Autodesk Posts Loss, Lowers Guidance

It sees fourth-quarter pro forma earnings of about 5 cents a share.
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Updated from 5:46 p.m. EST

Design software firm

Autodesk

(ADSK) - Get Report

, which warned of disappointingthird-quarter results earlier this month, fulfilledthe prediction Thursday and projected fourth-quarterresults will be far short of Wall Street estimates.

Including one-time items, the company lost $3.9million, or 3 cents a share, in the latest quartercompared with net income of $21.5 million, or 19 centsa share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges, San Rafael, Calif.-basedAutodesk earned 5 cents a share in the third quarteron revenue of $188.7 million, and said both figureswould be roughly the same in the fourth quarter. Theflat guidance falls far below analyst expectations forfourth-quarter earnings of 12 cents a share on $209.6million in revenue, gathered by Thomson Financial/First Call.

On a post-close conference call, Autodeskexecutives said they did not expect companies toincrease year-end spending, which in the past has ledto a seasonally strong fourth quarter. In addition,with major product releases in such products asAutoCAD expected early next year, customers may holdoff spending until then, the company added.

"We just feel we better be conservative andcautious and not try to get ahead of what everybodyknows is a very strange market out there," CEO CarolBartz said.

Earlier this month, Autodesk lowered pro formathird-quarter earnings guidance to 4 cents to 5 centsa share from previous targets ranging between 5 centsand 10 cents a share. Wall Street's reduced estimatespegged pro forma earnings at 4 cents a share. Thecompany lowered its third-quarter revenue guidance byabout 6% earlier this month, to a range of $186million to $190 million. Wall Street analysts wereexpecting revenue of $192.4 million.

Bartz called this "perhaps the toughest technologybuying environment we've ever seen" in a pressrelease. When Autodesk preannounced results Nov. 4,the company said it faced a difficult businessenvironment across all product lines and geographiesas customers delayed investments due to the weakeconomy. The company, which announced plans to lay off7% of its staff after missing earnings Wall Streetestimates by a penny in the second quarter, said itwill make additional cuts in the fourth quarter.

Autodesk said Thursday it will cut 100 more jobsin the fourth quarter, bringing total layoffs tobetween 375 to 400 employees. That will be offset by100 new positions in product development and otherareas. The third quarter included a $13 millionrestructuring charge and the fourth quarter willinclude a $12 million restructuring charge.

Shares of Autodesk soared $1.50, or 10.9%, toclose Thursday at $15.21. In after-hours trading, theyeased back to $14.40, according to Island.