JDS Uniphase tops 1Q forecasts, boosts 2001 guidance

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Updated 5:48 p.m. ET

JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU) hurdled analysts' estimates in its first quarter and predicted faster growth in the current fiscal year.

After market close Thursday, the maker of parts for optical networks reported fiscal quarter earnings of $177 million, or 18 cents a share, on sales of $786 million. First Call Corp. consensus expected JDS Uniphase to earn 16 cents per share.

Shares of JDS Uniphase rose to 81.9375 in afterhours activity on the Island electronic communications network, following a conference call with analysts. JDS Uniphase closed Thursday's regular trading up 3.4375 to 74.4375, prior to the earnings report.

Executives from JDS Uniphase boosted their growth targets. Despite recent Wall Street nervousness following a disappointing report from optical network equipment vendor Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT), JDS Uniphase sees no lessening of demand for optical components.

"In total, we believe demand remains strong," COO Charles Abbe said, during an afternoon conference call with analysts. "We do not see and cannot find evidence of an industry slowdown."

JDS Uniphase reiterated previous expectations of second quarter sales growing sequentially in the high teens on a percentage basis, with gross margin of 50 percent. CFO Anthony Muller predicted second quarter earnings per share would be 19 to 20 cents, above First Call's prediction of 17 cents.

However, Muller now sees full year revenue increasing 115 to 120 percent from the $1.77 billion in combined sales generated by JDS Uniphase and the recently acquired E-Tek in fiscal 2000. JDS Uniphase previously expected sales growth of 90 percent. Full year earnings, Muller said, should be about 80 cents, compared to earlier expectations of 70 cents.

The $786 million in sales marks a 171 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $65 million, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $290 million.

JDS Uniphase shares pulled back this week along with other network-equipment makers after Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT) reported disappointing sales in its latest quarter.

Last quarter, JDS Uniphase topped analysts' estimates, earning $114 million, or 14 cents a share, on sales of $524 million.