F5 Networks ( FFIV Quick Quote FFIV - Free Report) reported better-than-expected second-quarter fiscal 2021 results. The company posted fiscal second-quarter non-GAAP earnings per share of $2.50, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.39.
Moreover, the quarterly earnings came in higher than management’s guidance of $2.32-$2.44 per share. Also, non-GAAP earnings increased 12% from the year-ago quarter, mainly on solid revenues and efficient cost management.
Non-GAAP revenues climbed 11% year on year to $645.3 million, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $634.8 million on robust software growth. The top-line figure also comes in higher than the company’s guided range of $625-$645 million.
Despite reporting upbeat second-quarter results, shares of F5 Networks depreciated 4.6% during yesterday’s extended trading session as the fiscal third-quarter revenue and earnings guidance fell short of consensus estimates.
Product revenues (48% of total revenues), which comprise Software and Systems sub-divisions, went up 18% year on year to $309 million. Software sales jumped 20% year over year to $108 million, accounting for approximately 35% of the total Product revenues.
Systems revenues climbed 17% to $201 million. During the earnings conference call, F5 Networks’ executive vice president and chief financial officer, Frank Pelzer, stated, “Systems demand was higher than anticipated in the quarter, largely from a broad-based increase in application usage and the corresponding increase in application traffic continued growth of systems-based security use cases as well as the emergence of 5G-driven service provider demand.”
Global Service revenues (52% of total revenues) increased 4% to $336 million.
Additionally, the company noted that it is moving ahead with its strategy of transitioning the business into a subscription-based model. During the fiscal second quarter, subscriptions represented 79% of Software revenues, up from the year-ago quarter’s 73%.
Furthermore, F5 Networks registered sales growth across all regions, with the Americas, EMEA and APAC witnessing year-over-year increase of 6%, 16% and 15%, respectively. Revenue contributions from the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions were 54%, 27% and 20%, respectively.
Customer wise, Enterprises, Service providers and Government represented 68%, 16% and 16%, respectively, of product bookings.
GAAP gross margin contracted 290 basis points (bps) to 80.1%. Non-GAAP gross margin shrunk 160 bps to 83.4%.
GAAP operating expenses flared up 16% year on year to $463 million, while non-GAAP operating expenses rose 4.6% to $342 million. The company’s GAAP operating margin shrunk 600 bps to 8.3%, while non-GAAP operating margin improved 120 bps to 30.3%.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
F5 Networks exited the January-March quarter with cash and investments of $662 million compared with the prior-year quarter’s $1.37 billion. This decline was mainly due to the cash used for the Volterra acquisition and initiation of the $500-million share-repurchase program.
During the fiscal second quarter, the company generated $128.5 million of operating cash flow. During the reported quarter, it repurchased shares worth $400 million through Accelerated Share Repurchase transaction.
During the first-half of fiscal 2021, the company generated operating cash flow of $265.8 million and bought back $500 million worth of its common stock.
The company issued a bleak business outlook for the third quarter of fiscal 2021.
For the fiscal third quarter, F5 Networks projects non-GAAP revenues of $620-$650 million (mid-point $635 million). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pegged at $636.5 million.
The company anticipates non-GAAP earnings per share in the $2.36-$2.54 band (mid-point $2.45). The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pinned at $2.48.
We believe surging demand for multi-cloud application services will be a key growth driver during the fiscal third quarter. Furthermore, solid demand for software solutions is a tailwind. Rising traction from subscription and Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) offerings is another driving factor.
Additionally, F5 Networks and NGINX’s first combined solution — Controller 3.0 — will likely boost the total addressable market and deal sizes by spending more use cases across DevOps and Super-NetOps customer profiles.
Zacks Rank and Key Picks
F5 Networks currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include
Lam Research Corporation ( LRCX Quick Quote LRCX - Free Report) , Micron ( MU Quick Quote MU - Free Report) and NVIDIA ( NVDA Quick Quote NVDA - Free Report) . Lam Research and Micron sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while NVIDIA carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at present. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here
The long-term earnings growth rate for Lam Research, Micron, and NVIDIA is currently pegged at 32.8%, 15.7% and 15.1%, respectively.
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