Earnings reports

Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode

Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR) had nothing but bad news last night after the markets closed. Not only did it lower its revenue expectations by about half, but it also announced a 25 percent reduction in its staff and a generally dismal outlook for the future.

"Every single incumbent carrier has lowered its Q1 02 capital spending outlook, and many have lowered Q2,” said Daniel E. Smith, president and CEO of Sycamore, on a call with analysts last night. “I’d be surprised if they even meet that. Long-haul transport has been hit particularly hard. It’s always been a cyclical business, and I think we are in the middle of a down cycle right now.”

The company lowered its revenue guidance for the first fiscal quarter of 2002, which it will report in mid-November, from its originally stated figure of between $30 million and $40 million, to between $20 million and $25 million.

The company also announced that it would be further restructuring its operations. In the first quarter, it expects to take charges of $200 million to $210 million. Roughly $100 million to $105 million will be written down for excess inventory and purchase commitments. Another $7 million to $8 million will be charged for related workforce reductions of approximately 240 employees. And $93 million to $97 million will be charged for consolidation of facilities and the write-down of certain impaired assets, such as writeoffs from vendor financing, as well as certain strategic equity investments.

The company expects to report a pro forma net loss for the fiscal first quarter, which excludes amortization of deferred stock compensation, payroll taxes on stock option exercises, restructuring, and other charges, in the range of $40 million, or $0.16 per share, to $44 million, or $0.18 per share.

Smith cited three factors that contributed to Sycamore’s current situation. First was the aforementioned carrier spending cutbacks. Second, some business that was expected to close has fallen through. And third, he cited longer evaluation periods for products, which has lengthened the sales cycle and further pushed out revenue.

While analysts aren’t surprised by this pre-announcement, some say they had expected Sycamore to announce that they were doing more to remedy the situation and return the company to profitability. The layoffs had been expected in many quarters, but some had expected them to be larger (see Sycamore: More Layoffs Coming?).

Rick Schafer, an analyst with CIBC World Markets says he doesn’t think that the company has trimmed enough of its expenses to meet its stated profit margin goals. On the call, Frances M. Jewels, CFO for Syacmore, said that the company plans to improve the current 5 percent to 7 percent gross margins to about 20 percent over the next few quarters. But she also said that the announced cuts were all the company planned to make. This means that the only way for the company to reach its 20 percent gross margin target is if sales volume increases, something that seems highly unlikely given the fact that the book-to-bill ratio is expected to be below one for the next two quarters.

”The outlook is pretty grim,” says Schafer. “If you say that you’ve made all the cuts you can but volume still remains low, how can you expect to improve margins? It doesn’t make sense.” Others say they are disappointed that the company didn’t announce a dramatic change in its product strategy. Kevin Slocum, an analyst with Wit Soundview says he would like to see the company get rid of its SN8000 and SN10000 product lines. He says the company has never made significant traction in the transport business and should focus on its SN16000 optical switching product.

“I wanted to see them do something gutsy and bet all the marbles on the SN16000,” he says. “I know they have a lot of dough in the bank, but I think they need to dedicate it to making sure that there is a valuable Sycamore story in the next couple of years. The SN8000 and SN10000 don’t strike me as important products to be spending their cash on.”

Sycamore was trading down 0.74 (18%) to 4.10 in after-market trading.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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betteroff 12/4/2012 | 7:42:06 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode I feel bad for those who believed and got burned, but the reality of what is transpiring for them is the good ole "what goes around comes around"....That management team deserves all this and more.
jkz 12/4/2012 | 7:42:03 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode Why do you say that?
spanishguy 12/4/2012 | 7:41:45 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode ... in the article cited, called "More layoffs coming", as explained by yng at the stock board


betteroff 12/4/2012 | 7:41:40 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode Sounds like you're a little defensive. Sycamore will continue to get hammered by those who found their pompous attitude and swagger a little overbearing. This industry will not tolerate inflated ego's for long. There will be more trash-talkin so you might as well get used to it.
rafaelg 12/4/2012 | 7:41:39 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode "Sycamore will continue to get hammered by those who found their pompous attitude and swagger a little overbearing." ---betteroff.

I couldn't agree more. As I was looking for a life raft from LU in OCT'00, I had an interview with Sycamore. I was interviewed by 5 diff managers, one after the other. I was asked very detailed questions about my knowledge and applications. As I was answering them, I felt this feeling of egotism from the managers. And they seemed not to communicate with each other very well (5 times the same questions?). When they asked for references, I gave 2. I was taken to a tour of the plant by yet another manager!
My feelings for this company were not to healthy so I turned their offer down.
Wouldn't you know that they had the audacity to call my references to come in for an interview!
I contacted the recruiter and adviced her of the scheming little snakes!!

They pissed me off!!!
spanishguy 12/4/2012 | 7:41:28 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode -+Defensive? Not really. I have not any particular feeling about Sycamore. It's just that I can't understand why LR puts incorrect numbers and keeps referencing such an article even after a reader proofs them wrong.


betteroff wrote:
Sounds like you're a little defensive. Sycamore will continue to get hammered by those who found their pompous attitude and swagger a little overbearing. This industry will not tolerate inflated ego's for long. There will be more trash-talkin so you might as well get used to it.
kli70 12/4/2012 | 7:41:28 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode I have a friend who work for Sycamore. She tell me the other day about the layoff. Many people are upset. She say managers there are distrusted for some time but especially now the way they handle this layoff. Rumors are goind around that some managers lie to employees about why they laid off. I don't think that company have much future with reputation like that. Peple just staying there because no place eles to go.

betteroff 12/4/2012 | 7:41:27 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode You're absolutely correct. It is not the fact that they lay people off, because it is the way of the economy today. The problem is how they handle the situation. The way they treated their once loyal people will be known by this entire industry and there will be no reputation damage control that will cover for their actions. "What goes around, comes around". Stay tuned.
yomama 12/4/2012 | 7:41:17 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode I had a phone interview with Sycamore back in July, at the end of the interview, the hiring manager told me he would contact HR to have them arrange a time for me to come in for an interview, 2 days went by, nothing, I decided to call HR, they informed me that they would pass on me for now. Nothing but liars, they say one thing and do another, looking back on it, I'm glad it worked out that way, too many ego's from Cascade over there...they just think because they are from Cascade,( good co and timing) that their shit don't stink, well you did'nt plan on the Telecom market bottoming out did you..Good Luck you'll need it Sycamore....what goes around comers around....
aprilfool1941 12/4/2012 | 7:41:06 PM
re: Sycamore Enters Crisis Mode Deployment of CienaGÇÖs CoreDirectors has already begun.... Poor :(16k... Early adopters... Yea right....


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