Why CommVault Systems, Inc. Shares Got Destroyed

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of CommVault Systems  (NASDAQ: CVLT  ) have lost over 29% of their value today, falling back to levels not seen in nearly two years, after the information-management specialist reported fiscal fourth-quarter results that disappointed investors on the top line.

So what: CommVault's fourth quarter, which ended in March, produced $156.8 million in revenue -- a 13.4% year-over-year improvement -- and $0.52 in adjusted earnings per share. Earnings handily beat Wall Street's consensus of $0.47 per share, but CommVault missed revenue expectations of $160.2 million. In GAAP terms, CommVault's EPS declined from $0.35 a year ago to $0.32 today. The company also declined to offer forward guidance in its earnings release. This could be worrying investors who have picked up on CEO Robert Hammer's comments about the company's "mixed results," which included strong showings in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East but weakness in the Americas.

Now what: Investors have been punishing CommVault all year after propelling its shares to gains of over 600% late 2009 through the fall of 2013. While a lack of guidance is worrying, the GAAP EPS decline is also a bit of an issue, as CommVault's net income has been its strongest metric during the past five years, as it's grown at over twice the rate of its free cash flow, and nearly three times the rate of its revenue.

Despite this issue, CommVault's P/E has now slipped to its lowest level in five years, and its price-to-free cash flow ratio of 20 is rather attractive as well. CommVault may not be done dropping, but it's cheaper today than it's been in years, and that should be a good reason for savvy investors to start digging a little deeper.

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Alex Planes

Alex Planes specializes in the deep analysis of tech, energy, and retail companies, with a particular focus on the ways new or proposed technologies can (and will) shape the future. He is also a dedicated student of financial and business history, often drawing on major events from the past to help readers better understand what's happening today and what might happen tomorrow.

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9/2/2015 3:10 PM
CVLT $35.14 Up +0.15 +0.43%
CommVault Systems,… CAPS Rating: **