Tech Earnings Afterhours: FFIV, STAR, IRBT, TQNT, RNOW

by: Tiernan Ray

Some good news, some bad news, from tech’s earnings parade:

* Shares of networking equipment vendor F5 (NASDAQ:FFIV) fell almost 9% to $37.00 after the company reported fourth fiscal quarter sales of $145.6 million, up 30% year-over-year, and profit of 31 cents, excluding some charges, ahead of estimates of $144.07 million and 11 cents. The forecast may not have been enough for some people: The company forecast sales of $154 to $156 million for the fiscal first quarter and profit of 20 cents to 21 cents, compared to estimates of $155.57 million and 23 cents a share. The company also announced the resignation of its vice president for worldwide sales.

* Starent Networks (STAR-OLD), which provides networking gear to mobile phone operators, saw its shares fall over 13% this evening after they already closed down 6.58% during the regular session. The company announced that sales and profit for the September quarter that exceeded estimates, with sales of $36.7 million and profit of 8 cents a share, compared to estimates of $33 million and five cents per share. On a conference call with analysts this evening, Starent forecast sales for the full year of $138 million, above analysts’ forecast for $130.27 million.

However, selling, general and administration costs will increase in the current quarter, the company said. Earnings for the full year, including the cost of stock-based compentsation, were forecast at 8 cents, below the consensus estimate of 12 cents. For next year, the company said it expected 35% to 40% sales growth, and for profit to be 43 cents to 47 cents per share, excluding some costs, which is a bit ahead of analysts’ estimates. It all sounds good, but I guess it all just wasn’t enough this evening.

* Shares of robotic vacuum maker iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT) are up over 8% after the company this evening reported sales that rose 16%, year over year, to $63.8 million in the September quarter, and a 6 cent per share loss, which was consistent with a pre-announcement the company gave on Oct. 10. The company forecast full-year sales ahead of estimates, at $240 million to $250 million, ahead of estimates for $236.14 million. iRobot said the U.S. Army was re-assessing a contract it had awarded to a competitor. That contract loss had caused iRobot shares to fall back in September. I guess people figure it’s back to the races this evening.

* Triquint Semiconductor (TQNT), which makes a variety of chips used in consumer electronics applications, saw its shares rise 6% this evening to $4.90 reversing a 4% decline earlier. The company reported this evening sales and profit that beat estimates, at $123 million and 8 cents, excluding some costs, compared to an estimated $116.8 million and 6 cents per share. Triquint forecast fourth quarter sales of between $125 million and $130 million and profit of 8 cents to 10 cents a share, which was ahead of estimates on the top line and in line with estimates at the upper end of the profit range. In its press release, the company said it saw solid growth from each of our major markets.”

* Customer management software vendor RightNow Technologies (NASDAQ:RNOW), whose software technology is used by Sony (NYSE:SNE), among others, this evening reported $29.2 million in sales and a loss of seven cents a share, excluding some costs, ahead of estimates for $27.7 million and an 11 cent loss. The company raised its forecast for the fourth quarter to $29.5 million, and profit, excluding some costs, of between six and seven cents a share, which is consistent with consensus estimates on the revenue line but better than the projected 10-cent-per-share loss on the Street. Shares rose 3.26% to $17.40 after falling almost 1% during the regular session.