Saturday, January 20, 2018
Business

Tech Data battles to keep pace with the mobile evolution

The global mobile revolution is happening so fast that it's hard for even front-line competitors like Tech Data Corp. to keep up.

The Clearwater-based IT products distributor — Tampa Bay's largest public company by revenue — missed earning targets Monday, triggering a hit to its stock price.

One of the biggest drags on profits: the company's rapid shift from distributing higher-margin products like servers to lower-margin products like tablets, mobile phones and software.

"Look across the landscape … and laptops and portable PCs are being replaced by tablets," Tech Data CEO Bob Dutkowsky said in an interview. "… It's just the reality that technology goes through these transitions. It'll just take us a couple quarters to find our level in this new world."

Overall, the company's report was mixed, with a 5 percent surge in revenue to a better-than-expected $7.5 billion, offsetting some concerns about net income. For the year, revenue was down 4 percent to $25.4 billion.

Paper profits looked better than reality. Tech Data's quarterly net income jumped 53 percent to $82.5 million, or $2.17 per share, due largely to a big tax benefit. Take away a deferred tax valuation allowance in Europe and its earnings were $1.48 per share, up from $1.29 a year ago but far short of the $1.75 per share expected on Wall Street.

It could have been worse, Dutkowsky said, if the company hadn't established strong customer relationships ahead of the mobile shift.

Four years ago, Tech Data sold virtually no tablets; in the fiscal year that just ended Jan. 31, the company notched $2 billion worth of tablet sales along with $2 billion worth of cellphones and smartphones.

To offset the low-profit mobile sales, Tech Data has been diversifying into higher-margin items like distributing a high-end IBM server and IBM storage products, both million-dollar systems.

Shares of Tech Data closed Monday at $47.80, down $4.43, or 8.5 percent.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8242.

Comments
Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

Tampa Bay jobs chief Ed Peachey making top dollar

For years, Edward Peachey has bragged about the number of jobless people he has helped find work.As president and CEO of CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, he’s in charge of the two main government agencies that provide training to the...
Published: 01/20/18
Sunday Conversation: Lightning VP Keith Harris strikes a chord for the Boys & Girls Clubs

Sunday Conversation: Lightning VP Keith Harris strikes a chord for the Boys & Girls Clubs

Keith Harris fondly looks back on some memorable days from his Tampa upbringing when he worked as a lifeguard at a pool next to a Boys & Girls Club. ¶Whenever it rained, he watched as the kids retreated to the safe haven of the club. They entered int...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Published: 01/19/18
Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

TAMPA — You could sketch an economic history of the city of Tampa — and maybe get a glimpse of its future — just by looking at the old J. Seidenberg & Co./Havana-American Cigar Factory.It opened in 1894, making it Ybor City’s second-oldest brick ciga...
Published: 01/19/18

Want to buy into an exchanged-traded bitcoin fund? You might have a long wait

NEW YORK — It may be a while, if ever, before investors can buy an exchange-traded fund made up of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Federal regulators have a long list of questions they want answered before they’ll approve a digital currency fun...
Published: 01/19/18
Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

A Georgia mother has gone viral for charging her 5-year-old "rent." Yup — the kid pays up for food, water, cable and electric, too.Essense Evans described in a Facebook post how she handles her daughter’s allowance. The post, written on Saturday, was...
Published: 01/19/18

Addicted to your smartphone? Now there’s an app for that

Did you text? Sorry, I can’t see messages right now. Arianna Huffington locked my phone.The media tycoon turned wellness entrepreneur wants to keep you out of your phone, too, with a new app called Thrive. Its goal is to make it cool for a generation...
Published: 01/19/18
Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

ST. PETERSBURG — Tony Jannus’s history-making flight in an early seaplane — simultaneously as ungainly and graceful as a pelican on the wing — is what Mayor Rick Kriseman calls an "under-told and under-appreciated" story, but a team of local history ...
Published: 01/19/18
Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — The newest hope for transportation in the Tampa Bay area is a bus rapid transit system projected to cover the 41-miles separating St. Petersburg from Wesley Chapel and attract 4,500 new riders at a fraction of the cost of light rail....
Published: 01/19/18
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners on Friday unveiled a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit.Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional transit p...
Published: 01/19/18