Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

After a Pandemic-Fueled 2020, Zoom's 2021 Could Be Even More Important for Its Future

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Investors will be watching the video platform's moves closely this year.

Zoom Video Communications (ZM 7.38%) caps off a pandemic-fueled 2020 with another amazing quarterly earnings report. Every single result from the previous quarter was eye-popping, but the stock has sold off because of its slowing growth projected for 2021. On a Fool Live episode of "The Wrap" recorded on March 2, contributors Jamal Carnette, Jason Hall, and Brian Withers discuss the video platform's stellar results and how 2021 is shaping up to be even more important for the company's zooming into the next decade.

Jason Hall: All right, guys. Jamal, you're going to take a closer look at Zoom's earnings?

Jamal Carnette: Yeah. I think the last time I was here, I said that sometimes, you have to divorce the stock from the actual business, and I think it was certainly true here. Zoom came out, earnings, killed it, to be quite honest. The company posted revenue of $882.5 million in the quarter and adjusted earnings per share of $1.22. That's versus analyst's estimates of roughly about $811 million and $0.79. Significant top-line beat and a significant bottom-line beat on the adjusted basis.

I think more importantly, as we said earlier, it's richly valued, some individuals are paying for growth. The quarter was up 369% on the top line. That's an eye-popping figure. Not only that, it's actually narrowly better than the third quarter's 367% year-over-year growth rate, and better than the full-year revenue growth of 326%. I think the takeaway there is, it's going from strength to strength.

Even coming from a higher base this quarter, it actually showed significant or actually accelerating growth although a smaller percentage versus the third quarter. I think that's also important because Zoom has always been seen as this pandemic stock. The bear argument was, once we venture out and start going back into the office, revenue is going to be significantly impacted. I think what you're seeing is that starting to happen at some root level. But the growth rate that you're seeing here is showing that it's more than just a pandemic stock.

Driving that top-line growth was a significant increase of customers with more than 10 employees. That grew 470% or paying customers with more than 10 employees, grew 470% over last year's quarter, and is now more than 467,000. Additionally, it's landing those large enterprise customers, customers with annual revenue of more than $100,000 in the prior 12 months, that increased 156%.

Still, investors were not sold in the stock and it sold off. I think it picked up going into the end. It was probably due to a combination of factors. Most notably, shares are up 230% still in the last year and it's essentially a 10-bagger since its 2019 IPO. But if there was perhaps a reason due to operations that investors sold off, it could be guidance. For the first quarter, it's expecting revenue to be $902.5 million at the midpoint. That's year-over-year growth over the prior quarter of about 175%. Full fiscal year top-line growth is expected to slow to roughly about 42% to $3.77 billion at the midpoint. Non-GAAP diluted EPS is supposed to be 96% at the midpoint, which is a 3,100% increase over the prior year's quarter of $0.03.

I think that's what you're going to start seeing, a pickup in free cash flow and a pickup in bottom-line growth versus top-line growth. Full-year fiscal, non-GAAP diluted EPS is supposed to increase 2,300% to $3.62 at the midpoint, which is large. Answering your question earlier, they reported a free cash flow of, not a billion. It was 1.4 billion in this fiscal year.

Hall: Almost 40% increase over the four quarters before this quarter was added on. It's just incredible and I just want to add a couple of things. This is my thoughts on Zoom and why I continue to be so interested in the company and why I finally opened a position about a month ago and you start thinking about all of the boxes they check off. Obviously, their cashflows are incredible. It tells me that they have enormous pricing power.

I think that's going to prove out over this year because this is the preferred video conferencing service. There's no doubt about it. This is what users prefer. This is what companies prefer to use. There's the network effect benefit of that that comes into play. I think that in a lot of ways, 2021 is going to be more important to Zoom's future than 2020 was. 2020 was like rocket fuel. It forced every business out there to adapt, and Zoom rose to the top. But 2021 is going to be about all of those customers helping them to leverage Zoom to remain a Zoom customer.

I think in a lot of ways, that's going to be more important to its next 10 years than last year was. We'll see how it plays out. But come on, they're saying they're going to grow revenues 40% in the year that everybody is going to be going back to the office, that's incredible.

Brian Withers: That's really lousy. [laughs]

Hall: How dare they?

Withers: Forty percent top-line growth and doubling the bottom line. That's just crappy.

Hall: Every customer they add this year, again, it's that pricing power and that leverage. These customers are worth more than last year's customers because they're at scale. It's just incredible.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Zoom Video Communications Stock Quote
Zoom Video Communications
$90.94 (7.38%) $6.25

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/20/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.