NetWare 5 sales drive strong Q4 for Novell

Novell on Tuesday reported a profit of US21 cents per share for its fourth fiscal quarter, comfortably ahead of analysts' expectations. Revenue for the quarter increased 16 percent from a year ago to reach $345 million, the company said.

Novell officials attributed the solid performance to strong sales of the company's NetWare 5 server software, as well as increased sales of directory-enabled applications.

Net income for the software vendor's fourth quarter, which ended October 31, 1999, was $74 million, up 76 percent from $42 million a year ago, the company said in a statement issued on Tuesday. Novell's profit of 21 cents per share compares with 12 cents for the fourth quarter of fiscal 1998, and beats the expectation of financial analysts who had expected the company to profit by only 17 cents per share, according to First Call Corp.

Novell reached a favorable settlement with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the quarter related to income taxes paid between 1994 and 1997. The settlement contributed 4 cents to the per-share earnings figure.

For the full fiscal year, Novell's revenue increased 17 percent year-over-year to $1.3 billion. Net income for the year increased 87 percent to $191 million, or 55 cents per share, up from $102 million or 29 cents per share in fiscal 1998.

"In fiscal 1999, Novell accomplished what we said we would do," Eric Schmidt, Novell's chairman and chief executive officer, said. The company more than doubled its growth rate in directory products, and achieved "stellar performance" from its NetWare 5 server products and new directory applications such as ZENworks, Schmidt said.

New agreements with PC makers boosted the company's network caching business, which represents a major growth opportunity in the coming years, according to Schmidt. Ten manufacturing partners announced plans to offer Novell's cache software including Compaq Computer, Dell Computer and IBM, he added.

By product category, sales of directory-enabled NetWare server software reached $176 million in the fourth quarter, up 17 percent from the previous year. Directory-enabled applications grew 32 percent to $90 million, while revenue from service, training and consulting increased 37 percent to $50 million, Novell said.

On a geographic basis, the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region increased 29 percent in the fourth quarter to $104 million, led by Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, France and Poland. In the Asia-Pacific region, revenue of $28 million grew 31 percent, aided by the company's performance in Japan, Australia and India. Revenue in the Americas region outside the US increased 31 percent to $22 million. US revenue was $191 million in the fourth quarter, up 7 percent year-over-year, Novell said.

The networking software vendor plans to release new software products between now and October 2000 that address electronic commerce infrastructure, personal identity control, quality of service, policy-based management, cache management and public key security, Novell said in today's statement.

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