RealTime IT News

Autobytel.com Loss Doubles on Higher Revenues

Auto sales site Autobytel.com recorded higher revenues but posted a net loss in the second quarter of $6.0 million, or $0.33 per share, compared with a net loss of $3.1 million, or $0.37 per share, in the comparable period a year ago.

Revenues for the quarter rose to $9.2 million, up from revenues of $5.4 million in the same quarter a year ago.

For the six months, revenues expanded to $17.2 million, up from revenues of $10.0 million in the first six months of the prior year. The net loss for the six months was $12.1 million, or $0.90 per share, compared with a net loss of $10.0 million, or $1.19 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

"Our second quarter growth reflects the record number of new paying dealers that joined the Autobytel.com network, as well as expanded revenues derived from new business sectors," said Mark Lorimer, president and CEO of Autobytel.com., in a statement accompanying the earnings report.

"During the quarter, we recorded a 12 percent sequential increase in the number of paying dealers in our network, from 2,560 to 2,865. In addition, we saw a 140% sequential increase in our international and value-added service fees." There was no word on when profitability may be attained.

According to Lorimer, the number of vehicle purchase requests sent to dealers in the second quarter reached a record 512,000, a 5 percent increase from the first quarter of 1999, and a 74 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago.

Separately, Autobytel.com announced a definitive agreement to acquire privately held W.G. Nichols and a related entity, Marine Information Technology, for $13 million in cash and 253,923 shares of common stock.

W.G. Nichols is the publisher of the Chilton series of automobile repair manuals, with over 180 titles in publication, and Marine Information Technology publishes repair and maintenance procedures for watercraft.

"This acquisition enables us to accelerate our penetration into the ownership portion of the vehicle life cycle, the cornerstone of which is service, repair and parts," Lorimer said.

Autobytel stock closed Friday at 17 and 15/16. Its 52-week high is 58.