Juniper offers optimistic forecast

July 24, 2008, 9:47 PM UTC

By Scott Moritz

Juniper Networks (JNPR) beat second quarter expectations and says it’s more optimistic about the rest of the year.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Internet gearmaker on Thursday posted earnings of $156.6 million or 28 cents a share in adjusted profit. That is up from the 20 cents in earnings recorded in the year-ago period. Analysts were looking for 27 cents on the bottom line.

The positive report comes as Juniper announced former that Kevin Johnson, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows chief and head of online business, would take over as CEO. Kriens will stay on as chairman.

Sales for the second quarter were $879 million, up 32% over the last year at the same time. Analysts had anticipated revenue of $852 million for the quarter ended last month.

“We’re very pleased with the solid results we have delivered for the first half of 2008,” CEO Scott Kriens said in a statement. Kriens added that demand for Juniper’s new gear underscores “our improved outlook for the second half of the year.”

With slightly improved operating margins, Juniper generated net cash from operations of $200.5 million, compared to $199.3 million for the same quarter of 2007.

Tech watchers see Juniper as a good indicator for Cisco’s Internet router business. And the solid performance could help ease concerns of a big  turn down.