Informix beat Wall Street expectations for its fourth fiscal quarter and proclaimed itself pleased with the results, although it admitted it still has work to do, particularly in the area of revenue generation.
The database supplier is still trying to recover from its financial crash of about 18 months ago when it revealed a string of accounting regularities and was threatened with delisting from Nasdaq.
But for its fourth quarter, which ended on 31 December, 1998, Informix saw sales increase 18 per cent to $214.6 million. Net profits, not including a $2.6 million or $0.01 charged related to the acquisition of Red Brick Systems, were $25.5 million or $0.14 per share compared with earnings of $22.9 million last time.
After the charge, net income stood at $22.9 million or $0.13 per share, some $0.02 cents above the First Call analysts? consensus.
Howard Bain, Informix?s new chief financial officer, who was recently recruited from Symantec, said: "We?ve made tremendous progress, but we still recognise we?ve got a lot to do. There?s still a lot of hard work to be done and our number one priority is to grow the top line and keep expenses under control."
He continued: "The market challenges are that it?s intensely competitive with Microsoft entering the market with SQL Server, even though we intend to be at the high end. However, Microsoft?s entry has a certain risk. Oracle will also continue to market its products aggressively, and the Year 2000 problem is a risk for all companies. There is also a risk associated with the Red Brick acquisition and we expect some disruption in sales."
However, the firm witnessed growth across its product line and across all geographies. North American sales rose 33 per cent to $103.7 million, although turnover elsewhere was less robust.
European revenues grew nine per cent to $72.2 million, Latin American sales were up 10 per cent to $18.1 million, while Asia Pacific?s turnover increased only "slightly" to $20.6 million.
License sales, on the other hand, increased 12 per cent to $117.8 million from the year ago quarter, while services revenue grew 27 per cent to $96.8 million.
But Informix hopes to add to license sales over the coming year by adding various new products to its line up. It plans to release the first of a family of new development tools, Dynamic 4GL for Dynamic Server, in the near future, but will also come out with different versions for building Web based and Java applications.
It is also scheduling a new release of its Red Brick data warehousing software in the second half of 1999 despite planning to close Red Brick?s Los Gatos site within six months to move staff to its Menlo Park headquarters.
And it has just released the first of two ecommerce fixed price bundles in the shape of a publish and subscribe ecommerce application for corporate data.
The second will ship in early April as Informix is keen to capitalise on the fact that most of its new business sales came from the Web and ecommerce space.
The company is also keen to boost its channel sales following a refocus after years of neglect, and intends to set up a global partner programme later in the year to incentivise resellers and distributors to sell at an international level.
As a result, it has just appointed Jim O?Gara as vice president of its global channel business.
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