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Restructuring costs Sybase

Sybase reports a $52.6 million loss in its third losing quarter in a row, largely because of a restructuring charge.

Sybase (SYBS), which recently fell from its rank as number-two database software vendor, today reported a $52.6 million loss for the third quarter, largely because of a restructuring charge.

The company posted a loss of 69 cents per share, compared to net profits of $1.1 million a year ago, or 2 cents per share. Revenues, meanwhile, rose to $250.2 million, up from $233.1 million for the same quarter a year ago.

The loss marks the third consecutive quarter the company has been in the red. However, without the restructuring charge, Sybase would have reported an operating profit of $600,000 for the quarter, up from $100,000 a year ago. That surprised Wall Street, which had estimated a 6-cent-per-share operating loss, according to First Call, a service that compiles a consensus of analyst estimates.

Mitchell Kertzman, Sybase chief executive and president, said the company has significantly reduced its expenses and believes that this quarter marks the first step toward improved financial performance. "We hope this quarter restores customer confidence," Kertzman said, referring to the increased revenues and a higher operating profit.

He said some customers have held off making purchases or issued smaller orders until they could gauge the company's quarterly performance.

Kertzman noted that Sybase's strategy is to emphasize its differences with competitors--number-one Oracle and number-two Informix. Specifically, he explained that Sybase products result in a distributed computing structure, while the competitors are concentrating on more centralized architectures.

Kertzman joined Sybase in September, following the ouster of Mark Hoffman. The Sybase management shakeup included not only Hoffman but also Dennis McEvoy, who left the Enterprise Business Group to join Verity as a vice president.