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Progress Software sales regress from a year ago

Progress Software Corp. (Nasdaq: PRGS) reported Tuesday fourth quarter revenues and earnings that were down sharply from last year's results. The company blamed the strengthening of the U.S. dollar and an industry slowdown.

Shares in the e-business software company closed off 0.44 to 14.94 Monday.

"Our revenue figures were impacted by the continuation of the industry-wide slowdown in the traditional ERP (enterprise resource planning) market..." said president Joseph W. Alsop in a release. He added that new initiatives coupled with emerging technologies should alleviate some of the negative pressures.

Revenue for the quarter decreased 15 percent to $66.4 million, down from $78.1 million in the same quarter last year. Operating income was $8.9 million, down 45 percent over the same quarter last year.

Net income was $8.1 million, down 32 percent from $11.8 million 1999's fourth quarter. Diluted earnings of 21 cents per share were on target with First Call's consensus estimate, but down 30 percent from 30 cents a share in the fourth quarter of 1999.

Progress Software also reported results for the full fiscal year which showed metrics down over 1999. Revenue decreased 5 percent to $271 million. Operating income decreased 17 percent to $38.7 million. Net income decreased 4 percent to $33.7 million and diluted earnings per share decreased 4 percent to 85 cents a share.

The company said revenue and earnings were dented by the strengthening of the U.S. dollar during the fourth quarter and full fiscal year. On a constant currency basis, revenue in the fourth quarter decreased by 7 percent over 1999's, and revenue and earnings for the full fiscal year increased by 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Progress also reported that it has 9.6 million shares still available to buy back following its fourth quarter repurchase of about 634,000 shares for $8.5 million. Its cash and short-term investments at the end of the year totaled $158 million.