IonQ delivers mixed results but its stock rises anyway

Quantum startup IonQ delivers mixed results but its stock rises anyway

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Quantum computing company IonQ Inc. closed on its first full year as a publicly traded company today, beating expectations on revenue as it delivered its fourth-quarter results but missing on earnings.

The company reported earnings before certain costs such as stock compensation of nine cents per share, with revenue for the period coming to $3.8 million, up from $1.65 million a year ago. Wall Street analysts had been looking for earnings of 13 cents per share on lower revenue of $3.2 million. All told, IonQ delivered a net loss of $18.6 million for the quarter, way down from the $74.1 million loss it posted a year ago.

IonQ also reported its full fiscal 2022 results, with $11.1 million in revenue resulting in a net loss of $48.5 million. Investors nonetheless apparently liked what they saw, as IonQ’s stock rose more than 5% after-hours.

The company surprised many when it went public just over a year ago, despite barely having any revenue. But it’s looking to change that by providing enterprise customers with early access to quantum computing via the cloud. The company has developed a quantum-based computing system that relies on trapped ions, which are charged particles suspended in a vacuum, as the basis of its hardware.

IonQ’s customers don’t have to worry about the underlying hardware themselves, as its services are exclusively accessible via the cloud, through partners such as Amazon Web Services Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google Cloud. It means early adopters can access IonQ’s quantum computers without any costly investments.

President and Chief Executive Peter Chapman praised the company for a fantastic year, despite the still low level of revenue. “As we keep delivering against our technical roadmap, we expect our systems will continue to be the world’s most powerful, allowing our customers to solve their most complex problems,” he said. “Our financial outlook for the year predicts even faster growth than in 2022, as customers and prospects continue to show enthusiasm for and commitment to our industry-leading quantum computers and the quantum future as a whole.”

In what proved to be a fairly busy quarter, IonQ announced the acquisition in January of a startup called Entangled Networks Ltd., which specializes in networking technology for linking quantum processors. It said it’s planning to use the startup’s software to implement “substantial” performance improvements in its hardware.

IonQ also found time to partner with Dell Technologies Inc. on a new hybrid quantum/classical computing platform at the Supercomputing 2022 event in November.

Looking to the new year, the company forecast revenue of between $3.6 million and $4 million for the first quarter, and $18.4 million and $18.8 million for the full year. The forecast was better than expected, with analysts targeting $3.5 million for the next quarter and $18.2 million for the full year.

Photo: IonQ

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