Manugistics Makes Its Numbers but Looks Warily at the Future - TheStreet

Updated from 5:26 PM


(MANU) - Get Report

results intersected with Wall Street's expectations Thursday as the supply-chain software company met consensus estimates on its fiscal first-quarter numbers.

But they didn't live up to Wall Street's hopes that the company would perform even more strongly. And, the company took down its earnings number for the current quarter.

Excluding charges, the Rockville, Md.-based Manugistics said it earned 3 cents a share on $89.8 million in revenue. Analysts were expecting the company to post earnings of 3 cents a share and $88.9 million in sales, according to

, though many anticipated the company turning in bigger numbers than that. A year ago, the company lost an adjusted penny per share on $50.5 million in revenue.

Including charges for its



STG Holdings

acquisitions, noncash stock compensation charges and income tax effects, the company reported an actual loss of $23.4 million, or 35 cents a share.

The company said strong demand for its supply-chain software helped it achieve its results.

"We continue to see strong demand for Manugistics solutions, and we believe that focused, high ROI-based solutions -- such as our quick-to-implement supply-chain management and pricing and revenue optimization solutions -- will remain investment priorities for many companies despite the current economic conditions,'' said CEO Greg Owens, in a statement.

But going forward, Manugistics took down its earnings number for its fiscal second quarter, citing dilution due to recent acquisitions. CFO Raghavan Rajaji told analysts they should only expect 3 cents in earnings per share, instead of the current, 4-cent-a-share consensus estimate. The company stuck by its previous guidance of more than 50% revenue growth for fiscal 2002, however, and earnings of 26 cents a share.

While the company said its recent acquisitions of intellectual property and assets from now defunct


and its purchase of a unit of electronic exchange


would be dilutive to earnings, it said its projection for a 50% increase in revenue included revenue from those units.

Prior to the release of its results, Manugistics' stock fell $1.80, or 4.7%, to $36.37 in regular trading Thursday. In after-hours trading the stock fell further before rebounding somewhat to $34.72.

While company executives said they were feeling a stabilization in the business climate, CEO Owens repeatedly referred to the challenging economic environment, if only to highlight his firm's performance.

"Market conditions around the world continue to be dynamic, and we have experienced some extension in sales cycles, requiring higher level or board approval," Owens said on the company's conference call with analysts. "But that's why they call it management. In these times, you must micromanage."

Manugistics' report is important for the company, which has been staging a turnaround under the leadership of Owens. But it's also being watched as an indicator of how other applications software companies might perform when they report their own results next month.

Earlier this week,


(ORCL) - Get Report

positive outlook after beating reduced estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter helped rally software stocks. But because Oracle's core business is in database software, some analysts think

Manugistics might be a better gauge for how business is at other application software makers such as








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A quarter ago, when Manugistics

met expectations for its quarter, that trio of software companies exceeded Wall Street estimates.

Analysts offer two points of caution in drawing comparisons to Manugistics, however. First, the company is relatively small, with projected sales of $400 million per year, while those other names sell in the billions. That means it isn't as broadly exposed to the economy as larger players, and that its smaller average deal size may have helped shield it from the sticker shock that has plagued others.

Also, the company was able to buck the trend of slower sales due to a weaker economy last quarter, where other software companies have not, so its management might just be doing a better job than others.

Investors have rewarded the company for that performance. While analysts say they could still climb higher, its shares currently trade at a very expensive 140 times fiscal 2002 earnings estimates (it's on a February-ending fiscal year) and 67 times those estimates for fiscal 2003.

In a separate development, integration software maker

Tibco Software


also met analysts' expectations by earning 4 cents a share, excluding some charges.

But that company also brought its future numbers down from analysts' expectations. While analysts were expecting $86.75 million in revenue for the company's fiscal third quarter, Tibco said its revenue would be flat with the $83.7 million it reported for its fiscal second quarter Thursday. The company had not previously given guidance on its third quarter, though.

"I think it would be not prudent for me, or anyone else, to say things are better," said Tibco CEO Vivek Ranadive in an interview. "But I don't think things are getting worse."