Zoom Earnings Beat Wall Street Estimates But Shares Dip 5% After Hours on Disappointing Margins

Zoom, a cloud video communications provider, reported better-than-expected earnings in the third quarter of the fiscal year 2021 with a revenue surge of over 365% and forecasts total revenue between $2.575-$2.580 billion in the full fiscal year.

But shares traded down 5% in the aftermarket, partially on gross margins that were light of consensus and down sequentially, driven by the high volume of free users and higher public cloud usage. Zoom’ shares closed 1.43% higher at $478.36 on Monday; the stock is up over 600% so far this year.

The company said its revenue climbed 367% to $777.2 million in the third quarter ended October 31, beating the Wall Street consensus estimate of around $694 million. Adjusted earnings came in at 99 cents per share, also beating market expectations of 76 cents per share.

Zoom forecasts revenue between $806-$811 million in the fourth quarter, above estimates of $730.1 million and non-GAAP income from operations between $243.0 million and $248.0 million. Non-GAAP diluted EPS is expected to be between $0.77 and $0.79 with nearly 306 million non-GAAP weighted average shares outstanding.

“Zoom (ZM) reported a record F3Q21, but shares traded down 5% AMC on light gross margins (partly the result of more free users). We would be buyers on a sustained pullback, as the quarter was beyond impressive, with ZM scoring a 420 on a “Rule of 40” basis,” said Rishi N. Jaluria, Senior Research Analyst at D.A. Davidson & Company.

“In our view, the key debate is about the sustainability of ZM’s growth post-pandemic and we take the view that ZM will be increasingly necessary to enable a hybrid remote work strategy and that many of the changes in work brought on by the pandemic are irreversible in nature. We maintain our BUY rating and $600 price target on Zoom Video Communications,” N. Jaluria added.

Zoom Stock Price Forecast

Twenty equity analysts forecast the average price in 12 months at $486.33 with a high forecast of $611.00 and a low forecast of $315.00. The average price target represents a 1.67% increase from the last price of $478.36. From those 20 analysts, ten rated “Buy”, nine rated “Hold” and one rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of $380 with a high of $530 under a bull-case scenario and $250 under the worst-case scenario. The firm currently has an “Equal-weight” rating on the video communications provider’s stock.

“We are rolling forward our price target a year as the year comes to a close. As a result, our price target increases to $380 from $350, which represents 29x EV/FY23e Revenue or 28x EV/discounted FY32e FCF. We believe that while COVID-19 keeps video conferencing as a critical piece of employee connectivity, valuation is likely to remain closer to our bull case,” said Meta Marshall, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Our bull case moves to $530 from $500 and represents 31x EV/FY23e Rev or 29x EV/discounted FY32e FCF. Our bear case also increases to $250 from $210, which represents 19x EV/FY23e Revenue or 27x EV/discounted FY32e FCF. Risks to valuation remain macro headwinds, competitive efforts, COVID-19 vaccine causes a return to work/school.”

Several other analysts have also upgraded their stock outlook. Citigroup raised their stock price forecast to $467 from $377; RBC lowered the price target to $550 from $600; Credit Suisse upped their target price to $340 from $315; JP Morgan raised the target price to $450 from $425; Bernstein increased their target price to $611 from $228 and D.A. Davidson increased their target price to $600 from $460.

Analyst Comments

“Zoom eliminates barriers to video conferencing growth. Company has meaningful competitive moat built on more than just architecture. Leveraging position with customers to be center of UC platform. WFH has permanence but diminishes post-COVID-19. Valuation credits significant expansion opportunities in broader unified communications landscape, supported by initial Phone execution,” Morgan Stanley’s Marshall added.

Upside and Downside Risks

Risks to Upside: 1) Zoom Phone adopted faster than expected. 2) Sales efficiency matches previous levels. 3) International business shows continued leverage. 4) Topline beats to flow to bottom line WFH permanence. 5) K-12 Market – highlighted by Morgan Stanley.

Risks to Downside: 1) Macro conditions suffer. 2) Large competitor refreshes portfolio and gets aggressive on the price. 3) WFH wanes post COVID-19. 4) China / K-12 opportunity not monetizable.

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