Virgin Galactic Earnings: What Happened

Key Takeaways

  • Adjusted EPS was -$0.31, as predicted by analysts.
  • Virgin Galactic did not provide 2021 guidance as part of its Q4 FY 2020 earnings press release.
  • The company posted no revenue for Q4 FY 2020, below analyst expectations.
  • Virgin Galactic appointed Doug Ahrens as chief financial officer, effective March 1, 2021.

What Happened

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. reported adjusted EPS in line with analyst expectations for Q4 FY 2020, even as it came in below predictions for revenue. Analyst's had predicted that quarterly revenue would remain steady YOY at $0.5 million. However, Virgin Galactic posted no revenue for the quarter. The company also did not provide 2021 guidance in its Q4 FY 2020 earnings press release, giving investors little sense of what the company expects in this area in the coming quarters. However, Virgin Galactic did report that it anticipates a revenue-generating spaceflight with the Italian Air Force. The company also reported that it would appoint Doug Ahrens as new chief financial officer, effective March 1, 2021.

(Below is Investopedia's original earnings preview, published February 23, 2021.)

What to Look For

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (SPCE), the commercial space tourism company founded by billionaire Sir Richard Branson, has faced an uphill battle in recent months. COVID-19 has set back the company's operations schedule, and technical concerns forced it to postpone test flights in December and again in February. That's added new urgency given that company has posted no revenue for the past two reported quarters as it invests in additional test flights.

Given all of these variables, investors will watch closely for any sign of progress when Virgin Galactic reports earnings on February 25, 2021 after market close for Q4 FY 2021. Analysts expect revenue to remain flat year-over-year (YOY) as adjusted losses per share narrow slightly relative to Q4 FY 2019.

Investors will also listen closely to Virgin Galactic's outlook for future performance. A key metric to look at will be the company's Q1 FY 2021 and full year FY 2021 guidance. For their part, analysts predict dramatic revenue growth and smaller adjusted losses per share (EPS) for both Q1 and full year FY 2021.

Virgin Galactic's ultimate goal is to make money by providing commercial space flights and services to tourists and researchers. But the ongoing uncertainty about Virgin Galactic's test flights has contributed to major swings in the company's stock and to its underperformance for most of the past year. As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in early 2020, Virgin Galactic shares fell more dramatically than the market and failed to recover for most of 2020. The stock began to stage an advance in November, then drifted back, and finally took off in January, surpassing the broader market. As a result, the stock has posted a total return of 37.5% over the past 12 months, ahead of the S&P 500's total return of 20.2%.

Since going public in October of 2019, Virgin Galactic has yet to post a quarter of positive adjusted EPS. Adjusted earnings per share have fluctuated between -$0.37 in Q4 FY 2019 and -$0.30 in Q1 and Q2 FY 2020. Analysts expect the company to report adjusted EPS of -$0.31 for Q4 FY 2020, which amounts to a slightly smaller loss than the same quarter a year earlier.

Virgin Galactic's quarterly revenue has varied widely since the company went public. Revenue plunged from $1.8 million in Q1 FY 2019, before it went public, to $0.5 million by Q4 FY 2019. Then it fell again to $0.2 million in revenue for Q1 FY 2020, and it posted no revenue whatsoever in Q2 and Q3. Analysts now estimate revenue of $0.5 million for Q4 FY 2020. That would be flat YOY, but the highest quarterly performance for FY 2020.

Virgin Galactic Key Metrics
 Estimate for Q1 FY 2021Estimate for Q4 FY 2020Actual for Q4 FY 2019Actual for Q4 FY 2018
Adjusted Earnings Per Share ($)-0.24-0.31-0.37-0.24
Revenue ($M)

Source: Visible Alpha

As mentioned above, investors also will look for Virgin Galactic's guidance for Q1 and full year FY 2021. Virgin Galactic is operating in an industry that is evolving rapidly, and the company has been focusing on test flights in recent quarters. Guidance by Virgin Galactic's management in the Q4 earnings report could give investors a better picture of whether Virgin Galactic is on the path to sustained growth.

Until then, analyst estimates can give investors a picture of what may lie ahead. Analysts expect that Virgin Galactic's losses on an adjusted EPS basis will continue to get smaller. They estimate adjusted EPS of -$0.24 for Q1 and -$0.65 for the year. Given that full-year estimates for adjusted EPS for FY 2020 are -$1.23, this marks a significant improvement.

Consensus estimates for revenue show increasing strength. Analysts estimate revenue of $1.8 million for Q1 FY 2021, about 9 times bigger than the same quarter a year earlier. Analysts also expect revenue growth to be strong for the full year, increasing about 30-fold to $20.7 million. For investors, a big issue is exactly when the company will be able to grow enough revenue to finally turn a profit.

Article Sources

  1. Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. "Virgin Galactic Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Financial Results." Accessed Feb. 25, 2021.

  2. Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. "Virgin Galactic Announces Third Quarter 2020 Financial Results." Accessed Feb. 22, 2021.

  3. The Street. "Virgin Galactic May Be Able to Launch Saturday, FAA Suggests." Accessed Feb. 22, 2021.

  4. "Virgin Galactic will keep its spaceplane for tourists on the ground for now." Accessed Feb. 23, 2021.

  5. Visible Alpha. "Financial Data." Accessed Feb. 22, 2021.

  6. Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. "Virgin Galactic Announces Date of Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Financial Results and Conference Call." Accessed Feb. 22, 2021.

  7. CNBC. "Virgin Galactic shares debut as the space tourism company begins trading under the ticker SPCE." Accessed Feb. 22, 2021.

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