HEWLETT-PACKARD SHARES SLIP DESPITE STRONG RESULTS
New York, N.Y. — Hewlett-Packard saw its shares slip despite exceeding analysts’ estimates with its report of a rosy quarter fueled by strong PC and software sales. In conjunction with third-quarter earnings results, the computing giant also declared a 2-for-1 stock split after yesterday’s market close. HP reported earnings of 97 cents a share, or approximately $1 billion, from continuing operations, excluding extraordinary events and gains, for the third fiscal quarter. This was an increase of 37 percent over comparative earnings per share of 71 cents from the same period a year ago. HP shares yesterday closed ahead $9.88, or almost 9 percent, at $120.88, but opened lower this morning at $107. In early trading, shares of the company fell $11.44, or about 9 percent, to $109.44.
“What you are seeing is very focused expense management, improved margins and very targeted product marketing,” CEO Carly Fiorina said in a conference call with analysts. “Any way you slice it, we beat estimates by a wide margin.” Including investment gains, earnings per share came to 99 cents for the quarter, which ended July 31. Income from discontinued operations brought total earnings to $1.01 billion. Revenue came to $11.8 billion for the third fiscal quarter, which ended July 31, a 15 percent rise over revenue of $10.3 billion for the same period a year ago. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of 85 cents per share, not including income from outside investments. The numbers mark the eighth consecutive time HP has beat estimates. The results also put an upbeat note on Fiorina’s first fiscal year at HP. Fiorina left Lucent to join HP last July at the end of the third fiscal quarter and has effectively run the company for four full quarters.
BROCADE’S THIRD-QUARTER PROFITS SOAR
Palo Alto, CA — Brocade Communications Systems Inc., a maker of high-speed computer switches for data storage networks, on Wednesday reported third-quarter profits that soared 12-fold as sales more than tripled. Earnings for the period ended July 29 rose to $20.1 million, or 16 cents a share, from $1.61 million, or 1 cent, a year ago. Sales rose to $92.1 million from $20.1 million. The results topped the consensus forecast of 14 cents expected by analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial. Brocade, which makes fiber channel switches that connect storage area networks, or SANs, that are up to 6 miles apart, benefited from the surging growth of the Internet digitization of data and the need to offer faster access to storage systems connected to the Internet.
“Data storage requirements continue to increase across the board at a staggering rate,” said Greg Reyes, president and chief executive, in a statement. He added that it was the eighth consecutive quarter of accelerating sales growth. Shares of San Jose, Calif.-based Brocade fell 5-3/4 to 196-3/4 on the Nasdaq. The stock is down from its record high of $219.75 reached Aug 9, but has more than doubled this year.
OPTICAL NETWORKING START-UP WINS $93 MILLION
San Diego, CA — Optical networking start-up Tenor Networks became the latest recipient of venture capital largesse, closing $93 million in third-round funding. The maker of optical switches, scheduled to enter testing soon, received investments from the likes of Williams Communications and the venture capital unit of Tyco International. The cash infusion brings Tenor’s total financing to more than $120 million since November of 1998. Tenor is among a cavalcade of start-ups scrambling to build optical-based equipment for service providers looking to upgrade existing networks or build new schemes based on speedy fiber optics.
Tenor makes a switching device for fiber-optic networks that lets a communications service provider develop and connect a new service more efficiently to a customer, such as a high-speed private connection for a business. Other new investors include Amerindo Investment Advisors, BancBoston Ventures, Charter Growth Capital and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, among others. Amber Networks, a start-up maker of optical routing devices, closed $90 million in third-round funding last month.
INTEL TO ACQUIRE ZIATECH
Santa Clara, CA — Intel Corporation announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Ziatech Corporation in a cash transaction valued at approximately $240 million. The acquisition enhances Intel’s presence in the rapidly growing market segment for communications infrastructure products. Based in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Ziatech designs and markets a full range of Intel Architecture-based circuit boards, hardware platforms and development systems. Ziatech products are primarily sold to telecommunication equipment manufacturers who require flexible and highly reliable equipment for their communications products.
“Our customers require advanced components to build extremely reliable and fast networking and communications gear,” said John Miner, vice president and general manager, Intel’s Communications Products Group. “Intel will help telecommunication providers meet their customers’ rigorous networking requirements by incorporating Ziatech’s lineup of Intel Architecture-based computing building blocks into our current portfolio of communications products.” The Ziatech acquisition supports and expands Intel’s Communications Products Group’s ability to provide essential hardware and software Internet building blocks for telecommunications and networking. The acquisition provides Intel with a highly experienced work force, engineering expertise and intellectual property that will support Intel’s business growth goals in the communications industry. “The opportunities created by the rapid growth of the communications market are enormous,” said Ziatech Chairman Bert E. Forbes. “Ziatech’s focus on this market segment complements Intel’s experience so we can achieve our mutual goal of delivering Intel Architecture-based computing products to our communications customers.
NOVELL REPORTS 83% DECLINE IN EARNINGS
New York, N.Y. — Novell on Wednesday reported that its quarterly earnings were down nearly 83 percent on weaker overall sales, but the results still remained above Wall Street estimates. The Provo, Utah-based software maker posted fiscal third-quarter earnings of $8.57 million, or 3 cents a diluted shares. That’s down from its net income of $49.31 million, or 14 cents a share, reported in the comparable quarter of 1999. Revenue fell 17 percent, to $270 million, in the fiscal quarter, ending July 31, from $327 million a year earlier. Though the company’s quarterly earnings beat the consensus estimate among analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial by a penny per share, investors paid more attention to the year-over-year drop in revenue and earnings.
In after-hours trading, shares of Novell were down 11/16, or about 6.5 percent, to 10. Shares had climbed 1/16 finishing at 10 15/16 during the regular session ahead of the earnings release. “Although we met our total revenue and earnings objectives for the third quarter, we are nonetheless disappointed by continued weakness of packaged software sales globally, and especially our poor performance in Europe,” Eric Schmidt, Novell’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. Schmidt said “difficult changes” also had an impact on the company’s performance in the quarter. In an attempt to streamline operations and improve sales, the company recently restructured itself into three business units and reorganized its sales structure and strategies. Schmidt assured that Novell would take additional action to ensure its expenses are in line with revenue in the fourth quarter, but he did not elaborate.
CIENA TOPS ESTIMATES
New York, N.Y. — Ciena , a maker of equipment for optical networks, beat Wall Street projections when it reported quarterly earnings Thursday. For the quarter the company saw sales rise 25 percent from the same period a year ago, to $233 million from $129 million. Net income for the third quarter was $28.2 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with $18.4 million and 12 cents a share in the same period last year. Wall Street analysts had pegged the company’s earnings at 17 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.
At the same time, Linthicum, Md.-based Ciena said its fourth-quarter earnings are expected to beat analysts’ estimates. According to First Call/Thomson Financial, analysts expect the company to earn 23 a cents a share in the fourth quarter. “Ciena’s strong sequential growth is the result of a combination of high demand for our industry-leading optical networking products and successful achievement of new levels of manufacturing and operational efficiencies,” said Patrick Nettles, Ciena’s president and chief executive officer.
DELL COMPUTER’S EARNINGS BEAT EXPECTATIONS
New York, N.Y. — Dell Computer Corporation reported record revenues and earnings, beating analysts’ estimates for its second fiscal quarter by a penny. But the company’s revenue growth rate slowed for the third consecutive quarter, and some analysts questioned its continued ability to lead the industry. For the quarter ended July 28, Dell reported earnings of $603 million, or 22 cents a diluted share, up 19 percent from $507 million, or 19 cents a share, in the period a year earlier. Sales rose 25 percent, to $7.67 billion from $6.14 billion, in the quarter. Analysts had expected Dell to earn 21 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial. Dell shares fell 6.25 cents to close at $41.75, 30 percent below its 52-week high of $59.6875.
Ashok Kumar, an analyst with U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, lowered his rating for Dell stock to “buy” last week from strong buy, citing concerns about slowing sales growth. Mr. Kumar said yesterday that Dell remains too dependent on sales of desktop PC’s and basic servers. “I expect revenues to come under increasing pressure until the company develops a meaningful storage and services strategy,” he said. “Compared to the competition, Gateway continues to extend its consumer penetration while a reviving Compaq along with I.B.M., H.P. and Sun continue to dominate the enterprise, all with sizable storage and services businesses,” he said. But Jim Vanderslice, Dell’s vice chairman, said in a telephone interview that analysts’ concerns were overstated. “We had a record quarter,” he said. “We grew at twice the combined rate of our 10 largest competitors. I think what the industry is worried about is are we going to make our 30 percent year-over-year growth projection,” he said, adding, “I would say we’re on track to do that.” And Michael Dell, the company’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement, “There remains tremendous room for expansion in all product categories, customer groups and regional markets, and the fundamental advantages of our direct model are more compelling than ever.”
Dell has long benefited from a business model in which it builds each computer to order, and sells the finished machines directly to customers. The model allows Dell to keep inventory costs far below the costs of its competitors, and to incorporate new components in its designs more rapidly, which tends to keep average selling prices higher. But competitors like I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and Compaq have narrowed the gap, and can all say they offer broader lines for corporate customers. Dell said unit sales growth in the second quarter was 22 percent over all, and faster in enterprise servers, storage products and notebook computers, which it considers strategically important categories. Revenue through http://www.dell.com represented about 50 percent of total sales and averaged more than $50 million a day by the end of the quarter, up from $30 million in the prior year.
ILLINOIS SUPERCOND. REPORTS SECOND QUARTER RESULTS
Mt. Prospect, ILL. — Illinois Superconductor Corporation, a leading supplier of superconducting radio frequency (RF) products for the wireless telecommunications industry, reported financial results for the second quarter of 2000. The Company reported net revenues of $14,800 for the quarter ending June 30, 2000 versus net revenues of $317,159 for the same period in 1999. Net revenues for the first six months of 2000 were $187,163 versus $829,059 for the same six-month period in 1999. All revenues resulted from commercial product sales and not from government research contracts. The operating loss for the second quarter 2000 was $2,746,213, versus $2,242,061 for the second quarter of 1999. The increased operating loss reflects the decrease in net revenue and an increase in research and development costs and general and administrative costs during the quarter. The increase in research and development costs is mainly related to prototype development for the 3G market in Asia. The increase in general and administrative costs largely reflects costs associated with the acquisition of Spectral Solutions, Inc. and the recently completed proxy solicitation.
Net loss for the second quarter of 2000 was $3,781,954 compared to a net loss in the same period in 1999 of $2,424,014. The increased net loss is reflective of the increased operating loss as explained previously and an increase in non-cash interest expense related to the senior convertible note financing secured in the first quarter of 2000 and fourth quarter of 1999. The non-cash interest expense increased from $228,450 in the second quarter 1999 to $1,083,752 in the second quarter 2000. The net losses, excluding non-cash interest expense and extraordinary items, for the second quarter 2000 and the first six months of 2000 were $2,698,202 and $4,700,252, respectively. For the same periods in 1999, the net losses, excluding non-cash interest expense and extraordinary items, were $2,195,564 and $4,347,777, respectively.
NORTEL TO ACQUIRE SONOMA SYSTEMS
Toronto, CANADA — Nortel Networks Corp. is buying Internet access equipment maker Sonoma Systems for up to $540 million in stock. The deal announced Tuesday brings together Nortel, a global Internet and communications leader specializing in high-performance fiber-optics, with Sonoma Systems, maker of access devices that provide high-speed video, data and voice communications simultaneously over a single connection. “This will allow service providers to deliver high-speed managed services to their business customers,” Nortel said in a release. It cited estimates from research concern The Yankee Group that the market for delivering such services will reach more than $18 billion globally by 2002, up from $10 billion this year.
New services made available by Sonoma Systems’ access devices include high-speed local Internet access, video services and Internet telephone. Sonoma has its headquarters in Marina del Rey, Calif., along with a technology center in Marlboro, Mass., and sales and support offices throughout North America and in the United Kingdom. “We are taking our leadership in the high-performance optical Internet and extending it to the local Internet,” said Steve Schilling, president of access networks at Nortel, based in Brampton, Ontario, near Toronto. Nortel will pay an estimated $480 million in shares for Sonoma, with up to $60 million more – also in shares – payable based on unannounced performance levels in the first year after the deal closes. The acquisition requires regulatory approval and endorsement by Sonoma shareholders. Nortel, which had 1999 revenues of $21.3 billion, said it expected the deal to close before the end of 2000. Visit http://www.nortelnetworks.com or http://www.sonoma-systems.com for more information.
MUSE RELEASES THIRD QUARTER RESULTS
Albuquerque, N.M. — MUSE Technologies, Inc., an advanced software and technologies firm, announced revenues of $1.5 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2000, an increase of 336% over the $342,000 reported for the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. Net loss for the quarter was ($3.8 million), or ($.35) per share, versus a loss of ($1.1 million), or ($.11) per share for the third quarter of fiscal 1999. Results for Q3 of fiscal 2000 include one-time charges of $990,000, or $.09 per share, related to the resignation of the Company’s CEO in May, and $400,000, or $.04 per share, related to a pending merger of the Company with Advanced Visual Systems. According to Brian R. Clark, President of MUSE Technologies, “The third quarter of fiscal 2000 demonstrated a continuation in revenue improvement over the previous fiscal year and produced several important events that management believes have provided MUSE with a new strategic direction, product lineup and long-range opportunity. Some of these significant events prevented MUSE from maintaining profitability and sequential quarterly growth as was demonstrated in the previous two quarters, however, management believes that the Company can regain that momentum as we move forward with a revitalized business plan and operational strategy.
“On May 4, 2000, our CEO and Chairman resigned. As a result of certain severance arrangements and the repurchase of 750,000 stock options in connection with his resignation, we have incurred a one-time charge to earnings of approximately $990,000 and have agreed to make certain payments over a two-year period. “Upon the resignation of the CEO and Chairman, we organized an Office of the President, which has assumed day-to-day oversight of a reorganized divisional structure. The Office of the President consists of several senior executives whose experience in the areas of sales, marketing, finance, administration and operations has enabled us to craft an integrated growth strategy that brings our product and service offerings into tighter alignment and is being reinforced by a new direct sales strategy. “Our Company is now organized into several operating units that are focused on providing customers in many industries with perceptual computing and data visualization software, solutions, hardware and support services. Through MUSE Perceptual Computing, MUSE Federal Systems Group, MUSE Virtual Presence, MUSE Simulation Solutions and MUSE VRsource we believe that our customers will be able to satisfy most of their perceptual computing, data visualization and virtual reality requirements from a related group of companies whose focus and expertise is primarily in the field of computer graphics software and hardware. Visit http://www.musetech.com for more information.
BROCADE REPORTS REVENUE GROWTH
San Jose, CA — Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (Brocade), a leading provider of Storage Area Networking infrastructure, reported net revenues for the third quarter of fiscal 2000 (Q3 00) of $92.1 million, a 360 percent increase over the $20.1 million reported for the third quarter of fiscal 1999 (Q3 99), and a 48 percent increase over the $62.1 million reported in the second quarter of fiscal 2000 (Q2 00). Net income was $20.1 million in Q3 00, a 1,146 percent increase over the $1.6 million reported for the same period in fiscal 1999, and a 51 percent increase over the $13.3 million reported in Q2 00. Diluted net income per share for Q3 00 was $0.16 compared to net income per share of $0.01 in Q3 99 and net income per share of $0.11 in Q2 00.
During Q3 00, Brocade generated $18.1 million in cash. Total cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments at July 29, 2000 were $129.6 million. Accounts receivable days sales outstanding were 52 days at the end of Q3 00. Annualized quarterly return on stockholder’s equity increased to 53.0 percent in Q3 00 from 49.2 percent in Q2 00. Annualized quarterly return on assets increased to 37.5 percent in Q3 00 from 31.8 percent in Q2 00. Gross margins increased during Q3 00 to 58.6 percent of net revenues from the 58.0 percent reported in Q2 00. Operating income as a percentage of net revenues increased to 26.1 percent in Q3 00 from 25.2 percent of net revenues in Q2 00. “We are delighted to report our eighth consecutive period of quarter over quarter revenue and earnings growth for our shareholders,” said Greg Reyes, Brocade President and Chief Executive Officer. “Data storage requirements continue to increase across the board at a staggering rate. Brocade products provide the networking foundation of choice for storage environments, helping the world’s leading companies keep pace with the exponential growth in storage.”
XOX CORPORATION POSTS SECOND-QUARTER PROFIT
Bloomington, MINN. — XOX Corporation, a leading developer of cutting-edge 3D modeling applications, announced that net revenues for the quarter ended June 30, 2000 were $591,386, compared to $595,696 reported for the same quarter ending June 30, 1999. Net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2000 decreased to $54,357, or $0.02 per share, compared to a net income of $130,327, or $0.04 per share, for the same period in 1999. Year to date through June 30, 2000, XOX has recorded net revenues of $1,275,216 versus $1,154,541 for the six months ended June 30, 1999. Net income for the first six months of 2000 was $255,169, or $0.08 per share, compared to $280,939, or $0.09 per share, for the same period in 1999.
XOX continues to broaden the scope of business opportunities beyond the sale of software licenses, maintenance and support agreements, and royalties through its first end-user product – ShapesProspector. During the second quarter, XOX released a new salt dome mapping enhancement for ShapesProspector, making it the only PC-based product capable of handling multiple Z values in salt dome mapping. This allows E&P companies to construct and manipulate complex geological models such as salt diapirs, overturned folds and reverse faults quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. XOX Corporation (pronounced “zocks”) designs, develops and markets proprietary software for creating virtual mock-ups or models within the computer that capture the complete geometry of objects or spatial areas of interest. This model can then be used for visual analysis or to simulate physical phenomena in a diverse set of disciplines ranging from geosciences to medical applications. Uses of geometric computing software include, but are not limited to, Geophysical software (such as oil-field modeling), Computer Aided Design (“CAD”), Computer Aided Engineering (“CAE”), Geographical Information Systems (“GIS”), Medical Image Processing, Industrial and Graphics Arts Design, Animation, as well as Scientific Visualization and Analysis. For more information, visit the XOX Web site at http://www.xox.com .