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Tech Industry

Blaze, BreezeCom IPOs get warm reception

Blaze Software closed up 11 3/4, or 73 percent, to 27 3/4 Thursday in its initial public offering.

Blaze (Nasdaq: BLZE), whose products help companies personalize their e-business interactions, is expected to do well based on comparison with similar offerings.

"This is similar to FirePond (Nasdaq: FIRE), Witness Systems (Nasdaq: WITS), Extensity (Nasdaq: EXTN), and all these companies that manage relationships with consumers have been doing well," said Kenan Pollack of IPO Central.

Though the company's losses have grown over 1998's, revenue remained almost flat. For the year ended March 31, net loss was $5.8 million on revenue of $9 million. In 1998, net loss was $3.6 million on revenue of $4.4 million.

Blaze said it receives a significant portion of total revenues from a small number of large orders from its top customers. Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) accounted for 25.2 percent of total revenue for the nine months ended December 31, 1999.

The company said its Blaze Advisor Solutions Suite must be constantly updated in order to work with currently popular software programs such as systems from Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL), PeopleSoft (Nasdaq: PSFT), Siebel Systems (Nasdaq: SEBL) and SAP (NYSE: SAP).

If Blaze doesn't keep up with software advances, potential competitors, such as BroadVision (Nasdaq: BVSN), IBM (NYSE: IBM), Oracle and SAP may bundle their products, thereby discouraging the purchase of theirs.

Blaze also competes with vendors of application software for interactive commerce, such as Art Technology Group (Nasdaq: ARTG), Computer Associates (NYSE: CA), ILOG (Nasdaq: ILOG), Net Perceptions, (Nasdaq: NETP), Trilogy Software and Versata (Nasdaq: VATA).

The offering, underwritten by Robertson Stephens, will leave about 21.3 million common shares of Blaze outstanding.

BreezeCom (Nasdaq: BRZE) closed up 4 13/16 to 39 13/16 in its debut.

The company, which makes wireless network access equipment for broadband Internet and intranet connections priced 4.5 million shares at $20 each, well above their $15 to $17 price range.

The IPO of the Israeli-based company is being underwritten by CIBC World Markets.

For 1999, Breezecom reported revenue of $44.8 million, compared to $33 million in 1998. It has also been racking up profit; 1999's gross profit was $22.1 million, compared to $15.1 in 1998.

BreezeCom's top competitors are 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS), Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Lucent (Nasdaq: LU).