VeriSign VRSN reported first-quarter 2019 non-GAAP earnings of $1.31 that increased 22.4% from the year-ago quarter. The figure also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.24.
Revenues increased 2.4% year over year to $306.4 million and beat the consensus mark of $302.4 million.
VeriSign, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
VeriSign, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | VeriSign, Inc. Quote
VeriSign ended the reported quarter with 154.8 million .com and .net domain name registrations, up 4.4% year over year. The figure reflects a net increase of 1.82 million registrations during the quarter.
Notably, there were 141 million .com and 13.8 million .net domain name registrations in first-quarter 2019.
In the reported quarter, VeriSign processed 9.8 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net compared with 9.6 million in the year-ago quarter.
The final .com and .net renewal rate for the fourth quarter of 2018 was 74.3% compared with 72.2% in the year-ago quarter. Renewal rates are not fully measurable until 45 days from the end of the quarter.
Management anticipates the renewal rate for first-quarter of 2019 to be about 75% compared with 75.3% in the year-ago period.
VeriSign’s research and development expenses (5.3% of total revenues) increased 4.9% from the year-ago quarter to $16 million.
General and administrative expenses (11.1% of total revenues) increased 2.8% to $34 million. However, sales and marketing expenses (3.4% of total revenues) declined 39.1% to $11 million. Total operating expenses also declined 6.8% year over year to $106 million.
In the reported quarter, non-GAAP operating income was $212.7 million, up 7.2% from the year-ago quarter. Non-GAAP operating margin expanded 310 basis points (bps) year over year to 69.4%.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
As of Mar 31, 2019, the company’s cash and cash equivalents (including marketable securities) were approximately $1.25 billion compared with $1.27 billion in the prior quarter.
Operating cash flow in the quarter was approximately $187 million compared with $90 million in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, free cash flow was $178 million compared with $82 million in the year-ago quarter.
VeriSign repurchased 1 million shares for $175 million in the quarter.
The company expects the domain name base growth rate to be between 2.5% and 4.25%. Moreover, revenues are expected to be $1.22-$1.235 billion from the earlier guided figure of $1.215-$1.235 billion. Non-GAAP operating margin is expected to be 67.5-68.5%.
Capital expenditure is anticipated to be $45-$55 million.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
VeriSign currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Fujifilm Holdings Corp. FUJIY, Paycom Software, Inc. PAYC and Intuit Inc. INTU are some better-ranked stocks in the broader computer and technology sector. While Fujifilm and Paycom sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Intuit carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Long-term growth rate for Fujifilm, Paycom and Intuit is pegged at 8%, 25% and 16%, respectively.
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