Updated from 5:21 p.m. ESTVeritas ( VRTS) had a veritably healthy fourth quarter, as the software company's sales and earnings topped estimates by a long shot. Investors reacted mildly to the news, sending the company's shares up just 4 cents, or less than 1%, in after-hours trading to $25.21. Mountain View, Calif.-based Veritas earned $128.7 million, or 30 cents a share, in the just-completed quarter, compared to $190.62 million, or 43 cents a share, in the year-ago period. But earnings in the fourth quarter of 2004 included $9 million, or 2 cents a share, worth of non-cash charges. And including similar charges, the year-ago period benefited from a $91 million, or 20 cents a share, net gain due to a favorable tax settlement. Year-over-year, the company's revenue swelled 14.4% in the fourth quarter to $574.4 million. Polled by Thomson First Call, analysts were expecting the company to earn 25 cents a share, excluding the amortization charges, on $541.8 million in sales. In its third-quarter report, the company predicted it would earn 22 cents to 24 cents a share -- 24 cents to 26 cents a share excluding charges -- on sales ranging from $530 million to $550 million. Veritas officials predicted the company would earn 18 cents to 20 cents a share in the first quarter on sales ranging from $525 million to $540 million. But those results include $15 million to $20 million -- about 3 cents to 5 cents a share, assuming the company's share count stays the same -- of charges related to the company's planned merger with Symantec ( SYMC). Excluding those charges, then, the company expects to earn between 21 cents to 25 cents a share. In the first quarter, analysts are expecting Veritas to earn 23 cents a share excluding charges on $518.3 million in sales.