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Earnings roundup: Symantec leads pack of upside surprises

Increased business overseas and among corporate customers drove the bottom line of Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) a penny ahead of consensus forecasts.

In second quarter results released after market close Wednesday, the provider of security software posted net income of $26 million, or 45 cents a share, not including one-time events. First Call's survey of six analysts predicted per-share profits of 44 cents.

Second quarter sales rose 27 percent year-over-year, to $175 million.

International revenue grew to $68 million, a 43 percent jump from the year ago period. Overall sales to corporate customers increased 68 percent, largely because of partnerships with companies such as IBM and Intel, Symantec said. The company also cited studies from market research firms indicating Symantec increased its lead in the retail market for antivirus software.

"We are extremely pleased to start our fiscal year by providing shareholders with another record quarter," said Symantec's president, CEO and chairman, John W. Thompson. "Growth has come from solid performance across the company."

Wednesday's earnings report came on the heels of Symantec's announcement that it would focus on security products for mobile computing and Web content. "Our new strategy leverages this core competency and makes the Internet the common thread in everything we do," Thompson said.

Other companies reporting quarterly results:

  • Sybase Inc.
  • (Nasdaq: SYBS) Cost-cutting helped the fifth largest database vendor post better-than-expected earnings in the second quarter, even though sales fell.

    Second quarter net income for the Emeryville, Calif.-based company more than doubled to $14.3 million, or 17 cents a share, from $5.9 million, or 7 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue dipped 3.5 percent to $210.2 million from $217.9 million.

    Analysts had forecast per-share earnings of 10 cents a share, according to First Call.

    Over the past several quarters, Sybase has aimed to stabilize its business and lure new customers after stumbling badly and losing the database software race to Oracle Corp. Now Sybase is focusing more on the mobile database market, such as business travelers, and embedding its technology into hand held devices.

    "Our focus on profitability and cash generation is paying off and allowing us to invest in new business opportunities through our divisions," said John Chen, Sybase's chairman, chief executive and president in a statement.

    Sybase reduced cost of services by 7 percent in the second quarter and cut sales and marketing costs by 22 percent.

    Second-quarter results include a 3 cent-a-share benefit from a restructuring charge reversal, Sybase said.

  • Compuware Corp.
  • (Nasdaq: CPWR) The computer services company earned $90.73 million, or 24 cents a diluted share, compared to $58.85 million, or 15 cents a diluted share, in the same period last year.

    Analysts had expected the company to earn 21 cents a share in the quarter, according to First Call Corp., which tracks analysts' estimates.

    The Farmington Hills, Mich.-based firm said sales in the first quarter were a record $443.1 million, an increase of 30.8 percent from $338.6 million last year.

    Compuware said software licensing fees grew 25.1 percent to $161 million from $128.6 million and maintenance fees increased 30.9 percent to $97.7 million from $74.7 million. Professional services fees rose 36.3 percent to $184.4 million from $135.3 million.

    The strong first-quarter results foreshadowed a strong fiscal 2000, said Peter Karmanos Jr., chairman and CEO of Compuware. "The results we've achieved continue to support a 35-to-40 percent growth estimate for fiscal year 2000, and I see no significant trends or impediments that would negatively affect our prospects," he said in a statement. "I'm very bullish regarding the outlook for this fiscal year. Our mainframe and e-commerce-related business continues to grow in a robust manner consistent with our expectations."

  • Cirrus Logic Inc.
  • (Nasdaq: CRUS) The maker of mixed-signal chips beat analyst expectations for its fiscal first quarter.

    Before one-time charges, Cirrus reported a net income of $500,000, or one cent a share, which was above Wall Street's expectations. According to First Call, the consensus on Wall Street was for Cirrus to report a loss of one cent a share.

    Cirrus reported a first quarter net loss of $127.7 million, or $2.12 a share, including restructuring and other charges, for its first fiscal quarter ended June 26. This compares with a profit of $516,000, or one cent a share, a year ago.

    Revenues fell to $120.6 million, down from $178 million a year ago.

    Cirrus said its restructuring charges are related to the company's restructuring of its joint venture agreements for its fabrication plants with International Business Machines Corp. and Lucent Technologies Inc., an action taken to reduce the Fremont, Calif.-based company's manufacturing capacity.

    No further charges related to manufacturing capacity are expected, the company said.

    "I believe that virtually all critical actions required to re-engineer Cirrus Logic are now largely behind us and that our company is well positioned to participate in the next cycle of semiconductor industry growth," said David French, president and CEO of Cirrus.

  • SkyTel Communications Inc.
  • (Nasdaq: SKYT) In what the company intends as its last quarterly report before becoming part of MCI Worldcom, SkyTel posted net income 2 cents ahead of analyst estimates.

    The second quarter bottom line featured earnings of $6.7 million, or 8 cents a share. First Call's survey of 11 analysts had predicted per-share profits of 6 cents.

    SkyTel also announced that federal regulators have approved the company's proposed acquisition by MCI Worldcom. A shareholder vote on the deal has been scheduled for Sept. 22.

    Second quarter consolidated revenue went up 11.7 percent year-over-year to $140.9 million. Consolidated operating cash flow increased 44.9 percent over the same period to $40.2 million, representing an operating cash flow margin of 28.6 percent.

    The company's traditional one-way paging business recorded $31.2 million in operating cash flow in the quarter on revenue of $83.3 million. Advanced messaging revenue increased 56.5 percent to $50.5 million, with operating cash flow of $9.5 million compared to $6.1 million for the previous quarter and a cash flow decline of $1.3 million for the year-ago quarter.

    SkyTel added 40,300 advanced messaging customers in the quarter, including a record 36,900 two-way messaging customers. "The sale of services with reply capability and the success of our nickel-a-message pricing plan are bolstering our confidence that interactive messaging will see accelerating adoption," said John T. Stupka, SkyTel president and CEO.

    Total U.S. units in service increased by 45,800 sequentially to 1,489,900. SkyTel has a total of 1,732,300 units in service worldwide, up 17 percent from the second quarter of 1998. The worldwide total includes 242,400 proportionate units in service in SkyTel's Latin American business.

    "I am particularly pleased with our subscriber growth in light of the potential distraction from our merger announcement," Stupka said. "We were able to maintain our focus while instituting a major sales leadership restructuring to better position SkyTel to deliver a broader set of wireless data services in the near future."

    The strong quarter allowed SkyTel make a $14 million interest payment last month, and gave the company the ability to pay down $17 million of debt.

  • Legato Systems Inc.
  • (Nasdaq: LGTO) The market for corporate storage management software continues to surge, judging by Legato's latest results.

    In reporting second quarter net income of $12.5 million -- 29 cents a share, not including one-time events -- Legato beat First Call's consensus forecast by 4 cents a share. Revenue went up 65 percent, to $62 million from $37.5 million a year earlier.

    Legato earned 10 cents a share, if merger-related costs and amortization are included.

    "I am extremely pleased with this quarter's performance in all respects," said Louis C. Cole, Legato's president and CEO. "Ccustomers continue to demand fully-integrated software solutions to support their complex storage environments. Equally impressive are the major efforts that have been made by all of our employees to successfully integrate three leading companies into a major force in the data protection and data availability markets."

    Legato also announced a 2-for1 stock split, in the form of a stock dividend, effective as of August 16, 1999.>