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Autodesk Beats Estimates

Quarterly sales rise 17%.
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exceeded Wall Street expectations for its fourth-quarter earnings and raised its guidance on Tuesday, prompting investors to bid up the stock in after-hours trading.

The computer-aided design software firm reported net income of $83 million, or 33 cents a share. Excluding $8 million in expenses related to its acquisition of Alias and other items, net income for the quarter was $91 million, or 37 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call predicted the company would make 35 cents a share.

A year ago, the company earned $65.8 million, or 26 cents a share.

Fourth-quarter sales totaled $417 million, beating consensus estimates of $414 million and marking a 17% increase over the $356 million from the same quarter last year.

The stock rose 3.61 %, or $1.36, to $39.01 in recent after-hours trading on Instinet. It was the fourth most-traded stock after the market closed.

"Autodesk had an excellent finish to another outstanding year," Carol Bartz, Autodesk chairman and CEO said in a statement. "Customer demand for our products continues to be very strong. Through solid execution we significantly increased revenues and profitability for the third year in a row."

For the current quarter (Autodesk's first quarter of fiscal 2007), the company predicted between $425 million and $435 million, above the $419 million estimated by Thomson First Call analysts. Earnings per share will be between 30 and 32 cents, the company said, in line with analysts' expectations of 32 cents a share.

For the second quarter, the company expects to collect between $440 million and $450 million in revenue, above analysts' predictions of $432 million. Autodesk's estimates of 34 to 36 cents a share for that quarter are consistent with analyst expectations of 35 cents a share.

For the full fiscal year, the company said it would make between $1.45 and $1.50 a share, as good as or above analysts' estimates of $1.45. Revenue is expected to increase 18 to 20 % compared to fiscal 2006.

The company attributed the quarterly results to robust growth in new seats and subscriptions. It also completed the $197 million acquisition of Alias during the quarter.

In January the company reaffirmed its adjusted earnings target of 33 cents to 35 cents for the fourth quarter and

promoted COO Carl Bass to president and chief executive officer, effective May 1.