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JDS Uniphase Limps to Another Steep Loss

Earnings and revenue guidance take another hit.

Wall Street was hoping it had seen the worst from JDS Uniphase (JDSU) , but it seems that's not the case.

The networking industry's loss leader showed a staggering 58% decline in first-quarter revenue on Thursday and posted yet another billion-dollar-plus loss. JDS also forecast continuing deterioration in its business, saying with characteristic understatement that "the downturn in theCompany's markets continues." Second-quarter revenue will fall a further 10% to 15%, according to the JDS forecast, resulting in a loss of a penny or two. In keeping with recent practice, JDS declined to offer financial guidance for future periods.

After posting a 10% rise to $9.81 in heavy regular-session trading, JDS Uniphase stock plunged after hours before rebounding to around $9.50.

JDS reported some success in reducing its payroll, which now stands at just under 13,000 employees, down from 29,000 at the start of the year. JDS hadn't expected to reach its goal of paring its staff down to 14,000 employees until the middle of its second quarter.

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For its fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 29, JDS posted a loss of $1.2 billion, or 93 cents a share. On a pro forma basis, excluding various costs, the company lost $260 million, or 20 cents a share, reversing the year-ago 18-cent profit. Sales plunged to $329 million from $786 million a year ago; even on the kinder sequential basis, JDS reported a precipitous 45% drop in sales.

In July, JDS Uniphase reported a staggering $46 billion loss for fiscal 2001 as it wrote down the carrying value of companies it had acquired in recent years. The company, created in the merger of optical suppliers JDS Fitel and Uniphase, was notoriously acquisitive during the decade-ending tech boom, and rose to prominence among investors with its 2,500% gain in 1999. But like its peers, JDS stock has plunged over the last year, and the company continues to take writedowns to bring the value of its assets in line with its current market value.