F5 Tops Wall Street View, Offers Solid Outlook

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It looks like the bulls were right about F5 Networks ( FFIV).

The Seattle-based company topped Wall Street expectations for its latest quarter, and gave a mostly in-line view for the December period on Tuesday, sending its stock up more than 6% in late trades.

F5 posted non-GAAP earnings of $85.2 million, or $1.06 a share, on revenue of $314.6 million for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, up from a year-ago equivalent profit of $63.9 million, or 79 cents a share, on revenue of $254.3 million.

The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for earnings of 98 cents a share in the September-ended period on revenue of $308.5 million. Back in late July, the company forecast a non-GAAP profit of 97 to 99 cents a share for the fourth quarter on revenue of between $307 million to $312 million.

John McAdam, the company's president and CEO, said the latest results reflect "solid year-over-year gains across all regions and vertical market segments. In addition, product sales strengthened during the quarter, driving product revenue up 10 percent sequentially and 20 percent year-over-year."

The stock was last quoted at $94.20, up 6.1%, on after-hours volume of more than 200,000, according to Nasdaq.com. In Tuesday's regular session, the shares lost 5% to close at $88.76. That performance made for a year-to-date decline of more than 30% with the volatile stock ranging as high as $145.76 in mid-January and as low as $69.01 in late August.

F5 said it expects non-GAAP earnings of 99 cents to $1.01 per share for its fiscal first quarter ending in December with revenue seen ranging from $315 million to $320 million. The current consensus view is for a profit of $1 per share on revenue of $320 million.

"The fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 was a strong finish to the year," CEO McAdam said. "As we begin a new fiscal year, we anticipate that the seasonality we experienced in the first quarter of last year will be a recurring factor in our first quarter results going forward."

The company also said its board has approved an additional $200 million repurchase program, adding that amount to its current remaining authorization of $166 million.

Wall Street was mildly bullish on F5 ahead of the report with 22 of the 36 analysts covering the stock at either strong buy (8) or buy (14) and the median 12-month price target sitting at $95.

-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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