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Cisco’s security business revenue misses estimates, shares drop

(Reuters) – Cisco Systems Inc’s (CSCO.O1) quarterly revenue in its closely-watched security business missed analysts’ estimates, raising concerns about the world’s largest networking gear maker’s efforts to transform into a software-focused company.

The company’s shares fell about 2.5 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

With its traditional business of making switches and routers struggling, Cisco, like other legacy technology firms, has been focusing on high-growth areas such as security, the Internet of Things and cloud computing.

The security business, which offers firewall protection and breach detection systems, has been Cisco’s fastest growing, until the last two quarter.

Revenue growth at the business slowed to 3 percent in the latest fourth quarter from 16 percent a year earlier and 9 percent in the previous quarter.

Chief Executive Chuck Robbins, the architect of Cisco’s transformation plan, said he had “zero concerns” about the security business, while Chief Financial Officer Kelly Kramer forecast an uptick in revenue in the next quarter.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said the next two quarter would indicate the health of the security business.

“I’m not concerned yet with Cisco’s security numbers as many of their security innovations are linked to other businesses like switching,” he said.

Cisco’s switches and routers businesses easily its two biggest have been struggling due to sluggish demand from telecom carriers and enterprise customers.

Revenue in each of the two businesses fell 9 percent in the quarter, missing analysts’ expectations, according to financial and data analytics firm FactSet.

While security business revenue of $558 million fell short of analysts estimates of $580.5 million, according to FactSet, Cisco’s overall revenue was supported by its data center business and wireless business, which is now is fastest growing.

Cisco’s overall revenue fell for the seventh straight quarter, but the near 4 percent decline to $12.13 billion was in line analysts’ estimates of $12.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Cisco’s net income fell 13.8 percent to $2.42 billion, or 48 cents per share .

Excluding one-time items, it earned 61 cents per share, matching analysts’ estimates.

The company expects revenue to fall 1 percent to 3 percent in the current quarter .

That was in line with Wall Street’s expectations, as was Cisco’s adjusted earnings forecast.

Cisco’s stock has gained about 7 percent so far this year, well below the near 24 percent gain in the S&P 500 technology index .SPLRCT and a 10.2 percent increase in the S&P 500 .SPX2.

Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza

References

  1. ^ CSCO.O (uk.reuters.com)
  2. ^ .SPX (uk.reuters.com)

Saudi security suspects give themselves up

DUBAI (Reuters) – Three Saudi men on a list of 23 people wanted by the authorities over security offences have turned themselves in, the interior ministry said on Monday.

The report, carried by state news agency SPA, came as Saudi security forces pushed ahead with an operation in the eastern part of the kingdom to try to flush out armed men, including those on the list announced in January 2012 . The area is home to many of the country’s minority Shi’ite Muslims.

The interior ministry identified the three as Mohammed Isa al-Lubbad, Ramzi Mohammed Jamal and Ali Hassan al-Zayed, and said their “initiative (to surrender voluntarily) will be taken into consideration”.

Many of those on the list have been either killed or captured in recent years . The Saudi Gazette newspaper said that only three of those on the original list remained at large, while eight have surrendered .

The rest were killed during clashes with the security forces, it said.

Saudi security forces have been trying for more than two months to defeat gunmen behind attacks on police in Awamiya, a Shi’ite town of around 30,000 in the eastern region that has been the centre of protests against the Sunni government.

Fighting has intensified over the past two weeks, when elite forces entered the town . In May the authorities began a campaign to tear down the old quarter to prevent gunmen using the narrow streets to evade capture.

Residents estimate that up to 20,000 people have fled to towns and villages nearby . Up to 12 people have been killed in the past week: three policemen and nine civilians, residents say.

The area, in oil-producing Qatif province, has seen unrest and occasional armed attacks on security forces since 2011 “Arab Spring”-style protests .

Residents complain of unfair treatment by the government, something Riyadh denies.

Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Andrew Bolton

Venezuelan chief prosecutor’s office blocked by security forces

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan security forces took up positions outside the office of the country’s chief prosecutor on Saturday, a day after the government inaugurated a new legislative body that the prosecutor said was fraudulently elected.

Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega had asked a local court to halt the inauguration of the country’s new 545-member constituent assembly, citing allegations that the government fudged the results of the vote that created it.

The new legislative body has no checks on its powers.

It could re-write the constitution, re-arrange state institutions and allow socialist President Nicolas Maduro to rule by decree . Assembly members had said they would fire Ortega the first chance they got . It took less than 24 hours from the assembly’s inauguration for her offices to be cordoned off.

Ortega, in a tweet, asked the international community to denounce what she called “arbitrary action” of security forces blocking entrance to her offices.

Luis Almagro, head of the Organization of American States, said he was concerned that evidence against Maduro’s government was at risk of being compromised by the security forces surrounding Ortega’s office.

“Aggression against her is aggression against all of us,” Almagro tweeted, adding that the presence of the security forces “puts evidence of human rights violations and corruption on the part of the (Maduro) regime at risk.”

Venezuelan National Guard members stand guard in front of the Prosecutor’s office in Caracas, Venezuela August 5, 2017.Andres Martinez Casares

Since the opposition started a round of protests in April, Ortega has become the president’s main challenger from within the ruling socialist movement, accusing him of human rights abuses and of running roughshod over democracy.

The opposition, which won control of congress in 2015, boycotted Sunday’s vote, calling it a naked power grab by Maduro .

The boycott meant that all candidates for the new assembly were from Maduro’s coalition, giving him carte blanche to pass laws aimed at locking his policies into place.

The assembly was installed despite opposition street protests . More than 120 people have died in four months of sustained marches against Maduro . Critics say his policies have pushed Venezuela into an economic crisis marked by triple digit inflation and severe shortages of food and medicine.

Maduro says the U.S. “empire” is waging economic war on Venezuela and refuses to allow humanitarian aid to enter the country . He says the new assembly is the only way to unify Venezuela into a peaceful, prosperous socialist state.

Former Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez, a hard-line Maduro loyalist, was named president of the new assembly.

“There is no humanitarian crisis here . What we have is love . What we have is a crisis of the right-wing fascists,” said Rodriguez, in a fiery inaugural address in which she paid homage to late socialist leader Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s mentor and predecessor.

The assembly will function in the same downtown Caracas legislative complex as the existing opposition-run congress, which could potentially be dissolved . For now, the two bodies are set to hold sessions in parallel, separated by an ornate cobblestone courtyard.

Reporting by Hugh Bronstein, Corina Pons and Girish Gupta; Editing by Andrew Bolton and Steve Orlofsky