Nelnet, Inc. (NNI)

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Nelnet Inc. (NNI)

Q3 2009 Earnings Call

November 10, 2009; 11:00 am ET


Jeff Noordhoek - President

Terry Heimes - Chief Financial Officer

Phil Morgan - Head of Investor Relations


Sameer Gokhale - Keefe, Bruyette & Woods

Mike Taiano - Sandler O’Neill



Good day everyone and welcome to the Nelnet’s third quarter 2009 conference call. Today’s call is being recorded and broadcast live over the internet. At this time, Mr. Phil Morgan, Nelnet���s Head of Investor Relations will begin with opening remarks. Please go ahead, sir.

Phil Morgan

Thanks, Kaira. Good afternoon and welcome to Nelnet’s 2009 third quarter earnings conference call. On today’s call, we have Jeff Noordhoek, President; and Terry Heimes, Chief Financial Officer. Please note that during the conference call, we may discuss predictions and expectations and may make other forward-looking statements.

Actual results may differ from those discussed here based on a variety of factors. These factors are discussed in the company’s Form 10-K and other filings with the SEC. The company does not intend to update any forward-looking statements made during the call. During the course of the call, we will refer to our non-GAAP financial measure, which the company defines as base net income.

A description of base net income and a reconciliation of GAAP net income to base net income are included in our third quarter 2009 supplemental earnings disclosure, which is posted on our Investor Relations website at After Terry and Jeff have concluded their formal remarks, we will open up the call for questions. Thank you.

I will now turn the call over to Jeff.

Jeff Noordhoek

Thanks, Phil and good morning everyone. We are extremely pleased with our operating results for the third quarter of 2009. I hope we are not begun to sound like a broken record, however, once again we had a great quarter and we are optimistic about the future.

Our fee based revenues continue to grow, net interest margins has increased, expenses have decreased, our liquidity needs are virtually zero, our capital position continues to strengthen and given our strong cash flow, we continue to opportunistically repurchases outstanding debt to create significant tangible value for our shareholders.

We considered stopping here for questions, but we’ll continue for a bit longer to get more details about the third quarter. In the third quarter, we reported base net income $1.01 per share, compared to $0.47 in the third quarter of 2008. We continue our transformation to a fee for service processing company that we look forward we are focused on meeting our primary objectives of growing and diversifying our fee for service businesses and maximizing the value of our existing portfolio.

We remain quite optimistic about the remainder of 2009 and the foreseeable future. In September, we began servicing loan to the federal government under the new contract. Given our relative size, this contract will become a significant in recurring source of revenue for the company.

We look forward to growing this important new business line in 2010 and beyond by providing the best possible service to students and schools under the contract. We know an ongoing important topic related to our company is the President’s budget proposal to eliminate FFEL program.

In July, the House passed the bill similar to the President’s proposal with the senate has yet to debate legislation. Regardless of the outcome other budget proposal, we have positioned our business to be successful by helping families, schools, international institutions, navigate increasing complex education system.

We have no doubt. The fundamentals of our business model remain strong. We are stable, well established, fee for service businesses with recurring revenue. We’re generating significant cash flow from our businesses and our student loan portfolio. We believe we are well positioned for growth in a very dynamic education services market.

Now, I’ll turn the call over to Terry, to discuss our financial results. Terry.

Terry Heimes

Thanks, Jeff. We did have a very strong quarter. We’ll proactive in our approach and decisions at the beginning of the financial crisis and while there are still challenges on our economy today. Those challenges will present opportunities for growth and diversification, and we are well positioned to capitalize on those opportunities.

Our base net income excluding certain restructuring and liquidity related charges was just over $50 million of $1.01 per share, as compared to $23.4 million, or $0.47 per share a year ago. Year-to-date, our base net income excluding restructuring activities was $114 million, or $2.30 per share, compared to $65.2 million, or $1.33 per share a year ago. The financial highlights related to our third quarter that I want to discuss today, include our fee based businesses our operating costs our portfolio and our liquidity. First, as it relates to fee-for-service businesses and revenue diversification.

Our fee-for-service revenues may cut more than 50% Nelnet’s total revenues. These businesses have high customer retention have opportunities to grow revenues from existing customers and to grow our market share by adding new customers. The expanding volume on to the government servicing contract will provide additional leverage in growth opportunities, while our total fee-for-service revenues were relatively flat for the quarter, our revenues from Tuition Payment plans, Campus Commerce and Lead Generation product lines grew more than 17% or $5 million when comparing to last year.

During the quarter, we also started servicing loans under the government contract. We are currently servicing more than $2.5 billion in contract volume, but perhaps more importantly $740 million is volume that we did not have on our servicing system previously. These businesses are not capital intensive, they are generating significant cash flow in earnings and have opportunities for growth and leverage. Needless to we’re optimistic about their future.

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