Juniper Disappoints in Q4
Juniper stock quickly fell $2.12 (9.9%) to $19.40 in after-hours trading during the company's conference call.
For its fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, Juniper reported profits of $105.5 million, or 17 cents per share, on revenues of $575.5 million, compared with profits of $84.1 million, or 14 cents per share, on revenues of $546 million for the previous quarter.
For its fourth quarter a year ago, Juniper reported profits of $66 million, or 11 cents per share, on revenues of $430 million.Reuters. Its non-GAAP net income came to 20 cents per share, matching analysts' estimates -- but that counted as a miss in investors' eyes, considering the company regularly outpaces the earnings-per-share estimate. In fact, prior to the quarter, Juniper had beaten estimates for at least the past eight quarters, according to Thomson Financial .
Juniper's fourth-quarter revenues just missed analysts' forecast of $578 million.
Juniper predicted revenues of $565 million to $575 million for its first quarter, which ends in March. Prior to today's results, analysts expected Juniper to report revenues of $586.1 million and non-GAAP net income of 20 cents per share for the March quarter.
Product revenues were to blame for the revenue shortfall, growing just 4.7 percent from the previous quarter, Prudential Equity Group LLC analyst Inder Singh wrote in a report issued immediately after Juniper's release.
Sales from Juniper's recent acquisitions in the enterprise networking space appeared to show little growth, perhaps contributing to the disappointment
On today's conference call with analysts, CEO Scott Kriens said business in Japan hit a pause during the fourth quarter, as major carriers went into planning mode for the next wave of network buildouts. That might have hurt product sales, but Kriens declared it a sign of good things to come, particularly as other countries follow Japan's lead in building next-generation networks.
"This second wave of buildouts will be lumpy, but it's extremely important strategically," Kriens said.
Kriens proceeded to outline how traffic processing is central to Juniper's long-term plans, a strategy he's preached for more than a year. The idea is that more sophisticated network services, such as video, will require more fine-tuned engineering of traffic, a function Juniper intends to provide.
Kriens hasn't wavered from that message, but Juniper has come under scrutiny lately for its long-term plan. It hasn't helped that executives including former Unisphere Networks CEO Jim Dolce left this month, part of what Juniper said was a "structured" reorganization plan. (See Dolce & Others out at Juniper, Juniper's Marketing Mystery, and Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders.)
Juniper has made several acquisitions, including some directly related to traffic processing, and it could be moving into wireless LAN with the rumored pickup of Colubris Networks Inc. or Meru Networks Inc. But analysts have previously stated Juniper should be trying to get into Ethernet switching, and some, including Singh, aren't sure whether these purchases can make up for what appears to be a slowing of Juniper's base product growth. (See Juniper Takes Two: Peribit & Redline, Juniper Buying WLAN Startup?, Juniper's Slow Shopping Trip , and Analyst: Juniper Faces Tougher Times.)
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading