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Networkers split stocks for spoils

Networking equipment high-fliers Sonus and Ciena announce stock splits, reaping the spoils of huge growth in the telecommunications industry.

    Two networking equipment high-fliers announced stock splits today, reaping the spoils of huge growth in the telecommunications industry.

    Sonus Networks today announced a 3-for-1 stock split, less than three months after the young networking company went public. Optical-based gear maker Ciena, capping a remarkable comeback from troubled times, announced a 2-for-1 split.

    Sonus, which makes networking devices that tie old phone networks to the Internet, burst onto Wall Street in late May. Its stock jumped from $23 to $51.62 on its first day of trading. Since then, Sonus has reached a high of $281 before falling to its current price of about $215.

    The company is one of a handful of networking companies whose public offerings have performed well on Wall Street this year, despite a volatile market in which dot-com companies have lost their luster among investors. Other networking companies, such as Avici Systems, Corvis and ONI Systems, have all had successful offerings recently.

    Ciena has recovered from a failed merger with Tellabs in the fall of 1998 that stemmed from Ciena's loss of a large equipment contract with AT&T. The company's stock has slowly climbed since then as it has taken advantage of increased interest in using optical-based systems to speed up networks.

    Ciena shareholders of record at the close of business Aug. 28 will receive one new share of the company for every share they already own. The distribution date for the split is Sept. 18.

    Sonus executives today said the stock split will take effect Oct. 9. The company last month posted a better-than-expected second-quarter loss. Excluding one-time costs, the company lost $9 million, or 21 cents a share. Wall Street analysts had expected a loss of 24 cents a share.