Citrix Systems Enters 2018 Leaner, but Still in Fighting Shape

Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS) entered 2018 as a skinnier, more focused company. The provider of software virtualization services made a key divestment last year, and what's left is a core business that is showing good signs of strength and viability.

That was apparent with the company's recently released fourth-quarter and fiscal-2017 results. Lets take a closer look at the numbers.

GoTo gone

Citrix managed to boost revenue in all four of its product categories in the final quarter of the year. Honorable mention goes to software as a service, which saw a nearly 40% year-over-year improvement in the quarter to almost $50 million. Collectively, the quartet (which also includes product and licenses, license updates and maintenance, and professional services) produced net revenue of just under $778 million in Q4, a 6% increase.

In the press release heralding the results, new-ish CEO David Henshall (who took over in July 2017) said that "our partners and our customers are really embracing our new subscription services, which have jumpstarted the multi-year plan that we presented in October 2017."

As with many other American companies, Citrix's net profit took a hit due to adjustments in advance of the changes to corporate income tax. The bottom line dived into the red, to the tune of almost $284 million, from the year-ago profit of just under $200 million.

Adjusting for the tax charge and other one-time items, the company's net income was $248.5 million ($1.66 per share), up from Q4 2016's $217.5 million. That exceeded the average analyst estimate, while the revenue figure was broadly in line with expectations.

Zooming out to the full fiscal year, Citrix's revenue inched up by 3% to $2.82 billion, while its headline net loss was $20.7 million (2016 result: a profit of $536 million). That was skewed by the tax charge, of course; on an adjusted basis the bottom line was a shade under $744 million ($4.85 per share), against the previous year's $700 million.

Revenue improved even though Citrix no longer holds the popular GoTo suite of productivity solutions. Early last year, Citrix completed the planned spinoff of that business unit -- which wasn't all that complementary to its core offerings -- into a new entity that was then merged with LogMeIn.

Even though Citrix added some bulk following the signing of that deal by purchasing application layering specialist Unidesk, it still exited 2017 a smaller company. Its total assets slimmed by nearly 10%, to just over $5.8 billion.

The right business at the right time

Citrix is expecting slight improvements on both its top and bottom lines. It believes it will book revenue of $2.86 billion to $2.88 billion in fiscal 2018, with adjusted earnings coming in at $4.80 to $4.90 per share. Yet the company has a recent history of beating bottom-line estimates, so we shouldn't be surprised if the actual figure lands higher.

Regardless, Citrix is a well-managed company that provides services the tech world requires, especially in a world becoming increasingly connected with mobile devices. With that sensible narrowed focus on its core business, it should continue to be a big player in its segment.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.