BEA boosts quarterly profit and revenue

BEA Systems increased its revenue and profits in its fourth quarter, citing strong sales of its WebLogic server software.

BEA Systems increased its revenue and profits in its fourth quarter, citing strong sales of its WebLogic server software.

Net income for the period ending 31 January was $39.3m, up from $35.0m in the same quarter the previous year.

Revenue for the quarter was a $278.1m, up from $249.3m. Revenue from software licences, seen by analysts as a good indicator of company health, grew to $143.1m.

On a pro forma basis, net income was $42.8m, up from $37.3m. The pro forma results exclude expenses related to acquisitions, gains and losses on investments, and other one-time items.

BEA signed 26 deals worth more than $1m during the quarter, up from 21 deals of that value a year earlier, he said. It also added 340 new customers, including American Airlines and AT&T Wireless Services.

BEA's competitors in the middleware market include IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and open-source company The JBoss Group.

WebLogic Platform 8.1, which was released last year and integrates BEA's application server, portal server, integration server into a single package along with a development environment, is gaining traction among customers. In the fourth quarter, 11% of BEA's licence revenue came from customers who bought the entire platform, as opposed to individual components.

"Our strategy is to converge three distinct product markets into a platform market by offering competitive total cost of ownership and ease of use advantages. We built the suite so that customers can buy the platform by adopting one product at a time," said BEA founder, chairman and chief executive officer Alfred Chuang.

BEA hopes to boost business further by offering product packages specifically for midsized companies that will include fewer features and cost less than its enterprise offerings, Chuang said. The product packages will start to roll out this quarter and will be sold exclusively through value-added distributors,.

For the full year, BEA's revenue increased by 8% from the previous year to hit $1.01bn, passing the billion-dollar mark for the first time. Net income for the year came in at $118.7m, up 41%.

Chuang predicted first-quarter revenue between $260m and $270m.

"We feel the environment is steadily improving, based on what we are hearing from our customers and our success in closing Q4 deals. In Q4, in addition to normal seasonality, we clearly saw WebLogic 8.1 gaining significant traction among customers," Chuang said.

While 70% of BEA's customers are running its application server on an Oracle database, Chuang said the company saw a spike in the use of Microsoft's SQL Server database. Customers are also turning increasingly toward clusters of Intel-based servers to run its software.

BEA intends to offer versions of its products for Intel's forthcoming Xeon processor with 64-bit extensions, which is designed to compete with Advanced Micro Devices' 64-bit Opteron chip, which BEA already supports.

James Niccolai writes for IDG News Service

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