RealTime IT News

Has Autobytel Found the Accelerator?

Irvine, Calif.-based Autobytel Inc., a player in the online automotive game, found the gas pedal in its fourth quarter, reporting its first-ever pro forma profit of a penny a share on revenues of $20.5 million, up from $16.8 million in the same period a year ago.

Autobytel said fourth quarter 2001 income includes revenues from Autoweb, which was formally acquired last August after being announced in April.

On a fully diluted GAAP basis, the company posted a net loss for the fourth quarter of about $900,000 or 3 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $3.3 million or 16 cents a share in the year-ago period.

"We are very pleased that Autobytel delivered its first EBITDA profitable quarter on a pro forma basis, especially given the economic climate in 2001," said Jeffrey Schwartz, president and CEO.

Net revenues for fiscal 2001 were $71.1 million compared to net revenues of $66.5 million in fiscal 2000. Net loss in fiscal 2001 (on a GAAP basis) was $44.9 million or $1.84 per share compared to net loss of $29 million or $1.45 per share in fiscal 2000.

Still, based on the current economic conditions and the substantial reduction of the aggressive incentive programs that were launched by the auto makers following the events of September 11, Autobytel said it does not anticipate revenue growth in the first half of 2002, based on the fourth quarter 2001 run rate.

The company said it expects revenues to increase approximately 6 to10 percent for the full year above fourth quarter 2001 annualized revenues. Autobytel operates four Web sites -- Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, Carsmart.com and AutoSite.com.