RealTime IT News


Even the washout in the Nasdaq is not likely to derail this week's IPO of Ixia. Why? Well, the company is in the marketplace of fiber optics. And so far, the industry has been on a tear.

The lead underwriter is Merrill Lynch and the price range is $10-$12 (the company intends to issue 5.5 million shares). The proposed ticker symbol is XXIA.

According to the company, Ixia is a provider of "high-speed, multi-port network performance analysis systems." Okay, what does this all mean? Yes, it is complex stuff. But here's a try: With the huge volume of Internet traffic, there has been the emergence of next generation network equipment. However, before using the equipment, it needs to be tested, which is what Ixia does. For example, with Ixia solutions, a company can measure the performance of a data communications system by simulating a large-scale network environment. The Ixia solution includes a chassis and at least one interface card - all connected to a network. Ixia can analyze both packet over SONET networks (packets of information are transmitted over high-speed optical networks) and gigabit Ethernet networks (high-speed local area networks).

The company has more than 170 customers; examples include Cisco, Nortel Networks, Broadcom and UUNet. And the growth rate is red hot. In 1998, revenues were $4.9 million and by 1999, they were $24.5 million. In the fist six months of 2000, revenues surged to $28.3 million. Net profits were $5.7 million.

But there are some danger signs. Perhaps the most interesting is the lock-up. Traditionally, employees, directors and officers are prohibited from selling their holdings for 180 days after the IPO. However, in the case of Ixia, the term is 90 days. In other words, this could put pressure on the stock price. After all, the average stock price for employees is 5 cents per share.

Despite this, the IPO is likely to have a decent pop this week. And, when the Nasdaq does come back, Ixia should also ride the wave.