F5 shares climb after 4Q report

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? Shares of F5 Networks Inc. climbed Wednesday after the provider of information technology and networking equipment and services reported fourth-quarter results that easily beat analyst estimates.

The company also forecast a range of results for the current period that were at the high end of analysts’ views.

Its shares surged $13.85, or 15.6 percent, to $102.61 in afternoon trading.

Seattle-based F5 said late Tuesday that its net income rose to $67.6 million, or 84 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30. This compares with $48.2 million, or 59 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding stock-based compensation expenses, F5 said it earned $1.06 per share. This was 8 cents higher than what analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating, on average.

Revenue increased 24 percent to $315 million. Analysts expected $309 million.

F5 said its product sales improved in the fourth quarter, and the company saw growth in each of its regions and vertical markets.

For the full fiscal 2011 year, F5 reported net income of $241.4 million, or $2.96 per share, compared with $151.2 million, or $1.86 per share, a year earlier.

Looking at the current quarter, F5 forecast net income of 79 cents to 81 cents per share, or 99 cents to $1.01 per share excluding stock-based compensation expenses. The company expects revenue of $315 million to $320 million.

At the time of its report, analysts expected adjusted earnings of $1.01 per share on $320 million in revenue.

Also Tuesday, F5 said its board approved the addition of $200 million to an existing share buyback plan. The company already had $166 million remaining in its plan, which began last October.