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Ticketmaster Loss Narrows

Earnings: Cost cuts at Citysearch unit, more Match.com customers help boost results.

January 29, 2002|From Times Wire Services

Ticketmaster, which sells concert and sports tickets, said its fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $46 million as it signed up more customers for its Match.com singles Web site and cut costs at its Citysearch Web sites.

The loss was 32 cents a share, compared with a loss of $84.9 million, or 60 cents, a year earlier. Sales of the Los Angeles company rose 11% to $159.6 million.

Ticketmaster is 68%-owned by USA Networks Inc. USA Networks agreed last month to sell its cable-television networks including USA and the Sci Fi Channel to Vivendi Universal and focus on its commerce businesses, such as Ticketmaster.

The company said it will fire an additional 111 employees at the Citysearch Web sites, which offer consumer and entertainment information about cities across the U.S.

Excluding costs related to acquiring other companies, advertising provided by USA Networks and some other expenses, Ticketmaster said earnings would have been 6 cents a share. On that basis, the company was forecast to earn 4 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Ticketmaster shares rose $1.25, or 5.8%, to $22.75 on Nasdaq.

In other earnings news at California companies Monday:

* Beckman Coulter Inc., a maker of medical diagnostic equipment, said fourth-quarter earnings rose 12%. The results, in line with analysts' expectations, reflect rapid growth of the Fullerton company's robotic genetic analysis products and equipment to detect diseases.

Earnings were $48.3 million, or 75 cents a share, up from $43 million, or 69 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 10% to $578.3 million. The company said it expects earnings growth of 18% to 20% this year, with sales rising 7% to 8%.

The stock rose $1.46 to $46.28 on the New York Stock Exchange.

* FileNet Corp. said fourth-quarter earnings fell, but the Costa Mesa software maker still surprised Wall Street, which didn't expect a profit until at least the second half.

The company posted net income of $1.9 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with $14.9 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier. Analysts expected a loss of 3 cents a share. Revenue fell nearly 23% to $86.3 million.

Results were announced after regular trading. The stock was up 61 cents to $19.23 on Nasdaq, then surpassed $20 after hours.

* Diedrich Coffee Inc. said fiscal second-quarter profit jumped to $1.3 million, or 26 cents a share, from $164,000, or 5 cents, a year earlier. Revenue fell 18% to $16 million.

The Irvine specialty coffee company said it continued to reduce debt and eliminate unprofitable retail stores and wholesale accounts, as well as minimize overhead and capital expenditures. Sales for stores open at least a year, a key industry indicator, fell 5.2%.

*

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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