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BEA Systems beats estimates, splits stock

BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS) was talked up by analysts Wednesday after the company reported earnings and announced a stock-split after Tuesday's bell.

The company said Tuesday said its fourth-quarter net loss widened, though operating profit -- excluding special items -- nearly quadrupled to top consensus forecasts, with sales of its electronic commerce software almost doubling.

Shares in the company, which provides middleware and application server software for enterprise applications, rose recently after the company inked a deal with iXL (Nasdaq: IIXL), and got some bullish ratings. The stock closed at 137 7/8 Tuesday.

Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Wendell Laidley raised his earnings per share outlook on the stock Wednesday. He reiterated a "strong buy" rating on the stock, and increased his earnings estimate for 2001 to 33 cents from 31 cents a share. Laidley also raised the stock's price target to $170, from split-adjusted $76.

Jefferies & Co. also raised its price target on the stock to $300 from $75.

BEA, which also set a 2-for-1 stock split, said pro forma earnings rose to $22.3 million, or 9 cents a share, from $5.98 million, or 2 cents, in the fiscal fourth quarter a year earlier. Revenue in the three months ended Jan. 31 jumped to $149.2 million from $82 million.

Pro forma results for BEA exclude acquisition-related expenses, a premium paid on an early conversion of some 4 percent convertible subordinated notes due 2005 and employer payroll taxes on gains realized by employees exercising stock options.

On that basis, the company exceeded analyst forecasts of 7 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial, a research firm that tracks such estimates

"We have long anticipated a significant increase in demand for BEA solutions after the passing of the Y2K problem, and that is now a reality," said CEO and chairman Bill Coleman in a press release.

Including the unusual items, San Jose, Calif.-based BEA Systems showed a loss of $13.7 million, or 8 cents a share, compared with a loss of $3.96 million, or 3 cents, in the year-ago period.

BEA also announced Wednesday at deal with data warehousing company NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR). The multi-million dollar licensing and joint marketing agreement relates to NCR's Teradata database and the BEA E-Commerce Transaction Platform, the companies said.

The stock split is subject to shareholder approval at a special stockholder meeting planned for April 6.

-- Reuters contributed to this report.