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Will HubSpot's Practice of Beat-and-Raise Continue When It Reports Earnings?

By Danny Vena – Nov 1, 2018 at 10:12AM

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The company has pioneered a successful niche for itself in the evolving world of advertising. Can its stellar growth continue?

For investors in HubSpot (HUBS 4.99%), this year has been something of a roller-coaster ride. After several quarters of beating its own forecast -- as well as analysts' expectations -- and raising its full-year guidance, HubSpot's stock had jumped as much as 80% before losing half of those gains during the recent market declines, though there wasn't any company-specific news to speak of.

Investors will be watching closely when the inbound marketing specialist reports the financial results of its third quarter after the market close on Nov. 7. Let's look at HubSpot's recent results to see if they provide any insight into what we can expect when the company reports earnings.

Man at computer working on business document.

Image source: Getty Images.

Continued strong growth

For the second quarter, HubSpot reported revenue of $122.6 million, up 38% year over year, and exceeding the high end of management's forecast, which topped out at $118 million. Adjusted net income of $7.4 million resulted in adjusted earnings per share of $0.19, up 171% year over year, and well above the $0.15 at the midpoint of management's guidance.

The biggest contributor to the better-than-expected results was subscription revenue, which grew to $116.6 million, up 38% compared to the prior-year quarter. Professional services and other revenue added $6.0 million, up 27% from the year-ago quarter. Adjusted operating margin soared to 5.3%, nearly doubling from the 2.6% it generated in the prior-year quarter.

It wasn't just the financial metrics that impressed. HubSpot grew its total customer base to 48,091, up 40% year over year, and the average subscription revenue per customer came in at $10,004. The company's products now boast 175 third-party integrations, connecting with major platforms like Facebook, Shopify, and Slack.

Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO, seemed pleased with the results:

We're starting to see the fruits of our investment in R&D and we're excited about the progress we've made toward building out our suite of products. We also added a great new CFO in Kate Bueker. I've never been more excited about the future of HubSpot.

What the quarter might hold

HubSpot has increased its full-year guidance twice in as many quarters based on the strength of its recent results, and it's now expecting total revenue of $497.8 million, give or take a million, up from the $483 million the company forecast at the end of last year. This will result in adjusted earnings per share in a range of $0.63 to $0.67, up from the company's previously guided range of $0.51 to $0.59.

For the third quarter, HubSpot is forecasting revenue in the range of $125.6 million to $126.6 million, which would represent growth of about 29% at the midpoint of its guidance. The company is expecting operating income of between $1.0 million and $2.0 million, resulting in adjusted earnings per share in the range of $0.03 to $0.05.

Analysts are similarly upbeat, with consensus estimates calling for revenue of $126.63 million and adjusted earnings per share of $0.05, both at or near the high end of management's guidance.

Based on the company's tendency to outperform its guidance and subsequently raise its forecast, I wouldn't be surprised if we were to see another quarter with better-than-expected results.

Danny Vena owns shares of Facebook, HubSpot, and Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook, HubSpot, and Shopify. The Motley Fool has the following options: long November 2018 $155 calls on Facebook and long November 2018 $135 puts on Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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