Snowflake Is a Growth Juggernaut. Wall Street Is Thinking About Stock Value.

Snowflake Is a Growth Juggernaut. Wall Street Is Thinking About Stock Value.

Snowflake Is a Growth Juggernaut. Wall Street Is Thinking About Stock Value.

Snowflake wants to reach $10 billion in product revenue in the January 2029 fiscal year.


Dreamstime

Snowflake remains one of the best growth stories in the history of the software business, and that has Wall Street talking about the stock’s valuation.

In meeting with analysts on Thursday, the cloud-data software company provided an ambitious goal of reaching $10 billion in product revenue in the January 2029 fiscal year. That compares to $554 million for the January 2021 fiscal year.

Snowflake (ticker: SNOW) should still be growing 30% at the top-line at that point, according to chief financial officer
Mike Scarpelli,
while generating 10% operating margins and free cash flow margins of 15% or better. He also said the company now sees a total addressable market of $90 billion, an expansion of more than 10% from the $81 billion estimated market size cited during its IPO roadshow in 2020.

The long-term growth goals help frame the huge opportunity that Snowflake has ahead, but did nothing to change the fundamental debate about the stock: Does the impressive growth rate—120% in product revenue in the latest year— justify the massive valuation? In afternoon trading Friday, shares were off 4.4%, to $237.84.

Canaccord Genuity analyst David Hynes notes that if Snowflake hits its $10 billion target, it would be the fastest that a software company has reached that size. Hynes adds that the history of the management team, led by CEO Frank Slootman, suggests Snowflake could reach its target early.

But Hynes nonetheless is sticking with his Hold rating and $240 target price. “There’s no doubt that this is an exceptional business, but in our view, the stock’s current valuation”—about 47 times estimated calendar 2022 revenues—“fully reflects it.” He adds that as estimates move higher and the stock grinds sideways, he’s “getting closer to an upgrade,” but isn’t there yet. “We’re content to wait for more of the excess to burn off.”

Likewise, Morgan Stanley analyst
Keith Weiss
writes in a research note that given the 120% product growth in fiscal 2021, the $10 billion target might be conservative. He adds that “the harder part of the equation may be justifying the valuation based on these targets.” Weiss says the model that Snowflake laid out implies $1.6 billion in free cash flow in fiscal 2029, which values the stock at 51 times free cash flow 8 years out. “While very impressed by the market opportunity …and Snowflake’s opportunity,” he says valuation keeps him on the sidelines. Weiss repeats his Equal Weigh rating and $270 price target.

Write to Eric J. Savitz at eric.savitz@barrons.com