UPDATE 1-Check Point tops estimates on computer security demand

Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:26am EDT

* Q3 EPS $0.85 vs $0.84 forecast

* Sees Q4 non-GAAP EPS $0.90-$0.98, revenue $365-$395 mln

* Nasdaq shares up 2.8 pct at new year high

By Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Computer security provider Check Point Software Technologies topped third-quarter profit and revenue forecasts on Monday and said it sees a strong fourth quarter after a weak start to the year.

One of the global leaders in the corporate fight against cybercrime and computer viruses said sales were boosted by its threat prevention software blades - modular software building blocks sold as annual subscriptions.

New product launches and an improving economy in Europe also helped lift sales of computer protection technology.

"We have a lot of competition and we need to grow faster," Chief Executive Gil Shwed told a news conference. "This could be through better products and also partly by acquisitions."

Check Point, which has cash of nearly $3.7 billion, is seeking acquisitions that will bring new solutions to its clients, he said.

Earlier this month rival Cisco Systems bought cybersecurity company Sourcefire Inc for $2.7 billion, a deal that analysts say should spark more acquisitions in the industry as large vendors seek to profit from growing demand for IT security.

Shwed estimated fourth-quarter revenue of $365-$395 million and earnings per share excluding one-off items of 90-98 cents. Analysts are estimating EPS of 96 cents and revenue of $385.2 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

This forecast is consistent with Check Point's full-year outlook provided last quarter, Shwed said.

The Israeli company's quarterly forecast would bring adjusted EPS for the year to $3.36-$3.44, slightly narrowing the range it forecast last quarter of $3.33-$3.46.

The company's shares were up 2.8 percent at $61.22 in early Nasdaq trade, hitting a new year high.

Check Point earned 85 cents a share excluding one-time items in the third quarter, up from 79 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 4 percent to $344.1 million.

It was forecast to have earned 84 cents a share on revenue of $343.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue was also boosted by sales of new appliances that combine hardware and software both at the high and low end of the company's product line.

"The recently launched data centre and small appliance families were received enthusiastically by our customers," Shwed said.

A strengthening shekel hurt its bottom line by $3 million, or 1.5 cents per share in the quarter, as local expenses increased in dollar terms.

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