Juniper’s Q1 Surprises, This Time in a Good Way

April 25th, 2012 by · Leave a Comment

After a dismal winter for Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR, news, filings) with weak Q4 results and weaker Q1 projections, the last thing I expected from the company was a reasonable quarter.  But in fact they easily beat those low goalposts they had erected.  Revenues of $1032.5M came in well ahead of their prior projections of $960-990M, while earnings per share came in above the edge of their range.  Here's a quick summary of the relevant data in some context:

$ in millions Q1/11 Q2/11 Q3/11 Q4/11 Q1/12 Q2/12(guidance)
Revenue 1102 1120.5 1105.8 1120.8 1032.5 1030-1060
EPS (non-GAAP) 0.32 0.31 0.28 0.28 0.16  0.15-0.17
Operating Margin (non-GAAP) 22.3% 21.6% 20.0% 18.6% 12.0%  12-14%

Looking forward, Q2 guidance seems mostly in-line with expectations, although some would say a bit light for EPS.  But nevertheless, the real worry was that the storm clouds would continue growing, and so far at least that does not seem to be the case.  They remain very cautious of course, especially in Europe.  Juniper also began breaking things down a bit differently this quarter, reporting in two segments: platforms systems and software solutions.

Juniper's winter malaise had coincided with a resurgence by Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent in the marketplace, which at the very least made it a bit harder to close deals.  Juniper's relative success as compared to those January projections suggests that things aren't so bad, and spending levels by carriers themselves don't seem to be going too quickly in the wrong direction either.  I

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