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Red Hat 4Q loss beats estimates

Red Hat, Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) said Monday its fourth quarter loss was 4 cents a share, squeaking by First Call's expected loss of 5 cents a share. The company's revenue grew in the quarter on strong demand for its Linux-related software and services.

Shares in the provider of open source software and services closed at 60 1/2 Friday, having slid over the past few months as the Linux-craze has cooled down.

Revenue for the fourth quarter ended February 29 was $13.1 million, up 39 percent over revenue of $9.4 million for the fourth quarter last year.

Revenue for the fourth quarter was 24 percent higher than third quarter revenue of $10.5 million. Results for the quarter and the year are consolidated for the acquisitions of Cygnus Solutions and Hell's Kitchen Systems, both of which were completed in January.

Red Hat, which competes with Corel (Nasdaq: CORL), Caldera Systems (Nasdaq: CALD) and VA Linux (Nasdaq: LNUX), said its fourth quarter loss, adjusted for non-cash charges and one-time acquisition expenses, was $5.6 million, or 4 cents a share. Excluding these adjustments, the net loss was $24.6 million, or 17 cents a share, much wider than the a net loss of $1.2 million, or 3 cents a share reported in 1999's fourth quarter.

Year-end results showed revenue had increased 28 percent over the previous year to $42.4 million, and adjusted net loss was $19.2 million, or 19 cents a share. Before adjusting for acquisition expenses and one-time charges, the net loss for the year was $39.9 million, or 40 cents a share, much wider than the a net loss of $5.8 million, or 12 cents a share reported for fiscal 1999.

The company said demand for its products and services was particularly strong in ISPs, Web hosting companies and manufacturers of Internet devices.

In the third quarter, Red Hat missed estimates, but issued a stock split.