Insurance software specialist Ebix (EBIX -5.44%) just reported results for the fourth quarter of 2013.
Sales decreased 6% year over year to land at $50.8 million. Generally accepted accounting principles earnings fell 17% to $0.40 per share. Analysts were looking for earnings near $0.31 per share on $50.8 million in sales.
Ebix's results were hampered by currency effects, as the U.S. dollar strengthened significantly versus the Australian dollar and Brazilian real during the fourth quarter.
Chairman and CEO Robin Raina saw 2013 as a good test of Ebix's client relationships, a test he believes passed with flying colors. "We are cautiously optimistic about the future as we continue to build momentum in terms of growing our business," Raina said in a prepared statement.
Looking ahead, Raina said he plans to use strategic acquisitions as a growth driver "both in the short and long term." That means picking up related businesses with strong recurring revenues, raising the Ebix business framework around them, and reaping 35% operating margins in the acquired businesses.
Ebix shares jumped as much as 6.8% higher on the news, before settling down to a more modest 2.5% price increase. The stock has gained 56% over the last six months.