Blackbaud says 2014 a year of solid growth

Mike Gianoni marked his one-year anniversary as CEO of Blackbaud in early January.

Blackbaud Inc. reported a jump in revenue coupled with an expected slowdown in profit for the fourth quarter, topping off what the technology company described as a year of accelerated growth.

The Daniel Island-based software firm’s revenue totaled $152.8 million for the last three months of 2014, up 13 percent from the year-earlier period. Sales were slightly less than what analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters.

Net income tumbled 59 percent to $4.8 million for the quarter, largely because of a substantial increase in research-and-development spending and other expenses aimed at long-term growth. Blackbaud warned a year ago that profits would be slimmer in 2014 as it would be investing more to boost revenue.

The company’s stock fell nearly 4 percent to close at $42.41 on Wednesday.

For the full year, Blackbaud’s earnings slipped about 7 percent from 2013 to $28.3 million. Revenue climbed 12 percent to $564 million.

“As the team and I reflect on our 2014 financial performance, we are proud of our achievements. We received a solid passing grade and it was a job well done,” CEO Mike Gianoni said Wednesday during a conference call with stock analysts. “What is also very exciting is what these results illustrate, very clearly in my opinion, that our model, our strategies and the actions we implemented in 2014 are the right strategies to ensure that we drive an extended period of quality enhancement, product and service innovation and increasing operating efficiency and financial performance for Blackbaud.”

Blackbaud is the world’s largest maker of software for the nonprofit industry. It’s also one of the largest technology employers in South Carolina.

Last year, the company made two acquisitions totaling $195 million under Gianoni, who became CEO in January 2014.

Its most recent deal was the $160 million buyout in October of MicroEdge, New York-based tech firm that works with charitable groups that allocate their donations to other causes.

Blackbaud spent an additional $35 million in June to buy WhippleHill Communications, a small New Hampshire software firm that works with private elementary and high schools. That was its first acquisition in more than two years.

Blackbaud’s board this week approved a quarterly dividend of 12 cents a share payable March 13 to stockholders of record on Feb. 27.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.