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Polycom says seeing recovery, bullish on second half

July 19, 2009 | Chris Payatagool

polycom_160x87px.jpgBy S. John Tilak

BANGALORE  - U.S. video conferencing products maker Polycom Inc (PLCM.O) is seeing a recovery in its business as growth resumes at the video segment and as the voice unit stabilizes.

In an interview with Reuters, top Polycom executives exuded confidence about its second half of the year as they expect strength in its video business, a 70 percent contributor to revenue, to continue.

The company -- whose second-quarter results beat estimates on Wednesday after a weak first quarter -- is seeing strong signs of stability across markets, divisions and geographies.

"The fact that we were able to balance the second quarter -- closing business, building backlog, building deferred revenue and building the pipeline -- all indicates that we're starting to see strength return to our business," Chief Executive Robert Hagerty said.

"The video business growth bodes very well for the back half," Hagerty said. "We see nothing but positive forward momentum."

The economy has been a double-edged sword for Polycom. On the one hand, it has been hit as enterprise spending budgets plunged and customers delayed decisions. On the other hand, travel restrictions by companies meant videoconferencing is being viewed as a cheaper alternative.

Polycom and Norwegian rival Tandberg (TAA.OL) dominate the worldwide videoconferencing market.

The company said unshipped order backlog jumped 21 percent sequentially in the second quarter.

"Our pipeline has had a nice sequential improvement from last quarter and is one of the prognosticating indicators that makes us feel like we're beginning to see stabilization," Chief Financial Officer Michael Kourey said.

"That's a good indicator of how things will go in the second half of the year," Kourey said.

Expected drivers for the second half include key recent management appointments; growth in its federal business as the U.S. government closes its fiscal year in the third quarter; and results from its network infrastructure product line that was launched in March.

On July 1, Andrew Miller, formerly with Tandberg and Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O), joined Polycom as executive vice president to head its sales operation.

In the second half, Polycom is eyeing both the high-end telepresence market -- where the market opportunity is expected to grow to billions of dollars in five years -- and the small and medium enterprise segment, Hagerty said.

It expects to continue to make market share gains in the second half, Hagerty said.

On Wednesday, Polycom reported a quarterly profit that beat Wall Street estimates and forecast flat to 3 percent sequential growth in revenue for the third quarter.

Tandberg on Thursday reported a 4.3 percent rise in its second-quarter operating profit, slightly beating expectations.

Polycom's customers include Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Time Warner Inc (TWX), Amgen Inc (AMGN) and Targus Inc.







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