Ariba Third-Quarter Revenues Plummet

Revenues plummeted 30 percent yet increased over past quarters.

Strategic sourcing software maker Ariba Inc. posted third-quarter earnings today that showed quarterly revenues plummeting 30 percent, buffeted by an inching over the profit line.

Excluding charges, Ariba earned 1.9 million in the third quarter, compared with a loss of $26.1 million in 2001. The companys first and only profit until now was posted in its December 2000 quarter.

Aribas revenues for the third quarter were $58.5 million, compared to $84.1 million for the same period last year.

Despite the year-over-year drop, Ariba, of Sunnyvale, Calif., posted steadily increasing revenue for the past three quarters.

In December, Ariba booked $55 million in sales, services and maintenance. In the quarter to March, the company booked $57 million in revenue.

"I call it stability with modest growth," said Bob Calderoni, Ariba president and CEO. "Certainly modest growth is not something that we would pound our chest on, except in this market its outstanding relative performance."

Ariba also saw slightly better margins on its losses, posting $203.1 million in net losses on a GAAP basis for the third quarter, compared to a loss of $273.5 million for the year-ago quarter.

Once a darling of the business-to-business industry, Aribas shares began falling last year. In April of 2001 the company cut its workforce by 700 employees and cancelled an acquisition of collaboration software maker Agile Software.

Had that acquisition gone through, Ariba might well be singing a different tune than it is today with its Spend Management (find it, get it, keep it) approach.

Calderoni suggested in the companys earnings call earlier today that Aribas modest success in increasing revenues is a result of its Ariba Spend Management software, launched last February.

Calderoni mentioned three new customers that purchased components of the suite, including Reliant Pharmaceuticals, Lion Nathan Limited and Scientific Atlanta, as well as three existing customers that added Spend Management modules, including Volkswagen, British Sky Broadcasting and Sun Chemical.

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