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Cabletron Systems delivers in fourth quarter

    After falling off Wall Street's radar screen for the better part of two years, network-equipment maker Cabletron Systems took another significant step in its recovery Wednesday when it beat analysts' estimates by a penny a share in its fourth quarter.

    Cabletron (NYSE: CS) posted a profit of $28.1 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $381.8 million.

    First Call consensus expected it to earn 14 cents a share in the quarter.

    Ahead of the earnings report, Cabletron shares closed off 4 1/4 to 47 3/4.

    "We are very pleased with our results for the fourth quarter, the fifth consecutive quarter Cabletron has met or surpassed Wall Street expectations," said CEO Piyush Patel in a prepared release. "Our business metrics have continued to greatly improve and our balance sheet is the strongest it has ever been."

    After falling to a low of 7 3/16 in April, Cabletron officials knew it was time for a change.

    Last month, Cabletron announced that it would split into four separate companies.

    The new operating companies include Riverstone Networks, which will sell hardware to communications service companies; Enterasys Networks, for corporate data networking equipment; Global Network Technology Services, a network consulting and services firm; and Aprisma Management Technologies, a vendor of network management software.

    Following the announcement, Cabletron shares doubled to a 52-week high of 52 3/4 earlier this month.

    For the fiscal year, Cabletron earned $70 million, or 37 cents a share, on sales of $1.46 billion compared to a loss of $9.5 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $1.41 billion in fiscal 1999.

    Analysts are looking for a profit of 74 cents a share in fiscal 2001.

    Eight of the 16 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation while the other eight call it a "hold."