In the wake of a serious downward revision of earnings estimates from Radware Ltd., several analysts on Monday downgraded their stance on the stock, amid worries about increased competition.
The profit warning comes on the back of a wave of insider selling over the last two months.
According to reports from The Washington Service, a number of corporate executives filed to sell Radware shares in February and March, including Chief Financial Officer Meir Moshe, who filed to sell 25,000 shares just last week.
Citing lower than expected US sales, the Tel Aviv-based company late Sunday cut its earnings outlook by nearly half to 7 cents a share from its previous 13 cents-a-share forecast. First quarter revenue, previously estimated by the company at $22.2 million to $22.6m., are now expected to be a more modest $20m.
"The change in guidance is a result of lower than expected sales in the US during the first quarter," said Roy Zisapel, Radware's president and chief executive officer. "As we announced in January 2006, we replaced our top management in the US this quarter, and started implementing a new sales plan to grow US sales beyond the current rate."
CIBC World Markets, which had rated Radware "sector outperformer" prior to the announcement, immediately lowered its recommendation to "sector performer." Similarly, Oppenheimer & Co. downgraded the shares to "neutral" from "buy" and Piper Jaffray Securities reduced its rating to "market perform" from "outperform."
"This marks the second revenue shortfall for Radware in the past four quarters and we believe that more than a quick fix will be needed to restore investor confidence," Piper Jaffray analyst Troy Jensen told clients.
Jensen noted that be believes the loss was "company specific" and said he expects other application traffic management vendors to perform well."
"The poor results in North America were likely due to top management changes," he wrote in his research note.
Radware plans to release its final first quarter results April 28.