Symantec Profit, Forecast in Line With Estimates

Published January 25, 2012

| Reuters

Symantec Corp, the top maker of computer security software, reported a higher quarterly profit and issued an outlook in line with Wall Street estimates, shrugging off concerns that economic problems in Europe might hurt growth.

Net income climbed 82 percent from a year earlier to $240 million.

Chief Financial Officer James Beer told Reuters in an interview that he was "really pleased" with sales in Europe during the quarter.

He also said that the company was taking share in the anti-virus software market away from No. 2 security software maker McAfee, which was purchased by chipmaker Intel Corp in February.

He said that several large McAfee customers had switched to Symantec during the quarter, but declined to identify them by name.

Daniel Ives, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, said he was not surprised to hear that Symantec was winning over those customers after McAfee's sale to Intel.

McAfee has lost several senior executives, including sales managers and technologists, since its sale to Intel nearly a year ago.

"We continue to believe that the Intel-McAfee marriage was a blessing in disguise for Symantec to potentially gain share," Ives said. "Symantec's improved execution and strong product cycle have put the company in a good situation to gain share over the coming 12 to 18 months."

Officials with McAfee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Symantec's claim that it had won business away from McAfee.

Symantec also said its board approved an additional $1 billion for use in its stock buyback program, bringing the total amount available for share repurchases to $1.2 billion.

Symantec reported profit, excluding items, of 42 cents per share for its fiscal third quarter, ended Dec. 30, beating the average analyst forecast of 41 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Mountain View, California-based software maker also forecast fourth-quarter per-share profit, excluding items, of 41 or 42 cents, below the average analyst forecast of 43 cents.

Symantec shares were little changed at $17.06 in extended trade, compared with their Nasdaq close of $17.07.

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