Palo Alto Networks Reports Lackluster Q1

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global network concept

Palo Alto Networks Inc. (NYSE: PANW) has been a growth story since before its July IPO. Shares came public at $42 and climbed to more than $72 in September, before beginning a slide brought on by a tough selling environment and increased competition. The company also kicked out a secondary stock offering of 4.8 million shares in mid-October, priced at $63 a share, for the benefit of existing stockholders. It is safe to say that some of the bloom is off this particular rose.

After markets closed last night, the company reported first-quarter fiscal 2013 adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.04 on revenue of $85.9 million. In the same period a year ago, the network security company reported EPS of $0.01 on revenue of $57.1 million. The most recent results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.03 and $83.7 million in revenue.

On a GAAP basis, the company posted an EPS loss of $0.05, compared with a break-even quarter a year ago. Adjusted earnings excluded the effect of a share-based compensation expense of $8.34 million in the first quarter, compared with a similar charge of $1.45 million in the year ago quarter.

The company's chairman and CEO said:

We delivered a strong first quarter, achieving 14% sequential revenue growth and expanding our customer base to over 10,000 customers. Our performance demonstrates that our unique technology differentiation is resonating with customers, and as a result, our growth continues to significantly outpace the market.

The company did not publish any guidance, but consensus estimates for the fiscal second quarter call for EPS of $0.04 on revenues of $90.8 million. For the full fiscal year, EPS is expected to come in at $0.19 on revenues of $385.2 million.

On the company's conference call, the CFO said the company is aiming for $90 to $94 million in second-quarter revenues and EPS of $0.04. That's inline with the consensus estimate, but just meeting expectations is not good enough for this company.

Shares fell more than 4% in after-hours trading last night, to $49.15, in a post-IPO range of $50.01 to $72.61. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $69.40 before today's results were announced.

Paul Ausick

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