Employee Stock Options, Purchases Flatten Cisco

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A total of $152 million in compensation expenses related to employee stock options and employee stock purchases left Cisco Systems’ fiscal-fourth-quarter net income virtually flat, rather than posting a gain of nearly 22%.

Cisco’s net income for the quarter ended July 29 was $1.544 billion, or 25 cents per share, versus $1.54 billion (24 cents) in the year-ago period.

Net sales in the period were $7.98 billion versus $6.6 billion in the previous-year quarter. Scientific Atlanta, which Cisco acquired during its fiscal third quarter (Feb. 24), contributed $582 million to that total.

“Revenue for both Cisco stand-alone and Scientific Atlanta exceeded our expectations this quarter, highlighting the strength we saw across geographies, product categories and customer segments,” Cisco chief financial officer Dennis Powell said in a prepared statement. “Operational results also showed momentum, with solid growth in operating income stemming from enhanced financial leverage with strong gross margins and improved operating-expense productivity.”