Website creator Q4 loss widens, unable to forecast 2022 By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – The offices website-designer firm are shown in Tel Aviv, Israel July 4, 2016. Picture taken July 4, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

By Steven Scheer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Wix (NASDAQ:).com, which helps small businesses build and operate websites, reported on Wednesday a wider fourth-quarter loss and said it could not provide estimates for 2022 due to uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have experienced a much higher level of volatility in demand for online services over the last year and a half due to COVID,” Wix said. “As a result, we are not able to forecast our business with the same level of confidence as we have historically been able to pre-COVID, even as fundamentals remain strong.

“As long as we are in a period of heightened volatility, we will not be providing annual guidance for bookings, revenue or free cash flow,” it said, noting it would still provide quarterly outlooks as well as forward expectations in quarterly earnings releases.

The Israeli company reported a quarterly net loss excluding one-time items of 37 cents per share, compared with a loss of 3 cents a year earlier. Revenue grew 16% to $328.3 million.

Analysts had forecast Wix would lose 38 cents per share ex-items on revenue of $331 million, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

For all of 2021, Wix posted a net loss ex-items of $1.39 per share, versus a 48 cent loss in 2020 and expectations of a loss of $1.41. Revenue grew 29% to $1.27 billion.

“We exited 2021 with fundamentals of our business at much higher levels than when we entered the pandemic, positioning us for success in the coming years, and we are clear on what needs to be done to maintain this momentum,” said CEO Avishai Abrahami.

The company said it expected first-quarter revenue of $338-$343 million, growth of 11-13% over the same period in 2021.

At the end of 2021, Wix had 222 million registered users, up 13% over 2020. It added 478,000 net premium subscriptions to reach 6 million, an annual gain of 9%.

The company’s shares are down 27% so far this year after a 37% drop in 2021.

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