By Aaron Tilley
Salesforce.com Inc. posted record sales and lifted its outlook for the current year as the business software provider benefits from a broader embrace during the pandemic of software services among enterprise customers.
The San Francisco-based company Thursday reported revenue of $5.82 billion, up 20% from the year-ago period. The company had a net income of $267 million. Results topped Wall Street’s expectation of $5.68 billion in quarterly sales and a net income of $46 million, according to FactSet.
“We never could have predicted a year ago what was in store, which makes me incredibly proud of how well we pivoted our company to adapt to this pandemic world,” Salesforce Chief Executive Marc Benioff said in a statement.
Salesforce stock had closed down 3.9% before results were posted. Shares fell more than 2% further in after-hours trading.
“Some investors would have preferred to see more business acceleration,” said Pat Walravens, equity research analyst at investment firm JMP Securities. Though growth in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific regions gained pace, activity in Europe decelerated from 26% last quarter to 20% this quarter, he said.
Salesforce, which was founded more than 20 years ago largely as a provider of customer relationship management software, has been expanding the services it offers as it tries to challenge rivals such as Microsoft Corp. The company in December struck its biggest-ever acquisition, the $27.7 billion proposed acquisition of Slack.
Investors have been wary about the deal for Slack, which loses money. Salesforce shares have slumped around 10% since The Wall Street Journal first reported deal talks. The Justice Department is putting the acquisition through a detailed antitrust review, the two companies said in regulatory filings this month. Salesforce has said it expects the deal to close by July 31.
Salesforce said Slack would help boost its top line for this fiscal year by around $600 million. The company lifted its full-year sales outlook to a range of $25.65 billion to $25.75 billion, or $200 million above the earlier forecast.
Brent Thill, an analyst at Jefferies, said Salesforce’s financial figures underscored the “fundamental health” of its business. The negative investor reaction, he said, likely reflected a broader downbeat mood among investors toward tech after a period of strong growth.
Salesforce’s upbeat outlook echoes Microsoft, which last month posted record sales and forecast more growth in the coming months.
Salesforce also issued its first guidance for operating margins for the current year that reflect the addition of Slack. The company said its adjusted operating margins should remain flat at 17.7% compared with the year just ended. Before the earnings release, Keith Weiss of Morgan Stanley expected adjusted operating margin for fiscal 2022 of around 16.2%.
Slack separately reported preliminary quarterly sales of $250.6 million for the three-months ended in January, up about 37% from a year earlier. The company said it added a record 14,000 new paying customers, a 180% gain from a same year-earlier quarter. The company said it would disclose quarterly earnings figures March 4.
Write to Aaron Tilley at [email protected]
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 25, 2021 17:56 ET (22:56 GMT)
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