On the Bench

Benchmark has historically been one of the best-performing EMS companies in the world, so it’s worth checking in on its management whenever possible.

While Wall Street is understandably fixated on the macro environment, Benchmark is sticking to its knitting and simply refusing to speculate on where the larger market may be headed. Despite repeated queries, CEO Carey Fu and president Gayla Delly held fast to their position not to comment on the broader market.

The good news is the EMS company, the world’s 13th largest, including ODMs, sees strength in its customers’ programs and believes its medical business in particular is on the way up.

March quarter’s margins were 70 basis points higher than the third quarter of last year, when sales were approximately the same (3.3% vs. 2.6%). Benchmark plans to invest another $40 million in capex this quarter, consistent with the last one. Finally, while Benchmark has moved a number of lines from the US to Mexico and laid off a proportional amount of staff, it anticipates no restructuring charges through the end of this year.

That may be the forecast that counts the most.

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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