The quarter’s primary expense was EarthLink’s $300 million purchase last month of OneMain.com, a Virginia ISP with 762,000 subscribers. EarthLink estimates it will have 5 million subscribers by the end of the year.
“Frankly, the investment community would like to see more growth,” said Fred Moran, head of Internet research at Jefferies and Co. “The 5 million subscribers is what we would consider a conservative number, very achievable.
“We still like EarthLink long term, but we’re cautious short term given the volatility of Internet stocks,” he said.
EarthLink said it had 3.69 million subscribers at the end of the quarter, a 47 percent increase in its membership from a year ago. Of those, about 80,000 were customers of its high-speed Internet services, a 78 percent jump from the first three months of 2000.
Atlanta-based MindSpring Enterprises bought Earthlink, formerly based in Pasadena, Calif., last year. The company still has some operations in Southern California.
BACK TO TOP
Ralston Purina Posts Modest Gain
Pet food maker Ralston Purina Co. said profitability improved and international sales grew in its fiscal third quarter. The company’s earnings fell shy of Wall Street estimates. The St. Louis-based maker of Puppy Chow and Cat Chow reported earnings of $64.3 million, or 22 cents per diluted share. Analysts on average had expected earnings of 23 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.
In the 1999 third quarter Ralston Purina had pro forma earnings from continuing operations, before unusual items, of $63.2 million, or 20 cents a share. The company said pro forma comparisons were necessary because Ralston Purina spun off its battery products business in April.
Ralston Purina shares were near their 52-week low on Wall Street.
Sales in the quarter rose 28 percent to $668.3 million from $650.1 million a year ago.
The company said sales in the North American pet foods division were flat in the third quarter, while profitability rose 7 percent on lower ingredient costs.
International pet food sales increased 11 percent, while profitability jumped 36 percent.
The company said higher profitability in the quarter was largely offset by lower equity earnings from its investment in Interstate Bakeries Corp.
One Wall Street analyst cited by Reuters characterized the results as solid and said it appeared as if Ralston-Purina fared well despite the introduction into supermarkets of Procter & Gamble Co.’s premium pet food brand, Iams.
BACK TO TOP
Sales, Profits Up at Starbucks
Starbucks Corp. reported a 31 percent gain in sales and a 42 percent increase in profits in the third quarter. Starbucks’ net profits in the quarter increased to $34.9 million, or 18 cents per share, compared with $24.6 million, or 13 cents per share, in 1999. The results matched estimates of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial.
Revenues jumped to $556 million, up from $424 million in the same period a year ago.
Starbucks also announced that it has raised the number of new stores it plans to open this year from 750 to 900 worldwide. The chain now has 3,100 stores.
For the nine months ended July 2, the company earned $93 million, or 48 cents per share, on sales of $1.6 billion. That compares with profits of $69 million, or 37 cents per share, on sales of $1.2 billion for the first nine months of 1999. BACK TO TOP
Texaco Profits Double