Loss for Ballantyne Strong amid business model shift

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Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 12:00 am

Ballantyne Strong, the Omaha firm that sells lighting, screens and digital media services and equipment, reported a first-quarter net loss, saying growing service revenue is not yet outpacing falling product sales as the company continues a shift in its business model.

The loss of $594,000, or 4 cents per share, compared with net income of $565,000, or 4 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago. Two years ago, when the firm was selling more digital projection equipment to movie theaters, it had first-quarter net income of $2.4 million, or 17 cents per share.

Chief Executive Officer Gary Cavey said that the first quarter unfolded as expected and that Ballantyne Strong is starting to see margins improve as it transitions to a more profitable “managed services” business. Managed services revenue was $8.4million, compared with $2.5million last year, and now makes up 38 percent of total revenue, up from 9 percent. Total first-quarter revenue fell 20 percent to $22 million.

Cavey attributed the managed services growth to the October acquisition of Convergent Media Systems, which provides digital signage and business video services to clients, including retailers and banks.

“We are clearly headed in the right direction,” he said.

Cavey also announced a new product line, Integrated Cyber Screens, which are smaller motorized screens designed for venues like conference rooms, museums, schools and worship facilities.

In April, the company announced a new line of cloud-based video security solutions as part of a reseller agreement with manufacturer VIAAS, or Video Intelligence as a Service. The service offers clients remote access to security cameras and video through a Web browser or mobile device.

Cavey said customers include schools and health care facilities. The firm recently completed installations at five school campuses and anticipates orders at 20 more later this year.

Ballantyne Strong will hold its annual meeting Wednesday at the Omaha Marriott, 10220 Regency Circle.

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