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LendingTree (TREE) Rises on Better-Than-Expected Q4 Earnings

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LendingTree (TREE - Free Report) reported an adjusted net loss per share of 14 cents in fourth-quarter 2021, better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 28 cents. The reported figure compares unfavorably with an income of 13 cents reported in the prior-year quarter.

While elevated expenses were spoilsports, the recovery in the company’s consumer segment business buoyed the results. The company also provided encouraging 2022 guidance. Probably, mirroring this, shares of the company rallied 15.7% following the release of the fourth-quarter 2021 results.

LendingTree reported a net income from continuing operations of $48.4 million or $3.57 per share compared with a net loss of $8.1 million or 62 cents per share reported in the year-ago quarter.

For 2021, adjusted net income per share was $1.57, suggesting an improvement from $1.54 reported in the prior-year quarter.

Revenues Jump, Expenses Rise

Total revenues grew 16% year over year to $258.3 million in the fourth quarter. The upside primarily stemmed from higher Consumer and Home segments revenues. The reported figure also outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $258.2 million.

For 2021, total revenues of $1.09 billion increased 20.7% year over year.

Total costs and expenses were $266.3 million, up 17.8% from the prior-year quarter. The upswing chiefly resulted from a rise in selling and marketing expenses, and general and administrative expenses.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) totaled $24.7 million, down 6% year over year. The variable marketing margin was at $88.5 million, up 8% year over year.

As of Dec 31, 2021, cash and cash equivalents were $251.2 million, up from $169.9 million as of Dec 31, 2020. Long-term debt was $478.2 million, down from the prior-year figure of $611.4 million. Total shareholders' equity was around $448 million, up from $364.8 million as of Dec 31, 2021.

Outlook

For first-quarter 2022, total revenues are estimated to be $280-$290 million. Adjusted EBITDA and the variable marketing margin are anticipated to be $26-$31 million and $90-$97 million, respectively.

For 2022, total revenues are estimated to be $1,200-$1,250 million, indicating year-over-year growth of 9-14%. Adjusted EBITDA is anticipated to be $160-$180 million, suggesting a 19-34% rise from that reported in 2021. The variable marketing margin is expected to be $445-$475 million.

Conclusion

LendingTree’s declining dependence on mortgage-related sources of revenues and various acquisitions over the past several years is likely to continue aiding financials and help diversify revenues. However, a rise in expenses is a near-term headwind.

LendingTree, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

 

LendingTree, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

LendingTree, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | LendingTree, Inc. Quote

Currently, LendingTree carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Performance of Other Finance Stocks

Hercules Capital Inc.’s (HTGC - Free Report) fourth-quarter 2021 net investment income of 35 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 33 cents. However, HTGC’s bottom line fell 5.4% from the year-ago quarter figure.

Hercules Capital recorded a fall in total investment income and higher expenses in the quarter. The balance sheet position remained strong and new commitments were robust.

BGC Partners, Inc.'s (BGCP - Free Report) fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings of 17 cents per share were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. BGCP’s bottom line compared favorably with the prior-year quarter’s earnings of 13 cents.

Lower revenues and an increase in expenses were the major headwinds. However, a robust liquidity position and rise in net other income acted as tailwinds for BGC Partners.

Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (FIS - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings per share of $1.92, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.89. Also, the bottom line compared favorably with the year-ago quarter’s figure of $1.62.

Notable increases in margin and organic revenue growth were positives. Continued recovery in the global economy from the ongoing pandemic also supported Fidelity’s performance. Despite achieving annual run-rate revenue synergies and operational expense synergies of around $750 million and $900 million, respectively, a rise in selling, general and administrative expenses was a hurdle for FIS.