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April 22 (Reuters) - British telecoms testing company Spirent Communications Plc reported a fall in first-quarter revenue and operating profit as it was hurt by a bigger-than-expected slowdown across its major markets.
Revenue fell by $20.6 million to $96.8 million in the quarter ended March 31.
"Customers delayed projects as their plans have been slow to be released for the year, and certain large accounts have not repeated the high level of spending seen in the corresponding period in 2012," the company said in a statement.
The company had warned in February that weak demand would persist in the first half of this year as service providers continue to hold back on spending, especially in the United States, which accounts for half of it's revenue.
Spirent, which tests ethernet networks and 3G and 4G wireless networks and devices, added that it expects revenue in the second quarter to be similar to that of the same period in 2012.
"Overall, we now see Spirent as more of a 2014 story than necessarily a 2013 one," Jefferies analyst Lee Simpson said in a note. The brokerage cut its price target on the stock to 140 pence from 196 pence.
Shares in the company closed at 122 pence on Friday on the London Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon)