Shares of Alteryx (NASDAQ:AYX) dropped big in February after the data analytics company reported fourth-quarter numbers that — while beating estimates — revealed structurally weakening growth trends. The guide also called for these weaknesses to persist for the foreseeable future. Naturally, AYX stock plunged after the print.
Bad news aside, this dip is an opportunity for AYX bulls to buy in at a discount.
There’s no sugarcoating it, though … Alteryx’s growth trends look awful. Customer growth is slowing. Revenue growth is slowing. Margins are compressing. Profits are turning into losses. Pretty much nothing looks good right now.
But we don’t value businesses based on what they are today. We value them based on what will be tomorrow. And tomorrow, Alteryx will once again be a hypergrowth, hyper-profitable company with great prospects.
So, buy the dip in AYX stock!
Here’s a deeper look:
Alteryx’s Awful Quarter
Alteryx had a bad fourth quarter — like a really, really bad fourth quarter.
The company added just 128 customers in the quarter. In the year ago quarter, Alteryx added 474 customers. In each of the past 18 quarters, Alteryx has added more than 200 customers. So, adding just 128 customers in the quarter is unusually bad for Alteryx. Indeed, it rounds out to 16% customer growth, its slowest growth rate ever.
Meanwhile, average revenue per customer dropped 15%, leading to meager revenue growth of just 3%. Revenues are expected to drop next quarter. Last year, this was a 50%-plus revenue growth company. Clearly, things are decelerating — and fast.
Worse yet, this slowdown in growth is killing margins, because the company isn’t able to cut back on expense growth as fast revenue growth is falling. Operating margins two points year-over-year in Q4, and are expected to drop nearly 20 points next quarter.
Things are not going well for Alteryx right now. There’s no other way to put it.
It’s no wonder that AYX stock fell off a cliff.
Near-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain
When it comes to Alteryx, you have a classic case of “near-term pain, long-term gain”.
Data-driven decision making is the future of the business world. Alteryx provides an end-to-end platform, which enables this data-driven decision making, by giving enterprises the analytics and tools necessary to turn raw mountains of messy data into clean, actionable insights.
Importantly, Alteryx does this in a friendly, low-code, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use software environment. That is, you don’t need to be a data scientist or have a computer science degree in order to make use of the Alteryx platform. Alteryx enables regular Joes to make advanced data-driven decisions.
That’s big, because most companies don’t have big data skills. All the data scientists in the world are going to work for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), while only 6% of large companies and very few small businesses employ even a single data scientist.
So, as we pivot into a data-driven future, most companies are going to lean into low-code, easy-to-use data science platforms to help them make data-driven decisions. Alteryx is the best-in-breed provider of these solutions — and, to that end, the company is going to sell a lot of enterprise seats to its data science platform over the next several years.
The company just hit a rough spot amid the pandemic because businesses leaned up their budgets. But we have multiple highly-effective Covid-19 vaccines that are being distributed rapidly, and it increasingly appears that “normal” is coming back at some point in 2021/22. As “normal” returns, businesses will re-up their budgets, and the Alteryx growth narrative will once again fire on all cylinders.
So, amid this ephemeral choppiness, it’s best to buy AYX stock and ignore the noise.
Big Upside for Alteryx Stock
I’ve revised my long-term model to account for Alteryx’s slowdown in growth in 2020. Still, I believe AYX stock is worth much than its current price tag.
I see Alteryx as a company that will, post-2020, maintain 10%-plus revenue growth into 2030. Gross margins are up at 90%, so double-digit revenue growth should drive positive operating leverage and allow for sustainable and steady operating margin expansion.
Plugging those assumptions into my model, I see Alteryx growing earnings to $8 per share by 2030. Based on a 35X forward earnings multiple and an 8% annual discount rate, that implies a 2021 price target for AYX stock of $280.
Bottom Line on AYX Stock
Alteryx had an awful fourth quarter. Oh well. It happens.
This is still a great company, with great growth prospects, and a highly scalable business model. It will sprint back into hypergrowth mode throughout 2021/22 as Covid-19 headwinds on enterprise spending fade.
As the company does that, AYX stock will rebound.
Buy the dip before that rebound.
On the date of publication, Luke Lango did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
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