How many blows can a beaten-down stock take? We're finding out in the wake of Groupon's (NASDAQ:GRPN) latest quarterly results. The company released its Q2 figures late last week, and despite a nice gain on the sale of an asset and a net profit that landed in the black, its shares still lost value. Let's see if we can determine why.
Thin underlying profit
For the quarter, Groupon's billings (i.e., the total of what its customers pay for the company's deals and products, minus applicable taxes and refund estimates) came in at just over $1.5 billion, nearly 2% higher on a year-over-year basis. Consolidated revenue (Groupon's take of the billings) was $738 million, a 3% improvement.
The strengthened American dollar had quite a negative impact on those two line items for this actively international company. On a constant-currency basis, the former increased by 10%, and the latter 11%.
As for net profit, it landed well in the black at $109 million ($0.16 per share), which was miles better than the almost $23 million loss the company suffered in Q2 2014.
There's a big asterisk next to the former, however, as the bulk of it is due to a fat gain on the sale of a big stake in Ticket Monster. That's South Korea's No. 2 mobile commerce company, which Groupon bought for $260 million in a deal that closed early in 2014. That was a pretty clever move, it turns out, as the sale (of a 46% stake) to a consortium led by private equity giant KKR during the quarter brought in $360 million for a pre-tax gain of $202 million.
Stripping out that deal, plus other one-off items, the bottom line wasn't anywhere near as high. On an adjusted basis, net income was just under $14 million, or $0.02.
Revenue and adjusted net both narrowly missed the average analyst estimates, which were for just over $740 million in top-line and per-share earnings of $0.03.
In terms of operational metrics, active customers (Groupon's definition for those who've bought at least one of its vouchers or products in the trailing-12-month period) rose 6% to nearly 49 million. Those folks are spending less money, though -- gross billings per average active customer, again on a trailing-12-month basis, dropped $3 to $133.
This Fool's take
Groupon shares slumped by around 5% in the wake of the results announcement, on a day when the Nasdaq Composite index was generally flat. The company's record of not pleasing investors continues to grow longer.
It's no wonder. The market probably wants to see better improvement in those gross billings, or higher average spend from customers, who are basically Grouponing the same amount of money they did last year at this time.
The company just doesn't seem to be moving the needle very much on its business, and one thinly profitable quarter (not counting the admittedly impressive Ticket Monster sale) is not going to change that perception.
As of this writing, Groupon's stock has lost over 80% of its value since its splashy 2011 IPO. If the company can only show -- at best -- anemic growth going forward, even the current price may not yet be the bottom.