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Autobytel Reports Record Third Quarter 2015 Results

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 05, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Autobytel Inc. (NASDAQ:ABTL), a leading provider of online automotive services connecting consumers with dealers, reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2015.

Third Quarter 2015 Highlights vs. Year-Ago Quarter

  • Total revenues increased 47% to a record $40.2 million
  • Advertising revenues increased 194% to $3.2 million
  • Net income increased 44% to $1.6 million or $0.14 per diluted share
  • Non-GAAP income increased 103% to a record $5.2 million or $0.45 per diluted share

Management Commentary

“This record third quarter was driven by our higher-margin advertising segment led by AutoWeb, expansion with OEM partners and the addition of Dealix, which continues to outperform our expectations,” said Jeff Coats, president and CEO of Autobytel. “We continue to retain a greater amount of Dealix revenue than expected, while removing dealers and suppliers that do not meet our margin and quality requirements. Dealix is already contributing positively to net income as we work toward full integration by year-end.”

“Subsequent to the quarter,” continued Coats, “we acquired our performance marketing partner, AutoWeb, which dramatically strengthens our technology leadership in the automotive digital marketplace. We’ve already started to pursue several promising cross-sell opportunities, while also beginning to realize synergies across our technology platforms and data methodologies.

“As we close out the year and look ahead to 2016, we’ll continue to focus on driving growth through lead generation and our higher-margin advertising segment, as well as through our suite of value-added product offerings, with the ultimate goal of helping dealers and OEMs better leverage their marketing budgets and investments in website properties.”

Third Quarter 2015 Financial Results

Total revenues in the third quarter of 2015 increased 47% to $40.2 million compared to $27.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenues generated from automotive leads and services increased 44% to $35.2 million compared to $24.5 million a year ago. The increase was driven by the acquisition of Dealix and growth in advertising revenues. Retail revenues increased 19% to $15.3 million compared to $12.8 million last year, and wholesale revenues increased 71% to $20.0 million compared to $11.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

Advertising revenues increased 194% to $3.2 million compared to $1.1 million in the year-ago quarter. The increase was due to growth in display advertising through continued optimization of the company’s Jumpstart relationship, as well as a significant increase in click revenue. The increase in click revenue was driven by the company’s prior commercial relationship with AutoWeb, which was acquired on October 1, 2015, and an increase in traffic from the acquisition of Dealix.

Gross profit in the third quarter increased 39% to $15.3 million compared to the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 38.1% compared to 40.2% one year ago. The expected decline in gross margin was primarily due to Dealix, which historically generated gross margin of approximately 32.0%.

Total operating expenses in the third quarter were $12.0 million compared to $9.0 million in the year-ago quarter. As a percentage of revenues, total operating expenses decreased 310 basis points to 29.8% compared to 32.9% in the third quarter of 2014, demonstrating the operating leverage in the business.

Net income in the third quarter of 2015 increased 44% to $1.6 million or $0.14 per diluted share, compared to $1.1 million or $0.11 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Non-GAAP income increased 103% to $5.2 million compared to $2.5 million in the third quarter of 2014 (see “Note about Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below for further discussion). Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share increased 95% to $0.45 compared to $0.23 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Business Outlook

Autobytel reaffirms its fiscal 2015 revenue guidance to range between $132.0 million and $134.0 million, representing an increase of approximately 24% to 26% from 2014. The company is increasing its expectation for non-GAAP diluted EPS in fiscal 2015 to range between $1.20 and $1.24, an increase of approximately 45% to 49%.

Conference Call

Autobytel will hold a conference call today at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time to discuss its third quarter 2015 results, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Date: Thursday, November 5, 2015
Time: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (2:00 p.m. Pacific time)
Toll-free dial-in number: 1-877-852-2929
International dial-in number: 1-404-991-3925
Conference ID: 66892955

During the call, Autobytel management will refer to a supplementary slide presentation, which will be available for download in the Investor Relations section of the company’s website.

The conference call will also be broadcast live at www.autobytel.com (click on “Investor Relations” and then click on “Events & Presentations”). Please visit the website at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the call to register and download any necessary software. For those who will be joining the call by phone, please call the conference telephone number 5-10 minutes prior to the start time, and an operator will register your name and organization. If you have any difficulty connecting with the conference call, please contact Liolios Group at 1-949-574-3860.

A replay of the conference call will be available after 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on the same day through November 12, 2015. The call will also be archived in the Investor Relations section of Autobytel’s website for one year.

Toll-free replay number: 1-855-859-2056
International replay number: 1-404-537-3406
Replay ID: 66892955

Tax Benefit Preservation Plan

At December 31, 2014, the company had approximately $94.5 million in available net operating loss carryforwards (“NOLs”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The company’s Tax Benefit Preservation Plan (“Plan”) was adopted by the company’s Board of Directors to preserve the company’s NOLs and other tax attributes and thus reduce the risk of a possible change of ownership under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code. Any such change of ownership under Section 382 would limit or eliminate the ability of the company to use its existing NOLs for federal income tax purposes. Rights issued under the Plan could be triggered upon the acquisition by any person or group of 4.9% or more of the company’s outstanding common stock and could result in substantial dilution of the acquirer’s percentage ownership in the company. As of November 2, 2015, there were 10,499,719 shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding. There is no guarantee that the Plan will achieve the objective of preserving the value of the company’s NOLs. For more information, please visit http://investor.autobytel.com/tax.cfm.

About Autobytel Inc.

Autobytel Inc. provides high quality consumer leads and associated marketing services to automotive dealers and manufacturers throughout the United States. The company also provides consumers with robust and original online automotive content to help them make informed car-buying decisions. The company pioneered the automotive Internet in 1995 with its flagship website www.autobytel.com and has since helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers; and has helped every major automaker market its brand online.

Investors and other interested parties can receive Autobytel news alerts and special event invitations by accessing the online registration form at investor.autobytel.com/alerts.cfm.

Note about Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Autobytel has disclosed non-GAAP income and non-GAAP EPS in this press release, which are non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G, for the 2015 and 2014 third quarter. The company defines (i) non-GAAP income as GAAP net income before amortization of acquired intangibles, non-cash stock-based compensation, acquisition costs, severance costs, litigation settlements and income taxes; and (ii) non-GAAP EPS as non-GAAP income divided by weighted average diluted shares outstanding. The company’s management believes that presenting non-GAAP income and non-GAAP EPS provides useful information to investors regarding the underlying business trends and performance of the company’s ongoing operations and are better metrics for monitoring the company’s performance given the company’s net operating loss (NOL) tax credits and recent acquisitions. These non-GAAP financial measures are used in addition to and in conjunction with results presented in accordance with GAAP and should not be relied upon to the exclusion of GAAP financial measures. Management strongly encourages investors to review the company’s consolidated financial statements in their entirety and to not rely on any single financial measure. A table providing a reconciliation of non-GAAP income and non-GAAP EPS is included at the end of this press release.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer

The statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements under the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements, including, (i) that the company will continue to drive growth through lead generation and its higher-margin advertising segment, as well as through its suite of value-add product offerings; (ii) that the company reaffirms its fiscal 2015 revenue guidance to range between $132.0 million and $134.0 million, representing an increase of approximately 24% to 26% from 2014; and (iii) that the company increases its expectation for non-GAAP diluted EPS in fiscal 2015 to range between $1.20 and $1.24, an increase of approximately 45% to 49%, are not guarantees of future performance and involve assumptions and risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Autobytel undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements are changes in general economic conditions; the financial condition of automobile manufacturers and dealers; disruptions in automobile production; changes in fuel prices; the economic impact of terrorist attacks, political revolutions or military actions; failure of our internet security measures; dealer attrition; pressure on dealer fees; increased or unexpected competition; the failure of new products and services to meet expectations; failure to retain key employees or attract and integrate new employees; actual costs and expenses exceeding charges taken by Autobytel; changes in laws and regulations; costs of legal matters, including, defending lawsuits and undertaking investigations and related matters; and other matters disclosed in Autobytel’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are strongly encouraged to review the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a discussion of risks and uncertainties that could affect the business, operating results or financial condition of Autobytel and the market price of the company’s stock.

AUTOBYTEL INC.
UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS
(Amounts in thousands, except share and per-share data)
September 30, December 31,
2015 2014
Assets
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents$ 18,798 $ 20,747
Accounts receivable (net of allowances for bad debts and customer credits of $1,087 and $770 at September 30, 2015 and December 31, 2014, respectively) 27,723 18,311
Deferred tax asset 3,616 5,498
Prepaid expenses and other current assets 2,217 811
Total current assets 52,354 45,367
Property and equipment, net 3,099 1,904
Investments 4,060 3,880
Intangible assets, net 12,996 4,173
Goodwill 32,096 20,948
Long-term deferred tax asset 23,615 27,396
Other assets 1,002 1,081
Total assets$ 129,222 $ 104,749
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable$ 9,564 $ 7,685
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities 9,934 9,495
Convertible note payable - 5,000
Current portion of term loan payable 5,250 2,250
Total current liabilities 24,748 24,430
Convertible note payable 1,000 1,000
Long-term portion of term loan payable 14,063 4,500
Borrowings under credit facility 8,000 5,250
Other non-current liabilities 25 311
Total liabilities 47,836 35,491
Commitments and contingencies - -
Stockholders' equity:
Preferred stock, $0.001 par value; 11,445,187 shares authorized; none outstanding - -
Common stock, $0.001 par value; 55,000,000 shares authorized; 10,499,719 and 8,880,377 shares issued and outstanding, as of September 30, 2015 and December 31, 2014, respectively 10 9
Additional paid-in capital 317,057 308,190
Accumulated deficit (235,681) (238,941)
Total stockholders' equity 81,386 69,258
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity$ 129,222 $ 104,749

AUTOBYTEL INC.
UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF INCOME AND COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
(Amounts in thousands, except per-share data)
Three Months Ended Nine Months Ended
September 30, September 30,
2015 2014 2015 2014
Revenues:
Lead fees $ 36,459 $ 25,880 $ 88,480 $ 76,727
Advertising 3,211 1,093 6,846 2,531
Other revenues 505 391 1,479 979
Total revenues 40,175 27,364 96,805 80,237
Cost of revenues 24,878 16,356 59,639 48,828
Gross profit 15,297 11,008 37,166 31,409
Operating expenses:
Sales and marketing 4,109 3,336 11,430 11,078
Technology support 3,574 2,055 7,952 5,971
General and administrative 3,600 3,161 9,854 8,899
Depreciation and amortization 720 483 1,808 1,373
Litigation settlements (25) (25) (75) (118)
Total operating expenses 11,978 9,010 30,969 27,203
Operating income 3,319 1,998 6,197 4,206
Interest and other income (expense), net (216) (177) (546) (518)
Income tax provision 1,488 697 2,391 1,394
Net income and comprehensive income $ 1,615 $ 1,124 $ 3,260 $ 2,294
Basic earnings per common share $ 0.16 $ 0.12 $ 0.33 $ 0.26
Diluted earnings per common share $ 0.14 $ 0.11 $ 0.30 $ 0.22
Shares used in computing earnings per common share (in thousands):
Basic 10,375 9,029 9,732 8,986
Diluted 11,540 11,099 10,718 11,255

AUTOBYTEL INC.
RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP INCOME / EPS
(Amounts in thousands, except per-share data)
Three Months Ended Three Months Ended Three Months Ended Nine Months Ended
March 31, June 30, September 30, September 30,
2015 2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015 2014
Net income $ 773 $ 370 $ 871 $ 801 $ 1,615 $ 1,124 $ 3,260 $ 2,294
Amortization of acquired intangibles 376 332 512 376 667 376 1,556 1,085
Non-cash stock based compensation
Cost of revenues 25 17 38 17 43 18 106 52
Sales and marketing 140 109 146 142 153 149 439 400
Technology support 71 56 151 67 201 61 422 184
General and administrative 417 104 217 142 287 142 922 389
Total non-cash stock-based compensation 653 286 552 368 684 370 1,889 1,025
Acquisition costs - 984 925 116 726 - 1,652 1,100
Severance costs 330 - - - - - 330 -
Litigation settlements (25) (68) (25) (25) (25) (25) (75) (118)
Income taxes 257 220 647 476 1,488 697 2,391 1,394
Non-GAAP income $ 2,364 $ 2,124 $ 3,482 $ 2,112 $ 5,155 $ 2,542 $ 11,003 $ 6,780
Weighted average diluted shares 11,097 10,282 11,057 11,271 11,540 11,099 10,718 11,255
GAAP EPS $ 0.07 $ 0.04 $ 0.08 $ 0.08 $ 0.14 $ 0.11 $ 0.30 $ 0.22
EPS impact of adjustments 0.14 0.17 0.24 0.12 0.31 0.13 0.72 0.40
Non-GAAP EPS $ 0.21 $ 0.21 $ 0.31 $ 0.19 $ 0.45 $ 0.23 $ 1.03 $ 0.60

Company Contact: Kimberly Boren Chief Financial Officer 949-862-1396 kimb@autobytel.com Investor Relations: Liolios Group, Inc. Cody Slach or Sean Mansouri 949-574-3860 ABTL@liolios.com

Source:Autobytel Inc.