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)

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