Juniper Networks’ first-quarter forecast disappoints, shares slide

(Reuters) – Network gear maker Juniper Networks Inc on Tuesday forecast earnings and revenue for the current quarter well below analysts’ forecasts, as its large cloud computing customers delay deployments.

Shares of Sunnyvale, California-based Juniper fell more than 7 percent in after-hours trading.

For the quarter ending March 31, Juniper expects adjusted earnings of around 25 cents per share and revenue of around $1.05 billion.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 42 cents per share and revenue of $1.15 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Juniper said the forecast reflected “deployment delays as Juniper expects its large cloud customers to continue their architectural transition, which is expected to result in below normal seasonality.”

Hit by softness in the switches and routers markets, Juniper, like bigger rivals including Cisco Systems Inc, has been focusing on other areas such as cloud computing.

But Juniper’s cloud revenue fell 37 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

That contributed to the worst decline in overall revenue in at least four quarters.

Total revenue fell 10.5 percent to $1.24 billion. Analysts on average had expected $1.23 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Juniper posted a net loss of $148.1 million or 40 cents per share, reflecting a $289.5 million one-time charge related to new U.S. tax laws.

Excluding one-time items, Juniper earned 53 cents per share, edging past analysts’ average estimate by 1 cent.

The company announced an 80 percent increase to its quarterly dividend and a $2 billion share repurchase plan.

It plans to repatriate about $3 billion as a result of the recent U.S. tax reform.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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