Ventro Reports $451 Million 4Q Loss



E-marketplace pioneer Ventro Corp., which once ran market-leading trading exchanges like Chemdex and Promedix, continued a financial slide last quarter that has culminated in large losses for fiscal year 2000 and the resignations of the company's chief operating officer, its chief financial officer, and its VP of marketing.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Ventro reported net losses of $451.6 million compared with $15.3 million for the same quarter the previous year. For the fiscal year, Ventro reported losses of $618.1 million compared with losses of $48.6 million in 1999. Ventro blamed its fourth-quarter losses partly on $382.5 million in charges for the discontinuation of operations of Chemdex and Promedix, termination of 235 employees, restructuring charges, and the cost of writing off certain assets. Chief operating officer Robin Abrams, CFO James Stewart, and VP Martha Greer have notified the company they intend to leave by the end of the first quarter 2001.

David Perry, CEO and president, says the costs associated with restructuring the company as a marketplace services provider were less than the company anticipated in December and that left the company with enough cash to retire outstanding convertible debt.

The company says it soon will file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission to enable it to begin repurchasing $250 million in 6% convertible notes issued in March 2000. The purchase price for the notes will be $270 in cash per $1,000 principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest. The company is repurchasing the notes to reduce its annual interest expense and eliminate the need to repay or refinance the debt when it matures in 2007.

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