Cisco beats Street estimates in fiscal 2011 fourth quarter

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) got its restructuring off on the right foot in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company yesterday reported fourth quarter net sales of $11.2 billion, GAAP net income $1.2 billion ($0.22 per share), and non-GAAP net income of $2.2 billion or $0.40 per share. Both revenue and earnings exceeded analyst expectations.

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) got its restructuring off on the right foot in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company yesterday reported fourth quarter net sales of $11.2 billion, GAAP net income $1.2 billion ($0.22 per share), and non-GAAP net income of $2.2 billion or $0.40 per share. Both revenue and earnings exceeded analyst expectations.

For the fiscal year, Cisco reported net sales of $43.2 billion, GAAP net income of $6.5 billion ($9 billion non-GAAP), and GAAP earnings per share of $1.17 ($1.62 non-GAAP).

The fourth quarter revenue number exceeded that of the year-ago quarter by 3%, which improved upon Cisco’s guidance of 0% to 2%.

Needless to say, Chairman and CEO John Chambers was a happy man – but did not proclaim himself satisfied. “We are a very strong company with a very strong balance sheet, solid customer relationships, leading in many healthy markets. However, we need to address a few areas with the entire focus of the company,” he told participants on an analyst call late yesterday.

“Since the last call, we've moved very rapidly on our plan to simplify operations and focus on our operating model and align our investments. We have driven this process in order to reinforce our ability to execute on our strategy, which is to take advantage of the global opportunity using intelligent networks to transform our customers' business and enable them to achieve their goals,” he added.

Chambers launched an aggressive restructuring of the company earlier in the year, which included refocusing efforts around core businesses (see "Cisco: Layoffs are coming"), trimming underperforming operations and reducing headcount (see “Cisco to drop 11,500 employees”). “We are confident we will deliver a total opex reductions of approximately $1 billion on an annualized basis and can move forward with a more focused set of portfolio investments,” Chambers told those on the call. “We will continue to pursue our innovation strategy to build, buy and partner to ensure that we are the best positioned in our priority markets moving forward.”

Looking forward, Chambers says that traditional quarter-on-quarter weakness in Cisco’s Q1 and the current global economic uncertainties have put him in a cautious frame of mind. He said he suspects to lose the momentum in orders Cisco saw in the just concluded quarter; however, he still predicted revenue growth of 1% to 4% year on year. The company recorded net sales of $10.75 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 20

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