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Exult flat in debut

Exult priced at the bottom of its range and stayed there in its first day of public trading.

IPO shares of Exult opened Friday at 10 1/16 and closed regular trading at 10, the low end of its downwardly revised price range. The company, which allows firms to outsource their human resources departments through its Web-based service, lowered the terms of its offering twice.

An initial plan to offer 14 million shares at $14 to $16 a share was cut to an offering of 9 million at $13 to $15 each, and finally 6 million at $10 to $12 each.

Despite the amazing debut of ONI Systems (Nasdaq: ONIS) Thursday, it has been a volatile week for technology stocks. Many companies had to postpone or withdraw offerings.

The company had sales of just $4.9 million in 1999, but a net loss of $15 million. The company's revenue is also concentrated in one source; for the year ended December 31, about 84 percent of revenue came from its largest client, and the company only three process management clients, according to its filing with the SEC.

Among the company's investors are General Atlantic Partners, which owns 67 percent of the company, and BP International, a unit of BP Amoco, which owns 10 percent.

The company's top competitors include HR Logic , ADP (NYSE: AUD) and Administaff (NYSE: ASF) according to Hoover's Online.

Merrill Lynch is the lead underwriter. Bear Stearns and Robertson Stephens are co-managers.
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