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FireEye (FEYE) Down Despite Lower-than-Expected Q1 Loss

Shares of FireEye Inc. FEYE tumbled over 9% in afterhours trading yesterday after the company reported weaker-than-expected top-line numbers for first-quarter 2016 and trimmed its full-year revenue forecast. However, the company’s bottom-line results outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

The cyber security solution provider posted adjusted loss (excluding one-time items but including stock-based compensation) of 83 cents per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 89 cents.

However, on a year-over-year basis, FireEye’s loss per share widened by 3 cents mainly due to higher operating expenses resulting from stepped-up investments in research and development, and marketing strategies which more than offset the benefit of higher revenues.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported a loss of 98 cents per share compared with the year-ago loss of 88 cents.

Revenues

FireEye reported first-quarter revenues of $168 million, up 34% year over year, primarily aided by solid yield from sales and marketing strategies, and strength in the network security market. A large number of deal wins and customer additions during the quarter also drove the top line.

However, quarterly revenues came near the low end of management’s guided range of $167–$177 million and missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $185 million. The company believes that the revenue miss was mainly a result of “many of the product-heavy deals pushed into future quarters”.

Segment-wise, Product revenues tanked 16.2% year over year to $33.7 million. Subscription and Services revenues, on the other hand, surged 57.7% to $134.3 million, driven mainly by continued transition to subscription and cloud-based offering.

Billings increased 23% to $186 million.

Operating Results

Adjusted gross profit jumped 31.1% from the year-ago quarter to $107.4 million. However, gross margin contracted 140 basis points (bps) to 63.9% mainly due to the addition of iSIGHT cost of goods sold and higher payroll expenses, which more than offset the benefit from strong margin expansion at Subscription and Services, resulting from economies of scale and an increase in customer base.

Adjusted operating expenses increased 20.7% year over year to $244.5 million due to stepped-up investments in research and development, and marketing strategies. As a result, the company posted adjusted operating loss of $137.2 million, which was also 13.6% wider than the year-ago quarter loss of $120.7 million.

Adjusted net loss for the first quarter was $130.5 million, or 83 cents per share, compared with the year-ago net loss of $122.2 million or 80 cents.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

FireEye exited the quarter with cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments of roughly $921.1 million. Accounts receivable were $141.2 million, compared with $172.8 million at the end of fourth-quarter 2015. During the quarter, the company used $22.5 million of cash for operating activities.

Guidance

Citing some deals postponed to future quarters, FireEye revised its revenue guidance for the full year. The company lowered its revenue guidance range to $780 million and $810 million (mid-point: $795 million) from the previous projection of $815–$845 million (mid-point: $830 million). The Zacks Consensus Estimate of $830 billion stands higher than the mid-point of the guided range.

However, non-GAAP billings are still anticipated in the range of $975 million to $1.055 billion. The non-GAAP operating margin guidance range of -22% to -24% of revenues also remains unchanged.

Further, the company continues to expect non-GAAP loss per share of $1.20 and $1.27 (mid-point: $1.235), much narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $2.92. The company projects operating cash flow of $70–$80 million and capital expenditures on property and equipment of nearly $35 million during the year.

For the second quarter, FireEye anticipates revenues in the range of $178 million to $185 million (mid-point: $181.5 million), much below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 194 million. Non-GAAP billings are expected in the range of $200 million to $215 million. Non-GAAP operating margin is projected to remain in the range of -31% to -33% of revenues.

Moreover, the company expects to post non-GAAP loss per share of 38–40 cents (mid-point: 39 cents), much narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 78 cents.

Our Take

FireEye, headquartered in Milpitas, CA, is a global provider of web, email, file and malware security to enterprises and governments. Although the company’s bottom-line results fared better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate, revenues fell short of the consensus mark as many deals were pushed out into the future quarters.

The company also lowered its full-year revenue guidance citing the expected impact of this delay on forthcoming results.

Nonetheless, despite the persistent macro uncertainty, the company seems positive thanks to a healthy security market, strong product line-up, deal wins and investment plans, which should boost results in the long run.

Furthermore, FireEye’s strategy of growing through acquisitions is encouraging. The latest of such acquisitions was that of iSIGHT Partners during the first quarter. The deal has beefed up FireEye’s cyber security suite and enhanced its competitive dynamics.

FireEye has also acquired Invotas, a firm specializing in improving response times post a cyber attack. The company’s product, Security Orchestrator, is designed to compile information from a range of security products and automate responses when an incident occurs.

Furthermore, the company has recently launched FireEye Essentials, a lower-cost and simpler version of the FireEye Global Threat Management Platform. The company is targeting smaller, mid-market companies with the new offering.

All these moves signal FireEye’s efforts on moving beyond the enterprise-level, end-point protection products it had initially started with. These factors are also likely to aid the company’s long-term results.

However, an uncertain economic environment, competition from the likes of Palo Alto Networks Inc. PANW and Juniper Networks Inc. JNPR, and currency headwinds remain concerns.

Currently, FireEye carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). A stock worth considering in the broader technology sector is Paycom Software Inc. PAYC with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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