NSI profit rises on increase in Net name registrations

Network Solutions says its quarterly profit more than doubled because it registered more Web sites, causing its shares to rise more than 14 percent.

HERNDON, Va.--Network Solutions, which runs the database that manages Internet addresses, said fourth-quarter profit more than doubled because it registered more Web site names. Its shares rose more than 14 percent.

Net income rose to $9.02 million, or 25 cents a share, from $3.72 million, or 11 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue more than doubled to $75.9 million from $31.3 million.

Network Solutions (NSI) registered a record 1.6 million new Internet addresses in the quarter, more than twice as many as a year earlier. The company had registered a total of 8.1 million addresses as of Dec. 31, 1999.

"The company has proven that there is significant momentum in their business," said Robert Fagin, an analyst at Bear Stearns, who has a "buy" rating on the stock. "One of the reasons that investors are attracted to it is because it scales directly to the growth of the Internet."

At the 1 p.m. PST close of regular trading, NSI shares were up $36.31 at $292.31; earlier they reached $300.75. Before today, they were up 18 percent this year.

"We're trying to leverage the position we have in Internet identity," chief financial officer Bob Korzeniewski said. "We're trying to sell other things for the Web, especially for small businesses."

The company's profit beat the 23 cents average estimate of analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial.

Yesterday, NSI agreed to become the exclusive provider of Web page registration services on online sites run by CMGI's AltaVista.

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