ESpeed posts first ever quarterly profit

ESpeed posts first ever quarterly profit

Electronic bond trading platform eSpeed has rebounded from the terrorist attacks which decimated its headquarters and led to the loss of 180 employees when the World Trade Centre collapsed by posting its first ever quarterly profit.

For the fourth quarter, eSpeed reported a net profit of $7.8 million, or 14 cents a share, including one-time gains for insurance claims related to the attacks on the World Trade Centre. This compares with a loss of $5.2 million, or 10 cents a share, a year earlier. For the year-end 2001, the company reported a net loss of $2.6 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with a $27 million loss, or 52 cents a share in the preceding period.

Howard Lutnick, chief executive of eSpeed and Cantor, comments: "In less than four months, and in our first full quarter after the events of September 11th, we recorded $28.1 million in revenue leading to profitability far beyond our expectations."

He is raising forecasts for revenues in 2002 to $124 million, way above market forecasts.

Fully electronic volume for the fourth quarter 2001 was $5.2 trillion versus $4.4 trillion last year during the same period, reflecting an eight per cent increase. Total electronic volume was $7.2 trillion versus $9.9 trillion for Q4 last year, primarily due to the loss of electronic voice business following the forced closure of the Cantor Fitgerald voice broking operation.

Adds Lutnick: "Our future is extremely promising. eSpeed will continue to grow our core businesses while at the same time re-introducing products into the markets we serve and taking advantage of new opportunities to license our software."

He says the firm will look to generate further revenue from software licensing deals. TradeSpark, an online energy exchange built using eSpeed technology, earlier reported record fourth quarter trading volumes following the collapse of Enron. ESpeed generates commission revenues for every deal struck over the TradeSpark exchange.

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