Check Point Software Technologies
said Thursday that its 2004 revenue and earnings could surpass current Wall Street estimates.
Speaking at the firm's investor day in New York, CFO Eyal Desheb said the Israeli software security firm is targeting 2004 revenue ranging from $505 million to $525 million, representing a 17% to 21% surge from $433 million in 2003. He said between 6% and 8% of that growth will come through the company's acquisition of
, a maker of endpoint security products.
Desheb said 2004 pro forma earnings per share, excluding acquisition charges, are expected to range between 99 cents and $1.03, up from 96 cents in 2003.
Wall Street analyst estimates currently sit at 99 cents a share for 2004 earnings on $492.7 million in revenue, according to Thomson One Analytics.
Operating margins are expected to fall between 52% and 56%, down from 59% in 2003. But margins in the second half of the year are expected to be higher than the overall average, Desheb said.
Check Point is expecting the biggest growth to come from Asia, where sales are projected to jump 30% to 40% in 2004. The western hemisphere is expected to show the slowest growth, at 15%.
Desheb is expecting growth in deferred revenue, driven by Zone Labs and subscriptions, but he declined to say how much, adding that it's difficult to predict.
Shares of Check Point were recently down a penny at $20.66.
The stock traded as high as $21.20 intraday following the raised guidance, but was subsequently pressured by news of a vulnerability in the code for a security server module for outgoing mail traffic. At the investors' day meeting, management tried to temper that news by saying the vulnerability does not impact 99% of Check Point's customer base and a fix has already been made.