Juniper slashes 4Q revenue forecast

Juniper Networks Inc. on Thursday dramatically lowered its revenue forecast for the fourth quarter of 2001, saying current market conditions have made its carrier and service-provider customers cautious about buying new equipment.

The maker of service-provider routers and other equipment reduced its estimate of fourth-quarter revenue to between US$150 million and $155 million, down from a forecast of about $200 million that it made when it announced third-quarter earnings on Oct. 11, said Adam Stein, director of corporate marketing. Also Thursday, Juniper estimated it will have pro-forma earnings of $0.05 per share in the quarter, which ends Dec. 31. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had estimated the company would earn $0.10 per share.

Hard times for large telecommunication carriers and Internet service providers over the past year or more have plagued the makers of equipment that those companies use to direct traffic.

"They want to know from an operational standpoint that they're getting maximum use of the current infrastructure before they buy new infrastructure," Stein said. "It's 'Spend as you need.'"Juniper was founded in 1996, focused initially on the core of carrier networks, and has had some success as an upstart competitor to router giant Cisco Systems Inc. More recently, it has expanded its focus to the carrier network edge, cable networks, and mobile data services. Last month Juniper agreed to acquire Pacific Broadband Communications, a maker of cable modem termination systems, which are used to link end customers to cable broadband networks. Last year it formed a joint venture with L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co. to build infrastructures for mobile data services, including 3G (third-generation) services.

The company's stock (Nasdaq: JNPR) had fallen to $18.85 in late Thursday trading, down $4.08, or nearly 18 percent.

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