Cisco's Comeback Quarter

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has reclaimed its spot as the safe haven among networking stocks -- the steadily growing giant that's as likely to lull you to sleep as it is to beat the Street.

The company yesterday reported a fiscal quarterly profit of US$1.8 billion, or 33 cents a share, on revenues of $11.26 billion. That compares with a profit of $1.9 billion, or 34 cents a share, on revenues of $10.75 billion from its first-quarter results a year ago. (See Cisco Profits $1.8B in Q1.)

In his earnings press release, Cisco CEO John Chambers said the company was mostly done with its restructuring. He also noted that, even with service provider capital spending slowing, he feels the company is well positioned across the areas in the network where the growth is going -- IP video, mobility and networking for data centers to name a few.

The quarter was a relief for investors, who have seen Cisco's gross margins slip and have been worried about market-share losses in multiple categories. Cisco is also facing tougher competition in the switching market than it's seen in years.

Cisco's GAAP gross margins were 61.28 percent. That's still lower than at any quarter of fiscal 2011, which ended in July. "The company is getting savvier about its sales and marketing response to lower-priced vendors in the marketplace," wrote Jefferies & Co. Inc. analyst George Notter, in a note to clients.

A few of the company's quarterly highlights include:

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, and Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:49:15 PM
re: Cisco's Comeback Quarter

I still haven't listened to the actual conference call (Ethernet Expo dominated my week, if you didn't guess) ... but reading the report from Mark Sue at RBC, Cisco benefited from upticks in government business, Japan, and service-provider business.

I'm not sure I'd expect all three of those to *stay* up.  Makes me wonder how long-lived the comeback might be.

The main thing is margins, I suppose - non-GAAP gross margins were 62.4%, exceeding estimates, so everyone seems happy about that.

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