ZURICH, April 25 Logitech International's
videoconferencing arm LifeSize will intensify its sales
focus on small and medium-sized companies after surviving a
strategic review and could produce positive core earnings this
year, its parent said.
Bracken Darrell, who took the helm as chief executive of
Switzerland and California-based Logitech at the start of the
year, said in January that it would write down LifeSize's value
by more than half and would decide within 90 days whether to
sell or close the business it bought in 2009 for $405 million.
"We made the decision after a pretty hard look at the
market," Darrell said on Thursday. "We're going to reduce
overall overheads and take it back to the small, competitive,
hungry business it was when we bought it."
The videoconferencing market is dominated by Cisco
and Polycom, with China's Huawei and ZTE
also making inroads.
Logitech also announced a 12 percent year-on-year drop in
sales to $469.1 million in its fourth quarter, to March 31,
swinging to a net loss of $36 million from a $28 million profit
a year earlier.
The company, which also makes speakers, webcams and
keyboards, has been hit by the soft euro, a weak global economy
and a shift in the computer industry - led by Apple's
iPhone - that means systems rely less on the peripheral
components Logitech produces.
"In the EMEA region, a lot of the retailers took big
inventory reductions, especially in western Europe, which is no
surprise, but in the rest of the world we grew several of our
businesses," Darrell said after the results announcement.
"I didn't expect that so early, so it's a nice surprise."
The company forecast revenue of $2 billion in the year to
April 2014, against sales of $2.1 billion in this financial
Logitech will refocus on the computer gaming market after
pulling back from that business three or four years ago.
"We believe we can be very successful. We are bringing more
science into the segment, as gaming is all about speed,
accuracy, precision," Darrell said.
He also expects strong growth in the unified communications
segment, where the company is working with Microsoft and Cisco
on videoconferencing and voice-over-internet services that allow
companies to slash communications costs.
"This is a revolution that will happen in all enterprises
over time," he said.