Technology

John Chambers Last Earnings Report Ends on a High Note

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) reported its fiscal third-quarter earnings on Wednesday after the markets closed. The networking and communications equipment giant had $0.54 in earnings per share (EPS) on $12.14 billion in revenue. That compared to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of $0.53 in EPS on $12.07 billion in revenue. The same quarter from last year had $0.51 in EPS on $11.54 billion in revenue.

The company did not give guidance in the earnings release but there are consensus estimates of $0.56 in EPS on $12.59 billion in revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter.

During the third quarter of fiscal 2015, Cisco paid a cash dividend of $0.21 per share, or $1.1 billion. At the same time, Cisco repurchased about 35 million shares under its repurchase plan for an aggregate purchase price of $1.0 billion.

Cash and cash equivalents and investments were $54.4 billion at the end of its third fiscal quarter, compared with $53.0 billion at the end of the previous quarter.

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This was the last time John Chambers is CEO for the earnings report. He said:

Cisco is in a very strong position and we delivered another solid quarter. Our vision and strategy are working and we are executing very well in a tough environment, as evidenced in our revenue growth, profitability, strong gross margins and cash generation. Our customers feel the pace of change and disruption in every industry and market, and know their success depends on digitizing their business. Whether they are the disruptor or the incumbent, they are coming to Cisco as their strategic partner. We believe we are pulling away from our competition using the same formula we’ve always used: integrating our industry-leading products in every category into architectures and solutions that deliver real outcomes. We’ve created this opportunity and it is ours to execute.

Chambers capped off the report saying:

I am extremely honored and proud to have led Cisco for the last 20 years and to get us to this positive inflection point. We have a tremendous opportunity to extend our lead in the industry, and with Chuck Robbins as the CEO for Cisco’s next chapter, we have exactly the right leader to capture that opportunity. I could not be more confident in our future.

The good news is that this means Chambers is leaving Cisco on a high note. The bad news is that investors are not bidding shares up further. At least Chambers did not leave when the wheels were falling off, and Chuck Robbins is stepping in when there still appears to be growth ahead.

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Cisco shares closed Wednesday up 0.4% at $29.35. Following the release of the financial results, shares were initially slightly down 0.3% at $29.27. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $30.48 and a 52-week trading range of $22.49 to $30.31.