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Ariba breaks even in 4Q

Ariba, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA) became the first B2B company to break even Wednesday, reporting fourth quarter results that topped First Call's expected loss of a nickle a share.

Shares in the business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform and network services provider closed up 0.06 to 127.06 Wednesday. Competitor PurchasePro.com reported a strong quarter yesterday, and Commerce One (Nasdaq: CMRC) reports Thursday.

Net loss for the quarter excluding non-operating charges was $1.1 million or a break even amount per share. During the corresponding quarter in fiscal 1999, the net loss was $4.6 million or a loss of 3 cents a share, excluding non-operating charges.

Revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000 was $134.9 million, up 67 percent from the previous quarter and up 687 percent from the same period last year.

Fiscal year 2000 revenue were $279.0 million, up 515 percent versus $45.4 million in the same period last year. Net loss for the fiscal year excluding non-operating charges was $29.5 million or a loss of 15 cents per share.

The company said the quarter's record revenue validates the strength of its B2B business model, and that during the year it increased our customer base 500 percent and deployed more B2B customers than any competitor.

In Ariba's third quarter, the company also easily topped estimates on both the bottom and top lines. Analysts were guessing the company could become profitable, but Ariba execs were restrained with their outlook.