Actuate Sees Move Back Into Black

CEO Pete Cittadini also gives an upbeat outlook on Actuate's push to develop an open-source BI reporting tool.
Business intelligence software firm Actuate expects to return to profitability when it makes its fourth-quarter results available next month.

Actuate, which specializes in enterprise reporting software, foresees quarterly sales exceeding its previous guidance of between $24 million and $24.5 million, though the company didn't provide new estimates. Actuate also expects earnings to come in at better than the previous forecast of $0.01 per share. The company's fourth-quarter earnings announcement is scheduled for Feb. 10.

Actuate CEO Pete Cittadini said the company wanted both investors and internal staff to know the progress of its cost-cutting efforts, which it carried out largely through workforce reduction. Layoffs, announced last year, impacted workers from almost every part of Actuate's operations.

"We told everyone we were going to take $10 million in costs out of the business," Cittadini said. "That opens up questions about what the health of the business was."

The company also wanted to clarify its financial status before attending a conference being held in New York by investment bank Needham & Co. this week. Excluding special items, Actuate had experienced 23 consecutive profitable quarters prior to the third quarter of 2004.

Cittadini also provided an upbeat outlook on Actuate's push to develop an open-source BI reporting tool, an effort the company is carrying out with open-source tools group the Eclipse Foundation.

Actuate joined Eclipse and took the lead on the Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT) project in August. BIRT's goal is to deliver a free, open-source tool that can enable J2EE applications with built-in reporting capability.

"We're very optimistic that during the first half of the year, code will be complete and adding value to J2EE developers around the world," Cittadini said. "I'd like it to be downloadable sooner rather than later, so we're pushing engineering a lot" and seeking partners that can help with the effort, he said.

Cittadini added that he expects the BIRT-related open-source offerings to hit their stride in 2006 and 2007.