MarchFIRST Sinks on Q4 Loss

MarchFIRST (Nasdaq: MRCH) was down 84U.S. cents at $1.66 early Tuesday after the Internet consultant reported a bigloss for the fourth quarter ended December 31st, and said it expects a lossfor the first quarter of this year as well.

“We continued to see demand slow throughout the fourth quarter,” saidchairman and chief executive officer Robert Bernard. “We believe our clientsare committed to their strategic business initiatives, yet concern over therecent economic slowdown has caused them to spend cautiously.”

The company reported revenue of $213.5 million for the quarter, a lossbefore charges and other costs of $73.2 million, or 40 cents per share, anda net loss of $6.8 billion, or $37.09 per share.

The net loss for the latest quarter included accounting charges to eliminateassets “impaired as a result of the dramatic market shift and economicslowdown, including the dot-com collapse,” as well as a charge to coverrecent job cuts.

MarchFIRST said it expects another charge of about $130 million tofirst-quarter earnings, to cover the balance of the costs for restructuringand job cuts. The company expects a loss of 22 to 31 cents per share onrevenue of $190 million to $215 million for the quarter.

The company recently cut 2,100 employees, closed its Montreal, Canadaoffice, consolidated its office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and canceledplans to open in New York City and San Francisco, California.

The moves, along with other cost-cutting measures, should save some $300million to $400 million a year, the company said. MarchFIRST said it expectsto reduce capital spending to about $15 million this year from $173 millionlast year.

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