There are 3 factories of which I'm aware. Are they connected to a division or a business or a sales force or something? Or does headquarters just parcel out work to them according to what machines or time they have available at the moment? I know--you can't answer all these questions--but can Reece? Yes, he probably can, but can anybody in the various factories? I'm probably all wet and it makes sense. Just me can't see the formula.
I am struck again at how disorganized Daktronics feels. In the past I've suggested it was my own inattention which might make it seem that way. But today reading through the press release, I note the following:
Live Event Business is mentioned sort of like what I'd usually call a division. That seems to be defined by end market or by the sales people who would sell there.
Then we have the Commercial Business. That's another thing like a division. But certainly Live Events are also run as businesses. Confusing to me.
I could go through the other "Businesses/divisions" for similar contradictions, but then I note there is a part of Commercial which is a "Spectacular Niche". I know what they mean, but, how the heck does anybody get any work done in a place which speaks so casually and mostly in terms of end markets.
Finally, and I'm particularly interested in this, they sold the "Rigging Division". I've not listened to the conference call and would undoubtedly get more insight there, but: That was a division. Sounds more to me like a staff function which might service all the divisions with cranes and scaffolding and such specializing in how to physically mount various pieces of LED structures.
I really have always felt this sort of confusion like they have no idea about how to organize effectively at Daktronics. Maybe they just don't talk my language. I doubt it. My suspicion is that the engineering arm is dominant and there is no one in a powerful position to organize the company.
Am I wrong? Inaccurate? Does their organization chart make sense to you? Best, L.
I believe I heard them say that they intended to find oil, sell the property they found it on, and then go find some more. Is that a close approximation to what I heard?
If so, isn't that an awfully strange strategy for a stable, mature company? I would expect that of a wildcatter and gambler addicted to thrills, but not MDU or even N. Dakota sane person.
I don't expect much of an answer since this board has been destroyed by the complainers and critical people. It barely gets any decent posts in a week now and that is more like most boards across Yahoo. We may be more in compliance with the law but I can't help but think Yahoo would prefer a board such as we had with lots of interest and participation.
Today the price is down significantly again. We have seen this pattern many times before and I think it is due to RAVN being a small holding for many investors, and most are not paying any attention to it. Nothing like Deere which is in the news whatever it does. I am debating whether to leave my order at $26.xx but think I probably will. It's not that I think that is apt to be the lowest price at which I will have the opportunity to buy, but I have often kicked myself when I backed out of well planned actions made long ago for suddenly changed circumstances. I am over my budget right now having made a number of purchases over the last month, but this one more only puts me into the planned budget for October--not that far away.
I am underwater on most of my recent purchases also since they were primarily made around $30. I am less sanguine about Raven's long term growth than I used to be however.
I've now listened and find Dan to be better at thinking on his feet in the calls. His comments were quite helpful and I am beginning to think I understand him better. I was a little disappointed in his statement that op profits from AT would be declining from 2/3 of total to 55% or some such. It is pretty recent that they got as high as 2/3 of the total (after kicking out electronic systems and very poor results at Aerostar). But other than that I had no objections. I do find the weakness at AT to be a bit disconcerting since that was the original "strategic initiative" place. But maybe "ag markets weak" is a legitimate reason more than an excuse.
A topic which stood out for me was that Vista Research revenue growth expected to grow a minimum of 20% annually. And the description of Deere projects plus that most new ones are in the area of adapting auto trak to other non Deere designs seemed good knowledge. They first designed a planter control and then an anhydrous toolbar and I guess they build and sell them through Deere and on to Deere distributors.
I've never been a fan of the move away from contract manufacturing but it sounds to me like that planned move is going faster than I would have expected--currently 94% of income is from strategic initiatives vs contract manufacturing apparently vs 86% last year. They are losing contracts fast. Or maybe telling customers that they no longer wish to manufacture their boards and stuff as contracts expire. I wonder what is happening at the various plants outside of Sioux Falls and also across the parking lot from the downtown site. There is a certain amount of electronics manufacturing Raven needs to do for it's own products, but I can't imagine that would fill St Louis or downtown. Madison and Huron are sewing plants and will probably continue to be used for balloons? I'm not so sure about that as they were primarily for parachute harnesses, parachutes? and protective wear on government contracts.
I have recommended both of the comments on this thread as thoughtful and worthwhile observations. I am more familiar with greendog as he has followed RAVN for a number of years and commented appropriately now and then. I have not yet predicted a price of $20 though I think it possible. I definitely think $25 is likely in the next quarter and hope cannot spring eternal forever. The transformation to a creative technology company from an excellent manufacturing company has not been accomplished yet. In fact the current results are being carried by Engineered Films which is largely good management and manufacturing. Both Aerostar/electronics systems and Applied Technology are weak at this point. And our corporate expense and depreciation/amortization are growing alarmingly. They won't be coming down either so there's a lot more overhead to absorb.
I remain in "show me" mode. Wish I'd gotten on the conference call and asked what has become of the plants in Huron, Madison, and St Louis.
More patience will be required if one chooses to stay with an investment in RAVN and I'm getting old.
On further thought, I'll bet the problem with your idea is that the gas cannot be compressed to a significant extent in a lighter than air balloon. Thus the efficiency of moving gas by that means would be reduced significantly. But I would still have expected a thoughtful response from RAVN in past years.
I finally found your note on IV, Steve. Did you get a thoughtful response from Raven? I thought it was an interesting idea.
As we've seen coming into other recent earnings reports, the price of RAVN common is advancing somewhat. There seems to be a collective memory of many quarters when EPS reports exceeded our expectations. The fact is that they have been less than I've expected for 8 quarters in a row and I really don't know where the hope for a blowout comes from any more. Of course it is not a large jump in price entering the report next week, and it does not come on top of a very high base price either. Maybe it's just a reflection of the overall positive market mood the last few days. I really have no guess on what numbers will be reported. I've known how much cash was being spent on upgrading facilities for a long time and the company predicted that it would now be done with those expenses and emphasizing profitability beginning this quarter, so the EPS should be at least $0.30 IMO. I see Value Line guesses $.27 which would be up from $.23 last year in this quarter but down from the previous 2 years.
I've told you that I stopped hoping for blowout numbers in August of last year. Now I feel we are going to see just how capable Dan is of getting his ship focused on profits as he has suggested they would be. Either that or perhaps I'll get my current order for shares at $26.10 to fill. Good luck, all.
I joined Investor village several years ago and pay nothing. As I understood it the free version included advertising but I don't see any, so maybe that one good will contribution I made qualified me as a premium member or something. I've not really paid any attention to whatever legalese they've included, but it really does feel like a community formed by a guy named Blue in Louisiana or Arkansas or someplace south of me.
Anyway, I'm going to move on to a new topic here on Yahoo as the only way I even know you have responded to me is that I get an e*mail saying so. Pretty tenuous and sooner or later you'd be left with no answer and assuming I was tired of you or something--which I'm not. I can write in shorter chunks for Yahoo's benefit if necessary. Best, Lance
I am 71 years old. Very interested in new technologies but with little time to ride out the inevitable difficulties such endeavors suffer. My largest stock market gains in the past have come from new innovations and bets on outstanding managers. Today I have developed heuristics which work for me without those sorts of gambles.
My experience has been that it is very easy for imaginative innovators to intrigue masses of people with exciting new possibilities for products for which the need is obvious. However, nearly always the amount of work and time and organization necessary to actually make money on them overwhelms most efforts. A few people seem to have the right dna (Elon Musk comes to mind) and assets to actually persevere to profits.
Of necessity I must stay away from such long term investments.
Yes, please sign up for Investor Village and join me on the RAVN board there getting used to their methodologies. I think you will find the experience rewarding. Best, L.
This board is becoming complex with interesting posts difficult to find. Yahoo just has not developed a system which works well with my style of interraction. A more user friendly board is at Investor Village and I would love to engage with you on the Raven board there if you choose to sign up. I get it free though I did contribute a small amount of money when the owner needed new equipment.
I would like to tell you that I find your thinking and information very exciting and interesting. The difficulties of early immigrants and talk about dividing the orchards are both topics of great interest to me.
I have very little specific information about alternative energy--or maybe I don't really know what kind you are talking about.
How interesting. I remember the apple orchards which showed up in Argentina about the same latitudes. Also in Chiuaua, Mexico. The Mexican orchards had huge nets which could be rolled out over the trees--for birds or hail? Film both top and bottom I should think.
As to short traders, I don't give that any thought. They are just like me guessing as to the real value of the company and how the average investor will value them. After the recent earnings calls by RAVN, I really suspect under $30 to be a fair price for the company and would not be surprised by $25, even in moderately bullish years. However, one or two really positive earnings reports could easily cause the price to spike up over $40 again. Lot's of specialized agricultural equipment, isn't there. It always amazed me how many little welding companies there are across the small towns of midwest America. One or more sons of the farmer would rather build their bright idea than inherit the farm--or perhaps a different part of the family got the farm.
It sounds like you are familiar with Raven's specialized films. I've not hear a lot about orchards, but irrigation conservation with row crops like strawberries have been mentioned. I'm sure there is a lot of material available on the website which was much improved the last time I looked in there. I don't recognize the name A. Carrero.
I bought some more at $29 the other day and have an order in over $26. At the last earnings report, I said that $25 should be possible even without a major market wide correction. It has been rare that I could buy Raven so far below it's 500 day moving average--but their reports have been pretty scary lately. Now approaching 7% of my portfolio in RAVN as the price goes down.
good luck, Jorge. And in a more positive light than I've spoken recently, it could be said that Dan is building for the long term good of Raven. The facilities are certainly much nicer and probably more productive. I would like very much to begin congratulating our CEO on wise investments and good long term strategic thinking.
Not convince of that yet, however.
Today I reviewed my SPAN purchases since beginning in May, 2011 at $14.40 (excluding a few cents in commissions). Another tranch in Sept 2011 at $13.50 and then a couple at $17 to $18 in mid 2012. Including the special $1 dividend in 2012 my return has been around 16% on average. That is pretty good for me as I generally earn about 1% a month on my total invested $ over many years. However, when I add in the fact that I'm maintaining over 20% cash right now with virtually no return, the SPAN return gets a little close to marginal.
I don't think I'm going to be very happy with my purchase at nearly $20 the other day. If the bed frame factory becomes a valuable asset I just might get an equivalent return on this new investment, but I can't imagine the factory in Greenville providing a good return on it's own. I should have been more patient probably.
Yes. If they failed to do that, I'd regard it as a clear sign of shaky confidence by the board. Well, we already have that sign, but it would be clear confirmation of their lack of confidence.
after about 2 and a half years above it. I picked up a few more shares yesterday. Would have liked a lower price but SPAN has remained awfully resilient after 3 year over year declined earnings reports. It is mostly that large retail order which they had contracts for over 2 years that made the difference and I'm sure some overseas company underbid them. I am glad SPAN did not chase the business. And the factory I saw was strained at the seams to produce as much as that contract required.
The other concern I have is the bed frame manufacturing and selling company in Canada. I certainly hoped to see a much greater sales lever for them, but it is always difficult to make buys which are accretive to the purchaser's earnings and I don't think SPAN had a lot of experience with integrating other companies, especially not foreign ones.
So I'm still hopeful for breakthrough quarters and also that the earnings which continue to accumulate will be distributed in a special dividend sooner or later. But it may have to be spent on the new division for a while.
Hope to visit again this winter now that my holdings are a bit larger. Best, L.