Corporate Exec Slides

Shares dip after a flat first quarter.
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Corporate Executive Board

(EXBD)

, a corporate-strategy research company, said its first-quarter earnings remained flat, limited by stock options expense.

The Washington-based company earned $17.12 million, or 42 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $17.14 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for stock options expense, the company earned $21.1 million, or 51 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $17.1 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson first Call were expecting earnings of 49 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

First-quarter revenue increased 28.7% to $105.1 million.

The company expects to earn 52 cents a share on revenue of $110 million in the second quarter and $2.27 a share on revenue of $455.1 million for the full year. Analysts' estimate stands at 51 cents a share on revenue of $110.4 million in the second quarter and $2.23 a share on revenue of $455.3 million for the full year.

"We are obviously happy with such a strong start to 2006. Our 29.3% contract value growth and 92% client renewal rate at year-end 2005 had positioned us well for 2006, and we built on that momentum as we entered the year," the company said.

Operating profit fell 4.5% to $21.7 million and operating profit margin declined 720 basis points to 20.7%, on account of stock options expense.

The company repurchased around 406,000 shares at a total cost of around of $39 million.

The company's shares dropped $2.55 to $109.88 a day after setting a 52-week high north of $112.

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