Cisco Earnings Up, Revenue Down

Earnings for the quarter ended April 26 were $987 million, or 14 cents per share, compared with earnings of $729 million, or 10 cents per share, in its third fiscal quarter of 2002.

The networking hardware vendor expects revenue in the current quarter to be flat with the third quarter, said John Chambers, president and CEO of the company.

In a conference call with investors Tuesday, Chambers said that major customers continue to be cautious, but that he is "just a little bit more cautiously optimistic" going into the fourth quarter than he was going into the third quarter.

Cisco finished the quarter with a gross margin of 70.8 percent, up from 63.1 percent from a year ago. As gross margins increased, Chambers said Cisco continued to increase price/performance on its product lines, citing improvements in its Catalyst 4000 and 6000 lines and additional discounts to channel partners on advanced technologies as examples.

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The United States represented 45 percent of orders in the quarter with a marked improvement in business in April, Chambers said. Still, it is too early to look upon the April upturn as a trend, he said.

As a percentage of product sales, advanced technologies, including security, wireless and IP telephony, was in the high teens, Chambers said.

Cisco also said wireless vendor Linksys brought in some $160 million from January through April, although the company's revenue were not included in Cisco's third-quarter results. Linksys' revenue will first be reflected in Cisco's fourth-quarter results, as the acquisition is expected to close in June, the company said.