* Q2 EPS $0.83 vs $0.81 forecast
* Sees Q3 non-GAAP EPS $0.80-$0.86, revenue $330-$350 mln
* Sees 2013 EPS $3.33-$3.46, revenue $1.36-$1.41 bln
* Nasdaq shares up 6.5 pct in early trade
By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV, July 18 Computer security provider
Check Point Software Technologies topped forecasts with
second quarter profit and revenue and said it should improve
further in the second half after a weak start to the year.
The company said sales were helped by a new software blade -
modular software building blocks sold as annual subscriptions -
that stops unwanted malware, launched in the first quarter. It
also introduced a blade for security and compliance monitoring.
But one of the global leaders in the corporate fight against
cybercrime and computer viruses still lowered a January forecast
range for 2013 revenue to account for soft growth in the first
quarter, bringing it into line with analysts' estimates.
Chief Executive Gil Shwed on Thursday estimated 2013
earnings per share excluding one-off items of $3.33-$3.46 and
revenue of $1.36 billion-$1.41 billion.
The Israeli company had previously forecast revenue of
$1.4-$1.45 billion and EPS of $3.30-$3.50. Analysts are
estimating EPS of $3.40 and revenue of $1.398 billion, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"I do expect a healthy second half," Shwed told a conference
call. "Overall, I like to think that we will see that business
volumes continue to pick up like we've seen in the second
quarter but I also like to be cautious and adjust the annual
numbers to the first half results."
The company earned 83 cents a share excluding one-time items
in the second quarter, up from 77 cents a year earlier. Revenue
grew 4 percent to $340.2 million.
Check Point was forecast to earn 81 cents a share on revenue
of $337 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Its
shares were up 6.5 percent to $57 in early Nasdaq trade.
U.S.-based Palo Alto has eaten into Check Point's
market dominance - growing by around 60 percent year-on-year -
in recent quarters. But the smaller company cut its results
forecasts in late May as revenue growth slowed due to U.S.
budget cuts and European debt crisis, with analysts saying Check
Point was doing better at defending its position.
"Top performers were the North American region and our new
data centre appliances," Shwed said.
The data centre appliances, combining hardware and software,
are at the high end of the company's product line. In the first
quarter, fewer high-end deals had hurt revenue growth.
"Our software blades continued to deliver double-digit
growth year-over-year, with threat prevention and application
control technologies driving share gains," Shwed said.
Shwed forecast third-quarter revenue of $330-$350 million
and EPS excluding one-off items of 80 to 86 cents. Analysts have
forecast EPS of 84 cents a share on revenue of $347.8 million.
Shwed also addressed a report released earlier this week
that showed Check Point was one of the top companies to benefit
from government tax breaks during 2006-2011 as part of a
programme to encourage capital investment.
Check Point was third on the list, having received tax
breaks of 1.65 billion shekels ($460 million)
"As a result of this policy Check Point and other companies
like us brought here a lot of business and we paid a lot of
taxes. I don't know if without this policy, this would have
happened," he told a news conference.