Shares in troubled EML Payments (ASX: EML) were in freefall today – plunging 38.56% (to $1.66) - following the release of a trading update within which the payment processor cut earnings (EBITDA) guidance for the full year by 8% to $55m.
The tough loved dished out to EML today, which follows a tough third quarter - which saw the company post a 22% decline in underlying net profit - should remind investors of the dangers of buying stocks, and parking them in the bottom drawer, and especially high-growth tech stocks.
But in fairness to EML, should guidance be met, profits will have risen 40% since 2019. So the market’s reaction today may have had more to do with not meeting expectations, than a dismal result per se.
Management attributed declining guidance to a turn for the worse in foreign exchange rates, higher overheads, and the major slowing in the launch of new programs.
Then there was a delay in the regulatory approval of a EUR bond investment, which knocked around $2m off projected pre-tax profits.
Management also noted "operational execution issues in Europe and a more risk averse approach to new programs."
"We now anticipate continued challenges through Q4 which has led to a reduction in the guidance range," EML stated.
Despite these issues, management also reminded investors that core Australian and North American businesses are performing in line with expectations, with year-to-date revenue up 20% on the previous year.
Assuming revenue continues to grow at the current rate, and management keeps a handle on operating costs, Intelligent Investor suspects there’s a good chance profits might double their current level by 2025.
The fund manager expects rising interest rates to add an extra kicker to profits due to income earned on stored balances on EML cards.
The fund manager also notes management’s expected investment in sterling and euro bonds could add $6m-$10m to $2023’s pre-tax profits, while cost cutting programs might save $4m-$5m.
“Those two things alone could add $10m to net profit, which ignore growth in the underlying business,” the fund manager notes.
“Yet the company continues to sign new partnership contracts, 23 this past quarter, including two that could add meaningfully to revenue as they ramp up.”
EML Payments share price was seriously sold down today.
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