(Adds details, shares, analyst quote)
June 18 (Reuters) - Red Hat Inc, the world's largest commercial distributor of the Linux operating system, reported better-than-expected adjusted profit and revenue for the first quarter, helped by growth in subscriptions.
The company's shares rose 4.5 percent in extended trading.
"Red Hat delivered solid first-quarter results as subscription revenue, and more importantly, billings outperformed expectations," Evercore Partners analyst Kirk Materne told Reuters.
Billings rose 17 percent in the quarter ended May 31, above analysts' expectations of growth of 15 percent.
Subscription revenue increased 16 percent to $372 million.
"Given that Red Hat's business can tend to be a little slow in their first fiscal quarter, this would appear to be a really solid start to fiscal year 2015," Materne said.
Red Hat is benefiting from higher enterprise demand for its software for use in data-centers, cloud computing, and to create virtual computers within an operating system.
The company counts 90 percent of Fortune Global 500 companies as customers, including Amazon Inc, Dell Inc and Alcatel-Lucent SA.
Red Hat is investing in developing OpenStack open-source cloud software as companies increasingly subscribe to storage, software and computing services hosted on remote servers.
Red Hat's net income fell to $37.7 million, or 20 cents per share, in the first quarter, from $40.4 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 34 cents per share beating analysts' expectations of 33 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 17 percent to $423.8 million, above Wall Street estimate of $414 million.
The company's shares were at $55.50 in extended trading after closing at $53.10 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)