Cognos: Q2 Results Solid, But Guidance Disappoints

| About: Cognos Inc. (COGN)

Cognos (COGN) on Thursday afternoon reported solid numbers for the fiscal second quarter ended August 31, but provided slightly disappointing third quarter guidance.

For the second quarter, the company reported revenue of $252.4 million, and pro forma EPS of 40 cents a share; the Street had expected $250.77 million and 38 cents.

For the third quarter, the company sees revenue of $270 million to $285 million; the Street has been at $270.79 million. The issue comes at the EPS line: Cognos sees pro forma profits of 45-53 cents; the Street has been at 52 cents.

For the full year ending February 2008, the company sees revenue of $1.075 billion to $1.1 billion, and pro forma EPS of $2 to $2.10; the Street has been at $1.07 billion and $2.03.

In an interview with Tech Trader Daily Thursday afternoon, CEO Rob Ashe said the company had strong license growth of 12% in the latest quarter, driven by demand for both its Cognos 8 platform and its financial performance management software. He says the company has been ramping up its sales force, and now has 411 reps, up from 390 one quarter ago, and up 66 over the last 15 months.

Ashe says the company saw strength in both financial services and state and federal government business; he says that other than some “isolated incidences,” Cognos has not seen any signs of weakening business at financial services customers.

Ashe says the one aspect of the guidance for the quarter that may take analysts by surprise is the expected impact on profitability of the strengthening of the Canadian dollar. He notes that the company had about a third of its costs in Canadian dollars, but just 5% of revenue. So far this year, the Canadian buck has jumped from 86 cents U.S. to parity, a gain of 16%-17%. In the latest quarter, he says, the higher costs related to the Canadian dollar were offset in large part by strengthening of the Euro against the dollar, boosting revenues. But he says the company anticipates a significant hit to EPS from the stronger Canadian dollar in the third quarter.

The company also announced a new $200 million buyback plan today.

Cognos, which rose 20 cents in the regular session, is down $1.25 to $41.20 in after hours trading.

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Tagged: Earnings
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