F5 Networks Inc. FFIV reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 GAAP earnings per share of $2.59, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.55 but decreasing 10.7% year over year.
The NGINX acquisition-related expenses affected the bottom line.
F5 Networks revenues rose 5% year over year to $590.4 million, and also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $583 million. Notably, customer demand for consistent application security and reliable application performance across multi-cloud environments contributed to revenue growth. Moreover, the acquisition of NGINX contributed a little more than $8 million to revenues.
Products revenues (45% of total revenues) during the quarter totaled $265 million, up 3% year over year, driven by Software.
Software soared 91% year over year and represented 31% of product revenues. This upside can be attributed to the growing adoption of the Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) and annual subscriptions among customers.
Software growth is consistently aided by security use cases, which include web application firewall, bot-defense and mitigation.
During the quarter, F5 Networks secured an all-software use case with Rakuten for Gi firewall.
Systems revenues, representing 69% of product revenues, declined 15% on a year-over-year basis due to continued transition of customers to software-based solutions.
Services revenues (55%) increased 6% to $325 million.
Region wise, on a year-over-year basis, revenues from the Americas — reflecting 59% of the total count — grew 11%. APAC revenues fell 2% and represented 18% of the total top line. EMEA was fell 3% and accounted for 23% of total revenues.
Going by the verticals, Enterprise, Service providers and Government (including 13% from the U.S. Federal) depicted 61%, 17% and 22% of the total product bookings, respectively.
The company’s distributor Ingram Micro translated to 18% of the company’s revenues. Tech Data and Carahsoft contributed 10% each to the total revenue base.
F5 Networks is focusing on incorporating more automation and orchestration on its platforms to enable quicker application provisioning.
Moreover, the company is enabling application services consumption in native container environment with NGINX. During the quarter, the company secured a F5-NGINX deal with a financial tech company in the EMEA region.
Non-GAAP gross margin expanded 160 basis points (bps) year over year to 86.3% during the quarter.
Non-GAAP operating margin contracted 540 bps to 32.6%. This was primarily due to higher non-GAAP operating expenses as a result of higher sales commissions on software sales.
Moreover, the NGINX acquisition-related cost of $8.1 million was also an overhang on margins.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
F5 Networks exited the quarter with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of approximately $972.3 million compared with $986.5 million in the prior quarter.
Long-term liabilities were $523.3 million compared with $481 million in the previous quarter.
The company reported cash flow of $206 million from operations.
Full-Year Fiscal 2019 Highlights
During full-year fiscal 2019, F5 Networks generated $2.24 billion in revenues, up 4% year over year.
Non-GAAP earnings of $10.36 were higher than $9.87 in fiscal 2018.
Acquisition-related costs of $41.7 million from the NGINX buyout were incurred during the year.
Management remains optimistic that increasing demand for the multi-cloud application services will be a key driver. Rising traction of subscription and ELA offerings is a tailwind.
For first-quarter fiscal 2020, F5 Networks expects revenues in the range of $560-$570 million (mid-point $565 million). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pegged at $566.9 million.
The company anticipates non-GAAP earnings per share in the band of $2.41-$2.44. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $2.46.
The company expects to incur operating expenses of $296-$308 million.
F5 Networks also expects operating margins to contract in the first and second quarters of fiscal 2020, expanding thereafter, based on seasonal pattern.
Moreover, F5 Networks and NGINX’s first combined solution is expected to increase the total addressable market and deal sizes by spending more use cases across DevOps and Super-NetOps customer profiles. This solution is likely to release toward the end of January 2020.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
The company currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector are Splunk Inc. SPLK and Benefitfocus, Inc. BNFT, each flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Long-term earnings growth rate for Splunk and Benefitfocus is currently pegged at 31.24% and 20%, respectively.
Today's Best Stocks from Zacks
Would you like to see the updated picks from our best market-beating strategies? From 2017 through 2018, while the S&P 500 gained +15.8%, five of our screens returned +38.0%, +61.3%, +61.6%, +68.1%, and +98.3%.
This outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. From 2000 – 2018, while the S&P averaged +4.8% per year, our top strategies averaged up to +56.2% per year.
See their latest picks free >>