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Mouse company roars on

The latest addition to the mouse family. Logitech

The Logitech computer peripherals company has reported yet another record year of sales and profit.

Net profit in the fiscal year 2003/2004 increased to $132 million (SFr171.75 million), up by 34 per cent over the previous year.

The world’s largest maker of mice also announced on Thursday that it was on track for increased sales and profit this year.

“I think we delivered past our goals and I’m very proud of the growth of the company,” chief executive Guerrino De Luca told swissinfo at a media and analyst presentation in Zurich.

“This is the sixth consecutive record year from a top line and from a profitability point of view, so Logitech is on its way to continue its growth,” he added.

Sales totalled $1.27 billion, up 15 per cent from the $1.1 billion reported the previous year.

New products

During the fiscal year, Logitech said it had introduced more than 100 new products and sold 47 million Logitech-branded products.

Webcam retail sales were up by 46 per cent, while retail sales of Logitech-branded speakers were up by 53 per cent from last year.

The company also said it had reached the milestone of more than 500 million mice sold.

“The message is that if you make products that people want to buy and love, usually you’re successful and that’s been the obsession of the company for 23 years,” De Luca said.

“It will not change and I think that pays,” he added.

De Luca commented that Logitech was entering the new fiscal year positioned for success, forecasting that sales would grow by ten per cent and operating income would rise by 15 per cent.

Fuel for growth

“There is, I believe, a lot of fuel in the Logitech engine for growth,” he told swissinfo.

“We’re fortunate to have a portfolio of growth drivers from cordless technologies to webcams, to consoles for gaming, to PC speakers, to wireless headsets and to newer categories like digital writing.”

“We manage a portfolio of opportunities. I believe that each of them has an enormous potential. The combination is pretty powerful and so that’s why we’re optimistic vis-à-vis growth,” he commented.

Logitech also revealed that it intended to invest between $14 and $15 million in a new production plant in Suzhou, China to replace an existing facility there.

The new plant, which is located west of Shanghai, should eventually have 50 per cent more capacity than the old plant and concentrate on high-end products including new cordless desktops.

New share buyback

The company also announced that the board of directors had approved a new share buyback programme.

This permitted the company to buy additional shares on the open market from time to time, providing its total ownership did not exceed ten per cent. Logitech owns about six per cent of its shares outstanding.

The board has authorised Logitech to invest up to SFr250 million for this programme.

On a more personal note, De Luca admitted to swissinfo that he probably had some 30 Logitech products at his home but there were some elements which were still missing.

“I would say the more cords we are able to cut, the better. Some of our products today are corded because technology doesn’t allow cordless in those categories, like audio and video, so easily and affordably.”

“One day it will, and the more cords it can cut, the happier I will be,” he added.

swissinfo, Robert Brookes in Zurich

Logitech was founded in Apples, canton Vaud, in 1981.
It is a Swiss public company traded on the Swiss stock exchange (SWX) and in the United States on the Nasdaq National Market System.
The corporate headquarters are in Fremont, California.
Romanel is the regional headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The company has a staff of 5,000.

Logitech has announced its sixth consecutive year of record sales and profitability.

It recorded the best fourth-quarter performance in the company’s history, with sales of $347 million and net profit of $38.5 million.

Logitech has reached the milestone of more than 500 million mice sold.

The company is upbeat about the future, forecasting sales will rise during the current fiscal year by ten per cent and operating income by 15%.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR