Check Point Beats Wall Street, But Outlook Is Dim

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Check Point Software Technologies beat Wall Street's estimate for the fourth quarter, but predicted that revenue would be flat for the first quarter of 2002.

Check Point, which specializes in security software and leads the firewall and VPN markets, reported net income of $77 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, with revenue of $122.5 million. Wall Street analysts predicted income of 29 cents a share and revenue of $122.26 million. Sales were up 4 percent from the previous quarter.

However, Check Point officials warned that revenue would not grow in the first quarter and may actually decrease slightly. The company stuck with first quarter estimates of 29 cents a share, but Gil Shwed, chairman and CEO of Check Point, says the combination of the economic recession and high interest in security technology made the current market tough to read.

Check Point was one of the few software companies to end 2001 on a high note. With an increased focus from corporations on security technology following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Check Point's stock price jumped from a 52-week low of $19.56 late September to more than $44 in recent weeks. Check Point also unveiled it newest software suite last quarter, Check Point Next Generation, which combines the company's VPN-1 and FireWall-1 product lines. Net income for the year was $322 million or $1.25 per diluted share, up from $221 million or $0.84 per share during fiscal year 2000. Revenues for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2001 reached $528 million.

Check Point shares were down more than $5, to $39.15 Tuesday.

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