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L&H takes quarterly charge in acquisition

Lernout & Hauspie reports a fourfold jump in revenues for the fourth quarter and a widening net loss as the company continues to expand.

Lernout & Hauspie (LHSPF) today reported a fourfold jump in revenues for the fourth quarter and a widening net loss amid the company continues to expand.

Lernout, a speech technology company with products ranging from small handheld devices to computers, reported a net loss of $9 million, or 59 cents a share, for the quarter ending December 31, compared with a loss of $2.7 million or 28 cents a year ago.

But excluding a one-time charge of $11.5 million for acquiring technology in progress from its Berkeley Speech Technology acquisition, the company would have reported quarterly net income of $2.5 million, or 14 cents a share, which is in line with analysts' estimates.

Lernout acquired Berkeley for $15.5 million in cash to increase its range of language and product offerings.

"The company was able to substantially increase its reoccurring revenues through its core licensing," said Gaston Bastiaens, president. "Secondly, there was an increase in [gross] margins, and our accounts receivables came down during the quarter."

For the year, Lernout reported a narrowing net loss of $7.9 million, compared with a loss of $14 million the previous year. Revenues for the year jumped to $20.3 million, up from $5.8 million a year earlier.

The company during the year signed up licensing agreements with Microsoft and Hitachi and moved the company into the black with its operating profits.

Revenues from licensing agreements increased 70 percent to nearly $5 million for the quarter compared with a year earlier. Engineering revenues from the company's core speech technologies soared nearly tenfold to $3 million for the three-month period over a year ago.