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Jabil sees growth beyond electronics

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit, long one of Tampa Bay's biggest public companies, keeps broadening its horizons.

First, as it expanded years ago from producing circuit boards to making an array of electronics, the St. Petersburg company de-emphasized the circuit part of its name — even removing it from its logo.

Now the $18 billion powerhouse with 175,000 employees worldwide wants to be thought of as much more than an electronics manufacturer.

Or, as CEO Mark Mondello told nearly 100 shareholders and employees at the company's annual meeting Thursday, Jabil wants to play in a much "bigger sandbox."

Instead of competing in the global electronics manufacturing market, which Mondello placed at between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, Jabil's potential market for clients could be closer to $20 trillion, he said.

Jabil is still largely an electronics firm, with companies like Apple and Cisco among top clients. But 30 percent of its business is now nonelectronic. Its presence in the health care and packaging arenas was bolstered considerably by last year's $665 million purchase of Nypro Inc. Thanks to that deal, Jabil now makes everything from deodorant containers to plastic connections on medical IV bags.

One slide highlighted the breadth of blue-ribbon clients already in Jabil's stable: Procter & Gamble, IBM, Google, Hertz, Amazon and Hewlett-Packard, among others.

The goal, Mondello said, is to develop a three-to-five-year game plan for growth markets and not seek focus on an immediate payoff within 90 days. "Not all the new opportunities … will have consistent results quarter after quarter. … It's for the long-term."

Thursday's event at the Renaissance Vinoy marked Mondello's first opportunity to run an annual meeting since taking the helm last March from Tim Main, who had led Jabil for a dozen years.

No one at the session questioned Jabil's recent decision to cut ties with troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry, a move that could cost Jabil an estimated $2.1 billion in revenue the first year alone. Nor was there discussion of a double-digit percentage drop in the company's stock price late last year amid concerns of disappointing sales of Apple's iPhone 5c.

During a question-and-answer, the sole shareholder to speak praised Jabil for being one of the few electronics companies to pay a dividend. The shareholder, Joseph Scordato of New Port Richey, also asked about the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

Mondello said the health care overhaul is clearly an issue for small businesses, but not as much for Jabil since the company moved to self-insure five years ago. "We ended up saving millions of dollars by self-insuring," he said. "We're really blessed that Obamacare doesn't have an impact."

Jabil sees growth beyond electronics 01/23/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 23, 2014 8:30pm]
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