July 28, 2010

Blackbaud Posts Sales, Profit Gains

John McDermott  /  The Post and Courier

Company says it is seeing upturn among customers

Blackbaud Inc. put up higher sales and profit numbers for the second quarter Tuesday as the Charleston-based software giant continued to navigate its way through the prolonged recession.

The company also said it is starting to see signs of improvement among its customers and that it is expanding a stock-buyback program.

Blackbaud, which develops specialized software and services for nonprofit groups around the world, said net income edged up 3 percent to $6.8 million, or 15 cents a share, for the quarter ended June 30 compared to the same period last year.

Sales increased 6 percent to $80.7 million, driven largely by higher subscription fees and maintenance revenue.

"While the pace of economic recovery remains uncertain, we saw increased evidence of stabilization and improvement in the nonprofit market during the second quarter," said Marc Chardon, chief executive officer of the Daniel Island company.

Chardon said he was encouraged because the software firm has detected an uptick in demand from its customers, and is even adding staff in some key areas.

But he was not willing to declare an end to the technology spending downturn, telling analysts in a conference call that "you never know."

Year-to-date, Blackbaud's profit is up 20 percent to $12.7 million from the first six months of 2009. Sales are about 4 percent higher at $157 million.

The company's second-quarter results met analysts' projections, but earnings for the third quarter are expected to be about 2 cents per share below expectations, Blackbaud said.

The company had $13.3 million in cash on hand as of June 30, down from $23.3 million on March 31. The reason for the decline is that it used that money and some cash borrowings to repurchase 958,000 shares of its own stock during the quarter.

And more buybacks are possible. Blackbaud said Tuesday that its board has authorized the repurchase up to $50 million more of its stock to replace a program that expires this month.

Also, the company declared a third-quarter cash dividend of 11 cents a share payable on Sept. 15 to stockholders of record on Aug. 27.

Blackbaud released its results after U.S. stock markets had closed. Shares of the company fell 55 cents to $23.40, or 2.5 percent, in after-hours trading Tuesday night.