Acxiom’s two penny 4Q loss well below Wall Street views, sales rise 9%

by Wesley Brown ([email protected]) 65 views 

Acxiom Corp. on Tuesday reported fourth quarter and year-end losses as the Little Rock data provider looks to expand its data integration and enhancement services that enables companies to better market their products to consumers.

For the period ended March 31, 2016, Acxiom reported a loss of $1.6 million, or 2 cents per share, compared to a loss of $6 million, or 12 cents per share, in the same period of 2015. Earnings adjusted for one-time items were 18 cents per share.

Acxiom’s fourth quarter revenues rose 9.2% to $224.6 million, compared to $205.7 million a year ago. Wall Street had forecasted the Little Rock data analytics firm to report fourth quarter earnings of 12 cents per share on revenue of $213.9 million, according to a survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters.

For the full year, Acxiom reported net income of $6.7 million, or 9 cents per share, compared to losses of $11 million, or 14 cents per share, in the same period a year ago. Yearly revenue rose 5.6% to $850.1 million, compared to $804.9 million in the previous year.

“Our strong fourth quarter performance capped off a year of solid execution across each of our businesses,” said Acxiom CEO Scott Howe. “We enter fiscal 2017 from a position of strength, propelled by our recent progress and momentum.”

During the quarter, Acxiom repurchased 731,000 shares for approximately $15 million during the quarter. Since inception of the share buyback program in August 2011, Acxiom has repurchased 15.5 million shares for $255 million.
Going forward, Acxiom said it expects to report earnings in the range of 55 cents per share or higher in fiscal 2017. Revenue is forecasted to edge up 2.4% to the range of $870 million to $890 million.

Here are Acxiom’s other fourth quarter highlights.

• Marketing services revenue was $113 million, up 3% compared to the fourth quarter of last year. U.S. revenue of $104 million was up 4% year-over-year. Operating income was $19 million, up 7% compared to the prior year.
• Audience solutions sales rose 4% to $80 million from a year ago. U.S. revenue of $71 million was up 6% year-over-year. Operating income was $30 million, down 3% compared to the prior year.
• Connectivity revenue was $31 million, up 62% compared to the fourth quarter of last year. The division’s operating loss improved by $6 million to nearly break-even.

At the close of trading Tuesday on the tech-focused Nasdaq stock exchange, Acxiom’s shares were down $1.9%, or 44 cents at $22.38. The Little Rock tech firm’s stock has traded in the range of $15.78 and $23.57 over the past 52 weeks.