For the fourth quarter, Pitney Bowes saw revenues grow 8% to $1.5 billion. Net income from continuing operations was $163.3 million, or $0.73 per diluted share -- that represented a doubling of the per-share figure.
For the full year, revenues grew 7% to $5.7 billion. Net income from continuing operations came in at $565.7 million, or $2.51 per diluted share -- good for 23% appreciation on the per-share number. The company's restructuring efforts seem to be paying off so far.
Pitney Bowes reported that, on an adjusted basis, free cash flow for the year was $523.4 million versus $542.5 million in the previous fiscal year. The major adjustment to be made regarding cash flow involved the Capital Services sale and a tax payment (see the press release for further details). On a reported basis, net cash for the year was actually used for operations. Pitney Bowes has been seeing a decline in its operational cash flow the last few years according to the 10-K filed in 2006. For the years 2003, 2004, and 2005, net cash from operating activities was $851.3 million, $944.6 million, and $539.6 million, respectively. Declining cash flows are never a good thing for a Fool's stomach.
The future prospects for the company might, however, turn out all right in the end. Pitney Bowes expects revenues to post an increase between 6% and 9% in 2007. Earnings per share should fall somewhere between $2.90 and $2.98, which would translate to between roughly 16% and 19% in bottom-line growth. That might be boring to some, but remember -- boring can be a good thing in the investment world. Consider that the stock currently yields about 2.8%. Plus, the company hiked its dividend by a penny a quarter to $0.33 (here are some other companies that recently increased their payouts).
I think Pitney Bowes will do well over time. I personally like to see bigger percentage increases in dividend payments -- 3% doesn't make me jump up and down -- but I concede that the company has upped its quarterly payment for twenty-five straight years. That's definitely something for income investors to consider in conjunction with the decent yield. I'd rather not buy at the high end of a 52-week range, however; hopefully there will be some volatility in the shares at some point to allow for better entry points. I should point out that I counseled Fools to wait for better entry points last year, and although there might have been a bit of a short-term dip, the stock essentially rose from the time of my article. Perhaps the best thing to say in the case of Pitney Bowes -- or maybe any viable stock idea for that matter -- is to not go in all at once, and to use the strategy of dollar cost averaging to build a position with a good cost basis. As always, perform your due diligence before buying.
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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns none of the companies mentioned. As of this writing, he was ranked 10,739 out of 21,682 investors in the CAPS system. Don't know what CAPS is? Check it out. The Fool has a disclosure policy.