BEA Beats by a Penny

License revenue is up 6% in the third quarter.
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Updated from 4:32 p.m. EST

BEA Systems

(BEAS)

posted third-quarter earnings and revenue that were a bit better than Wall Street had expected, but more importantly, the business software vendor showed growth in license revenue for the second successive quarter.

BEA earned a profit of $37.1 million, or 9 cents a diluted share, up 11% year over year. Sales were up 10% to a record $291 million, the company said after Thursday's closing bell.

Excluding items, the company earned $42.7 million, or 11 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting a profit of 10 cents on sales of $290 million.

BEA gave stronger than expected revenue guidance for the fourth quarter, saying sales would likely range from $324 million to $334 million. Analysts were forecasting $314 million.

Investors pushed shares down on the basis of the company's earnings press release, which did not contain guidance. But as soon as CEO Alfred Chuang gave a forecast on a conference call the stock began to turn.

In recent after-hours trading shares were up 8 cents to $9.60, after closing the regular session up 36 cents to $9.52.

License revenue, a metric that had hurt the company's performance on Wall Street for some time, continued to recover, growing 6% year over year to $121.3 million. Services revenue grew 14% to $170.2 million.