Design software solutions provider Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK) Thursday confirmed its forecast for the first quarter of fiscal 2010, stating that is still sees a loss after one-time charges compared to prior year's profit. Autodesk also said it expects to take further cost saving steps, including workforce reductions. Separately, the company said it named Mark Hawkins as its executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective April 27.

The California-based company still expects its first-quarter GAAP loss to be in the range of $0.20 - $0.08 per share, including $0.07 per share related to restructuring charges, $0.08 per share related to stock-based compensation expense and $0.05 per share for the amortization of acquisition related intangibles.

On a non-GAAP basis, excluding items, the company continues to project earnings between $0.00 and $0.12 per share.

On average, 17 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to report earnings of $0.08 per share for the quarter, with estimates ranging between $0.03 and $0.12 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

The company continues to expect revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 to be between $400 million and $440 million, while Wall Street analysts project revenues of $419.07 million, representing a year-over-year decline of 30%.

In the same period a year ago, the company's GAAP earnings were $95 million or $0.41 per share, non-GAAP earnings were $117 million or $0.50 per share, on revenues of $598.80 million.

In February, Autodesk reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of $105.3 million, or $0.47 per share, compared to prior year's net income of $96.5 million, or $0.40 per share, hurt by goodwill impairment and deteriorating global economic conditions, which continues to impact its end-user demand.

In addition, Autodesk said Thursday it expects to take steps to further decrease its operating expenses by between $100 million and $150 million on an annualized basis, through a combination of actions, including reductions in discretionary spending, facilities consolidations, reductions in its contingent workforce, and staff reductions. Autodesk said it will finalize, approve, and announce the details of the plan next month.

The latest initiatives would be in addition to the pre-tax cost savings of about $130 million annually that the company announced in mid-January as part of a restructuring plan. The company then had said that it intends to cut its workforce by about 750 employees, representing about 10% of its global workforce.

Carl Bass, Autodesk president and Chief Executive Officer, stated, We have not seen an improvement in global economic conditions and we believe that taking additional actions to reduce our cost structure is appropriate at this time. Combined, our restructuring in January and this new initiative would eliminate between $230 and $280 million in pre-tax operating expenses on an annualized basis.

Bass added, As we navigate this severe economic downturn, we will continue to invest in targeted areas of our business while reducing costs throughout the organization. I'm confident these actions will serve to increase our efficiencies and strengthen our leadership position.

In a separate statement, Autodesk said it appointed Mark Hawkins as its executive vice president and chief financial officer, or CFO, with effect from April 27. The prior CFO, Alfred Castino, informed the company in May 2008 of his intention to resign in order to spend more time with his family.

Hawkins at present is the CFO and senior vice president of finance and IT with computer interface devices manufacturer Logitech International SA (LOGI), which announced on April 1 of Hawkins' resignation from the company, effective April 24. Logitech said it is conducting a search for Hawkins' replacement.

Bass, to whom Hawkins will report as new CFO, commented, He also brings a 25-year proven track record driving the financial performance and operations of companies such as Dell and HP. Mark's financial acumen will be a great addition to our management team.

Hawkins was in his current positions since 2006, and prior to joining Logitech, he was vice president of Dell Inc.'s (DELL) U.S. consumer unit and international services, as well as the company's procurement and logistics arm. Prior to his six years with Dell, Hawkins for eighteen years was with the Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), with which he began his career in 1981.

On Tuesday, UBS analyst Heather Bellini upgraded her rating on the company based on the expectation of the company's additional cost cutting measures, which, she said, would be announced at its April 2 analyst meeting. Bellini also said that the search for a chief financial officer for Autodesk would give the market increased confidence that more cost cutting is soon to be announced and that an earlier 10% cost reduction announced in January was too small.

ADSK, which has been trading in the past 52 weeks between $11.70 and $41.68, closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $17.11, up $0.30, on a volume of 8 million shares.

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