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C3.Ai To Gain From Unprecedented AI Demand, Analyst Sees Over 30% Growth

Nabaparna Bhattacharya
February 29, 2024

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives reiterated the Outperform rating on C3.Ai, Inc. (NYSE:AI), raising the price forecast to $40 from $35.

The company registered third-quarter revenues of $78.4 million, beating estimates of $76.14 million. 

Ives views this quarter as a step in the right direction for C3 as the company’s entire product portfolio continues generating unprecedented demand for its AI platform to improve operations, optimize processes, and transform businesses.

The company’s partner ecosystem continues to be productive, with bookings from partners growing 337% y/y and 62% q/q as its go-to-market strategy is driving vital pilot adoptions while enterprise AI product demand accelerates.

The analyst raised FY24 revenue forecast to $308.4 million from $308.2 million.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Kingsley Crane reiterated the Hold rating on C3.Ai, raising the price target to $31 from $27.

With new developments in AI driving broader market optimism and grabbing headlines, C3’s third-quarter results were much anticipated by investors, Crane writes.

Generative AI use cases continue to influence customer engagement, with 17 of 29 total pilots signed in the quarter driven by generative AI, the analyst adds.

 If C3 can continue the sequential growth in product revenue as seen over the past three quarters, the firm is on track to grow >30%, the analyst adds.

Needham analyst Mike Cikos reiterated the Hold rating on the company. 

Cikos sees the 85% Bookings growth with US Federal as evidence of C3.ai’s increasing importance and verticalization within the Public Sector.

KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Eric Heath reiterated the Sector Weight rating on the stock.

While C3 may see increased demand for its AI/ML services given the high priority of generative AI in the enterprise, the analyst raised concerns about the company’s ability to broaden beyond vertical-specific AI applications and any technological differentiation in horizontal adjacencies, as well as on low model visibility given the shift to a consumption revenue model.

Oppenheimer analyst Timothy Horan reiterated Outperform rating on the company, with a price forecast of $40.

Per Horan, “AI” themes are real and durable, with C3.ai well positioned as a pure-play platform to enable enterprises to use GenAI quickly and safely, a Herculean task but with major LT benefits. 

C3’s short interest is 34% of float, so stock will remain volatile, the analyst adds.

JMP analyst Patrick Walravens maintained Market Outperform rating and a $40 price target on the company.

According to the analyst, C3.ai is an opportunity for capital appreciation as it addresses a large TAM, estimated to be ~$792 billion by 2026.

Walravens estimates the company’s R&D expense to increase to 48% of revenues in the fourth quarter versus 38% in the third quarter.

The analyst raised FY24E non-GAAP EPS to $(0.67) from $(0.74) on revenue growth of 15%.

Price Action: AI shares are trading higher by 23.9% to $36.79 on the last check Thursday.

Photo via Below the Sky on Shutterstock

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