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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

BenzingaEditorial

Coca Cola Confirms Its World’s Beloved Brand Status

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For more than a century, The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) has been “refreshing the world in mind, body, and spirit”. The company aims to inspire moments of optimism, to create value and make a difference.

On Wednesday, the beverage giant revealed second-quarter earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street’s expectations, allowing it to raise its full year forecast for adjusted earnings per share and organic revenue growth. Most importantly, some markets rebounded from the pandemic, fueling revenue to surpass 2019 levels. Shares rose more than 2% in morning trading.

Q2 figures

Net income rose from $1.78 billion as it amounted to $2.64 billion. It resulted in adjusted earnings per share of 68 cents, exceeding the expected 56 cents. Net sales rose 42% with revenue of $10.13 billion that also exceeded the expected $9.32 billion. Excluding acquisitions and foreign currency, organic revenue rose 37% compared to last year’s biggest plunge in quarterly revenue in at least three decades due to lockdowns that severely dented demand.

A significant increase in marketing and advertising spend fueled the rebound but Coca Cola’s approach isn’t just about boosting spend, but also about increasing the efficiency of that spend. CFO John Murphy revealed that marketing dollars were doubled compared to last year’s quarter, when the pandemic forced the beverage giant to slash its costs to preserve cash.

Unit performance

All drink segments reported double-digit volume growth. Away-from-home channels, like restaurants and movie theaters, were rebounding in some markets, like China and Nigeria, but there are also markets that are still being heavily pressured by the pandemic such as India.

The department that contains its flagship soda saw volume increase by 14% in the quarter. The nutrition, juice, dairy and plant-based beverage business saw a volume growth of 25%, partly fueled by Minute Maid and Fairlife milk sales in North America. The same volume growth was seen by hydration, sports, coffee and tea segment. Costa cafes in the United Kingdom reopened and drove 78% increase in volume for coffee alone.

The risk of raising commodity prices

Like its F&B peers, Coke is facing higher commodity prices but it plans to raise prices and use productivity levers to manage the volatility in the second half of the year.

Outlook

For the full year, Coke improved its organic revenue growth outlook from high-single digit growth to a range of 12% to 14%. It also raised its forecast for adjusted earnings per share growth from high single digits to a low double digits range of 13% to 15%.

Putting it all together, executives emphasized the range of possible outcomes given the asynchronous recovery and dynamic of the pandemic. Coca Cola plans to build on the strong momentum by intensifying the amount and efficacy of promotions and continuing to innovate, what it does better than anyone and what helped it earn its brand status.

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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Automakers Are Hitting the Accelerator in the EV Race

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On Thursday, Daimler AG (OTC: DDAIF) has officially hit the accelerator in the e-car race with Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), revealing it will invest more than 40 billion euros in EVs by 2030. From 2025, three new vehicle platforms will only make battery-powered vehicles. One will cover passenger cars and SUVs, one will be devoted to vans and last but not least, the third will be home to high-performance vehicles that will be launched in 2025. Under its EV strategy, the inventor of the modern motor car will be renamed Mercedes-Benz as it spins off its trucks division by the end of the year. With its partners, it will build eight battery plants to ramp up EV production.

Upon the news that come just over a week after the EU proposed an effective ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035, shares rose 2.5%.

Automotive peers

Ahead of the EU’s announcement that is only part of a broad strategy to combat global warming, many automakers announced major investments in EVs. Earlier this month, Stellantis (NYSE: STLA) revealed its own EV strategy that includes investing more than 30 billion euros by 2025. Mercedes Benz isn’t the only one ‘going for it’ to be dominantly, if not all electric, by the end of the decade. Geely Automobile Holdings Limited’s (OTC: GELYF) Volvo Cars committed to going all electric by 2030, while General Motors Co (NYSE: GM) is aiming to be fully electric by 2035 and Volkswagen AG (OTC: VWAGY) even plans to build half a dozen battery cell plants in Europe.

Moving the debate

Daimler’s chief executive stated that  spending on ICE-related technology will be “close to zero” by 2025 but he did not specify when it will end the sales of fossil fuel-powered cars. Källenius wants to move the debate away from when will the last combustion engine be built to how quickly they can scale up to being close to 100% electric.

Tough decisions for Mercedes Benz

The undergoing shift will result in an 80% drop in investments in ICE vehicles between 2019 and 2026. This will have a direct impact on jobs because EVs have fewer components and so require fewer workers compared to their ICE counterparts. As of 2025, Daimler expects EVs and hybrids will make up half of its sales, with all-electric cars expected to account for most that figure, which is earlier than its previous forecast for 2030.

The battery- the Holly Grail

By 2023, Daimler plans to have a fully operational battery recycling plant in Germany. The industry leader Tesla just signed a deal with the world’s largest nickel miner to secure its battery resources as it prepares to begin its own tables battery in-house. Then there’s Worksport (OTC: WKSP) who will bring solar power to the EV table with its solar fusion TerraVis which will be fine-tuned and validated for prelaunch by the end of 2021. Although the first prototype is a solar-powered tonneau cover for pickup truck drivers, the company is also developing TerraVis COR which is a standalone product that offers remote power generation and storage. In other words, with its two-year partnership with Ontario Tech University, Worksport is fully equipped to power many automakers step into the electrification era.

The EV race is a journey like no other we have witnessed – and the participants are going full-speed ahead as they race to reshape the energy matrix of automotive industry.

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

Intel’s Q2 Results Show It Is Not Losing Focus

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Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) revealed its second-quarter 2021 financial results yesterday. The digitization transformation and switching to cloud services continue to accelerate, and a company like Intel sees that as the opportunity for an even bigger growth. Even with the current semiconductor shortage, Intel is not losing its focus on both innovations and the implementation of new solutions. The company’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, appointed earlier in 2021, believes we are at the beginning of the semiconductor industry’s decade of sustained growth and that Intel has a unique position to capitalize on that trend. As the momentum is strengthening, execution is increasing, the company’s products are being chosen for top and flagship products. We can also see good results in other companies in the semiconductor business, like Texas Instruments Incorporated (NASDAQ: TXN) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD).

 Second-quarter results

Intel’s second-quarter results are positive and the proof of the momentum building up, as mentioned by Gelsinger. GAAP revenues for Q2 were $19.6 billion, significantly higher than the expected $17.8 billion, and there was no change when looking back year over year. However, non-GAAP revenues were $18.5 billion, exceeding the April guidance by $700 million, and that is 2% up compared to the previous year. Intel’s Data Center Group (DCG) generated $6.5 billion compared to the expected $5.9 billion. Client computing generated the expected revenues of 9.95 billion, while the actual revenues were $10.1 billion. GAAP earnings per share were $1.24, while the non-GAAP EPS were $1.28, which also surpassed April’s guidance of $1.07.

 The good trend in the semiconductor industry

Another chipmaker, Dallas-based Texas Instruments, also reported Q2 earnings that topped the expectations. These good results were due to revenues growth and an increase in profits. The analysts expected revenues of $4.36 billion, and the company managed to generate $4.58 billion. That is a sales increase of 41% when looking year over year. Expected earnings per share were $2.05, while the analysts expected $1.83. However, the sales guidance for the current quarter was below the investors’ wishes, so the share price dropped upon the news.

 Outlook

As revenue, EPS, and gross margin exceeded the Q2 guidance, Intel raised its 2021 full-year guidance. So expected GAAP revenues are $77.6 billion and non-GAAP revenues are expected to amount to $73.5 billion (which is an increase of $1 billion), resulting in expected GAAP EPS of $4.09 and non-GAAP EPS of $4.80. Planned CAPEX is between $19 billion and $20 billion and free cash flow should be $11 billion, which is an increase of $500 million versus prior expectations. Gelsinger estimates that the semiconductor shortage will start loosening in the second half of the year, but it will take another one to two years until the demand is completely met.

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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