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.