- Associated Press - Thursday, July 8, 2010

ST. PAUL, MINN. (AP) - Lawson Software Inc. said Thursday that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings plunged 70 percent as the business software maker swallowed a bigger tax bill and booked acquistion costs.

The St. Paul, Minn.-based company also provided a disappointing outlook for the current quarter, causing its shares to fall in Thursday’s extended trading.

In its most recent quarter ended in May, Lawson earned $2.6 million, or 2 cents per share, down from $8.6 million, or 5 cents per share, at the same time last year. Lawson said higher income taxes trimmed its net income by nearly $6 million during the latest quarter.

Excluding expenses covering employee stock compensation and accounting costs for past acquisitions, Lawson said it would have earned 12 cents per share in the latest period. That matched analysts’ estimates.

Revenue for the period edged up 6 percent to $197 million, as growth in license fees and maintenance service revenue partly offset a drop in consulting revenue. That fell about $2 million below the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Before factoring in stock compensation and acquisition costs, the company expects earnings for the quarter ending in August of 8 cents to 9 cents per share on revenue of $168 million to $172 million. That’s shy of the 10 cents per share on revenue of $182 million forecast by analysts.

For the full fiscal year, Lawson predicts adjusted earnings per share of 47 cents to 51 cents on revenue of $751 million to $766 million. Analysts have forecast earnings of 50 cents and revenue of $794.2 million.

Lawson shares shed 27 cents, or 3.5 percent, in extended trading after closing the regular session up a penny at $7.62.

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