Tax-crunching software firm Intuit ( INTU) on Wednesday posted fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street's estimates, and the company raised its guidance for fiscal 2003 to reflect the acquisition of Blue Ocean Software, which was announced alongside the quarterly report.

The company also said its chief financial offer plans to retire at the end of the calendar year.

According to generally accepted accounting principles, the Mountain View, Calif., company reported a loss of $31.8 million, or 15 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $61.3 million, or 29 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Excluding charges, Intuit registered a pro forma loss of $19.9 million, or 9 cents a share, in the fourth quarter ended July 31, compared with a pro forma loss of $29.1 million, or 14 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The company said revenue rose 31% to $197.2 million from $150.3 million a year earlier.

Analysts expected Intuit to lose 12 cents a share on a pro forma basis, with revenue of $191.3 million, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

For the full fiscal year, Intuit reported GAAP net income of $140.2 million, or 64 cents a share, on $1.4 billion in revenue. That compares with a GAAP net loss of $82.8 million, or 40 cents a share, on $1.3 billion in revenue a year earlier.

On a pro forma basis, Intuit earned $211.3 million, a 30% increase from a year ago, and reported earnings of 97 cents a share, up 29% from last year. Analysts were projecting fiscal 2002 earnings would come in at 96 cents a share on $1.4 billion in revenue.

Intuit said its small-business and tax products were primary drivers of growth in fiscal year 2002.

Also Wednesday, Intuit said it will acquire Tampa-based Blue Ocean Software for $170 million in stock in a deal expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2003.

For fiscal 2003, Intuit raised its guidance to reflect the Blue Ocean acquisition. The company said it expects revenue to range from $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion, up from prior guidance of $1.65 billion to $1.75 billion. Intuit said it expects fiscal 2003 earnings to range from $1.30 to $1.36 a share, up from prior guidance of $1.25 to $1.32 a share.

The acquisition of Blue Ocean, which makes software to help businesses manage their IT resources and assets, is a move to a new market segment beyond accounting for Intuit, Steve Bennett, Intuit's CEO, said in a press release. Virtually all of Blue Ocean's 78 employees will be asked to stay with Intuit, the company said. Blue Ocean has more than 31,000 customers.

In addition, Intuit said CFO Greg Santora has decided to retire from the company at the end of 2002. Santora and Bennett submitted statements under oath to the Securities and Exchange Commission certifying the company's fiscal 2001 form 10-K and subsequent filings. They also will certify the company's 10-K for fiscal 2002 when it is filed with the SEC before Oct. 29, as required by new legal rules.

Shares of Intuit rose $3.23, or 8.2%, to close regular trading at $42.83. In after-hours trading the shares fell to $42.33.

If you liked this article you might like

Peregrine Gets a Loan and a Sale

Peregrine Gets a Loan and a Sale

Chip-Equipment Book-to-Bill Climbs Above Parity

Chip-Equipment Book-to-Bill Climbs Above Parity

Volcanic Paradise

Volcanic Paradise

Matching Money and Morals

Matching Money and Morals

A Getaway From the Ordinary

A Getaway From the Ordinary