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Autodesk 1Q Profit Jumps 89% In Results Above Targets

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Autodesk Inc. (ADSK) said fiscal first-quarter earnings surged 89% thanks to strong revenue gains and cost management, and it also provided a rosy top-line outlook. Shares were up 1.4% at $45 after hours. Through the close, the stock has risen 46% in the last year, better than the gain in the market at large. The maker of the popular AutoCAD software used by architects and engineers predicted upbeat revenue for the current quarter and raised its top-line outlook for the year. For the second quarter, it forecast earnings of 37 cents to 41 cents a share on revenue of $530 million to $545 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected 40 cents and $528 million, respectively. It also raised its outlook for revenue this year to 12% growth. In February, the company projected revenue increasing 10%. Regarding the latest period, Chief Financial Officer Mark Hawkins said a "combination of solid revenue growth and continued focus on cost controls" drove the profit surge. Autodesk's results have been strong in recent quarters, climbing and often topping its guidance. Chief Executive Carl Bass noted strong demand for manufacturing, horizontal design products, suites and animation products in the latest period. For the quarter ended April 30, the company posted a profit of $69.3 million, or 29 cents a share, from $36.9 million, or 16 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items like stock-based compensation, earnings rose to 40 cents a share from 29 cents. Revenue increased 11% to $528.3 million. In February, Autodesk predicted earnings of 34 cents to 37 cents a share on $510 million to $525 million in revenue, in line with consensus estimates at the time. Operating margin rose to 14.9% from 10.7%. License revenue, which makes up more than half of the company's total, grew 15%, while maintenance revenue increased 5.4% In March, the company unveiled a handful of new software suites, after it had introduced a new software suite for animation and visual effects the month before. It is selling the products in pricing tiers based on what features are included, a shift in a selling strategy that traditional focuses on individual-product sales. The moves are part of a plan to increase revenue and make using its applications in tandem easier for customers. Also in March, it closed two takeover deals worth a combined $75 million, adding businesses focused on user-interface tools and simulation software. -By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; joan.solsman@dowjones.com

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