Juniper Networks Q4: Beats estimates; outlook cautious

The networking technology company ends the year with a modest increase in revenue as it prepares for growth in 2013.

Juniper Networks this afternoon reported its results for the fiscal fourth quarter, beating estimates on revenue and earnings per share and finishing out 2012 slightly ahead of last year.

For the fourth quarter, the company reported GAAP earnings of $95.7 million, or 19 cents per share, on revenues of 1.141 billion. Non-GAAP earnings for the quarter came to $145 million, or 28 cents per share. That's about a 2 percent increase over the third quarter as well as the same quarter a year ago.

Wall Street was expecting 12 cents per share (22 cents per share non-GAAP) on revenue of $1.128 billion.

The company ended the year with $3.837 billion in cash and equivalents, a 5 percent drop from the previous quarter and 10 percent less than the same time a year ago.

Juniper managed to increase its operating margin from 3.8 percent (GAAP) in the third quarter to 11.5 percent in the fourth, no doubt in part due to its ongoing restructuring efforts.

The company ended 2012 with $4.365 billion in revenue, a 2 percent drop from 2011. That is GAAP earnings of about $187 million, or $0.35 per share.

Juniper closed out 2012 "on a good note, setting the stage for growth in 2013," chief executive Kevin Johnson said.

He elaborated:

During the past year we strengthened our product portfolio, took key steps to drive operational execution, and allocated capital in a balanced way. We believe Juniper is entering 2013 in a strong position, with good opportunities in routing and switching and a greatly improved enterprise security portfolio as we continue to deliver on the promise of the high-performance network.

Chief financial officer Robyn Denholm added: "For the fourth quarter, we delivered sequential and year-over-year revenue growth and expanded operating margins. We have largely completed our announced workforce actions and are well underway with our facility and supply chain efforts to reduce our cost structure."

Juniper has fared well in the last few quarters, climbing to second place behind Cisco in the router market and pushing Chinese networking giant Huawei down to fourth place. Still, the company had approached its fourth quarter with caution, mostly owing to ongoing financial instability in Europe and its ripple effects elsewhere.

In the past two months, Juniper's share price has risen more than 30 percent, though it remains at about half of the $44 price it managed in March 2011. At the closing bell, Juniper shares were up 1 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, at $21.50 per share, but dropped more than 1 percent in after-hours trading.

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 16.05.24
$JNPR closed up by 1 percent on the New York Stock Exchange. (Credit: Google Finance)

The company's outlook for the first quarter of 2013 was equally cautious, this time citing seasonal decline, particularly in the enterprise space. Juniper said it expects non-GAAP earnings between 18 and 22 cents per share on revenue of $1.05 to $1.07 billion.