In what is becoming delightfully old hat, Criteo SA (CRTO 0.53%) just announced another solid quarter.
Quarterly revenue rose 71% year over year -- 59% on a constant-currency basis -- to 261.5 million euros, and revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs, or ex-TAC, climbed 68% (55% at constant currencies) to 105.2 million euros. Analysts had been less optimistic going in, with the consensus estimate calling for revenue ex-TAC of just 98.8 million euros.
Meanwhile, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization increased 94% at constant currency to 28 million euros. Adjusted net income more than doubled to 18.4 million euros, or to roughly 0.28 euros per diluted share. Here again, Wall Street had only expected adjusted net income of 0.18 euros per diluted share.
On investing for growth
For perspective -- and to be fair to analysts -- last quarter Criteo told investors to expect much lower revenue ex-TAC of between 96 million euros and 99 million euros, with adjusted EBITDA between 18 million euros and 21 million euros. At the same time, however, and though both ranges were significantly higher than Wall Street's original models, Criteo's propensity for underpromising and overdelivering should make today's results much less surprising.
Criteo CFO Benoit Fouilland explained: "Our investments are clearly paying off. In 2015, we intend to continue to invest to maximize our growth potential."
Helping fund those investments was Criteo's quarterly cash flow from operations, which more than tripled year over year to 36 million euros. After roughly 11 million euros in capital expenditures -- up over 200% from last year's first quarter -- free cash flow came in at 25 million euros, compared to 8 million euros in the year-ago period.
Digging deeper into Criteo's top line, the company said growth was driven by a combination of continuous rollouts of its newest tech on all devices, broad-based growth in its client base, and expanding publisher relationships. As of the end of the quarter, Criteo served over 10,000 publishers, up from over 9,000 in the previous quarter, and added a company-record 640 clients to bring its new client total to 7,832, a 40.7% year-over-year increase. What's more, 84% of that client base was using Criteo's multiscreen solution as of the first quarter.
Revenue ex-TAC in the Americas was once again particularly strong, rising 138% year over year (101% in constant currencies) to 35 million euros. Criteo's Asia-Pacific growth wasn't far behind, with revenue ex-TAC increasing 74% to 22 million euros. Finally, ex-TAC revenue from Criteo's larger Europe, Middle East, and Africa segment grew 36% year over year to 48 million euros.
For the current quarter, Criteo expects revenue ex-TAC between 105 million euros and 107 million euros. Second-quarter adjusted EBITDA should be between 18 million and 21 million. Analysts, on average, have forecast second-quarter revenue ex-TAC of 101.2 million euros and earnings of 0.18 euros per share.
Finally, Criteo increased its previous full-year guidance, and now expects 2015 revenue ex-TAC between 454 million euros and 460 million euros, with adjusted EBITDA between 120 million euros and 127 million euros. Analysts were modeling fiscal 2015 revenue and earnings of 443.2 million euros and 1.03 euros per share, respectively.
All things considered, I couldn't find anything not to like about today's results, which, for the record, only marks Criteo's sixth quarter as a publicly traded company. With no signs of slowing anytime soon, it seems fair to say Criteo is off to a great start.