Why Red Hat Earnings Are So Great

When Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) reported its most recent quarterly results late on Monday, the company said that it had $0.91 in earnings per share (EPS) on $772.3 million in revenue. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for $0.81 in EPS on revenue of $761.6 million. The fiscal fourth quarter of last year reportedly had EPS of $0.61 and $628.84 million in revenue.

During the quarter, subscription revenue was $683 million, up 22% year over year, or 18% measured in constant currency. Subscription revenue in the quarter was 88% of total revenue

Total backlog for fiscal year 2018 was in excess of $3.4 billion, up 24% year over year. At the end of the fiscal year, the company’s total deferred revenue balance was $2.6 billion, an increase of 25%.

In terms of the outlook for the fiscal first quarter, the company expects to see EPS of $0.68 and total revenues in the range of $800 million to $810 million. The consensus estimates are $0.72 in EPS on $794.82 million in revenue for the quarter.

Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO of Red Hat, commented:

The fourth quarter was a strong finish to the year for Red Hat. We maintained strong subscription revenue growth in both of our major technology categories during the year, enabling Red Hat to exceed a $3 billion annualized revenue run-rate exiting the year. Red Hat continued to expand its position with customers as a trusted adviser and strategic technology partner, enabling initiatives focused on digital transformation and cloud computing. This position helped drive a 50% year-over-year increase in the number of deals over $1 million during the fourth quarter, as we benefited from strong cross selling and high renewal rates within our top deals.

A few analysts took this opportunity to weigh in on Red Hat after the report:

  • BMP Capital Markets maintained its Market Perform rating but raised its target to $180 from $172.
  • Credit Suisse raised its price target from $120 to $150.
  • RBC raised its price target to $172 from $160.
  • Evercore ISI raised its target price to $170 from $160.
  • JMP Securities raised its target to $175 from $145.
  • Raymond James raised its price target from $164 to $166.
  • Jefferies raised its price target to $154 from $119.
  • Morgan Stanley raised its target price to $150 from $130.
  • Stifel raised its price target to $172 from $150.

Shares of Red Hat were last seen up 4% at $159.32 on Tuesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $137.77 and a 52-week range of $84.16 to $167.36.

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