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Computer Associates to Cut 5% of Jobs
By Bill Snyder Staff Reporter

7/27/2005 6:47 PM EDT

Updated from 4:57 p.m. EDT

Computer Associates (CA:Nasdaq) delivered the quarter and guidance Wall Street expected, but it surprised investors with news that it will take a pretax restructuring charge of up to $75 million as it trims its workforce by 5%, or 800 jobs.

Sales in the June quarter increased by 8% year over year to $920 million while net income more than doubled to $94 million, or 15 cents a share, including a tax credit of $36 million, or 6 cents a share. Last year, the company earned $40 million, or 7 cents in a restated quarter.

Excluding items, the company's per-share profit in June was 22 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting a 22-cents-a-share profit on sales of $919.6 million.

The news didn't do much to move CA's stock. In after-hours trading, shares were off 3 cents to $29.14.

Total bookings for the first quarter decreased by 30% from the previous year to $415 million. Chief Operating Officer Jeff Clarke said the slowdown in bookings, a measure of new business, occurred in part because of a switch in the company's sales strategy.

On a conference call with analysts and investors, Clarke said CA has adjusted its sales compensation plan to favor bookings of new products, instead of renewals or extensions of older software. Some sales representatives, he said, booked an unusually large amount of sales in the previous quarter to be sure of making their quotas under the old system, and that removed sales from the pipeline.

Mainframe software bookings were also hurt by customers postponing purchases of the company's flagship Unicenter product in anticipation of a new release later this year or because they were expecting to buy upgraded mainframes due from IBM (IBM:NYSE) this week.

The restructuring and job cuts, which follow a round of layoffs last fall, will save an annualized $75 million, the company said, at a pretax cost of $50 million to $75 million, most of which will taken in the second quarter.

Looking to the current second quarter, the company forecast revenue ranging from $930 million to $960 million and an operating profit of 23 cents or 24 cents a share, roughly equal to expectations.

Separately, the company announced that co-founder Russell Artzt will not stand for re-election to the board of directors this year. However, he will remain the company's executive vice president. Some shareholders have demanded that Artzt step down from the board, saying that he and other directors whose terms encompassed the period when some CA executives illegally booked more than $2 billion in sales should go as the company struggles to regain its credibility.

CA said in a proxy filing that it prefers that all directors, with the exception of CEO John Swainson, be outsiders. The company has stated repeatedly that the current members of the board were not responsible for the massive accounting fraud and a subsequent cover-up.

Gary Lutin, an investment banker who is running a forum for CA shareholders, said he is pleased by the decision but added that the company has not done enough housecleaning. "Artzt's departure from the board shows they understand that shareholders couldn't be expected to rely on him as an objective, effective fiduciary. But that just raises more questions about why they don't apply this same understanding to the other seven directors who were responsible for management oversight during the period of admitted criminal conduct, or to the other directors whose employment as company executives or consultants during the past few years raises questions of independence."


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