Symantec CEO Sees A Blue Coat Boost And Forecasts Bright Days Ahead With Increased Financial Guidance


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Helped by its 2016 acquisition of Blue Coat Systems, Symantec says it's surging in the cloud security market and believes there is more growth ahead over the next 12 months.

Company executives, while announcing fourth quarter and full year fiscal year 2017 results, credited an improving competitive landscape and market outlook for its enterprise security offerings, especially as business customers look toward more cloud-based security options.

"We want to provide our products to customers [in] the way they want to buy them," CEO Greg Clark said. "We think there's going to be more of that in the future."

[RELATED: Q&A: Symantec President Michael Fey On Blue Coat Integration, Competition With McAfee And Driving Security Consolidation]

Fourth quarter revenue on the enterprise security side jumped 40 percent; for the year, it rose 22 percent, Symantec reported. The fiscal year closed March 31.

Clark, who was CEO of Blue Coat before moving over to the same role with Symantec following the acquisition, said sales of Blue Coat's wide range of offerings are "growing at a strong clip."

"We did see the expected levels of business in the Blue Coat products in Q4," he said.

Clark added that Symantec expects to see a "natural shift" toward hybrid cloud solutions. "We think we have a better stack of that technology than any other vendor," he said.

Symantec has also launched what Clark called "significant" operational improvements in the company's go-to-market processes and "simplified the demand chain and programs" to partners.

The outlook is rosy enough that the company is boosting its non-GAAP earnings per share guidance for fiscal year 2018 to a range of $1.75 to $1.85 from the earlier projection of $1.70 to $1.80 per share. Its GAAP revenue forecast of $4.98 billion to $5.08 billion would represent a jump of about 20 percent.

Symantec reported a GAAP net loss of $143 million, or 23 cents per share, on revenues of $1.11 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. On a non-GAAP basis, Symantec returned net income of $184 million, or 28 cents per share, on sales of $1.18 billion.  

The company's sales for the quarter were up 28 percent year-over-year and just below Wall Street expectations of $1.27 billion, according to Seeking Alpha. 

Symantec's stock had jumped 2.4 percent yesterday to close at $33.14. However, in after-hours trading, the stock had plunged to between $30 and $31 after the company announced its quarter and fiscal year numbers.

For the full year, Symantec's sales rose 12 percent to $4.02 billion and, on a non-GAAP basis, sales were up 16 percent, to $4.16 billion. 

The company reported a non-GAAP loss of $106 million, or 17 cents per share, down from a profit of $2.49 million, or $3.71 per share, during the previous year.

On the earnings call, CFO Nick Noviello said Symantec foresees a "strong trajectory of long-term, sustainable growth."

Clark also cited "great results" with operational efficiencies. He said the company's goals are achievable and he "feels good" about the new fiscal year and heading into fiscal year 2019.

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