Software vendor Cognos issues earnings warning

Canadian business intelligence software vendor Cognos Inc. yesterday announced it plans to lay off about 300 people amid lower-than-expected earnings in its first quarter of 2002, which ends today.

The Ottawa-based business intelligence software vendor warned that expected revenue for the quarter will be between US$106 million and $110 million, compared with revenue of $108.7 million for the same period last year. The net results for the first quarter, excluding special charges, could mean flat revenue or a loss of up to about $4 million, or about 4 cents per share, according to the company.

During the same quarter last year, the company had net income of $12 million, or 13 cents per share.

In response to the earnings drop, Cognos is taking cost-cutting measures, including reduced discretionary spending and the layoff of about 10 percent of its worldwide staff.

Cognos will take a special pretax charge of approximately $13 million, or 10 cents per share, in the first quarter to cover the layoffs and other cutbacks.

"A decision like this is a difficult one because it affects our people, who I believe are the best in the industry," said Cognos President and CEO Ron Zambonini, in a statement. "However, I did state during my last remarks to the investment community in April that we would manage our operations prudently during this period of economic uncertainty, and this workforce reduction is an indication of this commitment."

Cognos will report its complete first-quarter 2002 earnings on June 21.

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