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Vignette to meet earnings estimates

The e-business software maker says it will meet estimates for the first quarter because of cost-cutting moves it made earlier this year.

    E-business software maker Vignette said Monday it would meet estimates for the first quarter, courtesy of cost-cutting moves made in January.

    Shares in the maker of content management software ended the regular session up 32 cents, or more than 8 percent, to $4.19 on the Nasdaq. Vignette's software helps companies with content management, customer sales channel integration and online marketing.

    In January, Vignette plunged on a weak first-quarter outlook. The company also announced layoffs and a broad restructuring plan to cut costs.

    Because of those measures, management said the company will be able to meet estimates for the first quarter. "We saw the downturn early and we proactively addressed it," Chief Executive Greg Peters said on a conference call with analysts.

    Vignette expects revenue of about $90 million, slightly more than the First Call consensus estimate of $82.98, but less than the $100 million it had forecast for itself in January. Analysts had lowered projections for Vignette following profit warnings from other e-business software companies.

    The company said it sees a loss of a penny per share excluding onetime charges, in line with the company's earlier projections, and a penny better than First Call's estimate for a loss of 2 cents a share.

    Onetime charges in the first quarter include a restructuring charge of $49 million and an investment write-down of $37.8 million.

    Peters refused to give Vignette's fiscal 2001 projections or answer questions on the conference call about whether the company would push back its breakeven date (the second quarter). Peters said he will give those numbers in an April 25 conference call.

    But he remained bullish that the economic slump is actually helping Vignette in the long run. "We have more customers and revenue than any of our competitors," Peters said. This is an "opportunity to gain market share and further distance ourselves."

    Vignette's competitors include Interwoven and Documentum, which have also been suffering amid the downturn.