Business Objects SA on Tuesday reported sales of $116.8 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, up 10% from $105.8 million in the same period one year ago. Net income of $14.1 million, or 23 cents per share, beat Wall Street's expectations, but was down from the net income of $16.1 million, or 25 cents per share, reported one year earlier.
"As the economy remains slow, [companies] really need to focus on their business performance," Business Objects CEO Bernard Liautaud said in an interview, explaining the continued demand for business-intelligence software. Companies that spent millions installing enterprise resource planning and customer-relationship management applications are now looking for ways to leverage the data generated by those systems, he says. "It's important to have good visibility right now."
Business Objects enjoyed revenue growth in services and software license fees, the latter including increased sales of analytic applications and extranet software, according to the company. But increased spending for sales, marketing, and research and development reduced the bottom line below the fourth quarter of 2000. The company's 10% growth rate was down from 30% in early 2001.
The Paris company gets 53% of its revenue from Europe and 39% from the Americas. But Liautaud says demand is getting stronger in the United States. "Europe is definitely slow now, while the U.S. is ahead in its recovery."
For fiscal 2001 ended Dec. 31, Business Objects reported net income of $44.9 million, or 70 cents per share, on sales of $415.8 million, compared with net income of $42.4 million, or 65 cents per share, on sales of $348.9 million in 2000.