Autonomy surges 24% as earnings meet forecast

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The Independent Online
The share price of Autonomy, which produces software to sort internet data, rocketed 24 per cent yesterday as investors expressed relief when the company met reduced first-quarter earnings and sales targets.

The share price of Autonomy, which produces software to sort internet data, rocketed 24 per cent yesterday as investors expressed relief when the company met reduced first-quarter earnings and sales targets.

In the three months ended 31 March, Autonomy reported that pre-tax profit rose to $8.8m (£6.1m) from $440,000 in the year-earlier period, while sales gained 35 per cent to $14.7m. But the severe fall-off in capital expenditure for technology products resulted in first-quarter sales plunging by one-third from the fourth quarter of 2000.

Richard Gaunt, co-founder of Autonomy and its chief technical officer, blamed some of the quarter-on-quarter sales decline on deferred orders. He said: "The situation we have seen is that 15 contracts were deferred, but seven have been signed already (in the second quarter)."

Analysts attributed part of the share price jump to Autonomy unveiling a new partnership to supply its software to BEA Systems, one of the largest US software houses. That helped fuel Autonomy shares to rebound 84p to 430p

Mr Gaunt denied that the size of BEA, which analysts said makes it the largest Autonomy partner to date, had forced the company to lower its product price.

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