DETROIT (WWJ) – A sharp decline in new software license fees will make the fourth quarter of Compuware Corp.’s fiscal year, which ended March 31, another one in which it disappointed Wall Street.
Compuware (Nasdaq: CPWR), the Detroit-based software and IT services provider, said late Wednesday that preliminary analysis of financial results indicate that its fourth quarter “adjusted” earnings will be 5 to 6 cents a share, and its revenue will be between $237 million to $241 million. Analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $272.8 million.
For the fiscal year, Compuware is now forecasting adjusted earnings of 26 to 28 cents a share, and revenue of between $942 million and $946 million. Analysts had forecast earnings of 43 cents per share on revenue of $977.4 million.
In a conference call, Compuware CEO Bob Paul said the main problem was sales of application performance management and mainframe software — sales Compuware thought would close before the quarter ended, but which got pushed out beyond April 1.
Specifically, Paul said software license fees would come in for the fourth quarter at between $46 million and $48 million — a sharp decline from the prior quarter’s $64.8 million and $67.9 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
Other revenue numbers were largely flat — maintenance predicted at between $99 million and $101 million vs. the prior quarter’s $102.3 million and the prior year’s $104.6 million; services between $45 million and $46 million vs. the prior quarter’s $46 million and the prior quarter’s $51.8 million, and subscription revenue at $21 million, vs. the prior quarter’s $20.8 million and the prior year’s $20.3 million.
Sales of APM software for the quarter were between $76 million and $78 million and mainframe software $79 million to $81 million for the quarter, Paul said.
Paul blamed “broad based delays in buying decisions, primarily the result of IT budgets not being solidified.” Up to the last week of the quarter, Paul said, Compuware believed enough of the deals would close to allow the company to meet its sales and earnings targets, but that wasn’t to be. Paul said the company continues to believe that 75 to 80 percent of those deals would close in fiscal 2014.
While saying “we still should have made our numbers,” Paul defended Compuware, saying “this is neither a product or a competitive issue. We are winning new business and gaining market share … and remain confident in our products.”
However, after-hour traders punished the stock. As of 7:30 p.m., Compuware stock was down 37 cents or 3.1 percent to $11.66 a share. During the regular trading day, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. — before the announcemnet — Compuware stock fell 23 cents or 1.9 percent to $12.03, on a day when the tech-heavy Nasdaq index fell 1.1 percent.
Paul emphasized that Compuware would continue to take action toward “maximizing shareholder value,” especially in view of Compuware’s rejection of an $11-a-year buyout offer made in December and the company’s recent stock rise to as high as $12.74 a share.
“While we are very disappointed in our Q4 results, we nonetheless remain confident that the actions we have taken to improve our competitive position and drive profitable growth are working and will enable us to fully unleash the value of this company,” Paul said in a statement before the call.
In the statement and in the call, Paul said Compuware would continue to emphasize “the value-creation actions we announced on January 25,” which include the complete spinoff of its Covisint secure business communications subsidiary for the benefit of Compuware shareholders, issuing an annual dividend of 50 cents a share, and “significant expense reductions.”
In the call, Paul said that dividend would begin in the current quarter.
In the statement, Paul said: “As for our expense-reduction effort, we are already well ahead of expectations and — through our business optimization initiative — we have identified more cost-saving opportunities that will boost our cost-reduction total to between $80 and $100 million over the next two years. The board continues to be committed to carefully reviewing and evaluating any credible offer it receives that delivers full value to its shareholders, working together with its financial advisors Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Allen & Co.”
Compuware is scheduled to report detailed results for the quarter and fiscal year on May 21.
To listen to a replay of the conference call, dial (800) 475-6701 in the United States or (320) 365-3844 elsewhere. The replay passcode will be 287648. Additionally, investors can listen to the conference call via webcast by visiting the Compuware Corporation Investor Relations Web site at http://www.compuware.com.