Intuit earnings: beats estimates, offers "positive momentum" guidance

Intuit reports better-than-expected Q4 earnings and says the company's strategy is on track for fiscal 2011

Intuit, maker of the TurboTax and Quickbooks software, reported better-than-expected fourth quarter, exceeding Wall Street's expectations and pushing shares up in after-hours trading. (Statement)

For the quarter, the company reported revenue of $537 million, up 18 percent from the year-ago quarter, and a net loss of 5 cents per share. Wall Street had been expecting revenue of $500.7 million and a loss of 10 cents.

For the fiscal year 2010, the company reported revenue of $3.45 billion and earnings of $2.11, a 16 percent increase from the prior year.

In a statement, President and CEO Brad Smith said the company's strategy is working and that its execution is on track, which has allowed it to "build positive momentum" into fiscal 2011. He said:

Intuit is a leader in categories that are growing. We’re increasing our share in small business and consumer tax. We are accelerating customer growth and improving revenue per customer. Our next phase of growth is being driven by the clear market shift to digital or connected services. Intuit is perfectly positioned for this shift, and making strong progress in building the next phase of our growth on our leading software-as-a-service offerings.

Among the highlights:

  • Strong demand continued for QuickBooks Online; subscriptions topped 200,000, up 37 percent from the same quarter last year.
  • Intuit Websites’ customer base grew 80 percent year over year, ending with more than 320,000 paying subscribers, more than doubling the number at the beginning of the fiscal year.
  • Internet banking users grew 9 percent for the year, while bill pay users grew 18 percent.
  • Mint more than doubled its user base in fiscal 2010 and now has over 3 million users.

Looking ahead at the first quarter 2011, the company said it expects revenue of $515 million to $525 million, or growth of 9-11 percent over the year-ago quarter and a net loss of 13 cents to 11 cents per share.
For fiscal 2011, which ends July 31, 2011, the company said it expects revenue of $3.74 billion to $3.84 billion, or growth of 8-11 percent, and earnings of $2.36 to $2.43, or growth of 12-15 percent.
Separately, the company's board of directors approved a new $2 billion stock repurchase program over the next three years. During the fourth quarter, the company repurchased $150 million of its shares, bringing total repurchases for the fiscal year to $900 million.

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