FirePond posts strong revenue growth in 1Q

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FirePond shares scampered up 4 1/2 to 101 15/16 Wednesday after the company posted a first-quarter loss of $5.8 million, or 58 cents a share, on sales of $12 million.

FirePond (Nasdaq: FIRE) develops software that lets companies merge their e-commerce selling, customer relationship management and channel management strategies on a single, Internet-based platform.

There was no First Call consensus estimate for the Waltham, Mass. company this quarter.

The $12 million in sales marks a 67 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $5.6 million, or 56 cents a share, on sales of $7.2 million.

FirePond shares have set a torrid pace since its Feb. 4 initial public offering. After pricing at $22 a share, the stock stormed up more than $78 a share in its first trading day.

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, FirePond said it recorded sales of $34.3 million for the year ended Oct. 31 compared to $29 million in 1998. Net loss for 1999 was $28.9 million, much wider than the $9.0 million in 1998.

In the first quarter, FirePond posted product-related sales of $8.4 million compared to $2.9 million in the first quarter of 1999. Sales from software licenses were $3.9 million, compared to $1.6 million in the same period last year.

"We are excited by the reception to our initial public offering in February, and look forward to sharing our story with our new investors," said CEO Klaus Besier in a prepared release. "We are also extremely encouraged by the acceptance of the FirePond brand in the market and the industry forecast for market growth in the business-to-business e-commerce segment."

Robertson Stephens served as lead underwriter of its IPO with Dain Rauscher Wessels and SG Cowen serving as co-managers.