Wall Street analysts have long projected that the fourth quarter of 1999 would be Excite@Home's first in the black, and executives don't plan to disappoint investors. A cable modem service provider and the nation's largest high-speed Net access firm, Excite@Home will report its earnings next Thursday.
"We made a commitment when we went public, which was in July of '96, that we would hit profitability at the end of 1999," Excite@Home chief executive Thomas Jermoluk said today following a speech here to the Bay Area Council.
"We've stuck to that and we've met our commitments every single quarter on our revenue and profit objectives. I can guarantee you that we've met them again," Jermoluk said.
The profits, if realized, would seem to come at a good time for Excite@Home. Many investors and high-tech executives postulate that Wall Street will not continue to value Internet stocks at extremely high levels unless dot.com companies begin to make money. Many Internet companies continue to bleed red ink.
According to First Call, a company that tracks earnings estimates, the consensus among 17 Wall Street financial analysts who cover Excite@Home calls for a "break even" quarter with earnings per share of zero cents. But, privately, Wall Street insiders say some analysts expect a slim profit that would amount to more than zero but less than 1 cent. The estimates range from zero to 1 cent, according to First Call.
Last quarter the company posted a pro forma net operating loss of $4.2 million, or 1 cent per share, excluding expenses for amortization of goodwill and other intangible assets.
Most analysts projected Excite@Home would finish 1999 with between 1 million and 1.1 million subscribers. The company topped 1 million users in early December. It will release end-of-the-year customer figures next week.
Stock in Excite@Home finished nearly 5 percent lower at $40.56 at the close of regular trading today, after posting significant gains yesterday. Shares have traded as high as $99 and as low as $33.13 in the past year.