EMS: March Quarter a Mixed Bag

The March quarter results are rolling in and for electronics manufacturing services companies the reports are less than stellar.

Among those reporting down quarters: Flextronics, Celestica, IEC Electronics, LaBarge, Northstar Electronics (whose sales were up but took a big loss), and Sanmina-SCI (which cut its loss by about $900 million and improved gross margins by 1 point to 6.2%).
On a better note, Plexus and Benchmark were up big overall, and CTS improved although the latter’s EMS sales took a dive in Q1, falling $8.3 million or 9% year-over-year due to lower sales to H-P). Little CirTran also was up.
Much of this can be chalked up to seasonality, but the worry is that March quarter revenues are off vs. 2005, which is not the best way to start the year. Still, 2003 and 2004 were both strong, and most indicators still point to the recovery continuing in 2006, of not quite at the levels of before.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow