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Investors check out on bland Check Point outlook
UPDATE 2-Investors check out on bland Check Point outlook
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Analysis & Opinion
Disclosures 2012: level of cyber-security risk disclosures varies after new SEC guidance
Cyber Crime »
The Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. logo is seen at the company's offices in Tel Aviv August 15, 2011.
Credit: Reuters/ Nir Elias
By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV |
Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:33am EDT
TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Internet and network security provider Check Point Software Technologies said it expected to meet second-quarter estimates, after reporting a rise in first-quarter net profit that beat forecasts on strong sales of its new products.
That conservative outlook pushed down Check Point's shares 8.4 percent to $58.70 in early Nasdaq trade, having hit a year-high of $65 last Thursday.
Chairman and Chief Executive Gil Shwed said on Monday products launched in October -- including appliances that combine software and hardware -- accounted for about 80 percent of product sales in the first quarter.
"The growth was driven by our latest network security appliances and the continued strength of our annuity software blades," Shwed said of the world's biggest pure-play network security company.
The company's software blade architecture -- independent, modular software building blocks that prevent network intrusion and are bought on an annual subscription basis -- help boost deferred revenue growth.
Israel-based Check Point continues to take market share from competitors such as Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks, Shwed said, estimating it now has more than 40 percent of the enterprise security market.
Check Point last week launched ThreatCloud, a network to help businesses team up and fight cyber crime more efficiently by sharing data about threats.
"We found that organizations fight the same attack separately and decided there was an interesting potential to change the approach of everyone working alone," Shwed said.
While in the short term ThreatCloud will not contribute much to sales, the long-term impact is expected to be significant, he said. The product will be part of Check Point's latest software blade release, whose sales will be recognized only within a few quarters.
Armed with more than $3 billion cash, Check Point is continuing to buy back shares and look for acquisitions.
It posted first-quarter earnings per share (EPS), excluding one-time items, of 74 cents, against 64 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 11 percent to $313.1 million.
It had been forecast to earn 72 cents on revenue of $312.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Profit was also boosted by lower-than-planned expenditure and a stronger dollar.
Shaul Eyal, an analyst at Oppenheimer, said the solid quarter should alleviate some concerns about product growth.
"The Check Point story remains on very solid ground, and we believe its high-end appliances could become a growth driver in 2012 and beyond," Eyal said.
For the second quarter, Shwed forecast revenue of between $324 million and $336 million, and earnings per share before one-off items of 74-77 cents. The company is forecast by analysts to earn 76 cents on revenue of $333.7 million.
Shwed reiterated his full-year outlook for revenue of $1.345-$1.395 billion and EPS, excluding one-off items, of $3.10-$3.20.
(Additional reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by David Hulmes)
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