Cisco Earnings Down 18 Percent In 3Q

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Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose. (AP)

Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose. (AP)

SAN JOSE (CBS / AP) — Cisco Systems Inc., the world’s largest maker of computer networking gear, said Wednesday that it’s set to eliminate thousands of jobs as part of cost-cutting moves to get profits growing again.

Cisco’s sales rebounded from the recession, but then started stalling in the middle of last year. In the past few months, CEO John Chambers has signaled that he’s accepting long-standing criticism that the company is trying to compete in too many markets. He has vowed to radically simplify the company.

The company is still troubled: On Wednesday, it gave a financial forecast for the current quarter that was well below analyst expectations.

Chambers now wants to cut annual expenses by $1 billion, or about 6 percent. He didn’t say how many jobs he’s aiming to eliminate, mainly through an early retirement program. If the percentage is similar to the cut in expenses, it could amount 4,000 to 5,000 of the company’s 73,400 employees.

For the fiscal third quarter, which ended in April 30, Cisco said net income declined nearly 18 percent, earning $1.8 billion, or 33 cents per share. That compared with earnings of $2.2 billion, or 37 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding the cost of stock-based compensation and some amortization and asset impairments, earnings were 42 cents per share, unchanged from last year. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of 37 cents per share on that basis.

Sales rose 5 percent to $10.9 billion, matching analyst expectations.

This year’s third quarter was one week shorter than last year’s.

For the current quarter, Cisco expects earnings of 37 cents to 39 cents per share, while analysts were expecting 42 cents per share. It expects revenue to be unchanged from last year or up to 2 percent higher, analysts were looking for a 7 percent increase.

Cisco shares fell 28 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $17.50 in extended trading.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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