Storage Earnings: One Hit, Two Misses


StorageTek, Exabyte and Emulex report


There was one hit and two misses as three storage vendors reported earnings on Tuesday.

First, the good news. Executives of Storage Technology (StorageTek), a Louisville, Colo.-based manufacturer of high-end tape automation products, said the company had revenue of $566.4 million for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2001, which ended Dec. 28. This compares with revenue of $601.4 million for the same period one year ago.

The company also reported earnings of $40 million, or 38 cents per share, for the quarter, compared with $30.8 million, or 30 cents per share, a year ago. The earnings were a pleasant surprise for analysts, who had been expecting 32 cents per share, according to First Call.

For fiscal year 2001, the company reported revenue of $2 billion, a slight drop from the $2.1 billion reported the previous year. Earnings for 2001 were $67.2 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.8 million, or 2 cents per share, in fiscal 2000.

In a conference call, Patrick Martin, chairman, president and CEO of StorageTek, credited the company's distribution strategy and an emphasis on storage solutions with helping drive the company's performance.

StorageTek announced its earnings after the close of the stock market on Tuesday. For the day, the company's shares closed up 13 cents at $21.69.

Things did not go nearly so well in the fourth quarter for Exabyte, a Boulder, Colo.-based manufacturer of tape drives and tape automation products.

Exabyte reported revenue for its fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 29, of $35.7 million, compared with $60.8 million for the same period a year ago. The company lost $8.8 million, or 32 cents per share, during the quarter, compared with a loss of $6.7 million, or 30 cents per share, a year ago.

Losses at Exabyte were higher than the 13 cents per share analysts had expected, according to First Call.

Exabyte reported revenue of $158.4 million for the whole of fiscal 2001, a steep drop from the $221.7 million reported in 2000. For the whole of 2001, the company lost $35.4 million, or $1.47 per share, compared with a loss of $41.3 million, or $1.83 per share, a year ago.

Fallout from the financial report was swift. Tuesday also saw the resignation of William Marriner as chairman, president and CEO of Exabyte. Juan Rodriguez, Exabyte's co-founder and chief technologist, will serve as president and CEO while the company searches for a replacement.

It was a homecoming for Rodriguez. He also co-founded StorageTek in 1969 and Ecrix in 1996, and came back to Exabyte when Ecrix, where he served as chairman and CEO, merged with Exabyte last November.

Shares of Exabyte, which reported earnings early on Tuesday, fell by 15 cents to 84 cents. That was still higher than its 52-week low of 30 cents per share in the aftermath Sept. 11.

The news from Emulex, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based manufacturer of storage networking host bus adapters, was also gloomy, as the company reported revenue in its second fiscal quarter fell 12 percent to $62.2 million, compared with $71.1 million for the same period a year ago.

Company executives also said Emulex lost $28.3 million, or 35 cents per share, for the quarter, compared with earnings of $19.4 million, or 25 cents per share, last year. Analysts had been expecting the company to earn 9 cents per share, according to First Call.

Emulex reported its earnings after the market closed on Tuesday. The company's shares were down by $4.22 at $38.60 for the day.