Palo Alto Networks CEO says demand high despite weakness in billings

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In a Wednesday interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer, Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora said demand remains high even though the company issued a weaker billings forecast than expected.

The cybersecurity company reported its first-quarter earnings after Wednesday’s close, topping Wall Street’s revenue targets. However, weak billings guidance caused the stock to slide nearly 6% in after-hours trading.

Arora said the market was “marginally spooked” by the guidance, but he added that clients pay annually as well as upfront for several years. Rising interest rates have caused customers to “have longer conversations around when they will pay us and whether we should finance them or not,” Arora said.

“That just cosmetically impacts the billings number, and hence the market’s getting confused,” Arora said. “But there’s nothing to be confused about, there’s tremendous demand out there, cybersecurity attacks are, unfortunately, going up.”

He also suggested billings guidance may not be the most important metric for Wall Street to consider.

“We are hitting all the profitability and cash flow metrics on the market,” he said. “Billings is an indicator of revenue in the future, and the better indicator of revenue in the future is RPO, remaining performance obligations, which we grew at 26%.”

Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora talks Q1 results with Jim Cramer

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