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Pure Storage Announces First Quarter Fiscal 2019 Financial Results

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Pure Storage Announces First Quarter Fiscal 2019 Financial Results

Pure Storage (NYSE: PSTG), the all-flash storage platform that helps innovators build a better world with data, today announced financial results for its first quarter ended April 30, 2018.

Key quarterly financial highlights include:

  • Revenue: $255.9 million, up 40% Y/Y, exceeding the high end of our guidance;
  • Operating margin: -24.2% GAAP; -6.0% non-GAAP, up 7.7 ppts and 7.9 ppts Y/Y, respectively;
  • Operating cash flow: $18.6 million, free cash flow without ESPP impact: $8.6 million.

“Pure has delivered another strong quarter as we lead the industry in delivering new data-centric architectures that enable enterprises to succeed both today and tomorrow,” said Pure Storage CEO Charles Giancarlo. “The combination of our innovative business model, first-to-market technology innovations, and focus on customer success drove continued momentum in Q1.”

Approximately 300 new customers joined Pure Storage in the quarter, increasing the total to more than 4,800 organizations. New customer wins in the quarter include: ALDI International, Barnes & Noble Education, Inc., U.S. Department of Energy, Paige.AI, and Panasonic Taiwan.

“Q1 marked a great start to fiscal 2019, growing 40% year-over-year in revenue and exceeding our operating margin goal,” said Tim Riitters, CFO of Pure Storage. “We are focused on driving industry-leading growth and profitability in our business.”

New Revenue Accounting Standard

Pure Storage adopted ASC 606, the new standard related to revenue recognition effective February 1, 2018. Prior period financial information in this press release has been adjusted to reflect the adoption of this new standard. Please also refer to our earnings presentation on investor.purestorage.com for further information.

First Quarter Fiscal 2019 Financial Highlights

The following tables summarize our consolidated financial results for the fiscal quarters ended April 30, 2018 and 2017 (in millions except percentages, per share amounts and headcount, unaudited):

GAAP Quarterly Financial Information
Three Months Ended
April 30, 2018
Three Months Ended
April 30, 2017
Y/Y Change
Revenue $255.9 $182.6 40%
Gross Margin 65.0% 65.2% -0.2 ppts
Product Gross Margin 66.0% 67.3% -1.3 ppts
Support Subscription Gross Margin 61.6% 57.5% 4.1 ppts
Operating Loss -$61.9 -$58.2 -$3.7
Operating Margin -24.2% -31.9% 7.7 ppts
Net Loss -$64.3 -$57.2 -$7.1
Net Loss per Share (Basic and Diluted) -$0.29 -$0.28 -$0.01
Weighted-Average Shares 223.8 205.8 18.0
Headcount >2,300 >1,800 ~500
Non-GAAP Quarterly Financial Information
Three Months Ended
April 30, 2018
Three Months
Ended April 30, 2017
Y/Y Change
Gross Margin 66.3% 66.4% -0.1 ppts
Product Gross Margin 66.3% 67.6% -1.3 ppts
Support Subscription Gross Margin 66.3% 62.1% 4.2 ppts
Operating Loss -$15.3 -$25.3 $10.0
Operating Margin -6.0% -13.9% 7.9 ppts
Net Loss -$16.2 -$24.3 $8.1
Net Loss per Share -$0.07 -$0.12 $0.05
Weighted-Average Shares 223.8 205.8 18.0

A reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP information is provided at the end of this release.

Financial Outlook

Pure Storage’s second quarter fiscal 2019 guidance is as follows:

  • Revenue in the range of $296 million to $304 million
  • Non-GAAP gross margin in the range of 63.5% to 66.5%
  • Non-GAAP operating margin in the range of -7.0% to -3.0%

Pure Storage’s full year fiscal 2019 guidance is as follows:

  • Revenue in the range of $1.320 billion to $1.370 billion
  • Non-GAAP gross margin in the range of 63.5% to 66.5%
  • Non-GAAP operating margin in the range of 0% to 4%

All forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures contained in this section titled “Financial Outlook” exclude stock-based compensation expense, payroll tax expense related to stock-based activities, amortization of debt discount and debt issuance costs and any applicable anti-dilutive share count impact of the convertible debt hedge agreements and, as applicable, other special items. We have not reconciled guidance for non-GAAP gross margin and non-GAAP operating margin to their most directly comparable GAAP measures because such items that impact these measures are not within our control and/or cannot be reasonably predicted. Accordingly, a reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measure guidance to the corresponding GAAP measures is not available without unreasonable effort.

Conference Call Information

Pure Storage will host a teleconference to discuss the first quarter fiscal 2019 results at 2:00 p.m. (PT) on May 21, 2018. Pure Storage will post its supplemental earnings presentation to the investor relations website at investor.purestorage.com following the conference call.

Teleconference details are as follows:

  • To Listen via Telephone: (877) 201-0168 or (647) 788-4901 (for international callers).
  • To Listen via the Internet: A live and replay audio broadcast of the conference call with corresponding slides will be available at investor.purestorage.com.
  • Replay: A telephone playback of this conference call is scheduled to be available two hours after the call ends on Monday, May 21, 2018, through June 4, 2018. The replay will be accessible by calling (800) 585-8367 or (416) 621-4642 (for international callers), with conference ID 9572519. The call runs 24 hours per day, including weekends.

2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders

Pure Storage will hold its 2018 annual meeting of stockholders on Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. (PT). The meeting will be held virtually, via live webcast at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/PSTG2018. The record date for the meeting was April 25, 2018, and only stockholders of record on that date are eligible to participate in the meeting. Other interested persons may listen to the live webcast of the meeting and can view the 2018 proxy statement and Annual Report on Form 10-K at investor.purestorage.com.

Upcoming Events

Pure Storage will host an investor session at its annual conference, Pure//Accelerate 2018, on May 23, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. (PT). The event will be a live webcast on the investor relations website at investor.purestorage.com. Pure Storage will also be participating in financial conferences on June 6th,7th, and 12th of 2018.

Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding our products, business and operations, including our growth prospects and expectations regarding technology differentiation, and our outlook for the second quarter and full year fiscal 2019, and statements regarding our products, business, operations and results. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are based on potentially inaccurate assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expected or implied by the forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted, and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from the results predicted include, among others, those risks and uncertainties included under the captions “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in our filings and reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including, which are available on our investor relations website at investor.purestorage.com and on the SEC website at www.sec.gov. Additional information is also available in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended January 31, 2018. All information provided in this release and in the attachments is as of May 21, 2018,and we undertake no duty to update this information unless required by law.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures
To supplement our condensed consolidated financial statements, which are prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP, we use the following non-GAAP financial measures: non-GAAP gross profit, non-GAAP gross margin, non-GAAP operating loss, non-GAAP operating margin, non-GAAP net loss, non-GAAP net loss per share, free cash flow, free cash flow as a percentage of revenue, free cash flow without ESPP impact, and free cash flow without ESPP impact as a percentage of revenue. The presentation of this financial information is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for, or superior to, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP.

We use these non-GAAP financial measures for financial and operational decision-making and as a means to evaluate period-to-period comparisons. Our management believes that these non-GAAP financial measures provide meaningful supplemental information regarding our performance and liquidity by excluding certain expenses and expenditures such as stock-based compensation expense and amortization of debt discount and debt issuance costs that may not be indicative of our ongoing core business operating results. We believe that both management and investors benefit from referring to these non-GAAP financial measures in assessing our performance and when analyzing historical performance and liquidity and planning, forecasting, and analyzing future periods. The presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures is not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for our financial results prepared in accordance with GAAP, and our non-GAAP measures may be different from non-GAAP measures used by other companies.

For a reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to GAAP measures, please see the tables captioned “Reconciliations of non-GAAP results of operations to the nearest comparable GAAP measures” and “Reconciliation from net cash provided by (used in) operating activities to free cash flow and free cash flow without ESPP impact,” included at the end of this release.

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Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19

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Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19 1

Organizations in the Middle East have had to take immediate actions in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as shifting to remote and virtual work, implementing new ways of working and redirecting the workforce on critical activities. According to Deloitte’s 10th annual 2020 Middle East Human Capital Trends report, “The social enterprise at work: Paradox as a path forward,” organizations now need to think about how to sustain these actions by embedding them into their organizational culture.

“COVID-19 has created a clarifying moment for work and the workforce. Organizations that expand their focus on worker well-being, from programs adjacent to work to designing well-being into the work itself, will help their workers not only feel their best but perform at their best. Doing so will strengthen the tie between well-being and organizational outcomes, drive meaningful work, and foster a greater sense of belonging overall,” said Ghassan Turqieh, Consulting Partner, Human Capital, Deloitte Middle East.

According to the Deloitte report, many organizations in the Middle East made quick arrangements to engage with employees in the wake of the pandemic through frequent communications, multiple webinars where senior leaders addressed employee concerns, virtual employee events, manager check-ins, periodic calls and other targeted interactions with the workforce.

The report also discussed how UAE and KSA governments have reexamined work policies and practices, amended regulations and introduced COVID-19 initiatives to support companies and the workforce in the public and private sectors. Flexible and remote working, team-building and engagement activities, well-ness programs, recognition awards and modern workspaces are among the many things that are now adding to the employee experience.

Key findings from the Deloitte global report include:

  • Only 17% of respondents are making significant investments in reskilling to support their AI strategy with only 12% using AI primarily to replace workers;
  • 27% of respondents have clear policies and practices to manage the ethical challenges resulting from the future of work despite 85% of respondents saying the future of work raises ethical challenges;
  • Three-quarters of leaders are expecting to source new skills and capabilities through reskilling, but only 45% are rewarding workers for the development of new skills; and
  • Only 45% of respondents are prepared or very prepared to take advantage of the alternative workforce to access key capabilities despite gig workers being likely to comprise 43% of the U.S. workforce this year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Worker well-being is a top priority today, and similarly to the rest of the world, companies in the Middle East are focusing their efforts to redesign work around well-being by understanding workforce well-being needs,” said Rania Abu Shukur, Director, Human Capital, Consulting, Deloitte Middle East.

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One in five insurance customers saw an improvement in customer service over lockdown, research shows

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One in five insurance customers saw an improvement in customer service over lockdown, research shows 2

SAS research reveals that insurers improved their customer experience during lockdown

One in five insurance customers noted an improvement in their customer experience over lockdown, according to research conducted by SAS, the leader in analytics. This far outweighed the 11% of customers who felt it had deteriorated over the same period.

This is positive news for insurers during such challenging times, with 59% of customers also saying that they would pay more to buy or use products and services from any company that provided them with a good customer experience over lockdown.

The improvement in customer experience also coincides with a rise in the number of digital customers. Since the pandemic started, the number of insurance customers using a digital service or app has grown by 10%. Three-fifths (60%) of new users plan to continue using these digital services moving forward.

However, while the number of digital users grew over lockdown, half of the insurance customer base has not yet chosen to move to digital insurance apps or services.

Paul Ridge, Head of Insurance at SAS UK & Ireland, said:

“It’s impressive that there was a net improvement in customer experience during lockdown, despite the challenges the industry was facing with a transition to remote working and increased claims for things like cancelled holidays. While many were forced to wait on customer help lines for long periods, part of the improvement may be explained by even a small (10%) increase in the number of digital users.

“However, it’s clear that a huge number of customers are still yet to make the move online. It’s vital that insurers provide the most accurate, timely and relevant offerings to customers, and this is best achieved by having additional insight into online customer journeys so they can understand them better. Using analytics and AI, insurers can seize this opportunity to digitalise their customer experience and offer a more personalised approach.”

Meanwhile, for insurers that fail to offer a consistently satisfactory customer experience, the price could be severe. A third (33%) of customers claimed that they would ditch a company after just one poor experience. This number jumps to 90% for between one and five poor examples of customer service.

For more insight into how other industries across EMEA performed during lockdown, download the full report: Experience 2030: Has COVID-19 created a new kind of customer? 

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The power of superstar firms amid the pandemic: should regulators intervene?

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The power of superstar firms amid the pandemic: should regulators intervene? 3

By Professor Anton Korinek, Darden School of Business and Research Associate at the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute. Gosia Glinska, associate director of research impact, Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Darden School of Business

Recent news that Apple hit a market cap of USD2 trillion highlights an extraordinary success story: A once struggling computer-maker on the verge of bankruptcy innovates its way to becoming the most valuable publicly traded company in the United States.

Apple’s 13-figure valuation is indicative of a larger trend that is not entirely benign — the rise of a handful of superstar firms that dominate the economy. Over the past three decades, advances in information technology, mainly the Internet, have supercharged the superstar phenomenon, allowing a small number of entrepreneurs and firms to serve a large market and reap outsize rewards. And COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the phenomenon by pushing us all into a more virtual world.

Apple — along with Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Netflix — is a case in point. The combined market value of those six companies exceeds USD7 trillion, which accounts for more than a quarter of the entire S&P 500 index. Even amid the pandemic’s economic wreckage, these megacompanies continue to prosper. The combined share price for Apple and its five peers was up more than 43 percent this year, while the rest of the companies in the S&P 500 collectively lost about 4 percent.[1]

Superstar firms can be found in almost every sector of the economy, including tech, management, finance, sports and the music industry. They command increasing market power, which has consequences for technological, social and economic progress. It is, therefore, critical to understand how their advantages arose in the first place.

THE FORCES BEHIND THE SUPERSTAR PHENOMENON

The “economics of superstars” was first studied by the late University of Chicago economist Sherwin Rosen. Forty years ago, Rosen argued that certain new technologies would significantly enhance the productivity of talented workers, enabling superstars in any industry to greatly expand the scope of their market, while reducing market opportunities for everyone else.[2] Digital innovations, including advances in the collection, processing and transmission of information, is what Rosen envisioned would lead to the superstar phenomenon.

Digital technologies are information goods, which are different from the traditional, physical goods in the economy. What it means is that fundamentally different economic considerations apply. Unlike physical goods — a loaf of bread or a car — information goods have two key properties: They are non-rival and excludable. Non-rival means that something can be used without being used up. Excludability means that an owner of digital innovation can prevent others from using it, by protecting it with patents, for example. These two fundamental properties of information goods are what give rise to the superstar phenomenon.

In a working paper I co-authored with Professor Ding Xuan Ng at Johns Hopkins University[3], we described superstars as arising from digital innovations that require upfront fixed costs that allow firms to reduce the marginal costs of serving additional customers.[4] For example, once an online travel agency has programmed its website at a fixed cost, it can easily displace thousands of traditional travel agents without much additional effort, scaling at near-zero cost.

Because a firm can exclude others from using its digital innovation, it automatically gains market power. The innovator then uses that power to charge a mark-up and earn a monopoly rent — basically, a price superstars charge in excess of what it costs them to provide the good — which we call the ‘superstar profit share’.

THE POLICYMAKER’S DILEMMA

In a vibrant free market economy, businesses compete for customers by innovating and improving their offerings while keeping prices low; otherwise, they are displaced by more innovative rivals entering the market. Unfortunately, the increasing monopolization of the economy by technology superstars is weakening the competitive environment around the world.

Monopoly power is the main inefficiency from the emergence of superstar firms, because superstars can exclude others from using the innovation that they have developed.

So, what policy measures can be employed to mitigate the inefficiencies arising from the superstar phenomenon?

We do have antitrust policies designed to promote competition and hence economic efficiency. Authorities could take a drastic measure and break up monopolies. Or they could tax all those excess profits megacompanies make.

Another policy to consider involves giving consumers control rights over their data. Right now, only companies have that data, and they are selling it. If you free it up and don’t allow them to sell it anymore, it reduces their monopoly profits. And if you give consumers more freedom over their data, they could, for example, share it with the latest start-up and create a more competitive landscape.

However, such policy remedies can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they reduce monopoly rents. On the other hand, they can also reduce innovation.

Innovation requires investments in R&D, which represent a significant sunk cost that only large firms can afford. Government regulations can easily backfire, discouraging large firms from making long-term R&D investments.

What, then, is the best policy intervention? Professor Ding Xuan Ng and I believe that basic research should be public. Digital innovations should be financed by public investments and should be provided as free public goods to all. This would make the superstar phenomenon disappear, and the effects of digital innovation would simply show up as productivity increases.[5]

We live in a brave new world that is increasingly based on information. Because the information economy is different from the traditional economy, antitrust policy should be revamped to reflect that. Instead of worrying about the economy being eaten up by these gigantic monopolies, policymakers need to focus on the question ‘What specific actions can we pursue to make the economy more competitive and efficient?’

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