Earnings Results: Palo Alto Networks tops Street view, raises outlook; shares rise

Palo Alto Networks Inc. shares gained in the extended session Thursday after the cybersecurity company topped Wall Street expectations for the quarter but raised its billings and revenue forecasts for the year slightly without raising forecast earnings per share.

Palo Alto Networks 

shares initially declined as much as 5% after hours, before recovering to end the extended session up 2.3%. Shares ended the regular session with a 1.2% gain to close at $519.99.

The company reported a fiscal first-quarter loss of $103.6 million, or $1.06 a share, compared with a loss of $92.2 million, or 97 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings, which exclude share-based compensation charges and other items, were $1.64 a share, compared with $1.62 in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose to $1.25 billion from $946 million in the year-ago quarter. Billings, which reflects future business under contract, rose to $1.38 billion, compared with $1.08 billion a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had forecast earnings of $1.57 a share on revenue of $1.2 billion and billings of $1.31 billion. Palo Alto Networks had forecast $1.55 to $1.58 a share on revenue of $1.19 billion to $1.21 billion and billings of $1.29 billion to $1.31 billion.

“Q1 was a strong start to fiscal year 2022, driven by strength in both our product and Next-Generation Security businesses, giving us confidence to raise our revenue and billings guidance for the year,” said Nikesh Arora, Palo Alto Networks chairman and chief executive, in a statement.

Palo Alto Networks expects adjusted fiscal-second quarter earnings of $1.63 to $1.66 a share on revenue of $1.27 billion to $1.29 billion and billings of $1.51 billion to $1.53 billion, while analysts had forecast $1.64 a share on revenue of $1.27 billion and billings of $1.52 billion.

For the year, Palo Alto Networks kept its adjusted earnings forecast of $7.15 to $7.25 a share, and raised its forecast revenue range to between $5.35 billion to $5.4 billion, up from $5.28 billion to $5.33 billion. Analysts expect $7.24 a share on revenue of $5.31 billion.

The company also raised its forecast billings range to between $6.68 billion and $6.73 billion, from a previous $6.6 billion to $6.65 billion, while analysts forecast $6.65 billion.

Palo Alto Networks shares are up 85% over the past 12 months. In comparison, the ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF

is up 36%, the S&P 500 index 

is up 32%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index 

 is up 35%.

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