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Linux distributor Red Hat's billings growth disappoints

By Neha Alawadhi

(Reuters) - Red Hat Inc, the world's largest commercial distributor of the Linux operating system, reported a slower growth in billings than analysts had expected.

The company's shares fell nearly 8 percent after markets closed.

Red Hat's billing proxy, which the company defines as total revenue combined with the change in deferred revenue, grew 8 percent to $376 million in the second quarter.

Analysts, however, had expected billings to grow 14 percent.

"This is now the third quarter in a row that they've missed on deferred revenue," said Susquehanna Financial Group LLC analyst J. Derrick Wood.

Red Hat's ability to sustain billings growth at a mid-teen percentage rate was now under question, he added.

Overall foreign exchange rates hit Red Hat's revenue and billings growth in the second quarter, Chief Financial Officer Charlie Peters said on a post-earnings conference call.

Last year, regions outside the United States accounted for 43.3 percent of Red Hat's revenue.

The company said it expects third-quarter adjusted earnings of 34-35 cents per share on revenue of about $381-$384 million.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 34 cents per share on revenue of $391.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Linux competes with Microsoft Corp's Windows operating systems in corporate markets, especially for use in servers.

Net income rose to $41 million, or 21 cents per share, in the second quarter compared with $35.0 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company reported earnings of 35 cents per share. Revenue grew 16 percent to $374.4 million.

Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of 33 cents per share on revenue of $372.1 million.

Red Hat shares closed at $52.93 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

(Reporting by Neha Alawadhi in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)