Thursday's front page of The Wall Street Journal's Money & Investing section highlighted the current beef certain investors have with H&R Block's
Jackson Hewitt holds only about 4% of the market for individual tax returns, which is a far cry from what industry leader H&R Block holds -- around 16%. But while mighty H&R Block deals with a disastrous foray into subprime mortgages, Jackson Hewitt just announced an ambitious goal to grow the bottom line over the longer term.
The earnings aspirations were at the top of Jackson Hewitt's first-quarter earnings release Thursday morning. Total sales and earnings didn't do much, as this quarter marks the first after a busy tax season, and the company said it only books about 2% of its total annual revenue during its first and second quarters. For the first quarter, revenue was about flat at $5.9 million and it lost $0.65 per share, which is also normal outside of tax season.
The tax-filing period that just ended didn't turn out to be smooth sailing for Jackson Hewitt, because HSBC
Despite the near-term noise, Jackson Hewitt plans to grow revenue 10% to 15% annually over the next five years and diluted earnings 15% to 20% over this time. Throw in a 2.5% dividend yield and ample free cash flow to buy back shares, and the stock definitely looks interesting at just less than 13 times forward earnings. Barring any serious improprieties found in investigations, this is a stock to keep on your Foolish watch list.
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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann is long shares of Jackson Hewitt but has no financial interest in any other company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.