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Autodesk profits plunge

Hit hard by a slow European economy, the software designer reports that third-quarter profits plunged 69.4 percent as sales lagged.

Autodesk (ADSK), a software designer buffeted by a slow European economy, today reported that its third-quarter profits plunged 69.4 percent as sales lagged.

Autodesk posted shrinking profits of $5.9 million, or 13 cents a share, for the quarter ending October 31, compared with net earnings of $19.2 million, or 38 cents a share a year ago. Despite the drop, Autodesk still beat analysts' estimates of 12 cents a share, according to First Call.

In addition, Autodesk reported a 9.2 percent drop in revenues to $116.6 million for the quarter, down from $128.5 million a year ago.

"It's due to a slowdown in Germany and the aging cycle of our AutoCAD release 13," spokeswoman Kathy Tom said. AutoCAD is used heavily by the construction industry in Germany, which has faced a slow housing market.

AutoCAD release 13, which was buggy after its release in November 1994, will be replaced by release 14 between February and July next year.