November 4, 2008
Wireless broadband equipment maker and Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation Alvarion (Nasdaq: ALVR ) has had time to ponder its business strategy as it has watched banks and financial institutions implode. And during that time, the Israel-based company has been shoring up the balance sheet and cutting costs to stay competitive when the ugliness trickles into the telecom equipment market.
So far, the slowdown hasn't caught up with Alvarion. Third-quarter revenue grew at a healthy clip -- 23% more than the same quarter last year -- to come in at $74.3 million. The company even countered the incremental GAAP loss last quarter with income of $803,000 this time around. With the dollar strengthening, Alvarion is finally getting currency relief after getting whacked by a strong shekel earlier this year.
The solid financials arrived on the back of a diverse customer base and several milestone achievements in the quarter. Alvarion won its first major deal with partner Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT ) for a mobile WiMAX deployment in Russia. Numerous new devices that include WiMAX technology are being launched, including a Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) mobile Internet device and laptops with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) WiMAX chips built in. And prospects for the future of the Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S ) and Clearwire (NYSE: CLWR ) tie-up look better now that Sprint launched a commercial network in Baltimore last quarter.
But while Alvarion management still sees no direct indications of customers reining in spending, it fully expects to feel the impact of souring economies around the globe at some point. For this reason, the company kept guidance for revenue next quarter tepid at $70 million to $78 million and expects 2009 to be a tough year. Management has frozen hiring and is also taking a measured approach to its buyback strategy, planning to purchase about $5 million in stock in the fourth quarter.
The goal is to come out of the expected downturn stronger than before and even take market share away from competitors. With giants like Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) pushing into the space though, Alvarion will feel pressure on all sides. But the company survived the post-2000 contraction, and it looks well situated to deal with another downturn if investors have the patience to keep focus on the next decade.