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Zoom Lifts Full-Year Sales Guidance As Quarterly Revenue Balloons 169%

Popular video-conferencing company Zoom Video Communications (ZM) far outpaced sales expectations in the first quarter as millions of users flocked to use its technology to host business and social meetings during the coronavirus pandemic.

First-quarter revenue surged 169% to $328.2 million year-on-year, beating analysts’ estimates of $202.7 million. Zoom now has about 265,400 customers with more than 10 employees, up about 354% from the same quarter last fiscal year.

“The COVID-19 crisis has driven higher demand for distributed, face-to-face interactions and collaboration using Zoom,” said Zoom founder and CEO Eric S. Yuan. “Use cases have grown rapidly as people integrated Zoom into their work, learning, and personal lives. We also supported an unprecedented number of free participants, including over 100,000 K-12 schools.”

Commenting on the earnings, five-star analyst Ittai Kidron at Oppenheimer, said that while Zoom reported “exceptional” results, “its gross margin significantly contracted (-1,480bps QoQ and -1,149bps YoY) due to high levels of free meeting minutes (K-12 schools) and increased public cloud hosting costs”. Indeed, cost of revenue in the first quarter skyrocketed 330% to $103.7 million year-on-year.

Shares rose 1.9% to close at $208.08 ahead of the earnings release on Tuesday and dropped 1.7% in after-market trading.

Looking ahead, the company raised its full-year revenue forecast to a range of $1.78 billion to $1.80 billion from $905 million to $915 million. This compares with analysts’ average estimates of $935.2 million for the fiscal year ending January 2021.

Shares have more than tripled this year as Zoom has gone from an average of 10 million daily users to about 300 million this year. The analyst community will now wait to see if the user boom is sustainable as some countries are starting to relax their lockdown restrictions and employees are beginning to go back to their work place.

Oppenheimer’s Kidron, who maintained a Hold rating on the stock due to valuation, says that Zoom has seen strong adoption, which calls into question how this develops as businesses reopen.

“Zoom reported robust net expansion and user growth,” Kidron wrote in a note to investors. “Going forward, exposure to multiple growth levers (new customer growth and use cases, upselling, cross-selling Rooms/ Phones, int’l expansion, etc.) leaves us feeling positive. However, we admit we likely missed an entry point earlier this year and remain Perform-rated on valuation.”

The rest of the Street is cautiously optimistic on the stock. The Moderate Buy consensus showcases 14 Hold and 2 Sell ratings versus 8 Buy ratings. Following this year’s sharp rally the $131.18 average analyst price target, now implies shares may decline 37% from current levels. (See Zoom stock analysis on TipRanks).

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Sharon Wrobel
Sharon Wrobel is a journalist and writer with two decades of experience covering financial news in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. Her work has appeared in global publications including The Financial Times, Bloomberg and The Jerusalem Post.

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