Viant reports second quarter loss

Citing the unstable economy and a slowdown in IT spending, Internet consulting firm Viant today reported a US$10 million net loss for the second quarter.

Viant said in a statement that it posted a net loss of $10 million, or 20 cents a share, for the quarter ended June 30. That compared to net income of $6.3 million, or 11 cents a share, in the same period last year.

Viant said revenue for the second quarter of this year was $9.5 million, down from $14.3 million in the first quarter of the year and and more than 75 percent below last year's second-quarter revenue of $38.5 million.

The struggling company said cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments at the end of this year's second quarter were valued at $156 million.

The news comes one week after technology consulting firm Scient Corp. in New York said it was merging with Atlanta-based Web developer iXL Enterprises in an all-stock deal. The companies, which have also been suffering from cutbacks in IT spending, said the new company, to be called Scient, will be more competitive because it will have a broader range of services to offer its customers.

"The unstable economy and IT spending budget cutbacks continue to make this a challenging marketplace," said Bob Gett, Viant's president and CEO. "To address this, we are continuing to focus on the Client Relationship Management Program that we initiated in April. We believe we are gaining traction with existing clients, although at a slower pace than we would like. Both new and existing clients are moving forward with projects that are focused on cost cutting and improved productivity, and we believe we have the service offerings that deal with those issues."

Viant said in March that it would slash 38 percent of its workforce, or 211 employees, and close offices in Houston, San Francisco and Munich, Germany, in an effort to reduce costs.

Viant said total head count on June 30 was 346, compared with 421 on March 31. In addition, the company said its consultant staff had decreased to 242 from 294 at the end of the first quarter.

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