UPDATE 2-F5 Networks Q1 profit beats Street, outlook strong

Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:23pm EST

* Q1 adj EPS of 52 cents beat estimates by 3 cents

* Q1 revenue beats estimates

* Q2 outlook tops estimates

* Shares rise 1 pct (Adds conference call details, analyst comments)

By Shrutika Verma

BANGALORE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - F5 Networks Inc (FFIV.O) posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by strong growth in North America, and forecast second-quarter results above analysts' expectations.

The network-equipment maker said it expects to see continued sequential revenue growth in second-quarter and through fiscal 2010.

"Our pipeline for future business is very strong," Chief Executive John McAdam said on a conference call with analysts.

F5 Networks forecast second-quarter earnings of 52 cents to 54 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $195 million to $200 million.

Analysts were looking for earnings of 48 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $186.8 million.

"Market drivers for our business continue to increase at significant rates including the accelerating growth and storage requirement, data center consolidation projects and the significant growth in mobile data and mobile applications," McAdam added.

F5 Networks, which offers products that help control and optimize Internet traffic within a network, said revenues in North America, which contributed 58 percent in the first quarter, rose 24 percent compared with a year ago.

Usually the second quarter is the seasonally softer quarter and the forecast of a sequential growth in the second quarter came in as a surprise for the market, Brigantine Advisors analyst Joanna Makris said.

First-quarter net income rose to $29.3 million, or 36 cents per share, from $21.4 million, or 27 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings were 52 cents a share.

Revenue for F5, which competes with Cisco Systems (CSCO.O), Citrix Systems (CTXS.O), Juniper Networks (JNPR.N), rose 16 percent to $191.2 million.

Analysts expected earnings of 49 cents a share, excluding exceptional items, on revenue of $185.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Seattle-based company's shares, which have more than doubled their value in the past one year, were up 70 cents at $53.71 in trading after the bell. (Reporting by S. John Tilak in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan, Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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