Why Barrett Business Services Inc. Stock Is Getting Downsized Today

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of business management solution company Barrett Business Services (NASDAQ: BBSI  ) are down as much as 9.4% following release of its fiscal-first-quarter results.

So what: Barrett Business Services reported that net revenue rose 21% to $135.1 million. Net loss soared 44% to $3.6 million, or $0.50 per diluted share.

The greater disappointment came with commentary from company President and CEO Michael Elich when he said, "Over the past several months, however, the size of clients that we ultimately determined did not fit our platform has been larger than in the past." That sounds like another way of saying "reduced revenue", and could raise some eyebrows.

Elich added, "By identifying and canceling clients who were utilizing a disproportionate level of BBSI resources, we expect to achieve a long-term increase in efficiencies and quality of operations, which will benefit remaining and future clients."

Now what: Barrett Business Services does not believe that these actions will negatively affect its long-term view about its "untapped market opportunity." The company expects to return to a higher pace of growth, back-fill the lost revenue, gain market share, and report a record year for 2014.

Barrett Business Services guided for fiscal-second-quarter gross revenue of between $780 million and $800 million along with diluted earnings per share of between $0.93 and $0.98. If achieved, it will be at least a 15% growth in both gross revenue and earnings. However, the revenue projection is a good clip below the $837 million analysts were expecting. Analysts were also expecting $0.98 per share in earnings -- only the very top end of guidance meets that. It will be interesting to see if Barrett Business Services is able to make up for the disappointing revenue later in the year and at better profit margins. If it does, it's conceivable that analysts' full-year expectations of $3.26 will actually prove to be too conservative.

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  • Report this Comment On April 30, 2014, at 9:22 PM, wjcoffman wrote:

    I'm more interested in why it went from over 100/sh in late Jan to where it is now? Or, maybe why it went to 100/sh to begin with. I joined the ride in Feb 2010 at 12/sh. The S*P500 is up 70% since then in comparison. Oh, and it pays a dividend which has added 5+ shares to my holdings since the initial purchase. I'll hold on a while, but that's what I do.

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