Symantec Q4 Revenues, Profits Up With Consumer Sales Growth

Symantec executives attributed the slight growth, in part, to strong sales in its consumer division as well as a robust hosted services business boosted by the 2008 acquisition of hosted messaging security company MessageLabs.

"As I look back over the year, I'm proud of what we've accomplished," said Symantec CEO Enrique Salem, during a conference call.

Symantec reported a single-digit 4.3 percent revenue growth, which rose to $1.53 billion from $1.4 billion during the fiscal fourth quarter of 2009, beating Thomson Reuter's expectations of $1.52 billion. For the fiscal year, the security giant reported revenue at $5.99 billion.

Similarly, Symantec's fourth quarter profits experienced mild growth, rising to $184 million, up from a loss of $264 million in the same quarter last year. Symantec for the full year earned $714 million, compared with a loss of $6.79 billion, in fiscal 2009.

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Executives attributed the fourth quarter growth to a burgeoning hosted services business and strong consumer sales, among other things.

The Cupertino-based company's hosted services division experienced around 8 percent year-over-year growth (6 percent after adjusting for currency) and now comprises about 6 percent of the total business. Company executives anticipate continued growth due to the expanding its hosted services business.

Next: Consumer Business Makes Gains Symantec's consumer business, incorporating Norton products, experienced 9 percent year-over-year growth.

Other divisions experienced incremental growth or declined slightly. Sales revenues in Symantec's security and compliance division, which occupies about 24 percent of the business, increased slightly to 2 percent, while the company's storage and server management division, comprising 38 percent of the business, experienced a 1 percent decline.

However, Symantec aims to strengthen its position in the growing encryption-technology market after it announced two definitive deals to acquire e-mail- and data-encryption companies PGP for $300 million and GuardianEdge for $70 million in cash.

The deals are expected to close some time during the June quarter, subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals. According to IDC, the global encryption market is rapidly growing by about 14 percent and will total around $1 billion in 2014, in light of business concerns about data theft and increasingly stringent and enforced compliance regulations.

Looking to Q1 of its 2011 fiscal year, Symantec executives anticipated sales revenues to fall somewhere between $1.48 and $1.5 billion.

Symantec's steady growth represents a sharp contrast to Symantec's nearest competitor—No. 2 antivirus company McAfee—which posted a significant drop in income from 2009 and revenues that came in below analysts' expectations last week.