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Vocus Posts Better-than-Expected 3Q

VOCS

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Vocus Inc. (VOCS - Analyst Report) reported break even earnings in third quarter 2012, better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss per share of 1 cent.

Revenue

Revenue of $45.2 million in the third quarter increased 56.5% from $28.9 million generated in the year-ago quarter. The top line edged past the company’s guided range of $44.7 million to $45.0 million. The favorable outcome was backed by customer additions and improved product adoption.

Better-than-expected revenue generation from iContact benefited the revenues. The quarterly revenues also benefited to a certain extent from the company’s SEO new services and Facebook apps. The newly-acquired company iContact is operating at a breakeven level.

Management also opined that Vocus’ continuous investments and a product launch targeting the small and mid-sized organizations had a positive impact on the quarter’s results.

Customers

Vocus added 1,015 new subscribers during the third quarter, compared with 998 in the year-earlier quarter. Total active subscribers were 15,131 at quarter end. A healthy mix of customers across organizations, geographic areas and industries was also noticed.

The company signed a host of subscription agreements with new and existing customers. Notable among these are the agreements with Beat100, Broadhead Archery, Code Red Safety and Rental, Digiarty Software, Down Under Endeavours, TaxConnex, Norwegian Cruise Line, PetBookings.com, Rose Cottage Publishing, School Improvement Network, Stars and Stripes, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Wargaming Europe.

Operating Results

Gross margin was 80.2%, down from 81.4% in the year-ago quarter. Operating loss was $3.4 million compared with $0.3 million in the year-ago quarter. The operating loss can be traced back to a 66.7% year-over-year rise in operating expenses, which outpaced the 53.1% revenue growth.

Net loss on a GAAP basis was $3.8 million or 20 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $212,000 or 1 cents in the third quarter of 2011. Excluding one-time items, but including stock-based compensation expense, net profit was $29,000 or 0 cent per share, compared with a net income of $913,000 or 4 cents in the year-earlier period.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

Vocus exited the quarter with $30.6 million in cash and short-term investments versus $27.6 million in the previous quarter. Accounts receivables were $18.9 million compared with $18.8 million in the previous quarter. The company generated $4.2 million in cash from operations, compared with $3.5 million in the previous quarter.

Guidance

For the fourth quarter of 2012, non-GAAP revenue is expected to range approximately $47.2 million to $47.6 million. GAAP revenue is expected roughly between $46.9 million and $47.3 million. The company expects non-GAAP diluted EPS to be 15 cents to 16 cents on an estimated non-GAAP weighted average 24.5 million diluted shares outstanding and projected tax provision of $400,000. GAAP loss per share is expected between 17 cents and 16 cents.

For full year 2012, non-GAAP revenue is estimated between $172.8 million and $173.2 million. GAAP revenue is expected to be roughly $170.6 million to $171.0 million. Non-GAAP diluted EPS is estimated at 42 cents to 43 cents; whereas GAAP loss per share is expected to be in the range of $1.20 to $1.19. Company expects free cash flow in the range of $15.5 million to $16.5 million. Capital expenditures are projected at $4.0 million.

To Conclude

Though Vocus posted a GAAP loss in the third quarter, the company reported breakeven figures on a non–GAAP basis, which was better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Also, Vocus generated solid year-on-year revenue growth and the figure edged past the company’s estimate. The company benefited from the high revenue generation ability of iContact and also to a certain extent from the company’s SEO new services and Facebook apps.

Vocus exists in a nascent market and anticipates good growth prospects. In the absence of any real competition, the company has been able to steadily expand its customer base. The company has also successfully capitalized on strategic acquisitions. By leveraging iContact’s capabilities and increasing the sales team to target SMBs, Vocus is eyeing the cloud-space opportunities in the SMBs. However, there remains a concern related to margin contraction based on higher investments in sales and marketing as well as acquisitions.

Currently, Vocus has a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating.

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