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Informix surprises Street, again

Struggling database maker Informix posts a profit for its most recent quarter, despite analyst expectations of a loss.

Taking Wall Street by surprise for a second consecutive quarter, struggling database maker Informix posted a profit for its most recent quarter, despite analyst expectations of a loss.

Informix posted a first-quarter profit as it took firm control of costs and saw an increase in revenues--in part due to wary customers coming forward with orders after feeling more confident about the company's financial viability, analysts said.

The company posted net profits of $4.9 million, or 3 cents a share, for the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $144.2 million, or 95 cents, a year ago.

Analysts had expected the company to post a loss of 3 cents, according to First Call. Informix, which also surprised Wall Street with a profit during the previous quarter, has seen its stock nearly double since January, when it traded around 4 a share. The company closed at 9.89 today, down 0.17 over yesterday.

Revenues rose to $167.2 million, up 12.1 percent over year-ago figures.

"The first quarter was a period of solid progress for Informix in a number of areas," Bob Finocchio, Informix chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "In the first quarter, we saw continued support from our customers; ongoing financial stability; implementation of the accounting standard, SOP 97-2; and we continued to build our senior management team. Although I am pleased with our progress, there is certainly more work to do in building the new Informix."

Analysts agreed that Informix has yet to fully turn the company around, after undergoing several quarters of large losses and declining revenues.

The company is showing signs of a recovery nevertheless.

"They've executed some good cost control and they're showing good revenue growth," said James Pickrel, an analyst with Hambrecht & Quist. "I think the real benefits they're getting from these last two quarters are customers and prospective customers who are willing to now put aside their earlier concerns about Informix's financial stability."