Shares of Manugistics Group surge after upbeat fourth-quarter forecast

Software firm will end its unpaid leave program

March 05, 2002|By Stacey Hirsh | Stacey Hirsh,SUN STAFF

Manugistics Group Inc. said yesterday that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenue would beat its forecast. The news pushed shares up as much as 22.7 percent during trading.

The Rockville software company also said it would end its mandatory unpaid leave program on March 17. The company had said in October that it was implementing the program, requiring all of its U.S.-based employees to take three unpaid days off every four weeks. It meant a 15 percent pay reduction for workers.

Greg Owens, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement yesterday that Manugistics was pleased with its fourth-quarter performance.

"We are confident in our ability to continue to take market share and increase revenue as we begin our new fiscal year," he said.

Shares rose 20.8 percent - $3.03 - to close at $17.60, after reaching as high as $17.88. Some 9.2 million shares changed hands.

Manugistics did not release any specific numbers yesterday for its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 28. Final results are scheduled to be released March 26.

In December, the company said it expected revenue between $72 million and $75 million, and an adjusted net loss of 5 cents to 7 cents per diluted share for the quarter.

Analysts were expecting an adjusted net loss of 6 cents per share and predicting revenue for the second quarter of $72.6 million, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

"I've felt all along that [Manugistics] was performing well," said Chris Rowen, a research analyst who follows Manugistics for SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in Atlanta.

Rowen said he wasn't surprised by the news or by investors' reaction.

"We've been promoting the stock," he said. "But it's been suffering from a lot of rumors that have been holding it back over the last couple of days, and we've been telling people to buy on the dips."

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