Juniper bags big in Q4

FRAMINGHAM (01/15/2004) - Juniper Networks Inc. this week blew away earnings and revenue estimates for its fourth quarter.

For the period ended Dec. 31, 2003, Juniper recorded revenue of US$207 million. Analysts were expecting sales between $180 million and $188 million.

Juniper's revenue increased 33 percent from the comparable period a year ago.

Excluding expenses and other items, Juniper recorded fourth quarter 2003 earnings of $27.7 million, or $0.07 per share. Analysts were expecting earnings of $.05 per share.

This compares to the $2.7 million, or $0.01 per share, profit for the fourth quarter of 2002.

Including expenses, Juniper's fourth quarter net income was $14.7 million, or $.04 per share, compared to $8.5 million, or $0.02 per share, for the same period a year ago.

Net revenue for the year was $701.4 million, up 28 percent from 2002's results. Net income for the year was $39.2 million, or $0.10 per share, compared with a net loss of $119.7 million, or $0.34 per share, for the same period last year.

Excluding expenses and other items, 2003 earnings were $59.0 million, or $0.15 per share, compared with a net loss of $4.8 million, or $0.01 per share, for the same period a year ago.

"The fourth quarter was exceptionally strong," said Scott Kriens, Juniper chairman and CEO, in a statement. "We are pleased with our progress throughout 2003."

Juniper landed some big contracts this year, including router deals with Verizon and with the U.S. government's Defense Information Systems Agency.

Kriens said the DISA win, with its implications for Juniper's role in carrying information vital to national security and defense, was a big endorsement for the company's product design.

"There will be no compromise in the delivery and support of this network," Kriens pledged.

Juniper also landed business last quarter with AOL and Bloomberg LP. AOL purchased Juniper's M- and T-series routers for its AOL for Broadband service, and Bloomberg purchased M-, T- and E-series routers.

Juniper shipped 1,535 units in the fourth quarter, up "substantially" from previous quarters, Kriens said. Ericsson and Siemens both contributed more that 10 percent to Juniper's revenue in the quarter.

Reflecting on Juniper's impressive results for the quarter, Kriens says the numbers do not necessarily reflect a dramatic exit from the slump the industry's been in for three years. Customers are optimistic but still cautious, he says.

"The world has not changed as much as our top line indicates," Kriens said, referring to Juniper's fourth quarter revenue. "We must still proceed with caution because that's the way our customers are proceeding.

"With all that said, it's fair to say we're sleeping well at Juniper," he adds.

For the first quarter of 2004, Juniper expects to record a 5 percent increase in revenue to $210 million to $215 million, and earnings per share of $.08, excluding expenses.

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