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Autodesk Soars on Earnings

It beats by a wide margin and predicts a blowout 2004.



shares were surging Friday after the company reported that earnings zoomed in the fourth quarter. The software maker also said it is optimistic heading into fiscal 2005.

The San Rafael, Calif.-based company reported late Thursday that fourth-quarter net income rose to $58 million, or 48 cents a share on a GAAP basis, compared to $6.4 million, or 6 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. On a pro forma basis, the firm earned $53 million, or 45 cents a share, vs. $8 million, or 7 cents last year.

Net revenues hit $295.3 million. Analysts had been expecting earnings of just 29 cents a share on sales of $252.3 million. In Friday trading on Nasdaq, shares of Autodesk were up nearly 10% to $28.50.

Pro forma net income excluded a $7 million tax benefit and a $3 million restructuring charge. In the fourth quarter last year, pro forma income excluded a $7 million restructuring charge and a $4 million tax benefit.

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The results were driven by a significant increase in upgrade revenue, the continuing success of the company's subscription program, and the company's commitment to improving profitability, Autodesk said.

"We saw strong growth across all divisions and all markets," said Chairman and CEO Carol Bartz. Upgrade revenue increased 160% to $100 million while subscription revenues rose 44% over the prior year.

Looking ahead, Autodesk said revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2005 should be in the range of $240 million to $250 million. Earnings per share should come in between 12 cents and 17 cents a share on a GAAP basis and 16 cents to 21 cents on a pro forma basis. "I have never been more enthusiastic heading into a new fiscal year," Bartz said.

Analysts were forecasting earnings of 12 cents on revenue of $222.4 million in the first quarter, according to Thomson One Analytics.

For the full year, annual revenue is expected to be in the range of $990 million to $1.01 billion. Earnings per share should range between 94 cents and $1.04 on a GAAP basis and $1.15 to $1.25 on a pro forma basis. Fourth-quarter fiscal 2005 operating margins are expected to be at least in the mid-20% range, according to the firm.

Analysts were forecasting earnings of $1 a share on revenue of $950.9 million in the full year.

The company said it remains committed to achieving its target 18% to 20% operating margins for subsequent annual periods beginning in fiscal year 2006.