(Bloomberg) -- Salesforce.com Inc. shares rose to an all- time high after the maker of cloud-based business software forecast another strong year ahead.
The stock has gained 36 percent this year, compared with a 1.1 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
Salesforce’s projections for fiscal 2017 revenue topped analysts’ estimates as the company sees gains across its products and around around the world. Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff-- a longtime believer in delivering features over the cloud -- is extending his offerings as he looks for new ways to bolster spending with existing customers while also wooing new ones. The company has landed deals with customers such as General Motors Co. and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV as more large companies get their software via the Internet.
"It confirms they’re the envy of the software industry,” said Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS Group AG who has a buy rating on the stock. “Everyone wants to be like Salesforce. They’re the Taylor Swift of the industry right now. ”
Sales should reach $8 billion to $8.1 billion during the fiscal year that begins in February, the company said Wednesday in a statement. That compares with estimates of $7.99 billion.
During the quarter ended in October, newer businesses outpaced its more traditional products. Salesforce’s service cloud business grew 38 percent while its marketing cloud expanded 29 percent. Its largest business, sales cloud, grew 10 percent. The company recently unveiled features designed for specific industries, including health care and financial services, and has enhanced its popular sales-focused software with new machine-learning tools.
“The cloud has become mainstream and is being widely adopted by really big companies,” said Pat Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities. “They’re expanding globally; they’re adding more verticals, and they’re broadening the functionality they offer.”
Salesforce has been investing in its own products while also using acquisitions to expand sales and software in recent years. In 2014, Salesforce paid $390 million for RelateIQ, which made tools that automatically keep track of a salesperson’s interactions with customers, log that information, and use predictive technology to offer helpful reminders about when they should get back in contact. The company also spent more than $2 billion on ExactTarget in 2013, a company that specialized in e- mail marketing.
In the most recent quarter, Salesforce saw strength throughout the company, including sales with big customers, President Keith Block said in an interview.
“We had excellent performance across every geography, in every industry -- and really in every cloud,” Block said. “The value of the large deals in Q3 have increased significantly. In fact, we closed a significant eight-figure deal in the quarter with a global high-tech manufacturer.”
Earnings excluding certain costs were 21 cents a share, topping analysts’ average projection of 19 cents. The company’s net loss was $25.2 million in the three months through October, compared with a loss of $38.9 million a year earlier, Salesforce said.
The company said it expects full fiscal-year 2016 sales to come in at the high-end of the range, at $6.65 billion, and it’s increasing the forecast for adjusted earnings per share to 75 cents, also at the top of the range.
Fiscal third-quarter sales rose 24 percent to $1.7 billion, in line with projections. Unbilled deferred revenue, a closely watched number that indicates the amount of business booked by Salesforce, but not yet recognized, increased 24 percent to $6.7 billion.
Benioff said his company’s focus on cloud-based software is paying off -- even as the industry as a whole benefits. He pointed to strong results from Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google -- all of which are partners in providing support for Salesforce’s services.
"We are at a tipping point," he said.
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