Zoom Video Communications’ (ZM 2.82%) growth rate hasn’t stabilized yet. The company, which saw its annual sales soar in earlier phases of the pandemic, recently announced surprisingly weak revenue trends heading into the second half of 2022.
Management said in a conference call with Wall Street pros following the release of its fiscal 2023 second-quarter earnings (for the quarter ending July 31) that Zoom is “not immune to the global downturn” that is pressuring its consumer-focused segment. Yet the company is doubling down on its enterprise division as the key growth avenue.
Let’s look at whether Zoom’s stock is still attractive, given the cloudy short-term outlook.
Sales trends are mixed
Zoom’s sales in Q2 rose 8% year over year to $1.1 billion, making it the company’s fifth straight quarter of booking over $1 billion in global revenue. For context, the tech specialist achieved just $600 million in sales over the entire 2020 fiscal year (which ended Jan. 31, 2020).
Still, the latest sales trends were a disappointment and were below management’s late-May forecast. Zoom saw more strength among large clients, but the pullback in the small-account segment surprised executives. The company blamed macroeconomic issues, including slowing economic growth in key markets around Europe.
“We recognize that the revenue results are disappointing,” chief financial officer Kelly Steckelberg told analysts. Zoom’s 27% boost in enterprise clients was dragged down by declining demand among smaller customers.
No need to panic
That enterprise success means Zoom is still likely to expand sales this fiscal year, even though revenue will now come in at about $4.4 billion, up 7%, compared to the $4.5 billion executives had predicted three months ago. Sales expanded 55% in the previous full fiscal year, and it’s impressive that the company can continue growing on top of that prior surge.
Zoom’s financial strength is another good reason to stick with the stock. The software-as-a-service approach is helping it generate plenty of cash. Operating profit margin is still solidly positive, too, even though it has declined in the past year.
Zoom is sitting on nearly $6 billion of cash today, which it can deploy toward innovations on its communication platform, marketing, or additional growth-focused acquisitions. Management signaled that it is focused on protecting earnings power today even as sales growth slows. It affirmed its full-year profitability outlook despite pressures like shifts in foreign exchange rates and slowing economic growth.
The rebound prospects
Zoom’s growth avenues seem more limited today. The company is projecting a decline of between 7% and 8% in its online business even as its enterprise segment expands by over 20%.
These metrics don’t change the broader bullish thesis that has Zoom growing toward $10 billion in annual sales over time as more business moves toward remote and hybrid work. It might be jarring for shareholders to see its fiscal 2023 outlook decline to below a 10% increase compared to over 50% last year.
But Zoom’s expansion strategy is working well on the enterprise side, and its finances give management lots of flexibility to attack the most attractive growth niches. The company’s strong cash flow could lay the groundwork for faster growth in the next several years.
The key factors influencing that expansion rate, besides macroeconomic trends, will be Zoom’s improvements to its platform and the new services it launches. The company needs steady success here if it hopes to return to its prior growth-stock status.