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Amazon Sees Lower Quarterly Loss

Technology: The online retailer had a loss of $49 million in the first quarter, while revenue jumped 22%, beating an adjusted forecast.

April 25, 2001|From Reuters and Bloomberg News Inc. on Tuesday posted a sharply lower first-quarter loss--in line with a recent announcement--and affirmed that it was on-track for its first quarterly operating profit by the end of the year.

Amazon, which sells everything from books to electronics to hardware, reported a loss of $49 million, or 21 cents a share, excluding a broad range of costs, compared with a loss of $99 million, or 35 cents a share, a year earlier.

The results were fueled by strong sales of electronics that offset weak performance in its core books, music and video section. Revenue at the Seattle-based company climbed 22% to $700 million.

The results topped Amazon's announcement earlier this month that its loss would be 22 cents, on revenue of $698 million. Analysts on average expected a loss of 25 cents, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

The company said gross margins--basically sales minus cost of sales, a figure that is a key measure of retail efficiency--improved to 26%, well above the 22% many analysts had expected.

Amazon shares initially jumped more than 50 cents in after-hours trading, but then gave up some of that to trade at about $15.80, up from $15.68 at the close of the regular session on Nasdaq.

Seeking to quiet ongoing doubts that it has enough cash on hand to sustain its business, Amazon said it had $643 million in cash and cash-equivalents at the end of the quarter and would have $900 million by the end of the year.

Books, music and videos remained Amazon's largest segment, with revenue of $409.6 million and pro forma profit of $27.6 million, but sales grew just 2%.

Sales of electronics, tools and kitchen goods swelled 56% to $116.5 million, though that segment remained stuck in the red with $45.8 million in losses.

At a Glance

Other technology sector earnings, excluding one-time gains or charges unless noted, include:

* BMC Software Inc. said earnings fell 47% in its fiscal fourth quarter to $65.8 million, or 26 cents a share, and warned that profit in the current quarter will be much lower than Wall Street expectations because of declining sales. Revenue fell 11% to $422.8 million. The latest results were 2 cents better than analysts' forecasts.

* EarthLink Inc. said its first-quarter loss narrowed to $35.1 million, or 27 cents a share, from $50.9 million, or 43 cents, a year ago, boosted by growth in its high-speed subscriber base and reduced costs. The results were far better than the 36-cent loss analysts expected. Revenue rose 34% to $294.9 million. EarthLink also said losses will narrow further in the current quarter.

* Juno Online Services Inc. said Tuesday its first-quarter loss narrowed to $9.6 million, or a loss of 23 cents a share, from $47.6 million, or a loss of $1.28 a share, a year ago, helped by cost-cutting. Revenue grew 19% to $28.7 million.

* LSI Logic Corp. reported an 89% drop in first-quarter profit to $9.5 million, or 3 cents a share, in line with reduced estimates, and said it expects to report a second-quarter loss amid a continuing slump in demand for semiconductors. Sales declined 16% to $517.2 million, below the $524.5 million forecast.

* Qwest Communications International Inc.'s profit fell 8.8% to $218 million, or 13 cents a share, hurt by costs to build its wireless and data operations. Sales rose 12% to $5.05 billion, boosted by a 44% increase in Internet and data-services revenue.

* SCI Systems Inc., the fourth-biggest contract electronics manufacturer, said fiscal third-quarter profit from operations fell 16% to $41.7 million, or 28 cents a share, a penny better than forecasts. Sales declined 9% to $2.02 billion.

* Verizon Communications Inc. said earnings rose 4.3% to $2 billion, or 72 cents a share, a penny better than expectations. Revenue rose 17% to $16.3 billion, led by strong sales of data and wireless services.

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