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ORANGE COUNTY EARNINGS

As Expected, AST Loses $31.6 Million in Quarter

August 04, 1995|GREG JOHNSON

IRVINE — As anticipated, AST Research Inc. reported a $31.6-million net loss, or 98 cents per share, during the fourth quarter ended July 1. The loss boosted the Irvine-based computer manufacturer's yearly loss to $99.3 million, or $3.07 per share.

AST signaled in late July that it would report a quarterly loss of at least $30 million and an annual loss of about $100 million. A year ago, AST reported an $8.1-million quarterly net loss, or 25 cents per share, and $31.3 million in net income, or 95 cents per share, for the year.

The fiscal year ended July 1 generated "disappointing results," said AST Chairman and Chief Executive Safi Qureshey. "Manufacturing, new product development and component constraints were key issues addressed during the first three quarters, with lower-than-expected domestic demand and industry pricing pressures experienced during the fourth quarter."

Qureshey said that AST's international sales remained strong, and that the company's planned strategic alliance with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. "will help position the company for the future."

AST reported that fourth-quarter revenue rose to $662 million from $584 million. Yearly revenue totaled $2.5 billion, up slightly from $2.4 billion a year ago. International sales rose by 31% to $1.1 billion, but North American revenue fell by 11% to $1.4 billion. AST linked the revenue dip to a recent decision to de-emphasize sales in the original equipment manufacturer channel.

In recent months, AST received approval for its alliance with Samsung from AST shareholders and the Korean government. Under the agreement, Samsung will invest $378 million and receive a 40% ownership stake in AST. The two companies plan to jointly develop products, integrate their component supply systems and cross-license patents.

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