Informix saw 33 per cent wiped off its share price after issuing a warning that revenue for its first quarter will be well below expectations.
The shares dropped last week by $8.50 to $17 on trading that was 10 times heavier than normal, after the company said that Q1 earnings would be as low as seven cents per share, instead of 14 cents per share as had been predicted by analysts.
In the same quarter of the previous year, Informix made a profit of $19.1 million, or 28 cents per share on turnover of $148 million. Informix said that first quarter turn-over this year will be between $200 million and $204 million.
Peter Morris, head of application partners at Informix UK, said that despite the revenue warning the company was still showing growth in licence sales. He added that performance was particularly good in Europe. 'The problem is in the US and we are taking action to put that right,' he said.
Morris said that in the past year the UK operation had doubled the number of direct sales staff and is now in the process of doubling the number of staff supporting channel sales.
Morris denied that Informix may reduce the number of Vars and dealers, despite admitting that it has 'more channel partners than any other database vendor'. He added that the ratio between indirect sales and direct sales was static over the year at around 60:40.
Informix' warning closely followed database rival Sybase's own warning that it will report a first quarter loss of between seven and 12 cents per share on turnover of $245 million. Sybase also said that chief operating officer David Peterschmidt had lost his post and would take up a consultancy role in the restructuring of the company.
Analysts suggested the warnings were an indication that the database market is starting to slow down. Informix' forecast triggered a share price fall at the company's two major rivals, Sybase and Oracle.
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