Palantir Technologies Inc. (NYSE:PLTR) is rated as a Buy.
I did a comparison of PLTR with Snowflake Inc. (SNOW) in my earlier article published on April 8, 2022. In this recent update, I come to the conclusion that Palantir is a Buy now. PLTR is currently trading below $10 for the past three months or so, which means that the company's shares are back to where they were in the early days of its listing. This indicates that expectations for the company are low considering where its share price is, and Palantir is well-positioned to surprise the market with better-than-expected revenue growth in Q3 2022 and Q4 2022. More importantly, geopolitical tensions and conflicts are expected to drive an increase in the amount of money that governments around the world spend on defense, and Palantir is already a beneficiary as evidenced by recent contract wins.
Palantir debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on September 30, 2020 with its shares closing at $9.50 at the end of the trading day. PLTR's last done share price was $9.84 as of July 22, 2022, and the company's shares have been mostly trading below the $10 mark since early-May 2022, a sight last seen in late-2020.
PLTR's Share Price Chart Since Listing
Palantir set a new historical trough stock price of $6.44 during the May 12, 2022 trading day. Even though, the company's shares have risen from the lows, PLTR's closing price as of July 22 is still only a third of its 52-week high share price of $29.29.
It isn't a big surprise that PLTR's shares are trading at such lows. The market is expecting Palantir to deliver more modest top line expansion while taking more time to generate positive GAAP earnings in the current weak economic environment. The sell-side's consensus financial forecasts obtained from S&P Capital IQ suggest that Palantir's revenue growth will moderate from above +40% for both fiscal 2020 and 2021 to below +30% for the FY 2022-2024 period. At the same time, PLTR is projected to stay loss-making on a GAAP basis in FY 2022 and FY 2023 at the very least.
In uncertain times like these, investors tend to favor profitable companies boasting predictable (albeit relatively lower) sales growth. This also means that companies like PLTR which are still unprofitable on a GAAP basis and are witnessing revenue growth deceleration will be penalized by the market. In that respect, Palantir's consensus forward next twelve months' Enterprise Value-to-Revenue multiple has compressed from as high as 50 times in early- 2021 to under 10 times in the last three months as per S&P Capital IQ.
PLTR's below-expectations 2Q 2022 management guidance revealed as part of the company's Q1 2022 financial results released on May 9, 2022 was the key factor that led to Palantir's shares falling to a historical low on May 12, 2022.
Palantir guided for the company to achieve a top line of $470 million and a non-GAAP adjusted operating profit margin of 20% for the second quarter of fiscal 2022. This implies that PLTR's revenue growth is forecasted to slow from +31% YoY in Q1 2022 to 25% YoY in Q2 2022, while its non-GAAP operating margin is estimated to contract from 26% to 20% over the same period.
Moreover, PLTR's guided Q2 2022 revenue and operating profit margin were -4% and -6.8 percentage points below the market's consensus projections, respectively as per S&P Capital IQ.
I hold the view that Palantir's stock is expected to rise again when the company's Q3 2022 and Q4 2022 financial performance exceeds market expectations.
The market is skeptical about PTLR's ability to deliver on its full-year FY 2022 top line growth guidance of +30%. In comparison, the sell-side analysts' consensus sales expansion estimate for Palantir is lower at +28.7%.
There are two key reasons why I think Palantir can achieve revenue beats for the second half of the year.
Firstly, PLTR should see its government revenue accelerate again in 2H 2022. The company's YoY government revenue growth decelerated from +26% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to +16% in the first quarter of 2022. Q1 2022 represented the fifth straight quarter running that Palantir's government revenue growth has slowed, but the trend is set to reverse. At its Q1 2022 results briefing, PLTR indicated that it is "already seeing Q2 U.S. government revenue reaccelerate" considering that "a new budget has been passed" in March 2022. A new US federal budget removes the uncertainty over the funding of future government projects, so it is natural to assume that PLTR's government revenue growth momentum will pick up pace in the second half of the year.
Secondly, the outlook for Palantir's commercial business is also good based on a review of the company's new customer additions for the recent quarter, given that there will be a time lag between new client wins and actual revenue recognition. PLTR's number of commercial clients grew by +207% YoY from 60 in Q1 2021 to 184 in Q1 2022, as per the company's recent quarterly results presentation slides. In the first quarter of this year alone, PLTR secured 37 new commercial clients (net of customers who left), which was equivalent to a very strong +25% QoQ growth. Palantir also disclosed at the company's first-quarter investor call that it "closed a renewal with a major U.S. Fortune 100 company for over $150 million" in April 2022. In other words, PLTR's commercial business is doing well, it is retaining key clients while adding new customers at a healthy pace.
Palantir's shares should head north over the intermediate to long run, as investors appreciate the value of owning PLTR as a hedge against geopolitical tensions and conflicts.
PLTR emphasized at its earlier Q1 2022 results call that "there's a wide range of potential upside above our guidance, including those driven by our role in responding to developing geopolitical events." The company's bullish view is validated by recently announced contract wins.
On June 28, 2022, Seeking Alpha News reported that the company "and Raytheon Intelligence and Space (NYSE:RTX) have been awarded a prime contract to develop a prototype for the U.S. Army's Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN) program." An earlier June 2, 2022 Seeking Alpha News article mentioned that PLTR was "awarded a contract modification from the U.S. Space Systems Command" so as to "support national security objectives."
Palantir isn't just seeing more opportunities coming from US defense and government agencies.
Notably, PLTR secured a new $12.5 million deal from the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense, according to a May 6, 2022 Bloomberg article, and it is reasonable to assume that rising geopolitical tensions in Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine had compelled the UK Ministry of Defense to spend more which benefited Palantir. Separately, Palantir highlighted on its company's Twitter page on June 2, 2022 that its CEO had a meeting with Ukraine's president to discuss "the pivotal role of software to Western security." It certainly seems that Palantir could win more defense-related contracts in Europe in the future.
As a reference, PLTR generated more than half or 57% of its fiscal 2021 revenue from the US markets, with key European markets, the UK and France, contributing a relatively lower 11% and 6% of its top line last year, respectively. Going forward, Palantir's actual top line growth could surpass expectations thanks to higher-than-expected sales contribution from Europe, especially in the area of defense.
I rate PLTR stock as a Buy. Faster-than-expected top line expansion in 2H 2022 and a larger-than-expected number of defense-related contract wins driven by geopolitical issues should be the key positive re-rating catalysts for Palantir.
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Those who believe that the pendulum will move in one direction forever or reside at an extreme forever eventually will lose huge sums. Those who understand the pendulum's behavior can benefit enormously. ~ Howard Marks
Disclosure: I/we have no stock, option or similar derivative position in any of the companies mentioned, and no plans to initiate any such positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.