Informix On a Roll with Q4 Results

Informix on Wednesday announced strong results for its fiscal 1999 fourth quarter, another sign that the US database and tools vendor is still headed in the right direction on the road to financial recovery.

For the three-month period ended December 31, 1999, Informix reported net income of $US42.6 million, or 20 cents per share, up from $20.9 million, or 11 cents per share, recorded in the year-ago quarter, Informix said in a statement issued yesterday. Analysts polled by First Call had predicted earnings per share of 17 cents.

The net income figure of $42.6 million for the fourth quarter includes a $2.8 million charge related to the company's purchase of Cloudscape Inc. Informix announced it would acquire Cloudscape for $86.9 million in September of last year as a way of entering the remote and embedded database market.

Revenue for the fourth quarter was $251.1 million, up 17 percent, from $214.9 million recorded in the same quarter in fiscal 1998.

Informix is gradually recovering from the impact of a string of disastrous financial years caused by a lack of focus in the company's direction. Informix Chief Executive Officer and President Jean-Yves Dexmier, in the job since July of last year, appears slowly to be effecting a turnaround in the company's financial fortunes.

The database and tools maker finally appears able to begin to put the specter of securities litigation behind it, having settled private securities litigation toward the end of last year and reaching a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this month.

The SEC charged that Informix had fraudulently inflated revenues and earnings between 1994 and 1997 -- allegations that Informix neither admitted or denied. The company agreed to cooperate with the SEC's ongoing investigation.

Revenue for fiscal 1999 as a whole was $871.5 million, up from $735.5 million in fiscal 1998. However, Informix recorded a net loss of $12.2 million, or 6 cents per share, for fiscal 1999, taking into account charges related to the settlement of the private securities litigation and to expenses incurred through mergers. In addition to purchasing Cloudscape, Informix also announced plans last month to acquire data integration specialist Ardent Software in a stock swap deal valued at $880 million.

Turning to performance by region in the fourth quarter, Informix did particularly well in North America with revenue up 23 percent to $128 million compared to the year-ago quarter. Revenue in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) rose 16 percent to $83 million, while revenue in Asia-Pacific rose by 10 percent to $23 million and fell in Latin America by 6 percent to $17.1 million vs. the fourth quarter of fiscal 1998.

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