Higher One Making a Move Up

This article is part of our Rising Star Portfolios series.

Financial services provider Higher One (NYSE: ONE  ) released earnings for the first quarter of 2011 yesterday after the market closed, and it looks as if the company continues to make the grade. Seeing as I just added the company to my Rising Star Portfolio in March, let's take a closer look.

What's in a quarter?
Revenue of $51.4 million for the quarter was a 32% increase from the same quarter a year ago, while earnings per share of $0.19 represented 27% growth. Management attributed the revenue growth primarily to growth in the number of OneAccounts (the company's student checking account product) and the number of schools contracted. At the end of the quarter, the number of OneAccounts increased 46% to 1.8 million from 1.2 million a year ago. This is important since OneAccounts are the most significant driver for the company, representing approximately 82% of total revenue.

The company reaffirmed guidance for the year with a revenue range of $180 million to $188 million and raised earnings per share guidance to a range of $0.42-$0.59 based on continued focus on managing expenses while executing on its strategic priorities of signing new clients and increasing adoption at existing clients. In fact, SSE (signed school enrollment numbers) continued to rise with a 27% increase in the company's OneDisburse product and 14% increase in the CASHNet Suite of products.

Good call
From the call, management also continues to be very enthusiastic about the pipeline. CEO Dean Hatton noted that business is well-spread among geographic regions and that while recent signings have involved many two-year and not-for-profit institutions, the pipeline going forward shows a broader base of schools with more four-year as well as for-profit institutions added to the mix. This is important since it can ultimately result in more OneAccounts and longer relationships, not to mention the impact on the adoption curve. That is, as students graduate from newly contracted schools, the incoming students tend to have a greater initial effect on the adoption curve since they are more likely to start a relationship from the beginning.

My Foolish bottom line
The company is still a relative newbie to the market, fresh off its IPO less than a year ago. But management appears to be very focused on building relationships and creating a reputation as the leader in the field. This quarter's results look like a good indicator that there appears to be plenty of growth ahead for Higher One. Wanna talk about it on a higher level? Drop on by my discussion board. Or better yet, click here and follow me on Twitter.

Stock Advisor analyst Jason Moser owns no shares of any companies mentioned. The Fool owns shares of Higher One. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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