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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

Roundup: Western Digital, Activision, Legato, Symantec, Informix beat estimates

Western Digital lost less than analysts expected in the first quarter.

After market close Wednesday, the hard disk drive maker reported a fiscal first quarter loss of $126.9 million, or $1.32 per share, not including restructuring costs and other one-time events. First Call consensus predicted a loss of $1.39 per share for quarter ended Oct. 2.

The company recorded first quarter charges of $32.3 million for the transfer of desktop hard drive manufacturing to Malaysia from Singapore, and $37.7 million for a recently announced product recall. Western Digital also saw a one-time gain of $90.6 million related to the exchange of debentures for stock. Including those non-recurring events, the company lost $106.3 million, or $1.11 per share.

First quarter revenue plunged 37.5 percent year-over-year, to $407 million from $650.9 million. Western Digital suffered not only from continuing price wars, which have ravaged the entire hard disk drive industry, but also from the aforementioned recall.

Ninety percent of drives affected by the recall have been recovered, said Chuck Haggerty, chairman, president and CEO. Western Digital expects a return to normal production in the first week of November.

Restructuring moves have cut $100 million from Western Digital's yearly expenses, Haggerty said. "We expect to achieve additional efficiencies and savings throughout our organizations in the next several quarters," he said.

Other companies reporting quarterly results Wednesday:

  • Activision
  • (Nasdaq: ATVI) earned twice as much as analysts expected in the second quarter.

    The producer of game software reported fiscal second quarter net income of $1.1 million, or 4 cents per share. First Call consensus predicted a profit of 2 cents per share.

    Second quarter revenue increased to $115.4 million, up 74 percent year-over-year. Recently published titles such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Quake II, Cabela's Big Game Hunter III, Blue Stinger for Dreamcast, and updated versions of classic brands such as Space Invaders and Asteroids, combined to boost sales, the company said.

    "We are pleased with the customer response to our slate of recently released games," said Robert A. Kotick, chairman and CEO. "All of these titles had solid launches in the market and we expect them to continue selling well into the holiday season. These releases, coupled with our expected third fiscal quarter titles ... will allow us to capitalize on what we believe will be the best-selling holiday season in the history of our industry."

  • Legato Systems
  • (Nasdaq: LGTO) surpassed analyst estimates in the third quarter.

    The vendor of software for managing large storage systems reported net income of $16 million, or 18 cents per share, not including acquisition-related costs. First Call consensus predicted a profit of 16 cents per share.

    Third quarter revenue increased $71.7 million, up 67 percent from $43 million in the year-ago period, when Legato earned $6.4 million, or 8 cents per share. Product license revenue increased 65 percent to $54 million. Service and support revenue rose 71 percent to $17.7 million. Gross margin rose to 88.8 percent from 87 percent a year earlier.

    Legato, which closed its purchase of Vinca Corp. in the third quarter, recorded charges of $7.7 million for writedowns of intangibles and $8.3 million in other expenses related to acquisitions. Including those costs, Legato earned 4 cents per share.

    "Our recently completed third quarter was our strongest quarter in company history, and we're pleased with the contributions from our newly-acquired businesses," said Stephen C. Wise, chief financial officer. Our merger integration efforts over the past several quarters were very successful, and all operations have now been integrated into Legato consistent with our historic operating model."

  • Symantec
  • (Nasdaq: SYMC) rode strong corporate sales to better-than-expected second quarter results.

    The security software maker reported fiscal second quarter earnings of $27.1 million, or 45 cents per share, including goodwill writedowns but excluding a one-time charge related to writeoffs of acquired in-process R&D. First Call's survey of six analysts predicted a profit of 42 cents per share, including goodwill.

    Symantec recorded a charge of $1.2 million to account for writeoffs of in-process R&D at recently acquired URLabs. Including the one-time event, Symantec earned 43 cents per share.

    Second quarter revenue increased 40 percent year-over-year, to $182.5 million. Corporate revenue, which now makes up almost half of Symantec's total business, shot up 73 percent from the year earlier period.

    "The combination of new product releases and strong sales performance, particularly in the corporate marketplace, has delivered a solid quarter for our company and its shareholders," said John W. Thompson, Symantec's chairman, president and CEO. "We are achieving better balance in our revenue, both in terms of geographic mix and sales to corporate and consumer customers."

  • Informix
  • (Nasdaq: IFMX) reported third quarter earnings two cents ahead of estimates.

    The database software vendor reported third quarter net income of $23.9 million, or 12 cents per share. First Call consensus predicted a profit of 10 cents per share.

    Third quarter earnings rose 17 percent year-over-year, to $215.9 million from $185.2 million. License revenue increased 10 percent, while service revenue increased 23 percent.

  • Vantive
  • (Nasdaq: VNTV) reported third quarter results in line with the company's recent warning.

    The front office software vendor, which recently agreed to be acquired by Peoplesoft (Nasdaq: PSFT), reported a third quarter loss of $4.7 million, or 17 cents per share, on revenue of $43 million. First Call consensus was revised to a forecast of an 18 cents per share loss after the company last week warned it would report a third quarter loss of 17 to 19 cents per share.

    International revenue increased to 37 percent of total revenue, compared to 31 percent in the second quarter. New customers generated half of Vantive's business, up from 46 percent previously.>