Why ABM Earnings Should Keep Growing

ABM Industries (NYSE: ABM  ) will release its quarterly report next Tuesday, and investors have been pretty optimistic about the company's prospects, bidding shares higher and approaching their all-time record levels set in late 2010 and early 2011. ABM earnings growth hasn't been spectacular, but it has been consistent, and that trait could reassure shareholders if the economy starts to falter in the face of new uncertainties.

ABM handles jobs that most people only notice if they're not done well. In addition to providing basic services like floor-cleaning and window-washing for office buildings, shopping malls, and other institutional facilities, ABM manages parking lots and also offers more technical services like mechanical engineering and security consulting services. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with ABM Industries over the past quarter, and what we're likely to see in its report.

Stats on ABM Industries

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.39

Change From Year-Ago EPS

5.4%

Revenue Estimate

$1.20 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

11.1%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

3

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Can ABM earnings keep cleaning up this quarter?
In recent months, analysts have viewed the prospects for ABM earnings more favorably. They've raised current fiscal-year estimates by a nickel per share, and boosted their views for next year by a similar amount. The stock has performed in line with its slow-but-steady pace, rising 3% since late May.

ABM came into the quarter with positive momentum, reporting strong growth in its April-quarter release. The company increased sales by 11% year over year, with adjusted earnings climbing 20%. In particular, ABM's facility services segment provided strong organic growth of more than 8%, as the company focused on expanding and cross-selling new services to existing clients. Even though its janitorial and security segments didn't grow as quickly, a combination of smart acquisitions and attention to the company's current customer base helped produce a favorable outcome, leading ABM to raise its earnings estimates higher for the fiscal year.

One of the most important moves for ABM recently has been its acquisition of Air Serv, which has led to some high-profile business opportunities. Earlier this month, the company said it would partner with Heathrow Airport to offer what it's calling "service ambassador" service, giving travelers multilingual resources to get information on connections, checking in, and other key services. As air travel expands around the world, ABM will find its air-related services in greater demand.

But ABM also has its fingers in a number of other businesses. ABM recently won a contract from the U.S. Navy to provide a wide range of operational services for a naval air station in Sicily. Moreover, ABM's health unit formed a partnership with Memorial Healthcare System, the nation's second-largest public health-care system. The two companies will coordinate new medical technology and help integrate staffing, both in-house and from outside consultants, to manage costs more effectively.

ABM's integrated approach gives it a competitive advantage over more focused rivals. For instance, ADT (NYSE: ADT  ) has managed to make a profitable business from its security offerings, serving both the residential and commercial markets and building up its portfolio of customers with smart acquisitions. Similarly, Standard Parking (Nasdaq: STAN) competes with ABM in the parking-lot business and has won a number of lucrative contracts lately, including ones covering the Washington Redskins' stadium and the recent soccer Gold Cup tournament in more than a dozen U.S. cities. But for clients seeking an integrated solution to all of their needs, ABM has the advantage of being a one-stop shop.

In the ABM earnings report, watch for the company to discuss more about its recent acquisition of Blackjack Promotions. If the purchase can help the company boost its presence in Europe, it should provide another source of growth for ABM going forward.

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