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Keane Sells Help Desk Unit

Boston information technology consultancy Keane Inc. is selling its help-desk business unit, including it technical support center in Kirkland to an unspecified "global leader in technical support services." The unit employs a combined 1,000 people.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Keane said it expects an unspecified gain on the sale, scheduled to close this month.

The help-desk divestiture and the restructuring represent about $52 million in annual revenues, Keane said.

The divestiture follows a strategic planning process in which executives decided the company will focus on three areas: business innovation consulting, e-commerce services and application development and management outsourcing.

"A major objective of our recently completed strategic planning process was to increase our business focus to provide greater clarity and value to our employees, customers, and shareholders," President and CEO Brian Keane said.

The technical support business "provided minimal synergies with our core business," he said.

CFO John Leahy said the divestiture positions Keane's remaining business units to be profitable in 2001.

Keane is profitable, earning $8.3 million on $219.7 million in revenues during the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Keane revenues will be in the range of $218 to $219 million, higher than previously expected, with earnings-per-share of 13 cents prior to the restructuring charge. The company will release its fourth-quarter and year-end earning Feb. 14.

Keane anticipates fiscal 2001 revenue in the range of $880 to $920 million, with earnings per share of 63 to 67 cents. First-quarter revenues will be in the range of $208 to $212 million, with earnings per share of 14 to 15 cents.

*David Aponovich writes for boston.internet.com.