Tech Industry

PRI Automation beats 4Q estimates

PRI Automation Inc. (Nasdaq: PRIA) reported fourth quarter earnings Tuesday that beat the Street's consensus, along with some hefty charges due to previously announced manufacturing problems.

Shares in the maker of advanced automation systems and software to the semiconductor industry were up 0.31 to 20.25 Tuesday. Other chip-equipment companies, such as Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT) have also tumbled as of late.

Net revenues on a pro forma basis for the fourth quarter were $79.7 million, a 90 percent increase from a year ago. Net income on a pro forma basis for the quarter was $1.5 million, or 6 cents per diluted share, better than First Call's expected profit of 4 cents a share. It's also an improvement over the net loss in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1999 of $5.1 million, or a loss of 23 cents per share.

Factoring in special charges of $25.3 million related to manufacturing problems outlined in a September 11 news release, the company recorded net revenue of $75.5 million, and net loss of $23.9 million, or 96 cents a share.

For fiscal 2000, revenues on a proforma basis were $303.9 million, up 123 percent increase over fiscal year 1999 revenue. Net income on a proforma basis was $17.4 million, or 68 cents per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $36.1 million, or a loss of $1.67 per share for fiscal 1999. Including the special charges, net revenues for the fiscal year were $299.8 million and the net loss was $8.0 million, or 34 cents per share.

"The revenue shortfall was due to the manufacturing problems in our Factory Systems Division, which we outlined in our September 11, 2000 news release,'' said CEO Mitch Tyson in a company release. "We have implemented an aggressive program to address these issues, and during the last two months, we have seen improvements that, we believe, demonstrate we are on track for recovery."

Tyson added that customer demand for our factory automation solutions was strong across all three of our major product lines, and new bookings for the quarter were $116.1 million for a book-to-bill of 1.5.