Cimpress NV (NASDAQ:CMPR) announced fiscal fourth-quarter 2017 results on Wednesday after the market closed, showcasing reasonably strong revenue growth as the mass-customization specialist delivers on its long-term initiative of maximizing intrinsic per-share value.

But a wider-than-expected loss left the market worried, and shares fell nearly 7% when all was said and done on Thursday. To be fair, this drop happened despite management's warnings last quarter that Cimpress' results could be "noisy" due to the many moving parts of its strategy. So let's take a closer look at how Cimpress finished its latest fiscal year, and at what investors can expect going forward.

Cimpress' mass customization platform

Image source: Cimpress N.V.

Cimpress results: The raw numbers


Fiscal Q4 2017

Fiscal Q4 2016

Year-Over-Year Change


$564.3 million

$479.2 million


GAAP net income (loss) attributable to Cimpress N.V.

($34.7 million)

$16.9 million


GAAP earnings (loss) per diluted share




Data source: Cimpress. 

What happened with Cimpress this quarter?

  • Cimpress doesn't provide specific financial guidance. So while we don't pay close attention to Wall Street's demands, note consensus estimates predicted a much narrower loss of $0.16 per share.
  • Revenue increased 9% excluding currencies and contributions from businesses acquired in the past year.
  • Adjusted net operating profit after tax (NOPAT) declined 43.2% to $9.6 million.
  • By business segment:
    • Vistaprint revenue grew 5% year over year (6% excluding currencies) to $319.2 million.
    • Upload and Print revenue increased 11% (14% excluding currencies) to $161.8 million.
    • Revenue from National Pen -- which Cimpress acquired late last year -- was $53.9 million.
    • All other businesses revenue grew 6% (7% excluding currencies) to $29.4 million.
  • Profitability was particularly hurt by a combination of higher organic investments (which included costs like shipping price reductions, new design services, and new product introductions), restructuring charges as Cimpress implements its plan to decentralize operations, higher acquisition expenses, and unfavorable currency fluctuations.
    • CFO Sean Quinn elaborated: "We do not ask our shareholders to ignore these costs, but it is important to understand them in order to analyze the underlying operating trends in our business."
  • Cimpress agreed to divest the Albumprinter business, including its FotoKnudsen subsidiary. Though Albumprinter falls well within Cimpress' mass-customization competencies, the company "believes it can more attractively invest the capital it will free up as a result of this transaction." The deal should close in the first quarter of fiscal 2018.
  • Ended the quarter with $37.7 million in cash and equivalents (including $12 million of cash held for sale related to the Albumprinter divestiture), and $876.7 million of debt, net of issuance costs. As of June 30, 2017, Cimpress had $211.8 million available for borrowing under its credit facility.

What management had to say

Cimpress CEO Robert Keane stated:

Fiscal year 2017 was important in terms of the evolution of Cimpress. We decentralized our operations, delivered many new capabilities and product offerings, began using our mass customization platform, made strong investments in organic growth opportunities, and completed our largest acquisition to date. Additionally, we continue to improve our understanding of and approach to capital allocation, pushing this understanding deeper into our organization. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Quinn was quick to point out that this quarter's decelerated revenue growth was in line with expectations given a shift in timing of the Easter holiday. Quinn also noted that while the company doesn't target margin increases, it does see "opportunities to optimize costs and pricing starting in the upcoming year" at Vistaprint. 

Looking forward

For fiscal 2018, Cimpress anticipates its recent restructuring will result in roughly $35 million in year-over-year savings on a free cash flow basis, and roughly $50 million on an operating income basis. At the same time, while Cimpress expects to make continued significant investments to seize opportunities for organic growth, those investments will be more modest than those it made in fiscal 2017.

In the end, it's hard to blame Cimpress investors for lamenting this quarter's significant GAAP loss, and you can be sure many will be breathing a sigh of relief as the company looks ahead after a busy year of heavy investments and transition. But Cimpress management continues to insist that everything is going as planned, so it should be interesting to see some of the early fruits of its investments begin to materialize in the coming quarters.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.