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Official Payments tanks on 1Q loss, CFO departure

Official Payments Corp. (Nasdaq: OPAY) crumbled Thursday after reporting a larger than expected losses for its first quarter, and losing its CFO.

Shares in the provider of electronic payment options to government entities were down 66 percent, or 11 1/8 to 5 5/8. The stock has fallen over the past months, though the company reported a narrower loss for its fourth quarter.

The company said its chief financial officer, Brian Nocco, is leaving the company to pursue other opportunites. Chief Operating Officer Michael Presto will oversee the company's financial operations on an interim basis while a search for Nocco's successor is conducted.

Revenue for the first quarter ended March 31 was $1.8 million, up 120 percent over revenue of $830,000 for the first quarter ended March 31, 1999.

Operating loss for the quarter, excluding the amortization of stock-based compensation, was $6.9 million. During the corresponding quarter in 1999, which did not have any amortization of stock-based compensation, operating loss was $124,000.

Net loss for the quarter ended March 31, 2000 was $8.9 million, or 42 cents a share. This compares to a loss of $121,000, or a penny a share in the previous year's first quarter.

The company said increase in revenue demonstrated business momentum, and it grew its client base by signing up states and municipalities, such as Minnesota and Spokane County.

Official Payments competes with Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU), the National Information Consortium (Nasdaq: EGOV) and BA Merchant Service.