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Encore Capital (ECPG) Q1 Earnings Top on Higher Revenues

Encore Capital Group, Inc. ECPG reported first-quarter 2016 adjusted net income of $1.31 per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.1%. Also, the bottom line improved 12.9% year over year on higher revenues.

Including one-time items, the company posted net income of $1.12 per share, up 10.9% from the year-ago quarter.

First-Quarter Operational Update

Total revenue at Encore Capital inched up 4% year over year to $289 million. The year-over-year increase was fueled by significantly higher revenues from the receivable portfolio as well as improvement in other revenues. However, the top line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.6%.

Gross collections rose 5.4% year over year to $448 million compared with $425 million in the prior-year quarter.

Total operating expenses of $205.5 million increased 5.4% year over year. The rise in expenses stemmed from higher salaries and employee benefits, other operating expenses, general and administrative expenses and depreciation and amortization in the quarter.

Encore Capital’s first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) improved 9.1% year over year to a record $287 million.

Financial Update

As of Mar 31, 2016, total assets of Encore Capital came in at $3.8 billion, down 8.4% from the 2015-end level.

As of Mar 31, 2016, Encore Capital had cash and cash equivalents of $144.6 million, up 16.6% from year-end 2015.

Investment in Receivable portfolio totaled $2.5 billion as of Mar 31, 2016, up 1.9% from year-end 2015.

Total debt amounted to $2.9 billion, down 1.7% from the 2015-end level.

As of Mar 31, 2016, total shareholders’ equity was $610.3 million, up 2.3% from year-end 2015.

Encore Capital’s cash from operations soared 64.3% year over year to $31.9 million as of Mar 31, 2016.

Divestiture

Encore Capital sold its wholly owned subsidiary, Propel Financial Services, to Prophet Capital Asset Management in the first quarter of 2016. This enabled the insurer to deploy capital to generate higher returns. The completion of this divestiture also led to reduction of debt and higher liquidity.

Zacks Rank and Performance of Other Stocks

Encore Capital carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Among other players from the finance sector that have reported their first-quarter earnings so far, the bottom line at American Express Company AXP, Alliance Data Systems Corporation ADS and Total System Services, Inc. TSS beat their respective Zacks Consensus Estimates.

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