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Red Hat still on course for Linux profits

But not for another year says new CFO

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Red Hat is still on track for 100 per cent year-on-year revenue growth by the end of next fiscal year, the Linux company's newly appointed CFO said yesterday.

Kevin Thompson, formerly Red Hat's VP of Operations, was pushed up the greasy pole yesterday. He's been at the company for less than a month, but has clearly proved a hit. His predecessor as CFO, Harold Covert, quit in July.

Red Hat said on 14 September that it was on course to become profitable by the end of December 2001, when it would also see 100 per cent revenue growth on fiscal 2000. Fiscal 2001 ends next February.

Thompson restated that outlook - important, given Wall Street fears over Linux companies' potential profitability that arose after VA Linux Systems' profit warning earlier this week. He added that the company will post annual revenues for fiscal 2001 of around $84.2 million. The year after, that figure will rise to $156.8 million. Fiscal 2002 will see net income of around $7.6 million, he said.

Thompson said Red Hat would be safe from the downturn on dotcom expenditure - a key factor in VA Linux Systems' warning - because of its different business model. "They sell hardware and software, we sell software and services," he said. "We do not have nearly the dependence on the dotcoms and don't expect that we will."

Before joining Red Hat, Thompson spent 13 years at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in various operations, debt and equity offerings, and mergers and acquisitions roles. He sounds pretty well suited for the CFO's role then. He also spend ten years at Arthur Andersen on IPO projects. ®

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