We're not shy when it comes to taking dermatological shortcuts to improve our outward appearance, and a growing number of people turning to CoolSculpting as a way to eliminate stubborn fat cells continues to be good news for Zeltiq Aesthetics (NASDAQ:ZLTQ). The company behind the non-invasive process that reshapes love handles, abdomens, and thighs posted another blowout quarter after Tuesday's market close.
Revenue clocked in at $51.6 million, soaring 66% since the prior year's first quarter. It's a record performance for Zeltiq in any quarter, and that's saying something since this is typically a seasonally sleepy period for the fat zapper. Unlike gym memberships that tend to spike in January as New Year's resolutions take shape, CoolSculpting appointments tend to spike as we get closer to the holidays or bikini season. Even with Zeltiq's torrid growth in recent years, there was a sequential dip in revenue between the holiday quarter and the first quarter in two of the past three years. That didn't happen this time.
Zeltiq did post a small loss of $0.06 a share -- breaking a streak of three consecutive profitable quarters -- but the market was braced for more red ink than that. Wall Street was holding out for a deficit of $0.12 a share, with revenue climbing 54% to hit $47.58 million.
Patients and dermatologists alike can't seem to get enough of CoolSculpting. Zeltiq shipped 347 systems during the first three months of the year, increasing its installed base to 3,523 CoolSculpting machines in the wild. They are being put to use with 207,287 revenue cycles delivered, up 64% since the first three months of last year.
CoolSculpting seems to be too good to be true at first glance. The process applies intense cold to waistlines and thighs at temperatures that freeze fat cells without damaging nearby skin or tissue. The body then naturally eliminates the fat cells over the course of several weeks. The process doesn't provide the immediate gratification that one would get out of pricier and more invasive liposuction and other procedures, but most patients tend to see noticeable results from the relatively painless outpatient procedure.
Once again we find Zeltiq boosting its outlook. This is something that it has done with every passing quarter, after initiating annual guidance dating to the start of 2013. Zeltiq now expects to generate between $235 million and $238 million in revenue in 2015, up from its January forecast of $230 million to $235 million on the top line. Zeltiq is also inching its guidance for adjusted EBITDA higher.
Zeltiq may not be a household name to growth-stock investors, but it certainly knows how to behave like one. The stock is nearly a 10-bagger since bottoming out two years ago. The thinner CoolSculpting clients get the wider Zeltiq's price becomes.