Officials of Planning Research Corp., looking back on a $1.4 million loss last fiscal year, said yesterday that an ongoing and arduous reorganization will continue to make it difficult to predict the company's profitability.
Addressing the company's annual stockholders meeting, PRC President John M. Toups called 1981 "disappointing," but said the company's 1982 first fiscal quarter, ended Sept. 30, was "more satisfactory." In that quarter, the company reported a profit of $1.86 million (27 cents a share) compared with $1.46 million (22 cents) as sales rose 3 percent to $79 million.
After the meeting, Toups refused to predict whether PRC, a consulting, engineering and computer firm based in McLean, would make a profit this year, but did predict the year would be "grossly better" than 1981.
In his remarks, Toups did note, however, that the company's outstanding debt is at its lowest point since March 31, 1976, when the company's sales were half what they are today.
The reorganization plan, which virtually has dominated PRC management activities in the last year, is an effort to make the company a "more coherent corporation," said Robert W. Sarnoff, the company's chairman.
The program is designed to "assure that PRC entities present a unified image so that PRC's identity is communicated coherently to clients, shareholders and the public," Sarnoff said. "PRC is evolving from a loose confederation of professional service firms with a partnership bias into a more centralized corporation."
The new structure has shifted operations from 18 major companies into four operating groups--PRC Computer Systems, PRC Government Information Systems, PRC Systems Services and PRC Engineering.
Sarnoff said the second part of the company's strategy involves a "shift away from PRC's historic preoccupation with revenue growth to a new emphasis on profits." To fulfill this goal, the company "plans to be more selective in bidding for contracts--not to seek contracts for the sake of revenue growth, but to attract larger contracts with better margins, greater profitability."
During the year, the company shut down several units, including unprofitable computer operations in the United Kingdom and Southeast Asia. Those decisions, combined with the shutdown of PRC Jacobs, a property appraisal operation, led to losses of about $9 million last year.
As a final phase of the evolution of PRC, the company recently moved its headquarters into a new 440,000-square-foot building in McLean. About 1,000 persons have moved into that facility, although the building has space for 1,600 employes.
Citing prospects for continuing high interest rates, high inflation, "disaster in the housing industry," and "political uncertainty and instability," Toups said "unstable economic and political environments will continue to be facts of life."