Enterprise business improves in Juniper's Q2

Enterprise business improves in Juniper's Q2

Vendor sells US$139 million of gear in the quarter

Juniper Networks' enterprise business showed signs of life in the second quarter, as the company posted sales that exceeded guidance and earnings in line with forecasts.

Sales of Juniper's Service Layer Technology (SLT) products -- made up mostly of enterprise security, WAN optimization and application acceleration gear -- were US$139 million in the quarter, compared to US$125 million in the first quarter and US$116 million in the second quarter of 2006. SLT sales exceeded at least one analyst's expectations.

"SLT sales were US$6 million higher than our estimates," stated UBS Warburg analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos in a report on the quarter.

"We believe signs of traction and product acceptance in the security/WAN optimization markets have started to surface. And with the new COO pushing for tighter execution, it's likely that SLT continues to improve its performance and end the year at least breakeven operating margins."

Theodosopoulos stated previously that he believed Juniper should reconsider its enterprise strategy if SLT failed to turn a profit by year-end. Juniper invested US$5 billion in enterprise and SLT over three years but the business has yet to reach profitability.

Juniper six months ago brought COO Stephen Elop on board from Adobe Systems to help streamline the company's execution.

Another analyst, however, says Juniper still has its enterprise work cut out for it.

"The key question involves Juniper's ability to deliver in its enterprise business on a consistent basis to support its margin expansion," states CIBC World Markets analyst Ittai Kidron in a report on the quarter. "While signs suggest Juniper's enterprise business is now on track, we don't feel it's out of the woods just yet. The 4Q07 return to profitability milestone is key."

For the quarter overall, Juniper recorded net revenue of US$664.9 million, an increase of 17 percent over the second quarter of 2006. Net income, excluding expenses and other items, was US$116.0 million, compared with net income of US$107.0 million for the same period a year ago.

Net revenue for the six months ended June 30, was US$1.3 billion, a 14 percent hike from the same period in 2006. Net income, excluding expenses, for the six-month period was US$228.3 million, compared with US$221.5 million for the same period in 2006.

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