3 IN. DI LETTURA
(Adds analyst comment, details from conference call; updates share movement)
By Sandhya Menon
BANGALORE, Aug 22 (Reuters) - E-learning services provider SkillSoft Plc SKIL.O posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by strong performance in its core business, and raised its full-year outlook, sending its shares up about 8 percent.
The company managed to pull-off a good quarter despite the broader slowdown in information technology spending and the prolonged weakness in the U.S. economy.
"The slow-down in IT spending does not appear to have impacted the company. I think if the economy were even more normal, we'd be seeing even better growth rates," Craig-Hallum Capital analyst George Sutton said.
SkillSoft was comfortable in raising its outlook given the level of contracts they have and renewals that they have seen from customers, Sutton said.
Chief Executive Chuck Moran said in an investor conference call he was unhappy with the performance and felt the company could do better by landing new businesses and growing existing ones.
"That's why we love him. He will never be happy with any results. They always are looking for better results," Sutton said by phone.
The company posted net income of $12.9 million, or 12 cents a share for the second quarter. Earnings from continuing operations stood at 10 cents a share. Revenue rose 17 percent to $83.3 million.
Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 7 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $82.2 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
SkillSoft provides books and course collections through the internet.
"There is a bit of shift going on in the industry from instructor-led to online content," said Sutton.
For the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2009, SkillSoft sees adjusted earnings of 35 cents to 38 cents a share, on revenue of $335 million to $338 million.
It had previously forecast adjusted earnings of 32 cents to 35 cents a share on revenue of $329 million to $336 million.
It expects third-quarter adjusted earnings of 9 cents to 10 cents a share on revenue of $84.0 million to $85.5 million.
Analysts were looking for earnings of 9 cents a share on revenue of $84.8 million.
Shares of the Nashua, New Hampshire-based company rose 68 cents to $10.57 in afternoon trade on Nasdaq. (Editing by Deepak Kannan, Jarshad Kakkrakandy)