How Palo Alto Crushed Q4 Earnings

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When Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings results after the markets closed on Thursday, the firm said that it had $0.92 in earnings per share (EPS) and $509.1 million in revenue. Consensus estimates had called for $0.79 in EPS and revenue of $486.5 million.

During the quarter, the company said it added 3,000 new customers, and it reported record revenues, an increase of 27% from last year. It also delivered record deferred revenue and billings, while generating cash flow from operations of $240 million and free cash flow of $190 million.

In terms of the guidance for the fiscal first quarter, management is calling for EPS in the range of $0.67 to $0.69 and revenues between $482 million and $492 million. The consensus estimates are EPS of $0.68 and $489.76 million in revenue for the current quarter.

On the books, Palo Alto Networks cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $1.38 billion, up from $1.29 billion in the same period from last year.

Mark McLaughlin, CEO of Palo Alto Networks, commented:

We are pleased to have ended fiscal 2017 with a record fourth quarter, including market-leading revenue growth and the highest number of new customer additions recorded in a single quarter by the company. For the fiscal year, revenue was $1.8 billion, up 28 percent year over year; our customer base grew to more than 42,500; and we delivered the largest product and features launch in our history. Also, Steffan Tomlinson, our chief financial officer, has informed me of his intent to retire from his position. I would like to thank Steffan for his contributions to Palo Alto Networks and his leadership role in guiding the company through a period of tremendous growth and market share gains. We are initiating a search for his replacement, and Steffan will remain in his current position until the search is completed.

Shares of Palo Alto Networks closed Thursday at $132.69, with a consensus analyst price target of $150.58 and a 52-week range of $107.31 to $165.69. They were up about 8% at $143.74 in early trading indications Friday.