This to me is the other exciting part of Raven (along with Aerostar). And this one is big enough to make a difference.
I got back from my bike ride and picking up debris exercise at 10PM, tried to access the conference call via Raven's web site and failed. But the URL here on the board worked like a champ again and I fell asleep listening to it for the third time.
Let me start out by telling you that the number I put in for sales in Q4 was $8.5mm. That is lower than each of the previous 8 quarters (none of which include scientific balloons by the way) except Q207 at $8.4mm. I believe there were some distortions between quarters 1 and 2 that time and Q107 sales were $16.3. Probably we saw some of the problem with those hydraulic tractor controls showing up then and Q3 only had sales of $10.3mm also. Q2 showed a tiny $.8mm op income while just slightly higher sales in Q206 had op income of $1.4mm. And that was the second lowest in all 8 quarters for which I have the numbers laid out.
I guessed $8.5 partly because Q406 was only 10.2mm sales and op income of $2.7mm and as far as I recall that was not an unusual quarter. One of the analysts asked in this CC when sales tended to show up and whether there was usually tax related buying. That did not elicit a positive response, but Rykus did agree (non emphatically) that sales tending to be more robust just before planting season. So I guess that would be Q1. Indeed, the two Q1's I show had sales of $16.1mm and $16.3mm and were the largest quarters for sales as well as very outsized margins as well. op income was $5.9mm and $5.1mm for those two quarters--much larger than any other quarters in my history.
So I see the weakness in ag markets beginning in Q307 and the problem with steering controls plus a bit of weak ag market in Q2. Since that market is not apparently getting any better, and since neither the new model boom leveler or mechanical steering system are really ready in Q4, sales are going to be very weak. And margins too I've put at $1.6mm. That's higher than the two lowest quarters (2nd) but lower than all others.
I suppose we might see a few of the new steering controls sold in this quarter and than might provide a bit of upside--though I think Moquist specifically said neither would be ready until Q1.
Next let's look at the corp, taxes and total for Q4. Maybe I'll speculate a bit about Q1-08 also. And then maybe I can go back to bed and get some sleep before the markets open.
May 02, 2007 03:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Raven Introduces New Automatic Boom Shutoff System
Smart Multimedia Gallery
The new Raven SmartBoom system (Photo: Raven Industries) SIOUX FALLS, S.D.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Raven Industries announces the release of the SmartBoom automatic boom control system. The SmartBoom system offers automatic boom valve section control, which turns boom sections on or off, reducing costly spraying errors such as skips and overlaps. The SmartBoom provides a true �plug and play� compliment to the Raven SCS family of rate controllers.
The SmartBoom system is similar to the existing AccuBoom system, but it is a completely self-contained system, eliminating the need to use an Envizio Plus or Viper to control the system. Using �spray� or �no spray zone� areas, the SmartBoom controller automatically turns the boom section off if the boom section is in a previously applied area, eliminating overlaps. It also eliminates skips by turning boom sections back on after leaving a previously applied area.
The SmartBoom system can control up to seven boom sections at a time and is compatible with the Raven SCS series controllers (SCS 440, 450, 460, and 660). In addition, the SmartBoom system will work with any GPS receiver that has a minimum update rate of 4 Hz.
According to Shane Swedlund, Technical Service Manager for Raven Flow Controls, �The SmartBoom is a simple, cost-effective boom section control option for Raven SCS 400 and SCS 600 series users. The SmartBoom easily tees into standard Raven harnesses, allowing for a quick and clean install.�
The SmartBoom system will be available in the Spring of 2007 for $1995 from authorized Raven distributors and dealers. For a distributor directory, visit the Raven Precision Solutions Web site at http://www.ravenprecision.com.
About Raven Industries
Celebrating over 50 years of business innovation, Raven Industries was founded in Sioux Falls, SD in 1956, as a manufacturer of high-altitude research balloons for NASA and the American space program. In 1978, Raven Industries� Flow Controls Division introduced the first speed compensated control system, the SCS 400, which was quickly followed by the SCS 440 that set the industry standard for fertilizer and chemical application controllers. Since that time, Raven Industries has developed and integrated a wide range of solutions for the agricultural industry. Raven has evolved from a single product line into a successful, diversified manufacturer publicly traded on NASDAQ (RAVN). From basic flow control components to the Viper, SmarTrax and Envizio Plus, Raven remains a leader in precision and flow control products for today�s agricultural market.
Raven Industries - Flow Controls Division
Release Source: Trimble
Trimble Introduces New AgGPS 442 GNSS Receiver With GLONASS and GPS L2C Satellite Signal Capabilities for Agriculture Applications
Monday February 12, 6:30 am ET
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Trimble (Nasdaq: TRMB - News) introduced today a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver for agricultural users -- the AgGPS� 442 GNSS receiver. The new receiver can track GLONASS and next-generation Global Positioning System (GPS) L2C satellite signals. With more satellite signals to access, the AgGPS 442 GNSS receiver improves the farmer's ability to work in tough GPS environments with faster initialization times, and provides for increased productivity and reduced downtime in the field.
The AgGPS 442 GNSS receiver will be showcased at the World Ag Exposition in Tulare, California.
The new GLONASS and GPS L2C processing capability from Trimble improves signal availability for high accuracy real-time kinematic (RTK) agricultural applications that rely heavily on "Z," or vertical axis satellite positioning data. It also aids RTK applications in difficult satellite scenarios such as geographic areas with limited periods of GPS signal availability. Agricultural applications that can benefit from the combined satellite signal capability include land leveling, automated guidance, and data collection for topographic mapping.
"Trimble is committed to the development of easy-to-use positioning solutions for agriculture applications," said Erik Arvesen, general manager of Trimble's Agriculture Division, "The new receiver further simplifies positioning by taking advantage of the GLONASS and next-generation GPS L2C signals to provide more reliable and robust positioning in a broad range of environments."
The Trimble AgGPS 442 is an integrated GNSS receiver and radio that support GLONASS, GPS L1/L2, RTK GPS and next-generation GPS L2C signals. The new receiver simply connects to the Trimble AgGPS Zephyr(TM) II antenna mounted on the roof of the agricultural vehicle or implement to provide position data to: the AgGPS FieldManager(TM) Display for topographic mapping, the AgGPS FieldLevel System and AgGPS 170 Field Computer for land leveling, and the AgGPS Autopilot(TM) System for automated guidance.
The AgGPS 442 GNSS receiver is available now from Trimble resellers. For more information, including the location of your nearest Trimble reseller, call 1-800-865-7438 or visit www.trimble.com .
About GNSS, GLONASS and GPS L2C
GNSS refers collectively to the worldwide positioning, navigation, and timing determination capabilities available from one or more satellite constellations. These constellations include but are not limited to the U.S. NAVSTAR GPS, Russian Federation's GLONASS, European Union's Galileo and complementary regional augmentation systems such as the U.S. WAAS and European EGNOS.
GLONASS is a satellite navigation system under modernization by Russia that provides free positioning; generally between one and four GLONASS satellites are in view in addition to GPS satellites. GPS refers to the U.S. NAVSTAR GPS. In late 2006, the U.S. added the second in a series of next-generation GPS satellites to the NAVSTAR constellation. These new satellites include an additional modernized civilian GPS signal, L2C, for more robust signal tracking. GNSS is an acronym used to designate receivers that support signals from multiple sources such as GPS, GLONASS, GPS Modernization (L2C) and RTK.
I went to the Trimble website and then clicked through to several of their dealers. It was interesting that some of the dealers were mostly displaying Raven equipment with just a few Trimble items, while others were the opposite with almost all Trimble equipment and just a few Raven items. Does anyone know off the top of their head how the ag business sales for Raven compares to Trimble?
Another thing I was wondering about was the manufacture of all the parts and pieces that it takes for a precision ag control product. Does either Trimble or Raven actually manufacture all or most of the parts, or do they purchase from other manufacturers? It seems that it would take considerable expertise to create one of these systems from scratch.
Also, it seems that the graphic displays from Trimble are a little fancier than Raven, but that can work against you sometimes so I'm not sure whether that is a plus or minus.
Everyone probably saw this article about ship navigation since it was on Yahoo's new links for RAVN, but it was interesting if you missed it. Hopefully it belongs under flow controls.
contains good discussion of the business and sounds like a direct challenge to Raven's offerings. Best, L.
Press Release Source: Trimble
Trimble Introduces New Lightbar Guidance System with Large Color Display and Multiple Accuracy Options for Agriculture
Tuesday January 23, 6:31 am ET
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Trimble (Nasdaq: TRMB - News) today introduced a new high-performance version of its popular AgGPS� EZ-Guide� Plus lightbar guidance system -- the EZ-Guide 500 system. The AgGPS EZ-Guide 500 features a large, easy to read color LCD display, data logging functions and multiple accuracy options. Lightbar systems provide GPS- based guidance for vehicle operators to steer tractors, sprayers, fertilizer applicators, air seeders and large tillage tools that require consistent pass- to-pass accuracy to help save fuel, increase efficiency and reduce input costs for agricultural operations.
The new EZ-Guide 500 features a large 7-inch LCD display, which is three times larger than Trimble's field-proven AgGPS EZ-Guide Plus or any other available agriculture lightbar display. The system has a built-in lightbar with a guidance LED array that is highly visible even in direct sun. The EZ- Guide 500 also offers advanced but easy-to-use guidance patterns, as well as real-time "where-applied" coverage mapping. The plan and perspective views allow users to see on screen, in color and real-time, the area they have covered in the field. With the data logging function, users can record the day's work and transfer it to a PC via a USB flash drive for creating printed maps and reports.
With its high precision dual-frequency L1/L2 Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, the new EZ-Guide 500 system offers users a variety of accuracy options without purchasing an external GPS receiver. Users can choose: 6-8 inch pass-to-pass accuracy using free Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) signals; 3-5 inch accuracy with OmniSTAR XP/HP subscription service; or 1-inch year-to-year repeatability using RTK corrections, based on crop and operation needs.
"The introduction of the EZ-Guide 500 is a significant milestone in bringing cost effective solutions to the farmer. Today's lightbar guidance users are increasingly demanding higher accuracy but moving to the next level is often cost prohibitive," said Erik Arvesen, general manager of Trimble's Agricultural Division. "This is because most lightbar products don't have the ability to be upgraded to higher accuracies without adding an external and more expensive GPS receiver. A high performance package build around the new EZ-Guide 500 is an economical solution, costing considerably less than comparable solutions available today from any manufacturer."
The new EZ-Guide 500 system is designed to provide GPS positioning and graphic display for use with Trimble's assisted steering, automated guidance and spray rate control solutions:
* The AgGPS EZ-Steer� assisted steering system can be connected to the
EZ-Guide 500 system in approximately 30 minutes and can be used on
hundreds of vehicle models.
* The EZ-Guide 500 can also drive the Trimble AgGPS Autopilot� automated
steering system, which offers multiple accuracy options, including +/-1
inch repeatable accuracy.
With the addition of the AgGPS EZ-Guide 500, Trimble now offers a complete "good-better-best" range of guidance displays. These include the entry-level AgGPS EZ-Guide Plus, mid-range AgGPS EZ-Guide 500 and high-functioning AgGPS FieldManager(TM) display.
The EZ-Guide 500 system is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2007 from Trimble resellers. For more information, including the location of nearest Trimble reseller, call 1-800-865-7438 or visit www.trimble.com.
Trimble applies technology to make field and mobile workers in businesses and government significantly more productive. Solutions are focused on applications requiring position or location-including surveying, construction, agriculture, fleet and asset management, public safety and mapping. In addition to utilizing positioning technologies, such as GPS, lasers and optics, Trimble solutions typically include significant software content specific to the needs of the user. Wireless technologies are utilized to deliver the solution to the user and to ensure a tight coupling of the field and the back office. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Trimble has a worldwide presence with more than 2,600 employees in over 18 countries.
For more information Trimble's Web site at www.trimble.com.
I do tend to become a little talkative, don't I? No medications or alcohol. Ever. Glad Algo found something of interest in there. I got my masters in 1971 and paid for all my own college work. So I was working most of the time also. Best, L.
Skip are you on some pain medicine? You need to take another bike ride. While you were exploring the forests of South America I was working my rear off in the 60's on I- 94 and in the 70's I-29 building all those interstate bridges putting myself through school. My dad did go as far as Miles City and Glendive to the west building those bridges you so much enjoy today. I have been to the quarter horse races at the Glendive fair. That last email was too much information Skip. Although I might be interested in hearing more on your feedback on mining companies in South America.
You might want to find and read that article on the Amazon, you would find it very interesting. As an educator in Science, I don't want to see the rain forests cut down. It is having an effect on our environment. The amount of clear cutting just amazed me.
Wow. I had been assuming Raven's distributor would be in the S part of Brasil where large farms and a more European influence can be felt. Cuiaba, Mata Grosso is nothing like that from my memory. I actually came across the continent not too far south of that city (and it was the furthest north route I'd found other than river boats on the Amazon from southeastern Columbia which I tried to do but failed due to no place to change travellors checks plus river miles were very expensive). This was in 1973 so ancient history. There were almost no roads after Bolivia which I rode busses across. I took a narrow gauge railroad from Corumba on the Bolivian border into Sao Paulo on the east coast. I saw almost nothing in the several days of riding that train. Water everywhere with tracks on a crushed gravel raised roadbed. A few shacks had been build on mounds of dirt and had boats pulled up. It would have been 300 miles to the NE on the same river which passed through Corumba' with no roads showing on my old atlas to reach the distributor for Raven if I have the right city. I saw one wild animal despite an effort to watch for them and for snakes on the tracks--a deer knee high in water. Only deer I saw in a year in S. America by the way.
That was in about January I suppose of 74. Maybe they were flooded though it looked with the road bed build up like that as if it happened regularly. And I suppose that memory accentuated itself. I should go look up my letters which will tell me how long that water really lasted. Probably not as long as it now seems. Across Bolivia was very jungle like after coming down from Lake Titicaca and the mountains. Hot and damp. Took me three days to get on the train as I did not know the routine--tramps stood in line for pay waiting for a ticket so that I had to get to the station early in the morning and get far up in line so that they were stepping in behind me. As I recall I got there about 0500 the day I finally got my ticket.
I suppose the jungle has been cut down and turned into fields up there. And one flies in and out though there must be roads if one is growing a crop. I had the impression their major crop would now be sugar cane though there was a lot of talk about their large soybean capabilities back then.
I still suspect Raven is going to find the going quite hard in Brasil but I hope to be wrong. Slick's story of that fellow joining the board of AGCO sounds typical--need powerful government connections in order to get much done. It's good if Raven has a supporter who has been around the area for a while like AGCO. Brasil has been a land of the future for as long as I've been alive. My Mother and Father lived in Rio for 15 years or so up to the mid 80's, but my long trip was mostly unrelated. They were involved in a huge iron mining project which took at least 30 years to get going. Another fascinating (to me) story and huge investment. Best, L.
Agco does a lot of tractor business in Brazil and Argentina.
Though sales there have slowed significantly the last two years they recognize the signifcant agriculture growth potential in the area. In Oct. they added a guy from Brazil to their Board of Directors. See this page.
I think Raven has a strategic relationship with Agco for them to use their flow control products.
I just read a National Geographic article (Jan. 2007)about the farms in the Amazon where they are clear cutting and creating huge soybean farms. They are the leader for growing and exporting soybeans across the world. They will soon lead the U.S. in soybean production We are talking about farms - 100,000 acre farms. Did you know the Brazilian Amazon area alone is larger than then 2/3 of the U.S. Several Great Plains easily fits inside of it. Raven's GPS farm system came to mind when I was reading it. The amount of land they farm is huge and growing, very large farm equipment and operations, ideal for GPS. I thought Raven opened an office in Brazil not too long ago? I see a market for GPS.
SRDX - Skip[ - this stock has gone nowhere the past 5 years -look at 5 years chart- a few ups and downs and seems earnings growth has been flat. It looks like a solid company. I am interested in your comments from the shareholder meeting. I want to buy it on account of David Koch has an interest(everything he buys turns green- He is a billionaire.) and the mutual funds hold a high percentage of the shares. I was wondering if this stock is ready to take off and an entry point below 30 -support level- wouldn't be a bargin?