For all the bullish talk about Salesforce.com (CRM) , the stock is not even up 1% in 2016. On Friday, Salesforce.com reported billings rose 20% year over year, and the news popped the stock higher.
This was the news Salesforce bulls were looking for. After all, second-quarter billings missed everyone's expectation, and the company really needed a strong report.
Back in August, Salesforce reported billings were up 17%. Analysts were looking for 18%. Investors had become spoiled after years of 30% billings growth, and they began to question if the company could continue to post double-digit growth.
But the third-quarter report seemed to indicate everything was fine. Salesforce reported third-quarter earnings of 24 cents per share, 3 cents better than the consensus estimate.
Revenue rose 25.3%, to $2.14 billion, slightly higher then the $2.12 billion estimate. Subscription and support revenue were $1.98 billion, up 24%. Professional services revenue was up 39%, to $161 million.
Salesforce posted a gross margin of 75.7%, down 180 basis points. Operating margin was down 60 basis points, to 12.7%. Net income grew 21.6%, to $170.1 million.
On the earnings call, management gave guidance of $10.1 billion to $10.15 billion in revenue, or up 21%. Working backward, it means the company implied billings growth of 24% for the fourth quarter, which is better than analysts were expecting. Previously, the company said it was looking for billings growth in the mid-to-high 20% range.
It's evident the second-quarter miss was a fluke. With $10.1 billion in revenue next year, Salesforce will have growth of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of over 25%, to about $2 billion to $2.2 billion, and 31% to 32% net income growth. The stock is trading at an enterprise value to Ebitda of 21 times. Given the company's growth rate, it should trade more in line with its peers, with a multiple of the low-to-mid 30s, or over $100.
If I'm right, I don't think $100 per share will need the hard sell.