Results in the first quarter were excellent. Net revenue climbed 23% and net income rose 41% -- both of which beat the Wall Street guesstimates. Even excluding variable interest entities, revenue grew at a healthy 14% rate.
Going beneath the financials, you see that Univision grew its 18- to 49-year-old primetime audience by 39% and delivered better viewership than at least one of the Big Four on three out of four nights in the quarter. While TeleFutura was basically flat, GalaVision grew its 18-49 audience by 27% and solidified its position as the number one Spanish-language cable network. The radio arm is also prospering, growing revenue at 11% in the quarter and cementing its status in the key L.A. market.
As I said in an earlier piece, with such a strong position in the Spanish-language world, Univision no longer really considers the likes of GeneralElectric's
Oh, you think it can't happen? You don't think Univision can elbow its way to the stage and stand side-by-side with ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox? Well, just remember -- TV used to be the "Big Three" before Fox keenly targeted the younger demographics and fought its way to near-parity with the big boys.
What's more, Univision has come this far without the sort of ad dollars that English-language TV draws. That gap is bound to close as the Hispanic consumer becomes more important to American business. As it does, Univision should experience a boost in its earnings performance.
But for now, it's not all roses. Univision has some tough comps in the next quarter and ad spending is always subject to the health of the economy. What's more, the PE is high at 36, the EV-to-FCF ratio is no bargain at 26, and the 5.1% return on equity is pretty feeble at present.
I'm the last person to say that investors should make a habit of ignoring low returns on equity or PE's that exceed likely future growth. But I'm perfectly willing to acknowledge that many of the best growth stocks never come cheap, nor do they always have ideal financial ratios -- at least not until the growth story is over and the company and its stock settle into middle age. With that in mind, and the stock near a 52-week low, aggressive growth-oriented investors might want to keep an eye on this one.
Tune in to more Univision commentary:
- Univision's Got the Eyeballs
- One Hot Buying Opportunity
- Univision Gets Dear
- Univision Speaks Volumes
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).