Bloomberg News

Salesforce Forecasts Full-Year Revenue Topping Estimates

August 22, 2014

Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM:US) forecast sales for its fiscal 2015 year that exceeded analysts’ estimates, driven by demand for products from recent acquisitions such as ExactTarget Inc.

Revenue for the fiscal year ending in January 2015 will be $5.34 billion to $5.37 billion, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement yesterday, beating analysts’ average estimate of $5.34 billion.

For the fiscal third quarter ending in October, sales will be $1.365 billion to $1.37 billion, and profit, excluding some costs, will be 12 cents to 13 cents a share, Salesforce said. That topped analysts’ average estimate of $1.37 billion in sales and profit of 13 cents, according to data (CRM:US) compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff has been strengthening the online services of his company, which is the largest maker of customer-management software. Salesforce has acquired companies including the purchase in July of data management startup RelateIQ Inc., and e-mail marketing provider ExactTarget last year, and has struck partnerships including an agreement with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) in May to make their business-software products work better together.

“The enterprise part of the business seems to be accelerating,” Patrick Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities, wrote in a note last week. He has the equivalent of a buy rating on the stock.

Salesforce shares (CRM:US) rose 7.3 percent to $59.80 at the close in New York, the biggest rise since August 2013.

Cloud Demand

Salesforce has built its business around cloud computing, where programs are accessed online instead of on site, causing trouble for rivals like Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US) and SAP SE, which have experienced slowing growth. By contrast, Salesforce’s revenue growth is anticipated to exceed 30 percent for a third straight year, as businesses move their information-technology services from on-premises equipment and software to the cloud.

For the fiscal second quarter, Salesforce reported a net loss of $61.1 million, compared with a profit of $76.6 million a year ago. Revenue jumped 38 percent to $1.32 billion.

Profit excluding some costs was 13 cents a share. Analysts on average had projected sales of $1.29 billion and profit of 12 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Big Spender

Acquisitions and other spending have crimped Salesforce’s profit since 2011. The company isn’t projected to report a net profit for a full fiscal year until 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

On a conference call, Benioff said the spending yields results, with the RelateIQ acquisition bringing aboard an asset that is like “getting Salesforce on steroids.” ExactTarget’s products also saw sales rise 10 percent to $122.4 million from the prior quarter.

In total, subscription and support revenue jumped 37 percent to $1.23 billion over the fiscal second quarter from a year earlier. Professional services and other revenue increased 58 percent to $85.9 million. Cash from operations climbed 34 percent to $246 million.

Billings, a measure of the amount Salesforce invoiced customers during the quarter, increased 33 percent to $1.35 billion, exceeding analysts’ average estimate for 28 percent growth, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Product Tease

“It was a really strong quarter, large deal sizes, good performance across the geographies and we made progress across profitability,” Graham Smith, Salesforce’s executive vice president of finance, said in an interview.

Benioff said on the call that Salesforce will unveil a “major new product” at its Dreamforce conference in October. The CEO didn’t elaborate.

Salesforce’s growth has spurred it to expand its presence in cities worldwide. The company has said it will occupy 714,000 square feet in the newly named Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, which will be the city’s tallest building at 1,070 feet when it opens in 2017. In May, it signed a 15-year lease for 50,000 square feet in the Heron Tower in London, which will be renamed the Salesforce Tower.

Salesforce recently announced plans to build multiple data centers in Canada and Germany to expand business there, following concerns around cloud security and the National Security Agency.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Clark in San Francisco at jclark185@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net Stephen West


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