Cisco posts US$2.9b third quarter income, predicts lower fourth quarter profit

Cisco shares fell by 6 percent in extended trading on Wednesday after the data center networking hardware maker said it expects this quarter’s earnings to be lower than analysts had expected. The company revealed the news in its earnings report for the quarter ended May 1, its fiscal third quarter.

For the third quarter, Cisco repored net income on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis of US$2.9 billion or US$0.68 per share, and non-GAAP net income of US$3.5 billion or US$0.83 per share. The third quarter of fiscal 2021 had 14 weeks compared with 13 weeks in the third quarter of fiscal 2020, Cisco said.

Here’s how the company did:

Earnings: 83 US cents per share, adjusted, versus 82 US cents per share as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

Revenue: US$12.80 billion, vs. US$12.56 billion as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

Cisco reversed a five-quarter streak of revenue declines, posting nearly 7 percent growth year over year, although the quarter included 14 weeks, rather than 13 in the year-ago period.

With respect to guidance, Cisco said it sees 81 US cents to 83 US cents in adjusted earnings per share and 6 percent to 8 percent revenue growth for the fiscal fourth quarter. Analysts had expected 85 US cents in adjusted earnings per share and US$12.82 billion in revenue, which implies 5.5 percent growth.

In the fiscal third quarter Cisco’s top segment, infrastructure platforms, which includes sales of networking switch hardware, delivered US$6.83 billion, which was up by 6 percent and above the FactSet consensus estimate of US$6.77 billion.

The applications segment that includes Webex video-calling products contributed US$1.43 billion in revenue, up by 5 percent and just under than the US$1.44 billion FactSet consensus.

Cisco has been enduring supply chain challenges, along with automakers and other businesses.

“The good news, and this is reflected in our guidance, is that we are confident we will work through this as we have already put in place revised arrangements with several of our key suppliers,” Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins said on a conference call with analysts. “We believe these actions will enable us to optimize our access to critical components including semiconductors and take care of our customers by fulfilling their demand as quickly as possible.”

The supply conditions impacted the adjusted gross margin for the fiscal fourth quarter as Cisco continues to incur expenses — including higher freight and unit costs for chips and memory — to make sure it gets products to customers, said Scott Herren, the company’s finance chief.

“I think the supply chain issues will stay with us at least through from what I can see at least through the end of this calendar year,” Herren said.

The revenue guidance would have been higher were it not for the current supply dynamics, Robbins said.

“You can extrapolate with the growth rate we saw on the product side and then with the corresponding guide that our backlog is certainly increasing, so if we had the capacity to ship, we would, but we just don’t have it,” Robbins said.

In the quarter Cisco closed its US$4.5 billion acquisition of networking hardware maker Acacia Communications and the US$730 million acquisition of cloud communications software company IMImobile. Cisco also committed to delivering the majority of its portfolio as a service.

Not including Wednesday’s after-hours move, Cisco shares have risen about 17 percent since the start of the year, compared with a 9 percent rise for the S&P 500 index over the same period.

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