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CSRA Inc (CSRA) Up 2.1% Since Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

It has been about a month since the last earnings report for CSRA Inc.CSRA . Shares have added about 2.1% in that time frame, outperforming the market.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to the stock's next earnings release, or is it due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

CSRA Beats on Q4 Earnings

CSRA reported earnings of $0.49 per share in fourth-quarter fiscal 2017, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.03 and increased 6.5% on a year-over-year basis.

Revenues of $1.25 billion decreased almost 3% from the year-ago quarter and were slightly lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Segment wise, Defense and Intelligence (43.9% of revenues) decreased 4.7% to $551 million. Civil (56.1% of revenues) dipped 1.3% to $703 million.

Bookings totaled $1.3 billion in the reported quarter, representing a book-to-bill ratio of 1.1 times. Moreover, 56% of bookings in the quarter were for new business, while the win rate on new business was well above management's target of 25%.

CSRA's backlog of signed business orders was $15.2 billion, of which $2.4 billion was funded at the end of the quarter.

The company also announced that it has signed definitive agreement to acquire NES Associates. The acquisition will improve expertise in defense telecom, infrastructure and applications architecture as well as implementation services.

Fiscal 2017 at a Glance

In fiscal 2017, total revenue declined almost 4% over fiscal 2016 to $4.99 billion. This was within management's guided range of $4.960-$5.010 billion. Bookings totaled $6.9 billion, representing a book-to- bill ratio of 1.4 times.

Improvement in adjusted EBITDA was noticeable, as it grew 0.6% over fiscal 2016 to $792 million, but missed management's guided range of $857-$867 million. Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 80 basis points (bps) to 15.9% in fiscal 2017.

Earnings advanced roughly 9.8% to $1.91 per share, which missed management's guided range of $1.98-$2.02 per share.

CSRA stated that free cash flow increased from $278 million at the end of fiscal 2016 to $328 million at the end of fiscal 2017.

EBITDA Margin Improves in Q4

Adjusted EBITDA was $207 million up 5.1% from the year-ago quarter. EBITDA margin of 16.5% expanded 120 basis points (bps) from the year-ago quarter. Management noted that the EBITDA margin is above the company's long-term target and benefited from strong contract performance and disciplined cost management.

Adjusted EBITDA excludes $61 million of expense related to the amendment of the Intellectual Property Matters Agreement with DXC Technology, formerly known as Computer Sciences Corp and another $5 million of other separation, merger, and integration costs; $16 million of pension and other post-retirement benefit (OPEB) plans mark-to-market expense; $20 million of other pension benefits; and $11 million of amortization from acquisition-related intangible assets.

Contract mix as a percentage of total revenue was favorable. Management noted that 45% was on fixed price contracts, 21% on time and material contracts and 34% on cost plus contracts.

Selling, general and administrative expense (SG&A) as percentage of revenues remained flat at 4% on a year-over-year basis.

Segment operating margin expanded 490 bps on a year-over-year basis to 17.3%. Defense and Intelligence segment operating margin expanded 100 bps, while Civil segment operating margin expanded a massive 390 bps in the reported quarter.

Cash & Debt Declines

Cash & cash equivalents as of Mar 31, 2017 was $126 million, down $36 million from the previous quarter.

During the quarter, CSRA used $20 million to pay down debt and returned $16 million to shareholders as part of regular quarterly cash dividend program.

End-Market Outlook Improves

Management stated that it now expects a slight improvement in the level of federal spending (earlier expectation was 1% growth per annum). The company believes that it is well positioned to grab opportunities under Trump administration, whose priority includes defense, border security, cybersecurity and veteran care.

CSRA noted that the absence of $18 billion initially proposed cuts for domestic spending and flat discretionary budgets for the civil agencies are positives for growth prospects.

Management believes that improved visibility around budget and increased spending levels will lead to stronger-than-usual award activity in the June and September quarters. CSRA continues to believe that it can produce organic growth in fiscal 2018 (2-3%) based on improving macro-environment.

CSRA forecasts revenues to be in the range of $5.000-$5.200 billion for fiscal 2018. Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated to be in the range of $770-$800 million. Earnings are anticipated to be in the range of $1.88-$2.00 per share.

Free cash flow is anticipated to be in the range of $330-$380 million.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Following the release, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates. There have been two revisions lower for the current quarter. In the past month, the consensus estimate has shifted lower by 10.3% due to these changes.

CSRA Inc. Price and Consensus

CSRA Inc. Price and Consensus | CSRA Inc. Quote

VGM Scores

At this time, CSRA's stock has a strong Growth Score of 'A', though it is lagging on the momentum front with a 'C'. The stock was allocated a grade of 'B' on the value side, putting it in the top 40% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of 'A'. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Our style scores indicate that the stock is more suitable for growth investors than value investors.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock. The magnitude of this revision also indicates a downward shift. It's no surprise that the stock has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). We expect below average returns from the stock in the next few months.

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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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