VerticalNet Reports Fourth Quarter and Year End Financial Results
HORSHAM, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 22, 2001--
Net Revenues Increase 18%; Long-Term Growth Strategy Emphasizes Supplier Enablement for Vertical e-Marketplaces and Strategic Sourcing
VerticalNet, Inc. (Nasdaq:VERT), the Internet's leading business-to-business e-commerce enabler, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2000. As a result of VerticalNet's December 19th announcement to sell the VerticalNet Exchanges segment ("NECX") to Converge, Inc., NECX's operating results have been reflected as discontinued operations and all prior periods have been restated. All comparative quarterly and annual information excludes the results of NECX.
Revenues for the fourth quarter increased sequentially by 18 percent to $40.7 million from $34.5 million in the third quarter, which represents a $32.9 million, or 424 percent, increase over the same period of the prior year. The Company's cash loss decreased to $28.5 million, or $(0.32) per share, from the prior quarter's cash loss of $29.9 million, or $(0.35) per share. Cash loss figures exclude non-cash expenses and other nonrecurring items. Consensus Street estimates for the fourth quarter include the operations of NECX; therefore, comparisons between the actual cash loss and consensus Street estimates are not appropriate.
On an annual basis, the Company's revenues increased 510 percent to $112.5 million from $18.4 million in 1999. Its cash loss for the year ended December 31, 2000 was $97.6 million, or $(1.17) per share. At December 31, 2000, deferred revenues were $57.3 million, and cash and marketable securities were $145.2 million.
On an annual basis, revenues from the VerticalNet Markets segment ("Markets") increased 467 percent to $104.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2000 from $18.4 million for the year ended December 31, 1999. At $34.6 million, fourth quarter revenues showed minimal increase over the third quarter. Compared to the prior quarter, fourth quarter revenues from e-enablement and e-commerce (which includes storefronts, E-Commerce Centers, asset remarketing, book and software sales, training classes and website development) remained relatively flat, while Markets revenue from advertising and services (which includes sponsorships, career services and education services) increased by 8 percent to $17.3 million. Revenue from Markets was below internal forecasts primarily due to lower-than-anticipated advertising sales as customers continue to evaluate the effects of the economic and market conditions on their operations.
VerticalNet Solutions ("Solutions"), the Company's B2B software division was previously included as a component of Markets' advertising and services revenues and will be accounted for as a separate segment in 2001. In the quarter ended December 31, 2000, Solutions generated $6.1 million in revenues, compared to $.9 million in the third quarter.
"Last year was an exciting and productive year for VerticalNet and I welcome the opportunity to lead this company on a clear path to growth and profitability as VerticalNet's new CEO," said VerticalNet President and CEO Mike Hagan. "Although our Markets unit began to feel the impact of a weakened economic and market environment in the fourth quarter, we made great progress in 2000, achieving more than 500 percent revenue growth overall. Additionally, our Solutions business unit performed well during its first full quarter of operations. I am confident that our ongoing work to align Markets more closely with high growth areas in our business will result in continued year-over-year growth."
Hagan continued, "VerticalNet's business model is unique because we are the only B2B company building supplier onramps connecting small and medium-sized businesses to public and private marketplaces. The core of our model is to identify, establish and grow complementary e-commerce enablement opportunities for businesses that maximize growth potential for VerticalNet and build value for our customers, business partners and shareholders. We expect to remain a consolidator in the B2B space and I am confident that VerticalNet has the right strategy in place to achieve growth and profitability."
"The sale of NECX enables us to focus on high-growth markets and leverage our core expertise to become businesses' first choice to fulfill their e-commerce enablement needs through VerticalNet Markets and VerticalNet Solutions," continued Hagan. "During 2001, I intend to focus on three primary objectives: expanding the value proposition behind VerticalNet Markets' transaction-enabled supplier networks, growing the presence and software offerings of VerticalNet Solutions, and cultivating high growth areas of our business while maintaining strict operational controls in order to achieve profitability in 2001."
In 2000, VerticalNet grew its Markets business unit by enabling small and medium-sized businesses to connect with their customers and industry partners through Internet-focused hubs, e-marketplaces, supplier enablement software and e-commerce-specific business communities. Catalysts for this business included Microsoft's agreement to drive network adoption for 80,000 small and medium-sized businesses over a three-year period, and the rollout of VerticalNet's transactable Storefront 2.1 product that adds shopping cart capability and payment options to companies' showcased online catalogs.
VerticalNet also announced performance metrics for its Markets business unit, which, as of December 31, 2000, had 17,162 customers. Live storefronts, including those seeded by Microsoft, increased by 39 percent in the fourth quarter to 18,732, which also represents a 545 percent increase over the same period of the prior year. In addition, as of December 31, 2000, Markets grew their live E-Commerce Centers to 433, representing an increase of 90 percent over the third quarter and 766 percent year-over-year. VerticalNet continued to aggregate high quality traffic during the year, with registered users increasing by 100 percent to 1.4 million at year-end, representing a significant increase in buying power within the business community. Additionally, 88 transactable storefronts were launched during the fourth quarter's Storefront 2.1 rollout.
"We are encouraged by the metric growth and strategic success we have achieved with VerticalNet Markets, and our title to one of the largest supplier networks in the business further underscores our belief that we have a compelling value proposition to draw qualified buyers and suppliers together in high volume," said Hagan. "However, in light of current economic realities, we are undertaking proactive steps to build upon the strength of Markets and align the business with VerticalNet's growth and profitability goals." Initiatives include:
-- Streamlining efficiencies between Markets and Solutions;
-- Driving revenue growth by focusing sales initiatives on the
most profitable and highest growth potential opportunities;
-- Enhancing VerticalNet's value proposition by rolling out an
enhanced suite of e-commerce enablement products this Spring
to enable e-commerce for more small and medium-sized
Consistent with its e-business enablement strategy, VerticalNet Solutions has made tremendous progress in 2000 capitalizing on the growing importance of direct materials procurement. With its growing customer base and strong partner and alliance relationships, Solutions has become a leading platform for global 2000 enterprises and industry consortia that want to build public or private marketplaces focused on direct materials procurement. Using VerticalNet Solutions' platform and applications, global 2000 enterprises and industry consortia can increase the value and effectiveness of their online direct procurement systems and reduce total cost of ownership of products and services.
As previously announced, the largest win for Solutions last year came from Converge, the world's leading high technology marketplace. Converge will use Solutions' technology to power its exchange platform. Additionally, through December 31, 2000, Solutions signed contracts with ten customers with contract values totaling approximately $125 million, $118 million of which were signed in the fourth quarter. Backlog as of December 31, 2000, which includes the Converge contracts, was approximately $114 million. Solutions' $108.0 million software and professional services contracts with Converge will be recognized over their 36-month terms.
According to Hagan, "We are pleased with the progress Solutions has made this past year, and its promising performance from its first full operating quarter point to the exciting growth potential in the opportunities that lie ahead. In addition to our customer wins, our agreement with Converge not only provides Solutions with exposure to the most influential technology companies, but also drives predictable software licensing and services revenue. Direct procurement is a large and complex process and VerticalNet's in-depth knowledge in electronics, multiple market mechanisms and inter-enterprise content aggregation uniquely positions us to be a leader in this fast-moving space."
In 2001, Solutions will focus on expanding the scope of its product offerings, deepening its partner and customer relationships, and evaluating opportunities to invest in technologies that will advance our leadership position in the direct procurement software market.
In addition to its agreement with Converge, fourth quarter Solutions wins included the following:
-- BT Ignite, a British Telecom worldwide venture, agreed to
resell Solutions' entire suite of software products for
building direct materials marketplaces throughout all of
Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and Africa;
-- MortgageRamp selected Solutions' technology platform to power
its full-service commercial real estate marketplace; and,
-- Sumitomo and Solutions agreed to develop an international
e-procurement alliance using Solutions technology.
Sale of NECX to Converge
In connection with the sale of NECX to Converge, VerticalNet incurred a one-time estimated charge of $82.0 million, comprised primarily of the difference between the book value of the NECX assets and the $215.0 million appraised fair value of VerticalNet's 19.9 percent interest in Converge, estimated losses incurred at NECX through the close of the transaction on January 31, 2001, and other related transaction costs. The investment in Converge is being accounted for using the cost method.
As of December 31, 2000, VerticalNet had $145.2 million in cash and marketable securities. Long-term debt was $22.7 million at year-end.
"Fiscal year 2000 was a period of rapid top-line growth for VerticalNet," said VerticalNet Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Gene S. Godick. "Moving forward, we expect to realize additional growth at roughly 100 percent annually through cultivating high-growth opportunities within our areas of expertise. VerticalNet's focus on these opportunities will be balanced with optimizing profitability and driving efficiencies in our business. Considering the recent strategic realignment of our business model in connection with the sale of NECX and the current market and economic environments, we expect to achieve cash profitability in the fourth quarter of 2001."
The Company's forward-looking guidance, which may be impacted by various economic and other factors, is as follows:
-- For the full year, the Company expects a cash loss in the
range of $60 to $70 million, or $(0.60) to $(0.70) per share.
VerticalNet expects positive cash earnings in the fourth
quarter of 2001.
-- For the first quarter, the Company expects a cash loss,
excluding restructuring charges, in the range of $28.5 to
$31.5 million, or $(0.29) to $(0.32) per share.
-- For the full year we expect revenue to be in the range of $220
to $230 million; we expect revenues for Markets to be in the
range of $145 to $150 million and for Solutions to be in the
range of $75 to $80 million.
-- VerticalNet expects total revenues for the first quarter to be
in the range of $34 to $37 million. For the first quarter of
2001, VerticalNet expects Markets revenues to be in the range
of $26 to $28 million and Solutions revenues to be in the
range of $8 to $9 million.
-- VerticalNet expects total revenues for the second quarter to
be in the range of $45 to $47 million.
-- The Company expects its cost restructuring initiatives to
generate savings of approximately $11 million on an annualized
basis and to result in a one-time charge of approximately $2
to $3 million, or approximately $0.02 to $0.03 cents per
share, in the first quarter of 2001.
Please see the Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information below for important information regarding the forward-looking statements made in this section and elsewhere in this announcement.