The Cloud

Box Shares Plunge As Earnings Disappoint

Newly public Box reports higher revenue than estimated, but also records its fifth straight quarter of slowing growth.
Matthew HellerMarch 12, 2015
Box Shares Plunge As Earnings Disappoint

Box’s first quarterly earnings report as a public company showed a larger-than-expected loss, triggering a sharp drop in the cloud storage provider’s stock.

The shares were trading at $17.39 Thursday, down about 15% on the previous day’s close, after Box reported it lost $45.8 million, or $2.64 a share, on sales of $62.6 million in the fourth quarter. After adjustments, the loss was $1.65 a share.

Analysts had expected the company to announce an adjusted loss of $1.17 a share on sales of $58 million, according to Reuters. Although revenue increased 61%, and was above Wall Street’s consensus estimate, it was Box’s fifth quarter in a row of slowing revenue growth.

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Box’s CEO Aaron Levie said some analysts had erroneously based their estimates on an inaccurate share count and that the newly public company had actually posted a smaller-than-expected loss. The company’s billings totaled $82 million, an increase of 33% from a year ago.

“The opportunity to transform how people work has never been greater, with organizations demanding technology that helps employees be more mobile and collaborative, while keeping information secure,” Levie said in a statement.

Box, founded in 2005, delayed its first planned IPO filed in March 2014 amid what The Wall Street Journal called “weakening demand for business-software stocks and skepticism stemming from the company’s high rate of spending on sales and marketing.”

Over the past eight quarters, Box has spent about $1.80 to generate $1 in revenue, according to Investor’s Business Daily.

“A sleek and functional product has enabled the firm to emerge as one of the fastest-growing public software companies that we track,” but these impressive gains come at a cost, Richard Davis, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, wrote in a recent report.

Box competitors include prvately-held Dropbox, Google’s Drive, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.

Featured image: Thinkstock