March 6, 2019 / 10:30 PM / 3 months ago

Yext beats sales expectations but shares slip on outlook

March 6 (Reuters) - Yext Inc on Wednesday gave a first-quarter revenue forecast that missed some analysts' expectations, sending shares down slightly in late trading despite beating expectations for the just-ended fiscal year.

New York-based Yext makes software to help companies such as restaurant chains ensure that data including business hours and menu items are accurate on systems like Apple Inc's Maps and voice assistants from Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.

For its current fiscal first quarter, Yext forecast sales of $66 million to $67 million with a midpoint below analysts' average estimates of $67.0 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Yext said it expects between $295 million and $300 million for its fiscal 2020, with the midpoint slightly below analyst expectations of $297.6 million, according to Refinitiv data.

Shares dropped 1.6 percent to $20.05 in late trading.

For its fiscal year ended Jan. 31, Yext reported revenue of $228.8 million, above analyst expectations of $227.7 million, according to Refinitiv data. The company lost 40 cents per share excluding items, better than analyst expectations of a 42-cent-per-share loss.

The company forecasted the net losses to continue for its fiscal 2020, but Chief Executive Howard Lerman said the company generated $30.8 million in free cash flow in its fiscal fourth quarter of 2019.

Yext's biggest cost is senior sales people who can win deals with its large customers such as Arby's or T-Mobile, and Lerman said the company plans to continue to invest in its sales force.

"We're totally focused on bringing high quality enterprise-class sales reps that are capable of bringing in big deals," Lerman told Reuters in an interview, saying the company added 40 such sales representatives over the past fiscal year for a total of 170. (Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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