By Steven Scheer
JERUSALEM -Check Point Software Technologies beat estimates with a 4% rise in fourth-quarter earnings, and forecast on Thursday revenue growth of up to 10% in 2022 partly due to its new, faster firewall to protect data centres.
It expects revenue this year to reach $2.2-$2.375 billion after rising 5% to $2.17 billion in 2021 and earnings per share excluding one-offs of $6.90-$7.50, versus $7.02 in last year.
Check Point is forecast to earn $7.34 a share ex-items on revenue of $2.23 billion in 2022, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.
Its Nasdaq-listed shares were down 1.4% at $122 in pre market trading.
Check Point last month launched its Quantum Lightspeed firewall to protect data centres at higher speeds than previous offerings. “I think it should drive revenue forward,” Chief Executive Gil Shwed said.
Much of Check Point’s growth comes from subscription and all-in-one products to protect web servers, networks, cloud data, mobile devices and email.
On Monday, the company bought Spectral, an Israeli cyber security startup, aimed at expanding its cloud security line.
Israel-based Check Point said it earned $2.25 per diluted share excluding one-off items in the October-December period, up from $2.17 a year earlier.
Led by growth in its cloud protection products and consolidated cyber security platform, revenue grew 6% to $599 million, with the company topping $2 billion for a second straight year in 2021.
It was forecast to earn $2.12 a share on revenue of $584 million, according to I/B/E/S data.
Shwed said the final three months of last year was one of the best quarters the company had seen in years.
And “we started the year (2022) with a very positive and a strong note,” Shwed told reporters, adding the company would invest more this year in its workforce, research and development and other growth drivers.
Still, Shwed was cautious about 2022 given risks with the supply chain and that the global economy was in a “very sensitive stage” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first quarter, Check Point projects revenue of $517-$547 million, with EPS ex-items of $1.48-$1.58.
Check Point — which has cash of $3.8 billion — said it bought back 2.8 million shares in the quarter, worth $325 million, as part of its share repurchase programme.