BEA notches up mixed first quarter

BEA Systems has reported slower-than-expected software sales for its first quarter and said it has moved some of its top...

BEA Systems has reported slower-than-expected software sales for its first quarter and said it has moved some of its top executives to new positions.

BEA's total revenue for the quarter, which ended 30 April,  increased 11% to $262.6m. However, revenue from software licences, seen by analysts as an important health indicator, fell 2% to $120.2m, below BEA's earlier projections.

Most of the large deals were signed in Europe, which had a particularly strong quarter. Revenue from the Europe, Middle East and Africa region climbed 41% from a year ago, to $98.9m, but revenue from the Americas slipped 2% to $125.4m.

The shortfall was blamed on seasonal issues, the transition to a new version of BEA's software, and changes to its sales organisation made at the start of the quarter. The company formed a new sales group to oversee small and medium-sized accounts, and to work with a network of value-added resellersthat it is building in North America.

Meanwhile, Alan Fudge, senior vice president of sales for the Americas, has left the company. Charlie Ill, BEA's head of worldwide sales who joined the company from rival IBM about 18 months ago, will oversee the region until a replacement is found.

BEA has also made a handful of other changes at the top of its ranks. Olivier Helleboid, executive vice president in charge of BEA's product group, has been moved into a new role directing BEA's long-term strategy.

Helleboid has been replaced temporarily by Tod Nielsen, BEA's chief marketing officer, who will run the products group until a replacement is found. Nielsen also remains head of marketing, although "day-to-day operations" for the group will be managed by another executive, Rick Jackson.

BEA's net income for the first quarter on a pro forma basis was $33.5m, a slight increase from a year ago and in line with analysts' expectations. The pro forma results exclude acquisition-related costs, gains or losses on investments and other non-recurring items.

Using generally accepted accounting principles, BEA reported operating income of $39.1m, level with the same period a year ago. The company ended the quarter with cash and short-term investments of $1.6bn.

Looking ahead, BEA forecast second-quarter sales of $255m to $275m. Bill Klein, BEA's chief financial officer, said the environment for selling software remains tough.

James Niccolai writes for IDG News Service

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