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Belzberg widens fourth-quarter net loss to $10.9 million from $0.3 million

Tue, 03/16/2010 - 2:30pm
The Associated Press

Belzberg Technologies Inc. (TSX:BLZ), a provider of technology-based stock and options trading services, widened its net loss sharply in the fourth quarter as the company took big writedowns and was hit with lower revenues.

Belzberg reported late Tuesday it lost $10.9 million or 74 cents a share for the three months ended Dec. 31. That compared with a loss of $0.3 million or two cents in the same period a year earlier.

Total quarterly revenues fell 35 per cent to $7.9 million from $12.2 million.

"Belzberg's disappointing financial performance in 2009 reflects the difficult market conditions," said president and CEO Judith Robertson.

"Despite the important operational improvements to our products and service, we were not able to compensate for the revenue lost through lower volumes, price compression and competition. Our success in reducing operating costs was helpful, but was not sufficient on its own to return the company to profitability."

Since last fall, Toronto-based Belzberg has cut 20 positions, or 19 per cent of its workforce. The company has also imposed salary freezes for employees and cut pay for senior management.

In its fourth-quarter report, Belzberg said it booked non-cash charges of $7.8 million related to write-downs of intangible assets and tax losses and foreign exchange translation losses.

"Management is aggressively pursuing strategies to improve the company's financial performance," said Robertson. "Our recently announced reorganization will eliminate a further $1.4 million in annual costs and better position the organization. In addition, we continue to seek scale through partnerships and combinations."

For the full year, the company lost $16.5 million, compared with net earnings of $0.1 million in 2008. Annual revenues fell to $38.2 million from $41.8 million.

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