Cisco Q4 earnings fair, despite flat sales; job cuts on deck

Cisco Q4 earnings fair, despite flat sales; job cuts on deck

Summary: UPDATED x2: Cisco is also planning for some major restructuring, translating to thousands of job cuts.

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Cisco concluded its fiscal year with fourth quarter earnings after the bell on Wednesday, and the results were a bit anti-climactic.

The networking giant reported a net income of $2.2 billion, or 43 cents per share (statement).

Non-GAAP earnings were 55 cents per share on a revenue of $12.4 billion, a flat rate year-over-year.

Wall Street was looking for earnings of 53 cents per share with $12.14 billion in revenue.

For fiscal 2014 overall, Cisco posted $47.1 billion in revenue, down three percent on an annual basis, with non-GAAP earnings of $2.06 per share.

CEO John Chambers reflected on the quarter in prepared remarks:

We are executing well in a tough environment and delivered our best non-GAAP earnings per share quarter in our history. I'm pleased with how we are transforming our company over the past several years and that journey continues. We are focused on growth, innovation and talent, especially in the areas of security, data center, software, cloud and internet of everything. Our strategy is sound, our financials are strong, and our market leadership is secure. We have the team in place to deliver and are uniquely positioned to help our customers solve their biggest business problems.

The San Jose, Calif.-headquartered corporation was certainly busy at the end of the year, notably with some major acquisitions. Those purchases included threat intelligence and analysis firm ThreatGRID, browser infrastructure designer Assemblage, and multi-vendor network services and solutions provider Tail-f Systems.

Cisco also continues to plug away at the Internet-of-Things and Internet-of-Everything trends, which are inching closer and closer to the heart of the company's long-term business strategy.

So far, Cisco appears to be laying the groundwork on a local basis, plotting and planting connected infrastructures from Kansas City to Copenhagen.

For the current quarter, Wall Street expects Cisco to deliver earnings of at least 53 cents per share again with slightly less revenue at $12.08 billion.

Cisco is expected to follow up with first fiscal quarter guidance during its quarterly shareholders conference call at 1:30PM PT/4:30PM ET.

UPDATED: As Chambers described fiscal 2014 as Cisco's strongest year in the company's history -- despite its first dip in sales since 2009 -- he added that revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 is projected to remain flat or grow by one percent. Earnings are projected to drop between 51 and 53 cents per share.

However, on a local level that could change as Chambers warned declines in emerging markets, in particular, are forecasted to continue over the next few quarters.

Furthermore, Chambers and CFO Frank Calderone also revealed that Cisco will be undergoing some significant "restructuring," which translates to layoffs. Although a timeline hasn't been revealed, the cuts will reduce Cisco's workforce by approximately eight percent, rounding out to roughly 6,000 jobs. The executives said the changes would be worth approximately $700 million.

In response, Cisco shares started to tumble in after-hours trading.

Chambers acknowledged that not everyone might understand -- or even agree with -- some of the changes being announced this week, and that they "may create volatility" from time to time.

Topics: Networking, Cloud, Data Management, Enterprise 2.0, Tech Industry

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