Digital printing systems maker

Nur Macroprinters

(Nasdaq:NURM) yesterday released a profit warning for the first quarter of 2001.

The company expects first quarter revenues of just $31 million, 44% more than in the parallel quarter in 1999 but 20% less than revenues in the fourth quarter of 2000, which totaled $39.7 million.

Nur had beat forecasts in the fourth quarter. But several days ago investment house

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US Bancorp Piper Jaffray

(Nessuah Zannex) estimated that Nur is unlikely to escape the general economic slowdown.

The bottom line isn't sparkling either. Nur now expects to break even in earnings per share in the first quarter, compared with earnings of 18 cents per share in the first quarter of 2000. This is especially disappointing considering that Nur posted earnings of 26 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2000, and given that the company will probably post a loss per share due to restructuring costs of $2.5 million that will be reflected in the current quarter.

While Nur has announced the restructuring, the executive today said that R&D expenses are not going to be slashed and that the company is going to focus on upgrading its systems, including training workers and product quality control.

At any rate, today the company placed more emphasis on the past and its 2000 results than on growth forecasts for 2001.

"Our sales in the United States have been strongly affected by the current economic uncertainty. But we believe that this situation is only temporary, and does not reflect a structural change in our industry," said Nur President and CEO Erez Shachar.