NO LOVE AT NIKON

TECHNOLOGY TAKES ITS TOLL AT NIKON

Am I Next? Nikon plant closing; decline in digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLR)

There is little or no doubt about the bloodbath at Kodak that occurred when consumers switched from film to digital cameras.

Unfortunately, we are starting to see consumers, with the exception of professional photographers and hardcore hobbyists, switch from the massive DSLRs to lightweight smartphone-based cameras or video-based camera systems. And, with the prospect of purchasing new lenses, consumers feel less constrained to attempt to salvage their lens collections and stay within the same brand framework.

So it should not come as a surprise that Nikon, one of the most reliable names in cameras (along with Leica, Canon, and Sony) is shutting down its Chinese operation and laying off all 2,200 employees.

In addition to consumer preferences, we also saw a majority of professional photographers switch to Canon cameras and lens systems. 

I have several Nikon cameras and lenses. My Nikon F4S film camera sits on a shelve, worth less than $100 as compared with its original $1,600 price. Ditto, my D300 DSLR. I have a collection of smaller Nikon cameras but they are virtually worthless as I use my iPhone for most casual shots. My next camera is likely to be a high-resolution video camera suitable for small productions.  

 

NO LOVE AT THE OKLAHOMA STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Am I Next? Layoffs at the Oklahoma State Department of Health

According to the its spokesperson, Tony Sellars, The Oklahoma State Department of Health has notified contractors for Federally Qualified Health Centers and Oklahoma Child Abuse Prevention programs that state funding is ending due to budget constraints. The agency cash crunch will result in approximately 250 layoffs, mostly happening at county health departments located in communities across the state. The situation remains fluid.

Sellars is quoted as saying that it’s not entirely clear how the funding shortfall occurred, but he says it’s unrelated to budget cuts as a result of declining legislation appropriations. He further claims that the agency has asked the state auditor’s office to conduct a special audit to examine its financial status.

Twenty-five contracts and nine contractors will be affected by the decision. The total amount of savings for the agency is expected to be more than $3 million dollars. FQHC contracts provided for reimbursement of medical expenses not covered by insurance or other funding. OCAP contractors provided home visitation programs in several regions throughout the state. The agency is continuing to evaluate additional cost cutting measures. A furlough for all employees making over $35,000 that will require one furlough day per two-week period starting October 29 had previously been announced.

This is the type of government balderdash that makes me crazy. The spokesman is clearly attempting to give the legislature a pass even though they reduced the budget. Claiming that there might be irregularities in their finances is tantamount to suggesting fraud or malfeasance. One does not make a $10 million dollar mistake without someone noticing the error. But, since this is a government agency, there is another possibility – this is a pressure play on taxpayers and the legislature since child abuse prevention programs are involved. Then there is the cigarette tax which was struck down as unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court and the backroom negotiations on replacing anticipated funds. We will continue to watch the situation to see if anything really happens.

NO LOVE AT CITRIX

Am I Next? Mass layoffs at Citrix

According to published reports, Citrix may be cleaning up its operation by reducing personnel costs and enhancing profits in order to be more attractive to potential buyers.  According to a recently filed Securities and Exchange Commission report, look ahead to another round of mass layoffs that may equal or exceed the layoff of approximately 1,000 employees in 2015.

Like many underperforming companies, the Citrix CEO, Kirill Tatarinov, was replaced early in his tenure by its CFO David Henshall in July 2017. Some Wall Street analysts suggested that this move might signal an emphasis on profits rather than growth. This is bolstered by the company’s corporate-speak blurb that attributed the move to “a series of strategic initiatives intended to drive operating margin expansion, increase capital return and facilitate further investment in accelerating Citrix’s transformation to a cloud-based subscription business and in high-growth areas, such as data security and analytics services.” Earlier this year reports that Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group, and others were looking to take the company private; but no purchaser is currently in sight. Once again, an activist hedge fund, Elliot Management, seems to be driving the changes.

From the SEC filing … Item 2.05. Costs Associated With Exit or Disposal Activities.

Am I Next? Layoffs at Citrix

Consistent with its previously-announced plans intended to accelerate the transformation to a cloud-based subscription business, increase strategic focus, and improve operational efficiency, on October 4, 2017, Citrix Systems, Inc. (the “Company”) announced a restructuring program to support these initiatives (the “Restructuring Program”). The Restructuring Program will include, among other things, the elimination of full-time positions and facilities consolidation. Any
position elimination proposals in countries outside the United States will be subject to local law and consultation requirements.

The Company currently expects to record in the aggregate approximately $60 million to $100 million in pre-tax restructuring charges associated with the Restructuring Program. Included in these pre-tax charges are approximately $55 million to $70 million related to employee severance arrangements and approximately $5 million to $30 million related to the consolidation of leased facilities and other charges associated with the Restructuring Program. Substantially all of these charges will result in future cash expenditures. The Company currently anticipates completing the majority of the activities related to the Restructuring Program during the fourth quarter of 2017 and during fiscal year 2018.  <Source>

Again, it pays for employees to watch personnel changes, the appearance of activist investors, and SEC announcements.