The local paper has an article on AVT Corp. & Dick Laporte, the CEO.|
H&Q is predicting $41/share in the second quarter. Here is the article for any interested, and the link: eastsidejournal.com
I have held this stock for the past 2 years.
High-tech profile: Dick LaPorte, CEO of AVT Corp.
Monday, May 03, 1999
Analysts predict significant growth for AVT
Jeanne Lang Jones
Journal Business Reporter
KIRKLAND -- Could it be time for AVT Corp. to finally get some love on
The Kirkland company, formerly known as Applied Voice Technology Inc.,
makes an assortment of unified messaging products that help mid-sized
companies, including call center operations, manage faxes, e-mail and voice
The company's products run on off-the-shelf hardware, are compatible with
a broad range of computers and telephone systems and work on either
Windows NT or OS/2 operating systems.
In the first quarter, amid lackluster performance by its competitors, AVT's
stock was down almost 18 percent compared to the prior quarter. The
slump came even as the company thrashed its earnings estimates, coming in
4 cents a share above the 20 cents a share predicted.
AVT posted first quarter net income of $3.3 million, a 58 percent increase
in quarterly earnings a year ago.
But analyst Reginal King at Hambrecht & Quist predicts AVT stock will hit
$41 per share by the end of the second quarter. (AVT closed Friday at
$27.19 a share.)
Standing in the company's sales 'war room,' AVT chief executive Dick
LaPorte expresses some exasperation when asked what it's like to compete
for investors' attention with the likes of Internet upstarts such as
'' It's not hard to stand out from all the companies that are losing money,''
LaPorte said. ''We've had 26 quarters of profitability at AVT. We have a
great balance sheet. But with our current stock price, we are undervalued.''
'' We're a great value,'' he adds.
Analysts are betting on continued significant sales growth this year for AVT
because of recent marketing alliances with NEC, Ericsson and Symantec.
NEC is expected to bolster AVT's position in North America with Ericsson
bumping up international sales. Meanwhile, Symantec adds a compatible
desktop fax product and a direct sales force of 150 to push up revenue.
In addition, AVT has a new broadcast fax product that can distribute tens
of thousands of faxes rapidly without tying up a customer's network servers.
In mid-April, AVT acquired San Francisco-based MediaTel in a stock
transaction valued at $48 million. Renamed MediaLinq Services Group, the
business unit provides electronic document delivery with the capacity to
send documents to many recipients simultaneously via fax or e-mail.
Documents are routed to AVT's secure servers for broadcast to eliminate
strain on clients' computer networks. It's a service that could prove useful to
financial institutions and mortgage companies needing to provide thousands
of customers with current interest rate information.
Fax products account for about 60 percent of AVT's revenue currently. By
year's end, LaPorte expects the company will have doubled its electronic
document delivery to 600 million documents.
Longer term, LaPorte sees a need to extend the company's unified
messaging capability to hand-held information appliances, such as the Palm
Pilot, which are growing increasingly more sophisticated and powerful.
'' We could take the CallXpress platform and make a mobility service that
provides all the information to wherever in the world you are with delivery
over the Internet or a wireless connection,'' LaPorte said.
LaPorte has a prediction of his own for the Kirkland telecommunications
'' AVT will have a $1 billion market cap in 2001. I don't think that's too
ambitious, we're halfway there this year -- and without putting a 'dot com'
after our name,'' he said.
'' Five years ago I said we would be a $100 million company. At the
beginning of 1999, we were there.''
Title: President, CEO and chairman of the board
Company name: AVT Corp.
Out of state operations: RightFAX Software Group, Tucson, AZ;
CommercePath Software Group, Portland, OR; MediaLinq Services
Group, San Francisco, CA
Number of employees: 405
Year founded: 1982
Brief description of your company: AVT Corp. solves enterprise
communications problems by providing a broad line of open systems-based
software products and communications services, specializing in call
processing, enterprise messaging, document management and customer
service applications marketed to organizations of all sizes and industries
through multiple channels of distribution.
Education: Left college in 1965 to enter the computer field with Rockwell
Family and pets: Wife Maureen, married 32 years; daughter Julie, 30 and
son Rick, 26; granddaughter Madeleine, 8 months; pet pug named Arnold.
Residence: Bellevue for past 13 years
Company's net income last year: $11.8 million.
Web site: avtc.com
First job: Mainframe computer operator with Rocketdyne Division of
Rockwell International, 1965
Other notable job experiences: Managed the operations of one of the
world's largest commercial timesharing networks with Xerox Computer
Services (1970-1981); president and CEO of Gill Management Services
(1981-1985); president and CEO of Accountants Microsystems
(1985-1990); joined AVT as president and CEO in 1990, became
chairman of the board in 1994.
Car you drive: '98 Jaguar XJ8
Favorite software or hardware: ''Our Windows NT versions of CallXpress,
RightFAX and CommercePath.''
What got you interested in this field: ''A family friend introduced me to IBM
and the world of computers.''
What put your company on the map? ''Launching CallXpress in 1991; our
IPO in 1994 and the acquisition of RightFAX in 1996.''
Clients: AG Edwards, Southwestern Bell, Nations Bank, Cannon USA,
Michelin Tire Co., Pepsi, Sutter Health, Countrywide
Competitors: In unified messaging -- Lucent and Nortel; in network faxing
-- Omtool, Optus, TopCall and Fenestrea; in production fax -- Top Call
Biscom and Omtool; in electronic document delivery -- Premiere
Technologies, Cable & Wireless, Sprint and AT&T.
Five of your favorite bookmarks: ''Only one, AVTC.com.''
With more and larger companies are stepping into the messaging market,
are you concerned about losing market share?We '' concede some portion
of the market to (equipment manufacturers) Lucent and Nortel, which
together in traditional voice mail have about 50 percent of the market. But
the other half of the market is big enough to be viable and, yes, we can
compete in that.
'' There is a need now for technology to help call centers cope with all
kinds of inquiries.
'' That business has changed drastically. Five years ago, it was picking up a
phone call. Today they get a lot of questions over the Internet or by
facsimile, and they have to deal with it all."
What's your strategy for marketing such a diverse group of messaging
'' We have a large sales force of about 2,000 value-added resellers and
about 50 people in direct sales. We now have a really broad range of
products to sell, and I believe we can accelerate our growth there.''
Some companies seem to fall apart trying to integrate an acquisition. What's
your strategy for managing what amounts to four separate companies, each
in a different state?
'' We reorganized ourselves a couple of years ago for that very problem.
'' We set up the offices of the chief executive, chief technology officer and
chief financial officer. The three of us really have very little involvement in the
day-to-day operations of any of the four companies that make up AVT. We
have excellent management teams in place who run their operations as
'' When you acquire a company with a good management team, you want
them to stay on after the acquisition, and we have been able to do that.''
How would you describe the personalities of your brood?
'' The Kirkland business is the most mature of the businesses. It reflects my
management style and has more structure.
'' At RightFax, the average employee is a bit younger. It's a very
entrepreneurial organization that its two founders started right out of college
and so it didn't have structured business processes.
'' We put a lot of business processes in place so there would be the right
management controls in the company, so that it wouldn't run into the
problems that some entrepreneurial companies do.
'' RightFax maintains a culture that is very driven by its workforce. This is
the first job out of college for many. It's a T-shirt and shorts place.
'' CommercePath was a division within a multinational, billion-dollar forest
product company. It is a very disciplined company. They wear a lot of white
shirts and ties. Their dress code is suits. Here, it's AVT (logo) golf shirts.
'' MediaLinq is in San Francisco '' it's almost a Parisian culture.
'' But the groups all work together extremely well. There is a synergy that
brings us together at the general manager level.''
Are you planning to continue growing through acquisition?
'' We will be looking at both alliances and acquisitions. We have a balance
sheet with over $47 million that can be used for acquisitions, and we can
add in stock.
'' There are a number of other companies that provide similar broadcast
document management services. We may look to acquire some of these
competitors to build a bigger base of business.
'' We will be very aggressive in acquisitions. If you have the resources, and
when all the acquisitions can get you to your goal faster, then competitors
can die or join.''