Investors reward Diebold for course corrections

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It often takes an underlying development, such as a major executive change or the launch of a new product or partnership to excite investors, but Diebold Nixdorf stock prices jumped Wednesday in the wake of a solid, but not outstanding, fourth quarter earnings report.

As much as anything, investors appear to like the thought that the bank technology provider plans to cut expenses while providing a bullish 2019 outlook for revenue in the $4.4 billion to $4.5 billion range.

Diebold and its competitors in the ATM field have essentially been working the past year or more to come up with the formula that can right the ship for sailing with payments companies making waves in a new digital landscape.

For the fourth quarter of 2018, revenue of $1.29 billion did slightly surpass Wall Street expectations, triggering a 39 percent uptick in Diebold shares at $7.25 when the market opened.

The activity comes in the wake of the company obtaining $650 million in financing last August to deliver some stability after reporting two straight quarters of losses in an ATM industry that has been losing steam in the digital payments age.

At that time, Canton, Ohio-based Diebold said it would use the funds to buy remaining shares of its German units, as well as to repay debt and deliver some operational improvements. Part of that process included a push to further develop its "DN Now" plan to save millions of dollars by streamlining processes and introducing new products and cloud-based services.

In a move that lowered stock prices dramatically late in 2018, chief financial officer Chris Chapman left the company voluntary in what appeared akin to a key executive abandoning ship.

It left investors trying to gauge what the executive shuffling would mean for a company trying to move from its ATM roots to more of a provider of security and data management platforms.

Jeffrey Rutherford, who was named interim CFO when Chapman left, was officially given that position, while new CEO and president Gerrard Schmid, hired early in 2018, was still getting his management style and company directives in place.

Toss in the fact that unsubstantiated rumors of a Diebold sale were circulating at the same time, and it is likely investors now simply feel Diebold has conveyed a clearer vision of its future.

Part of that progress came in the form of Diebold revealing that it was lifting its three-year savings target of $250 million to $400 million, based on "significant cost reductions" and an improved net working capital line.

The momentum was in place for Diebold, which had seen its stock double in the past 90 days and soar 185 percent since the beginning of 2019, according to AlphaStreet.

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ATMs Fintech Earnings Diebold Nixdorf