Ciena Tumbles on Wider Losses, Weak Economy

Ciena Corp., a maker of communications-network equipment, tumbled the most in more than three years after reporting a wider-than-projected loss and forecasting lower revenue than analysts had estimated.

Excluding restructuring expenses and other items, the third-quarter loss was 4 cents a share, Linthicum, Maryland-based Ciena said today in a statement. Analysts had estimated a 2-cent loss on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ciena had an adjusted profit of 8 cents a share a year earlier.

The economy is taking a toll, and Ciena has been slow to book revenue on new products, Chief Executive Officer Gary Smith said. Ciena’s biggest customers are phone carriers, such as AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp.

“We are not immune from what’s going on in the world,” Smith said today in an interview. The European slowdown and a pause in orders caused by the Olympics has been a drag on the business.

Ciena shares fell 20 percent to close at $13.46 in New York today, the biggest decline since December 2008. The stock had advanced 38 percent this year through yesterday.

Sales will be $455 million to $480 million in the fourth quarter, which ends in October, Ciena said. That missed the $499.2 million predicted by analysts. Revenue rose 8.9 percent to $474.1 million in the third quarter, which ended July 31. That was in line with estimates.

Carriers are being more selective with their capital expenditures, Smith said.

“Overall, cap ex is pretty flat,” said Smith, adding that making the situation worse is the slow pace of working Ciena’s gear into customers’ systems.

“It’s not an installation issue, but more of a software integration issue,” said Smith. “These networks are very complex.”

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