Buoyant BEA forecasts slower growth

The application server maker BEA Systems has returned revenue figures broadly in line with industry estimates.

The application server maker BEA Systems has returned revenue figures broadly in line with industry estimates.

The California-based software company posted earnings of 10 cents (7p) per share - one cent per share better than had been predicted and twice last year's dividend - for the quarter to 31 July.

The company, which said the encouraging results were largely a result of growth in the sales of its flagship software products such as WebLogic Server, confirmed a decision to reduce revenue forecasts for the second half of the year as a result of the ongoing worldwide slump in IT spending.

Excluding charges, net income for the second quarter totalled $43.9m, an increase of 101% compared to the corresponding period last year.

Taking into account costs for acquisitions, employer payroll taxes on stock options and net gains on investments in securities, BEA reported net income of $23.9m for the quarter. Quarterly revenue benefited from 44% year-on-year growth, up from $186m to $267.8m.

In spite of the figures, BEA announced plans to reduce both staff intake numbers and spending. The company's product line will also see some diversification. The chairman and CEO of BEA, Bill Coleman, said the changes were necessary in what he described as a "challenging economic and IT-spending market".

BEA, which competes with IBM and Oracle among others, has already forged a number of new partnerships in an attempt to increase the base of consulting firms supporting its WebLogic Server platform. An additional 6,000 consultants were trained on its software products during the quarter.

BEA has also diversified the technology that its WebLogic Server supports. In the latest release, Version 6.1, the Java-compatible software was provided with additional support for Web services standards such as SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and WSDL (Web Services Description Language).

The additional standards support should help BEA to grow its business in the Java market as well as the emerging Web services market, Coleman said.

Earlier this week, BEA's share price fell to its lowest level for almost two years as the company struggled to convince investors that it would meet its projected revenue estimates in future quarters. Shares of BEA closed at $18.60 in anticipation of the earnings announcement yesterday before gaining 3% in trading.

Coleman said, "It is prudent to adjust our short-term guidance to be more conservative given the current business environment and recent trends in information technology spending."

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