Press Releases & Coverage

SkillSoft Reports Preliminary Fourth Quarter Results; Revenue Expected to Meet or Exceed Previous Guidance of $39.5 to $40.0 Million

  • Customer Renewal Rate Improves from Q3
  • Year End Backlog Exceeds $100 million
  • Provides Fiscal 2004 Financial Outlook


NASHUA, N.H., March 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/
-- SkillSoft PLC (Nasdaq: SKIL), a leading provider of e-Learning courseware and Referenceware(R) for business and IT professionals, today announced preliminary financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter ended January 31, 2003. SkillSoft will report final results when the Company's independent public accountant, Ernst & Young LLP, has concluded its audit for the year ended January 31, 2003.

The Company expects revenue for the fourth quarter ended January 31, 2003 to meet or exceed the range of $39.5 to $40.0 million. As previously reported, the Company is anticipating its net loss, excluding restructuring charges, other merger related costs and a goodwill impairment charge, to be approximately $6.0 million, or $(0.06) loss per diluted share. The Company estimates that the restructuring charges and other merger-related expenses will be of comparable magnitude to the charges in the third quarter, which totaled $6.6 million. The Company is not yet able to estimate its goodwill impairment charge, but it does expect it to be substantial.

For the year ended January 31, 2003, the Company's dollar-weighted renewal rate was approximately 55% reflecting an improved fourth quarter as compared to the third quarter ended October 31, 2002. Although still below that of SkillSoft historical levels, the Company is working hard to improve the renewal rate over the next 4 quarters. Customers renewing their contracts upgraded their annual dollar commitment to the Company by an average of 128%. The Company also expanded its sales force, which grew to 199 at year-end.

At January 31, 2003, the Company's 12 month non-cancelable revenue backlog was over $100 million which is greater than 50% of the Company's expected revenue for the 2004 fiscal year. Additionally, SkillSoft has a very strong balance sheet, with over $120 million in cash and investments, and no debt.

"We are beginning to see the operational benefits of the SkillSoft-SmartForce merger," commented Chuck Moran, President and CEO. "I am also pleased, particularly in this economic environment, to enter the new fiscal year with over 50% of SkillSoft's forecasted revenue already booked for the year. This clearly reflects the strength of the combined company. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the scale of our product offering and depth of our sales force, which is unmatched by any competitor, delivers a comprehensive high-quality, content-focused learning solution to the market."

Outlook

For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2004, the Company is currently anticipating revenue to be between $185 and $195 million and earnings to be between $0.11 and $0.13 per diluted share, excluding restructuring charges and other merger-related costs. Net income per diluted share, excluding (in addition to restructuring charges and other merger-related costs) amortization of intangible assets and deferred compensation charges of approximately $0.11 per share and litigation expenses of approximately $0.10 per share, would be between $0.32 and $0.34 per diluted share. The forecasted revenue and pro forma net income numbers for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2004 are subject to adjustment as a result of possible changes to the Company's customer obligation accrual in connection with the pending restatement of the SmartForce historical financial statements; such changes could increase the Company's forecasted revenue by up to $12 million and its forecasted net income by up to $.02 per share.

About SkillSoft
SkillSoft is a leading provider of e-learning courseware and referenceware for business and IT professionals. SkillSoft products and services are designed to accelerate the ability of today’s workforce to master the business and technology skills required for competitive success. The company currently has more than 2,800 corporate customers worldwide and more than 4.5 million licensed users.
SkillSoft focuses on meeting the comprehensive business skills and information technology learning needs of professionals in Global 5000 organizations through a comprehensive range of content-focused, e-learning solutions, including:

Business Skills Library: More than 1,600 courseware and simulation titles encompassing professional effectiveness, management/leadership, project management, sales & customer-facing skills, business strategy/operations, finance, human resources, safety/health and financial services industry. Courses feature strong visual design; a focus on instructional objectives at the application and analysis levels; learner interactivity and reinforcement through RolePlays, SkillSimulations, and case studies; and pre- and post-course assessments with prescriptive learning capabilities.


IT Skills and Certification Library: More than 2,800 course titles encompassing software development, operating systems and server technologies, Internet and network technologies, enterprise database systems, web design, and desktop computer skills. The IT library also supports more than 40 certification programs.


ITPro and Business Pro Referenceware: More than 2,500 unabridged IT and business books and reports are available to online subscribers through SkillSoft’s subsidiary, Books24x7. A unique, patent-pending search engine gives subscribers the ability to perform multi-level searches.

SkillSoft customers include organizations such as: First Union, Clarica (Canada), Fluor Corporation, Verizon, U.S. Army, Deloitte Consulting, Raytheon, IBM, Internal Revenue Service, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Army National Guard, Dell Computers, Qwest, Department of Transportation, NEC America, British Telecom and Wells Fargo.

SkillSoft, SkillPort, RolePlay, Search-and-Learn, e-Learning for the Knowledge Economy, NetUniversity, and Accelerated Path are trademarks and/or servicemarks of SkillSoft Corporation. Books24x7.com and Referenceware are servicemarks of Books24x7, Inc. All brand names, trademarks, or registered trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

For more information, visit www.skillsoft.com.

SkillSoft, SkillPort, RolePlay, Search-and-Learn, Accelerated Path, and e-Learning for the Knowledge Economy are trademarks and/or servicemarks of SkillSoft Corporation. Referenceware is a servicemark of Books24x7.com, Inc. All brand names, trademarks, or registered trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

Safe Harbor

This release includes information that constitutes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any such forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results encompassed within the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include difficulties in integrating the organizations of SmartForce and SkillSoft, competitive pressures, changes in customer demands or industry standards, adverse economic conditions, loss of key personnel, litigation and other matters disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" in SkillSoft's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended October 31, 2002, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking financial information provided by the Company in this press release represents the Company's estimates as of March 10, 2003. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's estimates to change. However, while the Company may elect to update this forward-looking financial information at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. This forward-looking information should not be relied upon as representing the Company's estimates of its future financial performance as of any date subsequent to the date of this release.

CONTACT:
Tom McDonald
Chief Financial Officer
SkillSoft PLC
603-324-3000, ext., 4232


Investors
Michael Polyviou or Kirin Smith
FD Morgen-Walke, for SkillSoft PLC
212-850-5600