• United States

Legal settlements push CA’s Q2 into the red

Oct 22, 20033 mins
Financial Services IndustryWi-Fi

One week after fielding the resignations of its top financial executives, Computer Associates posted second-quarter results weighed down by expensive litigation settlement charges.

One week after fielding the resignations of its top financial executives, Computer Associates posted second-quarter results weighed down by expensive litigation settlement charges.

CA generated revenue of $833 million during the quarter ended Sept. 30, up 8% from $772 million one year earlier. While the company’s channel sales, maintenance fees, financing fees and professional services revenue all dropped from the prior year, an increase in its subscription revenue offset the declines.

CA’s net loss widened from the previous year, reaching $87 million, or $0.15 per share. The loss included hefty charges for two settlement agreements announced in August: $100 million to settle shareholder lawsuits over CA’s past accounting practices and $13 million toward a $40 million payment agreement reached to settle a contractual dispute. Excluding those charges, CA said it would have posted per-share earnings of $0.01 to $0.03.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had estimated CA would lose $0.14 per share in the quarter. It was not clear whether that estimate reflected the settlement charges.

CA’s accounting is the subject of a joint investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice. The company also launched an internal investigation of its accounting practices, which is ongoing. Based on preliminary results from that inquiry, CA last week requested the resignations of three senior financial executives, including its chief financial officer, after determining that revenue for some contracts had been booked before the contracts were signed.

“The findings were obviously disturbing to all of us, and it’s been a painful time for the company,” CA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Kumar said in a conference call with analysts following the financial results release. Kumar declined to estimate how long the investigation being conducted by CA’s board will take, or to approximate the scope of the improperly booked revenue. He emphasized the board’s finding in its preliminary report that all sales booked were eventually completed.

“The contracts were valid, the products were delivered, and cash was received,” Kumar said.

No accounting improprieties have been found since the company’s late-2000 move to a new, subscription-based sales and revenue recognition model, CA’s interim CFO Doug Robinson said. CA is conducting an external search for a new CFO.

While the business environment in Europe remains difficult, CA sees signs of a “continued warm up” in North America, Kumar said.

“I’m a bit more optimistic about the North American business compared to three to six months ago,” he said.

He cautioned, however, that a substantial recovery remains distant: “It’s clearly a buyers’ market, and many believe it will continue to be a buyers’ market into the future.”

CA told analysts it anticipates revenue of $825 million to $845 million in its current quarter, and per-share earnings of $0.02 to $0.04. For the current fiscal year, ending March 31, the company expects revenue of as much as $3.4 billion and a per-share loss of $0.04 to $0.09.