Siebel says profit, revenue more than doubled in Q4

Computerworld |  Software

Software vendor Siebel Systems Inc. today announced that it finished last year with a bang, reporting that revenue and profit both more than doubled in the fourth quarter from a year ago.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based maker of customer relationship management (CRM) applications said its fourth-quarter profit totalled $106 million on a pro-forma basis, up 170% from $39.2 million in the same period of 1999. Revenue amounted to $581.6 million in the quarter, a 111% increase over the year-earlier level of $275.9 million.

The pro-forma profit figures don't take into account $26.5 million in costs related to two acquisitions that Siebel completed in the fourth quarter, as well as some one-time charges from the year-earlier period. With those charges added in, Siebel said, net profit was $79.5 million in the just-finished quarter compared with $31.1 million a year ago.

Siebel's showing comes at a time when many technology vendors are reporting lower-than-expected results or warning that their numbers will be below plan. For example, Compaq Computer Corp. today disclosed fourth-quarter results that hewed closely to a reduced-expectations warning that it issued last month.

The fact that Siebel met or exceeded its expectations despite a softening IT market and the evaporation of many dot-com ventures wasn't a big surprise, said Liz Shahnam, an analyst at the Meta Group Inc. consultancy in Stamford, Conn. Siebel has "an expertly instrumented applications portfolio" and focuses closely on its CRM capabilities, she said.

According to Shahnam, Siebel boosted sales last year by Web-enabling its software and adding new products such as call-center tools. The only potential problem facing the company, she added, is that implementing its software is getting to be nearly as complex as installing enterprise resource planning applications. "Siebel has not yet started to focus on making the applications both easier to implement and maintain," Shahnam said.

During the fourth quarter, Siebel completed acquisitions of Toronto-based financial applications vendor Janna Systems Inc. and OnLink Technologies Inc., a maker of interactive online sales software. New users that bought products from Siebel in the quarter include the U.S. Mint, The Procter & Gamble Co., Goldman Sachs & Co. and the state of Kentucky.

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