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Boston Omaha Stays the Course in a Quiet Quarter

By Steve Symington – Aug 13, 2019 at 2:15PM

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The young financial holding company continues to foster the fruits of last year's acquisitions.

Boston Omaha (BOC -0.87%) announced second-quarter 2019 results on Friday, highlighting revenue that more than tripled from the same year-ago period -- from a tiny base, mind you -- and relatively steady bottom-line losses in these early stages of its long-term story. That top-line growth was largely driven once again by a combination of the financial holding company's expanding surety insurance segment and, to a greater extent, its opportunistic billboard acquisitions last summer.

With shares down modestly on the heels of that report, let's dig deeper to see what Boston Omaha accomplished to end the first half.

Blank billboard next to a clear country highway.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Boston Omaha results: The raw numbers

Metric Q2 2019 Q2 2018 Growth

Revenue

$10.14 million

$2.99 million

239.1%

GAAP net income (loss) attributable to common shareholders

($2.11 million)

($1.60 million)

N/A

GAAP earnings (loss) per share

($0.09)

($0.08)

N/A

Data source: Boston Omaha Q2 2019 Form 10-Q SEC filing. 

What happened with Boston Omaha this quarter?

  • Book value per share was $14.24 as of June 30, up from $14.15 per share three months earlier and down slightly from $14.27 per share at the end of 2018.
  • The change in revenue included:
    • a 320.7% increase in net billboard rentals, to $7.15 million.
    • 390.6% growth in premiums earned, to $2.49 million, led by higher gross written premiums from Boston Omaha's United Casualty and Surety Insurance Company (UCS), which (as of the fourth quarter of 2018) became licensed to write surety in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
    • a 46.4% decrease in insurance commissions to roughly $0.4 million, as Omaha's insurance agents can now place more bond business through UCS rather than through other carriers given its expanded licensing.
    • 211.9% growth from investments and other income, to $99,056, driven by various minority investments including stakes in a real estate services specialist, a home builder, and a regional bank.
  • Boston Omaha ended the quarter with $390,.2 million in total assets, up from $380.1 million last quarter and $332.2 million at the end of 2018.
  • As of Aug. 1, Link Media Outdoor operated roughly 2,900 billboards with 5,400 advertising faces (5,900 faces counting digital face flips).

Looking forward

Boston Omaha does not hold quarterly conference calls with analysts or investors, preferring instead to reserve in-person commentary for their annual meetings (the 2019 annual shareholder meeting was held in early June) and more specific communications for their annual letters to shareholders. The 2018 letter, which is easy reading and well worth investors' time, was released in March.

But in this quarter's Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Boston Omaha did reiterate its commitment to advancing its interests through a combination of pursuing additional billboard acquisitions ("when they can be made at what we believe to be attractive prices relative to other opportunities"), expanding the reach of its surety insurance segment (both by taking market share and selective acquisitions), and astutely putting capital to use acquiring other profitable businesses as the opportunities arise.

While its post-earnings share price movement may not indicate as much at first glance, I think that's exactly what any Boston Omaha investor should hope to see in any given quarter. 

Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Boston Omaha. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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