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Brocade Beats Estimates

The Fibre Channel leader says complaints about its switch delay are 'overblown'

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) managed to top analysts estimates for the quarter ended October 27, despite a steep year-over-year decline in earnings and a delay in its Silkworm 12000 switch schedule.

The Fibre Channel market leader posted pro forma earnings of $11 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with 11 cents per share one year ago. The Wall Street consensus called for earnings of 4 cents per share.

Brocade gained $117 million in revenues for the quarter, topping analysts’ expectations of $111 million but dropping from $132 million at the same time last year. Gross profit margins at 60 percent remained stable with last year’s figure. Brocade’s cash position climbed to $255 million, up from $155 million a year ago. And the book-to-bill ratio on orders is “comfortably above 1.0,” according to company officials.

Like many storage companies, Brocade was hit with several one-time charges from technology transitions, real estate costs, equipment write-offs, and investment write-downs. Taking these into consideration, Brocade’s loss for the quarter was $54 million, or 24 cents a share. During the corresponding period last year, the company had none of these charges.

Chief financial officer Tony Conova predicted during Brocade’s earnings conference call Wednesday that earnings for the first quarter 2002 would be flat at 5 cents a share and that revenues would range from flat to "slightly up" in the $116 million to $120 million range. He expects profit margins to remain around 60 percent.

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