This month, we've highlighted education-related stocks in "The Fool Goes Back to School." SkillSoft
In second-quarter earnings released last week, revenues increased 4% to $55.7 million, while net income plunged nearly 80% to $4.8 million, or $0.05 per share. That's not as bad as it looks, though; in the second quarter of last year, SkillSoft recorded a $19.5 million benefit from a settlement with its insurance carrier regarding a class action lawsuit. Backing that out, we get about $0.03 per share, making this quarter's $0.05 per share look pretty good.
The better news? In the past six months, the company has generated $26.3 million in cash flow. In all, there's now $105.3 million in the bank.
SkillSoft serves as a virtual university, offering more than 15,000 titles. It also provides a variety of powerful software applications, such as SkillPort (an e-learning delivery system), SkillSoft Dialog (which allows for the creation of virtual classrooms), and the Enterprise Learning Connection (which enables existing learning management systems to use SkillSoft products).
Skillsoft essentially focuses on helping companies improve the effectiveness of their workforces. Its clients include ADP
Its second-quarter strength appears to be genuine. Management raised its full-year guidance from a range of $213.7 million-$218 million to $218 million-$222 million. Earnings are expected to increase from a range of $16 million-$20 million, or $0.16-$0.20 per share, to $18 million-$21 million, or $0.17-$0.20 per share.
While this is encouraging, it's really not enough to get investors excited in the near term. SkillSoft's products may be "nice to have," but too few companies apparently find those products a "must have." On the conference call, management indicated that there are signs that more companies are looking at e-learning - but that it's still early. The proverbial "inflection point" of this industry could be several years away, if it ever occurs.
Don't assume, however, that there's no money to be made in e-learning. Blackboard
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Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.