Stock Watch: Q3 Loss Sends Ventro Lower

Ventro Corp. (Nasdaq: VNTR) fell 1 23/32 to 4 7/32 Friday after reporting a third-quarter loss and announcing plans to seek buyers for its two main e-marketplaces.

Ventro said it lost $7.63 million, or $1.69 per share, in the third quarter. The loss before items of $35.3 million, or 78 cents per share, beat analysts’ estimates for an 81 cent loss, but was wider than the year-earlier loss of $14 million, or 59 cents.

Transaction volume for the company’s marketplaces totaled $29.3 million in the quarter, up 245 percent from the 1999 third quarter.

Ventro said it decided to concentrate on getting revenue from providing technology and services, rather than operating marketplaces, and hired a financial adviser to help it find buyers or partners for its Chemdex and Promedix e-marketplaces.

“Our increased focus is to identify and develop new technology and services for marketplaces, whether partly owned by Ventro, or owned and managed by other companies,” said chief executive officer David Perry.

“We expect that our technology and services, which will power Ventro’s six marketplaces, as well as future customers, will be the core of the Ventro business model as we move forward,” Perry said.

Chemdex, which serves the pharmaceutical industry, added four customers during the quarter, bringing the total to 144. Chemdex also signed letters of intent to serve seven global pharmaceutical and consumer products companies, including Procter & Gamble. On the supplier side, Chemdex signed medical device maker Becton, Dickinson & Co., as well as 10 other new members, for a total of about 2,200 suppliers.

Promedix, which serves the specialty medical products industry, added 28 new contracts during the quarter.

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