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Thursday, 29 January 2004
January 29, 2004 Alliance Data Systems (ADS)
Hello Friends! I am in the market for a 25th stock for my portfolio and this one may fit the bill. Alliance Data Systems (ADS), according to the money.cnn.com snapshot "...provides electronic transaction services, credit services and loyalty and database marketing services." ADS is currently trading at $29.50 up $2.30 or 8.46% on the day.

Like so many of my "picks" on this site, ADS had a nice jump in the market today on the heels of an excellent fourth quarter earnings report. For the period ended December 31, 2003, revenue increased 27% to $298.3 million compared to $235.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2002. Net income was up 96% to $19.8 million in the quarter or $.24/share compared to $10.1 million or $.13/share in the same quarter in 2002.

Reviewing the 5-yr restated financials on Morningstar, we find that revenue has been increasing steadily since 1998 when it was $410.9 million, $583.1 million in 1999, $678.2 million in 2000, $777.4 million in 2001, $871.5 million in 2002, and $980.3 million in the trailing twelve months.

Earnings/share have increased smartly from $.34/share in 2002 to $.68/share in the trailing twelve months. Free cash flow has been solidly positive although no trend is seen on Morningstar, with $54 million in 2000, $132 million in 2001, $85 million in 2002 and $79 million reported in the trailing twelve months.

The balance sheet, is adequate but not as debt-free as we might like to see. They have $45.1 million in cash and $464.6 million in other current assets on the Morningstar report, plenty to cover the $465.9 million in current liabilities, leaving $524.6 million in long-term liabilities.

Looking at key statistics for ADS on Yahoo.com, we can see that the market is a large cap $2.36 billion. The trailing p/e is at 38.14 with a forward p/e of 25.66 (for 2004 estimates). The PEG is a5 2.01 and price/sales at 2.21 so this is not selling at a discount.

There are 79.64 million shares outstanding with 62.90 million of them that float. Currently there are 968,000 shares out short (as of 1/8/04) representing 1.54% of the float or 2.734 trading days. No dividend is paid and no stock split has been reported on Yahoo.

Overall, I like this stock for its steady revenue/earnings growth. It isn't cheap by PEG ratios or p/e standards but they are growing nicely and reporting continued increases in recent quarterly reporting. Will be considering making this #25 in my portfolio!

Regards to all!

Bob


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