Snowflake Drops on Disappointing Product Sales Forecast


Snowflake Inc., a software maker that debuted with the year’s biggest U.S. initial public offering, gave a lackluster product sales forecast for the current quarter, signaling fierce competition in cloud computing. Shares declined about 5% in extended trading.

Product revenue, which makes up more than 90% of sales, will be $162 million to $167 million in the period ending in January, the San Mateo, California-based company said Wednesday in a statement. Analysts, on average, estimated $166 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Snowflake’s data-warehouse software is like a vacuum sucking up information strewn across different systems, so that businesses can analyze it all together. The company competes against the cloud-computing divisions of Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc., as well as open-source vendor Cloudera Inc. and database stalwart Oracle Corp. Snowflake has chased major deals with banks, including an agreement with Capital One Financial Corp. valued around $100 million and a major deal with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bloomberg has reported.

Snowflake listed on the New York Stock Exchange in September in a $3.36 billion IPO, the largest ever for a software maker. The stock has more than doubled since then on optimism it would produce extraordinary growth, closing at $292.69 Wednesday in New York, and pushing the company’s market value to more than $82 billion.

In the fiscal third quarter, total revenue more than doubled to $159.6 million. Analysts projected $147.1 million. The company reported its net loss widened to $168.9 million, or $1.01 a share, from $88.1 million, or $1.92 a share, in the period a year earlier.

“We are pleased with our performance this first quarter as a public company,” Chief Executive Officer Frank Slootman said in the statement. “Our vision of the Snowflake Data Cloud mobilizing the world’s data is clearly resonating across our customer base.”

The software maker projected product revenue of as much as $543 million this fiscal year, beating analysts’ estimates of $530 million.

The eight-year-old business has substantial supporters. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Salesforce Ventures, an arm of Inc., each committed to buy $250 million of the company’s Class A common stock in a private placement. Berkshire reported in a filing last month that it had purchased 6.13 million shares of Snowflake valued at $1.54 billion, representing 15% of shares outstanding.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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