Network equipment specialist Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN, news, filings) gave us our latest window into how the equipment sector is faring as it reported its fiscal fourth quarter and full year 2011 results, which means up through the end of October. It has now been 6 quarters since the company bought Nortel's MEN division and the second in a row that they reported positive adjusted earnings per share, although Ciena has been in the doghouse with investors since June's earnings report. Here's a quick table of the relevant numbers in context:
|$ in millions||FQ1/11||FQ2/11||FQ3/11||FQ4/11||FQ1/12(guidance)|
|- Packet-Optical Transport||286.5||272.6||266.5||296.2|
|- Packet-Optical Switching||35.3||31.3||40.7||41.2|
|- Carrier Ethernet||27.6||30.9||40.5||28.8|
|- Software & Services||83.9||83.1||87.6||89.3|
|Adj. Operating Expenses||182.1||186.0||175.2||180.8||low 180s|
|Adj. Gross Margin||41.8%||41.3%||44.1%||43.2%||low 40s|
Revenues: Total revenues came in above the midpoint of guidance, beating analyst expectations of $450M. Revenue growth was powered by the company's Packet-Optical Transport segment, which surged to $296.2M during the quarter. Switching and Software/Services were up slightly sequentially while the company's Carrier Ethernet business pulled back. Guidance for the fiscal first quarter of 2012 appears to be lighter than expected, which is probably not going to go over too well this morning but we shall see.
Margins & Earnings: Margins were a bit better than guidance of the low 40's, but not quite up to last quarter's standards. Guidance for next quarter is the same 'low 40s. Meanwhile earnings per share stayed positive but fell sequentially to $0.03 - a bit below analyst composite estimates. On the bright side, Ciena generated $30.8M in free cash flow.
In other comments, Ciena cited continuing macroeconomic uncertainty - something that will surprise absolutely nobody.
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