UPDATE 2-Red Hat raises revenue forecast on strong subscription growth (June 18)

Reuters

(In June 18 story, corrects paragraph 1 to say company raised full-year revenue, not adjusted profit, forecast. Corrects paragraph 5 to say company cut its full-year adjusted profit forecast to $1.52-$1.54 per share, not raised it to $1.59-$1.61)

* 1st-qtr adjusted profit $0.34/shr vs est $0.33/shr

* Revenue up 17 pct

* Sees full-year revenue $1.76-$1.785 bln vs est $1.75 bln

* Shares up 4.5 pct in extended trading

By Soham Chatterjee

June 18 (Reuters) - Red Hat Inc, the world's largest commercial distributor of the Linux operating system, raised its full-year revenue forecast, helped by strong growth in subscription revenue.

Shares of Red Hat rose 4.5 percent in extended trading.

"... We are benefiting from an improved IT spending environment for open source and cloud enabling technologies," Chief Executive Jim Whitehurst said on a conference call on Wednesday.

Whitehurst said Red Hat was able to renew all of the top 25 deals up for renewal in the first quarter ended May 31 and signed a record number of deals worth a million dollars or more.

Red Hat cut its full-year adjusted profit forecast to $1.52-$1.54 per share from $1.54-$1.56.

The company lifted its revenue forecast to $1.76-$1.785 billion from $1.73-$1.755 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting an adjusted profit of $1.55 on revenue of $1.75 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Red Hat is benefiting from higher enterprise demand for its software used in data-centers, for cloud computing and to create virtual computers within an operating system.

The company counts 90 percent of Fortune Global 500 companies as customers, including Amazon.com Inc, Dell Inc and Alcatel-Lucent SA.

Red Hat - whose products competes with those of Microsoft Corp and VMware Inc - is investing in developing OpenStack open-source cloud software as companies increasingly subscribe to storage, software and computing services hosted on remote servers.

The company also said on Wednesday it was buying eNovance, a provider of OpenStack-based cloud computing services, for $95 million.

In April, Red Hat bought data-center storage software maker Inktank for $175 million.

Q1 BEATS

Red Hat's net income fell to $37.7 million, or 20 cents per share, in the first quarter, from $40.4 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 34 cents per share beating analysts' expectations of 33 cents per share.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $423.8 million, above expectations of $414 million.

"Red Hat delivered solid first-quarter results as subscription revenue, and more importantly, billings outperformed expectations," Evercore Partners analyst Kirk Materne told Reuters.

Billings rose 17 percent in the quarter ended May 31, above analysts' expectations of growth of 15 percent.

Subscription revenue increased 16 percent to $372 million.

"Given that Red Hat's business can tend to be a little slow in their first fiscal quarter, this would appear to be a really solid start to fiscal year 2015," Materne said.

The company's shares were at $55.50 in extended trading after closing at $53.10 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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