Box Raises Forecast as First-Quarter Sales Beat Estimates

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Box Inc., the cloud storage startup that sold shares to the public in January, reported a smaller loss than analysts expected on higher sales. The company boosted its revenue forecast for the year.

Shares in Box rose after the company reported that fiscal first-quarter sales rose 45 percent to $65.6 million, and a loss, excluding certain items, of 28 cents a share. That compared with an average analyst estimate for $63.7 million in revenue and a loss of 31 cents. For the year, Box said sales would be as much as $290 million, up from its previous forecast and the $283.3 million estimated by analysts.

Box, led by Aaron Levie, has been adding corporate features to lure more enterprise customers and last month said it signed an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, its first agency-wide deal. Facing competition from rivals such as Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. and Dropbox Inc., the Los Altos, California-based company is trying to move away from basic file storage where prices are dropping.

“As far as we can tell, the numbers were pretty much greenlights across the board,” said Richard Davis Jr, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., who rates the shares a hold. “It’s a refreshing change from their first quarter” as a public company, he said.

Box shares rose as much as 11 percent to $19.75 in extended trading after the earnings were released. Earlier, the shares rose 5.1 percent to close at $17.79 in New York.

Future Results

Billings, a measure of future revenue, rose 58 percent to $69.8 million, the company said. Box projected second-quarter sales of $69 million to $70 million compared with the $67.2 million average estimate of analysts.

The results released Wednesday improve upon Box’s first quarterly report as a public company in March when some analysts miscalculated the number of shares outstanding, leading to expectations for a narrower loss and sending shares down.

“This was as good quarter but they’ve got a lot more they have to do,” Davis said. “I want to see a black number on the bottom line.”

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