Alliance Data (ADS) Q4 Core Earnings, Revenues Rise Y/Y

Alliance Data Systems CorporationADS reported core earnings attributable to stockholders per share of $4.67, up 13% year over year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was $4.41.

For 2016, core EPS increased 12% year over year $16.92. Revenues were $7.14 billion, up 11% year over year.

Notably, for 2017, the company expects revenue of $7.7 billion and core EPS of $18.50.

Performance in detail

Alliance Data's revenues came in at $1.83 billion in fourth-quarter 2016, climbing 4% year over year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was $1.94 billion.

Operating expenses jumped 19% year over year to $1.65 billion primarily due to a rise in cost of operations and higher provision for loan losses. Operating income slumped 50.7% year over year to $179.6 million.

However, adjusted earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $566 million, up 12% year over year. Notably adjusted EBITDA excludes the impact of the cancellation of the AIR MILES Reward Program's five-year expiry policy (expiry reset) on Dec1, 2016 and certain other significant items.

Segment Update

LoyaltyOne : Revenues totaled $247 million in fourth-quarter 2016, down 32% year over year. However, excluding the expiry reset impact, revenue surged 34% $489 million, mainly driven by strong redemption growth. Adjusted EBITDA declined 14% to $74 million. AIR MILES' reward miles issued decreased 3%, while reward miles redeemed soared a whopping 173%.

Epsilon : Revenues were $600 million in the quarter, down 1% year over year. Adjusted EBITDA was $162 million, increasing 3% year over year. The quarter witnessed growth in core product offerings revenue (Auto, Technology, Data, Affiliate, CRM, Agency). However, non-core offerings revenue (CNVR Agency) decreased.

Card Services : Revenues came in at $988 million, up 26% year over year. Adjusted EBITDA was $299 million, up 21% year over year. Average credit card receivables, excluding amounts reclassified as assets held for sale, advanced 22% year over year to $15.3 billion. Net principal loss rates for the reported quarter were 5.5%, up 80 basis points year over year, chiefly due to account seasoning.

Financial Update

As of Dec 31, 2016, cash and cash equivalents was $1.86 billion, up from $1.17 billion as of Dec 31, 2015. At the end of the reported quarter, credit card and loan receivables, net, were $15.60 billion, increasing 19.4% from the prior-year period.

At the quarter end, debt increased 11.6% from year-end 2015 to $5.6 billion.

Capital expenditure at Alliance Data rose 8% year over year to $207 million in 2016.

Our Take

Results of Alliance Data do not display a solid quarter. However, the quarter reflected continued strength in card business. We remain optimistic as management remains focused on reducing Epsilon's cost structure most of which has been complete with the India operation and standardizing its platform product offerings. Yet, concern lies around the AIR MILES Reward Program.

Alliance Data Systems Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Alliance Data Systems Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Alliance Data Systems Corporation Quote

Alliance Data currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

Among other firms in the finance space, Ally Financial Inc. ALLY and Credit Acceptance Corp. CACC are slated to release results on Jan 31, while Regional Management Corp. RM is scheduled to release on Feb 7.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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