UPDATE 2-Autodesk forecasts lower profits, shares tumble

Tue Nov 17, 2009 6:17pm EST

* Q3 EPS ex-items 27 cents vs Street view 23 cents

* Q3 revenue $416.9 mln vs Street view $415.2 mln

* Sees Q4 EPS ex-items $0.19-0.24 vs Street view $0.25

* Sees Q1 operating margin ex-items flat to slightly down

* Shares down 9.3 pct after-hours

(Adds analyst and CEO comment, byline; updates shares, recasts first paragraph)

By Ian Sherr

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Autodesk Inc's (ADSK.O) outlook missed Wall Street expectations and the software maker said on Tuesday that its recovery could be hindered by continued job losses in its core markets, sending its shares down 9.3 percent.

The company, which makes the AutoCAD design software for architects and designers, posted a third-quarter profit that beat analysts' expectations, but its fourth-quarter outlook disappointed Wall Street.

Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brendan Barnicle said the expectations of investors may have outpaced what companies can deliver, pointing to business software maker Salesforce.com Inc (CRM.N) as another example of this. Salesforce reported a slowdown in new business on Tuesday, sending its own shares tumbling. [ID:nN1739572]

Autodesk "blasted through their earnings, there's no doubt about that," Barnicle said. "It's just that their guidance for the next quarter isn't 5 cents above where the Street was already."

Autodesk forecast earnings per share, excluding items, for the current quarter of 19 cents to 24 cents, on revenue of $420 million to $440 million. Analysts were looking for profit per share of 25 cents on revenue of $433.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Autodesk also said it would not forecast revenue for fiscal 2011, but did say it expects first quarter operating margins, excluding items, to be flat to slightly down. Still, the company saw "modest improvement" in the margin for fiscal 2011 compared with the previous year.

"While there are several data points in our business that are encouraging and represent positive indicators for our business, the health of the global economic environment remains mixed and the continued job losses in our core markets represent ongoing challenges to a swift recovery in our business," Chief Executive Carl Bass said in a statement.

Net income fell to $29.5 million, or 13 cents a share, in Autodesk's fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 31, from $104.5 million, or 45 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding items, profit was 27 cents a share, ahead of the average analyst estimate of 23 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 31 percent from a year earlier to $416.9 million, close to the average estimate of $415.2 million.

The San Rafael-based company's shares fell to $24.49 in extended trading after closing on the Nasdaq down 1.6 percent at $27. (Reporting by Ian Sherr; editing by Andre Grenon)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.