Software vendor


(SY) - Get Report

on Thursday reported that revenue and earnings per share for the first quarter ending March 31 would be lower than anticipated, saying it was due to weak business conditions in the quarter's final week.

In a warning delivered after the closing bell, the company said it expects first quarter revenue in the range of $180 million to $185 million, about 7% to 10% lower than Wall Street's expectation of $201.26 million in revenue. Sybase, which focuses on mobile and wireless databases, now expects pro forma EPS of 16 cents to 20 cents, well under the consensus of 23 cents forecast by analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial.

Including restructuring costs and other items, the company said it will earn between 12 cents and 16 cents a share, according to generally accepted accounting principles.

"We saw numerous transactions deferred to future quarters as customers put IT purchases on hold with the increasing economic uncertainty," Sybase CEO John Chen said in a prepared statement. "It is no secret that our business is concentrated in areas that have been hit disproportionately hard by the economic downturn, namely financial services and telecommunications."

The news pushed the stock down $1.14, or 9%, to $11.59 per share in after-hours trading.

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Earlier in the day



warned that revenue would be a bit below earlier guidance and announced preliminary fourth-quarter earnings of break-even to a penny per share, according to generally accepted accounting principles.

Excluding items, the Fairfax, Va., company expects to report pro forma earnings of 1 cent to 2 cents a share; Wall Street had expected earnings per share of 2 cents.

WebMethods, a provider of integration software used to tie differing computer systems together, expects revenue for the quarter ended March 31 to range from $48.5 million to $49 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had projected revenue of $53 million. For the full fiscal year 2003, the company expects revenue of about $196 million, compared with consensus of $200.7 million.

Analyst Mark Verbeck of ThinkEquity Partners said the company's projection of $28 million in license revenues is about 9% below his expectation. Nevertheless, Verbeck remains fairly positive about the stock, noting that the company closed eight $1 million-plus transactions during the quarter, one of which was not recognized because of staggered recognition periods. ThinkEquity does not have an investment banking relationship with WebMethods.

Since its previous close, Web Methods has lost 75 cents, or 7.5%, and was selling at $9.25 a share in trading after the bell.