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&#039Net Earnings Roundup: Scient, BackWeb top estimates

E-business consulting firm Scient charged past Street estimates in its fourth quarter, posting a profit of $3.4 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $65.8 million.

Analysts were looking for a profit of 2 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, Scient (Nasdaq: SCNT) shares closed off 1/16 to 51 5/8.

The $65.8 million in sales marks a 600 percent explosion from the year-ago quarter when it lost $2.3 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $9.4 million.

For the year, Scient posted a loss of $2.6 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $155.7 million, up 650 percent from fiscal 2000 when it lost $4 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $20.7 million.

"By every measure, we believe this was a landmark quarter for Scient," said CEO Bob Howe in a prepared release. "In addition to reporting accelerated revenue growth and continued rapid expansion of our global business, we are also pleased to report profitability for the first time this quarter."

Scient shares moved up to an all-time high of 133 3/4 in March after bottoming out at 13 7/8 shortly after its initial public offering in May.

All 21 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

Among other Internet firms reporting earnings Wednesday:

  • BackWeb (Nasdaq: BWEB), a push software provider, reported a first quarter loss of $1.7 million, or 5 cents a share, on revenue of $8.9 million. Sales were up 117 percent from a year ago. The results beat estimates by a penny.

  • Cheap Tickets (Nasdaq: CTIX) reported a first quarter profit of $2.3 million, or 10 cents a share, topping estimates by 3 cents a share. Earnings were up from a penny a share a year ago. Revenue jumped 65 percent to $100.1 million. Gross bookings jumped to $156.1 million, with Internet bookings accounting for $60 million. The company added 1.6 million registered users, bringing its total to 4.2 million.

  • EarthWeb (Nasdaq: EWBX) reported a first quarter loss of 67 cents a share, compared to First Call estimates calling for a loss of 73 cents a share. Revenue for the quarter was to $13.7 million, up 266 percent from a year ago.

  • Modem Media (Nasdaq: MMPT) checked in with a first quarter loss of $3 million, or 13 cents a share, including goodwill costs related to an acquisition. The Internet services firm reported sales of $28.5 million, up 130 percent from the prior year period. Earnings before interest, taxes and amortization of goodwill (EBITA) was break even on a per share basis.

  • iVillage (Nasdaq: IVIL) reported a first quarter net loss of $25.2 million, or 85 cents a share, on sales of $20.8 million. Revenue was up 8 percent from the fourth quarter. iVillage reported an EBITDA loss of approximately $14.3 million. Wall Street expected a loss of 94 cents a share. >