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Ameresco, Inc Stock Down 17% Following Earnings: Here's What's Happening

By Jason Hall – Mar 3, 2016 at 5:21PM

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The energy-efficiency expert reported worse-than-expected earnings, and that's probably the big reason today's drop happened.

Image source: Ameresco.

What: Shares of Ameresco, Inc (AMRC 1.21%) are down 17.4% at 1:30 p.m. EST on March 3, following the release of the company's fourth-quarter and full-year 2015 financial results before market open today.

So what: Ameresco reported $173.8 million in sales for the fourth quarter, down from $181 million in the year-ago quarter, and earnings per share of $0.02, down from $0.18 per share last year. Adjusted EPS was $0.09, also down from the 2014 fourth quarter of $0.22 per share. 

For the full year 2015, revenue was up 6%, to $630.8 million, while EPS fell to $0.06, versus $0.22 in 2014. Net income attributable to shareholders was $3 million, down from $10.4 million in 2014.

One of the key drivers behind the 2015 decline was tied to Ameresco's Canadian operations, which weighed on the company's results all year. The 2015 results included a $6.6 million loss for Canadian projects, and operating expenses included $6.6 million in restructuring charges in the Canada segment and software group. In other words, it's reasonable to blame Canada -- or more specifically, Ameresco's poor operations in the country -- on the company's profitability drop in 2015. 

Now what: CEO George Sakellaris said that the company has already made significant moves to address its Canadian operations, including streamlining its structure, and putting new leadership in place, so ideally, the negative impact in 2015 will turn into a positive contribution in 2016. 

The company also announced that its backlog continued to grow, and was at $1.35 billion at year-end, with $390 million of that fully contracted, and another $956 million awarded projects in development, but not yet contracted. The company has another $169 million in assets in development, worth $169 million in potential revenue. Lastly, company guidance for 2016 is for sales of $645 million to $680 million, and net income per share of $0.025-$0.30, and reflected growth in the backlog, as well as a recovery of the Canadian segment. 

As to today's sell-off? As I wrote yesterday -- when the stock was up about as much as it's down today -- this is a small-cap stock, with very concentrated ownership in CEO George Sakellaris, who owns about two-thirds of the company. In other words, it's thinly traded, and there's a chance that yesterday's buyers constituted some of today's sellers, hoping to capitalize on an earnings surprise. Either way you slice it, there really wasn't anything in the earnings report that justified today's haircut. 

Looking for more? Stay tuned in the next day or so for a closer look at Ameresco's earnings report.

Jason Hall has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ameresco. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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