Red Hat shares soar after hours following Q4 results

Open-source software specialist beats revenue, earnings estimates

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Shares of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) skyrocketed almost 11 percent in after-hours trading Wednesday following the release of the open-source software vendor's fiscal fourth quarter earnings report.

(Also see: Red Hat Defends Kernel Code Obfuscation)

Red Hat reached as high as 44.31 after hours, 10.9 percent above Wednesday's regular-session closing price of 39.97.

The company reported net income for the quarter ended Feb. 28 of $33.5 million, or 17 cents a share, versus $23.4 million, or 12 cents a share, a year ago. On an adjusted basis, Q4 earnings were 26 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter was $244.8 million, an increase of 25 percent over last year's fiscal Q4 revenue of $195.9 million. Eighty-six percent of Red Hat's revenue came from software subscriptions, with the remainder coming from training and services.

Consensus estimates called for adjusted Q4 earnings of 22 cents a share on revenue of $235.9 million.

For the fiscal year 2011, Red Hat's earnings were $107.3 million, up 21.5 percent from net income of $87.3 million a year ago.

Revenue for fiscal year was $909.3 million, a gain of 21.5 percent over last year's revenue of $748.2 million.

In a statement accompanying the earnings, Red Hat President and CEO Jim Whitehurst said, "We believe the strong demand we experienced was largely driven by customers who are modernizing their data centers and preparing their infrastructure for cloud computing."

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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