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Red Hat on Thursday announced record revenue and profits for its fourth quarter and its 2005 fiscal year, which ended Feb. 28.

The Raleigh, N.C., company’s total revenue for fiscal year 2005 jumped to $196.5 million, an increase of 58 percent from 2004. For the fourth quarter of 2005, the revenue was $57.5 million. This was a year-over-year increase of 56 percent and a third to fourth quarter leap of 13 percent.

Read more here about Red Hat’s financial standing in 2004.

The bulk of Red Hat Inc.‘s increase came from continued growth in its enterprise subscription revenue. This rose to $45.4 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2005, an increase of 92 percent on a year-over-year basis and an increase of 19 percent on a sequential basis. For the full fiscal year 2005, enterprise subscription revenue was $147.4 million, or a 120 percent year-over-year increase.

“It appears that Red Hat’s business strategy of focusing on the higher-margin, higher-revenue portion of the Linux market is getting some traction. Their revenues appear strong because of this focus,” said Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of system software at IDC.

Red Hat reported net income of $45.4 million, or 24 cents per diluted share for 2005, up from 8 cents per diluted share last year. For cash flow, Red Hat saw an increase of 100 percent over 2004 as its cash flow hit $122.2 million.

At the same time, Red Hat announced that it is expanding its stock repurchase plan to $250 million, and that it already has spent $100 million on buybacks.

“We are very pleased with the strong momentum of the Linux marketplace, and our business in particular,” Charlie Peters, Red Hat’s chief financial officer, said in a statement.

“Based on publicly available information, we believe our enterprise subscription revenue run rate is more than six times that of the No. 2 Linux provider [Novell Inc.]”

George Weiss, a Gartner Group vice president, said Red Hat’s gains and Novell’s also-run status have been because of poor business execution on Novell’s part and “Red Hat’s superior, established, extremely strong position in the market.”

“Linux users don’t seem to be inclined to make a switch,” Weiss said, adding that “Red Hat is growing at market space, while Novell is showing only incremental growth.”

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