Monday, October 25, 2010

Article about Suri, ARC's CEO, in San Francisco Business Times

A few days ago, one of my industry friends told me that ARC's CEO, Suri, was interviewed by the San Francisco Business Times and that the article about that interview appeared in the SFBT on October 18, 2010

Title of the article:
Kumarakulasingam ‘Suri’ Suriyakumar, chairman, president and CEO of American Reprographics Co.

And, you can access the article at this internet-address:
(note: you have to scroll down on the first page to click on "access the full article")

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Joel's comment about the article:

Only one. In the article, the interviewer evidently asked Suri, "who is your most respected competitor?" His reply: "Probably HP or Canon. "But (and, I think he must have said, "because" rather than "but"), in our industry, we don't have one because most of (our competitors) are small."

Well, ARC only has one competitor that is "quasi-national", that one being ABC Imaging. I'm sure that Medi Falsafi, CEO of ABC Imaging, would find Suri's comment amusing. I'm fairly certain that Bryan Thomas (of Thomas Repro) and Doug Magid (of NRI), CEO's of two of the reprographics industry's larger players, would also find Suri's comment amusing. I'm certain that the CEO's of HP and Canon would find Suri's comment amusing!

All in all, Suri is one of the nicest, smartest guys in the reprographics industry; nice to see him getting some press! That kind of press adds credibility not just to ARC, but to the entire reprographics industry.

ARC to release Q3 2010 Revenues and Earnings this coming week

ARC will announce its Q3 2010 revenues and earnings on November 2nd, just a few days from now.

The "big question" is, "will that announcement have much of an affect, if any, on ARC's stock price?"

I think not.

And, I say that because of this:
a) on October 8, 2010, ARC's stock price closed at $7.88
b) on October 11, 2010, before the market opened, ARC issued a press release substantially revising (downward) its expected EPS and cash flow for the full year 2010
c) on October 11, 2010, ARC's stock opened at $6.52 and fell as low as $6.00 during the day.
d) since then, ARC's stock price has risen (it closed at $7.12 on Friday, October 29, 2010)

My conclusion (not that I know anything, but....)
Since the "negative news" has already been put out there (i.e., the earnings revision announced on October 11th), the negative news has already been priced into ARC's stock price, so I don't think that ARC's Q3 2010 earnings announcement is going to change anything. I do expect to see ARC announce another write-down of Goodwill and Intangible assets, based on the statements that were made in the press release issued on October 11th, but that, too, is not new news at this point.

ABC Imaging hires veteran architect to lead development of ABC's document solutions strategy

Recent Press Release from ABC Imaging.....

ABC Imaging hires Scott Butikis to lead development of document solutions strategy
Washington, DC—September 17, 2010—ABC Imaging recently announced it has hired Scott Butikis, Assoc. AIA, as Director of Document Solutions.

In the new position, Mr. Butikis will lead ABC Imaging's product development and marketing strategy effort for, the company's online document management service.

"The addition of Scott to our staff will give BlueprintOnline new focus—the intense focus it deserves," said Medi Falsafi, CEO and President of ABC Imaging. "With his experience, Scott sees what a product like BlueprintOnline brings to a project team and to project management. And Scott understands how we can apply BPOL to other markets."

Mr. Butikis has more than 17 years experience in architecture with an emphasis on the disciplines used to execute projects for the hospitality industry. Recently, he developed and coordinated two 800 to 1,000 room hotels and associated structures for a major gaming operation in Florida.

"BlueprintOnline has enormous potential to be significant force as a document management and project management solution," Mr. Butikis said. "One of our first efforts will be to develop service levels to support projects and organizations from the smallest to the largest."

Formerly with Klai Juba Architects, Mr. Butikis established the firm's offices in South Florida. His responsibilities included staff development and communicating with key strategic clients.

AIA ABI Index for September 2010 - Design Billings Inch Into Recovery Mode ! ! !

Finally, after more than two years (and 8 months, to be exact), the AIA ABI Index comes in above 50 !!!!!

Let's hope that this is just the start of more good news to come.

Let's also hope that this news is not at all like the news the Fed Government released a couple of months ago telling us that the "recession" (in the U.S. economy) ended in June 2009. (When everyone I know, who wants to have a job, has a job and has a job that's worthy of having, then I'll call that an end to the recession.)

Okay, here's the internet address of the September 2010 AIA ABI Index, reported on or around October 23rd by Kermit Baker, Chief Economist of the AIA.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Service Point announces new guy at the helm of its USA operations

Earlier this year, Service Point Solutions "corporate" announced that it replaced its then overall Managing Director (Rafael Lopez-Aparicio Areilza). Now, there's been a change in management at Service Point's USA operations.

Service Point issued a Press Release on October 20, 2010 to announce that Kevin Eyers has assumed the leadership role at its USA operations. (Service Point's USA operations are based in Boston, MA.)

Here's the text of the SP Press Release:

Kevin Eyers to head up Service Point’s US business.

Kevin is currently at the helm of SPS’ fastest-growing subsidiary this year, YTD +13% His main remit at SP US will be to fortify targeted core sectors such as finance and education The plan is to open a new production centre in New York to enhance service standards across the entire financial segment and to cater print on-demand services

October 20th 2010. - Service Point Solutions, S.A (ticker: SPS.MC) has appointed Kevin Eyers to run its US business. The US subsidiary accounts for roughly 9% of the group’s topline, with revenue last year of €20 million.

Until recently, Kevin Eyers was the head of CFI, Service Point’s business specialised in the provision of reprographics services to the financial sector, a position he held for 15 years. This segment has been the company’s fastest-growing this year and last.

Mr. Eyers will take up his new role over the coming months. His priority near-term target is business development at the US operation in the education and financial sectors, those growing the fastest across the entire group. Building on his extensive track record, Mr. Eyers will launch multiple initiatives in the heart of the US financial system, New York, including a new digital production and offset centre to enable the company to meet the anticipated growth in this segment over the coming years. Service Point will base its tailored services targeted at the healthcare and education sectors in Boston, while the Washington DC production centre will prioritise the public sector.

SPS expects the combination of its proactive marketing strategy, organisational transformation and strategic focus on the fastest-growing segments to bear fruit in terms of growth rates near term.

According to Joan Carles Peiro, COO of Service Point Solutions, “With this appointment, Service Point is vouching strongly for its US subsidiary. Kevin has a tremendous track record in the world of document management within the financial arena. Judging by his successes in the past, he is bound to build SPS US into a benchmark player in the American market”.

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Joel's comments:

Prior to this announcement from SP, Bill Sullivan was the leader of SP's USA operations. The press release does not indicate if Bill is staying on, or not staying on, with SP, and, if so, in what position. It's my understanding that Bill has been with SP for more than 12 years, if not longer than that.

In the press release, SP indicates that sales revenues for SP USA were about 20 Million Euro "last year." (At today's exchange rate, per Google Finance, 20 million Euro equates to just over $28 million USD.) I may be completely wrong about this, but it's my recollection that SP USA's sales were about $43 million USD around 2006-7. If my recollection is accurate (or close to accurate), that would mean that SP USA's revenues for 2009 were about 35% down from SP USA's "peak" revenues. Comparatively, ARC's revenues peaked in 2008 at $700 million, and ARC's revenues for 2009, at $500 million USD; revenues for 2009 were about 28.5% off ARC's peak year. One factor that SP USA had to contend with, that ARC did not, was competition for AEC OnSite deals from Archimedia Solutions Group (Boston-area-based company), led by Mark DiPasquale and Jane Simmons, both formerly of SP USA.

As to Kevin Eyers, the new guy at the helm of SP USA, I wish him the best of luck with his new position at SP USA. It will be interesting to see if Kevin takes SP USA in a different direction. Prior to now, SP USA has predominantly been an "AEC reprographics" enterprise. Kevin's expertise, per what I've heard and read, is in the "financial services" sector of the document management and printing industry. It will be interesting to see the direction Kevin takes SP USA. I am certain of one thing. The reprographers in SP's markets in the U.S. will be following developments at, and the direction of, SP USA.

AGC says current nationwide construction-industry employment level nearly matches 1996 level

one of my industry associates pointed me to this press release.....

Press Release from Associated General Contractors
(from the AGC's national association headquarters)


Date: October 8, 2010

Construction Industry Unemployment At Highest September Rate Ever Recorded as Sector Suffers from Private, State and Local Funding Declines and Unclear Federal Funding Plans

The number of people working in construction is approaching a 14-year low now that the industry lost 21,000 jobs in September, while construction unemployment is at a September high of 17.2 percent, according to an analysis of federal employment figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The construction industry continues to suffer from declining investments in construction and broad uncertainty about the future of many federal infrastructure programs and tax rates, association officials noted.

“It has taken less than four years to erase a decade’s worth of job gains as the industry suffers from declining private, state and local construction demand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “No other sector of the economy has suffered as much for as long as construction.”

Simonson noted that the 5.6 million people working in construction today is barely higher than the 5.59 million people who were working in construction in August 1996. He added that construction employment continued to lag behind other sectors of the economy. For example, while total private employment rose by 593,000 during the past 12 months, the construction industry lost 210,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the industry’s unemployment rate is nearly double the unadjusted national rate of 9.2 percent.

Most of September’s construction job losses came from the nonresidential sector as demand for commercial facilities and infrastructure projects remains weak, Simonson noted. Residential construction lost 2,500 jobs last month while nonresidential construction lost 18,100 jobs. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors were the hardest hit, having lost 19,500 jobs in September, the economist added.

Association officials noted that construction spending figures released late last month show private, state and local construction spending continues to decline. And while federal spending has increased, most of those investments have come from temporary programs like the stimulus and military base realignment programs.

While these temporary federal programs have helped the industry, many contractors are reluctant to expand payrolls while long-term federal programs that fund highway, transit, water system and aviation related construction remain in limbo, association officials said. They added that most contractors don’t even know what their tax rates will be for next year.

“Construction firms aren’t going to start hiring again until they can predict how busy they’ll be,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Frankly it is hard for contractors to make any business decisions when they don’t know how much they’ll make or how much they’ll owe.”


Friday, October 1, 2010

Auction announced for Oasis Condominiums in Ft Myers, FL

Auction to be held to auction off 125 condominium units at OASIS Condominium Project in Fort Myers, Florida!

Timing is everything, huh.

I can remember when construction began on this project. Unfortunately, by the time the project was ready for occupancy (in 2008) the market in Florida for high-rise residential condominiums had plunged, and buyers who had placed deposits decided not to go through with their purchases.

Now, some two years later, the owners of the project are going to try to "move things forward" by auctioning off 125 units (in the first of the two towers.) The first 40 units to be auctioned off will be sold "regardless of price", in other words, no minimum price. The owner of the Signature Condominium, a beautiful project in downtown St Petersburg, held a similar auction last year (or, maybe it was earlier this year), and that auction proved to be very successful (at least for buyers; most buyers got great deals.)

Here's one sentence from an article I just read about the auction to be held in November (2010) for the Oasis units in Ft Myers:
......"For example, Ewing said, one client whose contract was for $607,900 was offered the chance to purchase for $216,900: 64 percent off the original price."

Wow, imagine buying a condo for $217k that was originally priced at $608k!

Wonder how much the "oil" problem in the Gulf is affecting west coast Florida real estate.

OCE Results

OCE just issued a press release covering its most recent results.

I'm only going to put a portion of the press release in today's blog-post; the portion that pertains to OCE's WFPS (wide-format-printing-systems) results; here's what OCE said about that:

Wide Format Printing Systems (WFPS)
Compared to the third quarter of 2009 the WFPS revenues recovered, mainly driven by revenue development of Technical Document Systems in the US and Asia. Non-recurring revenues recovered while
recurring revenues were lagging behind due to volume and price decline.

Revenues in WFPS amounted to € 180 million. Organically, revenues were in line with the prior year. The share of color increased to 50% (2009: 45%), mainly as a result of the newly-introduced Océ ColorWave 300 and Océ CS2400 color systems for the technical documentation market.


Joel's comment: apparently, OCE's WFPS business has bottomed-out and is now set for improved performance. From my perspective, the combination of OCE and Canon was a brilliant move (for Canon's shareholders). It will take some time to see how OCE and Canon "integrate" their wide-format products and sales efforts. And, I have to wonder what effect, if any, HP's new WFPS products will have on OCE and KIP.