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CyberCash pulls ahead of expectations

The electronic-payments processor reports a loss of 46 cents per share in the fourth quarter--a bit better than Wall Street expected.

CyberCash, which process electronic payments for retailers both on and off the Internet, today reported a fourth quarter net loss of 46 cents per share on revenue of $4.4 million.

The per-share loss was 2 cents smaller than Wall Street anticipated, according to First Call. Revenue grew 120 percent from $2 million in the year-ago quarter.

CEO Bill Melton said in a statement that he had expected revenue to slow in the fourth quarter, as merchants focused their attention on holiday sales efforts.

But the strong showing of Internet merchants during the Christmas shopping season, Melton said, "increases our confidence that electronic commerce is no longer a dream."

The company's fiscal 1998 financial results loss of $2.15 per share on $12.6 million revenue were also better than expected. First Call's consensus estimate was a loss of $2.20 per share. Revenue from set-up fees and monthly service fees jumped 200 percent from the previous year and is now about 25 percent of total revenue, the company reported.

CyberCash's software acts as a link between merchants sending payments electronically, including Internet transactions, and credit card companies. Last April, CyberCash merged with ICVerify, which provides electronic payment systems to retailers, in an effort to capture fees in the traditional retail market and create a bridge for those retailers to move online.

In 1998, CyberCash also boosted the number of Internet merchants using its payment system, ending the year with more than 9,400, a 275 increase over 1997. InstaBuy, an electronic wallet service for Web stores, accounted for almost 10 percent of revenue.

During the year, CyberCash pursued the electronic check market, signing partnerships with Netscape, Oracle, Digital Cities, and NCR. Electronic checking contributed 5 percent of CyberCash's revenue for 1998.

Separately, CyberCash today released a new component of its online payment software to work with Microsoft's e-commerce software, Microsoft Site Server, Commerce Edition. CyberCash's new component is designed to make it easier for developers to integrate transactions into legacy systems.