Juniper Q1 at low end of guidance

Juniper Networks posted first quarter sales well below analyst forecasts, signaling a period of slowing growth for the 10-year-old company.

For the period ended March 31, Juniper recorded net revenue of US$566.7 million, about US$5 million shy of consensus estimates, according to Thomson First Call. Pro-forma earnings came in at US$113.4 million, or 19 cents per share, in line with analyst estimates.

First quarter revenue was up 26 percent from the same period a year ago, but at the low-end of Juniper's guidance of US$565 million to US$575 million. It's down almost 2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2005.

Pro forma earnings were up from the US$91.9 million, or 16 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2005, but down from the US$119.6 million -- 20 cents per share -- profit posted in the fourth quarter of 2005.

With the inclusion of stock-based compensation and other expenses, Juniper's earnings were US$75.8 million, or 13 cents per share -- flat with last year's first quarter and down from fourth quarter results of US$105.5 million or 17 cents per share.

Net income excluding stock-based compensation for the first quarter of 2006 was US$91.9 million or 15 cents per share, compared with a net income excluding stock-based compensation of US$77.8 million or 13 cents per share for the first quarter of 2005.

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