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Netopia misses 4Q forecasts by wide margin

Financing problems among customers hammered another DSL-related company in the September quarter.

After market close Wednesday, Netopia (Nasdaq: NTPA) reported a fiscal fourth quarter net income of $801,000, or 4 cents per share, excluding special charges. That was far below the 17-cents-per-share profit predicted by First Call's survey of eight analysts for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Including amortization and one-time events, Netopia -- which sells DSL equipment to small and medium-sized businesses -- lost $5.3 million, or 30 cents per share.

Fourth quarter revenue increased 75 percent year-over-year to $23.6 million.

The company sees fiscal 2001 revenue rising 50 percent, although it expects the first quarter to be no better than break-even, on sequentially flat revenue growth. First Call consensus had been calling for first quarter earnings of 15 cents per share.

"We did not achieve our goals," said Alan Lefkof, president and CEO. "The external financing environment for service providers was the key factor contributing to a revenue shortfall."

Netopia is the second DSL-related firm in two weeks to blame shaky client finances for hurting the quarter's performance. Last month, DSL service provider Covad Communications (Nasdaq: COVD) reported disappointing third quarter results. Covad -- one of Netopia's largest customer -- got a new CEO this week.

Demand for DSL remains strong, Netopia said.

For the full fiscal 2000, Netopia earned $786,000, or 4 cents per share. >