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Zoom Is Doing Great But Can It Continue Being a Necessity?

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On Monday, Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM) shares rose 11% in extended trading after the company reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, beating top and bottom-line expectations and issuing strong guidance.

As COVID-19 made physical contact impossible one year ago, video conferencing became a necessary work tool.  Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) benefited from the trend thanks to its Microsoft Teams and Google Meet enabled Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) to take a piece of the pie, but Zoom’s share price has almost quadrupled last year, resulting in a market value of more than $100 billion.

Q4

The video-calling software maker reported its revenue grew 369% YoY in the quarter that ended on January 31st, after growing 367% in the third quarter and losing fewer customers than executives had expected. Revenues soared to $883 million, up from $188 million the year before. Based on formal accounting rules, Zoom’s net income rose from $15 million to $260 million, or 87 cents a share. Gross margin expanded from previous quarter’s 66.7% to 69.7%.

The company also posted gains among small customers as it had 467,100 customers with more than 10 employees at the end of the fiscal fourth quarter, nearly five times as many as it had before the pandemic hitor up 470% on an annualized basis, compared with 354% growth in the previous quarter. It ended the quarter with $4.24 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, significantly up from previous quarter’s $1.87 billion. The video conferencing start-up turned in a surprisingly strong performance in the latest quarter during which Covid-19 vaccines were intensively administered and predicted faster than expected growth in the coming year. The news sent Zoom’s shares up nearly 10 per cent in after-market trading on Monday, valuing it at $131billion. They are still more than 20 per cent below their highest level reached back in October, before investors started thinking about the impact of pandemic restrictions.

FY2021

For the year characterized by lockdowns across the globe, sales quadrupled to $2.65 billion with Zoom’s app being downloaded nearly half a billion times or twice as many times as Google’s video chat app, as reported by Apptopia.

FY2022

Despite predictions that its service will play a less central role in the lives of many workers and students in 2021, Zoom expects revenues for its next fiscal year to grow by 43 per cent to $3.76 billion to $3.78 billion, compared to Wall Street projections of about $3.5 billion. It also predicted pro forma earnings per share of $3.59 to $3.65, higher than the $2.96 a share analysts had pencilled in. Still, churn rates remain higher than they were before the pandemic and the trend is expected to persist as people begin to travel.

For the undergoing Q1, adjusted EPS are expected to be between 95 cents and 97 cents with revenue in the range between $900 million and $905 million in revenue. The outlook is significantly brighter than 72 cents and $829.2 million that Refinitiv gathered analysts penciled in.

“Zoom fatigue”

A possible major bump in the road was recently identified by a study from the Silicon Valley Itself that was published on February 23rd in the journal of Technology, Mind and Behavior. Researchers from Stanford University found that all those hours of video calls take more of a toll on our brain and body than regular office work. Seemingly never-ending video calls leave us utterly drained, even though our most strenuous physical activity during the workday involved smiling at the camera. Although it concerns all video chat platforms, researchers named it “Zoom fatigue.” Researchers say Zoom fatigue has four main culprits: excessive and intense eye contact, constantly watching video of yourself at a frequency and duration that hasn’t been seen in the history of people, the limited mobility of being stuck at your desk, and more energy spent identifying social cues that is much easier to do in person. The “non-verbal overload” is a result that we are gifting even strangers with the behavior that is ordinarily reserved for close relationships. Although some issues can be easily resolved such as by removing our selfie from the user interface and going for an audio call, others might require a lot more effort.

Zoom’s prospects

Oddly enough, the founder of a company whose success is inextricably linked to the pandemic-fueled rise of remote work and home offices, Eric Yuan, himself admitted that everybody’s desperate to return to the office. But then again, the company knows too well it has to show no fear about the world going back to its pre-pandemic days if it wants to protect its equity value. The video call software company’s 2020 growth story will probably never be repeated and a post-pandemic slowdown is inevitable but Zoom’s betting on a new normalcy that combines in-person meetings with video calls.

Zoom has plans for an independent future. Like Salesforce.com,inc (NYSE: CRM), it is trying to take on Microsoft Teams with a suite of office collaboration products. The pandemic awarded Zoom with the sort of brand recognition that no money can’t buy. But Microsoft has $132 billion in its war chest and is busy improving Teams, so there’s no way it will relinquish its domination over workplace software willingly.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

Coca Cola Made a Sparkling Recovery

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Coca-Cola’s (NYSE: KO) business was hit extra hard during the COVID-19 pandemic as people avoided gatherings with events being cancelled across the globe. As its business model is heavily reliant on these point-of-sale drinks, the pandemic translated into sharp volume drops for fiscal 2020 while peers like PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP) enjoyed booming demand at supermarkets and warehouse retailers. However, on Monday, the beverage giant showed it rebounded by beating on earnings with demand in March hitting pre-pandemic levels.

Fiscal first-quarter

Net sales rose 5% as they amounted to $9.02 billion, exceeding estimates of $8.6 billion. Organic revenues grew 6%, but unit case volume was flat compared to a year earlier. Demand improved every month of the quarter, driven by markets like China where uncertainty concerns around the virus eased.

Coca Cola reported a net income of $2.25 billion, or 52 cents per share. This is a drop compared to last year’s $2.78 billion, or 64 cents per share. Excluding items, earnings amounted to 55 cents per share, exceeding the 50 cents per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Coca Cola has done a great job focusing on what it can control

Through the pandemic, executives slashed costs by finding ways to cut supply chain, marketing, production and packaging expenses, leading to rising profitability even as peer PepsiCo’s margins fell.

At the beginning of the year, management said the first quarter would be the hardest of the year, but that the scale of the recovery that follows would depend on big variables like the pace of vaccine distribution.

Unchanged demand

Quarterly demand was unchanged from a year earlier as North America and Western Europe take longer to recover from the pandemic but global unit case volume in March returned to 2019 levels.

While the central North American business is still under pressure, growth in India, China and Latin America managed to offset those declines. Nutrition, juice, dairy and plant-based beverage segment experienced a 3% volume growth as it was fueled by higher demand in China and India. Hydration, sports, coffee and tea segment was the hardest hit with volumes shrinking 11%. The coffee business declined 21% as Costa cafeswere heavily impacted by the lockdowns. The hydration category that includes Dasani and Smartwater reported volume declines of 12% as consumers across the globe bought less single-use water bottles. Demand for tea products fell 6%, whereas sports drinks saw volume decline slightly by 1%.

Uncertainty still remains

Back in February, management stated that the giant has positioning itself to come out of the crisis targeting faster growth and higher margins compared to its pre-pandemic figures.

The company restated its full-year forecast, with organic revenue growth expected in high single digits and adjusted earnings growth expected in the range between high single digits to low double digits. India and parts of Europe are reintroducing lockdowns due to spikes in new Covid-19 cases, while Latin America and Africa are expecting slower vaccine distribution and embracing for new waves. While vaccinations are rising in many countries such as the U.S., U.K., the flip side is there’s actually a new high in terms of cases as the weekly number of new cases has just hit an all-time peak.

Although April has started well for Coke, the looming risk of new lockdowns threatens to reverse that progress.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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Global EV Updates

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The EV race is on as the 19th annual Shanghai Auto Show delivered a ton of new electric and tech-centric models this week. Chinese, European and U.S. automakers showed off their latest offerings in every price segment, showing us that an all-electric future is closer than ever.

New models revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show

Volkswagen Group (OTC: VWAGY)-owned Audi shared the spotlight with its Chinese partner companies FAW and SAIC, showing four world premieres: the Audi A6 e-tron concept vehicle, an updated Audi Q5L, the Audi A7L and an SUV study named Audi concept Shanghai which is still under wraps.

Volkswagen used the opportunity to reveal its third EV in its ID line, the VW ID.6, which is designed specifically for the Chinese market.

Xpeng Inc (NYSE: XPEV) revealed its third vehicle.

Warren Buffet-backed BYD is seeing sales increasing steadily on the “Han” the luxury electric sedan series that launched last year. The line has been named after China’s Han dynasty and this flagship series consists of three electric vehicles and one hybrid.

Geely Holdings Inc.(OTC: GELYF) took up a lot of the Shanghai Auto Show floor with several of its brands, including a brand new one. The Chinese automotive conglomerate’s brands Polestar, Volvo Cars, Lynk & Co, Geometry and the new Zeekr all brought their EVs to the show.

Daimler AG (OTC: DDAFI)-owned Mercedes showed its growing EQ brand, with the EQB, the compact mass-market all-electric SUV and EQS, the first all-electric luxury sedan which will be the first model introduced to the US.

Nio Inc (NYSE: NIO) officially debuted its flagship sedan, expected to begin production of the ET7 in the coming months, with a launch scheduled for Q1 2022.

SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., which is a joint venture between SAIC Motor Corp., General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co., revealed their latest vehicle which is the budget-friendly Hong Guang Mini EV that comes with a price tag as low as $5,000.

Toyota Motors (NYSE: TM) finally revealed its EV strategy, announcing to introduce 15 all-electric vehicles, including seven Toyota bZ branded models, by 2025.

The world’s first electric pickup will debut in the US

Although the Chinese government created a robust and competitive market, with over 400 automakers producing EVs for drivers around the world due to subsidies and investment in charging infrastructure, the world’s first electric pickup is coming this year and the US upstart Rivian could even beat Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) in being the first to launch. Atlis Motor Vehicles and Hercules Electric Vehicles are also preparing their electric pickups who will be configured with TerraVis solar powered technology by Worksport Ltd (OTC: WKSP) who just announced plans to list on the NASDAQ. The developer and manufacturer of high quality, innovative and attractively priced tonneau covers, as well as of revolutionary solar-powered system TerraVis™  for light-duty trucks, has laid a solid foundation with its robust product line. It also finished the design of  TerraVis COR™ mobile battery system, an extension to the TerraVis solar fusion that offers a remote source of power to a wider consumer market.

The US still has a long way ahead

The Biden Administration is determined to make America the global leader in EV production with $2.65 trillion infrastructure plan that allocates $174 billion for developing its EV industry by installing 500,000 publicly accessible charging ports, introducing point-of-sale rebates for consumers and electrifying the federal fleet which consists of 650,000 vehicles. The US has a long way to go to clean up transportation’s dirty transportation, but the infrastructure plan sends a clear message that electric vehicles are a federal policy priority. Although the US automotive industry is positioned to emerge from an emissions-choked past into a battery-powered future, it has a lot of catching up to do as the whole world is very much in the EV race.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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Toyota Finally Reveals Its EV Strategy

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At the Shanghai Motor show, Toyota Motors (NYSE: TM) has finally announced an electric vehicle strategy that will result in 15 new battery-electric vehicles released by 2025, along with revealing the 2023 Subaru all-electric SUV.

The electric SUV concept

The Japanese giant revealed the BZ4X that will serve as a starting point for future models with the BZ branding which stands for “Beyond Zero”. Toyota did not reveal any details or specifications for the vehicle, but it did announce it should be released in China and Japan later this year. The all-electric SUV will be built on Toyota’s new e-TNGA dedicated EV platform it developed with Subaru while using its all-wheel-drive technology. Toyota owns a small stake in its fellow Japanese automaker. Though it’s just a concept, the BZ4X seems to be near completion.

A new era

Toyota said it would release 70 electrified models by 2025, including battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and gas-electric hybrids, for a range of “diverse choices”. fellow Japanese automaker Subaru.

Automakers like Nissan (OTC: NSANY), General Motors (NYSE: GM), Ford Motors (NYSE: F) and Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) that are already selling pure battery-electric vehicles also revealed its newest electric additions. We’ll know more about how serious Toyota is in embracing electric vehicles when it provides details about powertrain details and range, as well as the types of vehicles it will be making.

The home planet strategy

Besides finally taking off the covers off its first dedicated EV, Toyota announced its goal to become carbon neutral by 2050 as part of a new “home planet” strategy. Throughout its global business activities, Toyota will promote electrification strategies that contribute to reducing CO2 emissions throughout the entire lifecycle of a vehicle, while consulting with governments how to promote electrification.

Toyota is the latest global auto giant to announce ambitious EV plans to expand its product line-up and decarbonise its operations over the coming decades. The Japanese auto giant has been facing mounting criticism in recent years over its perceived failure to keep up with its peers on the EV front, as it instead sought to fortify its leadership position in the hybrid market. But, if history has taught us anything, it is that Toyota executives know very well what they are doing.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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