Merge stocks drop as earnings disclosure is stalled

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Merge Technologies Inc. announced late last week the delay of releasing its Q4 financial results in order to complete the audit of the company's financial statements.

As a result of this announcement, the company’s shares fell as the preliminary revenue results for the quarter are reported to be below what was expected by Wall Street estimates. The company’s shares fell $4 (16 percent), and eventually closed close at $20.50 on the Nasdaq Friday, according to an AP report.
         
Preliminary Q4 financial highlights for Merge:

  • Sales contracts from the fourth quarter saw sequential growth, though certain large sales contracts entered into during the fourth quarter will be recorded as deferred revenue;
  • Revenues for the fourth quarter are expected to be between $23 million and $26 million. However, according to Thomson Financial in a survey of analysts, the expectation was that Merge’s Q4 revenue would hit close to $35.4 million; and
  • Cash flow from Q4 operations is reported to be approximately $17 million, and the resulting year-end cash balance is approximately $64 million.

“2005 was a year of significant change and growth for Merge Healthcare, including a strategic business combination with Cedara Software,” said Richard A. Linden, president and CEO, Merge Technologies, in a release. “As a result of the complexities associated with accounting for sales transactions in the fourth quarter, our year-end audit has not been sufficiently completed and, accordingly, we are not publishing complete financial results at this time. However, during the quarter we strengthened our core operations, further broadened our product portfolio for our customers, and improved our competitive positioning."