2 IN. DI LETTURA
(Recasts; adds details, share movement)
Feb 7 (Reuters) - Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp (CTSH.O), a provider of low-cost software development services in India, posted a higher fourth-quarter profit and guided first-quarter results above expectations, sending shares up more than 11 percent in after-hours trading.
The company said growth in fourth-quarter earnings was driven by strong growth across its business segments, service offerings and geographic regions.
Cognizant, which offers software programming and other information technology services, said fourth-quarter net income rose to $96.3 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with $69.5 million, or 23 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, earnings were 36 cents a share.
Revenue rose 41 percent to $600 million.
Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 31 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $593.8 for the quarter, according to Reuters Estimates.
For the first quarter, Cognizant forecast earnings of 32 cents a share and revenue of at least $640 million. Excluding items, the company expects earnings of 36 cents a share.
Analysts were expecting earnings of 32 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $629.8 million.
Cognizant derives 70 percent of its revenue from the financial services and healthcare industries.
Cognizant shares rose to $30.45 in after-hours trading, after closing at $27.28 on Nasdaq. The company has lost almost 40 percent of its share value on year-over-year basis. (Reporting by Purwa Naveen Raman in Bangalore)