Is Cisco Back to Beating Earnings Regularly Again? (Updated)

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) has announced its first fiscal quarter earnings, but some investors might be focused on the news that Frank Calderoni is planning to step down as the tech giant’s chief financial officer. Fortunately, this does not look anything like an IBM-esque disappointment.

Please note, this story has been updated to account for guidance and the reversal of trading direction. Here was the full Cisco earnings preview.

Cisco’s earnings from operations came in at $0.54 per share on revenues of $12.25 billion. Thomson Reuters had its consensus estimates of $0.53 in earnings per share (EPS) and $12.16 billion in revenue. This report compares to the same report from a year ago of $0.53 EPS and $12.08 billion in revenue.

Cisco usually saves its revenue guidance for the conference call, so investors should consider this as unfinished business until the call has ended. The estimates for the coming quarter are $0.53 EPS and revenue of $12.09 billion. That would compare to $0.47 EPS and $11.16 billion in the same quarter from a year earlier. Also please note that John Chambers will be doing one of his normal post-earnings appearances on CNBC on Thursday morning. UPDATE FOR AFTER-HOURS: Cisco put revenue growth at 4% to 7% (versus 8% expected) and sees earnings from operations at $0.50 to $0.52 per share, just shy of estimates.

Shares had responded favorably in the post-earnings period, and we would point out that Cisco has a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of only about 11.6.

The big news here in management is that Frank Calderoni recently notified Cisco’s board of his decision to step down as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Cisco. The effective date for this departure will be January 1, 2015. Cisco said in the press release that it plans to appoint Kelly A. Kramer to succeed Calderoni, and the release showed that she is currently senior vice president, Business Technology and Operations Finance of Cisco.

Several key metrics were as follows:

  • Cisco repurchased approximately 41 million shares at an average price of $24.58 per share (for roughly $1 billion) during the quarter. The company has now spent a total of about $89.5 billion on share buybacks since the inception of the stock repurchase program, and it has another $7.5 billion remaining.
  • Another issue was that cash flow from operations was $2.5 billion for the quarter, down from the $3.6 billion one quarter ago sequentially and down from $2.6 billion in the same quarter a year ago.
  • Cisco’s cash and cash equivalents were static from the prior quarter at $52.1 billion.

Cisco shares closed down four cents at $25.11, against a 52-week trading range is $20.22 to $26.08. The stock was up 1.7% at $25.52 in the after-hours session, but that was prior to the conference call. UPDATE 4:45 p.m. Eastern: Cisco shares were down 1.4% from the closing price around $24.75. The Nasdaq After-Hours website showed that more than 3.2 million shares had traded since the close, making this the most active stock in Wednesday’s after-hours session.

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CEO and Chairman John Chambers was quoted as follows:

We are pleased with our results and are very comfortable in our strategy to deliver innovative solutions which enable the next generation of IT and the Internet of Everything. This was our strongest Q1 ever in terms of revenue, non-GAAP operating income, and non-GAAP EPS. We continue to make progress towards becoming the #1 IT company in the world. We are still in a tough environment, but seeing encouraging trends as cities, businesses, governments and schools are becoming more digitized. Our solutions continue to drive positive outcomes and enable productivity through the combination of collaboration, mobility, security and efficiency across our customers’ businesses.

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