AP News

Symantec's 1Q profit up, helped by cost cuts


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Symantec Corp. said cost cuts helped boost its fourth-quarter profit margins and net income.

The news sent shares of the Mountain View, California-based security software maker up in after-hours trading Thursday as investors looked for reassurance following a recent management shake-up.

Symantec earned $217 million, or 31 cents per share, for the quarter versus $190 million, or 27 cents per share, in its fourth quarter last year. On an adjusted basis, it earned 47 cents per share versus 44 cents per share. Revenue fell 7 percent to $1.63 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating earnings of 42 cents per share on revenue $1.64 billion.

The company fired its former president and CEO Steve Bennett in March without disclosing a reason and named then-director Michael Brown as his temporary replacement. It was the second time in less than two years that the company has fired its CEO.

The management shake-up came in the middle of a reorganization at Symantec, which included cutting executive and middle-management jobs, splitting its sales force and focusing on its most promising products.

Symantec said that its fourth quarter's results demonstrate the underlying health of its business. It also said that there are more opportunities to improve its margins in the future through cost cutting and said it plans to return capital to shareholders. That was enough to reassure investors, despite its modest earnings forecast.

Shares added 71 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $20.84 in after-hours trading.

Symantec said it expects to earn 41 to 43 cents per share for its first quarter on an adjusted basis on revenue of $1.65 billion to $1.69 billion. Analysts are forecasting earnings of 43 cents per share on revenue of $1.64 billion.

The company forecast earning between $1.84 and $1.92 per share for its fiscal year on revenue between $6.63 billion and $6.77 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of $1.84 per share on revenue of $6.67 billion.


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