H&R Block reports fiscal 2019 results; enters into agreement to acquire Wave Financial; announces dividend increase and extension of share repurchase authorization
- Achieved overall U.S. tax return growth, outpacing the industry for the second consecutive year.
- Reported fiscal 2019 revenues and margins at the high end of previously-provided outlook.
- Signed definitive agreement to acquire Wave Financial, Inc. (“Wave”), accelerating the company’s strategy in the large and expanding small business market, providing new growth opportunities.
- Announced dividend increase to an annual rate of $1.04, or $0.26 per quarter, representing a 4 percent increase over the prior year.
- Repurchased approximately 7.9 million shares for $185 million during the fiscal year; extended share repurchase authorization to June 2022.
- Company will share its financial outlook for fiscal 2020 during its earnings conference call today at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) today released its financial results for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2019. Following a strong tax season, the company achieved revenues of $3.1 billion1 and EBITDA margin of 25.8 percent. These results reflect strategic investments the company announced at the start of the fiscal year in pricing, technology, and operational initiatives to drive long-term growth.
For fiscal 2019, U.S. tax returns prepared by or through H&R Block increased 1.5 percent, to 20.3 million. Overall client growth was driven by DIY online growth of 9.3 percent, as the company provided enhanced value for consumers through improvements in the user experience, and also increased awareness. Assisted returns decreased 1.7 percent, which was anticipated due to the elimination of the Free Federal 1040EZ promotion.
“I’m pleased with how our associates and franchisees executed year one of our enterprise strategy, as our strategic investments led to numerous improvements across our tax business,” said Jeff Jones, H&R Block’s president and chief executive officer. “We delivered great value for our clients and took overall market share by offering upfront transparent pricing, focusing on the quality of our service, enhancing our DIY offerings, and innovating in Virtual. I’m excited about our future as we continue to strengthen the relevance of H&R Block by offering consumers industry-leading choice and value. Additionally, we entered into an agreement to acquire Wave, which will enable us to accelerate our small business strategy and broaden our product suite, ultimately providing new growth opportunities for H&R Block.”
Fiscal 2019 results from continuing operations
“We executed well against our objectives for fiscal 2019 and it showed in our results, as we achieved the high end of our revenue and margin expectations,” said Tony Bowen, H&R Block’s chief financial officer. “We were also able to return a significant amount of capital to our shareholders while maintaining a strong balance sheet, which provides us financial flexibility as we work toward long-term, sustainable growth.”
Key financial metrics
- Total revenues of $3.1 billion decreased 65 million, or 2.1 percent, as anticipated, driven by targeted price decreases in our U.S. Assisted tax business. This decrease was partially offset by increased U.S. DIY tax preparation fees resulting from increased return volumes and favorable product mix.
- Total operating expenses of $2.5 billion increased $71 million, or 3.0 percent, primarily due to planned investments in technology as well as an increase in marketing expenses.
- Pretax income of $545 million decreased $124 million, or 18.5 percent.
- The company’s effective tax rate increased to 18.3 percent in fiscal 2019 from 6.3 percent in fiscal 2018. The effective tax rate in fiscal 2018 was unusually low due to the timing of the change in federal corporate tax rates.
- Net income from continuing operations of $445 million decreased $182 million, or 29.0 percent, primarily due to the decrease in pretax income as well as the change to the company’s effective tax rate. EBITDA from continuing operations of $799 million decreased $142 million, or 15.1 percent, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 25.8 percent.3
- Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $2.15 decreased $0.83, or 27.9 percent. Approximately $0.32 of the $0.83 decrease was due to a higher effective tax rate.
Wave acquisition (waveapps.com)
Today the company announced in a separate release that it entered into an agreement to acquire Wave, a rapidly-growing financial solutions platform focused on changing the way small business owners manage their finances. Under the terms of the agreement, H&R Block will acquire all outstanding shares of Wave for $405 million, funded with available cash. The transaction is expected to close in the next few months, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.
Dividend increase and share repurchase authorization
The company announced that its Board of Directors approved a 4 percent increase in its quarterly dividend, to $0.26 per share. Future actions regarding dividends will be dependent upon the Board’s approval following consideration of operating results, market conditions, and capital needs, among other factors.
A quarterly cash dividend of $0.26 per share is payable on July 1, 2019 to shareholders of record as of June 21, 2019. H&R Block has paid quarterly dividends consecutively since the company went public in 1962.
The company also announced that its Board of Directors extended its previous share repurchase authorization three years. Approximately $1.0 billion remains under this authorization, which now expires in June 2022. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, the company repurchased 3.2 million shares for $75 million, bringing total fiscal 2019 repurchases to 7.9 million shares for $185 million, at an average price of $23.51.
For information on Sand Canyon, please refer to disclosures in the company’s reports on Forms 10-K, 10-Q, and other filings with the SEC.
Discussion of the fiscal 2019 results, outlook, the pending acquisition of Wave, and a general business update will occur during the company’s previously-announced fiscal 2019 earnings conference call for analysts, institutional investors, and shareholders. The call is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on June 11, 2019. To access the call, please dial the number below approximately 10 minutes prior to the scheduled starting time:
U.S./Canada (866) 987-6821
International (630) 652-5951
Conference ID: 8988609
The call, along with a presentation for viewing, will also be webcast in a listen-only format for the media and public. The link to the webcast can be accessed directly at http://investors.hrblock.com. The presentation will be posted on the Webcasts and Presentations page at http://investors.hrblock.com following the conclusion of the call.
A replay of the call will be available beginning at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time on June 11, 2019, and continuing for seven days, by dialing (855) 859-2056 (U.S./Canada) or (404) 537-3406 (International). The conference ID is 8988609. The webcast will be available for replay beginning on June 12, 2019 and continuing for 90 days at http://investors.hrblock.com.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is a global consumer tax services provider. Tax return preparation services are provided by professional tax preparers in approximately 11,000 company-owned and franchise retail tax offices worldwide, and through H&R Block tax software products for the DIY consumer. H&R Block also offers adjacent Tax Plus products and services. In fiscal 2019, H&R Block had annual revenues of $3.1 billion with over 23 million tax returns prepared worldwide. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom.
About Non-GAAP financial information
This press release and the accompanying tables include non-GAAP financial information. For a description of these non-GAAP financial measures, including the reasons management uses each measure, and reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable financial measures prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, please see the section of the accompanying tables titled “Non-GAAP Financial Information.”
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Non-GAAP financial information
The accompanying press release contains non-GAAP financial measures. Non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered as a substitute for, or superior to, measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. Because these measures are not measures of financial performance under GAAP and are susceptible to varying calculations, they may not be comparable to similarly titled measures for other companies.
We consider our non-GAAP financial measures to be performance measures and a useful metric for management and investors to evaluate and compare the ongoing operating performance of our business.
We may consider whether significant items that arise in the future should be excluded from our non-GAAP financial measures.
We measure the performance of our business using a variety of metrics, including EBITDA from continuing operations and free cash flow. We also use EBITDA from continuing operations and pretax income of continuing operations, each subject to permitted adjustments, as performance metrics in incentive compensation calculations for our employees.
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