Sun revenue dips with hardware sales still slow

Sun Microsystems reported a 43 percent revenue fall Thursday for its first fiscal quarter when compared to the same period last year, as the company continues to be punished by slowing demand for its servers in a weak economy and by a lack of orders following the Sept. 11 attacks against the U.S.

Sun announced revenue of US$2.86 billion for the quarter ending Sept. 30, down from $5 billion in last year's first quarter, the company said in a statement.

The company also reported a pro forma net loss of $158 million or a loss $0.05 per share, excluding unusual items. Including investment losses, in-process research and development costs and tax-related charges, Sun showed a net loss of $180 million for the quarter, according to the statement.

Earlier this month, Sun predicted that it would report revenue of between US$2.7 billion and $2.9 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30. The company slashed its workforce at the same time, saying it would lay off 9 percent or about 3,900 of its employees.

The company predicted earnings per diluted common share on an operational basis to come in at a loss of between $0.05 and $0.07. A Thompson Financial/First Call survey of analysts forecasted, in a revised estimate, an earnings per share loss of $0.06 for the quarter.

Sun took a heavy revenue hit as result of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S., said company officials.

"Our business nearly ground to a halt in the two weeks following that tragic date," Sun Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Michael Lehman said in early October. Sun traditionally gets a wealth of its orders during the last month of the quarter, he said. The attacks, which had a large impact on telecommunication and financial services companies, many of which are Sun customers, seriously dampened the company's sales, he said.

Shares of Sun (SUNW) moved up almost 1 percent during Thursday's trading on the Nasdaq exchange to a close of $8.88.

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