Micros reports loss, deal to buy German company

Acquisition expected to help in world market

January 26, 2001|By Eileen Ambrose | Eileen Ambrose,SUN STAFF

Columbia-based Micros Systems Inc. said yesterday that it has agreed to buy a German company that makes electronic cash registers for restaurants. Micros also reported a loss of nearly $1 million for the second quarter.

Micros, which provides information systems to the hospitality industry, will acquire Indatec GmbH & Co. KG for an undisclosed amount of cash.

After the stock market closed yesterday, Micros reported that it lost $964,000, or 6 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $80.1 million in its second fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 31. That compares with an $8.6 million profit, or 48 cents a share, on revenue of $102.7 million in the second quarter the year before.

The company said it posted a $300,000 profit for the quarter, excluding certain after-tax expenses, such as the purchase of Hospitality Solutions International, and negative currency exchange.

The industry, whose business skyrocketed in 1999 as companies updated their systems against a possible year 2000 computer bug, hit a slowdown in demand last year, said Matthew Kempler, an equity analyst with Sidoti & Co. in New York. Micros also has been hurt by the slowdown of the economy, he said.

Micros managers said they expected revenue in the third quarter to reach $87 million to $89 million and a profit of $1.2 million to $1.5 million. That is less than Wall Street has been anticipating, Kempler said.

For the first six months, Micros lost $1.9 million, or 11 cents per share, on revenue of $154.1 million, compared with a profit of $13.7 million, or 78 cents a share, on revenue of $190.2 million for first two quarters in 1999.

Micros stock gained 19 cents a share yesterday to close at $21.94.

The Indatec deal is expected to close within five weeks. The acquisition is expected to boost Micros' international sales, which account for 53 percent of its revenue.

Micros makes the hardware and software for sophisticated electronic terminals used by restaurants and for terminals used by hotels, casinos and others to track reservations, billing, catering and maintenance.

Indatec's product, geared for small restaurants, has fewer features and is less expensive than the Micros line, which has become costlier in Europe because of the weak euro, said Peter J. Rogers, Jr., vice president of investor relations for Micros.

Indatec's sales last year were about $5 million, and its revenue is expected to rise to $20 million over the next three years, Rogers said.

"Micros has done a great job of saturating the high end of the restaurant market. This is a product that gives them entree into the lower end," Kempler said. Another potential benefit of the acquisition is that as small restaurants grow, they may update their Indatec systems with one from Micros, he said.

Indatec, which has about 50 employees, will operate in Germany as a separate company. Indatec President Christoph Geissler will continue running the company and will become vice president of Indatec operations.

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