Arista Networks reported excellent revenue growth for its first quarter ended March 31, 2018. The only problem with that is now investors expect that kind of growth all the time.
For its Q1 2018, Arista reported revenue of $472.5 million, an increase of 40.8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017. And it reported non-GAAP net income of $134.1 million, or $1.66 per share, compared to non-GAAP net income of $71.8 million, or $0.93 per share, in the first quarter of 2017.
For the second quarter of 2018, the company expects revenue between $500 and $514 million. And Arista’s CFO Ita Brennan said Arista expects growth in the mid-20-percent range for the remainder of this year. She noted that this is against “some tough 2017 comparables,” according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.
Jefferies analyst George C. Notter said in a research note today, “It’s not lost on us that the size of Arista’s quarterly outperformance has been getting smaller in recent quarters. Similarly, the organization typically raises subsequent quarter guidance for both revenue and EPS results. More recently, the magnitude of those “raises” on subsequent quarters has diminished.”
The company’s stock is down about 9 percent today.
Later in the call when an analyst suggested that the company’s guidance for the next quarter seemed to indicate a slowdown in growth based on one way of looking at the math, Arista’s CEO Jayshree Ullal teased that perhaps investors are “All getting a little spoiled, when I have to start defending our growth rates at 7 percent off a very large base.”
The company’s guidance excludes estimated legal expenses of approximately $6 million associated with the OptumSoft and Cisco litigation and other non-recurring items.
In terms of the Cisco patent litigation, Ullal said, “We are now well beyond the overhead and delays of customer certifications that we had been experiencing during the past three quarters…. we pretty much expect to return to normalcy in the second half of 2018. The worst is behind us.”
Ullal mentioned that the company’s FlexRoute routing license had over 200 customers at the end of 2017, and she expects that number to double this year. FlexRoute is the technology that enables high IP forwarding capacity in hardware on the Arista 7500R Universal Spine and Arista 7280R Universal Leaf platforms.