"Don't cry to me, oh baby. Should have seen it a-comin' on" -- Misfits, "Die Die My Darling"
It's time to bring out my padded mallet and play corporate whack-a-mole. Once again, Diebold
For the third quarter, management guided expectations down. Netting out oft-recurring "one-time" charges, the company now expects earnings of between $0.25 and $0.30 -- well below the mean analyst number of $0.66. This will be at least the fourth significant analyst revision in the past three months, and the original starting point for this quarter was more on the order of $0.83 per share.
As you might also expect, annual earnings guidance is taking a swirly ride as well. As opposed to the present mean analyst estimate of $2.61, the company is now looking for something on the order of $1.90 to $2.00 per share.
So what's going wrong? It would appear that the financial services business is a big culprit. Apparently, the North American market for ATMs has been pretty feeble this quarter and the company is looking at something like $50 million less in revenue than originally hoped. Of course, there's also a Katrina and fuel angle. Management believes that Katrina will cost them about $10 million in election equipment sales in the region, and persistent fuel prices have hurt margins.
Last and by no means least, somebody seems to be walking the plank. Eric Evans, formerly the president and chief operating officer, has quit and the CEO has assumed his duties. Frankly, I have no idea whether he's being made to take the blame for the poor performance or whether he's escaping what he believes is a bad situation.
In the wake of all this, the company is also restructuring the business (again). With the new order in place, there will be a single financial services unit combining product/software development, manufacturing, procurement, and marketing functions. I must say that I'm skeptical here -- this is a company that seems to love to have restructuring charges in the mix, and it looks like this sort of move is going to lead to more of them.
There's no way I'm touching this stock. Earnings quality is suspect, there has been a parade of excuses that predates my time at The Motley Fool, and the company frankly just isn't getting the job done. Maybe this will morph into a turnaround story, but with thousands of other stocks to choose from, I see no reason to extend yourself at this point.
For more die-hard Diebold Foolishness:
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).