Novell Posts Loss Amid Restructuring Charges

Novell Inc. (NOVL) on Wednesday posted a quarterly loss on restructuring charges while revenue rose slightly from a year earlier, but shares in the software company dropped after both fell short of expectations.

Novell, which is moving into Linux (search) update and support services, said that its older networking software business was shrinking faster than expected, and shares in the Waltham, Mass. company fell nearly 7 percent in after-hours trade.

Novell, posted a net loss of $16 million, or 4 cents per share, for the fiscal second quarter ended April 30.

This compared with a year-earlier loss of $15 million, or 4 cents per share. The per-share loss didn't change from a year earlier due to the fact that Novell's share count shrank to 378,219 diluted shares outstanding from 384,528 a year earlier.

Excluding restructuring, investment impairments and other charges Novell said it had a profit of $1 million, or nil per share.

Analysts, on average, had expected Novell to post a profit, excluding charges, of 3 cents per share.

Revenue rose to $297 million from $294 million, but came in below Wall Street's average estimate of $302 million.

Joe Tibbetts, Novell's Chief Financial Officer said that revenue from the company's NetWare (search) product line declined at a slightly faster pace than expected.

"Revenue grew but we'd like to see them grow more," Tibbetts said, "Even in our Linux business we would have liked to do better there."

Shares in Novell fell to $5.81 in after-hours trade from their close on Nasdaq at $6.28. The shares are down 44 percent from a year-high.

The company, as usual, did not issue its earnings outlook.

Analysts on Wednesday were projecting Novell to earn a profit of 3 cents per share in the fiscal third quarter on $308 million in revenue.