Television

Scientific-Atlanta reports lower first quarter results amid job cuts

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Scientific-Atlanta, Inc a leading supplier of transmission networks for broadband access to the home has announced results for its first quarter. For the quarter ending September 28, 2001, sales were $410.1 million. This represented a 31 percent decrease from the same period a year ago. Net earnings from continuing operations for the quarter were $37.1 million. This is a 42 per cent decline from the same period last year. Earnings in the first quarter of fiscal year 2002 declined by $76.2 million, or 67 per cent, from the comparable period of last year.

Compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2001, first quarter net earnings from continuing operations declined $43.4 million or 54 per cent, excluding a one-time, after-tax charge of $7.1 million in the fourth quarter related to a tender for shares of PowerTV, Inc. Including that one-time event, earnings were down $36.2 million, or 49 per cent.

Bookings were $172.1 million, a decrease of $502.6 million, or 74 per cent, from the prior year's first quarter. Business activity was slower in the quarter due to the economy; and following the events of 11 September, the company's normally back-end loaded bookings did not materialise in the last few weeks of the quarter. However, in the first few weeks of the second quarter, the order take rate has been significantly higher than in the first quarter. Since the beginning of the second quarter, the company has received orders for approximately 700,000 Explorer digital set-tops.

Sales of Subscriber products decreased 28 per cent to $278.7 million from the prior year's first quarter, while bookings of Subscriber products fell 77 per cent to $105.2 million. Backlog at quarter end was $662.9 million, a decrease of $225.9 million from the first quarter of the previous year.

The company's balance sheet remained strong, with cash and short-term investments of $591.1 million at the end of the first quarter.

In the first quarter, the company shipped 855 thousand Explorer digital set-tops, bringing the total to more than 8 million shipped to date. Shipments of MQAM modulators, which are critical for the deployment of video-on-demand and subscription video-on-demand services, were a record 1,041 units in the quarter.

However the company is undergoing restructuring of its worldwide operations. The company will reduce its worldwide workforce by 10 per cent. Five hundred people in manufacturing and 250 people in engineering, marketing, sales, service will lose their jobs. Scientific-Atlanta expects these actions to reduce its costs and expenses by approximately $61 million on an annual basis, starting in the third fiscal quarter. The company expects to take a one-time, pre-tax charge of approximately $22.0 million, or $0.09 per share, in its second fiscal quarter, and additional pre-tax charges in the second half of the fiscal year totaling approximately $9.0 million, or $0.04 per share.

Summarising the quarter, James F. McDonald, Scientific-Atlanta's chairman, president, and CEO said: "In a very difficult quarter, we continue to be profitable. We remain committed to our belief that interactivity in the form of on-demand television and Internet-related applications will become increasingly important to our customers, as they strive to differentiate their digital services from those of the satellite service providers. Our continuing investment in interactive network solutions positions us to benefit as this next phase of the market begins."

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