Check Point Software Technologies (Nasdaq:CHKP) Chairman and CEO Gil Shwed on Tuesday estimated that the Internet security solutions firm will grow 5% to 10% in each of the second and third quarters this year, and by 10% in the fourth quarter.
The firm met lowered Q1 estimates released April 4, posting $104.6 million revenue, and $63.5 million net profit, 25 cents earnings per share.
Revenue comes to 15% less than in the fourth quarter last year, when it was $123 million, and is 28% short of revenue in the first quarter of 2001.
Net profit slid by 17% against the fourth quarter last year, when the company netted $77 million, 30 cents EPS.
Shwed said that despite visibility remaining low, the company is keeping forecasts for 2002 unchanged. The company expects that revenue is 2002 will be in the range of $456 million to $485 million, and $1.1 EPS. The company expects 26 cent EPS in the second quarter, 27 to 28 cent EPS in the third quarter, and 30 cent EPS in the fourth quarter this year.
President Jerry Ungerman said that the company lowered projections mainly because enterprises cut their outlook. There are more competitors in Check Point's market, and fewer opportunities, but despite rising competition, Check Point is happy with its positioning, Ungerman said.
Cash reserves came to $1.1 billion at the end of the first quarter, $78 million more than the fourth quarter last year.
"Check Point continued to generate strong earnings despite the slow business environment, generating $63.5 million in net income and $78.4 million in cash," Shwed said. "This is encouraging and a testament to Check Point's healthy business model." He said that the company is in a good position that will help it sustain its Internet security leadership.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs did not remove Check Point from its list of recommended stocks. The bank estimates that the company's April profit warning isn't hurting its standing as one of the best-quality Internet security firms. That market is a strong one, but Check Point is not totally invulnerable, the bank said. The bank added that although the importance of the security market increased this year, decision-making processes take longer. The bank expects that once the information technology market recovers, security companies will benefit from this recovery more than other sectors.