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Intuit looks to online services, mobile to drive growth

Intuit Inc, the maker of tax-preparation software TurboTax, forecast current-quarter results ahead of analyst estimates, helped by higher demand at the unit that offers tax services to small businesses.

The company, which currently earns 95 percent of its revenue from the United States, is looking to expand globally through its connected services such as QuickBooks small-business accounting software and mobile offerings such as SnapTax, Chief Financial Officer Neil Williams told Reuters.

Intuit, which competes with shop-front tax preparer H&R Block Inc, expects to earn $2.99 cents to $3.04 cents per share and revenue in the range of $2.22 to $2.28 billion in the third quarter.

Analysts were looking for earnings of $2.94 per share on revenue of $2.24 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Intuit expects about $140 million of tax revenue from the second quarter to shift to the current quarter after the US Internal Revenue Service pushed back the opening of its electronic filing service and the government delayed passage of tax legislation.

Intuit generates most of its profit in its fiscal second and third quarters, when US consumers are more likely to buy its software in the lead-up to the tax season. Its fourth and first quarter are seasonally weak as it is the tax filing off-season.

The company posted a profit of $93 million, or 23 cents per share, in the second quarter, from a profit of $195 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding exceptional items, it earned 33 cents per share, ahead of Wall Street estimates by 3 cents.

For the three months ended Jan. 31, its revenue fell 3 percent to $968 million, above analysts estimates of $963.2 million.

The shares of the Mountain View, California-based company closed at $61.30 on Thursday on the Nasdaq. (Reuters)