Juniper's $25M Slip

10:45 AM -- Did Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) make guidance or not?

For earnings per share, the answer is yes: That figure reached 27 cents (non-GAAP) for Juniper's first quarter, which ended March 31 and got reported Tuesday. Analysts were expecting 26 cents, according to Thomson. (See Juniper Reports Q1.)

When it came to revenues, Juniper made par: $912.6 million, compared with expectations of $906.1 million.

But that's the part that gets tricky. In October, Juniper changed the way it records revenues. As a result, an extra $25 million made it into the first quarter.

The money comes from a shipment to one non-US service provider. The order originated during the first quarter and was completed during the quarter. But apparently, the old rules would have put the money in the second quarter.

That's a pickle. Without that $25 million, Juniper would have recorded revenues of only $887.6 million, a noticeable miss.

I almost blogged about it last night but started to wonder if $25 million meant that much. Turns out I should have gone with instinct: Morning reports from Michael Genovese of Soleil Securities Group Inc. , Ittai Kidron of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. , Simon Leopold of Morgan Keegan & Company Inc. , and Mark Sue of RBC Capital Markets all mention the $25 million up top. Kidron even made it the headline: "$25M Angst Revives Skeptics."

On yesterday's conference call with analysts, Juniper CFO Robyn Denholm got asked whether Juniper had counted on that $25 million in calculating its first-quarter forecast: She said the order "was definitely one of the factors in terms of what we looked at in the quarter." But remember, the order originated during the first quarter. It sounds like a last-minute guidance-saver.

It's easy to see why Juniper got asked three or four times about this during the call.

By the way, Juniper expects second-quarter revenues to be around $950 million, "plus or minus" $20 million depending on what happens to one particular service-provider order (an odd way to give a forecast range). That would keep up a pace of roughly 20 percent growth over a dismal 2009 -- which is what analysts had been anticipating; their consensus second-quarter forecast, before yesterday, called for $945 million.

Juniper stock is down $1.43 (4.5%) at $30.13 this morning.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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