Gartner meets Q2 estimates, plans workforce cut

Gartner Inc. announced second-quarter financial results that narrowly beat analysts' expectations, but the firm announced that it plans to reduce its worldwide staff of 4,700 employees by roughly 6 percent in an effort to contain costs.

In a conference call with analysts Tuesday, the Stamford, Conn.-based research advisory and consulting firm said its net income for the period ending March 31 was US$1 million, or 1 cent per share, excluding the net loss on sale of investments. Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial in Boston had expected Gartner to post a loss of 3 cents per share.

Including investment losses, Gartner announced a loss of $1.4 million, or 2 cents per fully diluted share, compared with a profit of $11.2 million, or 12 cents per share for the same period last year.

With the results from discontinued operations included, Gartner posted a loss of $53.6 million, or 62 cents per share. Last week, the company announced that it would sell TechRepublic, an online community for IT professionals, to San Francisco-based CNET Networks Inc.

Carol Wallace, a spokeswoman for Gartner, said the layoffs are an effort to cut operating expenses. "We're trying to maximize profits in the future and managing our growth," said Wallace. She said the layoffs, expected to occur across the board, could save the company $30 million.

As the economy slows, many "companies just aren't interested in in paying for consulting" or research services, said Albert Nekimken, research director at Input Inc. in Chantilly, Va.

Other market research firms have announced similar cutbacks. Earlier this month, Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn., said that it would reduce its workforce by 15 percent, and Boston-based The Yankee Group said its staff would be cut by 13 percent.

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