Election Section

Sun says it should hit sales targets

By Brian Bergstein, The Associated Press
Friday December 07, 2001

SAN JOSE — Computer server maker Sun Microsystems Inc. said Thursday it is on track to meet sales targets this quarter but stopped short of giving specific guidance to Wall Street. 

Executives at the Palo Alto-based company said they still expect Sun to return to profitability in the quarter that ends in June. Orders in this second fiscal quarter, which ends Dec. 31, have been within forecasts, chief financial officer Mike Lehman said. 

“We feel in good shape to go hit our internal expectations,” Lehman said. 

Analysts are expecting Sun to lose 4 cents per share this quarter, excluding one-time events, on $3.1 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Sun amassed $5.1 billion in revenue in the comparable quarter last year. 

Sun’s comments figured to be examined closely because investors have been looking for any signs that the worst of the recent downturn could be over for the technology industry. 

Sun shares fell 42 cents, nearly 3 percent, to $14.15 on the Nasdaq Stock Market before the quarterly outlook was released. The stock was down to $14.11 in after-hours trading. 

Sun’s president and chief operating officer, Ed Zander, acknowledged demand is lower than it could be because of “gray market” equipment being sold off by defunct technology companies. 

But he said Sun is benefiting somewhat from the uncertainty surrounding the planned merger of rivals Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp. 

“Our company is lot stronger than it was in December 2000,” Zander said. “I couldn’t ask for a better lineup in products.”