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Why Appian Stock Was Sliding Today

By Jeremy Bowman – Nov 5, 2021 at 5:04PM

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A bottom-line earnings miss nailed the stock.

What happened

Shares of Appian (APPN 1.26%) were falling today after the low-code cloud software company missed bottom-line estimates in its third-quarter earnings report.

As a result, the stock closed down 12.2%.

A digital image of a cloud

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Cloud subscription revenue, the company's key metric, was up 36% to $46.7 million, topping the high end of its own guidance range. Overall revenue, which includes on-premise subscriptions and professional services, increased 19% to $92.4 million, which reflect a shift in the services business to its partners. Sales in that segment actually fell slightly, but the overall result still edged out estimates at $91.1 million.

The retention rate for cloud subscription revenue was 117%, showing that existing customers spent 17% more with Appian on average than they did a year ago, and cloud subscription gross margin was 90%, showing why Appian is so focused on growing its cloud business.

On the bottom line, its adjusted loss based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) widened from $2.4 million to $12 million as spending on marketing, research and development, and general and administrative expenses grew faster than revenue. After finishing at breakeven in the quarter a year ago, the company reported an adjusted loss per share of $0.22, which was worse than the consensus at $0.19.

Also in the quarter, the company closed on its acquisition of Lana Labs, a process mining company that will help unify its low-code value proposition as process mining helps guide what processes can be automated using Appian's software suite.

Now what

The company's fourth-quarter guidance called for cloud subscription revenue of $48.8 million to $49.3 million, for 32% to 33% growth. And it sees overall revenue increasing 16% to 17% to a range of $95 million to $95.5 million, which is slightly above estimates at $94.2 million. On the bottom line, it expects an adjusted loss per share of $0.21 to $0.24, which was worse than estimates at $0.18.

Appian stock has been highly volatile over the last year, so it's not surprising to see the cloud stock fall on a relatively modest earnings miss. Investors should keep an eye on the Lana Labs integration as the company sees that as an important differentiator for its customers.

Jeremy Bowman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Appian. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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