Businesses, schools, and services in the U.S. and elsewhere are increasingly telling employees and students to work from home in an effort to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic as confirmed cases multiply. The result is an interesting test of technologies that enable people to work together while working remotely.
Let's take a look at three companies offering remote work technology whose stock has popped during the coronavirus crisis, but also have the goods to continue that share growth long after the health scare is over.
1. Zoom Video Communications
Videoconferencing software company Zoom Video Communications (ZM 2.13%) has been one of the biggest winners related to the COVID-19 crisis. Its stock is up about 57% so far this year, while the Dow is down roughly 24%. Zoom's cloud-based software sets up audio and videoconferencing, along with tools to share content.
Midway through its coronavirus-driven rally, on March 4 Zoom reported fourth-quarter earnings of $0.15 per share, with revenue rising 78% to $188.3 million. Zoom earned $0.04 per share on sales of $105.8 million a year earlier.
As far as guidance, for the fiscal year 2021, Zoom expects revenue of $910 million versus $622.7 million in the fiscal year 2020, an increase of 46%.
Zoom has competitors, of course, but a "freemium" business model has been key to the company's exposure. Zoom's basic video-calling package is free, making it the most attractive choice for many entities new to work-from-home strategies. Zoom then offers paid plans for larger or more complex meetings.
Credit Suisse analyst Brad Zelnick said, "Zoom has been able to capture mind share, expand the funnel and will likely benefit longer-term as organizations appreciate its product leadership and effectiveness in enabling remote collaboration during and post COVID-19."
Zoom Video's explosive growth during the coronavirus crisis has given the company exposure to far more potential customers than if the crisis hadn't happened. While the stock price is settling back to more reasonable valuations, the company is still growing quickly thanks to the free basic version customers can try out while testing a work-from-home strategy. Zoom Video's performance, product, and popularity in the market point to the stock being a long-term winner and good investment.
RingCentral (RNG 1.88%) sells cloud-based business communications software for workplace collaboration and customer support. The platform integrates voice, chat, conferencing, and application capabilities.
The company is up 62% in the last 12 months, but that gain isn't entirely due to reaction to the coronavirus outbreak. The share price increased 42% since the company announced at the start of October that it would become the exclusive provider of cloud-based unified communications (UC) solutions to Avaya (AVYA).
Avaya has more than 141 million UC lines deployed with customers globally. The opportunity this partnership affords RingCentral is huge. RingCentral now has access to Avaya's large customer base, which has Avaya's installed communications equipment, to sell its remote, cloud-based products.
The Belmont, California-based RingCentral reported full-year 2019 revenue of $903 million, up from $674 million in 2018, registering 34% growth. Full-year 2020 guidance forecasts total revenue at $258 million, representing annual growth of 28%.
As more and more companies utilize RingCentral, its fan base is expanding. In peer review by Gartner Peer Insights, 76% of those surveyed would recommend RingCentral.
Before the Avaya partnership, RingCentral was just another run-of-the-mill software-as-a-service company. But now, with access to Avaya's huge customer base, RingCentral is poised to enjoy consistent long-term growth. RingCentral makes a good choice for the long-term investor as it capitalizes on its short-term exposure due to the coronavirus and longer-term exposure to Avaya's client base.
Quarantines due to the spread of the coronavirus, and now travel bans, are forcing businesses to reevaluate distance working contingency plans. Citrix (CTXS) offers virtual-desktop technology that allows employees to securely access corporate programs from any device anywhere.
Citrix reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2019, beating consensus, and showing healthy demand for its Workspace and Networking solutions.
Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.71, beating Wall Street consensus of $1.68.Revenue was $810 million, and $3.0 billion for the full year, up 1% year over year in the fourth quarter and also for the full year.
Citrix is transitioning to a recurring, subscription-based business model from a purchase model. The company is progressing well with regard to this multi-year goal, with the revenue mix shifting markedly. In 2019, subscription bookings as a percentage of total product bookings were 62%, up from 42% in 2018.
Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR), a key performance indicator, for fourth-quarter 2019 subscriptions was $743 million, up 41% year over year. Software as a Service (SaaS) ARR in the fourth quarter was $520 million, up 49% year over year.
The ongoing transition toward a recurring, subscription-based revenue stream is very significant, especially during a time when businesses are considering an investment in work-from-home technology.
All performance indications point to an expansionary trajectory for Citrix. For tech stock investors, Citrix looks like a good choice not only through the coronavirus crisis but as a long-term pick.