For shareholders of Symbol Technologies
In large part because of weakness in the retail trade and in Europe, the company has cut its revenue estimate for the second quarter by about 14% and dropped its estimated EPS range to $0.02 to $0.05 (from $0.07 to $0.09). This will mark the second time in two months that the median analyst estimate will have to come down. But, as management said, when the retail segment catches a cold, it gets the flu.
Symbol Technologies went on to announce a restructuring and layoff program. It will be cutting 700 jobs (about 12% of its total) and recording a pretax charge of about $75 million to $95 million.
With the predictable stock price decline that followed this announcement, these shares have dropped by nearly half from earlier in the year and are far removed from the highs seen in early 2000.
Despite this company's problems, both past and present, I can understand why some investors are still optimistic. The market for RFID, or radio frequency identification, is still in its early days, and growth should begin to pick up over the next couple of years as costs to the users decline.
Add to that the fact that Symbol Technologies has some good relationships with the likes of Microsoft
Turnaround situations are not for everybody, and Symbol Technologies is a case in point. Businesses don't deteriorate overnight, nor can they be rebuilt overnight, and it's not at all uncommon for there to be fits, starts, and hiccups along the way. When that happens, the stock often gets smacked around as faint-hearted investors flee in fear.
I'm certainly not sounding the "all clear" on Symbol Technologies, but I don't think matters are all that terrible either. Given the company's tight dependence on retail, there are going to be ups and downs in the business, and investors just have to accept that.
Personally, I'd wait for proof that business is stabilizing before diving into these shares. When you buy turnarounds you take on a lot of risk, so I see no point in upping my risk level just yet. After all, it's a lot cheaper to avoid a mistake than to correct one.
For more 411 on RFID:
- It's All About the Blink
- RFID: The Billion-Dollar Savings Plan
- Zebra Loses Some Stripes
- Wal-Mart: Tech King?
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).