eSpeeding Toward Profit

Company predicts third quarter is the charm

eSpeed, which operates e-markets for businesses, posted slimmer fourth-quarter losses than Wall Street expected. The company also revised its profitability outlook upward for 2001.

In the quarter ended Dec.31, eSpeed posted a net loss of $5.2 million, or a loss of $.10 per share, compared to a loss of $6.0 million, or $.13 per share, in the same quarter last year.  Analysts estimated net losses at 16 cents per share.

Total fourth-quarter revenues were $35.6 million, up 154 percent from last year's $14 million in the same period. Revenue for the 2000 jumped to $118.9 million to $38.2. Year-end revenues were $41 million over the initial target of $78 million set in December 1999.  In large part, the company's success is "in leveraging our technology to deliver 37 new products to the eSpeed system, making for a total of 43 actively traded products on the system, surpassing our initial goal of 40," said Frederick Varacchi, president and COO.

The company reported a net loss from operations of $27 million for the full year of 2000. Full-year operating results excluded non-cash charges of $33.4 million related to the provision of business partner securities.

eSpeed has raised the bar for 2001. Howard Lutnick, chairman and CEO, forecasted, "We have significantly improved our financial outlook for 2001 and now expect to be net operating income positive by the third quarter of this year." The company set forth the following guidance for 2001: First-quarter net operating income (loss) per share in the range of ($0.06) to ($0.08); ($0.03) to ($0.05) in the second quarter; $0.00 to $0.01 in the third; and $0.02 to $0.04 in the fourth.