August 2, 2018 / 8:23 PM / 2 months ago

Symantec cuts 8 percent of workforce, slashes revenue forecast

(Reuters) - Symantec Corp (SYMC.O) will cut 8 percent of its global workforce to boost profit margins, the antivirus software maker said on Thursday, while also lowering its yearly revenue forecast as it closed fewer business deals than expected.

FILE PHOTO: The Symantec booth is seen during the 2016 Black Hat cyber-security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on August 3, 2016. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

The company’s stock - down some 27 percent this year - fell 10 percent in after-hours trading following the news.

Symantec is also in the midst of an internal investigation related to its accounting practices, and on Thursday the company provided little detail on the subject beyond saying that its most recent financial results were also under the scope of the probe. Shares fell some 20 percent in May when Symantec first disclosed the investigation.

Symantec expects the workforce reduction will reduce costs by $115 million annually. “We expect that these actions will partially benefit fiscal year 2019 operating margins and will have full effect to fiscal year 2020,” Chief Financial Officer Nick Noviello said on a conference call with analysts.

The Mountain View, California-headquartered company employed more than 13,000 employees worldwide as of March 2017, according to Symantec’s latest annual report, and the workforce cuts translate to around 1,000 workers.

“(The plan) is prudent for a company like this, facing the pressures that it’s seeing,” Credit Suisse analyst Brad Zelnick said.

Symantec now expects adjusted revenue of between $4.67 billion and $4.79 billion for the year ending in March 2019, down from its previous forecast of $4.76 billion to $4.90 billion. Analysts on average were expecting $4.84 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Symantec’s overall revenue in the first quarter ended June 29 slipped 1.6 percent, largely due to lower sales at its enterprise customer division that serves businesses and other organizations.

Long-term contracts with businesses are vital for Symantec at a time when companies worldwide are boosting their cybersecurity budgets and as consumers shun personal computers which typically come fitted with antivirus software.

Symantec reported a first-quarter net loss of $63 million, compared with a loss of $133 million a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Symantec earned 34 cents per share, edging past analysts’ expectations of 33 cents.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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