UPDATE 2-Symantec revenue misses, shares fall

Wed May 6, 2009 6:05pm EDT

* Q4 non-GAAP revenue $1.49 bln vs $1.52 bln Street view

* Q4 EPS ex items 38 cents vs Street view 35 cents

* Shares fall 4.7 percent in extended trading (Adds comments from CFO, analyst, updates shares)

By Jim Finkle

BOSTON, May 6 (Reuters) - Symantec Corp (SYMC.O) said on Wednesday its fourth-quarter revenue declined more than expected due to weak sales to small businesses, and its shares fell 4.7 percent.

The maker of computer security and backup software said its non-GAAP revenue, which excludes deferred revenue related to acquisitions, fell 4 percent to $1.49 billion during the fiscal fourth quarter ended April 3.

Analysts, on average, had expected revenue of $1.52 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Symantec's division that sells security software to businesses posted the biggest decline as sales fell 14 percent to $370 million.

Chief Financial Officer James Beer said in an interview that the group's sales were hurt by declining demand from small and mid-sized businesses.

He said that while Symantec had recently revamped its product line for SMBs, it would take at least several quarters for that to have an impact.

"We think there is an opportunity to really turn that business around," Beer said.

Backup software sales dropped 4 percent, and consumer sales were down 1 percent. Beer said he expects the consumer business to be relatively stable going forward.

Symantec's services business, which accounts for 9 percent of revenue, was up 27 percent.

Cost cutting helped offset the sales decline. Fourth- quarter profit, excluding items, was 38 cents per share, beating analysts' average forecast for 35 cents.

Beer said that in the current quarter, the company was "tracking very much in line with expectations."

Symantec's shares fell as investors focused on the revenue shortfall during the quarter, and a revenue forecast below the Street's view.

"They are still trying to regain investor credibility," said FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives.

That is partly because the company's results have been uneven over the past few quarters. While it topped expectations when it reported earnings in January, a disappointing outlook in October sent Symantec shares tumbling.

The company forecast first-quarter earnings per share of 34 cents to 36 cents on non-GAAP revenue of $1.45 billion to $1.51 billion. Analysts, on average, were forecasting earnings of 35 cents per share on non-GAAP revenue of $1.51 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

The Cupertino, California-based company reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss of $249 million, or 30 cents, versus year- earlier net income of $186 million, or 22 cents.

Shares fell to $16.76 in after-hours trading from a Nasdaq close of $17.59.

The company competes with McAfee Inc MFE.N. (Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Richard Chang and Andre Grenon)

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