Cybersecurity firm Palo Alto beats on record customer additions

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 31, 2017 4:52 PM

Palo Alto Networks Inc reported higher-than-expected quarterly results as the cybersecurity firm added a record number of customers in the wake of the recent global ransomware attack.

Palo Alto's shares were trading up 6.6 percent at $141.50 after the bell on Thursday.

The company's security services have been gaining traction after investors treated the recent global ransomware attack as a buying opportunity for security stocks rather than a cause for concern over the risk it posed to companies.

The global WannaCry ransomware cyberattack, which commenced around mid-May, infected 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries..

Palo Alto Networks also on Thursday forecast current-quarter revenue of $482 million to $492 million. Analysts' on average estimated revenue of $489.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company, whose customers include enterprises and government bodies, forecast first-quarter profit of 67 cents-69 cents per share, ahead of analysts' average estimate of 68 cents per share.

Services revenue, which includes revenue from contract-based subscriptions, surged 41.5 percent to $296.8 million. The company gets more than half of its revenue from this business.

Billings, defined as total revenue plus the change in deferred revenue, rose 17.2 percent to $670.8 million.

Net loss narrowed to $38.2 million, or 42 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended July 31, from $54.5 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Palo Alto earned 92 cents per share.

Revenue rose to $509.1 million from $400.8 million.

Analysts had expected revenue of $487.3 million and profit of 79 cents per share.

The company also said its Chief Financial Officer Steffan Tomlinson planned to retire.

(Reporting by Laharee Chatterjee and Arjun Panchadar; Editing by Martina D'Couto)