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Razorfish hurdles fourth-quarter estimates

Razorfish Inc. (Nasdaq: RAZF) slipped past Street estimates in its fourth quarter Tuesday, earning $5.8 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $52.7 million.

First Call consensus expected the e-business consultant to earn a nickel a share in the quarter.

Razorfish shares closed off 3 1/8 to 51 7/8 ahead of the earnings report.

The $52.7 million in sales marks a stunning 1,015 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it earned $1.9 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $4.7 million.

For the year, Razorfish pocketed $19 million, or 21 cents a share, on sales of $170.2 million compared to a profit of $7 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $13.8 million.

Including a series of merger-related costs and non-cash compensation charges, Razorfish lost $23 million, or 26 cents a share in the quarter. For the year, it lost $14.5 million, or 17 cents a share.

"Razorfish finished 1999 on a remarkably strong note, once again demonstrating that we are successfully executing our growth strategy, hiring the best people, and delivering a unique and outstanding service offering," said CEO Jeff Dachis in a prepared release.

Separately, chief financial officer Larry Begley resigned and will be replaced by Sue Black on an interim basis.

Last quarter, Razorfish topped analysts' estimates, pocketing $900,000, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $19.1 million.

Razorfish shares moved up to a 52-week high of 56 15/16 earlier this month after falling to a low of 12 1/4 in August.

All 10 analysts tracking the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.