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Jinpan International Ltd. (NASDAQ:JST) announced preliminary financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2012.

Here are the numbers compared to the same quarter a year ago:

Category

Q2 2012

Q2 2011

% Gain/ (Loss)

Net sales

55.6

58.3

(4.6)

Gross Profit

14.5

22.2

(34)

Gross as % of Sales

26%

38.1%

Net Income

2.5

7.28

(65)

EPS

.15

.45

(66)

Also, per the news release, management has amended the 2012 outlook as follows:

  1. Net sales for 2012 expected to be U.S. $219 million to $230 million, or 0% to 5% growth over net sales in 2011 of $219 million.
  2. Gross profit margin for 2012 is expected to be approximately 33% of net sales, compared to gross profit margin in 2011 of 36.7% of net sales.
  3. Net income for 2012 is expected to experience a decrease of 15% to 20%, compared to $23.8 million in 2011.

A Look at Management's Statements

The sales numbers reports from two segments, domestic (China) and international. Domestic sales grew to $50.8 million from $46.1 million the same quarter last year. International sales took a big hit, $4.8 million compared to $12.2 million from last year's second quarter. According to management, this was attributed to "a change in the design by our primary OEM customer of their wind power product(s), which resulted in a decrease in our international sales in the second quarter. Currently, we are waiting for our customer to provide new specifications, so we can make corresponding design changes to our cast resin transformer products and integrate our transformers into their newly designed wind power product(s)." International OEM sales have been down for a three month period, and Jinpan is still waiting for specifications from this customer. This may be a flag signaling strained customer relations.

Once these specifications are received, Jinpan will have to modify/redesign its product and have it re-qualified. I would expect this to take some time and possibly affect international sales for the remainder of this year. Management expects this also, saying that "even though we experienced slower sales to our primary OEM customer, we do expect a pickup in orders from other OEM customers in the second half of 2012." This has also exposed a weakness of dependence on one major OEM customer (a 60% decrease in this sales segment due to one customer). I would like to see management move to fix this weakness.

I sensed some hesitation by management about domestic sales for the remainder of the year: "We also experienced some weakness in domestic order flows in the second quarter due to a softer economic environment in China." Domestic sales were actually up by 9.25% this quarter compared to last year, why the warning? According to management, "we have a backlog of approximately $113 million at the end of June 2012 and believe that approximately 80% to 90% of the backlog will be shipped in 2012." I assume that $113 million figure is a net sales number. 80% of that would be about $90.5 million for the last half of the year in addition to incoming orders. Last year, Jinpan had $130.75 million in revenue over the last half of the year.

The revised numbers for net sales predict 0%-5% growth this year. Using the worst-case scenario of $219 million would require Jinpan to achieve net sales of $120.6 million over the last two quarters. Again, Jinpan had about $130 million over the last two quarters for 2011, so it is possible -- even more so if the backlog is delivered as promised.

The gross margin reduction is not too much of a concern for me. Jinpan has averaged a 38% margin over the last 10 years and been in the 33% range three of the same last 10. Also, the net income number, if reduced by 20%, would be $19 million. This is still well above the 10-year average of $12.6 million and better than seven of the last 10.

Conclusion

According to the company, "we believe the second half of 2012 will be stronger for our business than the first half." Jinpan has some work to do if it wants to be a "zero growth company" this year. There have been some weaknesses exposed regarding reliance on a single customer and possibly customer relations/communications.

Jinpan plans to release its second-quarter earnings results and conduct an earnings conference call in mid-August. I look forward to seeing how management addresses these issues and handles the remainder of the year, as it could reveal a lot about the quality of management.

Disclosure: I am long JST.

Source: Jinpan International's Preliminary Q2 2012 Financial Results