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Autodesk 2Q Profit Surges On Higher Revenue, Year-Ago Charges

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Autodesk Inc.'s (ADSK) fiscal second-quarter profit surged following year-earlier restructuring charges as revenue jumped and the design-software company's results easily topped expectations. Shares rose 5% to $28.83 in after-hours trading. "Although the pace of the global recovery is varied by country, we are pleased that we achieved revenue growth in all of our major geographies," said President and Chief Executive Carl Bass. While sales slumped amid global economic weakness, the maker of the popular AutoCAD design software used by engineers and architects has stayed profitable by cutting costs. Thursday, Autodesk reported its second consecutive year-to-year increase in sales after five straight declines. For the quarter ended July 31, Autodesk posted a profit of $59.9 million, or 25 cents a share, up from $10.5 million, or 5 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding restructuring charges, stock-based compensation and other items, earnings rose to 36 cents from 24 cents as revenue climbed 14% to $472.8 million. In June, the company raised the low end of its guidance, saying it was pleased with global demand levels. It projected earnings of 25 cents to 28 cents on revenue of $445 million to $460 million. Earlier this month, investment banking firm Jefferies downgraded its stock rating on Autodesk, citing concerns about some deteriorating demand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, although it believed the North American market remained strong. Revenue in those regions were up 20% and 6%, respectively. Looking ahead, Autodesk sees third-quarter earnings of 28 cents to 33 cents a share on revenue of $450 million to $475 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 30 cents and $464 million, respectively. Besides AutoCAD, Autodesk's products include geographic-information-systems packages for mapping and precision drawing software for drafting. The company also develops multimedia tools for digital content creation, including applications for animation, film editing and creating special effects. -By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; john.kell@dowjones.com

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