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Sycamore tops 1Q forecasts, gives bullish outlook

    Sycamore Networks (Nasdaq: SCMR) earned a penny more than the consensus prediction in the first quarter.

    After market close Tuesday, the maker of optical networking switches reported fiscal first quarter earnings of $6 million, or 2 cents per share, excluding special charges. First Call's survey of 13 analysts predicted a profit of a penny per share for the quarter ended Oct. 28.

    Shares of Sycamore rose to 66.75 in afterhours activity on the Island electronic communications network, immediately following the release of quarterly results. Sycamore stock rose 3.9375 to 64.4375 in Tuesday's regular trading ahead of the first quarter report.

    Including amortization and other charges, Sycamore lost $26.2 million, or 11 cents per share.

    First quarter revenue increased 33 percent sequentially and 517 percent year-over-year to $120.4 million, ahead of expectations. Analysts generally called for revenue of about $104 million for the quarter.

    On a conference call with analysts, CFO Frances Jewels said the company will top current estimates for fiscal 2001 with earnings of about 23 cents to 24 cents a share. Current projections are about 19 cents to 21 cents a share. Revenue in 2001 will also top current expectations with growth of about 200 percent to 205 percent year over year. Margins will remain steady at about 47 percent for fiscal 2001.

    "The fundamental drivers behind Sycamore's growth have remained strong, and our newest product introductions are being favorably received by current and prospective customers," said Dan Smith, CEO and president.

    The company broadened its base during the quarter. Although Williams Communications Group (NYSE: WCG) remains Sycamore's largest customer, Williams now generates less than 60 percent of Sycamore's overall revenue, compared to more than 80 percent in the second quarter.

    Sycamore is on its way to easily achieving $500 million in annual revenue, Smith said.

    Investors have lately been concerned about optical networking growth. Sycamore maintained an upbeat view.

    "We remain optimistic about our ability to generate revenue growth that meets or exceeds the overall current growth of the intelligent optical networking market," Smith said.

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