First Data CorporationFDC reported strong fourth-quarter 2018 results wherein both earnings and revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of 38 cents surpassed the consensus mark by a penny but fell short of the year-ago figure by 6 cents. The bottom line was hurt by the normalization of adjusted effective tax rate and unfavorable foreign currency movements, which, however, were partially offset by improved operating performance.
Total segment revenues of $2.19 billion beat the consensus estimate by $21 million. The top line was up 3% year over year on a reported basis, 2% on a comparable accounting basis and 6% on an organic constant currency basis. Impacted by the adoption of ASC 606, consolidated revenues were down 24% year over year to $2.40 billion.
First Data is getting acquired by Fiserv (FISV) in a $22 billion all-stock deal. Upon closure, Fiserv shareholders will own 57.5% of the combined company and First Data shareholders will own the rest.
Shares of First Data have gained a massive 51.7% over the past year, significantly outperforming the 9.6% rally of the industry it belongs to.
Segments in Detail
The Global Business Solutions segment generated revenues of $1.42 billion, which grew 9% year over year on a reported basis, 6% on a comparable accounting basis and 8% on an organic constant currency basis.
Global Financial Solutions revenues came in at $375 million, down 9% year over year on a reported basis,8% on a comparable accounting basisbut up 7% on an organic constant-currency basis.
Network & Security Solutions segment generated revenues of $389 million, down 4% year over year on a reported basis and 1% each on a comparable accounting and organic constant-currency basis.
Total segment EBITDA came in at $855 million, up 1% year over year on a reportedbasis, 2% on a comparable accounting basis and 7% on an organic constant currency basis. Total segment EBITDA margin of 39.1% declined20 basis points (bps) year over year on a comparable accounting basisbut was up 20 bps on an organic constant currency basis.
Operating profit increased 7.2% year over year to $534 million. Operating profit margin climbed to 22.3% from 15.8% in the prior-year quarter.Total expenses declined 29% from the year-ago quarter's tally to $1.87 billion.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
First Data exited the fourth quarter of 2018 with cash and cash equivalents of $555 million compared with $601 million at the end of the prior quarter. Long-term debt was $16.4 billion compared with $16.9 billion at the end of the previous quarter.
The company generated $498 million of cash from operating activities in the reported quarter. Free cash flow was $284 million. Capital expenditures were $152 million.
First Data provided 2019 guidance that excludes impacts of its merger with Fiserv and previously announced dispositions. For total segment revenues, management expects organic constant currency growth of 5-6%. Total segment EBITDA is expected to register 6-8% growth on an organic constant currency basis. Adjusted earnings are expected in the range of $1.55-$1.58 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.57. Full-year free cash flow is projected at more than $1.5 billion.
Zacks Rank & Upcoming Releases
First Data currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .
Investors interested in the broader Zacks Business Services sector are keenly awaiting fourth-quarter 2018 earnings reports of key players like IQVIA Holdings IQV , Waste Management WM and TransUnion TRU - all of which are scheduled to report on Feb 14, before market opens.
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