Autodesk on the upswing

The drafting and design software maker reports substantial profit and revenue growth for its fourth quarter and the fiscal year. Piracy remains a concern, however.

David Becker Staff Writer, CNET News.com
David Becker
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David Becker
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Autodesk, a maker of drafting and design software, reported substantial profit and sales growth Thursday for its fourth quarter and the 2004 fiscal year.

The company reported net income of $58 million, or 48 cents a share, for the quarter, which ended Jan. 31. That compares with $6 million, or 6 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Predictions from analysts polled by news service Reuters averaged 29 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter was $295 million, up from $196 million a year ago.

For the fiscal year, revenue was $952 million and income came in at $120 million, or $1.04 a share. That compares with revenue of $825 million and income of $32 million, or 28 cents a share, a year ago.

Autodesk has been on a rebound recently after several years of suffering with the global economic downturn, which hit key customer segments such as the construction industry particularly hard. The company, best known for its AutoCAD line of drafting software, has continued to push for cost cutting, announcing plans late last year to lay off more than 15 percent of its work force.

CEO Carol Bartz said Autodesk was continuing to look at cost-cutting measures, such as closing some facilities, but had no plans for large-scale movement of tech jobs overseas. "We have development centers all over--that's part of running a business that's very much international," she said. "But not even 5 percent of our engineering is offshore, and that's not going to change."

The company posted strong growth in revenue from subscription programs, which now account for about 12 percent of revenue. Bartz said that while many new products will be offered on a subscription-only basis, the company will continue to offer boxed versions of older products. "We're not going to force people to go onto subscriptions," she said.

International business also showed strong growth for the year, including developing markets where Autodesk products have been a favorite target of software pirates. "Piracy is slowly getting better in places like China," Bartz said. "What we're focusing on is growing good relationships with the government and big business there."