Updated from 6:36 p.m. EST Shares of Citrix Systems ( CTXS) shot up in after-hours trading after the company reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter results and gave a solid revenue forecast for the coming year. Citrix stock recently jumped 9.5%, tacking on another $2.83 to $32.70. The infrastructure software and services firm said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income declined slightly to $58.6 million from $58.9 million a year earlier, while earnings per share were flat at 32 cents. Excluding items such as amortization of intangible assets and stock option costs, earnings rose to $72.7 million, or 39 cents a share, from $66.7 million, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier. Earnings on this basis beat analysts' mean estimate by a penny, according to Thomson Financial. Revenue rose to $321 million from $268.7 million, handily topping Wall Street's forecast of $311.4 million. Product license revenue climbed 10% to $143.1 million, while revenue from license updates surged 22% to $109.3 million. Goldman Sachs analyst Sarah Friar attributed the sharp rise in the stock in late trading to a good quarter for the company's presentation server business, which represented 77% of total revenue in fiscal 2006. "That's where they missed last quarter," Friar said in an interview, and there was some fear on Wall Street of a
repeat performance. "The bearish case was tied to this segment."
NetScaler and Citrix Online products also did well, as expected, she said. "They really are the growth engine of where Citrix is going," she said. Friar has a buy on Citrix shares. Her firm does not have a banking relationship with the company. "We've built excellent momentum in each of our businesses, and I believe we're entering 2007 with the best product pipeline, channel partnerships, and brand strength we've ever had," said President and CEO Mark Templeton in a statement. For the first quarter, Citrix projected earnings of 34 cents to 35 cents a share, before items. Analysts predict earnings of 35 cents a share. Citrix forecast first-quarter revenue of $298 million to $308 million, at or above analysts' mean estimate of $298 million. Looking ahead, the company sees adjusted earnings of $1.51 to $1.54 a share for all of 2007. Revenue, meanwhile, is expected to be $1.29 billion to $1.31 billion. Wall Street targets earnings of $1.52 and revenue of $1.28 billion. Citrix also said it began a review into its stock options during the quarter. The company said the review was voluntary and initiated in light of the recent options-backdating scandal. The company hasn't yet determined if it will need to record any adjustments related to prior stock option grants.