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Earnings Roundup; Getty Images 4Q loss widens

    Getty Images Inc. (Nasdaq: GETY), the e-commerce provider of imagery and related products and services, said Wednesday its net loss widened to $19.8 million in its fourth quarter, but sales were above expectations due to the company's increasing e-commerce prowess.

    Shares were up 2 11/16 to 49 5/16, or 6 percent. The company is being increasinly viewed as a hidden "dot com."

    Driven largely by e-commerce growth, sales for the quarter exceeded expectations, up 60 percent over the fourth quarter of 1998 to $79.9 million.

    Sales for 1999 increased 34 percent over 1998 to $247.8 million. Excluding all acquisitions in 1999, sales in the fourth quarter grew more than 25 percent and sales for 1999 grew 23 percent, both on a currency neutral basis.

    In the quarter, Getty Images improved its position by acquiring its primary competitor, The Image Bank. The results include $8.7 million of sales from The Image Bank, which was not e-commerce enabled prior to its acquisition by Getty Images on November 24, 1999.

    The migration of the company's business from an analog to an e-commerce platform showed continuing momentum, with e-commerce sales accounting for 34 percent of total sales in the fourth quarter, more than double the 15 percent of total sales in the same period of 1998.

    The company generated EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, exchange gains/(losses), depreciation and amortization) from its business-to-business operations of $15.2 million in the fourth quarter of 1999, an increase of 43 percent over the fourth quarter of 1998.

    In other earnings news:

  • Topjobs.net plc (Nasdaq: TJOB) said third quarter loss was 75 cents a share, much wider than the 51 cents a share predicted by First Call consensus.

    Shares were down 1 7/8 to 12 5/8.

    Revenue for the third quarter grew 231 percent to $2.4 million, up from $445,123 during the comparable prior year period. On a sequential basis, revenue grew by 53 percent.

    Net loss for the third quarter was $7.5 million, compared to $1.2 million during the corresponding period in 1998. Net loss was 75 cents a share for the third quarter.

    The company also reported exponential growth in key operating metrics for web site, with a 379 percent year on year increase in the number of unique visits to the web site.

    During the quarter, the company discontinued operations in the U.S., which resulted in a one-time write-down of goodwill in the amount of $675,712. It also spent heavily on advertising to strengthen its brand in the UK, Ireland and Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and The Netherlands.

  • Cheap Tickets, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTIX), a provider of discount travel products, reported earnings of 3 cents a share, beating First Call's expected profit by a penny.

    Shares fell 7/16 to 17 1/4 following the news.

    The company's revenue was $66.4 million for the fourth quarter, up from $40.1 in 1998's comparable quarter. The company also turned around 1998's fourth quarter loss of $409 000, to bring in a profit of $807 000.

    Year-end results showed revenue of $3.4 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 1998. Net income for the year was $7.6 million, compared to $1.1 million in 1998.

    "We are exceptionally pleased to see our Internet business explode," said Sam Galeotos, Cheap Tickets' president and COO in a press release which reported the company's metrics, but did not mention earnings. "Our Internet gross bookings last month reached a landmark 38 percent of our total bookings," he said.

    Cheaptickets.com competes with other travel sites Expedia, (Nasdaq: EXPE), Preview Travel (Nasdaq: PTVL), Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) and Lowestfare.com.

  • Musicmaker.com (Nasdaq: HITS - news) a provider of custom music CDs and digital downloadable music on the Internet, said revenue in its fourth quarter would be up 300 percent.

    Shares were down 7/32 to 5 1/32.

    Net revenue results for the quarter ended December 31, 1999 were about $787,000. Though small, the figure is up 300 percent over third quarter revenue. Cash at the end of the quarter was about $58 million.

    Official results for fiscal year ended December 31, 1999 will be released on February 24, 2000. First Call is expecting a loss of 51 cents a share.