Updated from 4:51 p.m. EST
If you thought it couldn't get bleaker at
, you thought wrong.
JDS resumed feeding investors their long, thin diet of uncertainty Thursday, saying that in spite of earlier claims, the current quarter may not reverse the long skid in its financial health.
Departing from Wednesday's mildly bullish comments from its optical component making rival
, JDS said it is "uncertain that the March quarter will represent the low point in sales for the current downturn." JDS had previously hinted that sales would pick up modestly in the spring, though it had repeatedly declined to put specific numbers on their assumptions.
Asked by analysts on an earnings conference call what if any outlook the company could provide, JDS Uniphase executives said they couldn't be confident that the March quarter would be the bottom of a long steep sales slump. The company has said it expects revenue for that period, its fiscal third quarter, to fall 10%-15% from second-quarter levels. Second-quarter revenue showed a staggering 69% drop from year-ago levels.
"We base our guidance on our forecast," CFO Tony Muller said on the call. "We had forecasts that indicated June would be flat to up, but most recent versions of those forecasts indicate that will not be the case."
The company's admission that it has no evidence of a sales uptick can hardly be good news to its beleaguered investors, who have seen their stock drop 88% in the last year alone amid a torrent of red ink and thousands of layofs.
JDS Uniphase shares slid 57 cents, or 7%, to $7.32 in after-hours trading.
JDS's downbeat prognosis proves once more that it is far from immune to the sagging health of the other members on the telecom food chain.
"Their customers have zero visibility and their customers -- the service providers -- are still in a horrifying fundamental situation," says CIBC World Markets analyst Jim Jungjohann, who has a buy on the stock. CIBC was an adviser to the JDS/SDL merger. "This market is walking in place for the rest of the year."
JDS also posted a second-quarter loss of $1.60 a share, which it said was in line with analysts' expectations. On a pro forma basis, excluding various costs, JDS lost 19 cents a share, reversing a year-ago 21-cent profit. Sales plunged to $286 million in the latest period from $925 million a year earlier.
The latest-period loss includes yet another goodwill writedown, this time of $1.3 billion, to adjust the value of acquired assets from their inflated bubble-era acquisition price. Of course, JDS has been down this road before, as you may recall.
Last April it told Wall Street that its books were larded with a staggering $56 billion in goodwill -- the premium between the actual value of a property and the amount it was acquired for. In July, the company reported what was then the biggest corporate loss ever, reporting a staggering $46 billion deficit for fiscal 2001. That figure included writedowns of companies such as SDL and E-Tek Dynamics, which JDS had acquired in recent years -- evidently to little avail; by the end of the year, the company would be on course to cut its workforce by two-thirds from its peak level.
Judging by recent comments, the cutting may not be over yet.