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Navigant (NCI) Beats on Q1 Earnings, Reiterates Guidance

Navigant Consulting Inc.NCI reported adjusted earnings per share of 27 cents in first-quarter 2016, compared with 23 cents in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted earnings comfortably beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 22 cents.

Total revenues in first-quarter 2016 were $245.3 million compared with $223.2 million in the prior-year period. Revenues before reimbursements (RBR) increased 11% year over year to approximately $224 million and were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.  Revenues increased due to strong demand for its products and services.

Adjusted EBITDA was $30.6 million in the reported quarter compared with $28.4 million in the prior-year quarter.

Segment Performance

RBR for the Healthcare segment, which turned out to be the strongest performer this quarter, increased 27.6% year over year to $81.7 million. The improvement was driven by increased demand in healthcare consulting and business process management services, along with the contribution from the McKinnis Consulting Services acquisition. Segment operating profit margin increased to 29.1% from 28.5% in the prior year.

The Energy segment’s RBR saw growth of 5% year over year to $26.9 million in the reported quarter. The growth was driven by an increase in market intelligence and strategy and operations engagements. The segment’s operating profit margin decreased to 25% from 30.9% in the year- ago quarter, offset by higher compensation and benefits expenses.

The Disputes, Forensics & Legal Technology (earlier known as Disputes, Investigations & Economics) segment’s RBR increased 6.1% year over year to $81.3 million. The increase was driven by higher demand for its premier dispute service offerings along with its sturdy performance globally in construction and infrastructure claims issues. Segment operating margin increased to 35.3% from 31.7%, driven by improved RBR and continuing cost-management actions.

The Financial, Risk & Compliance Advisory segment’s RBR contracted 3.7% year over year to $33.7 million in the quarter. Operating profit margin for the segment declined to 40.1% compared to $43.1 in the earlier year quarter, due to the fall in RBR.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

At quarter end, Navigant had about $3.4 million in cash and cash equivalents compared with $8.9 million as of Dec 31, 2015.

Bank debt was $ 211.5 million on Mar 31, 2016 compared with $ 178.7 million on Mar 31, 2015. Leverage (bank debt divided by trailing twelve-month adjusted EBITDA) was 1.72 on Mar 31, 2016 compared with 1.46 on Mar 31, 2015.

For the quarter, free cash flow was $21 million compared with $11.8 million in the prior-year period. During the quarter, Navigant repurchased 407,920 shares for approximately $ $6.3 million at an average price of $ 15.36 per share. As of Mar 31, 2016, $ 81.8 million worth of shares remained available for repurchase under the company’s share buyback authorization.
 
Outlook

For 2016, the company reiterated its earlier RBR guidance in the range $900–$940 million. Total revenues are expected to be in the range of $960 million to $1.01 billion. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be in the range $132–$145 million, while adjusted EPS is expected to be in the range of $1.05–$1.15.

Navigant currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some of the other stocks worth a look include Exponent Inc. EXPO, Gartner Inc. IT and Accenture plc ACN. All three carry the same Zacks Rank as Navigant.

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