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Intuit Beats Numbers, Nudges Guidance Up

The tax and accounting software company said sales rose 32.3% over the year-ago quarter.


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, one of the few software makers whose shares are up since the beginning of the year, on Wednesday reported a 32% increase in its fiscal 2003 first-quarter sales, driven by its small business products. The company, which beat Wall Street estimates, also raised guidance for fiscal year 2003.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit reported a net loss according to generally accepted accounting principles of $54.7 million, or 26 cents a share, in its seasonably slow first quarter, which ends Oct. 31. That compared with a net loss of $92.4 million, or 44 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Excluding charges, Intuit said it lost $44.3 million, or 21 cents a share, in the first quarter. That was 2 cents better than the company's projections and compared with a pro forma net loss of $37.8 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. The company said revenue rose 32.3% to $223.3 million from $168.7 million a year earlier and 13.2% from $197.2 million in the previous quarter.

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Wall Street analysts were projecting Intuit would lose 23 cents a share on $212.8 million in revenue in the first quarter, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. The tax and small business software maker typically reports a loss in its first and fourth quarters, when revenue from its tax business is minimal. The company generates the most revenue and is profitable in its second and third quarters.

Intuit said revenue from its QuickBooks products jumped 55% in the first quarter, while small business products and services revenue rose 29%.

The company said about one-third of the first quarter's revenue growth was organic. For acquired companies, Intuit defines organic revenue as revenue in excess of revenue the companies had for the equivalent period before they were acquired. Intuit expects two-thirds of revenue growth to be organic for the full fiscal year 2003.

Intuit raised its revenue guidance for the full fiscal year, which began in August, to $1.72 billion to $1.8 billion, or growth of 27% to 33%, from its prior outlook of $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion, or growth of 25% to 33%. The company said it now expects fiscal year 2003 pro forma earnings of $1.33 to $1.38 a share, or growth of 37% to 42%, compared with prior guidance of $1.30 to $1.36 a share, representing annual earnings growth of 34% to 40%.

The consensus estimate falls in line with the new guidance. Analysts have projected Intuit will earn $1.34 a share on $1.75 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2003.

Shares of Intuit have climbed 27.3% since the beginning of the year, bucking a trend of declining prices over that period in the software sector. Shares of Intuit declined $1.38, or 2.5%, Wednesday to close at $52.86. Shares fell to $52.29 in after-hours trading.