Consumer Electronics

GoPro's Growth May Not Be Pro Enough

Jon C. Ogg

GoPro, Inc. (NASDAQ: GPRO) is not alone in having the status of being a “used-to-be” or “has-been” story in consumer electronics. This space has been littered with companies which have risen powerfully, only to disappear or just remains a shadow of their former glory days. The actual numbers reported might look enticing to small-cap value investors on the surface, assuming there were no such things as brokerage estimates and investor expectations.

The wearable camera maker posted revenue growth of 40% to $528 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, but the growth in revenue for the full year was up just 4% to $1.195 billion. One issue which was noted was that revenues for the year would have increased 7% excluding its aerial business, and the company’s website saw revenues grow over 40% and represent more than 10% of all revenues in the year. GoPro’s cash and investments totaled $165 million at the end of the year

The company also posted earnings for the full year that were positive at $0.24 EPS before adjusting for items, with a net loos of -$0.10 EPS on a GAAP basis. GoPro’s adjusted EBITDA of $112 million in the fourth quarter was up 91% from a year earlier.

GoPro shares were selling lower because the comparable numbers for the quarter were still lighter than expected. The adjusted quarterly earnings came to $0.70 per share on $528.3 million in revenues. Refinitiv had its consensus estimates pegged at $0.79 EPS and $566 million in revenues.

GoPro’s press release also gave some NPD data which shows that the company may have already grown as large as it can in its categories without even newer and better releases ahead. In the US, GoPro said that it had a 93% dollar-share of the action camera category in the fourth quarter 2019 — and its MAX captured 54% and 66% unit share and dollar share, respectively, of the U.S. spherical camera market.

Some have hoped that GoPro would have a future as a media company as well. The company said that organic viewership of GoPro content across all channels hit more than 2 million organic views per day for an all-time high in 2019. It also showed that 737 million organic non-paid views was up 29% from 2018 while social followers across all of its channels rose 29% or by 4.2 million in 2019.

Also announced in the earnings release was that Brian McGee, who has been GoPro’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) since March of 2016, was also appointed as GoPro’s Chief Operating Officer on top of his CFO role.

While GoPro did post growth and while it does seem to be growing, there are risks here for the company. Any slowdown in the economy in the U.S. or abroad will have an impact on how many new cameras will be purchased. And with a cash balance of just $165 million it could be a problem if the company starts posting adjusted annual losses or has a serious miss during the all-important holiday season.

Investors appeared to have wanted more from Nick Woodman and his team. GoPro shares closed up 5% at $4.36 ahead of earnings on Wednesday, but the shares were down over 15% at $3.68 in the after-hours session after the report was shown. The stock has a 52-week range of $3.25 to $7.64 and a market cap of $679 million.

It seems hard to fathom that after this stock went parabolic after its 2014 IPO up above $80. That was a long time ago, and there seems to be no path to getting enough growth to make this an incredibly hot stock for the time being. And for 2020, Refinitiv’s consensus estimates of $0.45 in adjusted EPS and $1.28 billion in revenues would both be stronger than what was expected in 2019.

GoPro founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman said of the results:

GoPro achieved both revenue growth and full year non-GAAP profitability in 2019 due to strong sell-through throughout the year and the Fall launch of our two new flagships, HERO8 Black and MAX. We believe we are well positioned to meaningfully expand both margin and EPS in 2020 thanks to the strength of our entire product line, high-margin Plus subscription service and app monetization strategy.