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February 19, 1987

MICROSOFT FINANCE CHIEF WARNS THAT CURRENT GROWTH RATES CAN’T CONTINUE

By CBR Staff Writer

The high profits generated by Microsoft Corp, Redmond, Washington, over the last few years are not likely to continue for too much longer, Frank Gaudette, vice president for finance and administration, told the Seattle Society of Financial Analysts last week. Securities analysts’ estimates of fiscal 1987 revenues of $285m to $310m and profits as high as $2.75 per share are aggressive and too high, Gaudette warned the Society. The company’s stock was active last week, moving from $68.50 Tuesday to $76.75 Thursday and $77.50 by mid-afternoon Friday, but his remarks caused it to turn smartly back round again, and on Wednesday it shed $4.75 to $71.75. It went public in March 1986 at just $21 a share, and reported net of $35.5m, $1.28 a share, in the first six months of fiscal 1987 to December 31, a 108% increase, on sales up 74% at $147.8m. Gaudette admits that the latest quarter’s profits of $19.7m exceeded its expectations – a rate of increase not sustainable in thelong run, especially as 40% of business is already done overseas. It will benefit from lower taxes from tax reform, but will invest the windfall on product research and development, and construction.

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