1. Archive

Celebratory Jabil Circuit CEO Tim Main at annual meeting: 'We smoked the S&P'

The Tampa Bay Times visited a Jabil Circuit plant (above) in Panyu, China, in 2003, but the company now operates plants in nine other Chinese cities. Photo by David G. McIntyre.

Very happy campers after two record years in a row, the (mostly) boys running Jabil Circuit looked relaxed and ready to kick butt this year, too, at the St. Petersburg electronics manufacturer's annual meeting this morning. Analysts peg Jabil's annual revenues this year at $17.5 billion, up from 2011's $16.5 billion. Jabil CEO Tim Main says he has no problem with the latest analyst prediction.

Main, standing in front of a slide on stock performance that showed total shareholder return for Jabil (up 66.9 percent) and the S&P 500 (up 18.5 percent), said best best: "We smoked the S&P this year."

Main's CEO compensation also was smoking. He earned an overall compensation package of $10.3 million last year, up from $9.8 million in 2010 and just $4.5 million in 2009 when Jabil (fighting a severe year in the global economy) lost more than $1 billion.

A few observations:

* Jabil showed about a 10-minute video during Thursday's shareholders meeting held at the Renaissance Vinoy Golf Club. Most of the scenes of Jabil's manufacturing operations were in Asia, and of those mostly in cities like Wuxi or Shenzen in China. Asia's clearly the unofficial core of Jabil. The company owns or leases 12.7 million square feet in Asia, 6.2 million in the Americas and just under 4 million in Europe. Get the picture?

* One U.S. facility location in the video is a Jabil "aftermarket" (repaid, spare parts) business in Memphis where production supervisor Johnnie Lawson, an African American, is an instant film hit. His remark that resonated at the annual meeting: "If it does not make money, it does not make sense."

* Some of Jabil's customers range from Whirlpool, IBM and Johnson & Johnson to Cisco, HP and Electrolux. Main said its biggest customers are RIM (known as Research in Motion, the maker of Blackberry smart phones) and Cisco. Main suggested Apple also is a huge customer.

* What's the Jabil's top executives and black suits? I thought I was in a casting room for Men In Black.

* One shareholder stood and asked how Jabil got its name. Bill Morean, Jabil chairman and son of one of the founders, explained it was common at least for Detroit area (where Jabil was started) for start-ups to be named for founder names -- in this case James and Bill, hence Jabil. "I guess they thought it was better than BillJay," Morean panned.

* The Jabil board of directors, which include such long-term and local business names as Steve Raymund (Tech Data) and Bill Morean, showed off its latest addition: Martha F. Brooks, who joined last March. The former president of aluminum firm Novelis Inc., Brooks becomes the ninth member and the only woman on the Jabil board, following the resignation from the board in early 2011 of Kathleen Walters.

All in all, this is a company chugging on all cylinders, the third largest electronics manufacturer in the world.

Here's a transcript from Seeking Alpha of Thursday's annual meeting.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times

Posted by Robert Trigaux at 2:07:14 pm on January 26, 2012