Celestica loss balloons on big goodwill writedown

Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:28pm EST
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - Contract electronics maker Celestica Inc posted a big quarterly loss on Wednesday as it wrote off all of its remaining goodwill and warned it expects the markets for its products to stay shaky throughout the year.

Chief Executive Craig Muhlhauser told analysts in a conference call that Celestica's customers are facing declining demand as the state of the economy remains uncertain,

"Today, customer supply chains and the majority of our segments are experiencing demand reductions and volatility, with limited visibility," he said.

"In our outlook for the coming quarter, we have seen weakness across all market segments beyond normal seasonality, with the consumer segment showing the largest decline."

Celestica has been pursuing new consumer electronics business to help make up for slumping demand for the telecommunications and information-technology products it makes.

The company, whose customers have included computer giants IBM and Hewlett-Packard, said it lost $822.2 million, or $3.58 a share, in the three months ended December 31. That was worse than the loss of $11.7 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier.

The goodwill writeoff resulted in a $850.5 million noncash charge, the company said.

Closely watched adjusted earnings were 26 cents a share, up from 16 cents a share a year earlier, due in part to a lower adjusted tax rate, the company said.   Continued...