Nimble now -5.8% post-earnings; Street mulls growth, lockup

|About: Nimble Storage, Inc. (NMBL)|By:, SA News Editor

Up sharply at the open in response to its FQ1 beat and healthy top-line guidance, Nimble Storage (NMBL) has reversed course. The decline comes ahead of a June 11 lockup expiration.

The maker of hybrid flash/hard drive storage systems guided on its CC (transcript) for FQ2 revenue of $49M-$51M and EPS of -$0.16 to -$0.17 vs. a consensus of $48.2M and -$0.16.

The company also mentioned it added 450 new customers (compares with 527 in seasonally strong FQ4), growing its total base to 3K+. However, Nimble only says it has "several" Fortune 500 clients; 200+ clients are within the Global 5000.

Gross margin rose 400 bps Y/Y to 66%. GAAP opex soared 119% Y/Y to $49.9M; sales/marketing, R&D, and G&A spend all saw 100%+ increases. Free cash flow was -$3.3M.

There are now 1.2K+ customers deploying Nimble's scale-out storage software, viewed as pivotal to the company's attempts to break out of the mid-range.

Piper (Overweight) expects the addition of Fibre Channel support to boost sales of a new high-end system. It also thinks only 6M of the 62M shares becoming available for sale post-lockup are held by employees likely to sell.

Morgan Stanley (Equal-Weight) praises the price/performance of Nimble's offerings, but also has some valuation concerns. Needham (Buy) remains quit bullish: "For investors wanting to skate where the storage demand puck is going, rather than where it has been, we believe NMBL is the answer."