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AutoWeb Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Results

IRVINE, Calif., March 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AutoWeb, Inc. (AUTO), a robust digital marketing platform providing digital advertising solutions for automotive dealers and OEMs, is reporting financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2018.

Fourth Quarter 2018 Financial Summary

  • Total revenues were $32.3 million compared to $31.7 million in Q3’18 and $33.3 million in Q4’17.
  • Advertising revenues were $6.5 million compared to $6.6 million in Q3’18 and $9.2 million in Q4’17.
  • Net loss was $5.3 million or $(0.41) per share, compared to a net loss of $18.0 million or $(1.41) per share in Q3’18 and a net loss of $65.8 million or $(5.22) per share in Q4’17.
  • Non-GAAP loss was $3.1 million or $(0.24) per share, compared to a non-GAAP loss of $2.4 million or $(0.19) per share in Q3’18 and non-GAAP income of $0.1 million or $0.01 per share in Q4’17.

Fourth Quarter 2018 Key Operating Metrics

  • Lead traffic was 32.1 million visits compared to 34.4 million in Q3’18 and 26.8 million in Q4’17.1
  • Lead volume was 2.0 million compared to 1.9 million in Q3’18 and 1.8 million in Q4’17.2
  • Retail dealer count was 2,596 compared to 2,577 in Q3’18 and 3,008 in Q4’17.3
  • Retail lead capacity was 442,000 lead targets compared to 441,000 in Q3’18 and 528,000 in Q4’17.4
  • Click traffic was 6.1 million visits compared to 5.9 million in Q3’18 and 6.3 million in Q4’17. 5
  • Click volume was 6.6 million clicks compared to 6.6 million in Q3’18 and 7.3 million in Q4’17.6
  • Revenue per click was $0.81 compared to $0.84 in Q3’18 and $1.08 in Q4’17.7

1 Lead traffic = total visits to AutoWeb’s owned lead websites. Lead traffic visits for the applicable periods include visits to several additional AutoWeb websites that were not previously reported for the Q3’18 period.
2 Lead volume = total new and used vehicle leads invoiced to retail and wholesale customers.
3 Retail dealer count = the number of franchised dealers contracted for delivery of retail new vehicle leads plus the number of vehicle dealers (franchised or independent) contracted for delivery of retail used vehicle leads.
4 Retail lead capacity = the sum of the number of new and used vehicle leads contracted for by new or used retail vehicle dealers that the dealers wish to receive each month (i.e., “targets”) during the applicable quarter.
5 Click traffic = total visits to AutoWeb’s owned click referral websites.
6 Click Volume = the number of times during the applicable quarter that consumers clicked on advertisements on AutoWeb’s click referral websites.
7 Revenue per click = total click revenue divided by click volume.

Management Commentary
“We continued to execute on our strategic initiatives in Q4, as reflected by another quarter of sequential improvement in lead volume and the first time we’ve generated two million leads since Q3 2017,” said Jared Rowe, President & CEO of AutoWeb. “We also began to mobile enable some of our new car websites, which led to improvements in conversion and resulted in our first sequential quarter of gross margin expansion since Q4 2016.

“We made progress implementing new traffic acquisition strategies and our new click algorithm during the quarter. In fact, as of November 2018, 90% of our click traffic was being exposed to the new algorithm and the early results have been promising, however there is still work to be done to improve our click through rate.

“This momentum has been further enabled by the establishment of our full leadership team. Over the last few months, we added a new CFO, COO, CTO, and CPO; all department heads are now in place. Further, we strengthened our board with the appointment of Chan Galbato, a seasoned executive from Cerberus Capital Management. Each team member brings a unique but complementary background and skillset to fill critical roles at AutoWeb.

“We have completed the first phase of our turnaround and are in the early stages of the next phase. Our team is in place, we’ve begun to deploy various initiatives and our results are beginning to turn in the right direction. However, we still need to make better progress on multiple fronts, particularly from a distribution perspective for both leads and clicks. While we improved dealer count and lead capacity during the fourth quarter, we do not anticipate a straight-line trajectory and believe we can make better progress in penetrating the top 150 dealer groups in the country.

“Overall, I am proud of the work our team has completed to date as we enter the next phase of this turnaround, and we remain fully committed to growing revenue and expanding margins in 2019 as we execute on our various strategic initiatives.”

Fourth Quarter 2018 Financial Results
Total revenues in the fourth quarter of 2018 were $32.3 million compared to $33.3 million in the year-ago quarter, with advertising revenues of $6.5 million compared to $9.2 million in the year-ago quarter. The decline in total revenues was primarily due to lower click volume and revenue per click.

Gross profit in the fourth quarter was $5.6 million compared to $8.1 million in the year-ago quarter, with the decrease primarily driven by lower revenue and cost of revenue inefficiencies. As a percentage of revenue, gross profit was 17.5%.

Total operating expenses in the fourth quarter were $11.0 million compared to $48.4 million in the year-ago quarter. The fourth quarter of 2017 included a goodwill impairment charge of $37.7 million.

Net loss in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $5.3 million or $(0.41) per share, compared to a net loss of $65.8 million or $(5.22) per share in the year-ago quarter. The difference was primarily driven by the aforementioned goodwill impairment charge in 2017, as well as a non-cash charge to income tax in the year-ago quarter.

Non-GAAP loss was $3.1 million or $(0.24) per share, compared to non-GAAP income of $0.1 million or $0.01 per share in the fourth quarter of 2017 (see "Note about Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below for further discussion). The decline was primarily driven by the lower revenue and gross profit noted above.

At December 31, 2018, cash and cash equivalents totaled $13.6 million compared to $15.8 million at September 30, 2018, and $25.0 million at December 31, 2017, with the reduction from year-end 2017 primarily driven by repayment of AutoWeb’s $8.0 million revolving line of credit and severance-related costs. Total debt was $1.0 million compared to $9.0 million at December 31, 2017.

Full Year 2018 Financial Results
Total revenues in 2018 were $125.6 million compared to $142.1 million in 2017, with advertising revenues of $28.2 million compared to $34.1 million in 2017.

Gross profit in 2018 was $15.3 million compared to $42.8 million in 2017. As a percentage of revenue, gross profit was 12.2%. The decrease was primarily due to lower revenues and efficiency, as well as the one-time impairment charge in Q3’18 associated with the DealerX platform license.

Adjusted gross profit in 2018, which excludes the one-time DealerX impairment charge of $9.0 million, was $24.3 million compared to gross profit of $42.8 million in 2017. As a percentage of revenue, adjusted gross profit was 19.3% (see "Note about Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below for further discussion).

Total operating expenses in 2018 were $54.3 million compared to $81.4 million in 2017. The 2017 period included a $37.7 million goodwill impairment charge.

Net loss in 2018 was $38.8 million or $(3.04) per share, compared to a net loss of $65.0 million or $(5.48) per share last year.

Non-GAAP loss was $9.2 million or $(0.72) per share, compared to non-GAAP income of $8.5 million or $0.64 per share in 2017 (see "Note about Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below for further discussion).

Conference Call
AutoWeb will hold a conference call today at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time to discuss its fourth quarter and full year 2018 results, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2019
Time: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (2:00 p.m. Pacific time)
Toll-free dial-in number: 1-877-852-2929
International dial-in number: 1-404-991-3925
Conference ID: 6986797

Please call the conference telephone number 5-10 minutes prior to the start time, and an operator will register your name and organization. If you have any difficulty connecting with the conference call, please contact Liolios at 1-949-574-3860.

A replay of the conference call will be available after 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on the same day through March 16, 2019. The call will also be archived in the Investors section of AutoWeb’s website for one year.

Toll-free replay number: 1-855-859-2056
International replay number: 1-404-537-3406
Replay ID: 6986797

Tax Benefit Preservation Plan
At December 31, 2018, the company had approximately $87.6 million in available net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) for U.S. federal income tax purposes. AutoWeb reminds stockholders about its Tax Benefit Preservation Plan dated May 26, 2010, as amended on April 14, 2014 and April 13, 2017 (as amended, the “Plan”) between the company and Computershare Trust Company, N.A., as rights agent.

The Plan was adopted by the company’s board of directors to preserve the company’s NOLs and other tax attributes, and thus reduce the risk of a possible change of ownership under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code. Any such change of ownership under Section 382 would limit or eliminate the ability of the company to use its existing NOLs for federal income tax purposes. In general, an ownership change will occur if the company’s 5% shareholders, for purposes of Section 382, collectively increase their ownership in the company by an aggregate of more than 50 percentage points over a rolling three-year period. The Plan is designed to reduce the likelihood that the company experiences such an ownership change by discouraging any person or group from becoming a new 5% shareholder under Section 382. Rights issued under the Plan could be triggered upon the acquisition by any person or group of 4.9% or more of the company’s outstanding common stock and could result in substantial dilution of the acquirer’s percentage ownership in the company. There is no guarantee that the Plan will achieve the objective of preserving the value of the company’s NOLs.

As of January 31, 2019, there were 12,960,450 shares of the company’s common stock, $0.001 par value, outstanding. Persons or groups considering the acquisition of shares of beneficial ownership of the company’s common stock should first evaluate their percentage ownership based on this revised outstanding share number to ensure that the acquisition of shares does not result in beneficial ownership of 4.9% or more of outstanding shares. For more information about the Plan, please visit investor.autoweb.com/tax.cfm.

About AutoWeb, Inc.
AutoWeb, Inc. provides high-quality consumer leads, clicks and associated marketing services to automotive dealers and manufacturers throughout the United States. The company also provides consumers with robust and original online automotive content to help them make informed car-buying decisions. The company pioneered the automotive Internet in 1995 and has since helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers; and has helped every major automaker market its brand online.

Investors and other interested parties can receive AutoWeb news alerts and special event invitations by accessing the online registration form at investor.autoweb.com/alerts.cfm.

Note about Non-GAAP Financial Measures
AutoWeb has disclosed non-GAAP (loss) income and non-GAAP EPS in this press release, which are non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G. The company defines (i) non-GAAP (loss) income as GAAP net (loss) income before amortization of acquired intangibles, non-cash stock-based compensation, severance costs, gain or loss on investment or sale, litigation settlements, goodwill impairment, long-lived asset impairment and income taxes; and (ii) non-GAAP EPS as non-GAAP (loss) income divided by weighted average diluted shares outstanding. A table providing reconciliations of non-GAAP (loss) income and non-GAAP EPS is included at the end of this press release.

AutoWeb has also disclosed adjusted gross profit and adjusted gross margin in this press release, which are also non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G. The company defines (i) adjusted gross profit as GAAP gross profit minus the one-time cost of revenues - impairment charge due to the DealerX platform license; and (ii) adjusted gross margin as GAAP gross margin, excluding the impact of the one-time cost of revenues – impairment charge due to the DealerX platform license. A table providing the reconciliation of adjusted gross profit and adjusted gross margin is included at the end of this press release.

The company's management believes that presenting non-GAAP (loss) income, non-GAAP EPS, adjusted gross profit and adjusted gross margin provides useful information to investors regarding the underlying business trends and performance of the company's ongoing operations, as well as providing for more consistent period-over-period comparisons. These non-GAAP measures also assist management in its operational and financial decision-making and monitoring the company’s performance. In addition, we use non-GAAP and non-GAAP EPS as a measure for determining incentive compensation targets. These non-GAAP financial measures are used in addition to and in conjunction with results presented in accordance with GAAP and should not be relied upon to the exclusion of GAAP financial measures. Management strongly encourages investors to review the company's consolidated financial statements in their entirety and to not rely on any single financial measure.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer
The statements contained in this press release or that may be made during the conference call described above that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements under the federal securities laws. Words such as “anticipates,” “could,” “may,” “estimates,” “expects,” “projects,” “intends,” “pending,” “plans,” “believes,” “will” and words of similar substance, or the negative of those words, used in connection with any discussion of future operations or financial performance identify forward-looking statements. In particular, statements regarding expectations and opportunities, new product expectations and capabilities, projections, statements regarding future events, and our outlook regarding our performance and growth are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements, including, that (i) there is still work to be done to improve the company’s click through rate; (ii) the company still needs to make better progress on multiple fronts, particularly from a distribution perspective for both leads and clicks; (iii) while dealer count and lead capacity improved during the fourth quarter, the company does not anticipate a straight-line trajectory and that the company believes it can make better progress in penetrating the top 150 dealer groups in the country; and (iv) the company remains fully committed to growing revenue and expanding margins in 2019 as it executes on our various strategic initiatives, are not guarantees of future performance and involve assumptions and risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. AutoWeb undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements are changes in general economic conditions; the financial condition of automobile manufacturers and dealers; disruptions in automobile production; changes in fuel prices; the economic impact of terrorist attacks, political revolutions or military actions; failure of our internet security measures; dealer attrition; pressure on dealer fees; increased or unexpected competition; the failure of new products and services to meet expectations; failure to retain key employees or attract and integrate new employees; actual costs and expenses exceeding charges taken by AutoWeb; changes in laws and regulations; costs of legal matters, including, defending lawsuits and undertaking investigations and related matters; and other matters disclosed in AutoWeb’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are strongly encouraged to review the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a discussion of risks and uncertainties that could affect the business, operating results or financial condition of AutoWeb and the market price of the company's stock.

Company Contact
J.P. Hannan
Chief Financial Officer
1-949-437-4651
jp.hannan@autoweb.com

Investor Relations Contact:
Sean Mansouri or Cody Slach
Liolios Investor Relations
1-949-574-3860
AUTO@liolios.com

 

         
AUTOWEB, INC.
UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS
(Amounts in thousands, except share and per-share data)
         
         
     December 31,    December 31,
    2018   2017
Assets      
Current assets:      
  Cash and cash equivalents $   13,600     $   24,993  
  Short-term investment     -          254  
  Accounts receivable (net of allowances for bad debts and customer
credits of $566 and $892 at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively)
    26,898         25,911  
  Prepaid expenses and other current assets     1,245         1,805  
  Total current assets     41,743         52,963  
Property and equipment, net     3,181         4,311  
Investments     -          100  
Intangible assets, net     11,976         29,113  
Goodwill     -          5,133  
Long-term deferred tax asset     -          692  
Other assets     516         601  
  Total assets $   57,416     $   92,913  
         
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity      
Current liabilities:      
  Accounts payable $   10,908     $   7,083  
  Accrued employee-related benefits     3,125         2,411  
  Other accrued expenses and other current liabilities     8,868         7,252  
  Current convertible note payable     1,000         -   
  Total current liabilities     23,901         16,746  
Convertible note payable     -          1,000  
Borrowings under revolving credit facility     -          8,000  
  Total liabilities     23,901         25,746  
         
Commitments and contingencies              
         
Stockholders' equity:      
  Preferred stock, $0.001 par value; 11,445,187 shares authorized      
  Series A Preferred stock, none issued and outstanding     -          -   
  Common stock, $0.001 par value; 55,000,000 shares authorized;
12,960,450 and 13,059,341 shares issued and outstanding, as of
December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively
    13         13  
  Additional paid-in capital     361,218         356,054  
  Accumulated deficit     (327,716 )       (288,900 )
  Total stockholders' equity     33,515         67,167  
  Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $   57,416     $   92,913  
         

 

                 
 AUTOWEB, INC. 
 UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS AND COMPREHENSIVE INCOME (LOSS) 
 (Amounts in thousands, except per-share data) 
                 
                 
                 
    Three Months Ended    Twelve Months Ended 
    December 31,   December 31,
      2018       2017       2018       2017  
                 
Revenues:              
  Lead fees $   25,659     $   23,896     $   96,936     $   107,045  
  Advertising     6,526         9,228         28,169         34,142  
  Other revenues     68         197         484         938  
Total revenues     32,253         33,321         125,589         142,125  
Cost of revenues     26,613         25,182         101,315         99,352  
Cost of revenues - impairment     -          -          9,014         -   
  Gross profit     5,640         8,139         15,260         42,773  
                 
Operating expenses:              
  Sales and marketing     2,323         3,630         12,419         14,315  
  Technology support     3,185         2,986         13,838         12,567  
  General and administrative     4,097         2,961         16,077         12,001  
  Depreciation and amortization     1,402         1,158         4,897         4,781  
  Goodwill impairment     -          37,688         5,133         37,688  
  Long-lived asset impairment     -          -          1,968         -   
    Total operating expenses     11,007         48,423         54,332         81,352  
Operating income (loss)     (5,367 )       (40,284 )       (39,072 )       (38,579 )
  Interest and other income (expense), net     72         (656 )       250         (946 )
Income (loss) before income tax provision (benefit)     (5,295 )       (40,940 )       (38,822 )       (39,525 )
  Income tax provision (benefit)     (10 )       24,900         (6 )       25,439  
Net income (loss) and comprehensive income (loss) $   (5,285 )   $   (65,840 )   $   (38,816 )   $   (64,964 )
                 
                 
Basic earnings (loss) per common share $   (0.41 )   $   (5.22 )   $   (3.04 )   $   (5.48 )
Diluted earnings (loss) per common share $   (0.41 )   $   (5.22 )   $   (3.04 )   $   (5.48 )
                 
                 
Shares used in computing earnings (loss) per common share (in thousands):            
   Basic      12,892         12,622         12,756         11,853  
   Diluted      12,892         12,622         12,756         11,853  
                 

 

                                         
AUTOWEB, INC.
RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP INCOME (LOSS) / EPS
 (Amounts in thousands, except per-share data) 
                                         
  Three Months Ended
March 31,
  Three Months Ended
June 30,
  Three Months Ended
September 30,
  Three Months Ended
December 31,
    Year Ended
December 31,
    2018       2017       2018       2017       2018       2017       2018       2017         2018       2017  
                                         
Net income (loss) $ (10,279 )   $ 484     $ (5,217 )   $ 322     $ (18,036 )   $ 69     $ (5,285 )   $ (65,840 )     $ (38,816 )   $ (64,964 )
Amortization of acquired intangibles   1,687       1,387       1,670       1,359       1,650       1,343       1,511       1,646         6,518       5,736  
Non-cash stock based compensation:                                        
Cost of revenues   15       20       4       19       2       19       2       19         23       78  
Sales and marketing   225       412       159       402       520       409       77       481         981       1,703  
Technology support   152       127       173       134       886       138       36       184         1,247       583  
General and administrative   1,234       452       607       389       388       397       386       501         2,615       1,739  
Total non-cash stock-based compensation   1,626       1,011       943       944       1,796       963       501       1,185         4,866       4,103  
                                         
Severance costs   950       -       -       57       1,140       -       188       -         2,278       57  
Litigation settlements   (17 )     (25 )     (25 )     (25 )     (25 )     (26 )     (25 )     (33 )       (92 )     (109 )
Gain (loss) on investment   -       -       (125 )     -       100       -       -       580         (25 )     580  
Goodwill impairment   5,133       -       -       -       -       -       -       37,688         5,133       37,688  
Long-lived asset impairment   -       -       -       -       10,982       -       -       -         10,982       -  
Income taxes   4       625       -       (166 )     -       81       (10 )     24,900         (6 )     25,439  
                                         
Non-GAAP income (loss) $ (896 )   $ 3,482     $ (2,754 )   $ 2,491     $ (2,393 )   $ 2,430     $ (3,120 )   $ 126       $ (9,162 )   $ 8,530  
                                         
Weighted average diluted shares   12,617       13,309       12,726       13,344       12,787       13,201       12,892       13,452         12,756       13,366  
                                         
                                         
Diluted GAAP EPS $ (0.81 )   $ 0.04     $ (0.41 )   $ 0.01     $ (1.41 )   $ 0.01     $ (0.41 )   $ (5.22 )     $ (3.04 )   $ (5.48 )
Diluted impact of adjustments   0.74       0.23       0.19       0.16       1.22       0.18       0.17       4.90         2.32       5.50  
Diluted Non-GAAP EPS $ (0.07 )   $ 0.26     $ (0.22 )   $ 0.19     $ (0.19 )   $ 0.18     $ (0.24 )   $ 0.01       $ (0.72 )   $ 0.64  
                                         

 

AUTOWEB, INC.      
RECONCILIATION OF ADJUSTED GROSS PROFIT (LOSS) AND ADJUSTED GROSS MARGIN
(Amounts in thousands, except gross margin %) 
       
       
  Year Ended
December 31,
    2018       2017  
       
Total Revenues $   125,589     $   142,125  
       
Cost of revenues     101,315         99,352  
Cost of revenues - impairment     9,014         -  
Gross (loss) profit     15,260         42,773  
       
Non-GAAP adjustments      
Cost of revenues - impairment     9,014         -  
Adjusted gross profit $   24,274     $   42,773  
       
       
Gross margin   12.2 %     30.1 %
       
Non-GAAP adjustments      
Cost of revenues - impairment   7.2 %     0.0 %
Adjusted gross margin   19.3 %     30.1 %