Bottom line shines at Planet Payment

World beater: Strong international connections are pumping up Planet Payment's bottom line.

It was an up quarter to end an up year at Planet Payment Inc.

Reporting Wednesday on the fourth quarter of its 2016 fiscal year, which ended Dec. 31, the Long Beach-based provider of international payment, transaction-processing and currency-processing services (Nasdaq: PLPM) noted a slight dip in year-over-year quarterly revenues – to $13.9 million, down from $15.4 million in 4Q2015 – but skyrocketing net income, which rose from $6.7 million in the last quarter of 2015 to $19.8 million this year.

The numbers in both quarters were inflated, dramatically, by income-tax provisions related “to the reversal of a portion of our deferred tax-asset valuation allowance,” the company said in a statement. But even without the provisions, net income went up between 4Q2015 and 4Q2016, from $1.9 million to $3.3 million.

The income spike led to much-improve earnings per share, year-over-year. Diluted net income per share for 4Q2016 was 36 cents, more than tripling the 11 cents per share reported for 4Q2015. Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter also increased year-over-year, rising 22 percent to $4.8 million.

Planet Payment’s financial performance over its entire 2016 fiscal year was equally strong. The year, which also ended Dec. 31, saw the company collect total revenues of $54.3 million, a handsome gain on the $52.8 million in revenues reported for FY2015.

Annual net income also soared, from $10.4 million reported in FY2015 to $25.1 million reported last year. Planet Payment again credited the lofty gains to those income tax provisions – without which, annual net income would still have risen year-over-year, from $5.6 million in FY2015 to $8.6 million, the company said.

For the year, diluted net income per share weighed in at 44 cents, easily besting the 17 cents per share reported for 2015, while adjusted EBITDA for FY2016 grew 26 percent to $14.6 million.

Planet Payment Chairman and CEO Carl Williams noted several operational highlights from the year gone by, including new UnionPay Card Acceptance partnerships with United Airlines and a number of international Pay In Your Currency program rollouts.

The CEO also predicted another strong financial performance in FY2017, with net revenues estimated to approach $61.5 million, net income likely to push $13 million and adjusted EBITDA on target to approach $18 million.

“I am pleased with our performance in 2016 and our prospects for 2017,” Williams said Wednesday in a statement to investors. “With strengthening global travel trends, multiple business wins and improving EBITDA, I feel strongly that our progress will continue in 2017 and beyond.”

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