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Now in fast lane, Jabil Circuit could approach Tech Data's size in several years

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit's better-than-expected quarterly financial performance drove its shares higher Wednesday by nearly 11 percent as the contract electronics manufacturer said it could reach $20 billion in revenue in two years — if it keeps on growing at its scorching pace.

On such a trajectory, Jabil could approach the size of Tech Data Corp., Tampa Bay's largest public company by revenue, within several years. Tech Data, which is based in Clearwater, closed its fiscal year Jan. 31 with $24 billion in revenue.

The aggressive forecast emerged after St. Petersburg-based Jabil reported a surge in second-quarter results and a more optimistic long-term forecast. Jabil was one of the few tech stocks to close up on Wednesday, closing at $20.99.

Jabil CEO Tim Main said his company is on track this year to end up with revenue of $16.4 billion. "I think it's interesting to note that if we applied the long-term growth targets onto that $16.4 billion … the company would reach a $20 billion revenue level by fiscal 2013," Main told analysts.

The CEO also offered some cautionary remarks. Jabil operations in Japan, based in the city of Gotemba southwest of Tokyo, were not directly affected by the country's recent disaster. But its employees and suppliers there had felt some impact. Main said it was too early to anticipate any longer-term effects from Japan, including any difficulties in receiving manufacturing parts from that country.

Late Tuesday, Jabil reported net income jumped 86 percent in the quarter to $55.4 million, or 25 cents a share, compared to $29.8 million, or 14 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue increased 31 percent to $3.9 billion, up from just more than $3 billion last year.

"The first half of fiscal 2011 has been a great start to the full fiscal year," Main said in a conference call with analysts. All three of the company's business segments improved above expectations, with the strongest growth coming in diversified manufacturing services.

Some growth was because of a better mix of products and some was from Jabil's larger scale, he said, "but a significant part of the improvement in margins is due to really focusing on operational excellence, lean manufacturing and higher levels of productivity."

Main also pointed out that a focus on medium-sized accounts, new products and a push into health care has paid off for its domestic plants. "I believe every single site in the United States is profitable … even though we went through a period of retrenchment in the U.S."

Jabil, which worldwide has close to 100,000 workers, recently said it was laying off 90 workers in St. Petersburg because of a drop in demand from one of its corporate customers.

Main recently was awarded a $2.9 million bonus for Jabil's fiscal year ended Aug. 31. That's more than five times his $524,103 award the prior year.

Contact Jeff Harrington at harrington@sptimes.com or Robert Trigaux at trigaux@sptimes.com.

Now in fast lane, Jabil Circuit could approach Tech Data's size in several years 03/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 8:57pm]
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