Cisco posts another terrific quarter

Cisco Systems Inc. this afternoon announced sales of $1.77 billion for the fourth quarter, a 37 percent jump over the same period last year.

The San Jose, Calif., networking equipment giant reported net income of $383.2 million, or 55 cents a share, an increase of 34 percent compared with $286.2 million, or 42 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 1996. Actual income for the quarter, including the write-off of research and development associated with the acquisition last month of Ardent Communications Corp., Global Internet Software Group and Skystone Systems Corp., was $151 million, or 22 cents per share.

The figures were exactly in tune with Wall Street analysts' expectations.

"We are pleased to report the 30th consecutive quarter of revenue and earnings growth," said John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco, in a statement. "We closed our fiscal year with a 57 percent increase in revenue over the prior fiscal year and good market share gains in each of our sectors."

The company stressed its ongoing commitment to strategic alliances in the quarter, pointing to

relationships with Microsoft Corp. and Alcatel Data Networks. During the quarter, Cisco and Microsoft continued joint development work on security standards that will allow users to create virtual private networks over the Internet. The two companies are also collaborating on the forthcoming Active Directory in Windows NT 5.0

"We continue to see an increasing acceptance of end-to-end networking solutions in all of our markets," said Chambers.