Is This the Turnaround Groupon Has Been Looking For?

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Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) reported its fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Wednesday. The company said that it had $0.07 in earnings per share (EPS) and $934.9 million in revenue. That compares to the fourth-quarter of last year that had $0.04 in EPS and revenue of $917.17 million. The Thomson Reuters consensus estimates called for EPS of $0.02 and $912.77 million in revenue for the most recent quarter.

North America local billings grew 11% year over year in the fourth quarter 2016, with customer additions reaching 2.0 million as well. Roughly, 1.0 million unique customers were added from LivingSocial.

In terms of guidance for the 2017 full year, Groupon expects to exit 11 countries as part of its streamline and simplify initiative, and the company expects to report these countries as discontinued operations beginning in first quarter 2017.

For 2017, the company expects gross profit to be in the range of $1.30 billion and $1.35 billion, an increase of $40 to $90 million compared to full year 2016 results for the 15 countries in it go-forward footprint on an foreign exchange–neutral basis. Consensus estimates call for $0.08 in EPS and $3.21 billion in revenue for this year.

At the end of the latest quarter, $195.0 million was available under the current share repurchase authorization. And during the fourth quarter, Groupon repurchased $49.9 million in common stock. For a reference point, the company has a total market cap of close to $2.5 billion.

Operating cash flow was $288.7 million in the fourth quarter 2016. At the same time, free cash flow was $269.0 million. On the books, Groupon’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $891.8 million at the end of the quarter.

Rich Williams, CEO of Groupon, commented:

In 2016, our concentrated focus on key strategic initiatives provided a strong foundation for Groupon going forward and resulted in a streamlined global operation, a healthier Goods business, improved customer service and strong customer acquisitions after a successful online and offline marketing strategy. We look forward to continuing to invest in the Groupon brand and unlocking the true potential of our business as we make Groupon the daily habit in local commerce.

Shares of Groupon surged early Wednesday by more than 20% to $4.56, in a 52-week trading range of $2.92 to $5.94 and with a consensus analyst price target of $4.74.