Sapient falls short of earnings estimates

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Sapient, which fared better financially in the third quarter than many of its rival Internet professional service firms, issued a warning that its fourth-quarter sales and profits missed forecasts due to reduced spending by large companies and Internet clients. Sapient's shares closed down 0.41 percent to close the day at $15 on Jan 5. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company said it expects to report revenue of $139 million and earnings of 10 cents a share, excluding acquisition and stock compensation costs. In October, the company said it expected fourth-quarter revenue of about $143 million, which would have resulted in a profit of 12-cents a share, analysts estimated. The company blamed slower spending by large corporate customers and a smaller portion of sales coming from Internet companies. Revenue from dot-com clients dropped to about 5 percent of total fourth-quarter estimated sales, from 9 percent in the third quarter, the company said. That figure is expected to decline to 1 percent to 2 percent of sales in the first quarter, Sapient said. First-quarter results will be about the same as in the fourth quarter, Sapient said. The company expects revenue to rise 25 percent to 30 percent in 2001, with earnings forecast to increase 25 percent for the year. The company will report fourth-quarter earnings Jan. 25.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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