Brocade boasts record revenues, but . . .

November 23, 2010 – Brocade set an all-time revenue record in its fiscal fourth quarter, and narrowly exceeded analysts’ expectations, raking in about $550 million. That’s up 9.3% over the previous quarter and up 5.5% year-over-year.

However, the company posted a net profit of $66 million in 4Q10, or 14 cents a share, which is down from $73 million, or 15 cents a share, a year ago. In addition, guidance for the current quarter was, well, cautious. Company executives predicted revenue for the current quarter of $535 million to $550 million, which translates into flat to -3% growth vs. the previous year That guidance was below Street projections. Brocade’s 1Q11 guidance was variously described as “cautious,” “tepid” and “dour.”

In other words, the company’s performance in this quarter was stellar, but the outlook for 1Q11 disappointed. Mixed signals, indeed.

Brocade earned the applause of analysts – and some Buy ratings -- by (narrowly) exceeding their expectations, but investors sent the stock down late Monday, a slide that continued into Tuesday, presumably because of the lackluster projections for the current quarter.

Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) shares closed at $5.13 today, down 10%.

Personally, I don’t think Brocade’s guidance on this quarter looks very bad at all, given an expected slowdown or stall in federal spending and Brocade’s challenging competitive position on the Ethernet side of the business against Cisco, HP and others.

Speaking of which, Brocade’s Ethernet-related revenue numbers suggest that the company is picking up steam against those formidable rivals.

4Q10 revenue from Brocade’s Ethernet line was $142.6 million (representing 26% of total revenue.) That’s an increase of 17% vs. the previous quarter. And the company gained about 300 new customers for its Ethernet switch line in the fourth quarter, bringing the total to 1,600 since the acquisition of Foundry.

Brocade’s SAN storage business remained at about 57% of total revenue (vs. 58% in the last quarter), or $316 million. Services accounted for the remainder of the total revenue, or about $92 million.

Gross margin was 62.3%, compared to 54.1% in the previous quarter.

Related articles:

Brocade, HP debut 8Gbps SAN starter bundles

Brocade tackles network convergence, VM mobility

Brocade increases density, throughput of DCX Backbone

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posted by: Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson, Editor-in-Chief
by Dave Simpson
Editor-in-Chief

Dave Simpson has been the Editor-in-Chief of InfoStor since its inception in 1997. He previously held editorial positions at publications such as Datamation, Systems Integration, and Digital News and Review. He can be contacted at dsimpson@quinstreet.com

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