UPDATE 2-Intuit cuts 2007 profit forecast, shares fall

Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:24pm EST

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(Recasts, adds CEO interview, details)

SAN FRANCISCO Feb 22 (Reuters) - Turbo Tax software maker Intuit Inc. (INTU.O) cut its 2007 profit forecast on Thursday after posting lower second quarter earnings on costs related to discontinued operations, pushing its stock down 2 percent.

Intuit also said unit sales through Feb. 17 of Turbo Tax, which generates about 25 percent of overall revenue, were up 1 percent from the previous year.

Chief Executive Steve Bennett said the company had cut its full-year forecast to reflect costs related to its Digital Insight acquisition and a deal to sell its fully outsourced payroll business to Automatic Data Processing Inc. ADP.N.

In November, Intuit said it would buy Digital Insight for $1.35 billion in a move that expanded the maker of Quicken financial software into online banking software and services.

It marked the company's largest acquisition since it bought Turbo Tax in 1994.

Bennett also said the tax season was "on track" and that the pace of Turbo Tax sales so far likely reflected the fact that more people these days were filing tax returns closer to the April deadline.

"The tax season is on track and we feel good about it," he said in a telephone interview.

"People are filing their taxes later and later every year."

Second-quarter net income fell to $145 million, or 40 cents per share, from $183 million, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding special items, the company said it posted per-share earnings of 45 cents -- above the average analyst forecast of 42 cents, as compiled by Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose to $763.3 million from $742.7 million, driven by growth in the consumer tax and payroll payments segments.

For fiscal 2007, the company said it expected revenue of $2.63 billion to $2.68 billion and earnings per share before items of $1.33 to $1.37.

The Wall Street view was for revenue of $2.63 billion and earnings per share before items of $1.39.

Intuit shares fell about 2 percent to $30.30 in extended trading. They dropped nearly 1.3 percent on Nasdaq to close at $30.86.

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