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HY21 result: Is the Xero (ASX:XRO) share price a buy?

Xero Limited (ASX: XRO) reported its FY21 half-year result to investors showing more strong growth. Is the Xero share price a buy after this report?

Xero’s big FY21 growth

The cloud accounting software business revealed that its operating revenue went up by 21% to NZ$410 million.

This was driven by total subscribers rising by 19% to 2.45 million, though the net subscriber additions decreased by 30% to 168,000. The average revenue per user or APRU decreased by 4% to NZ$29.81.

Annualised monthly recurring revenue grew by 15% to NZ$877.5 million, showing that revenue can grow further with just the existing client base.

As a sign of Xero’s growing profitability, the gross profit margin improved by another 50 basis points (0.5%) to 85.7%.

Xero’s EBITDA (click here to learn what EBITDA means) went up by 86% to NZ$120.7 million. Net profit after tax (NPAT) grew from NZ$1.3 million to NZ$34.5 million. Finally, free cash flow grew from NZ$4.8 million to NZ$54.3 million.

Looking at individual country subscriber growth:

  • Australian subscribers grew 21% to 1.01 million
  • UK subscribers grew 19% to 638,000 (and revenue rose 33%)
  • New Zealand subscribers went up 13% to 414,000
  • North America subscribers rose by 17% to 251,000 , and
  • The ‘rest of world’ subscribers surged 37% to 136,000.

Other highlights

Xero said it continued to prioritise investing in the product for customers, with product development spending of $140 million in the first half of FY21, which was 29% higher than last year.

The ASX tech share said that it reduced sales & marketing costs by 10% compared to the prior corresponding period, demonstrating its disciplined financial management during this uncertain period. This is partly why EBITDA, free cash flow and net profit grew so much this period. It expects to return to normal marketing spending as conditions normalise.

Xero reported that overall monthly recurring revenue churn in the first half was 1.11%, similar to the first half of FY20.

Management comments

Xero CEO Steve Vamos said: “This result demonstrates the value our customers attribute to their Xero subscription and the underlying strength of Xero’s business model. We continue to prioritise investment in customer growth and product development in line with the long term opportunity we see.

During a difficult period, it’s pleasing to report we grew to exceed one million subscribers in both Australia and in our international segment.”

Is the Xero share price a buy?

Xero said it still has ambitions for high growth with disciplined cost management and targeted allocation of capital whilst innovating and investing in new products and customer growth.

It’s doing extremely well at growing subscribers and revenue, despite its customer base (of smaller businesses) bearing the brunt of this pandemic recession.

The Xero share price has gone up 54% over the past year. Investors are pricing in a lot of growth, and the value is being further boosted by low-interest rates.

If you invest for the long term then Xero could still be worth owning. But I think Pushpay Holdings Ltd (ASX: PPH) looks the best value out of the great ASX growth shares, and it’s earlier on in its growth journey.

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At the time of publishing, the author of this article does not have a financial or commercial interest in any of the companies mentioned.

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