Updated from 4:37 p.m. EDT
handily beat Wall Street's top- and bottom-line expectations in the third quarter, as the business software company grew its operating income by 81% and raised full-year guidance. P/>The strong quarter sparked a modest after-hours rally, with shares of the Paris-based company gaining $1.36, or 4%, to $35.
On Thursday the company posted a profit of $19.5 million, or 21 cents a diluted share (and ADS), compared with $11 million, or 12 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Total revenue increased by 19% to $261.4 million from $219.5 million, the company said.
The jump in revenue put Business Objects over the $1 billion revenue mark (on a trailing four-quarter basis) for the first time.
Revenue was above the company's guidance, while earnings were at the high end.
Excluding items, Business Objects earned a profit of 30 cents a share, 3 cents above Wall Street's expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for $252.2 million in revenue.
Looking to the fourth quarter, the company now expects revenue to range from $287 million to $292 million. Earnings will range from 37 cents to 40 cents a diluted share on a non-GAAP basis. Analysts were projecting a 38 cent profit on sales of $282 million.
Software license revenue was up 14% to $120.3 million, while sales of core business intelligence products, including query, reporting and analysis, grew by 9% to $104.9 million.
CEO John Schwarz said on a conference call that his company's strong growth in license revenue, an indicator of new business, shows that Business Objects is stealing share from rivals
Since the beginning of the year, shares of Business Objects have appreciated by about 40%, while shares of Cognos have slipped by 17% and those of Hyperion have gained 2%.