Back in the 1880s, the National Cash Register Company was benefiting from a high-tech device: mechanical cash registers. As of today, the company is still a dominant player in the tech space -- but of course, its name is a bit more modern: NCR Corporation
Last week's third-quarter earnings report saw revenues increase 1% to $1.52 billion. Net income was $89 million, or $0.049 per share, which was down from net income of $222 million or $1.18 per share in the same period a year ago. A big reason for the decline came from a variety of tax adjustments (which are apparently one-time events).
Yet the company still generates strong cash flows from operations. The amount for the third quarter was $142 million, which compares with $140 million in the same period a year ago.
A key division for NCR is teradata data warehousing, which has database software and data mining applications. That division's revenues increased 5% to $378 million. This may seem low, but the third quarter of last year was particularly strong.
While NCR faces intense competition from biggies like Oracle
Another big part of NCR's business is automation technology for retail operations. For the quarter, those revenues increased 5% to $219 million. However, with the slowing of the economy, there could be a similar slowdown in this segment as retailers hold back on expenditures.
Next, there is the financial self service segment, which develops things like ATMs and cash dispensers. For the third quarter, its revenues were flat at $349 million and operating income fell from $60 million to $43 million.
As the North American market is maturing, NCR is looking for growth in foreign markets. But this takes time. Also, it looks like the company is having trouble closing sales, which are likely to be pushed into the first part of 2007. Keep in mind, though, that these contracts can easily exceed $10 million.
In terms of guidance, management expects earnings per share of $1.90 to $1.95 for 2006 and cash flows from $310 million to $320 million. In fact, the company will get a boost from its freezing of its pension obligations (which is much more in line with the industry nowadays).
So, going into 2007, NCR is likely to benefit from a variety of cost-cutting measures (such as outsourcing manufacturing for its ATM division), as well as more traction in foreign markets, and continued success with Teradata. You should not expect a spurt in growth, but given its recent restructurings, there could be a nice improvement in profits over the next year.
Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares mentioned in this article. He is currently ranked 9 out of 11654 in CAPS.