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Equifax (EFX) Q2 Earnings Top, Revenues Miss, Updates View

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Equifax Inc. (EFX - Free Report) reported mixed results for second-quarter 2017. The company’s adjusted earnings (excluding amortization expenses, Veda Group acquisition-related charges and other one-time items) per share from continuing operations of $1.60 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.57 and also jumped 11.9% year over year.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported earnings of $1.36 per share, up from the year-ago quarter tally of $1.08 per share. The strong year-over-year bottom-line growth can primarily be attributed to solid top-line performance and stringent cost management, which was partially offset by a marginal increase in the number of total outstanding shares.

Notably, the stock’s share movement has compared unfavorably with the industry in the past one-year period. Equifax returned 9.5% while the industry gained 22.6%.

Revenues

Equifax’s revenues of $856.7 million lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $861 million as well as management’s guided range of $857–$862 million. However, the figure was up 6% on a year-over-year basis.

According to Richard F. Smith, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Equifax, "Second quarter performance reflects outstanding execution by the team and the strength of our unique portfolio of businesses."

The company made slight changes in its reportable segments from first-quarter 2016. The U.S. Information Solutions (USIS) and Workforce Solutions remained unchanged, while Personal Solutions was renamed to Global Consumer Solutions.

Segment wise, total USIS revenues were up 8% year over year to $331.9 million. Among its sub-segments, growth was recorded in Online Information Solutions (6%), Mortgage Solutions Services (10%) and Financial Marketing Services (15%).

International revenues (including Europe, the Asia Pacific, Canada and Latin America) advanced 6% year over year to $231.4 million. On a constant-currency basis, revenues increased 10%. Growth was mainly driven by the Veda Group acquisition, which increased the Asia-Pacific region’s contribution to revenues to $76.5 million, up 6% year over year. Moreover, revenues registered an increase of 13%, 4% and 2% in Latin America, Canada and Europe, respectively.

Revenues from the Workforce Solutions segment climbed 10% year over year to $194.5 million, primarily on the back of 19% revenue growth in Verification Services, which more-than offset 5% decline in Employer Services.

Global Consumer Solutions contributed $98.9 million to total revenue, reflecting an 8% year-over-year decline. On a constant-currency basis, revenues dropped 7%.

Operating Results

Equifax’s adjusted EBITDA increased approximately 13% to $334.7 million. Consequently, adjusted operating EBITDA margin expanded 250 basis points (bps) to 39.1%. Adjusted net income came in at $194.8 million or $1.60 per share compared with $172.7 million or $1.43 per share reported a year ago.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

Equifax exited the quarter with $403.9 million in cash and cash equivalents, up from the previous quarter’s balance of $123.2 million. Total long-term debt (excluding current portion) was $2.04 billion, flat quarter over quarter. During six months ended Jun 30, 2017, Equifax generated cash flow of $329.1 million from operational activities. The company paid 39 cents per share as dividends in the second quarter.

Guidance

For the quarter, Equifax projects revenues in a range of $853–$861 million (mid-point: $857 million), while the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $855 million. Adjusted earnings per share are projected to be between $1.50 and $1.54 (midpoint: $1.52). The earnings guidance range at its mid-point is slightly lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.53.

Furthermore, Equifax updated full-year 2017 outlook. The company now expects revenues in the range of $3.395–$3.425 billion (previous guidance $3.375–$3.425 billion). The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $3.41 billion. Adjusted earnings per share are now anticipated to be between $6.02 and $6.10 (previous guidance $5.96 and $6.10). The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $6.06.

Our Take

Equifax posted mixed results for the second quarter. However, earnings and revenues both recorded year-over-year growth. The company also updated outlook for full-year 2017.

We believe that management’s efforts, such as strategic initiatives for product innovation, expansion of data assets through acquisitions and continuous share gains in America, should act as tailwinds. Further, the company’s strong correlation with the consumer and financial markets, along with exposure in the U.S. and Europe are likely to propel growth, moving ahead.

However, we expect the company’s investments in new initiatives to weigh on its upcoming quarterly earnings. Additionally, uncertainty surrounding IT spending and the strengthening U.S. dollar are concerns. Moreover, increasing competition from the likes of Fiserv (FISV - Free Report) and Total System Services (TSS - Free Report) are the other factors likely to affect earnings in the near term.

Currently, Equifax carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A better ranked-stock in the broader technology sector worth considering is Applied Optoelectronics, Inc. (AAOI - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Applied Optoelectronics has a long-term EPS growth rate of 18.75%.

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