Why Red Hat Is Surging After Earnings

When Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) reported its fourth-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Monday, the company said that it had $0.61 in earnings per share (EPS) and $628.8 million in revenue. Consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for $0.61 in EPS and revenue of $618.76 million. In the same period of last year, the software company posted EPS of $0.52 and $543.5 million in revenue.

Total backlog in revenue for the 2017 fiscal year was in excess of $2.7 billion, up 28% from last year.

At the same time, subscription revenue for the quarter was $560 million, up 17% year over year, both in U.S. dollars and constant currency, making up about 89% of total revenue.

As a subset, subscription revenue from infrastructure-related offerings for the quarter was $435 million, an increase of 11% in U.S. dollars, versus and 12% measured in constant currency. Subscription revenue from application development-related and other emerging technologies offerings for the quarter was $125 million, an increase of 40% year-over-year both in U.S. dollars and measured in constant currency.

In terms of outlook for the fiscal first quarter, Red Hat expects to see EPS in the range of $0.52 to $0.53 and revenues between $643 million and $650 million. The consensus estimates are $0.59 in EPS and $641.97 million in revenue.

Operating cash flow was $318 million for the fourth quarter. On the books, Red Hat cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.09 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $927.8 million at the end of the same period last year.

Eric Shander, acting chief financial officer of Red Hat, commented:

Our strategic position with customers is evidenced by the continued growth in large commitments to Red Hat. The number of deals greater than $1 million in fiscal 2017 grew by over 30% annually, and we closed a record number of deals over $20 million, including our first-ever deal of approximately $100 million in the fourth quarter. This performance also drove a record backlog of $2.7 billion in U.S. dollars, up 28% year-over-year which contributes to our fiscal year 2018 revenue outlook of 13% to 14% growth and should help drive expanded GAAP operating margin of 15.2% and non-GAAP operating margin of 23.6%.

Shares of Red Hat closed Monday at $82.20, with a consensus analyst price target of $87.16 and a 52-week trading range of $68.54 to $85.01. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was up nearly 5% at $86.20 in early trading indications Tuesday.