Adobe Systems beats Q4 estimates; shares rise

Software maker tops $1 billion in quarterly revenue for first time

Shares of Adobe Systems (NASDAQ: ADBE) rose in after-hours trading Monday after the software maker reported its first quarter with revenue topping $1 billion. Adobe's stock reached as high as 31.70, or 8.6 percent above Monday's regular-session closing price of 29.18. (Also see: Adobe meltdown on Wall Street continues)

For its fiscal fourth quarter ended Dec. 3, Adobe reported net income of $268.9 million, or 53 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $32 million, or 6 cents a share, for the fourth quarter last year. Revenue in Q4 was a record $1.008 billion, 33 percent above last year's fourth-quarter revenue of $757.3 million. Adobe's fourth-quarter revenue guidance was $950 million to $1 billion. Followers of Adobe shares may remember that shares plunged last September to a 52-week low of 25.81 after the company issued that Q4 guidance while announcing strong third-quarter results. But even the high end of Adobe's guidance was short of consensus estimates of $1.03 billion (which then were revised down to $988 million. Adobe also had record annual revenue, with 2010 sales totaling $3.8 billion, up 29 percent over $2.95 billion in fiscal 2009. In a statement announcing Q4 earnings, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said, "We posted our first billion dollar quarter and record annual revenue in 2010, driven by outstanding performance across all of our major businesses. We are one of the most diversified software companies in the world and are entering 2011 with strong momentum.” Adobe issued an optimistic forecast for the first fiscal quarter of 2011. The software maker expects sales in the $1 billion to $1.05 billion range, higher than consensus estimates of $991.3 million. Adobe's earnings forecast of 54 cents to 59 cents a share also came in above Wall Street expectations of 51 cents.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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