BMC delivers solid earnings - again

* BMC kicked off fiscal 2009 with significant revenue increases

Management software maker BMC kicked off fiscal 2009 with significant revenue increases that have industry watchers confident the company will weather any economic challenges U.S. vendors could face this year.

BMC last week reported it had garnered $438 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2009, a 14% year-over-year increase. BMC license revenue for the first quarter was $149 million, which represented an increase of 19% compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2008. And professional services revenue increased by 43%. BMC previously reported total revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 at $467 million, up 11% over the prior year. Cash flow from operations for the year was $594 million, up 41% and the highest level in the past five years. And the company says its $1.73 billion in revenue for fiscal 2008 represents a 10% increase over 2007.

"BMC delivered another solid quarter, with strong Enterprise Service Management license bookings and steady cash flow," reports MKM Partners in a Research Note. "BMC remains a good defensive name with steady cash generation from its mainframe business and continued demand for its service support and automation products that reduce the cost of IT operations."

A big part of the automation business came via acquisition. BMC started down the path when it acquired run-book automation start-up RealOps and then climaxed when the management software maker picked up data center automation player BladeLogic for $800 million, a move similar to HP's acquisition of Opsware. For BMC, the BladeLogic buy gave its Business Service Management (BSM) business a significant shot in the arm, industry watchers say.

According to Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, the BladeLogic buy helped BMC grow business at a faster rate than would be expected in today's economy.

"With the major acquisition of the BladeLogic data center automation company, TBR believes BMC has positioned itself for accelerating growth. Even before the acquisition, the company had become more aggressive in driving growth of its flagship [BSM] business," a recent TBR research note reads. "The BladeLogic purchase, the company’s largest acquisition in almost 10 years increased revenue and growth rates and energized management and the sales organization with a start-up approach to the market."

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