* Sees 2013 non-GAAP EPS $3.30-$3.50 vs $3.48 forecast
* Shares up 2.4 pct in morning trade
By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV, Jan 23 Computer security provider
Check Point Software Technologies reported
higher-than-expected fourth quarter profit on cost cutting and
rising sales of security appliances that combine hardware and
Check Point recorded fourth-quarter earnings excluding
one-off items of 91 cents a share compared with 84 cents in the
same period in 2011. Revenue rose 3 percent to $369 million.
The company had been expected to earn 88 cents per share on
revenue of $374 million.
"The company has shown a significant deceleration in its
business over the past year and appears to be working harder to
get to its numbers each quarter as competitive pressures from
Palo Alto have grown," Nomura analyst Rick Sherlund said.
Smaller rival Palo Alto Networks last month said
its revenue for the current quarter will grow 59-66 percent from
a year earlier.
The Israel-based company forecast 2013 revenue of $1.4-$1.45
billion and earnings per share excluding one-off items of
$3.30-$3.50. Analysts have also forecast earnings of $3.48 a
share on revenue of $1.45 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
Check Point's growth in the fourth quarter was boosted by
sales of security appliances combining hardware and software as
well as its software "blades" - modular software building blocks
that prevent network intrusion and are bought on an annual
Shares in the company rose 2.4 percent.
"The company has a handful of product catalysts over the
coming year that, combined with healthy secular trends, should
help accelerate product license growth during the course of
2013," said FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives.
In contrast to previous quarters where sales in Europe were
soft, in the final quarter of 2012 it was the North American
market that showed weakness while Europe stabilised, Check
Point's chief executive Gil Shwed said, adding it was too soon
to tell whether this was a one-time occurrence.
Shwed attributed the slowing revenue growth to the fact that
some customers bought less expensive models, resulting in a
decline in the average selling price even as the number of units
Shwed said the company in 2013 will focus on cyber threats
and mobile security, the two most pressing issues in the
In 2012 it introduced ThreatCloud, the first collaborative
network to fight cyber crime, as well as software blades to
detect and block the activity of bots - malicious software
agents that hide inside computers awaiting instructions from
their remote operators.