Plantronics second quarter sale climb 11 percent

Plantronics introduced the Backbeat line of headsets for active people.
Plantronics introduced the Backbeat line of headsets for active people.

Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ—Santa Cruz headset maker Plantronics saw double-digit growth in all financial indicators for the second fiscal quarter of 2015 and reported technology advances in new product lines.

The improvement “was the result of continued strength in unified communications paired with healthy growth in our core product areas,” said Ken Kannappan, CEO and president.

Company net revenues of nearly $216 million were up 11.3 percent from a year ago; net income was $27.42 million, up 18.5 percent and earnings per diluted share were 65 cents, up 22.6 percent.

Other big news for the quarter included “revolutionary” headset technology for a business environment or call center office that actively monitors and reports on ongoing conversations.

The new “contextual intelligence” technology for office and call centers tracks when customers are put on hold or mute, detects when two parties are talking at the same time and when a user is no longer available to talk from within a private area.

Privacy is a critical issue for callers handling medical or financial conversations. The new phone can automatically darken a private screen and reroute calls to another worker.

“There’s an old saying, ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,'” Kannappan said. “Contact centers are very interested in capturing the information to improve performance in customer service.” The information about phone use will identify problems and help managers coach agents, he said.

Plantronics continued to see strong growth in its unified communications market, which provides more “smart” technology that allows users to use the same headset across multiple phone, computer and mobile platforms. That area of the company’s business grew by 30 percent to $47.8 million by picking up business in all of the company’s geographic regions, according to Pam Strayer, chief financial officer.

The company’s other big product release for the quarter was the wireless Backbeat Pro headset, which has garnered strong reviews for sound and versatility.

The company also reported a $4.2 million gain related to a litigation settlement but that was offset by a $3 million tab for ongoing litigation with competitor GN Networks, a case that is expected to continue for several more quarters.

The company is well positioned to increase stockholder value and will continue to do so “by investing in high growth opportunities, leveraging our business model as we grow and continuously returning cash to stockholders,” Kannappan said.

Plantronics Inc.

What: A publicly held audio communications headset manufacturer for businesses and consumers.

Headquarters: Santa Cruz.

Background: Founded in 1961, Plantronics introduced the first lightweight communications headset in 1962.

Leadership: Ken Kannappan, president and CEO.

Employees: As of March, the company employed about 3,300 people worldwide, including more than 500 in Santa Cruz.

Information: 831-426-5858; www.plantronics.com.

Stock price: Shares trading on the NYSE under the ticker PLT closed Tuesday at $49.19 up $1.51 cents. The 52-week range is $41.14–$51.41.

Financials: Second quarter 2014 net revenues were $215.81 million compared to $193.98 million a year ago. Net income was $27.42 million, or 65 cents per diluted share, compared to $ 23.4 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, a year ago.

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