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Check Point stock zooms

The firewall vendor's stock soars after it reports a three-fold increase in fourth-quarter profits and better-than-expected revenues.

Firewall vendor Check Point Software (CHKPF) today saw its shares soar 32.3 percent after it posted a three-fold increase in fourth-quarter profits and revenues higher than Wall Street expected.

Shares closed at 27-5/8, up 6-3/4 points from yesterday's close of 20-7/8.

Profits were $5.5 million, or 15 cents a share, for the quarter ending December 31, compared with profits of $1.55 million, or 5 cents a share, a year ago.

Check Point beat analysts' estimates of 11 cents a share, according to First Call.

Revenues, meanwhile, rose to $11.6 million, up substantially from $3.7 million a year ago.

Driving revenues were sales to SunSoft, an original equipment manufacturer, which accounted for 34 percent of Check Point's fourth quarter revenues. Sales to SunSoft rose 41 percent during the quarter.

"It was a blowout quarter for them," said Gibbs Moody, an analyst with UBS Securities. "Their revenues were about 20 percent higher than the street was expecting."

The firewall vendor also further diversified its customer mix, which at one time had SunSoft accounting for about 70 percent of its sales.

"Our revenues reflect strong sales from all our channels, including OEMs, distributors, VARs and systems integrators, which all grew in comparison to their sales in previous quarters," said Gil Shwed, president and chief executive, in a statement.

Check Point, which went public last year, reported sales of $31.9 million for 1996, up from $9.5 million the previous year. Net profits, meanwhile, rose to $15.3 million for 1996, up from $4.8 million the previous year.