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10/30/2003

Ball up, but misses mark; three other reports mixed

Times-Call staff and wire reports

BROOMFIELD — Crediting good weather in Europe and buoyed by its Chinese business, Ball Corp. reported third-quarter earnings Tuesday that fell short of analysts’ expectations but were still sharply higher than a year ago.

Ball, a major supplier of metal and plastic packaging to the beverage and food industries, reported earnings of $68.8 million, or $1.21 per share, up from net income of $50 million, or 87 cents per share, in the third quarter 2002.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast quarterly earnings of $1.28 per share. Ball stock opened at $54.62 on the New York Stock Exchange and rose slightly to $55 by late morning Tuesday.

R. David Hoover, Ball’s chairman, president and chief executive, said the third quarter results were due largely to the addition of Ball Packaging Europe last year.

“Sales also grew in our North American packaging segment, though earnings were down,” he said.

The latest results included a previously announced after-tax charge of $9.9 million, or 17 cents per share, for early debt extinguishment.

For the first nine months of 2003, Ball earned $174.6 million or 3.05 per share, on sales of $3.78 billion. Ball reported earnings of $127.4 million, or $2.21 per share, on sales of $2.95 billion through the first three quarters of 2002.

Besides packaging, Ball owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

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LONGMONT — In a three-sentence press release issued Tuesday, Concepts Direct announced that it had cut its net losses for the first three quarters of 2003.

The company reported sales for the nine-month period of $31.9 million, compared with $36.3 million for the same period in 2002. For the first three quarters, Concepts reported a net loss of $1.7 million, compared with a net loss of $7.6 million during the same period the previous year.

Earlier this year, Phillip Wiland, chairman, president and CEO announced that he and his wife, Linda, had bought additional shares in the company to increase their ownership to 73 percent. The mail order and catalog retail company had its stock de-listed by Nasdaq earlier this year.

Concepts currently employs approximately 430 workers, slightly less than half of whom are seasonal workers.

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BOULDER — Software and consulting services company Rogue Wave Software has reported declining revenues for the most recent quarter and fiscal year.

Revenue for the fourth quarter was $7.6 million, compared with $9.3 million during the same period a year ago. For the entire fiscal year 2003, revenue was $32.9 million, a 24 percent drop from the previous fiscal year.

Net income, however, was up. For the recent quarter it was $2.7 million, or 25 cents per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $4.8 million, or 45 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2002. The company also announced a net income of $1.5 million for the entire fiscal year, compared with a net loss of $7.3 million for the previous fiscal year.

In a statement, Kathleen Brush, Rogue Wave’s chief executive officer, called fiscal 2003 “a turning point” for the company.

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FREDERICK — UQM Technologies reported that because of decreased product sales, its earnings for the most recent quarter remained much like the same period a year ago.

Total revenue for the second quarter of the fiscal year was $1.9 million, equating to a net income loss for the quarter of $1 million, or 5 cents per common share.

That compares with revenue during the same period last year of $4.07 million, which translated to a net loss of $888,000, or 5 cents per common share.

“Although our revenues were adversely impacted by decreased product sales, we continued to experience strong demand for engineering and product development services,” said William Rankin, company president and CEO, in a statement.

Revenue for the first six months of the year was $5.03 million, compared with $8.84 million during the same period last year.

Net loss for the first six months was $1.4 million, or 7 cents per common share, virtually equal to the loss for the same period the previous year.