UPDATE 2-Autonomy boosted as cloud computing sales jump
* Q2 revenue $256 mln (I/B/E/S poll $256 mln
* Q2 adj EPS $0.30 (poll $0.29
* Shares extend gains, up 6.2 percent (CEO comments, analyst reaction, updates shares)
By Paul Sandle and Georgina Prodhan
LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) - Software firm Autonomy posted a 16 percent jump in quarterly sales on Wednesday, providing more evidence that technology for businesses is more resilient than sales to consumers in an economically fragile Europe.
The UK company said growth was driven by cloud computing, in which it manages data storage and processing for customers remotely -- which also gives Autonomy a clearer outlook because it has long-term contracts with recurring revenues.
Cambridge-based Autonomy counts Tesco and Proctor & Gamble among a long list of major corporate customers that use its software to search and organise unstructured data like emails and telephone calls.
Its shares rose sharply following the results, and by 1204 GMT they were up 6.2 percent at 1759 pence, the biggest riser in the FTSE 100 and outperforming a 0.4 percent-stronger European technology index .
Analyst George O'Connor at Panmure Gordon said Autonomy had delivered a "cracking set of numbers".
"What we've seen in terms of the reporting season is that consumer-related companies are starting to suffer a little bit... but Autonomy is one of those big beasts in the B2B world... and businesses are spending on tech," he said.
Autonomy Chief Executive Mike Lynch said the rapid rise in its cloud business, for both its "protect" applications that help companies comply with data regulations and its "promote" marketing products, was behind the "strong quarter".
"We are continuing to see good discretionary spend and that's driving our promote business," he said in an interview.
"On the protect side, we are seeing more and more regulations come in, so we are seeing more deals there."
"Our model that we are seeing a gentle sustained recovery seems to be reasonable."
Lynch said the growth trend, as well as its acquisition of assets from Iron Mountain completing quicker than expected, meant forth-quarter profits would beat current expectations, and its 2012 prospects would continue to improve.
Analysts currently expect fourth-quarter earnings per share of $0.37, according to the company.
Goldman Sachs said they expected the results to have a positive share price impact, given the encouraging underlying metrics -- particularly related to the cloud business, where they see scope for significant acceleration.
Other technology firms have also been upbeat on prospects. Germany's SAP said on Tuesday it would reach the high end of its forecasts for the year, echoing comments from peer IBM .
Fellow enterprise software maker Sage also reported solid trading on Wednesday, as did IT services firm Atos Origin .
Autonomy, which also counts governments as customers, said product revenues for its core IDOL algorithm products grew 15 percent, slightly slower than in the first quarter as cloud revenues are recognised over a longer period.
Total sales rose 16 percent to $256 million, in line with expectations, while earnings per share of $0.30 were slightly ahead of expectations.
(Additional reporting by Tricia Wright. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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