St. Petersburg's Jabil Circuit, a global electronics manufacturer, said it had record revenues and earnings for its just concluded fiscal year but reported weaker performance in the fourth quarter. Jabil CEO Tim Main expressed disappointment and attributed the slowdown to pockets of weakness in the economy, extra time required to ramp up new manufacturing, a decline in demand for certain wireless handsets it makes, and a $5.9 million charge against a "distressed" corporate customer in the solar power industry.
For 2012, Jabil cracked the $17 billion mark in revenues and had annual earnings of $395 million – both up 4 percent from 2011. For its fiscal fourth quarter, Jabil revenues rose 1 percent to $4.3 billion while earnings dropped 27 percent to $83 million versus the same period of 2011.
Main said he expects 2013 will start with a "lackluster" economy but improve in the second half and likely deliver another record year for Jabil. He sees 2013 revenues topping $18 billion.
Main said solar panel installations are booming. But he described the industry as in transition with cutbacks in government subsidies and many solar start-ups unable to find the capital and stamina to last against aggressive Chinese competition. Long term, Main said, solar still has good potential.