Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=177164
Story Retrieval Date: 5/24/2013 7:34:11 PM CST
Molex Inc./Megan Jonas/MEDILL
Molex Inc.’s profits nearly quintupled in the second quarter, beating Wall Street expectations and causing its stock to jump 5 percent. The electronics component supplier attributed the leap to restructuring and multiple new product launches in the past year.
Based in Lisle, the company posted a profit of $78.3 million, or 45 cents per diluted share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with $13.8 million, or 8 cents per share a year earlier. Analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research were expecting earnings per share of 42 cents.
The company’s results reflected $2.7 million in legal fees connected to unauthorized borrowing at Molex’s Japanese office, which was first announced in April. Molex is currently in litigation to prevent the repayment of a loan issued to an individual in Molex Japan’s name after an outside audit determined the loan was fraudulent.
Molex reported revenue of $901.5 million, up 24 percent from $729.6 million in the same period of 2009.
Molex benefited from the continuing recovery of the automotive industry and from the growth in consumer electronics. In a conference call with analysts, Chief Executive Officer Martin Slark cited consumer trends in both these areas as potential sources of growth in the coming year. The company supplies connectors for electronic devices, such as navigation screens and MP3 players. “To the extent that electronics go in the cockpit, that’s good for us,” said Slark.
The company is also benefitting from the rise in complex consumer electronics. A regular cell phone will use around 20 cents worth of connectors, whereas a smartphone uses several dollars worth, according to Slark. Tablets computers, such as the iPad, also feature more high-end connectors. “The tablet, to the extent that that supplements or replaces notebooks, that’s good for Molex,” said Slark.
Despite the positive report, UBS Securities Inc. analyst Amitabh Passi is maintaining a neutral rating on Molex shares. “We’ve had a few quarters of inconsistent execution,” said Passi. He also cited the stock’s value relative to competitor Tyco Electronics Ltd. as a reason for the rating. Molex has higher research and development costs compared with competitors, Passi said. On the upside, it is has a large market share.
Following the report, Steven Fox, an analyst with Credit Agricole Securities Inc., continued to rate Molex stock as “underperform.” He doesn’t think Molex’s shares will appreciate at the same rate as the overall market. The company has “done particularly well in capturing top-line growth,” but needs to improve its gross margin to improve overall profitability, said Fox. “The biggest problem right now is inflationary measures,” which makes costs hard to predict.
The company is projecting a slight drop in revenue for the third quarter, due mostly to seasonal changes at electronics manufacturers in China, which often close down for a period during Chinese New Year in February. Molex announced a price increase across the board starting Jan. 1, which should increase revenue in the coming quarters. The price increase was necessary to absorb rising commodities prices, Molex said.
For the first half, Molex posted net income of $153.4 million, or 88 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss of $1.3 million or 1 cent per share, in the year-earlier period. Sales rose 29 percent to $1.8 billion from $1.4 billion a year ago.
Molex shares closed at $26.61 Wednesday, up $1.27.