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Cognos meets estimates in first quarter

E-business software provider Cognos met analysts' estimates in its first quarter Wednesday, posting a profit of $12 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $108.7 million.

Ahead of the earnings report, Cognos (Nasdaq: COGN) shares closed up 1/2 to 41 9/16.

A survey of analysts by First Call Corp. predicted Cognos would earn 13 cents a share in the quarter.

The $108.7 million in sales marks a 33 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $10.9 million, or 12 cents a share, on sales of $81.6 million.

In the quarter, its business intelligence product sales jumped to $95.3 million. Business intelligence license revenue rose 56 percent in the quarter, while total business intelligence revenue jumped 46 percent.

"These results represent a rock-solid start to a new fiscal year," said CEO Ron Zambonini in a prepared release. "The business intelligence market is vibrant."

Company officials said it derived 65 percent of its total sales from North American customers with Europe and the rest of the world accounting for 29 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Last quarter, Cognos topped analysts' estimates when it reported a profit of $21.3 million, or 47 cents a share, on sales of $118.1 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 42 earlier this month after falling to a low of 9 11/16 in September.

The stock split 2-for-1 in late April.

First Call Corp. consensus expects it to earn 81 cents a share in the fiscal year.

Ten of the 11 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."