Acme gives weak outlook for 4Q results

BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) ? Phone and data network equipment maker Acme Packet Inc. on Tuesday issued an outlook for its fourth-quarter net income and revenue that fell below analysts’ expectations, sending its stock tumbling in aftermarket trading.

The company attributed the soft fourth-quarter numbers to uncertainty among phone-company customers in North America.

Acme Packet said fourth-quarter earnings excluding special items would range between 26 and 28 cents per share on revenue of $84 million to $86 million.

Analysts had been expecting 37 cents per share on revenue of $92.7 million, according to a FactSet survey.

For all 2011, the company expects adjusted earnings of $1.03 to $1.05 per share, compared with an earlier outlook of $1.14 to $1.18 per share and analysts’ forecast of $1.14 per share. Acme Packet expects 2011 revenue will range between $308 million and $310 million, down from a previous forecast of $315 million to $320 million and analysts’ prediction of $317.9 million.

“Our results were impacted by uncertainty in the North American service provider market,” company CEO Andy Ory said. “Outside of the North American service provider market, Acme Packet continued to perform very well ? particularly in our enterprise business as well as in our Europe and Latin America businesses.”

The company is scheduled to release quarterly results after the market closes Feb. 2.

Acme Packet’s shares were down $5.56, or 17 percent, to $26.25 in extended trading. They finished the regular session up 90 cents, or almost 3 percent, at $31.81.