What happened

Shares of Appian (NASDAQ:APPN) were falling today after the low-code application software maker reported strong first-quarter numbers but pulled its full-year guidance and said revenue would decline in the second quarter.

As of 10:05 a.m. EDT, the stock was down 11.2%.

Two developers working on computers with code on their screens.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Appian, which helps businesses build apps more efficiently and seamlessly, said cloud subscription revenue rose 33% to $28.4 million in the quarter, ahead of the company's own guidance, and overall subscription revenue was up 46% to $50.4 million, which benefited from $4 million in on-premise subscription revenue being pulled from the second quarter to the first quarter. Total revenue in the quarter increased 31% to $78.9 million, well ahead of the analyst consensus at $70.6 million.

Cloud-based subscription revenue retention rate was 115%, in line with its guidance, and showing that the company grew cloud revenue from existing customers by 15%. That figure was even with the fourth quarter of 2019 but down from 126% in the first quarter of 2019.

Farther down the income statement, Appian's adjusted operating loss narrowed from $8.1 million to $5.1 million, and its adjusted EBITDA loss improved from $7.3 million to $3.6 million. On a per-share basis, its adjusted net loss was $0.12, even with a year ago, and beat estimates at a loss of $0.20.

CEO Matt Calkins commented, "Appian is a platform for change. We've helped businesses around the world adapt to COVID-19. When the crisis is over, we expect strengthened demand for digital transformation, low-code, and automation."

Now what

Management pulled its guidance for the full year due to uncertainty around COVID-19 but said it expected cloud subscription revenue to grow between 25% and 26% to between $28.4 million and $28.7 million. However, due to an impact on professional services revenue and the shift in $4 million in on-premise revenue to the first quarter, the company expects total revenue to decline 7% to 8% to between $60 million and $61 million, below analyst estimates at $72 million. On the bottom line, it expects an adjusted loss per share of $0.23 to $0.26, worse than expectations of a per-share loss of $0.16 and from a loss of $0.15 per share in the quarter a year ago.

Despite a strong first quarter for the SaaS stock, those results seemed to be overshadowed by guidance calling for revenue to decline, adding to concerns about the potential disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic.