Losses grease Tech Data's retreat

Analysts are disappointed by a double-digit decline in profits.

By Madhusmita Bora, Times Staff Writer
Published May 23, 2007

Computer products distributor Tech Data Corp. took a 23 percent hit on profits for the first quarter ended April 30. The Clearwater company, the area's largest public corporation by revenues, attributed the loss to its retreat from the United Arab Emirates and the shuttering of a warehouse in Germany.

"I would like to think of those as investments, " chief executive Bob Dutkowsky said in an interview. "The fact is we are positioning ourselves for the long term."

The company earned $9.9-million, or 18 cents per share, compared with $12.9-million, or 23 cents per share, for the comparable year-ago period. Analysts were expecting 39 cents per share. Dutkowsky, who assumed the top spot last fall, said what's important is the continued revenue growth in an industry.

Worldwide net sales for the same period climbed 9.3 percent, to $5.4-billion, from $4.9-billion a year ago. Sales in the Americas grew 6.1 percent, while European sales jumped 12 percent.

"Positives in the quarter include European and North American sales momentum and inventory, " said a report by Brian Alexander and Robert Anastasi of Raymond James. "Negatives include lack of operating leverage and tax rate guidance" for the second quarter. Tech Data's shares closed at $36.14 Tuesday, down 4.14 percent.

Madhusmita Bora can be reached at mbora@sptimes.com or (813) 225-3112.