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Tibco turns profit on declining sales

The provider of business-integration solutions reports a small net profit, compared to a net loss in the same quarter last year.

Tibco Software reported a small net profit Wednesday, compared to a net loss in the same quarter last year. However, sales of the company's application-integration software declined.

The company reported a $3.4 million net profit, or 2 cents a share, on revenues of $74 million. A year ago, the company reported a net loss of $402,000 on $82.1 million. Sales in the fourth quarter of 2001 were $78 million. Tibco noted sales are traditionally lower in the first quarter, ended March 1, compared to other quarters because of the holiday season.

Tibco's stock traded lower after the announcement in after-hours trading.

Tibco competes with IBM, SeeBeyond, Vitria Technology and WebMethods in the market for applications that help companies integrate incompatible business software. The current buzz around Web services, an emerging set of technology standards led by Microsoft, IBM and Sun Microsystems that is supposed to make software integration easier, bodes well for Tibco, said Vivek Ranadive, the company's CEO.

"We are the only company that allows you to manage and visualize Web services," said Ranadive. "Most of the world as we know it runs on legacy applications such as SAP, PeopleSoft, and homegrown systems. We allow you to unlock those systems and convert them to Web services. We let you do something useful with Web services."

The spotlight that Web services shines on the software integration problem reinforces Tibco's message, he said.

"The world has come to our way of thinking," said Ranadive. "Most technology problems are integration problems. I believe our time has come."

Security analyst John Rizzuto of Credit Suisse First Boston said integration firms like Tibco stand to benefit from the attention that Web services is getting, but for many companies, the advantages of the technology are still unclear.

"Web services is a new concept, and there is a lot of confusion about the concept," said Rizzuto. "As with all new technologies, potential users understand that it's going to be beneficial to them at some point, but early in the life cycle it's not clear how."

The company said it remained confident it could meet Wall Street estimates of earnings of 4 cents a share on revenues of $82 million in second quarter. The company also reaffirmed estimates of between $330 million and $350 million in revenue and pro forma earnings between 16 cents and 20 cents a share for the fiscal full year of 2002.