Sun posts mixed financial results

Sun Microsystems reported fourth quarter fiscal results slightly above expectations Thursday, although it posted a wide loss in operating profits.

Pro forma net income for the fourth quarter, excluding one-time charges such as acquisitions, was US$134 million, down from $717 million in the same period last year. Fourth quarter pro forma earnings per share (EPS) came in at $0.04, compared to $0.21 last year. The EPS figure beat a Thomson Financial/First Call survey of analysts by a penny.

Including one-time charges, the company posted a loss of $0.03 for the quarter. In addition, the company reported a $179 million loss in operating income for the quarter, ended June 30,.

The company reported fourth-quarter revenue of $4 billion, compared to $5.02 billion in the year-earlier period. The fourth-quarter revenue beat a Thomson Financial/First Call survey of analysts who predicted revenue of US$3.9 billion.

The company also reported fiscal year 2001 revenue of US$18.25 billion, up from US$15.72 billion the previous year. Pro forma EPS for the fiscal year came in at $0.42, down from last year's $0.55. Including one-time charges, EPS for the year was $0.27.

Sun released its results after the markets closed Thursday. The company's stock (SUNW) ended the day up 3.22 percent to $14.44.

Sun has suffered from an industry wide clamp on technology spending. The company has seen hardware revenue drop significantly, as the slowing expansion of Internet infrastructure has caused server demand to fall.

Earlier this month, Sun employees were asked to take a week off as one of several cost-cutting measures. Sun, however, is somewhat rare among its peers, avoiding layoffs thus far. Other hardware titans like Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Compaq Computer Corp. all announced layoffs this year.

Earlier this week, Microsoft Corp. dropped its support of Sun's Java programming language in the upcoming release of Windows XP. The two companies had engaged in a bitter court dispute over the technology. While Java development has surged in recent years, its adoption could slow somewhat from the lack of Windows support.

(Additional reporting by Ashlee Vance in San Francisco.)

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