Citrix Beats Wall Street Profit View

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Citrix was headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Citrix Systems ( CTXS) topped Wall Street expectations for its fourth-quarter earnings late Wednesday, lifted by strong year-over-year revenue growth of 17%.

But the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based virtualization software developer offered a mixed outlook -- giving an above-consensus view for the whole of fiscal 2011 while projecting a first-quarter adjusted profit that's below the current average analysts' view -- and the quarterly earnings were marginally above its year-ago performance. The shares rose slightly in after-hours trades.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Citrix posted non-GAAP generally accepted accounting principles earnings of $125 million, or 65 cents a share, up from a year-ago equivalent profit of $123 million, and a nickel ahead of the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for earnings of 60 cents a share.

Revenue reached $530 million in the December period vs. a total of $451 million in last year's quarter. Wall Street's consensus projection was for revenue of $508.9 million in the quarter. Citrix said product license revenue grew 17% year-over-year, revenue from license updates increased 13%, online services revenue rose 16%, and technical services revenue, which includes consulting, training and technical support offerings, jumped 40%.

"Our customers are telling us they want to simplify enterprise computing, they want to embrace IT consumerization, and they are ready to adopt more cloud services - all to transform IT to an on-demand service," said Mark Templeton, the company's president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "These three powerful market forces are driving a need for Citrix virtual infrastructure and making our platform more relevant and strategic."

For fiscal 2011, Citrix forecast non-GAAP earnings of $2.29 to $2.33 a share on revenue ranging from $2.1 billion to $2.14 billion. The current average analysts' view is for a profit of $2.28 a share on revenue of $2.07 billion.

In the current quarter ending in March, however, the company sees an adjusted profit of 40 to 41 cents a share on revenue of $470 million to $475 million. Wall Street's consensus estimate is for earnings of 48 cents a share on revenue of $471.4 million in the March period, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The stock was last quoted at $64.55, up 1.6%, on volume of more than 225,000, according to Nasdaq.com. Based on a regular session close at $63.51, the shares are up more than 45% in the past 52 weeks, but they've pulled back 9.4% since the start of 2011, and are down 12% since hitting a 52-week high of $71.93 in late September.

Analysts had a bearish lean ahead of the report with 20 of the 33 analysts covering the stock at either hold (19) or underperform (1). The median 12-month price target of $69.50 implies upside of more than 10% from Wednesday's close however.

Citrix's products include the XenDesktop application, and online software services like GoToMeeting and GoToMyPC, which provide remote access to sales demonstrations and individual computers respectively.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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