Advance America, Cash Advance Centers Outruns Estimates Again

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Advance America, Cash Advance Centers (NYS: AEA) reported earnings on Feb. 22. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Advance America, Cash Advance Centers beat expectations on revenues and crushed expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue expanded and GAAP earnings per share expanded significantly.

Margins increased across the board.

Revenue details
Advance America, Cash Advance Centers notched revenue of $182.2 million. The three analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected sales of $175.0 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 14% higher than the prior-year quarter's $160.3 million.

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Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.52. The three earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.28 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.43 for Q4 were 65% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.26 per share.

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Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 73.3%, 100 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 21.8%, 310 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 14.5%, 470 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $166.4 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.34.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $696.4 million. The average EPS estimate is $1.17.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a three-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 352 members out of 395 rating the stock outperform, and 43 members rating it underperform. Among 129 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 120 give Advance America, Cash Advance Centers a green thumbs-up, and nine give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Advance America, Cash Advance Centers is hold, with an average price target of $10.50.

Over the decades, small-cap stocks like Advance America, Cash Advance Centers have produced market-beating returns, provided they're value-priced and have solid businesses. Read about a pair of companies with a lock on their markets in "Too Small to Fail: 2 Small Caps the Government Won't Let Go Broke." Click here for instant access to this free report.

At the time this article was published Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor ofMotley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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