HomeAway, Inc. President Resigns Following Earnings Miss

Investors sell as renewal rates decline amid an ongoing transition to performance-based vacation rental listings.

Tim Beyers
Tim Beyers
Apr 23, 2015 at 8:27PM
Technology and Telecom

AirBnB isn't the only one pitching cheap vacation rentals. Credit: HomeAway via Facebook. 

Shares of HomeAway (UNKNOWN:AWAY.DL) stock fell 13.99% as of 4:55 p.m. ET Thursday evening, plummeting after reporting a key executive change and worse-than-expected first-quarter results. Here's a closer look at the final totals versus Wall Street's projections:

AWAYRevenueYOY GrowthEPSYOY Growth
Consensus estimate  $119.47 million  13%  $0.13  (7.1%)
Q1 actuals  $119.03 million  12.6%  $0.11  (21.4%)
DIFFERENCE  ($0.44 million) (0.4%)   ($0.02)  (14.3%)

Sources: S&P Capital IQ and HomeAway press release.

HomeAway also announced that President and Chief Operating Officer Brent Bellm is leaving the company to "pursue other opportunities." 

Commenting on the results, CEO Brian Sharples said in a press release:

HomeAway achieved big steps forward on several important priorities during the first quarter, including the launch of our global marketing campaign and a surge in online booking adoption. Today we announced some leadership changes and we're taking this opportunity to realign our leadership team to position the company for the next stage of HomeAway's growth.

What went right: Vacation rental owners continue to use HomeAway to book stays. Overall, paid listings increased 14.1% year over year, to 1.086 million. Average revenue per subscription listing rose 15.7%, to $472, after accounting for currency impact. Most importantly, cash from operations rose 26.7%, to $50.7 million. HomeAway's growing inventory is helping to fund the business.

What went wrong: While most owners seem happy enough, at least a few are taking their business elsewhere. Renewal rates fell from 74.9% to 72.4% after accounting for the impact of consolidated listings and network bundles. This isn't a great sign, especially with a key executive leaving in the middle of an ongoing transition to performance-based listings that pay out after rental. 

What's next: HomeAway projects $122 to $124 million in second-quarter revenue, resulting in $22.5 million to $23.5 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or EBITDA. Analysts tracked by S&P Capital IQ have the company generating $129.66 million in revenue and $0.17 a share in adjusted profit versus $114.26 million and $0.15 a share in last year's Q2. Longer term, analysts have HomeAway growing earnings by an average of 20.91% annually during the next three to five years.

And in terms of the overall business? Investors should be watching gross margin as the company gets more of its revenue and profit from performance listings. (It was down this time, from 84.9% in last year's first quarter to 84.4% in this year's Q1.) 

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