Optical/IP Networks

Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing

For all of Cogent Communications Inc.'s bragging about advance customer orders and incoming investments, the company is losing lots of money and pulling in very little revenue. The service provider, which opened in August 1999, lost $28 million on revenues of a mere $90,000 during the first six months of this year.

Last year, it lost $11.8 million on no revenues, according to documents the company recently filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with its purchase of Allied Riser (Nasdaq: ARCC), a financially troubled public company (see Cogent to Buy Allied Riser and Allied Riser Prepares for Merger).

Such numbers paint a more complete picture of where Cogent is in the grand scheme of things. Indeed, the company has raised a significant amount of money, and it does have a powerful supplier/financier in Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). But Cogent hasn't come close to proving whether selling small and mid-sized businesses 100 Mbit/s of bandwidth for $1,000 a month can sustain a profitable business.

The company does, however, have some enthusiastic backers. Its SEC filing reveals that it recently sold $62 million of its Series C preferred stock in a private placement transaction. That funding is augmented by the larger credit facility it forged with Cisco Capital Corp. this month, when it replaced its previous $310 million credit facility with a new one worth $409 million. Cisco Capital, in turn, can acquire up to 5 percent of Cogent's common stock.

Between its inception and October 15, 2001, Cogent has raised $178 million in private equity funding, it has arranged for a $409 million credit facility, and it carries capital lease obligations of about $20 million, according to the company's SEC filing.

Cogent's SEC filing also revealed that it has a landlord with its interests at heart -- its own CEO, Dave Schaeffer. The company pays about $470,000 a year for its office space lease to a Washington, D.C.-based partnership in which Schaeffer is a general partner.

And that office space is a bit roomier these days. Between June 30, 2000, and June 30, 2001, the company grew from 47 employees to 217. On October 9, however, it laid off 50 people in the process of streamlining its operations.

Allied Riser, the company Cogent is buying, has also lost piles of money in the past few years. It reported net losses of $14.6 million in 1998, $57.5 million in 1999, and $173.4 million in 2000. During the first six months of this year the company reported a net loss of $346.2 million on $16.5 million in revenues. Allied Riser now has about 71 employees, 32 of whom work for Shared Technologies of Canada Inc., a majority-owned subsidiary of the firm.

Of course, Allied Riser isn't the only troubled service provider Cogent has scavenged. On September 6, it bought what was left of NetRail Inc., an Internet service provider, for about $12 million through a bankruptcy sale (see Cogent Acquires NetRail's Assets).

- Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:40:28 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing

Dig a little deeper. There's more to this story than the company has released.

saint 12/4/2012 | 7:40:16 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing Can you elaborate. What more is there to the story
rlander 12/4/2012 | 7:40:14 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing Sales of $90,000 for 6 months with a loss of $28 million? This doesn't sound like a good story. It sounds just like all of the other failed building carriers.

At $1000 per month per customer this means that they have 15 customers, not the 3000 as previously reported. This represents a loss of over $300,000 per month per customer!

sjd5 12/4/2012 | 7:40:08 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing Like pouring sand down a rat hole.
saint 12/4/2012 | 7:40:07 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing Understanding the equipment they are using I cannot determine how they will be profitable.
Certainly not within a year or even two. I think it's the same old "Internet" market play that so many have tried and failed. If their filing goes through it may only benifit a few.
poster 12/4/2012 | 7:40:06 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing let's take bets on how long before they cease operations.

my call: 8 months
saint 12/4/2012 | 7:40:05 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing Cisco financing can be difficult
cfaller 12/4/2012 | 7:40:00 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing No way, 4 months for these suicide kings...
jane_doe 12/4/2012 | 7:39:49 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing
If you were spend time with the Cogent management team in person, you would definitely not have a high level of confidence of any success there.

dc_optics 12/4/2012 | 7:39:46 PM
re: Cogent's Finances Revealed in Filing I think they will last 6 more months. The only person making out at Cogent is the CEO. Spend some time over at Cogent and you will see that the morale is really low. The CEO is leading down the same path that he lead his last company PathNet. And were did they end up. Chapter 11. There will be a fire sale of equipment in 6 months.
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