Autodesk on Cruise Control

Despite competition from Siemens (NYSE: SI  ) , Parametric Technology (Nasdaq: PMTC  ) , and Dassault Systemes (Nasdaq: DASTY  ) , design software maker Autodesk (Nasdaq: ADSK  ) continues to get stronger. The company is in the midst of a major transition from 2-D to 3-D software, and customers can't seem to get enough. But if there is a downturn in the economy, things may not be so rosy.

Late last week, Autodesk reported fiscal Q2 results. Revenues came in at $526 million, up 17%. There was strong demand from emerging economies because of the boom in construction.  Such revenues increased 37% to $82 million.

Autodesk's core 3-D products -- which include Inventor, Revit and Civil 3D -- posted a healthy 34% increase in revenues to $122 million. The company has changed its reseller incentives and it seems to be getting traction.

As for the bottom line, net income was $92 million, or $0.38 per share, which was up from $87 million, or $0.36 per share, in the same period a year ago. Cash flow from operations was $137 million. In all, there is about $837 million in the bank.

No doubt, the cash is helpful for mergers and acquisitions. Over the past couple of months, Autodesk has agreed to purchase companies including Opticore and Skymatter, which will add more 3-D capabilities.

On the conference call, management was upbeat and even increased its Q3 revenue guidance from $520 million-$530 million to $530 million-$540 million.

However, over the past couple of weeks, the financial markets have been ensnared in a credit crunch. Might that stunt construction? Will there be slower growth or even a recession?

Even U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. declared that the financial mess "will extract a penalty on the growth rate" on the U.S. economy. If so, it seems reasonable that there will be weakness with Autodesk. So despite the optimism from management, I think Foolish investors should use some caution on this one for now.

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Fool contributor Tom Taulli, author of The Complete M&A Handbook, does not own shares mentioned in this article. He is currently ranked 2,300 out of more than 60,000 in CAPS. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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