Shares in networking company Adaptec have taken a nose dive after the company announced a profit warning that wiped out almost half of its value within a few hours. Although the warning predicted a profit of around $25 million (#16 million) for the company's third quarter, ended 31 December, it fell well short of the $85 million (#43 million) Wall Street was expecting when the results are announced next week. Adaptec's share price plummeted from over $35 (#21) a share to around $21 (#13) with nearly 30 million shares trading hands as investors unloaded Adaptec stock. The company said revenue for the third quarter would be between $250 million (#153 million) and $255 million (#156 million). In the third quarter a year-ago, Adaptec reported net income after charges of $41.6 million (#25.5 million) on revenues of $251.7 million (#154.4 million). The company insisted that its warning was subject to change and blamed a weakness in the high-end desktop business, which according to a spokesman remained "flat". The company also laid some of the blame with sub- $1,000 (#613) PCs which reduced the demand for high end solutions, but pointed to its OEM business as a source of encouragement. "Our OEM business was up," said the spokesman. "In general we are disappointed with the quarter but this is a temporary trend that will resolve itself within three quarters." Adaptec's chief financial officer Paul Hansen, said the company had told analysts it did not see any improvement in financial performance in the first quarter of calendar 1998 from the quarter just ended. "The guidance that we gave is that you should expect to see our March results to be very similar to our December results," he said. "Therefore, being anything other than conservative is not prudent at this time."
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