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Bull reports Q3, probably posts loss

Bull, the French HPC company, has reported results for its third fiscal quarter ended Sep 30. It ended the first six months of fiscal 2009 with a profit, but the third quarter results seem to indicate a loss

Bull logoBull (Euronext Paris: BULL) – expert in open, flexible and secure information systems and one of Europe’s leading players in the IT industry – today announces that its revenues for the third quarter of 2009 were €221.2 million, representing a decrease of 8.1% compared with the same period in 2008. The decline in revenues is 7.3% at constant exchange rates.  Revenues of €779.8 million have been recorded for the first nine months of the year, down 1.5% compared with the year-ago period.  At constant exchange rates, revenues declined by 0.3% for the period.

Why the fuzzy language on my part? Profit or loss — its straightforward. Bull is a European company (based in France) and their reporting rules are different from ours. This seems to mean that the information they release about their finances is sort of up to them. I’ve poked around a little trying to find something like our SEC standard reporting where I don’t have to rely on the press release, but have failed (if you have a link, leave a comment please). I did find this repository of reports, but it ends at Q2 of this year.

So, why do I think they posted a loss for the quarter? Revenues were down in all the divisions across the board, from nearly -17% to -0.9%, and there’s language throughout the release like this

“Business activity in the third quarter – marked this year by a more unfavorable seasonal effect – is not representative of the trend we anticipate for the full year. Therefore, the results to the end of September mean that we are able to confirm our objectives for the financial year 2009. The resilience of our core offerings – which have recorded growth in revenues year-to-date, and each outperformed its market – demonstrates that we have made the right strategic decisions,” Didier Lamouche continued.

That indicates bad news without coming right out and saying it. Also in the past when they’ve made a profit they’ve included that information in their release — no such inclusion this time. But they are still upbeat about the full year

Outlook: Bull confirms its target EBIT (see glossary) for the year; this was revised in July 2009 to a level “in excess of €25 million”.

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