With consumer business boost, Symantec turns a profit

Consumer business was up 9 percent year over year, while enterprise divisions were flat

Although sales were flat in its enterprise businesses, a jump in consumer sales helped Symantec boost earnings by about 5 percent during its most recent quarter.

Symantec beat expectations for its fourth quarter, ended April 2, posting revenue of US$1.535 billion and earnings of $0.40 per share, excluding charges. Financial analysts had been expecting earnings to be closer to $0.37 per share, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. Symantec's earnings were up 5 percent from its year-ago total of $0.38 per share.

Company results were helped by a strengthening U.S. currency. While revenue was up 3 percent year over year, it was flat when adjusting for currency fluctuations, Symantec said.

The company's consumer business -- which accounts for 31 percent of sales -- was up 9 percent year over year. Revenue from the company's enterprise security products was up just 2 percent, and revenue from storage and server management products -- nearly 40 percent of the company's business -- was down 1 percent.

In an interview, Symantec CEO Enrique Salem said he was pleased with the results, noting that the company was generating cash and saying that Symantec's hosted security services, data loss prevention and backup businesses all did well.

Symantec hopes to give its back-up and hosted services products a further boost in the coming quarters as it integrates encryption products from its $370 million acquisitions of PGP and GuardianEdge Technologies, announced last week. Those deals are waiting on regulatory approval, which is expected in the next few months.

Consumer sales did well because Symantec's flagship Norton products are winning reviews, Salem said. The consumer business has been growing for six consecutive quarters. "Our consumer products are by now the best in the world," he said.

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Robert McMillan

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