Tech Industry

Novell tiptoes past 3Q estimates but sales slip

Novell managed to slip past analysts' estimates in its third quarter Wednesday, earning $8.6 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $270 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected the software developer to earn 2 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) inched up 1/16 to 10 15/16.

The $270 million in sales marked a 17 percent decline from the year-ago quarter when it raked in $49.3 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $327 million.

"Although we met our total revenue and earnings objectives for the third quarter, we are nonetheless disappointed by continued weakness of packaged software sales globally, and especially our poor performance in Europe," said CEO Eric Schmidt. "The quarter was impacted by difficult changes intended to improve Novell's business."

After reporting disappointing sales and earnings in its second quarter, Novell reorganized its sales and marketing departments to focus more on new geographies, solution-selling and channel support.

In the second quarter, Novell earned $31 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $302 million.

This time around, Novell watched its U.S. sales fall 12 percent from the year-ago quarter to $160 million. Sales into the Europe, Middle East and Africa slid 30 percent to $70 million while sales to the Asia-Pacific region dropped 8 percent to $22 million.

Novell's service, education and solutions sales rose 13 percent to $56 million. Net services application sales fell 3 percent to $78 million and its NetWare server software sales plunged 29 percent to $120 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 44 9/16 in February before plunging to a low of 7 7/8 in May.

Six of the 11 analysts following the stock rate it a "buy" while the other five call it a "hold."

First Call Corp. consensus expects Novell to earn 21 cents a share in the fiscal year.