December 7, 2012 / 12:45 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Palo Alto Networks sees 59 pct-66 pct revenue growth

* Current qtr revenue to be in range of $90 mln - $94 mln

* Previous qtr revenue $85.9 mln, versus Street’s $83.7 mln

* Previous qtr EPS of 4 cents, versus estimates of 3 cents

* Shares down 1.3 pct in after-hours trading

Dec 6 (Reuters) - Security software maker Palo Alto Networks on Thursday said revenue for the current will grow between 59 percent and 66 percent from a year earlier and the company will continue to post a modest profit.

It also reported earnings and revenue for its fiscal first quarter, ended Oct. 31, that beat Wall Street estimates.

The company, which sells firewalls that prevent data breaches and block malware and viruses, has benefited from continued demand for security software as cyberattacks have become more sophisticated.

“Security remains a top priority for CIOs around the globe,” Chief Executive Mark McLaughlin told analysts on a call on Thursday. “In general, we see that security spending is resilient, even in a challenging macroeconomic environment,” he added.

Chief Financial Officer Steffan Tomlinson said the company aims to reach revenue of $90 million to $94 million and earnings per share of 4 cents in the current quarter.

Analyst are expecting $90.7 million in revenue and earnings of 4 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Palo Alto Networks posted revenue of $85.9 million for its fiscal first quarter and non-GAAP net income of $2.6 million, or 4 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn 3 cents per share on revenue of $83.7 million.

Shares of Palo Alto Networks, which went public in July, fell 1.3 percent in after-hours trading to $50, following their $51.30 close in regular trading on Thursday.

William Blair analyst Jonathan Ho said it was difficult to say what was weighing on the stock.

“I don’t think there is anything specific and it is difficult to gauge because the stock is really new, but the company did talk about seeing additional pricing pressures,” Ho said.

He added that the outlook was strong and that Palo Alto Networks had taken market share from larger competitors Cisco , Check Point Software Technologies and Juniper Networks.

FBR Capital Markets analyst Dan Ives said that the company showed strong growth in a tough macro and competitive environment even if growth was slower than some may have hoped for.

“At the end of the day it was a good quarter relative to a tough macro environment,” Ives said, adding that “even though they beat expectations” growth was slower due to increased competition.

”Investors may be a little spoiled due to growth in the past, Ives added.

Revenue in the first quarter rose 88 percent, and in the entire fiscal year 2012, Palo Alto’s revenue grew more than 115 percent to $225.1 million.

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