The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) topped Wall Street Wednesday with a quarterly financial report that in fact beat analysts’ estimates on revenue.
(The initial report here was wrong and has been corrected.)
After the markets closed, Red Hat reported revenues of $314.7 in revenue and net income of $58 million or 30 cents a share after one-time expenses and other assumptions.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast that the world’s top Linux software developer and services provider will report $310.7 million in revenues with profits of 27 cents per share.
While revenues were up 19 percent from a year ago and profits increased 3 cents per share.
Despite the positive news, investors still dumped Red Hat shares immediately, sending shares down 10 percent from Wednesday’s close of $56.50.
In recent quarters, in fact, Red Hat had been a surprise, generally beating estimates.
The quarter ended May 31.
Red Hat Chief Executive Officer Jim Whitehurst expressed optimism about the quarter.
“Our first quarter results represented a strong start to our fiscal 2013,” Whitehurst said in a statement. “Red Hat’s compelling value proposition and innovative, open source technologies continued to drive our financial success and market share gains.”
Red Hat also improved its operating margin to 25.8 percent, up 70 basis points for a year ago.
Chief Financial Officer Charlie Peters also pointed out that cash flow increased to $124.4 million from $90.2 million a year earlier.
Plus, deferred revenue was up 16 percent to $913.3 million.
Red Hat also is sitting on $1.3 billion in cash. the company repurchased some $30 million of shares in the quarter.
“Red Hat continues to display an attractive combination of scale, revenue growth, profitability and cash flow,” Peters said. “This type of performance has led to Red Hat’s inclusion among the highest growth technology companies in the 2012 Forbes Fast Tech 25.
“In Q1, we delivered non-GAAP operating income growth of 22% while continuing to invest in important growth initiatives in markets such as virtualization, cloud computing and storage,” he added.
As The Skinny reported earlier today, Gregg Moskowitz, an analyst at Cowen & Co., said in a report Tuesday that he expected good news from the Hatters.
“Despite heightened macro concerns we expect a solid over 1Q with some likely upside to street billings forecasts,” he said in a report, which was cited by Investor’s Business Daily. “We believe Red Hat remains very well positioned to enjoy healthy growth for the foreseeable future.”
Over at UBS Securities, Brent Thill noted that Red Hat “remains in a good spot.”
At Zacks, Red Hat was expected to be a “surprise” – on the plus side.
“Red Hat has matched or exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the four preceding quarters,” the investor services said. “The average surprise in these quarters is a positive 12.94%, and for the current quarter we expect the company to beat the Zacks Consensus by the same magnitude.”
Zacks sees continued growth for Red Hat in “cloud computing” and virtualization as well as its marquee products Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss middleware.
Red Hat shares closed at $56.92, up 36 cents, on Tuesday. RHT is up nearly 40 percent so far this year but is trading below a recent high of $62.41 back on May 3. RHT did dip below $50 recently, trading at $49.45 on June 4.
Analysts overall continue to like the stock.
Seven rate it as a “strong buy,” up from five three months ago.
Eleven rate RHT a “buy,” up from 10 the previous quarter.
Seven rate Red Hat as a “hold” vs. six three months earlier.
Two list RHT as a “hold,” which is unchanged over three months.
None rate it as a “sell.”
[RED HAT ARCHIVE: Check out a decade of Red Hat stories as reported in WRAL Tech Wire.]