Cisco Earnings Report: Blog Recap

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Cisco ( CSCO) reported strong fiscal fourth-quarter results after market close and surprised investors with a nice-sized dividend boost to boot.

The networking giant posted earnings before items of $2.5 billion, or 47 cents a share, for the three months ended in July on revenue of $11.69 billion, topping the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for a profit of 45 cents a share on revenue of $11.6 billion.

"As a result of our strong performance, continued execution on our plan to deliver profitable growth, and commitment to shareholders, for the full fiscal year, we delivered revenue growth of 7% as well as a record year in revenue and earnings per share," said John Chambers, the company's CEO and chairman, in the press release.

The San Jose, Calif.-based Dow component said it's lifting its quarterly dividend by 75% to 14 cents a share from a previous payout of 8 cents and made a pledge to shareholders to put at least half of its free cash flow back in their pockets.

"Cisco has the financial strength and flexibility to effectively invest in our business, pursue strategic opportunities, such as acquisitions, as well as return a minimum of 50% of our free cash flow annually through dividends and share repurchases to our shareholders," said Frank Calderoni, the company's chief financial officer, said in a press release. "Our financial strength gives us the confidence to commit and execute against this strategy, in order to provide meaningful return to our shareholders."

For its fiscal first quarter, Cisco expects revenue growth, excluding its NDS acquisition, of 2% to 4% compared to the prior year's quarter. Including NDS, the networker expects first-quarter year-over-year revenue growth of 4% to 6%.

Excluding items, Cisco predicts first-quarter earnings of 45 to 47 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 46 cents a share.

The stock was last quoted at $18.25, up 5.3%, on after-hours volume of 13.5 million, according to Nasdaq.com. The higher dividend rate will be paid on Oct. 24 to shareholders of record on Oct. 4.

-- Written by James Rogers, Chris Ciaccia and Nathalie Pierrepont in New York.

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