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Verity soars past 4Q estimates

Verity easily topped analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter Tuesday, raking in $11.6 million, or 32 cents a share, on sales of $30.4 million.

First Call Corp. consensus predicted Verity (Nasdaq: VRTY) would earn 15 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, Verity shares closed up 1/2 to 42.

The $30.4 million in sales represents a 58 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $5 million, or 17 cents a share, on sales of $19.3 million.

For the fiscal year, Verity pocketed $30.4 million, or 87 cents a share, on sales of $96.1 million compared to a profit of $12.1 million, or 44 cents a share, in fiscal 1999.

Including income tax gains, Verity made $14.2 million, or 39 cents a share.

"Throughout fiscal 2000, we continued to emphasize sustained growth and profitability," said CEO Gary Sbona in a prepared release. "We anticipate continued success based upon the momentum that we have achieved and the initiatives we are currently executing and we will aggressively pursue our responsibility of maximizing long-term shareholder value."

Last quarter, Verity topped analysts' estimates, earning $12.2 million, or 34 cents a share, on sales of $29.2 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 63 3/4 in March after falling to a low of 20 7/16 in August.

Six of the seven analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

Analysts are expecting a profit of 63 cents a share in fiscal 2001.