UPDATE 1-Check Point Software profit beats expectations
* Q1 EPS $0.79 vs $0.78 forecast
* Sees Q2 EPS $0.76-$0.84, revenue of $320-$350 mln
By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV, April 22 (Reuters) - Computer security provider Check Point Software Technologies reported higher quarterly profit that beat estimates on higher sales of its software blades but fewer high-end deals led to lower-than-expected revenue.
"While product revenue of $106.5 million was shy of the street's $110 million estimate, we believe the strong deferred revenue and billings could keep 2013 guidance intact," Oppenheimer analyst Shaul Eyal said.
The Israeli company in January forecast 2013 revenue of $1.4-$1.45 billion and EPS excluding one-off items of $3.30-$3.50. Chief Executive Gil Shwed said on Monday it was too early in the year to revise its full year outlook.
Shwed forecast second quarter revenue of $320-$350 million and earnings per share excluding one-off items of 76 to 84 cents. Analysts have forecast earnings of 83 cents a share on revenue of $346.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company's shares were up 1.2 percent to $46.46 in early Nasdaq trade.
In the first quarter, Check Point's sales of software blades - modular software building blocks that are bought on an annual subscription basis - jumped 25 percent compared with the year earlier quarter.
During the quarter the company launched a software blade that stops unwanted malware, or malicious software, as well as one for security and compliance monitoring.
Check Point earned 79 cents a share excluding one-time items in the first quarter, up from 74 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 3 percent to $322.7 million but came in below expectations due to a $5 million decline in super high-end deals which fluctuate greatly.
"It's a segment that's not very competitive since it's so small so it's hard to say it's the beginning of a trend," Shwed told a news conference.
Check Point was forecast to earn 78 cents a share on revenue of $328 million. Earnings were also at the high end of the company's forecast of 74-80 cents a share.
In contrast to previous quarters where sales in Europe were soft, in the first quarter of 2013 as well as in the last quarter of 2012 it was the North American market that showed weakness while Europe improved, Shwed said.
To boost sales the company is implementing plans to focus on gaining new customers and has increased its sales force, he said.
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