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Strayer Education (STRA) Q4 Earnings Miss, Enrollments Up

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Strayer Education Inc. STRA reported fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings of $1.09 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.29 by 15.5%. However, earnings improved 15% year over year.
Revenues declined 0.5% to $118.7 million from $119.3 million in the same quarter last year, owing to lower revenue per student due to higher scholarships during the fall term.

Enrollment Details

Total enrollment at Strayer University increased 6% to 48,144 students from 45,509 in the prior-year quarter. New student enrollments rose 4% and continuing student enrollments increased 6%.

Financial Details

Strayer Education ended the year with cash and cash equivalents of $155.9 million, compared with $129.2 million at 2016-end.

The company generated $56.2 million in cash from operating activities in 2017, compared with $44.5 million in the year-ago period. Capital expenditures totaled $18.1 million compared with $13.2 million at the end of 2016.

The company had $70 million worth of share repurchase authorization as of Dec 31, 2017. Notably, no shares were repurchased in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Strayer Education, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Strayer Education, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Strayer Education, Inc. Quote

Q1 Guidance

Total enrollments at Strayer University are expected to grow 6% to approximately 46,100 students from the prior-year quarter.

New student enrollments are anticipated to increase approximately 6%. Continuing student enrollments are likely to increase approximately 6%.

Revenue per student in the quarter is likely to decline 5%.

Tax rate for the quarter is expected in the range of 21-22%.

Strayer-Capella Merger

In October 2017, Strayer Education and Capella Education Company CPLA announced an all-stock merger deal of equal transactions. The merger is expected to achieve annual cost savings of approximately $50 million to be fully phased in within 18 months of closing.

Notably, the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018. Post completion, Strayer Education’s shareholders will own approximately 52% of the combined entity and Capella’s shareholders will own the remaining 48%.  The newly-formed entity will be renamed Strategic Education Inc. and its ticker symbol will remain STRA.

The combined company is aimed to become a national leader in education innovation. The companies are likely to accelerate innovation in key products and services as well as return capital to shareholders through an expected annual dividend of $2 per share following the close of the transaction.

The merger is expected to ensure students’ success and positive employment outcomes. A shared effort by the companies is expected to improve academic outcomes by combining each of the university’s competencies. The merger will also facilitate a diversified product offering that will result in a balanced revenue mix.

Zacks Rank & Peer Release

Strayer Education carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

American Public Education, Inc. APEI reported fourth-quarter 2017 earnings per share of 51 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 33 cents by 54.5%. Adjusted earnings in the year-ago quarter were 42 cents.

Adtalem Global Education Inc. ATGE reported second-quarter fiscal 2018 results with earnings surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate, while revenues missing the same. Earnings and revenues increased 18.8% and 1%, respectively. Revenues increased across all operating segments except U.S. Traditional Postsecondary segment.

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