Investors rarely get excited about an automobile-related company, which makes yesterday's 13% stock surge for DealerTrack
Fourth-quarter revenues increased 37% to $45.7 million, with net income increasing from $700,000, or $0.02 per share, to $5.7 million, or $0.14 per share. DealerTrack's $14.5 million in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) displays the business's strong leverage.
DealerTrack's core business helps auto dealers cost-effectively obtain auto loans, providing tools for submitting credit applications and access to hundreds of lenders. Its network currently includes 22,147 dealers, who pay for DealerTrack's services via transaction fees or subscriptions.
Adding new services is crucial to DealerTrack's growth strategy. It's recently rolled out new features such as lead management, customer identity verification, and electronic contracts. The latest add-on service, InventoryPro, looks especially promising, using sales history and market data to help auto dealers improve inventory turnover. Inventory issues have become one of dealers' biggest hassles, especially amid recent weak sales from major automakers like Ford
Promising products aside, does DealerTrack's valuation match its prospects? Management expects revenue of $219 million to $221 million for 2007, which means the company is selling at about 5.4 times forward revenue. That looks expensive, unless you factor in DealerTrack's history of strong growth. Like Salesforce.com and other standout tech companies, premium valuations seem inevitable for fast-growing firms like DealerTrack.
We've been driven to further Foolishness: