May 1, 2018 / 9:14 PM / a year ago

Network gear maker Juniper's profit tops estimates, shares rise

(Reuters) - Juniper Networks Inc (JNPR.N) on Tuesday topped Wall Street estimates for first-quarter results and the network gear maker forecast current-quarter revenue above expectations on higher demand for equipment used by its data center customers.

The company’s shares rose 7.6 percent to $26.61 after the bell and were set to halve the 13 percent drop since January when Juniper warned of a hit from deployment delays by some customers.

“We hit the high-end of our guidance during the March quarter due to better-than-expected results from our cloud vertical and another quarter of growth in our enterprise business,” Chief Executive Officer Rami Rahim said.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company has been cutting costs and shifting its focus to areas such as cloud computing to offset softness in the switches and routers markets, where it faces tough competition from bigger rivals such as Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O).

“While we had expected security broadly across the entire industry to be strong, we had not expected Juniper to participate in this strength,” said Needham & Co analyst Alex Henderson.

Henderson said Juniper’s strong quarter was partly due to higher spending by both Verizon and AT&T, two of the company’s largest customers.

Juniper forecast current-quarter revenue to be about $1.18 billion, plus or minus $30 million, and an adjusted profit of about 44 cents, plus or minus 3 cents.

Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.16 billion and a profit of 43 cents for the second quarter ending June, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total revenue fell 11.4 percent to $1.08 billion in the first quarter, but topped analysts’ estimate of $1.05 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned 28 cents per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of 26 cents.

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Sriraj Kalluvila

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