Dun & Bradstreet Declines Most in Five Months After Earnings

Dun & Bradstreet Corp. declined 4.8 percent, the most since August, after reporting fourth-quarter revenue that missed analyst estimates amid delays to its technology-upgrade program.

The provider of business-information and technology services said it had sales of $498.7 million in the three-month period ended Dec. 31, missing the average analyst estimate by 0.8 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Shares of the Short Hills, New Jersey-based company had risen to an almost one-year high of $84.97 on Feb. 3. The stock dropped to $80.22.

Dun & Bradstreet announced a technology investment program it calls MaxCV in February 2010, which it said would cost $130 million and be completed this year. It now says the project will cost $160 million and be done by the second half of next year. The company is also reorganizing its operations in Japan, it said in a statement yesterday.

“We view DNB as a ‘work-in-progress’ with payback from the company’s efforts to update its technology infrastructure, accelerate revenue growth and drive margin upside still at least a year away,” Peter Appert, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. who rates the stock “neutral,” wrote in a report today. “While we like the DNB business model and the proactive steps management is taking to solidify growth, a reacceleration in revenue and earnings growth is still several quarters away.”

Dun & Bradstreet is rated a “buy” by two analysts with eight calling it a “hold,” according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The average of four analysts’ 12-month price estimates is $83.50, 4 percent higher than the stock’s closing price today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joanna Ossinger in New York at jossinger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net

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