Palantir boosts its full-year revenue outlook

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Data analysis company Palantir Technologies Inc. raised its annual revenue outlook Thursday after it posted better-than-expected sales in the third quarter on increasing demand for its software.

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In its first quarterly report since going public in September, the company said it now sees revenue of at least $1.07 billion for the year, compared with a previous projection of at least $1.05 billion.

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Palantir said revenue in the third quarter grew 52% from the year-earlier period to $289 million, above the high end of its projected range. Despite the faster-than-expected growth, Palantir reported a loss of $853.3 million, including a charge of $847 million largely due to compensation charges related to its public listing. In the year-earlier period, it posted a loss of $139.8 million.

The Covid-19 global pandemic has brought Palantir new business, as the company is building software to help the federal government distribute a vaccine for the virus, The Wall Street Journal reported last month. Palantir also has two contracts worth nearly $25 million with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help track hospital data nationwide.

Shyam Sankar, Palantir’s chief operating officer, told investors on a call Thursday the pandemic has caused government health-care agencies around the world to increase investment in software—a development he expects will continue.

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“Covid exposed opportunities for improvement, and governments are going to invest there,” Mr. Sankar said. “It’s created enormous opportunities for us.”

Palantir’s shares were lower in after-hours trading Thursday, falling as much as 7%. They closed down 8.7% in regular trading, as rising coronavirus infection levels across the U.S. weighed on stocks broadly.

Palantir, which was co-founded in 2003 by investor Peter Thiel, made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 30. While shares opened around $10 a share, they have rallied in recent weeks, with the stock closing at $14.58 Thursday.

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The company hasn’t reported a profit in its 17-year history, though it has frequently said profits are on the horizon. For years, the company’s business model was heavily dependent on customizing software—an expensive endeavor. More recently, it has begun to shift to standardized software that is closer to off-the-shelf—and theoretically more profitable. It reported a loss of $580 million for 2018.

Palantir’s early work focused on helping intelligence agencies sort through data to better identify potential terrorists. While it still does significant work with intelligence agencies in North America and Europe, its work has expanded into more mundane areas—helping governments and companies sort through large stores of data and aiding airlines in keeping track of plane maintenance, for instance.

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The company secured a five-year, $300 million contract renewal with an unnamed aerospace company in what Palantir said was its largest-ever contract with a business.

Write to Eliot Brown at [email protected]

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