Siebel posts year-over-year growth for 2001

E-business software maker Siebel Systems Inc. posted fourth-quarter 2001 results showing revenue from software licensing was significantly higher than during its troubled third quarter, but still sharply lower than during the same period one year earlier.

Siebel generated US$481.4 million in revenue during the quarter, ended Dec. 31, down 17.2 percent from $581.64 million in the third quarter of 2000. Most of the decline came in Siebel's revenue from licensing its software, which dropped to $250.21 million, down from $365.16 million in the year-ago quarter. Some of the drop was offset by an increase in Siebel's professional services and maintenance revenue, up to $231.23 million, from $216.47 million in the year-ago period.

Siebel's revenue for the quarter climbed 12 percent above its revenue during the third-quarter of 2001, in which Siebel missed analyst expectations for per-share earnings. This quarter, Siebel surpassed expectations, posting $65.9 million in net income and $0.13 earnings per share. The consensus forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call was for $0.09 earnings per share.

Siebel also reported results for its full-year 2001 operations. The company's total revenue for the year grew 14.1 percent over its 2000 total, to $2.05 billion. Net income grew 14.7 percent year-over-year, to $254.58 million.

During the fourth quarter, the company released Siebel 7, the seventh major release of its flagship suite of applications for CRM (customer relationship management) and ERM (employee relationship management). The company also acquired nQuire Software Inc. and integrated nQuire's Web-based business analytics tools into Siebel 7.

Internationally, Siebel created its first European board of directors during the quarter. Composed of politicians, including former British Prime Minister John Major and former Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, the group is intended to guide Siebel's management team in developing its European business and in marketing its applications to European governmental departments.

In advance of the earnings announcement, shares of Siebel (SEBL) ended trading Wednesday on the Nasdaq exchange at $34.80, up 6.7 percent over the previous day's close.

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