The Cloud

Fast-Growing Box Inc. Posts Quarterly Loss

Revenue rose 38%, but sales and marketing spending and R&D spending increases cut into profits.
Katie Kuehner-HebertDecember 3, 2015

While revenues grew, fast-growing Box Inc. again posted a quarterly loss due to continued investments in marketing, as well as research and development.

The Redwood City, Calif., online cloud services provider on Wednesday said revenue rose 38% in the period ended in October, as its base of paying customers grew to 54,000, up from more than 50,000 in the second quarter.

However, spending on sales and marketing rose 16% to $64 million, while R&D spending more than doubled to $ 26.3 million.

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Including those expenses, Box said its loss in the third quarter widened to $55.1 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $51.2 million, or $3.40 a share, at a time when the company had far fewer shares outstanding. Excluding stock-based compensation and other items, the company put its adjusted loss at 31 cents. Revenue increased to $78.7 million from $57 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast an adjusted loss of 31 cents on $76.8 million in revenue.

Like other online service providers, Box books revenue in monthly or quarterly installments rather than recording sales up front in its income statement, according to The Wall Street Journal. It also charges stock-based compensation expenses to specific groups as it hires more employees, a major factor in its spending increases in the latest quarter.

“Consequently, Box is far from profitable under generally accepted accounting rules,” the WSJ wrote. “The company instead focuses on the goal of achieving positive cash flow, which it hopes to reach in the fourth quarter of its next fiscal year.”

The company forecast fourth-quarter revenue of $81 million to $82 million, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $81 million. For the fiscal year, Box predicted it would post revenues of $299 million to $300 million, up from previous guidance of $295 million to $297 million.