Expectations were high going into Adobe Systems' (NASDAQ:ADBE) fiscal fourth-quarter results. With shares of the creative and digital-media software specialist up 34% year to date before the latest quarterly numbers were released after market close Thursday, investors were likely hoping fourth-quarter top- and bottom-line figures would come in ahead of analysts' average forecast. They did just that -- and shares are rising more than 2% in after-hours trading following the quarterly update.
The quarter was fueled by broad-based strength across the company's segments, as its loyal customer base continues to respond positively to its continued product innovation.
"Adobe delivered another year of strong revenue growth and expanding profitability resulting in record earnings," CFO John Murphy said in the company's earnings release. "We are bullish about our opportunities and our ability to continue to deliver strong top- and bottom-line growth."
Here are some key takeaways from the quarter:
1. A beat on revenue
Fiscal fourth-quarter revenue came in at $2.99 billion, up 21% year over year. Analysts on average were expecting revenue of $2.97 billion. A strong fiscal fourth quarter put total fiscal 2019 revenue at $11.17 billion, representing a 24% year-over-year increase.
2. And on non-GAAP earnings per share
The tech company's non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings per share rose 25% year over year to $2.29, beating a consensus analyst estimate of $2.26. Full-year non-GAAP earnings per share increased from $6.76 in fiscal 2018 to $7.87 in fiscal 2019.
3. Stock buybacks cheered shareholders
During its fiscal fourth quarter, the company repurchased 2.8 million shares. This put total share repurchases during fiscal 2019 at 9.9 million, effectively returning $2.7 billion to investors -- a value creation tool that has proved particularly lucrative for shareholders since the average price of these shares was well below the stock's value today.
4. Digital media revenue was up
Adobe's digital media segment, made up of creative and document cloud revenue, increased 22% year over year to $2.08 billion.
5. And so was digital experience revenue
The company's smaller segment, digital experience, saw faster growth, with revenue increasing 24% year over year to $859 million.
6. There was strength in annual recurring digital media revenue
Recurring revenue was strong, with Adobe exiting the year with $8.4 billion in annual recurring digital media revenue, $1.69 billion more than in the year-ago quarter.
7. Fiscal 2020 revenue guidance calls for growth
Management guided for fiscal 2020 revenue of $13.15 billion, implying 18% year-over-year growth.
8. And 2020 adjusted EPS is projected to rise
The company forecast fiscal 2020 non-GAAP earnings per share of $9.75, up 24% year over year from $7.87 in fiscal 2019.