Executives of Planning Research Corp. told stockholders today that despite a sluggist first fiscal quarter, the company should be able to maintain its growth pattern through implementation of a new management plan and an emphasis on defense and energy markets.
Although hesitant to predict the company's financial future, John Toups, PRC's president, said after the District-based company's annual stockholders meeting that he thinks the election of Ronald Reagan bodes well for PRC.
"On balance, it's probably a plus," Toups said an interview.
"There may be less work on the civil side of government, but more work on the military side. We think the private sector will have a better economic direction," he added.
PRC is in the midst of what Toups calls a dramatic management strategic planning process that already has regrouped the company's business segments. The company is moving to define its business into basic areas: commercial information systems, government information systems, architecture and engineering and facilities support.
Toups and PRC Chairman Robert Sarnoff said the system is designed to bring facts to a company which for too long has been lacking a sense of mission.
Sarnoff said the project has not been an easy one. "The work to date has involved the efforts of over 100 key individuals," he said. "Some were originally quite skeptical but have now fully embraced the concept. They have learned much from the disciplined analysis of their own activities as well as those of other parts of the company."
In fact, despite evolving into the largest consulting firm in the nation, PRC has been consistent in paying dividends and in increasing profit levels, despite increasing revenues.
For fiscal 1980, which ended June 30, the company reported profits of $5.5 million on sales of more than $280 million.
"PRC has had a consistent record of substantial growth without a commensurate growth in earnings," Sarnoff said. "Quite frankly, its margins are too low, even in an industry where margins are not historically high."
Despite sluggist profits, the company's stock, buoyed by a favorable Wall Street analyst's report and recent media attention, has doubled its per-share value in the last year.
In response to a shareholder question, Sarnoff said the surge is not a result of an acquisition offer despite heavy trading during the summer and fall months.
In prepared remarks, Toups stressed that the company's backlog of work reached $268 million at the end of the fiscal year and bookings of new contracts reached $329 million, both records.
Toups said the company's fastest-growing business segment is PRC Realty Systems, which provides real estate agents with computerized property listings. That PRC segment earned more than $5 million last year, Toups said.