Wex posts 1Q profit above views, cuts outlook

Wex posts 1Q profit above Wall Street's estimates, cuts full-year profit, revenue forecasts

Associated Press

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Wex Inc., which processes fuel payments for fleet vehicles, said Wednesday that its first-quarter net income rose 24 percent thanks to record low credit losses and strength across its business.

But the company cut its full-year adjusted earnings and revenue forecasts to account for declining fuel prices and foreign exchange rates. It also provided a second-quarter adjusted earnings and revenue guidance below Wall Street's expectations.

Its stock slid more than 9 percent in afternoon trading.

Wex also detailed succession plans on Wednesday, saying that Melissa D. Smith will become CEO at the start of the new year. The 44-year-old Smith will succeed Michael E. Dubyak, who will continue to serve as chairman and CEO during the transition period and then move to the newly created role of executive chairman.

Smith will serve as president until taking over as CEO from the 62-year-old Dubyak and will also become a board member. Smith joined Wex in 1997 and most recently served as president of the Americas.

For the three months ended March 31, Wex earned $28.7 million, or 73 cents per share. A year earlier the company earned $23.2 million, or 59 cents per share.

Removing certain items, earnings were 98 cents per share compared with 91 cents per share in the prior-year period.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected adjusted earnings of 96 cents per share.

Revenue climbed 18 percent to $165.4 million from $140.1 million. Wall Street was looking for slightly higher revenue of $165.8 million.

Wex now anticipates full-year adjusted earnings between $4.20 and $4.35 per share on revenue in a range of $716 million to $736 million. Its previous outlook was for adjusted earnings between $4.30 and $4.50 per share on revenue in a range of $721 million to $741 million.

Analysts predict earnings of $4.44 per share on revenue of $730 million.

For the second quarter, Wex expects adjusted earnings between 98 cents and $1.05 per share and revenue in a range of $170 million to $177 million.

Wall Street forecasts earnings of $1.10 per share on revenue of $182.8 million.

The company's stock fell $6.95 to $68.83. The shares have traded in a 52-week range of $53.14 to $80.52.

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