Universal Technical's (UTI) Q1 Loss Narrower than Expected

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Universal Technical Institute, Inc.UTI reported narrower-than-expected loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2017.

The company's adjusted loss of 9 cents per share in the quarter was narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 10 cents by 10%. In the year-ago quarter, the company posted loss per share of 3 cents. Quarterly earnings were adjusted for severance costs.

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Revenues & Enrollment

Revenues of $84.2 million in the first quarter fell 6.2% from the prior-year quarter due to a 9.8% decrease in student enrollment. Also, the company reported one less earning day in the first quarter of 2017 which impacted comparable revenues by $1.4 million.

The top line, however, excluded revenues of $5 million related to the loan program during the quarter. The company intends to include this amount in the forthcoming quarters as students pay back their debts.

Universal Technical reported a 9.8% drop in average undergraduate full-time enrollments in the quarter. The decline can be attributed to lower student population and weak student starts. Total starts declined 22.2% in the quarter under review.

Universal Technical's enrollments have been sluggish for several quarters due to regulatory challenges along with changes and competition in the higher education industry.

Operating expenses reduced 10% or by $9.2 million to $82.8 million on lower compensation expenses and improved operating efficiencies following the implementation of the Financial Improvement Plan. The savings were however partially offset by $1.3 million in severance charges related to workforce reduction in Nov 2016.

The company reported operating income of $1.4 million in the quarter as against an operating loss of $2.2 million in the prior-year quarter. The improvement can be attributed to $0.8 million in operating income from the Long Beach campus and significant cost reduction.

Universal Technical Institute Inc Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Universal Technical Institute Inc Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Universal Technical Institute Inc Quote


The company has cash and cash equivalents and investments of $103.8 million as of Dec 31, 2016, compared with $120.7 million as of Sep 30, 2016. The decrease is due to $11.5 million of restricted cash related to collateralization of bonds and changes in working capital.

Cash flow used in operating activities was $17.4 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared with $3.5 million in the same quarter last fiscal.

FY17 Guidance

Universal Technical expects new student starts to decline in the high-single digits, compared to the low-single digit range stated earlier.

The average student population is likely to decline low-double digits as a percentage from the fiscal 2016 level. Earlier, the company had expected a decline of mid-to-high single digit.

Revenues are expected to be down in the mid-single digits in fiscal 2017. Earlier, revenues were anticipated to be down in the low to mid single digits.

Universal Technical now expects its Financial Improvement Plan implemented to deliver greater than $30 million in annualized cost savings in fiscal 2017, whereas the plan was earlier expected to deliver between $25 million and $30 million in annualized cost savings.

Capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $12.5 million to $13.5 million for the year ending Sep 30, 2017, as stated in the previous quarter also.

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

Upcoming Peer Releases

DeVry Education Group Inc DV is slated to release its quarterly numbers on Feb 2, after market close.

Capella Education Co. CPLA and Strayer Education Inc. STRA is scheduled to release quarterly numbers on Feb 14 and Feb 16, respectively, before the opening bell.

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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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