Stock Watch: Scient Beats Estimates, Shares Rise

Scient Corp. (Nasdaq: SCNT) gained 4 7/16 to 22 5/8 Friday after the company, which helps businesses set up and run their Internet operations, reported stronger-than-expected results for the second fiscal quarter.

The San Francisco, California-based company said revenue for the quarter ended September 30th rose more than 230 percent from the same period a year earlier to $102 million. Income before items totaled $5.7 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, better than analysts’ prediction of 6 cents, and compared with a loss of $1.6 million, or 2 cents, in the year-earlier quarter.

Reports, however, said company officials were not as optimistic about future quarters, advising them to lower their earnings estimates. W.R. Hambrecht analyst Gregory Gore, who repeated a buy rating on Scient after the results were announced, also lowered his 12-month price target for the shares to 35 from 50. That still represents “substantial upside,” he noted in a research report.

“We are impressed with Scient’s ability to manage its business, and will continue to look for signs that dot-coms are no longer a constraint,” Gore wrote. “We believe that Scient is among a handful of companies that can successfully execute on the huge opportunity in the Internet services market.”

The company also added employees during the quarter, with total headcount rising to 1,868 on September 30th from 1,499 on June 30th. Scient is also opening an office in Tokyo. The new office is the company’s 14th branch.

During the quarter, Scient said, it helped 10 clients, including Epoch Partners, Boats.com, and online travel service outlet Hotwire launch online businesses during the quarter. It also worked with Chase Manhattan and Wells Fargo on new releases of their Internet divisions.

Ninety-four percent of the third quarter’s total revenue came from “enterprise or enterprise-backed clients,” said chairman and chief executive Bob Howe.

Scient, which recently announced plans to buy back up to $25 million worth of stock, saw its stock slide to a 52-week low of 11 3/8 on October 11th, as investors continue to shy away from companies that depend on the Internet for profits.

The stock set a 52-week high of 133 3/4 in March.

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

CRM Buyer Channels