Ciena reports `robust' quarter

High-tech supplier earns 12M-" a share, beating estimates


May 19, 2000|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Ciena Corp., the Linthicum-based maker of fiber optic equipment that boosts capacity for Internet and telecommunications providers, reported net income yesterday of $18.4 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, for its second quarter - beating analysts' estimates by 2 cents a share.

In the year-earlier period, Ciena reported a net loss of $985,000, or 1 cent a share, after one-time charges. Ciena restated year-ago results to reflect the acquisitions of Lightera Networks Inc. and Omnia Communications Inc. Revenue for the three months ended April 30 was $185.7 million, up 66 percent from the $111.5 million booked during its second quarter last year.

Shares closed on the Nasdaq down $6.8125, or almost 5 percent, at $137.3125, before earnings were released.

Patrick Nettles, Ciena's president and chief executive officer, attributed the growth in sales to increased demand for optical networking equipment, the company's efforts to sign new customers and customers wanting immediate delivery of products.

Nettles characterized the quarter's performance as "robust."

Ciena, he told analysts in a conference call after the market closed, expects "continued strong quarter-to-quarter growth, and to beat analysts' estimates of sales and sales margins for the year.

The next two quarters, he said "look very good."

He said the company was working to ensure that demand doesn't exceed the company's manufacturing capacity, given the hot market for optical networking equipment.

Joseph Chinnici, Ciena's chief financial officer, told analysts in the same conference call that 22 optical networking companies contributed to its second quarter revenue, up from 13 customers in the second quarter of fiscal 1999.

Chinnici said two customers were responsible for 63 percent of second-quarter sales. He did not name the companies.

He also said the company signed another significant customer in the quarter.

Earlier this month, Ciena revealed that Qwest Communications International Inc. had been signed as a customer and would begin buying equipment in the current quarter.

First Call/Thompson Financial, which surveys analysts, estimated Ciena would have second-quarter earnings per share of 10 cents per diluted share.

For the six-month period ending April 30, Ciena reported net income of $27.5 million, or 18 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $337.9 million.

By comparison, in the first half of 1999 the company reported a net loss of $2.9 million, or 2 cents a share, on revenue of $211.9 million.

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