Qualtrics sees full-year sales above Wall Street estimates but fourth quarter ends mixed

(Reuters) - Qualtrics International on Tuesday forecast revenue would beat analyst expectations in the current quarter and full year, but the business software firm reported mixed results compared to forecasts for the fourth quarter.

Provo, Utah-based Qualtrics projected revenue midpoints of $227 million for its current first quarter and $952 million for the full year. That exceeded estimates of $223 million and $943.3 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Qualtrics said sales rose 24% from a year earlier to $213.6 million. The fourth-quarter results were toward the high end of the $211.5 million to $214.5 million range the company told investors to expect during the run-up to its public offering in January, and in line with FactSet estimates of $213.5 million. But they were slightly below estimates of $216 million according to Refinitiv data.

Qualtrics share were up 2.12% to $37.93 in midday trading on Wednesday.

Businesses use Qualtrics software to solicit real-time feedback from customers and employees to improve products, services and workplaces. The company is controlled by German software giant SAP, which retained a controlling stake after Qualtrics raised $1.55 billion in an initial public offering in January.

Qualtrics generated an adjusted net loss of 2 cents per share during the fourth quarter, smaller than its net loss of 5 cents per share a year earlier. The company forecast net losses to continue for the full year of 2021 as it works to hit its revenue growth forecast of 34%.

Because Qualtrics sells software on a subscription basis, that means it must spend money to acquire customers upfront, costs it can recoup over time as the customers pay monthly and annual subscription fees.

“When you look at the subscription gross margins at 90% for the annual period (of 2020), and then the overall gross margins of 76%, that allows us to then invest in the business,” Qualtrics Chief Financial Officer Rob Bachman said in an interview.

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by David Gregorio, Sonya Hepinstall and Dan Grebler