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Technology Stocks : Check Point Software (CHKP)
CHKP 110.81-0.1%3:59 PM EST

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To: John Carragher who wrote (7140)10/19/2004 6:55:41 AM
From: P.M.Freedman   of 7150
Shwed: We're taking market share from NetScreen

Check Point has raised its EPS guidance for 2004 to $1.05-1.06.

Globes correspondent 18 Oct 04 16:32

"We launched a long-term growth strategy in the third quarter of 2003. The fourth quarter of 2003 was strong, and we attributed this to seasonal factors, but we soon saw that there was a trend of rising revenue. In the third quarter, our revenue was at the top end of our guidance, and our profit beat expectations on Wall Street, and so we are very satisfied," Check Point (Nasdaq:CHKP) CEO Gil Shwed said today.
"The good news from our point of view is that the traditional firewall and VPN market where we have been selling for ten years was an important growth engine in the quarter. We won several large projects, which is especially encouraging in the traditionally challenging and weak third quarter," Shwed added.

Commenting on competitor NetScreen, which was acquired by Juniper Networks, Shwed said that Check Point had recently won large projects at NetScreen customers, and that he believed his company was taking market share from its rival.

On the possibility of a further share buyback program, Check Point CFO Eyal Desheh said the company was satisfied with the success of the previous program, and that it was likely to consider buying back more of its shares. The Check Point board meets next week, and may make a decision on the matter then.

Desheh added that the integration of Zone Labs, bought for $230 million, had gone satisfactorily. "Zone Labs grew in line with our projections and it can be seen that its organic growth is high," he said.

Check point sees fourth quarter revenue in the $136-144 million range, in line with market expectations. Earnings per share are expected to be $0.28-0.29, which is higher than the current analysts' consensus of $0.27. This guidance brings projected earnings per share for 2004 as a whole to $1.05-1.06, compared with previous guidance of $0.99-1.03.

Published by Globes [online] - - on October 18, 2004

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