Was H&R Block Earnings Beat Enough for Investors?

Chris Lange

H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Thursday. The company said that it had $3.16 in earnings per share (EPS) on $2.30 billion in revenue. That compared to consensus estimates of $3.15 in EPS on revenue of $2.28 billion. In the same period of last year, the company posted EPS of $2.69 and $2.30 billion in revenue.

During the fourth quarter, the company repurchased and retired roughly 3.9 million shares for an aggregate amount of $108.4 million. H&R Block completed these share repurchases under a $3.5 billion share repurchase program approved by the company’s board of directors in August 2015.

Separately, the company announced that the board of directors approved an increase in its quarterly dividend of 10%, to $0.22 per share.

On the books, its cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.01 billion at the end of the fiscal fourth quarter, compared to $2.10 in the same period from last year.

Bill Cobb, H&R Block’s president and CEO, commented:

As I said in April, this season’s results are not acceptable. We are ready to move on. Going forward, we are committed to arresting the client decline and ultimately achieving client growth. We are developing aggressive plans for tax season 2017 that we believe will enable us to achieve this objective.

He continued:

These plans will challenge us to think differently about certain parts of our business, while building on those areas of the business in which we were successful, such as pricing, mix, improved product attach levels, and the successful launch of our new Block Advisors brand. And having divested H&R Block Bank, we’ll execute against those plans with the right capital structure, which reflects the repurchase of 20.5% of our outstanding shares during fiscal 2016 and the 10% increase in our quarterly dividend.

Shares of H&R Block were up 7.2% at $23.09 early Friday, with a consensus analyst price target of $30.33 and a 52-week trading range of $19.18 to $37.53.