Apple guidance could be limited this afternoon

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple Computer, which releases results of its fiscal fourth quarter following the closing bell today, may be limited in how much forward-looking information it can provide to analysts and investors.



"If Apple doesn?t file its restated options-backdating-related quarterly financial statements with the SEC by the time it releases its earnings, it [could] wind up reporting an abbreviated version with no guidance," MarketWatch's Herb Greenberg wrote in a blog posting.



Greenberg makes reference to a report by Bob Renck of R.L. Renck & Co., which rates Apple a "Sell." According to the report, when companies are not current in their filings, they are "severely restricted" in the comments they can make about current or future results.



Renck said conversations with other companies that have been in a similar situation suggests that "while we might expect comments on sales and perhaps even gross margins, it is difficult to imagine Apple management being in a position to comment on net income or comparisons versus the prior year below the gross profit line."



"That?s all moot, of course," notes Greenberg, "if the financial statements are filed before or with the earnings release." Assuming Apple does file, he's anxious to see if the company will finally changed the way it discloses its segment operating results.



So far, Apple has chosen to report segment results pretty much the way it always has: by breaking out operating profits by the regions in which it operates, not products, for which it only gives sales.



That may have been fine when most of Apple's sales came from Macintosh computers, making a separate breakout for analytical purposes irrelevant, Renck recently told clients. He notes that computer sales now trail sales of iPods, which as of the first six months of Apple's fiscal year accounted for 46 percent of total revenue.



According to the analyst, accounting standards require that segments generating more than 10 percent of a company's revenue be broken out by several metrics, including sales, profit and assets. The iPod first passed that threshold in early 2004, he noted.



A statement from the SEC indicates that segment information should be broken out unless "separate reporting of segment information will not add significantly to an investor's understanding of an enterprise [because] its operating segments have characteristics so similar that they can be expected to have essentially the same future prospects."



Renck went on to say he believes Apple should do a separate breakout for computers, iPods, music-related products, peripherals and software and service. "Their business has changed and they should be doing it differently," he said. "Transparency is what everyone wants, and they don't want to be transparent."



Apple declined to explain why it doesn't provide more financial information on different business segments, saying it doesn't comment on analyst reports.



However, Greenberg in his postings recalled a recent Apple earnings conference call, where several analysts specifically asked about the iPod's gross margin; Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer responded to one, saying, "... Our competitors would just love to know what our specific gross margins are ... and we just don't want to help them."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Is there a link to a would-be live webcast?
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crees!


    Is there a link to a would-be live webcast?



    http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq406/
  • Reply 3 of 12
    I assume there will be a live link at the time of the netcast?



    Anyway... I agree with Apple's position, they don't need to "help" the competition by disclosing breakout numbers. Analysts hate it, but it's still working so far. As far as the comment, "Transparency is what everyone wants, and they don't want to be transparent"... that's just laughable. Transparency in the way they handle things like executive or board member compensation is one thing, but transparency in providing competitive information is just stupid.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    It is smart that they don't break-out their sales per system. The media would tear them apart if they did by picking on a particular model and calling it a failure. When the opposite may be true.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Not conforming to accounting standards is a bad thing. Especially since the options scandal, why should investors blindly believe everything Apple says?



    There was a separate breakout for computers from 1997 to 2005.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gyroscope


    Not conforming to accounting standards is a bad thing. Especially since the options scandal, why should investors blindly believe everything Apple says?



    I think they did a better job at handling this than you suggest. They did bring this to light themselves rather than have some regulatory or investigative body drag it out of them.



    Quote:

    There was a separate breakout for computers from 1997 to 2005.



    The only breakout I remember for computers was by broad categories, notebooks, desktops and servers. They weren't broken down to specific models.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    mchumanmchuman Posts: 154member
    If this is the worst Herb Greenberg can think up, I think we are in for some good times ahead. 8)
  • Reply 8 of 12
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gyroscope


    Not conforming to accounting standards is a bad thing. Especially since the options scandal, why should investors blindly believe everything Apple says?



    They shouldn't, but if they don't like it, they don't have to invest either. 8)
  • Reply 9 of 12
    screedscreed Posts: 1,077member
    Press release out. $0.62 for the quarter, $0.70-0.73 for the next!
  • Reply 10 of 12
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich


    I assume there will be a live link at the time of the netcast?



    http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2006...t_results.html
  • Reply 11 of 12
    As of 1:50 PM (PST) they've started streaming audio... netcast to follow.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    Interesting... 2:03 PM (PST) and no audio...



    Here http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/earningsq406/ it says 2 PM start.



    Anyone getting anything?... OK, it's working. Had to quit and reclick on the Apple link.
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