GitLab shares drop as 'less conservative' forecast disappoints investors

GitLab Inc logo is seen in this illustration taken June 6, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) - GitLab shares fell 24% on Tuesday after the software developer forecast full-year 2025 revenue and profit below Wall Street estimates, citing a cautious spending environment due to an uncertain economy.

Still, analysts and investors believe the forecast for fiscal year 2025 to be cautious and expect stable growth.

"Given the uncertainty with the Fed and economic data, I expect lower guidance than some hope for as a measure of caution rather than a measure of slower business expectations," said investor Ophir Gottlieb, CEO at Capital Market Laboratories.

If premarket losses hold, the company is set to lose about $2.8 billion from the $11.59 billion market capitalization it held at Monday's close.

CFO Brian Robbins said that he expects GitLab's philosophy behind providing forecasts to be "less conservative" as the company enters its third year as a public firm.

The company said it is seeing stronger adoption of its platform that helps users manage, develop code, automate processes and test programs.

GitLab expects a first-quarter loss between $12 million and $13 million, which includes a $15 million expense related to an in-person company-wide summit for its employees who largely work remotely, the first such event since 2019.

The company's revenue projection for the first quarter and fiscal year 2025 too fell below analysts' expectations. However, the company warned that the annual revenue projection does not include a potential hike in prices.

"After placing greater limitations on its free tier, GitLab is seeing healthy amounts of free-to-paid conversions," said Gil Luria, a senior software analyst at D.A. Davidson.

The company had raised prices for the Premium tier in April last year for the first time in five years and expects $10 million to $20 million of incremental revenue in the fiscal year, Robbins said.

GitLab's stock trades 241.09 times forward profit projections, compared with 69.42 and 26.99 for peers Atlassian and Splunk, respectively.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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