Diebold leaders conveyed a message of contrition to investors during the ATM manufacturer’s fourth quarter 2012 earnings call, acknowledging that change is needed and promising further organizational changes and structural cost reductions to improve performance.
“To be frank, the 2012 results and the present outlook for 2013 are disappointing and we need to improve…Diebold is far from being a broken company, but it is an underperforming company,” said Executive Chairman Henry Wallace, who assumed general oversight of Diebold following the Jan. 24 ousting of CEO Thomas Swidarski and subsequent departure of Charles Ducey, Jr., who had served as executive vice president of North American operations.
Some analysts have pointed to a slowdown in ATM sales as a recent source of Diebold’s financial struggles. Following changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act, banks were given until March 2012 to make their ATMs accessible to blind consumers. The requirement pulled demand for new ATMs forward, particularly among regional and community banks, and Diebold did not adjust its strategy to compensate for the slowdown in sales that followed the buying spree.
“We will create a new data-driven business operating model across Diebold's entire operation around the globe, with execution, accountability and, most importantly, a culture of discipline—a new culture where delivering on our commitments is the foundation for everything we do,” George Mayes Jr., who was promoted to chief operating officer at the time of Swidarski’s departure, said during the Feb. 12 conference call.
An outside firm is assisting the North Canton, Ohio-based company’s search for a new CEO. Wallace said Diebold’s board feels “a sense of urgency,” to make the hire, but added that there is no set time frame for the process.
In the meantime, Mayes is overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company. Following Ducey’s departure, Mychal Kempt, former vice president of North American sales and service operations, was named vice president of North American operations.
Wallace noted that the company is not providing a retention program to incentivize key managers to stay onboard.
“[P]aying people to stay when their mindset is to go because they are unhappy with the company isn't a good strategy,” Wallace said. “So our aim is clearly to get this business moving upwards and onwards, [making it] a place where people get up in the morning and want to come and work.”
Diebold reported a net loss of $10.6 million in 4Q12 off total revenue of $840.1 million, compared to net income of $79.8 million off revenue of $850 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. The 4Q12 results were impacted by $27.5 million in nonroutine expenses related to early buyout payments for pension participants and Diebold’s ongoing Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation, as well as $7.6 million in restructuring charges.
For the full-year 2012, Diebold posted net income of $78.5 million off revenue of nearly $3 billion, compared to net income of $144.8 million off revenue of $2.8 billion in 2011. Last week, Diebold’s board authorized a first-quarter cash dividend of $0.2875 per share of common stock.
Diebold stock was trading $29.85 per share in midday activity today, slightly off from the day’s opening price of $29.93 per share and below the $32.66 per share closing price the day before Swidarski’s resignation was announced.
In a research note published following the earnings call, analysts at financial services firm Wedbush maintained its neutral recommendation of the stock, citing their opinion that Diebold’s regional bank business will stabilize, albeit below activity levels seen in the ADA-related spike.
“We believe Diebold will benefit once growth returns to the ATM market, especially as it builds on that growth with managed services revenue and electronic security,” the analysts wrote.