Acme Packet Shares Decline After Sales, Profit Miss Estimates

Acme Packet Inc. fell the most in a month after the maker of computer-networking technology reported fourth-quarter sales and profit that missed analysts’ estimates.

Acme dropped 6.5 percent to $28.88 at 9:31 a.m. after the Bedford, Massachusetts-based company said yesterday that profit excluding certain items was 26 cents a share, missing the average estimate of 28 cents in a Bloomberg survey. Earlier the shares dropped 7.6 percent for the biggest intraday decline since Jan. 4.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Ory said slower spending by telecommunications-service providers in North America hurt results. He doesn’t expect expenditures by those companies to improve in the first half of 2012.

“The majority of that business tends to come in the back half of the year, so we really were disappointed,” Ory said on a conference call with analysts.

Fourth-quarter net income fell 40 percent to $8.7 million, or 12 cents a share, from $14.5 million, or 21 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Revenue rose 18 percent to $83 million, compared with a projection of $85.7 million.

Ory’s remarks echoed those made by Juniper Networks Inc. CEO Kevin Johnson on Jan. 26. The head of the No. 2 maker of networking equipment said Internet providers in the U.S. are delaying upgrades, contributing to a lower-than-expected forecast. Cisco Systems Inc., the biggest maker of networking equipment, is scheduled to report its results Feb. 8.

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