ANSYS this morning announced that first quarter revenue was up 16% over last year and “was spread across all major geographic regions and among a broad array of industries”. On a GAAP basis, net income and diluted earnings per share increased 31% and 29%, respectively — all that’s good, right? Very good, even. So why is the share down in trading before the market opens?

Because the headline-grabbing item is ANSYS’ guidance for earnings per share. The earnings press release includes the information that ANSYS expects Q2 revenue to be between $155 million and $161 million, with earnings per share (EPS) of $0.41 to $0.46, and full 2011 revenue the range of $645 million to $665 million with EPS of between $1.81 and $1.91. According to Reuters, analysts were expecting revenue of about $156 million for Q2 and $656 million for the year, with EPS of $0.56 and $2.35, respectively. Analysts don’t like it when the company they are reporting on contradicts them … Expect many of the questions on today’s earnings call to be about those EPS forecasts.

UPDATE: The company’s EPS forecasts weren’t questioned. Perhaps in the 3 hours between the press release and early trading, the investment analysts adjusted their numbers? By the time the earnings call started at 10:30, the share price was up around 1%.

The important thing for us is that the forecast issued today by ANSYS is actually an increase in the topline revenue range.

But back to the good news about Q1. CEO Jm Cashman said in the press release that “We saw improvement in the UK and North America markets over last quarter and, most notably, our Japan team delivered a very strong contribution to our first quarter results. We are extremely proud of their continued dedication and ongoing efforts in the face of such extraordinary circumstances.  Supporting our Japanese employees and customers as they focus on rebuilding will be a new and important priority as we look into the remainder of 2011.  Despite the various political turmoil and macroeconomic concerns, our diversified global reach, our resilient business model and our technological leadership continue to drive customer engagements. With the growing need for energy efficiency, stricter environmental and regulatory mandates, and ever-increasing consumer expectations, our customers are increasingly using simulation to enable innovation and value creation. These increasing business pressures, coupled with the dedication and efforts of our global team, have continued to enable us to deliver on our commitments.’

We’ll know more after the earnings call, but here’s a quick rundown of the data we have so far:

• Total revenue was up 16% to $158 million.
• Software license revenue was up 18% in Q1 2011 to $96 million. The lease business continues to putter along, up 10% over last year, to $$50 million. The standout was paid-up licenses, with total revenue of $46 million, up 26%. This is likely a reflection of a strong quarter for Ansoft, sold as perpetual licenses.
• Maintenance revenue grew 17% over Q1 2010 to $58 million and recurring revenue represented 68% of total Q1 revenues.
• Services revenue continues to struggle, falling 12% to $4 million.
• The company recorded 17, 7-figure deals in Q1.
• The sales mix remained at 74% / 26% our direct/indirect.
• By geo, sales were strongest in the company’s “general international area”, which includes Japan and the Pacific Rim. Revenue from Japan was up 13% to $27 million and to GIA, in total, were up 21% to $50 million. Revenue from the UK, Germany and North America were each up 10% to 12%, with standouts being unnamed regions in “Other Europe”. In total, North American revenue was up 12% to $52 million, while Europe was up 16% to $56 million.
• The company saw growth in each major product line, with electronics products leading the way.

UPDATED — new information from the earnings call:
• Acquisitions are a key component of ANSYS’ strategic plan, although Mr. Cashman feels ANSYS already has the edge in technical excellence. He sees engineering collaboration, data management, process transferral, and tools to develop best practice, as keys to enable ANSYS to target a broader set of users.
• ASPs were stable to up slightly in Q1.
• The largest deal was in the “high seven figures”.
• The 17 deals over $1 million were typically to ANSYS’ largest accounts, usually adding seats to existing installation in an “expansion of the base” but also often included selling additional products to the accounts.