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Box, Inc. (NYSE:BOX) Q3 2024 Earnings Call Transcript

Box, Inc. (NYSE:BOX) Q3 2024 Earnings Call Transcript December 5, 2023

Box, Inc. misses on earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.36 EPS, expectations were $0.38.

Operator: Good day. My name is Krista, and I'll be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Box Incorporated Third Quarter Fiscal 2024 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Thank you. I will now like to turn the conference over to Cynthia Hiponia, Vice President of Investor Relations. You may begin.

Cynthia Hiponia: Good afternoon, and welcome to Box's third quarter fiscal year '24 earnings conference call. I'm Cynthia Hiponia, Vice President, Investor Relations. On the call today, we have Aaron Levie, Box Co-Founder and CEO; and Dylan Smith, Box Co-Founder and CFO. Following our prepared remarks, we will take your questions. Today's call is being webcast and will be available for replay on our Investor Relations website at Our webcast will be audio only. However, supplemental slides are now available for download from our website. We'll also post the highlights of today's call on the X platform at the handle @BoxIncIR. On this call, we will be making forward-looking statements, including our fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2024 financial guidance and our expectations regarding our financial performance for fiscal 2024, fiscal 2025, and future periods, including our free cash flow, gross margins, operating margins, operating leverage, future profitability, net retention rates, remaining performance obligations, revenue and billings and the impact of foreign currency exchange rates and our expectations regarding the size of our market opportunity, our planned investments, future product offerings and growth strategies; our ability to achieve our revenue, operating margins and other operating model targets, the timing and market adoption of and benefits from our new products, pricing models and partnerships; the proceeds from the sale of our data center equipment, our ability to address enterprise challenges and deliver cost savings for our customers, the impact of the macro environment on our business and operating results and our capital allocation strategies including potential repurchase of our common stock.

These statements reflect our best judgment based on factors currently known to us, and actual events or results may differ materially. Please refer to our earnings press release filed today and the risk factors and documents we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q for information on the risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from statements made on this earnings call. These forward-looking statements are being made as of today December 5th, 2023, and we disclaim any obligation to update or revise them should they change or cease to be up to-date. In addition, during today's call, we will discuss non-GAAP financial measures. These non-GAAP financial measures should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for or in isolation from our GAAP results.

You can find additional disclosures regarding these non-GAAP measures, including reconciliations with comparable GAAP results in our earnings press release and in the related supplemental slides, which can be found on the IR page of our website. Unless otherwise indicated, all references to financial measures are on a non-GAAP basis. With that, let me hand it call over to Aaron.

Aaron Levie: Thank you. Cynthia, and thanks, everyone, for joining us today. In Q3, we delivered revenue growth in line with our guidance, with year-over-year growth of 5% or 7% in constant currency. Our 25% operating margins were up 70 basis points from a year ago, demonstrating our operational discipline and delivering year-over-year margin expansion. Despite the various macro headwinds affecting IT budgets, companies still prioritize the Box Content Cloud to help power their hybrid workforces, secure their most important content and automate and digitize their business processes. Examples of Box delivering this value to our customers in Q3 include a leading biotech company expanded its use of Box with a six-figure upsell to enable both collaboration on GSP content in an efficient manner for both internal and external parties as well as support content sharing and collaboration for non-GSP compliant content and use cases.

They also plan to integrate Box with their existing applications including Okta and ServiceNow. An advertising and marketing firm expanded its use of Box with a six-figure upsell and ELA as they move the entire agency to Box to meet their Content Cloud needs. As the company adopts Box enterprise-wide, it will eliminate storage costs from other platforms and will be able to consolidate several SaaS applications eliminating redundancy and complexity from their IT environment. One of the largest technology companies in the world expanded its use of Box with the purchase of KeySafe in an Enterprise Plus upsell to support the organization's content modernization initiatives. With this upsell and access to governance capabilities, Box meets their highest level of security classification for content storage and can now be used for restricted content and records management content while also supporting necessary integrations.

In the third quarter, we held our Annual User Conference BoxWorks and our exclusive CIO summit, CIOWorks. With record BoxWorks attendance, we've heard directly from our customers on how they are driving significant transformation across their businesses, even in the face of near-term economic pressures. Enterprises are also seeing new challenges as they respond to the rapidly evolving era of AI-powered work. We know that content is the lifeblood of so many businesses and yes, right when content is more important than ever, the way the enterprises manage content and legacy systems no longer works. The challenge is that content is getting produced at an ever-increasing rate and enterprises increasingly are finding it hard to secure all of this fragmented content or enable employees to access the right information to do their jobs.

This fragmented content will mean companies can't easily take advantage of the power of AI to get the most out of their data. More than ever before enterprises will need a Content Cloud. By building, the only end-to-end platform that can help customers power their complete content lifecycle in a single architecture, we are reshaping what enterprises can do with their content. At BoxWorks, we made several key product announcements, delivering innovation across security and compliance, collaboration and workflow, and our platform. Our focus is to deliver the best ways to secure and protect sensitive content, ensure compliance for nearly every major industry and government requirement, and power the full document governance process for our customers.

We have expanded Box Shield for ransomware protection capabilities in order to mitigate the ever-growing threat of malware and announced an AI-powered threat detection to identify anomalous file activities originating from Box Drive. We also announced a new integration partnership with CrowdStrike where security and IT teams can deduct malicious files, ransomware, and suspicious activity as well as configure security policies directly in Box's administrative console. Across collaboration and workflow, we're adding new capabilities to Box Notes, improving the experience and performance of Canvas, doubling down on our e-signature feature set and continuing to advance next-gen workflow capabilities with the announcements of Doc Gen and Forms. And this year we've taken our strategy even further with the announcement of two major breakthroughs; Box AI and Box Hubs.

With Box AI, we're going to revolutionize how companies work with their content. Since the early days of enterprise software, we could always query and understand our structured data, but we've never been able to do the same easily with our unstructured data or our content, which is estimated at 90% of corporate information. All of the content that an enterprise produces is being dramatically underutilized relative to the value inside of this content. But, now with AI, we can solve problems that previously were only possible with high level of human understanding at scale. From extracting metadata efficiently at scale, getting expert analysis to document understanding and summarization and creating new content, with AI we can now process information at a speed and at a cost that opens up completely new possibilities of what we can do with our information.

Additionally, we also announced Box Hubs, a revolutionary way to publish content in the enterprise. With Box Hubs, we're enabling companies to take the most important content in their organization and make sure it's easily available and distributed to exactly the right people seamlessly. Content sprawl is one of the biggest challenges facing enterprises today and never before has there been a simple way for any line of business that points the most important content that they need to share broadly in a customized fashion. Any team or department in an enterprise can create a hub to service its most relevant content like a sales enablement portal, HR policy portals, marketing branding sites, and more. And importantly, when combined with Box AI, we are unleashing the power of enterprise content in it -- in the organization by turning unstructured data into valuable knowledge.

Most importantly because the content hub is curated by topic, enterprises can ensure that the answers they are getting from AI are accurate, and based on the authoritative information in an organization. The vision for what's possible when companies have a modern approach to working with their content with our new innovative products has been incredibly well received by customers. At CIOWorks, we heard from our customers directly who are using Box AI and this quote from the CIO of a financial advisory firm after turning on Box AI is quite representative of what we're hearing, and “We just enable the Box AI beta this morning, game changer, force multiplier, knowledge overload, the future is bright with Box”. Thank you. Finally, we recently announced an expanded partnership with Google Cloud whereby Box will integrate with Vertex AI, Google Cloud unified AI platform to help customers process and analyze data faster and create a more personalized user experience, intelligent search, and more.

This builds on our earlier announcement to integrate Google Cloud's advanced large language model into Box AI with Vertex AI helping to power our new metadata extraction feature. Further, part of our Google Cloud partnership announcement, Box will now be a part of the Google Cloud marketplace. GCP customers will be able to buy Box directly through marketplace and use their GCP credits toward the purchase of Box. This new channel for Box expands our opportunity to land new customers who can unlock the potential for cost savings against existing Google Cloud commitments, streamline lengthy procurement cycles and consolidated billing. Now, turning more broadly to go to market. A key component of our strategy to drive profitable growth at scale is our ability to land, adopt, expand and retain our customers.

Driving the adoption of Enterprise Plus is a critical strategic lever to increase the efficiency of our sales motion and bring the full value of the Box Content Cloud to our customers. And by continually adding value through additional features and functionality to existing suites plans, we strengthened our ability to retain customers as shown by our best-in-class 3% churn rates in Q3. Our momentum with Enterprise Plus remains strong and we have now reached 51% of our revenue coming from Suites customers, up from 48% last quarter. Given the large base of customers that we believe are still right for upgrading an Enterprise Plus, we have added Box AI into this plan to encourage further upsells to this plan. At the same time, we know that there's going to be even more advanced AI capabilities that some of our customers will require and we expect to introduce a higher tier plan next year to address these needs.

Already within Q3, we saw numerous Enterprise Plus upgrades that were in part driven by the inclusion of Box AI in this offering including a worldwide consulting firm who has been a Box customer since 2013, signed an Enterprise Plus upsell to get access to the Box AI beta. Box AI has the potential to help the consultants to be more productive day to day with automated metadata to help search and finding files, Box AI will be critical in transforming how this organization works with its petabyte of content in Box. An international corporate law firm moved to Enterprise Plus to give its lawyers and staff access to Box AI, being able to summarize large briefs and documents and find information in a matter of seconds, will cut down on time, increase productivity and be hugely beneficial to their employees.

We're incredibly excited to be able to bring Box AI to our customers and we will share more updates with all of you soon. As we look ahead to FY ‘25, we are focused on continuing to drive profitable growth at scale. We are entering in one of the most transformative periods in Enterprise software and we are focused on capitalizing on the opportunity in front of us. Next year, we will be continuing to drive investments across AI, security, advanced content management and workflow capabilities to help our customers transform how they work with their content. Further, given the market opportunity right now, in FY ‘25, we will be expanding our focus on key strategic partners and system integrators, scaling our high ROI pipeline generating initiatives, investing in growth in key verticals, and continuing to optimize our international growth efforts.

A close-up of a laptop with a screen revealing the 25 languages supported by the company's cloud content management platform.
A close-up of a laptop with a screen revealing the 25 languages supported by the company's cloud content management platform.

We will drive these initiatives while at the same time delivering improving profitability, putting us on a path to achieve our long-term financial targets. To help drive these efforts forward, in November, we announced that Olivia Nottebohm has joined us as Chief Operating Officer succeeding retiring COO Steph Carullo. Olivia brings proven leadership and execution at Box, with the executive roles at Google Cloud and most recently, Notion a cloud-based productivity platform, and over a decade at McKinsey focused on the software industry. I'm excited to work with her as we deliver new products and plans, expand our partner and system integrator network, go deeper in key vertical markets, and continue our global expansion. I'd also like to provide a huge thank you to Stephanie Carullo, who has been an amazing partner to me and the team for over six years at Box, taking us from less than $500 million of revenue to over $1 billion in revenue, as well as helping execute a seamless transition to bring on Olivia.

I am wishing Steph the best in her retirement and I'm excited to have stay close as we continue to scale. In summary, while macro trends and currency rates have impacted our results, in the near term, we have continued to execute our content cloud strategy, creating more high value and repeatable use cases that further differentiate Box and grow our TAM, demonstrating our product leadership with Box AI and Box Hubs, positions us for growth, delivering to customers the platform that they need to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving era of AI-powered work. With that, let me turn it over to Dylan.

Dylan Smith: Thanks, Aaron. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us. In Q3, we continued to deliver profitable growth while expanding operating margin and executing our disciplined capital allocation strategy. Revenue landed in line with our guidance and EPS grew by 16% year-over-year. We also announced numerous enhancements to our Box Content Cloud platform including significant innovation around Box AI and Box Hubs, which we believe will be important drivers of future revenue growth. In Q3, we generated revenue of $262 million, up 5% year-over-year and representing 7% year-over-year growth on a constant currency basis. We now have over 1700 total customers paying us more than $100,000 annually, an increase of 10% year-over-year.

Our Suites attach rate of 79% in large Q3 deals was up from 73% in Q3 of last year. As Aaron mentioned, Suites customers now account for 51% of our revenue, up significantly from 42% of revenue a year ago and up from 48% last quarter. Our Suites value proposition is resonating with customers as they continue to prioritize solutions that enable transformation, simplification, and security of the content within their enterprises. We ended Q3 with remaining performance obligations or RPO of $1.1 billion, a 7% year-over-year increase or 8% growth on a constant currency basis. We expect to recognize roughly 60% of our RPO over the next 12 months. Q3 billings of $254 million were down 2% year-over-year with no impact from FX. Our previous guidance had anticipated a 200 basis point tailwind from FX.

As a reminder, our billings growth rate in Q3 of last year was unusually strong at 20%, including a large multi-year customer prepayments. Our net retention rate at the end of Q3 was 102% as we continue to see pressure on seat growth within existing customers. Our annualized full churn rate remains strong and stable at 3% as customers continue to prioritize the value that the Box platform provides. We've also continued to achieve year-over-year pricing increases despite the pressures on IT budgets. In Q4, we expect both our full churn rate and our net retention rate to remain roughly flat with our Q3 results. As seat growth returns to more normalized levels and as we continue driving pricing improvements, we are confident that our best-in-class full churn rate and expanding our suite of innovative products will enable a higher net retention rate over time.

We are proud to have achieved our goal of running our infrastructure in the public cloud as at the end of Q3. We have now begun selling the data center equipment that we're no longer using, which had been anticipated in our plans for this year. However, the market for this equipment has softened significantly over the past few months. As a results, we are reducing our estimate of expected proceeds from these sales. This created a headwind against our expense forecast of $3.3 million in Q3 and we expect another roughly $4 million impact in Q4 with no material impact to our financial results anticipated next fiscal year. Q3 gross margin came in at 76.3% versus 76.5% a year ago. Q3 gross margin was negatively impacted by 130 basis points due to the equivalent proceeds headwind that I just mentioned.

Throughout the course of this migration, our team has delivered efficiencies above and beyond our initial expectations. We continue to expect further gross margin expansion next year as our data center expenses wind down and as we unlock additional benefits from running fully in the public cloud. We also continue to drive leverage across the business through our lower cost location strategy and rigorous cost discipline. This resulted in 24.7% operating margin or 26.6% in constant currency, an improvement from the 24.0% we delivered in the year-ago period. Q3 operating margin landed slightly below our expectations of 25.5% due entirely to the 130 basis point equipment proceeds headwind that I noted earlier. As a results, we delivered diluted non-GAAP EPS of $0.36 in Q3, up 16% from $0.31 a year ago, which includes a negative impact of $0.05 due to FX.

This FX headwind was $0.01 higher than anticipated when we provided guidance last quarter and EPS was also impacted by $0.02 from the equipment proceeds headwind. Adjusting for these unanticipated headwinds, EPS would have been $0.39 above the high end of our guidance. Finally, I'd highlight that Q3 marked our fifth consecutive quarter of achieving GAAP profitability. I'll now turn to our cash flow and balance sheet. In Q3, we generated free cash flow of $58 million, a 6% increase from $55 million in the year-ago period. We delivered cash flow from operations of $72 million, a 3% increase from $70 million in the year-ago period. Capital lease payments, which we include in our free cash flow calculation, were $7 million, down from $10 million in Q3 of last year.

Going forward, we expect capital lease payments to wind down over the next few quarters as we exit our managed data centers. Let's now turn to our capital allocation strategy. We ended the quarter with $440 million in cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments. In Q3, we repurchased 1.9 million shares for approximately $52 million. As of October 31st, 2023, we had approximately $84 million of remaining buyback capacity under our current share repurchase plan. With that, I would like to turn to our guidance for Q4 and fiscal 2024. As a reminder, approximately one-third of our revenue is generated outside of the US with roughly 60% of our international revenue coming from Japan. The following guidance includes the expected impact of FX headwinds, assuming current exchange rates.

Our guidance also accounts for the continued pressure on seat growth that we anticipate due to the macroeconomic environment, as well as lower professional services revenue versus our prior expectations. As I stated earlier, we expect the equipment proceeds headwinds to have an impact of roughly $4 million on our Q4 expenses for a total FY '24 impact of a little more than $7 million. Additionally, in the fourth quarter, we modified our Redwood City office lease to reduce the amount of square footage that we're leasing. This results in a one-time net exit expense that we will recognize in Q4, representing a 60 basis point headwind to Q4 operating margin. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024, we anticipate revenue in the range of $262 million to $264 million, representing 3% year-over-year growth at the high end of this range or 5% in constant currency.

We expect our Q4 billings growth rate to be in the low to mid-single-digit range. This includes an expected headwind from FX of approximately 300 basis points. We expect our Q4 gross margin to be roughly 78%, which includes the equipment proceeds headwind of 150 basis points. We expect our Q4 non-GAAP operating margin to be approximately 25.5%, which includes an expected negative impact of approximately 180 basis points due to FX. It's important to note that our Q4 operating margin expectations also incorporate two discrete items that were not included in our expectations as of last quarter. First, the equipment proceeds headwind on gross margin creates an equivalent 150 basis point impact on operating margin. Second, the lease modification discussed above represents an operating margin headwind of 60 basis points.

We expect our Q4 non-GAAP EPS to be in the range of $0.38 to $0.39 and GAAP EPS to be in the range of $0.05 to $0.06. Weighted average diluted shares are expected to be approximately 147 million. Our Q4 GAAP and non-GAAP EPS guidance includes an expected year-over-year headwind from FX of approximately $0.03, the equipment proceeds headwind of a little more than $0.02, and the lease modification headwind of approximately $0.01. For the full fiscal year ending January 31st, 2024, we now expect FY '24 revenue in the range of $1.037 billion to $1.039 billion, representing 5% year-over-year growth or 8% on a constant currency basis. We expect our FY '24 billings growth rate to be roughly 3% on an as-reported basis or roughly 5% on a constant currency basis.

We now expect our FY '24 gross margin to be roughly 77%. This includes the previously mentioned second half-headwind from equipment proceeds on 70 basis points. We are revising our FY '24 non-GAAP operating margin guidance to be approximately 24.5%, representing a 140 basis point improvement from last year's results of 23.1%. We expect FX to have a negative impact on operating margin of approximately 200 basis points. Our revised expectations also include the previously mentioned equipment proceeds and lease modification expenses, which had a combined impact of 85 basis points. We are updating our FY '24 non-GAAP EPS expectations to be in the range of $1.42 to $1.43, representing a 19% increase at the high-end of this range versus $1.20 in the prior year.

We expect FY '24 GAAP EPS to be in the range of $0.15 to $0.16. Weighted average diluted shares are expected to be approximately 149 million. Our FY '24 GAAP and non-GAAP EPS guidance includes an expected full year negative impact from FX of approximately $0.17 and an additional impact of approximately $0.05 from the two non-recurring items that I mentioned previously. As we continue to navigate through this dynamic macroeconomic environment, we think it would be helpful to provide a high level preliminary outlook for fiscal 2025. While we have been seeing a more stable demand environment, we want to be prudent and assuming that this challenging environment persist throughout the coming year. This outlook also assumes current FX rates. We currently expect our FY '25 reported revenue growth rate to be approximately 5%.

This includes an expected headwind from FX of roughly 100 basis points. We're generating significant business model leverage to our public cloud migration, workforce location strategy, and overall cost discipline. The impact of these initiatives enables us to invest in the key growth initiatives that Aaron discussed, while also improving our already strong profitability profile. We currently expect FY '25 non-GAAP operating margin of roughly 27%, representing an improvement of roughly 250 basis points year-over-year, which includes an expected headwind from FX of a little less than 100 basis points. We remain committed to delivering against the long-term financial targets that we outlined at our March Financial Analyst Day. We are reiterating our long-term revenue growth target of 10% to 15%, gross margin of 80% to 82%, operating margin of 32% to 35%, and revenue growth plus free cash flow margin of at least 45%.

Despite the challenging macroeconomic environment, this year we continue to deliver against the core initiatives to achieve these long-term financial targets. We are making significant enhancements to our innovative product offerings, expanding both operating margin and free cash flow margin and consistently returning capital to our shareholders. As we capitalize on these initiatives and as the macroeconomic environment improves, we are well-positioned to create significant long-term shareholder value. With that, Aaron and I will be happy to take your questions. Operator?

Cynthia Hiponia: Actually, Dylan, before we open up for questions, it might be helpful to see our guidance and the adjustments we discussed in one table. Please refer to slide 12 of our earnings deck, which you can find on the IR website. Operator?

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