UPDATE 1-F5 forecasts strong revenue after first-quarter beat

Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:43pm EST

* Sees 2nd-quarter adj EPS $1.23-$1.26 vs est $1.21

* Expects revenue $408 mln-$418 mln vs est $404.4 mln

* First-quarter adj EPS $1.22 vs est $1.19

* Approves $500 mln more for share buyback program

* Shares up 11 percent in extended trading

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Network gear maker F5 Networks Inc forecast current-quarter revenue above Wall Street estimates, helped by strong sales of its data traffic management products, pushing its shares up 11 percent in extended trading.

F5 Networks, which also reported better-than-expected earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31, forecast current-quarter revenue of $408-$418 million.

Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $404.4 million for the quarter ending March 31, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company, which counts Facebook Inc, Pandora Media Ltd, MakeMyTrip Ltd and the U.S. government among its customers, also forecast an adjusted profit of $1.23-$1.26 per share, above the average analyst estimate of $1.21 per share.

The company also authorized $500 million for its common stock share repurchase program. That is in addition to the $281.3 million unused in the existing program which was authorized in October 2010.

F5 saw strong demand for its data traffic and security products during the first quarter, particularly in North America and Europe, analysts at Wells Fargo Securities LLC said in a pre-earnings note.

In the past one year, F5 has upgraded some of its software modules and introduced some new hardware that helps manage traffic on networks, and these products have found favor with its customers.

The company ended the quarter with about 3,521 employees and plans to add another 100 in the current quarter, Chief Financial Officer Andy Reinland said on a conference call with analysts on Wednesday.

The company's revenue rose 11 percent to $406.5 million in the first quarter from a year earlier.

Net income fell to $68 million, or 87 cents per share, from $69.5 million, or 88 cents per share.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.22 per share.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.19 per share on revenue of $397.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

F5 shares were at $106.5 in post-market trading after closing at $97.48 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.

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