Adobe Systems has reported a profit for its first fiscal quarter that topped analysts' lowered estimates, but warned of a possible slowdown ahead.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2001, Adobe achieved revenues of $329 million, compared to $282.2 million reported for the first quarter of fiscal 2000 and $355.2 million reported in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000. This represents 17 per cent year over year revenue growth, with application revenue growth of 20 per cent.

Pro forma diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of fiscal 2001, which excludes non-operating gains and losses, were $0.33. This exceeds the original operating profit target the Company gave on December 14, 2000.

This earnings-per-share figure is ahead of the $0.28 expected by analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial. Those analysts had lowered their estimate in January after Adobe warned of slowing sales, particularly in the US.

Citing the "challenging and uncertain economic environment," Adobe said Thursday that it would lower its growth target for the second quarter to 15 per cent year over year, and said it would not provide revenue targets for the second half.

"Although we do not currently see a major slowdown in our business in Europe and Japan, the potential for a global slowdown causes us to defer providing updated second-half targets until we have better visibility," said Bruce Chizen, Adobe's president and CEO.

Adobe also announced yesterday that John Warnock, cofounder and chief technology officer of the software publishing company, would retire from the latter position effective immediately.