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Palo Alto (PANW) Beats Q1 Earnings Estimates, Ups FY22 View

Palo Alto Networks PANW reported strong first-quarter fiscal 2022 results, wherein both earnings and revenues not only topped the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate but also improved year over year.

It reported non-GAAP earnings of $1.64 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.57. The bottom line also improved by a couple of cents from the year-ago quarter’s non-GAAP earnings of $1.62 per share.

Palo Alto’s fiscal first-quarter revenues of $1.25 billion surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.20 billion. The top line improved 32% from the year-earlier reported figure.

The company’s strong quarterly performance reflects its sustained focus on product innovation, a shift in the business model to subscription-based services, platform integration and continued investments in the go-to-market strategy.

The top line was aided by several deal wins and the increased adoption of Palo Alto’s next-generation security platforms due to the remote-working trend and heightened need for stronger security. Also, the growing traction in the Strata, Prisma and Cortex offerings acted as a tailwind.

Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Quarterly Details

Product revenues increased 24.5% year over year to $295.5 million and contributed 24% to total revenues. Palo Alto’s subscription and support revenues, which accounted for 76% of total revenues, improved 34.3% to $951.9 million.

Billings jumped 28% to $1.4 billion. Deferred revenues at the end of the first quarter were $5.16 billion. The global cyber security leader’s remaining performance obligation climbed to $6 billion, reflecting a year-over-year surge of 37%.

Palo Alto’s Next-Gen Security (NGS) annualized recurring revenues (ARR) were $1.27 billion in the reported quarter compared with $719 million in the year-ago quarter and $1.18 billion in the previous quarter.

The company’s non-GAAP gross margin contracted 140 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis to 74.4%. Non-GAAP operating margin contracted 370 bps to 18%.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

Palo Alto exited the fiscal first quarter with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $3.46 billion compared with $2.90 billion at the end of the previous quarter. The company’s balance sheet does not carry any long-term debt.

Palo Alto generated an operating cash flow of $588.9 million and a non-GAAP adjusted free cash flow of $554.3 million during the first quarter.

Guidance

Buoyed by better-than-expected first-quarter performance, Palo Alto raised its fiscal 2022 guidance. The company now anticipates fiscal 2022 revenues of $5.35-$5.40 billion, suggesting growth in the range of 26-27% from the fiscal 2021 level. Earlier, it had projected revenues between $5.275 billion and $5.325 billion, which indicated year-over-year growth of 24-25%.

Total billings are now estimated to be $6.675-$6.725 billion for fiscal 2022, indicating a year-over-year increase of 22-23%. Earlier, it had projected billings in the range of $6.60-$6.65 billion, implying a 21-22% increase from the year-ago quarter.

Non-GAAP adjusted free cash flow margin forecast was revised upward to 32-33% from at least 30% anticipated previously.

However, Palo Alto kept its non-GAAP earnings guidance range unchanged at $7.15-$7.25 per share.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2022, PANW projects revenues between $1.265 billion and $1.285 billion, suggesting year-over-year growth in the range of 24-26%.

Total billings are anticipated between $1.51 billion and $1.53 billion, indicating an increase of 24-26% from the year-ago quarter. Non-GAAP earnings are projected to be in the range of $1.63-$1.66 per share.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Palo Alto currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks from the broader technology sector include Qualcomm QCOM, Advanced Micro Devices AMD and TD SYNNEX SNX, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Qualcomm’s first-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings has been raised to $3 per share from $2.63 per share 30 days ago. For fiscal 2022, earnings estimates have been revised upward by a penny to $10.52 per share in the last seven days.

Qualcomm’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 11.2%. QCOM stock has gained 22.3% in the year-to-date (“YTD”) period.

The consensus mark for Advanced Micro Devices’ fourth-quarter 2021 earnings has been revised upward by 8 cents to 76 cents per share over the past 30 days. For 2021, earnings estimates have been moved upward by 14 cents to $2.65 per share in the last 30 days.

Advanced Micro Devices’ earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 14%. AMD stock has rallied 69% YTD.

The consensus estimate for TD SYNNEX’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 earnings has been revised upward by 11.7% to $2.67 per share over the past 60 days. For fiscal 2021, earnings estimates have been moved upward by 6.5% to $8.95 per share over the last 60 days.

TD SYNNEX’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 15.4%. SNX stock has rallied 40.1% YTD.


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