LOS ANGELES Precision
Castparts Corp. ran into "significant headwinds" in the
maintenance of three key forging presses, resulting in
greater-than-anticipated downtime at its Texas and
Massachusetts facilities during its fiscal second quarter.
The Portland, Ore.-based
producer of investment castings, forgings and airframe products
said that the problems involved the Houston and Grafton, Mass.,
operations of its Wyman-Gordon unit, where planned maintenance
took longer than expected, as well as the main ring-rolling
press its Carlton Forge Works unit in Paramount, Calif., which
suffered a previously undisclosed electrical fire.
In its fiscal second quarter
ended Sept. 30, PCC reported net income of $332.7 million on
revenues of $1.9 billion, compared with income of $294.7
million on revenues of $1.8 billion in the year-ago period.
Chairman and chief executive
officer Mark Donegan said during an earnings conference call
that the press problems were as challenging as anything the
company has encountered "in quite a while," including market
downturns. He said that although the market was growing at the
time the problems occurred, the company "did not have the key
forged assets to respond" to this growth.
"Basically, we had to claw and
fight our way through the process," Donegan said, noting the
three presses involved are particularly critical to PCCs
aerospace production, which accounted for 65 percent of the
companys third-quarter business. The press outages
resulted in a sales shortfall of $98 million to $100 million
during the quarter, said Donegan, who stressed that PCC is
"accelerating our forging throughput to compensate" for the
Donegan maintained that the
problems didnt result in a permanent loss of market
share. "We did not lose the order; we did not lose the
business," he said.
In Houston, where a 29,000-ton
press took seven and a half weeks to return to servicetwo
and a half weeks longer than anticipatedcomponents that
were expected to have a life of 20 years were instead found to
have lasted only five years. PCC temporarily "de-rated" the
press back to its original 25,000-ton rating and "offloaded"
work that required the 29,000-ton press to the 35,000-ton press
in Grafton, Donegan said.
Meanwhile, PCC has also changed the name of its former
Fastener Products segment to Airframe Products. This reflects
the parent companys increasing involvement in the
aerostructures market, where a number of its recent
acquisitions have taken place.