Business Objects Clears Estimates as Revenue Jumps - TheStreet

Updated from 5:27 p.m. EST

Business Objects

(BOBJ)

reported fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded Wall Street's expectations, as revenue increased 10% from the year-ago period.

The company, a maker of software designed to help other firms improve their operations, said net income in the fourth quarter was $14.1 million, or 22 cents a share, down from $16.1 million, or 25 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue came in at a record $116.8 million, up from $105.8 million a year ago. Analysts were expecting a profit of 19 cents, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

In extended trading, the stock was up 1.5% to $38.98 on Instinet. In the regular session, Business Objects closed down 5.2%. The stock is now up 109% since September.

"Over the last three months, we continued to increase market share, strengthen relationships with customers, develop innovative products, and gain powerful momentum in new markets," said Bernard Liautaud, chief executive of Business Objects, in a written statement.

The software maker said license revenue grew 31% to $72.7 million from last quarter. Deferred revenue -- sales that can be booked in upcoming quarters -- increased 14% to $59.7 million.

Business Objects said it added 682 new customers in the fourth quarter, including

Honda

(HMC) - Get Report

,

Allstate Insurance

(ALL) - Get Report

and

American Management Systems

(AMSY)

, making its total more than 15,000.

"Our success in the extranet was a key growth driver throughout this year," Liautaud said. "Clearly, our strategy to develop an expertise in business-to-business extranets is being rewarded."

For the first quarter, Business Objects forecast earnings of 15 cents to 16 cents a share, matching estimates. The company projected revenue of $107 million to $109 million, topping forecasts of $104 million.

For 2002, the software maker predicted earnings of 76 cents to 80 cents a share, compared with a 77-cent estimate. The company expects revenue of $455 million to $475 million, versus forecasts for $458 million.