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5/2/2012 5:31 PM ET
(RTTNews) – Security software maker Symantec Corp. (SYMC: News ), Wednesday reported a surge in fourth-quarter earnings, due mainly to one-time gains from the sale of its joint venture with Huawei. Revenue for the fourth quarter was almost flat with last year, partly due to lower license sales. Margins too came under pressure as selling and other costs escalated. Excluding items, Symantec’s adjusted earnings for the quarter dropped from last year but were in line with analyst estimates.
Moving forward, Symantec provided its outlook for the first quarter, which is indicated to miss current Street estimates.
Symantec said its fourth quarter 2012 results were helped by a gain of $526 million related to the sale of its share of the Huawei-Symantec joint venture.
Chief Financial Officer James Beer said, “Year over year declines in license sales and a larger proportion of ratable subscription sales caused revenue and EPS to come in below our expectations for the fourth quarter…”
Symantec’s consumer segment revenue for the quarter edged up 2 percent year-over-year, while its security and compliance segment revenue rose 8 percent. Storage and server management segment revenue fell 6 percent from last year, while Services services segment, which forms a small part of business, slid 6 percent.
International revenue represented 52 percent of total revenue in the fourth quarter and rose 4 percent year-over-year. Revenues from the Americas, including the United States, Latin America and Canada, represented 54 percent of total revenue, edging down 1 percent.
Symantec’s GAAP gross margin for the quarter declined to 82.9 percent from 83.9 percent a year earlier. GAAP operating margin slid to 11.4 percent from 14.3 percent.
Mountain View, California-based Symantec reported fourth-quarter net income of $559 million or $0.76 per share, compared to $168 million or $0.22 per share last year.
Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the quarter were $283 million, compared to $297 million in the prior year. On a per share basis, adjusted earnings remained unchanged at $0.38.
On average, 24 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings $0.38 per share for the quarter. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.
Revenue for the fourth quarter was almost flat at $1.68 billion, compared to last year. Twenty-three analysts estimated revenue of $1.68 billion.
GAAP deferred revenue as of March 30, 2012, was $3.97 billion, compared to $3.82 billion last year, up 4 percent year-over-year.
During the fourth quarter 2012, Symantec repurchased about 12 million shares for $200 million. Symantec has $984 million remaining in the current board authorized stock repurchase program.