but the 120-man shop continues to maintain its market share and believes it is well positioned for some future automotive projects stressing lighter weight vehicles and automotive parts.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

LQMT 4Q Earn Rel & CC Tues Mar 11 4PM EST

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 4, 2008--Liquidmetal(R) Technologies Inc. (OTCBB:LQMT) today announced it will release financial results for the three months ended December 31st 2007 at approximately 4:00 pm (EDT) on Tuesday, March 11th 2008. Liquidmetal Technologies will host a conference call at 4:30 pm (EDT) that day to discuss the results.

Listeners may access the conference call over the Internet from Liquidmetal Technologies' website or at The dial-in-number to access this operator assisted call is toll free 1-888-599-8691 or toll 1-913-981-5533 for International callers. Institutional Investors can access the call via CCBN's password protected event management site, StreetEvents. (

    CONTACT: Liquidmetal Technologies
Otis Buchanan, 949-635-2120

SOURCE: Liquidmetal Technologies Inc.

Jabil Circuits (JBL) sees weakness

Monday, March 3, 2008

Jabil Circuits (JBL) sees weakness

This isn't current as it came out Thursday afternoon, but its worth visiting.

Jabil, speaking at the Goldman conference, indicated they were seeing a gradual stall in business, similar to the recession of '91. Things have been getting progressively slower. Display business is doing very well, but things are eroding. It's not fall of a cliff weakness like 2001, but their internal forecasts have been dropping. The company has been indicating weakness in telecom/networking for a couple of quarters now. Their customers in telecom/networking are Ericsson, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Alcatel Lucent, Tellabs and 3Com. Obviously, these comments have contributed to the economic slowdown fears rampant in tech.

I like to pay attention to what contract manufacturers tell you about business as they're the core of the tech build (Asia tends to be a better source of this type of information as the data is more frequent and less guarded). I don't like to invest in them. I think they're glorified sweat shop, cost plus businesses that compete with less regulated overseas competitors. Furthermore, they're all big rollups. A few years ago they started buying manufacturing divisions from other companies to guarantee themselves business and to keep revenues growing. I just can't get excited about the billion dollars of business they buy from a company in exchange for a billion dollars of debt they take on. There's no shareholder value added there and I think its almost impossible to really assess the organic growth. Ultimately these wind up being unwieldy cycle bets – they're so diversified you don't get any pure play on anything, just a hodge-podge of companies and products. It's like a swap meet index – you're buying what other companies sold to the contract manufacturer. Inherently these are less attractive businesses.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

LQMT names successor to vacant CFO slot

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 15, 2008--Liquidmetal(R) Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:LQMT) today announced the appointment of Gerald E. Morrow as the new Chief Financial Officer effective immediately. Mr. Morrow brings to the company thirty years of corporate financial expertise spanning five service and manufacturing industries, in the areas of financial management, strategic planning and equity placements. As an established senior executive, Gerald Morrow most recently served as the Vice President of Finance for the California based Performance Team Freight Systems, Inc., overseeing all finance and human resources responsibilities. He also brings to Liquidmetal(R) Technologies a track record of improved financial reporting, budgeting and performance management systems which facilitate rapid growth and support manufacturing efficiencies.
At the southern California based Goulds Pumps, Inc., Mr. Morrow implemented an activity based cost system bringing about a complete division turnaround for the manufacturer from loss to profitability. As a former Controller for Dun & Bradstreet Corporation's Donnelley Information Publishing, Mr. Morrow was responsible for finance, budgeting, and procurement services and served as a key member of the executive council responsible for implementation of a total quality management program which accounted for major sales growth over a three year period.
John Kang, Chairman of Liquidmetal Technologies commented, "Gerry joins Liquidmetal Technologies at an exciting time in the commercialization of our technology. Gerry is an experienced and mature CFO and has utilized his financial expertise to develop valuable financial systems to support operations in growth and changing environments throughout his career. His deep financial expertise will be valuable as the Company builds its business through internal growth and our licensed partners."

New CFO replaces Slot left by Ham Young

Mr. Morrow brings to the company thirty years of corporate financial expertise spanning five service and manufacturing industries, in the areas of financial management, strategic planning and equity placements.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Liquidmetal(R) Technologies Announces Projected Fourth Quarter Revenue

Liquidmetal(R) Technologies Announces Projected Fourth Quarter Revenue

Monday January 14, 9:00 am ET

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Liquidmetal® Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:LQMT - News) today announced that based upon preliminary review of its 2007 fourth quarter financial performance, the Company expects to report net revenue of approximately $8.6 million for the fourth quarter ending December 31, 2007, the highest level of quarterly revenue reported to date for the Company. Projected fourth quarter net revenue represents an increase from $7.1 million in the third quarter of 2007 and the $6.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2006. Projected net revenue does not include revenue of licensees from the manufacture and sale of Liquidmetal products although it includes royalty and material sales to our licensees.

Larry Buffington, Chief Executive Officer, commented, The strong revenue growth in the fourth quarter was due in part to increased demand and adoption of our technology and continued momentum building in our strategy to segment our business into respective business categories, whether through our own subsidiary or a licensee, and allowing each business unit to focus and execute their respective strategies. We are pleased with the trend in the business.

Liquidmetal Technologies will provide additional details of the fourth quarter financials during a regularly scheduled earnings call to be announced later next month. The Company does not intend to announce projected revenue every quarter prior to the filing of its periodic reports with the SEC.

Sage Comments:

This was expected, as this was announced at the shareholders meeting. (See post of shareholder's meeting summary).

WHAT IS LACKING, HOWEVER, IS THE PAY-OFF of the SHORT-TERM DEBT of more than $3 million, which is now approaching 6 months OVERDUE.

While we certainly applaud the increases in revenue, they greatly fall short of the 60 million projected by Mr. Kang not to long ago; subsequent to that quantum leap of a forecast, he has whittled them down to 40 million and, finally, now a more realistic 30 or so million for FY 2007.

Conspicuously absent are any projections of bottom line and employment of the new machines, either in Liquidmetal Pyong-Taek or at any of the so-called "strategic partners" which Mr. Kang uses interchangeably with the term JOINT VENTURE.

Sage re-iterates that it takes 90 days to complete a purchase order for machines at Buhler and another 30 days to install, test and certify a machine cell for production on the plant floor.

This means, of course, that the earliest date for new machines (other than the one prototype) to be operational will be May 30th, which does not bode well for any expectations of bottom line being net earnings positive until the second half of FY 2008.

Mr. Kang: The Bottom line of this analysis is FOCUS on the BOTTOM LINE and EMPLOYMENT of the new machines!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

JABIL's Investment in Vietnam...Something for LQMT to Consider for Machine Placement

The hottest tiger

Vietnam is considered by many the “hottest” tiger in terms of near-term growth and buzz in manufacturing circles. Since U.S. trade sanctions were lifted in the 1990s, the economy has grown at a healthy 8-percent clip. The U.S. is now Vietnam's top trading partner. Exports have shot up as much 20 percent annually, according to data from ASEAN.

Vietnam joined the WTO within the last year. Its chief exports include textiles, footwear, and furniture. Vietnam's energy sector also is growing, with crude oil output on the rise. But there's little doubt that Vietnam will be a significant player in high-tech in the near future. In 2006, chipmaker Intel announced a $1-billion investment plan in an industrial park outside Ho Chi Minh City. That's more than the company has invested in China in the last decade.

Overall, capital investment in the manufacturing of electronics and computer products is expected to reach U.S.$3 billion in 2007, representing a big chunk of total foreign direct investment in the country.

Jabil, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based contract manufacturer and supply chain services provider, opened a 55,000-square-foot facility in Ho Chi Minh City's Saigon Hi-Tech Park to serve Hewlett-Packard's imaging and printing business. “We are developing Vietnam as a production-for-export location,” says Bill Muir, Jabil's regional president for Asia. “Vietnam offers a globally competitive cost base, a strong workforce, and good balance to our Asia footprint.”

According to Kok Chwee Lui, VP, HP Imaging & Printing manufacturing operations, “On our own, HP probably would not be investing in an HP factory in Vietnam, but Jabil can start small and then bring in other customers. Also, Jabil can drive material costs down by pooling the spending power of its many customers, which helps us bring new supply bases or new ecosystems into the equation. If we were on our own, we would just have our own suppliers, but working with Jabil gives us the benefit of their combined supply base.”

According to a recent report from East-West Associates, a Charlotte, N.C.-based consultancy, “Vietnam is a more favored low-cost locale compared to China,” adding that Vietnamese workers make about $60 per month—i.e., less than their counterparts on the highly developed south coast of China. Plus, they work a longer work week.

In response, the Chinese government encourages investment in the less-developed Western and interior regions of China. The problem is workers in the Chinese hinterland are less skilled, and transport costs are necessarily higher. Instead, many manufacturers apply a “China plus one” strategy, whereby they open plants in a second Asian nation to complement their Chinese production.

To some degree, China is a victim of its success, while Vietnam feeds off its own. With large players like Intel and Jabil moving into Vietnam, many smaller suppliers will follow.

What about infrastructure?

Of course, global manufacturers share the same concerns about Vietnam's infrastructure as they do about China's. Vietnamese commerce officials appear to have learned some lessons from China and are investing heavily in ports, power plants, and telecom systems. There are multibillion-dollar energy projects in both southern and northern provinces.

Technology will likely play a big role in solving what might be called the high cost of sourcing in low-cost countries. For instance, recognizing that fast, efficient customs processing is very attractive to exporters, the Vietnam customs bureau is working with American companies—including FedEx and Unisys Corp.—on an e-manifest project to streamline clearance at major seaports and airports.

The system allows Customs agents to screen and review cargo manifests in advance of shipment arrival. E-manifest also improves risk management and profiling. It appears that Vietnam believes stronger supply chain security, achieved through government-industry collaboration, could provide a competitive edge against China.

New Buhler Group News bypasses mention of Liquidmetal

The dates of the latest two news releases from Buhler Group encompass the date of the unilateral news release made by Liquidmetal concerning Liquidmetal's "strategic partnership". Most partnerships take two hands to make the shake. It begs the question of how serious is this relationship and of what import is the announcement written by John Kang last month, when it is not endorsed by Buhler. The Sage thinks it is wise to secure from both parties to a partnership an agreement to make joint press releases from the highest corporate levels, and not just a subsidiary. You see, the whole issue now at stake with Liquidmetal is credibility at a time when credibility in financial markets has been devastated across all investment strata.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Liquidmetal Hits Second All Time Low in Company's History

Liquidmetal Hits Second All Time Low in Company's History

The first was $0.55 per share in May of 2004.

The second was today, Dec 8, 2007 at $0.63 share, two years after the Dec 2005 low of $0.64

Once a $22.75 per share stock at its height from the pumped IPO of $15.50,

This stock is now valued today at 1/36th of its opening week high in 2002.

The all time low of $0.55 in May of 2004 is certain to be achieved for the second time in the company's history.

Exec VP Buys Shares of JBL

Jabil Circuit EVP Buys Shares

December 31, 2007 2:19 PM ET

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NEW YORK (AP) - The executive vice president and consumer division chief executive of Jabil Circuit Inc., an electronics manufacturing service provider, bought 19,730 shares of common stock, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday.

In a Form 4 filed with the SEC, John P. Lovato reported he bought the shares for $15.15 to $15.17 apiece.

Insiders file Form 4s with the SEC to report transactions in their companies' shares. Open market purchases and sales must be reported within two business days of the transaction.

Jabil is based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

JBL Refinancing Delay behind LQMT 4! Delay in Partnership

Good News: LQMT-JBL Joint Venture Signing Imminent

Dateline: 27-Dec-2007

On December 20, 2007, Jabil Circuit, Inc. (the "Company") amended (the "Amendment") its existing bridge credit facility that it entered into as of December 21, 2006 (the "Bridge Facility"). As a result of the Amendment, (1) the termination date of the Bridge Facility was extended from December 20, 2007 to June 17, 2008, (2) the Bridge Facility was converted to a $200,000,000 revolving credit facility that is available only if the Company has fully drawn on the revolving credit portion of the Company's existing amended and restated five year unsecured credit facility dated as of July 19, 2007 (the "Credit Facility") and (3) as described below in the third paragraph, certain other portions of the Bridge Facility were also amended (the Bridge Facility, as so amended, shall be referred to herein as the "Amended Bridge Facility"). Also on December 20, 2007, the Company drew $400,000,000 on the revolving credit portion of the Credit Facility in order to pay down the full $400,000,000 outstanding under the term loan portion of the Bridge Facility.

Immediately following consummation of the transactions described above, the Company's debt obligations included no amounts outstanding under the Amended Bridge Facility, $545,000,000 outstanding under the revolving credit portion of the Credit Facility and $400,000,000 outstanding under the term loan portion of the Credit Facility (which was previously borrowed by the Company). Based on these amounts outstanding, the Company currently has $255,000,000 available under the revolving credit portion of the Credit Facility (which amount could be increased by up to $200,000,000 if agreed to by the lenders under the Credit Facility), and $200,000,000 available under the Amended Bridge Facility (which is only available to be drawn upon once the revolving credit portion of the Credit Facility is fully drawn).

The Amendment specifies that the proceeds of the revolving credit advances under the Amended Bridge Facility shall be used for general corporate purposes of the Company and its subsidiaries. Pursuant to the Amendment, interest and fees on advances under the Amended Bridge Facility continue to be based on the Company's unsecured long-term indebtedness rating as determined by Standard & Poor's Rating Service and Moody's Investor Service. The interest rate has been increased, such that interest is charged at either a rate equal to 0.300% to 1.500% above the base rate or a rate equal to 1.300% to 2.500% above the Eurocurrency rate, where the base rate represents the greater of Citibank, N.A.'s prime rate or 0.50% plus the federal funds rate, and the Eurocurrency rate represents the applicable London Interbank Offered Rate, each as more fully defined in the Bridge Facility. The applicable interest rate, whether based on the base rate or the Eurocurrency rate, will be increased by 0.25% on and after March 20, 2008. Fees include extension fees payable on March 20, 2008 and unused commitment fees based on the amount of the lenders' commitments minus the principal amounts of any outstanding advances made by the lenders. Based on the Company's current unsecured long-term indebtedness rating as determined by Standard & Poor's Rating Service and Moody's Investor Service, the current rate of interest (excluding the unused commitment fees and other fees) on a Eurocurrency rate draw would be 0.500% above the base rate or 1.500% above the Eurocurrency rate, as defined above.

Citicorp North America, Inc. is the agent under the Amendment and the Bridge Facility, and one of its affiliates is the agent under the Credit Facility. Some or all of the lenders party to the Amendment and the Bridge Facility, and certain of their affiliates, have various other relationships with the Company and its subsidiaries involving the provision of financial services, including cash management, loans, letter of credit and bank guarantee facilities, investment banking and trust services. In addition, the Company and some of its subsidiaries have entered into foreign exchange contracts and other derivative arrangements with certain of the lenders and their affiliates.

The foregoing description of the Amendment is qualified in its entirety by reference to the complete terms and conditions of: (i) the Amendment (a copy of which is filed as Exhibit 10.34 to this Current Report on Form 8-K), (ii) the Bridge Facility (a copy of which was filed as Exhibit 10.26 to the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for its 2006 fiscal year) and (iii) the Credit Facility (a copy of which was filed as Exhibit 10.33 to Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for its 2007 fiscal year).

Liquidmetal Hits Third All Time Low in Company's History

The first was $0.55 per share in May of 2004.

The second was $0.64 share in Dec of 2005.

Now, $0.65 per share the first trading day of 2008.

Once a $22.75 per share stock at its height from the pumped IPO of $15.50,

This stock is now valued today at its low, 1/35th of its opening high in 2002.