Big data firm Palantir signals slower annual revenue growth, shares fall


FILE PHOTO: People walk by a banner featuring the logo of Palantir Technologies (PLTR) at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on the day of their initial public offering (IPO) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

(Reuters) - Tech billionaire Peter Thiel-backed data analytics firm Palantir Technologies Inc on Tuesday signaled revenue growth would slow this year, casting a shadow on its better-than-expected quarterly results and sending its shares down 9%.

The company forecast a revenue growth of 30% in 2021, slower than the 47% rise in 2020 when it added large government contracts, including those from the U.S. Army and Air Force.

Known for its work with the Central Intelligence Agency and other government agencies, Palantir has also been partnering with big private sector names including Rio Tinto and IBM for data analytics.

It signed 21 contracts each worth $5 million or more during the fourth quarter and said it expects sales in the first quarter to grow by about 45% from a year earlier.

Revenue from government contracts jumped 85% to $190 million, while that in the commercial segment grew 4%.

Shares of the Denver-based company were down at $28.60 after having surged more than 200% since its public listing.

Although the stock has been a point of discussion on WallStreetBets, a forum on Reddit popular among retail investors, some analysts have said the company's guidance does not match up to the meteoric rise in its stock.

"We hope those of you on this call who are current investors stay with us. And those of you who prefer a more short-term focus that you choose companies that are more appropriate for you," Chief Executive Alex Karp said on a conference call with analysts.

Palantir's net loss narrowed to $148.3 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from $159.3 million, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, it earned 6 cents per share, while analysts were expecting 2 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Its revenue jumped to $322.1 million, above market expectations of $300.7 million.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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