Viant 4Q loss bigger-than-expected

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Internet consulting company Viant on Feb. 7 posted a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss, missing First Call analysts' estimates by 7 cents. The Boston-based company reported a net loss for the quarter of $7.1 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with a net profit of $3.7 million, or 7 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Earnings for the quarter, which ended Dec. 31, excluded restructuring charges related to employee layoffs and office closure costs. For the quarter, revenue showed a slight increase, up 5% to $25 million from $23.7 million in the same period a year ago. However, Viant said revenue fell 24% from $33.1 million in the third quarter.

"This was another difficult quarter for Viant," CEO Bob Gett said in a statement. "We are feeling the effects of an uncertain economic environment which we believe is delaying clients' plans to invest in projects." Continued uncertainty in the Internet consulting market will continue to drag down Viant 's results, he said.

In December, Viant trimmed its work force by about 125 employees, or about 17% of its worldwide staff, and said it would close its Dallas office. Viant employs 621. Revenue for the year increased to $127.2 million from $61.3 million for the preceding year. Analysts expected Viant to post revenue of $130.3 million for the fiscal year just ended. New clients this quarter include Lehman Brothers and Thomson First Call.

Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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