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Weak PC shipments hit Symantec revenue

By Chandni Doulatramani

(Reuters) - Symantec Corp reported a 5 percent fall in quarterly revenue as a decline in sales of personal computers hurt demand for its security software.

Shares of the company, the maker of Norton anti-virus software, fell 3 percent after the bell.

"We are pleased with the quarter, but we're not happy until we're back into positive revenue growth," Chief Executive Steve Bennett told Reuters on Wednesday.

Worldwide PC shipments were expected to fall about 10 percent in 2013 and by another 4 percent in 2014, research firm IDC said in December. (http://link.reuters.com/hap46v)

Symantec's revenue fell to $1.71 billion in the third quarter from $1.79 billion a year earlier.

Bennett said the fall in revenue was also due to changes in the company's organization.

Symantec has been reorganizing its sales force to create specialists for each product group instead of having everyone sell everything, leading to a temporary shortfall in revenue.

"They are trying to stimulate demand and drive better licenses from a new and improved sales force," FBR Capital Markets analyst Dan Ives said in an email.

Symantec's security products usually come bundled with PCs as the company has distribution partnerships with manufacturers.

The company's consumer business sells products and services to individuals and home businesses globally through an e-commerce platform, internet-based resellers and retailers. Symantec also has partnerships with manufacturers to distribute internet security suites and online backup offerings.

Symantec reported a 4 percent decline in revenue from its protection business, which represented 42 percent of total revenue, and a 6 percent fall in revenue from its information management unit, which accounted for 39 percent of overall revenue.

Sales in the company's information security business fell 3 percent.

Net income rose to $283 million, or 40 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $216 million, or 31 cents per share a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 51 cents per share. Analysts, on average, had expected adjusted earnings of 43 cents per share on revenue of $1.65 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Symantec's fourth-quarter forecast was in line with Wall Street expectations.

"The company continues to struggle in its quest for better growth, and the outlook for next quarter is nothing to write home about", Ives said.

Symantec forecast an adjusted fourth-quarter profit of 40 to 42 cents per share, on revenue of $1.62 billion to $1.66 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of 41 cents per share on revenue of $1.65 billion.

Symantec's shares were trading at $23.70 after the bell after closing at $24.15 on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Chandni Doulatramani in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel and Ted Kerr)

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