Shares in telecom gear manufacturer Tekelec climbed more than 2.4 percent in afterhours trading following news that the company’s fourth quarter earnings beat analysts’ expectations.

Tekelec (Nasdaq: TKLC) reported a fourth-quarter profit of 21 cents per share, or $14.9 million, topping Thomson First Call’s survey of analysts who forecast an 18-cent profit.

Revenues did fall 8 percent from the same quarter in 2006 to $115.2 million, but that did top the analysts’ forecasts of $115.2 million.

"2007 was a year of tremendous progress for Tekelec and the results are reflected in the financial results announced today,” said Chief Executive Officer Frank Plastina in a statement. “We were very pleased with our operating results, our record order entry and strong book-to-bill ratio in the fourth quarter. We believe our accomplishments in 2007 have positioned us for solid operating results in 2008."

Tekelec shares closed at $12.19 on Thursday, up 33 cents. Prices increased another 29 cents in afterhours trading that followed the Tekelec earnings report.

The company also said orders soared in the fourth quarter to $186.2 million, up 34 percent from a year ago and 71 percent from the third quarter in 2007. The backlog of orders climbed as well as 2007 closed to $417 million compared to $346 million a year earlier.

For the year, orders totaled $459.2 million, a 16 percent increase over 2006.

During the year, Tekelec sold off one network business unit as well as a contact center business.

On Tuesday, Tekelec said it was acquiring a Texas-based startup focused on an emerging signaling technology.

Estacado Systems, which launched in 2004, is developing session initiation protocol, or SIP, applications.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Tekelec said it had acquired “substantially all” Estacado’s assets.