(Adds forecast, analyst comments, share movement)
By Sruthi Ramakrishnan
Feb 27 (Reuters) - Salesforce.com Inc raised its full-year revenue forecast after reporting a better-than-expected rise in quarterly revenue, helped by strong sales at ExactTarget, an email marketing firm it acquired in June.
The world’s biggest maker of online sales software also said its CFO of six years, Graham Smith, would retire in 2015, sending the company’s stock down 3 percent in trading after the bell on Thursday.
“Anytime you see the CFO retiring, it freaks people out. He is in charge of finances, it raises a bunch of questions,” said analyst Barrington Research Associates analyst Jeff Houston.
The cloud computing company’s stock reversed direction to trade up at $66.40 in extended trading, after closing at $66.20 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Salesforce also forecast adjusted profit for the current quarter and full year that largely fell below analysts’ expectations, but Houston said that was not a concern.
“That (forecast) doesn’t worry me much ... they have the history of beating and raising revenue and profitability guidance,” he said.
The San Francisco-based company on Thursday also raised its 2015 revenue forecast to $5.25 billion to $5.3 billion from $5.15 billion to $5.2 billion.
Salesforce forecast adjusted earnings of 9-10 cents per share for the first quarter and 48-50 cents per share for the full year.
That was largely below the analysts’ average estimate of 10 cents per share for the current quarter and 50 cents per share for the full year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company’s net loss widened to $116.6 million, or 19 cents per share in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, from $20.8 million, or 4 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 7 cents per share, one cent higher than analysts’ expectations.
Revenue rose 37 percent to $1.15 billion and beat analysts’ expectations of $1.13 billion.
Salesforce’s unbilled deferred revenue, a critical measure of contracts that have been closed with business customers but remain off-balance sheet, rose to $4.5 billion, up 29 percent from a year earlier. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D‘Souza)