Aether revenue up even as loss grew in quarter


Aether Systems Inc., the Owings Mills-based wireless communications company, said yesterday that its losses widened even as revenue increased during the third quarter.

The company also said it took a $174.9 million noncash write-down on prior acquisitions and investments. It recorded a $12.9 million charge for inventory and inventory-reduction efforts, and a $18.2 million restructuring charge for closing or consolidating facilities and reducing its work force by 230 people during the quarter.

"Needless to say, it's an interesting time in the market right now, and what Aether's really been focused on is going from a New Economy company to a profitable company," said David S. Oros, the company's founder and chief executive officer.

Aether's operating loss excluding one-time charges nearly tripled to $44.9 million, or $1.10 per share, for the quarter, compared with $15.2 million, or 40 cents a share, for the third quarter last year.

The company's net loss including the one-time charges was $243 million, or $5.98 per share, compared with $107 million, or $2.80 per share, last year.

Revenue in the quarter, which ended Sept. 30, was $24.9 million, up from $16.2 million in the third quarter of last year.

The earnings were released after markets closed yesterday. Aether's shares closed at $8.25, up 25 cents.

"They met our expectations exactly to the penny," said Paul Coster, an investment analyst with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in New York, adding that Aether has done a good job of containing its expenses.

Aether's operating expenses in the third quarter declined to $53 million from $63 million during the second quarter, the company said.

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