VMware Inc . VMW reported first-quarter fiscal 2018 non-GAAP earnings (excluding stock-based compensation) of 99 cents per share, increasing 15.1% from the year-ago quarter. Including stock-based compensation, earnings were 72 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7 cents.
Notably, VMware revised fiscal calendar effective Jan 1, 2017. The company's first fiscal year under its revised calendar began on Feb 4, 2017 and will end Feb 2, 2018. Hence, the first quarter fiscal 2018 began on Feb 4 and ended May 5, 2017.
The year-over-year growth in earnings was driven by strong top-line and stringent cost control which aided in expanding margins.
Revenues of $1.74 billion also topped the consensus mark of $1.71 billion and increased 9.3% on a year-over-year basis. At the end of the quarter, unearned revenue was $5.2 billion.
The strong top-line growth can be attributed to robust performance from its product offerings like NSX, AirWatch, vSphere, and vSAN. During the quarter, VMware completed the divestiture of vCloud Air Network to OVH Group, a global hyper-scale cloud provider.
Vmware, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Moreover, VMware recently completed the acquisition of Wavefront, an ultra high performance metrics monitoring service for cloud and modern application environments.
Shares were slightly down in pre-market trading . We note that VMware has return 18.1% on a year-to-date basis, faring much better than the S&P 500's gained of 8.9%.
We believe that the impressive first-quarter results and positive fiscal year guidance (up from the previous guidance) driven by expanding product portfolio, partnerships and continuing enterprise deal wins will help the stock maintain momentum in the rest of fiscal 2018.
Hybrid Cloud & SaaS, License Bookings Shines
Services revenues (64.9% of total revenue) increased 10.7% to $1.13 billion, driven by 9.3% and 20.6% growth in Software Maintenance and Professional Services revenues, respectively.
License revenues increased 6.6% year over year to $610 million. NSX licensed bookings grew over 50% on a year-over-year basis driven by strong demand for micro segmentation security solution. Moreover, customer count increased to over 2600.
vSAN licensed bookings surged more than 150%, with customer count reaching 8000. Further, EUC license bookings were up over 20%, on the back of healthy growth in both mobile and desktop businesses.
Region wise, U.S. revenues (49.5% of total revenue) increased 7.5%, while International (50.5%) grew 11% from the year-ago quarter.
VMware's hybrid cloud and SaaS offerings now represents more than 9% of revenues. This product segment grew 30% from the year-ago quarter. The growth was driven by continued strong adoption of vCloud Air Network, which surged 40% on a year-over-year basis.
Total Cloud management bookings were up in the mid-single digits. However, cloud management licensed bookings were down in the low teens on a year-over-year basis.
Partnerships, Large Deals Key Catalysts
The company won six large deals equal to or greater than $10 million in the quarter versus one large deal in the year-ago quarter.
VMware also launched some key products during the quarter including a new release of vSAN, vCloud NFV 2.0, and Pulse IoT Center, a secure, enterprise grade Internet of Things (IoT) Infrastructure management solution.
The company also announced IoT based partnerships with HARMAN, Samsung and Fujitsu.
Lower Costs Boost Margins
Gross margin (including stock-based compensation) contracted 90 basis points (bps) to 85%, primarily due to unfavorable product mix. Services gross margin contracted 140 bps, which was partially offset by 50 bps expansion in license gross margin.
Under operating expense line, research & development (R&D) as percentage of revenues increased 170 bps, fully neutralize by 170 bps and 140 bps expansion in Selling & Marketing and General & Administrative expenses, respectively.
As a result, operating margin (including stock-based compensation) expanded 60 bps to 19% in the reported quarter.
Aggressive Share Repurchase to Support Bottom-Line
VMware completed the remaining $125 million in stock repurchase from its previous authorization of $500 million. Additionally, the company repurchased $300 million of stock in the quarter from Dell Technologies. Of this 2.7 million were delivered in the reported quarter and the remaining 0.7 million will be delivered in the second quarter.
VMware currently have $900 million remaining under its $1.2 billion repurchase authorization which extends through the end of fiscal 2018.
For second-quarter fiscal 2018, revenues are expected to be in the range of $1.840-$1.890 billion (Midpoint of $1.865 billion). License revenues are expected to be $695-$725 million (Midpoint of $710 million).
Non-GAAP operating margin is anticipated to be 30.5%. Non-GAAP earnings are expected to be in the range of $1.11-$1.14 per share (Midpoint of $1.125).
The Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently pegged at 92 cents on revenues of $1.80 billion.
For fiscal 2018, revenues are expected to be $7.610 billion, slightly better than previous guidance of $7.57 billion. License revenues are expected to be $2.975 billion, slightly better than previous guidance of $2.97 billion.
Non-GAAP operating margin is expected to be 32.5% better than prior guidance of 32.3%. Non-GAAP earnings are expected to be $4.91 per share, up 4 cents from the previous guidance.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently pegged at $3.57 on revenues of $7.57 billion.
Capital Expenditure is expected to be $260 million. Operating cash flow and free cash flow for the fiscal are expected to be $2.70 billion (up from $2.65 billion) and $2.44 billion (up from $2.39 billion), respectively.
Currently, VMware carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .
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