March 20, 1997 6:30 PM ET
3Com comes in above expectations
By Margaret Kane

  Though its own CEO was doing a little poor-mouthing earlier this week, 3Com Corp.'s third-quarter earnings came in slightly above analyst's expectations for the third quarter.

The company had sales of $786.8 million for the quarter ended Feb. 28, up from $606 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income was $87.6 million, or 47 cents a share, compared to $74.6 million, or 42 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Analysts had expected 3Com to post earnings of 46 cents a share.

This was after CEO Eric Benhamou told investors earlier this week at a Bloomberg Investment News conference that the weak revenue growth the company saw in January continued throughout the quarter.

In the release issued after the market closed today, Benhamou said the company is facing "increased price competition and a pause in industry demand as enterprise networking customers and network service providers assess how best to maximize their networking investments."

During the third quarter, 3Com's system products sales, which include hubs, internetworking and remote access products, grew 24 percent, and network adapter sales grew 39 percent.

Benhamou said in the release that demand for high-end networking solutions, particularly Asynchronous Transfer Mode systems, was strong.

3Com's proposed merger with U.S. Robotics Corp. is not completed, and thus can have no impact on earnings.

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