Cognos' View on Light Side

The business software maker beats sales and profit estimates, but EPS guidance is a bit soft.
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, soundly beat fourth-quarter EPS and revenue estimates Thursday, but per-share guidance for the current quarter is a tad light.

The business software maker said revenue rose rose 12.4% from last year to $284.50 million. The Street was looking for $278.1 million in revenue

The Canada-based company, for the quarter ended Feb. 28, earned $60.9 million, or 67 cents a share, an increase from $39.3 million, or 43 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding charges, Cognos posted a profit of 74 cents, or $66.9 million, compared with $45.2 million, or 49 cents for the same period last year. That tops analysts' estimates of 65 cents.

Shares in recent after-hours trading sank $1.95, or 5%, to $37.99.

For the first or current quarter, Cognos sees earnings of 19 cents to 24 cents -- 28 cents to 33 cents excluding items, short of Thomson First Call analysts' estimates of 37 cents. The company forecast sales of $230 to $240 million for the quarter vs. the $239.4 million consensus.

"We continued to advance our leadership position this quarter with a very strong license revenue performance of $92 million from Cognos 8, core BI license revenue growth of 12% for both the quarter and the year, and solid execution on large contracts," said CEO Rob Ashe."

" Overall, I remain very confident about the strength of our business and the scope of our opportunity as we move into fiscal year 2008," he added.

Shares of Cognos closed the regular session off 12 cents at $39.95.