When Ixia announced an acquisition in July that would add customers, shares of the Calabasas company got a boost. But the company’s stock has been nearly cut in half since then.
Why? Analysts say orders for Ixia’s network testing devices have slowed and aren’t expected to pick up soon.
As a result of the uncertainty, shares last week declined $1.19, or 14 percent, to close at $7.40 on Sept. 7, making Ixia the week’s biggest loser on the LABJ Stock Index. (See page 50.) Shares traded as high as $13.01 on July 7.
Ixia’s primary customers are large telecommunication network equipment manufacturers such as San Jose’s Cisco and LM Ericsson Telephone Co. in Stockholm, Sweden. Economic instability has caused many of those customers to pull back on spending and reduce or delay orders to Ixia.
Ryan Hutchinson, a director and senior analyst at Lazard Capital Markets in San Francisco, said the order delays are worrisome to investors.
“When the market deteriorates in front of them, it remains questionable whether they’ll be able to post decent results,” Hutchinson said.
The company began to show signs of a slowdown when it reported second quarter earnings in July that were below Wall Street expectations. Revenue for the quarter was $69 million, up 4.4 percent from the second quarter last year. Net income was $500,000 compared with a loss of $400,000.
The company declined to comment for this article. But when Ixia released its second quarter earnings, Chief Executive Atul Bhatnagar attributed lower revenue to economic conditions.
Ixia has given guidance for the current quarter that surpasses Wall Street expectations. The company forecasts revenue of between $75 million and $78 million, compared with Wall Street’s expectations of about $73 million.
But in his most recent note on Ixia, Jonathan Kees, senior telecom equipment analyst for Capstone Investments in New York, said the elevated guidance is the result of high deferred revenue from last quarter and revenue from the acquisition of VeriWave, a Beaverton, Ore., wireless testing company. Once those are taken out of the equation, it means that Ixia doesn’t expect to sell more this quarter than Wall Street estimates.
One area where Ixia could continue to grow is by entering new markets through more acquisitions, said Hutchinson, who noted that the VeriWave purchase puts the company on the right track.
“It’s a good acquisition in a key market,” he said. “Continuing to make strategic acquisitions will boost their portfolio and growth opportunities.”
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