West Earnings Down Following Attacks

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Outsourced-teleservices agency West Corp. has reduced its third-quarter earnings estimates because of clients halting outbound campaigns in light of the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. landmarks.

Third-quarter earnings are expected to be 21 to 24 cents per share, down from earlier estimates of 23 to 32 cents per share, the company said last week. Revenue for the quarter is expected to be $180 million.

West said its fourth-quarter estimates were affected as well, with earnings projected to be 28 to 30 cents per share, down from the company's earlier outlook of 31 to 34 cents per share. Fourth-quarter revenue is estimated at $190 million to $200 million.

A West executive said that the financial harm to the company resulting from the terrorist attacks would be temporary and that its core business remained sound. Inbound business has seen a reduction as well, but West expects volumes to begin rising toward normal in the fourth quarter.

West, Omaha, NE, operates 31 call centers and employs 25,000 people in North America.

Another teleservices agency, ICT Group, Langhorne, PA, also reduced its third-quarter earnings estimates last week because of decreased outbound calling in the aftermath of Sept. 11. ICT Group said its third-quarter earnings would be 12 cents per share below expectations and expected its revenue to be $4.5 million to $5 million below projections.

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