Ariba earnings zoom past Street expectations

The company, which sells business-to-business software, announces that its quarterly revenues are up 578 percent from the same period last year.

Ariba reported earnings and revenues today that blew past analyst estimates, a surprisingly strong performance that could reignite business-to-business stocks.

"Their performance was earth-shattering. It was eye-popping," said Eric Upin, an analyst with Robertson Stephens.

Ariba generated $80.7 million in revenues for the quarter that ended June 30, up 578 percent from the same quarter last year and up 101 percent from the previous quarter. Wall Street had expected the company to report revenues of $50 million to $55 million.

Meanwhile, the company posted a loss of $11.3 million, or 5 cents a share, excluding charges. That compares with a loss of $6 million, or 11 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago--excluding charges.

Analysts had expected the company to post a loss of 8 cents a share, according to a survey by First Call.

Ariba's software allows companies to conduct business-to-business transactions on the Internet.

"Our focus on delivering quality technology, deployment excellence, great partnerships and customer-driven results is once again manifested in our high-quality financial performance this quarter," Ariba chief executive Keith Krach said in a statement. "We doubled our revenue from last quarter, signed more than 100 new deals and deployed more than twice as many customers as last quarter."

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company's new customers included BMW, Bank of America and Bethlehem Steel. The new partnerships ranged from an alliance with Anderson Consulting to one with American Express.

During the quarter, the company also announced plans to build out its commerce services by acquiring SupplierMarket.com for $581 million.

Ariba's strong quarterly performance demonstrates that the business-to-business industry is here to stay, Upin said.

"This shows the industry is very real and it's a wide open field," Upin said. "The market is beyond red hot. It's white hot."

Upin added he expects that tomorrow Ariba's stock will build on its strong performance today and will help lift the sector overall.

"I think this will help reignite B2B stocks, and I expect Ariba's stock will be up substantially tomorrow," Upin added.

Ariba soared nearly 300 percent on its first day of trading last year.

Today, it closed up $12.38, or about 14 percent, to $103.50. And in after-hours trading, the stock jumped nearly 11 percent to $114.75, according to Island/ECN.

Ariba, like other business-to-business stocks, tumbled this spring as many technology stocks lost favor with Wall Street. Many business-to-business stocks were hit especially hard.

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