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CNT Can't Smooth It Out

Posts record Q4 revenues, but shares fall 16% on weak outlook. Will new products help?

Storage networking hardware and services firm CNT (Nasdaq: CMNT) yesterday posted record revenues for its fourth quarter 2002, edging slightly above Wall Street's expectations, but the company provided cautious guidance and said the current quarter's sales will be down 10 to 15 percent sequentially.

On its lowered outlook, CNT shares today fell 16 percent, closing at $6.09, amid a mixed broader market.

CNT's total revenue for the quarter ended January 31, 2003, was $61.5 million, up 10 percent from $55.9 million the previous quarter. It reported a net loss of $21.7 million, or 81 cents per share, which included a $1.7 million charge related to its layoffs last month and a $19.7 million tax adjustment. For the year 2002, CNT posted $211.5 million in sales, 13 percent over the $187.0 million in 2001 (see CNT Posts Q4 Results).

In late January, CNT said it would lay off 10 percent of its work force, about 80 employees, leaving it with a headcount of 692. The Minneapolis company says it expects to start realizing savings from those layoffs in the second quarter (see CNT Lays Off 10% of Workforce).

For the first quarter of 2003, CNT said it anticipates revenue between $52 million and $55 million, or down about 10 to 15 percent sequentially. The company blamed this on "normal first quarter seasonality," as well as uncertainty on IT capital spending.

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