Stock Watch: Ariba Falls Despite Breakeven Q4

Ariba, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA) was down 5 3/4 at 121 5/16 early Thursday, even as the company said it became the first business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce provider to break even — before charges — in a fiscal quarter.

The loss before charges in the fourth quarter ended September 30th was $1.1 million, or breakeven per share, compared with a loss of $4.6 million, or 3 cents, in the year-earlier quarter and against analysts’ estimates for a loss of 5 cents. Revenue for the quarter rose 687 percent from a year earlier to $134.9 million.

After all charges, however, the company posted a net loss of $339.34 million, or $1.50 per share, compared with a loss of $9.88 million, or 7 cents, a year earlier.

For the fiscal year, the company saw revenue of $279 million, up 515 percent from the prior year, and a loss before charges of $29.5 million, or 15 cents per share.

Chairman and chief executive officer Keith Krach said the results “validate” the company’s business strategy. “During the year we increased our customer base 500 percent and deployed more B2B customers than any competitor,” Krach said. “Demand for the Ariba eCommerce Platform continues to be strong as customers — across several industries — are realizing tangible and immediate benefits from our services.”

Ariba said it added 114 customers during the quarter, with Allied Worldwide, Pfizer, Target Corp., American International Group, Inc., Kmart and Honeywell joining a roster of clients that also includes American Express, Bank of America and E*Trade.

Ariba had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $280.21 million as of September 30th, up from $98.15 million a year earlier.

Needham & Co. reportedly repeated a strong buy rating on Ariba following the news.

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