Symantec's Q4 strong amid revamp, but outlook cut

Summary:Symantec CEO Steve Bennett said the company's results "will set the foundation to drive better execution long-term." He added that he's optimistic about the company's strategy going forward.

Symantec's fourth quarter was better than expected and CEO Steve Bennett said the company's repositioning is off to a strong start for the new fiscal year.

Bennett, which is reshaping Symantec around fewer products, mobility and security, is in the middle of an overall revamp of the company.

Symantec reported fourth quarter earnings of $188 million, or 26 cents a share, on revenue of $1.75 billion, up 3 percent from a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings in the fourth quarter were 44 cents a share. Wall Street was looking for fourth quarter earnings of 38 cents a share on revenue of $1.73 billion.

For fiscal 2013, Symantec reported earnings of $765 million, or $1.08 a share, on revenue of $6.91 billion, up 3 percent. Non-GAAP fiscal 2013 earnings were $1.77 a share. Wall Street was expecting non-GAAP 2013 earnings of $1.71 a share.

Bennett said the company's results "will set the foundation to drive better execution long-term." He added that he's optimistic about the company's strategy going forward. Also see:  Symantec unveils new strategy; takes on massive reorg, cuts middle management

On a conference call with analysts, Bennett said the upcoming year will include a lot of moving parts:

FY '14 will be different. Many critical things will be changing. Like completing the streamlining of our Management structure reallocating significant amount of our development resources to focus on our most promising point solutions , exciting new integrated offerings, and some exciting new Partnership's we haven't announced yet but expect to in the next 90 days. We are also changing our go to market strategy on many of these elements like the creation of a new renewals take focus in our sales organization on new business only changing our sales compensation program , converting are general sales force the one that is specialized and focused on either information Management or information security, introducing a new channel strategy and partner programs and building a high-powered marketing organization to mention a few of the most critical.

Specifically, Symantec will cut 30 percent to 40 percent of its management positions. "We will have fewer, bigger jobs for our best and brightest, said Bennett.

As for the outlook, Symantec projected fiscal 2014 revenue to be flat to up 2 percent with non-GAAP earnings per share growth of 5 percent to 7 percent. For the first quarter, Symantec projected non-GAAP earnings of 35 cents a share. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 44 cents a share. Sales will be $1.66 billion to $1.67 billion, which was also below the $1.7 billion expected by Wall Street in the first quarter.

By the numbers:

  • Content, license and maintenance revenue in the fourth quarter was $1.53 billion, up 4 percent from a year ago. License revenue was $221 million in the quarter, up 5 percent from a year go.
  • Deferred revenue was $4.02 billion, up 1 percent from a year ago.
  • Revenue in the Americas and EMEA was up 6 percent in the fourth quarter. Asia Pacific and Japan sales fell 4 percent.
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Topics: Security, Storage

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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