D&B Beats, Reaffirms Outlook

Zacks

Dun & Bradstreet Corp. (NYSE:DNB - News) reported second quarter earnings, before non-core gains and one-time charges, of $1.35 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.27.

Operating Performance

Earnings per share (NYSEArca:EPS - News) on a non-GAAP basis increased 10.0% year over year. Net income, before non-core gains and one-time charges, was $67.1 million, up 7.0% year over year, with net margin expanding 30 basis points (bps) to 16.1%.

In the second quarter, GAAP operating expenses increased 11.1% year over year to $143.7 million. However, selling and administrative expenses were down 3.4% year over year to $154.3 million.

Non-GAAP operating income was $108.4 million, up 2.0% year over year, while operating margin dipped 80 bps to 26.0% in the second quarter, reflecting higher total operating costs (77.9% as a percentage of revenue, up 120 bps from the prior-year quarter). Additional expenses related to the Strategic Technology Investment led to the increase in total operating expense.

Revenue

Total revenue gained 5.0%, after the effect of foreign exchange, year over year to $416.8 million and surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $411.0 million.

Core revenue (excluding the divested North American Self Awareness solutions business in 2010) increased 9.0% year over year. Foreign exchange had a favorable impact of 3.0% on core revenue in the second quarter.

The divested business did not have any impact on second quarter 2011 revenues, but had a positive impact of $14.1 million in the prior-year quarter.

Deferred revenue was $559.3 million, up 4% from the prior year.

Segment-wise Revenue

In the reported quarter, core revenues were positively impacted by higher Risk Management Solutions revenue (65.8% of total core revenue), which were up 10.0% year over year to $274.4 million. Sales & Marketing Solutions revenue (26.8% of total core revenue) was up 6.0% year over year to $111.8 million. Internet Solutions revenue (7.4% of total core revenue) climbed 6.0% to $30.6 million..

Region-wise Revenue

North American core revenue inched up 1.0% year over year to $288.3 million, after the foreign exchange impact.

Within the North America business, Risk Management Solutions were flat year over year after the effect of foreign exchange. Sales & Marketing Solutions was up 1.0%, while Internet Solutions revenues increased 6.0% on a year-over-year basis.

In the Asia Pacific regions, core revenue growth surged 82% from the previous year quarter to $66.6 million. The acquisition of D&B Australia contributed 62 percentage points of the growth.

Within the Asia Pacific regions, Risk Management Solutions doubled due to the acquisition of D&B Australia. Sales & Marketing Solutions was up 36.0%, while Internet Solutions revenue decreased 15.0% on a year-over-year basis.

Core revenue from the Europe and Other International markets was up 3.0% from the prior-year quarter to $61.9 million. Risk Management Solutions was up 3% from the previous year quarter. Sales & Marketing Solutions was up 3.0%, while Internet Solutions revenues increased 5.0% on a year-over-year basis.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

D&B ended the quarter with $83.1 million in cash and cash equivalents, slightly down from $83.6 million in the previous quarter. Total debt came in at $862.5 million versus $890.7 million at the end of the preceding quarter. Net debt (long-term and short-term debt less cash) decreased to $778.4 million or $15.66 per share at the end of the quarter versus $807.1 million or $16.14 per share in the previous quarter.

Year to date free cash flow, excluding the impact of legacy tax matters, was $187.6 million compared with $172.5 million in the prior-year period.

Share repurchases during the second quarter of 2011, under the company's discretionary repurchase program, totaled $23.4 million (approximately 0.3 million shares), while repurchases made to offset the dilutive effect of shares issued under employee benefit plans were an additional $10.4 million (approximately 0.1 million shares).

Strategic Technology Investment

D&B announced a two-year strategic technology investment program aimed at strengthening its leading position in commercial data and improving its current technology platform in February 2010. The program is expected to accelerate revenue growth and reduce expenses by improving data quality and timeliness, increasing the speed of product innovation and significantly reducing technology costs.

In the second quarter of 2011, the company incurred $10.2 million for total pre-tax expenses on the Strategic Technology Investment. Moreover, it incurred $2.9 million of capital expenditures and additions to computer software and other intangibles related to the Strategic Technology Investment.

D&B expects to spend $55 million to $65 million in fiscal 2011.

2011 Guidance

D&B expects core revenues to increase 5.0% to 8.0%, before the effect of foreign exchange. Operating income is expected to increase 2.0% to 6.0%, before non-core gains and charges.

The company expects earnings to grow in the 6.0% to 10.0% range, before non-core gains and charges. D&B expects free cash flow of between $240 million and $270 million, excluding the impact of legacy tax matters but including the new Strategic Technology Investment.

Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $6.04 per share for fiscal 2011, in line with the lower end of the guided range. For the third quarter of 2011, the Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.34.

Recommendation

We have a positive stance on D&B over the long term, due to its high-margin business model, strong international growth potential, emerging market growth opportunities, strategic investments, incremental cost savings and new product pipeline.

However, a sluggish macro environment in North America and weakness in Europe pose concerns. Moreover, increasing competition from companies including Equifax Inc. (NYSE:EFX - News) and Moody’s Corp (NYSE:MCO - News) may hurt its profitability going forward.

We maintain our Neutral recommendation on a long-term basis (6-12 months). Currently, D&B has a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating over the short term (1-3 months).

DUN & BRADSTREET CORP DEL NE (DNB): Read the Full Research Report

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