Sonicblue Posts Narrower Loss on Lower Expenses

Times Staff Writer

Sonicblue Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., a pioneering but financially troubled maker of digital audio and video gear, reported a narrower fourth-quarter loss, reflecting lower expenses.

Sonicblue's sales and profit margin both shrank, however.

With its cash reserves dwindling to less than $7 million, analyst Van Baker of Gartner G2 said Sonicblue must raise money quickly "to keep going."

Sales fell 16% from a year earlier to $67 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, and its net loss was $33.4 million, or 34 cents a share, from $52.6 million, or 57 cents. For the full year, Sonicblue lost $105.7 million, or $1.10, on sales of $272.1 million, down from a loss in 2001 of $756.2 million, or $8.81, on sales of $213.8 million.

The company, which declined to comment on its earnings, earlier announced plans to shed at least one of its three product lines to meet debt payments. No buyer has been announced.

One headache for Sonicblue is a copyright infringement suit filed by Hollywood studios and TV networks, which claim that the company's ReplayTV video recorders enable piracy.

Sonicblue shares did not trade Wednesday. They closed at 23 cents Tuesday on Nasdaq.

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