Ariba Shifts Business But Sees No Growth

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Despite reporting a $6 million loss for its most recent quarter and predicting no revenue growth for the current quarter, Ariba declared Tuesday that it sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ariba's revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2002 ended Dec. 31, 2001, were $55.3 million, down from $62.6 million from the previous quarter. The company's pro forma net loss for the quarter, excluding certain non-cash and special charges, was $6.9 million, or a loss of three cents per share, beating the Wall Street consensus estimate of a loss of fice cents per share.

Despite gloomy financials and no expectation of revenue growth for the current quarter, Ariba officials say they see signs of improvement and are even eyeing a profit in the latter half of 2002.

"Overall, we were very pleased with our financial results despite the macroeconomic environment," said Bob Calderoni, CEO of Ariba, during the earnings call Tuesday."Pro forma profitability is clearly within our sights."

The B2B software maker recently shifted its business model after a disastrous 2001. Ariba was one of the top B2B software makers in the industry going into last year. Last January, the company declared itself the first Internet B2B software vendor to break even, beating out rivals Commerce One and i2 Technologies. But by April the company's revenue plummeted and Ariba was forced to call off its $2.55 billion acquisition of Agile Software, which many saw as the key to Ariba's future as the dominant B2B software player.

After some changes in the executive ranks and a restructuring of the company, Ariba moved away from e-procurement software toward ERP applications such as its spend management product, Ariba Enterprise Sourcing. Calderoni says sales have been strong for the spend management application and that Ariba is getting key customers wins against ERP vendors.

"Ariba Enterprise Sourcing is off to a great start," he says.

Ariba officials anticipate the company will break even possibly as early as June. Calderoni says he believes the company has stabilized and says Ariba has made much progress since its near-collapse last year.

"Customers are no longer questioning our viability," he says.

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