Polycom's 1Q prelims send stock plummeting 18%

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Polycom (Nasdaq: PLCM) had a strong enough fourth quarter that analysts in January raised price targets for the videoconferencing company's stock to upwards of $24 a share. But, just-released preliminary results for the 1Q2012, have come in way below expectations, due, the company said, to softer demand than expected for its product in both the APAC and North American regions.

Investors already have started their withdrawal, pushing shares down nearly 19 percent to $14.79 in pre-market trading, flirting with the stock's 52-week low of $14.45 (it's high was a whopping $34.30 last summer).

Polycom said it expects to report net revenues for the quarter in the range of $364 million to $370 million, compared with net revenues of $344 million in the first quarter of 2011, a seven percent increase. In January, the company said it expected sales of some $399 million, and analysts expected sales to be in the range of $399.7 million for the quarter.

The company today said its EPS would be in the range of 21 to 23 cents, down drom 24 cents a year ago; analysts were calling for 30 cents per share.

Polycom said the quarter saw sales increases in every region but acknowledged the growth rate "was below our overall expectations."

"Polycom's current operating model assumes a higher level of revenue growth, and we will analyze our assumptions between now and our regularly scheduled call on April 18th," said Chief Executive Andy Miller.

Earnings per diluted share for the first quarter likely will come in at 7 to 9 cents on a GAAP basis, Polycom said, a big drop from the 19 cents per diluted share on a GAAP basis in the first quarter of 2011.

Polycom said its best-perfroming region was EMEA, where sales increase 15 to 17 percent, year over year; APAC was up five to eight percent and the Americas were up one to three percent.

Network infrastructure, meanwhile, saw the strongest growth in Polycom's product lines, improving 11 to 14 percent from the same period a year ago; UC personal devices were up 7 to 9 percent, and UC group systems improved 4 to 6 percent.

For more:
- see this release

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