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Red Hat Profit Tops Estimate


Red Hat Inc. (RHT), the world's largest seller of Linux software, said Wednesday after the markets closed that its fourth quarter profit rose a modest 7% from last year, as higher operating and income tax expenses dented a 21% revenue growth.

However, the company's quarterly earnings per share, excluding items, came in above analysts' expectations as did its quarterly revenue.

"We experienced impressive breadth and depth of demand for our technologies this quarter whether by geography or by industry vertical. This resulted in record financial metrics for both the fourth quarter and the full fiscal year 2012," said Charlie Peters, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Red Hat.

Red Hat shares are surging 7.4% in after hours trading after closing the day's regular trading session at $51.39, down 51 cents in after hours trading. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $31.77 to $54.01.

For the fourth quarter ended February 29, 2012, the Raleigh, North Carolina-based company reported net income of $36.0 million or $0.18 per share, compared to $33.5 million or $0.17 per share for the year ago quarter.

Excluding items, adjusted net income for the fourth quarter was $57.2 million or $0.29 per share, compared to $51.4 million or $0.26 per share in the prior year quarter.

On average, 22 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.27 per share for the fourth quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Total revenue for the fourth quarter rose 21% to $297.01 million from $244.80 million in the same quarter last year. Twenty analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $291.22 million for the fourth quarter.

Subscription revenue for the quarter increased 22% year-over-year to $255.2 million, while training and services revenue grew 18% to $41.8 million.

The company ended the quarter with total deferred revenue balance of $946.7 million, an increase of 23% from a year ago.

Total operating expenses for the quarter rose 25% to $204.2 million from $163.8 million a year ago. Provision for income tax surged to $14.7 million in the fourth quarter from $6.7 million last year.

Separately, Red Hat said that its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $300 million of the company's common stock.

The new program begins April 1, replacing the current buyback program that will expire on March 31. To date, about $214 million has been spent to repurchase shares under the current program.

As of February 29, Red Hat had cash and investments of about $1.3 billion, and about 192.7 million shares of common stock outstanding.

Red Hat's main rival Novell, Inc. was acquired by Attachmate Corp. in a $2.2 billion deal in April last year.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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