SHENZHEN, China, May 11 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ -- Universal Travel Group (NYSE:UTA) ("Universal Travel Group" or the "Company"), a growing travel services provider in China offering package tours, air ticketing, and hotel reservation services online and via customer service representatives, today announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2010.
First Quarter 2010 Highlights
-- Revenue increased 68.5% year-over-year to $26.1 million
-- Excluding contribution of newly acquired businesses, revenue increased 34.5% year-over-year
-- Gross profit increased 39.5% year-over-year to $8.5 million
-- Gross margin was 32.5%, compared to 39.3% in the prior year period
-- Income from operations was $5.4 million, compared to $4.2 million in the prior year period
-- Adjusted income from operations, which excludes the effect of non-cash charges related to stock-based compensation of $0.3 million, was $5.8 million, compared to $4.4 million in the prior year period*
-- GAAP net income from continuing operations was $4.1 million or $0.23 per diluted share, compared to $3.2 million or $0.23 per diluted share in the prior year period
-- Adjusted net income from continuing operations, which excludes the effect of the non-cash gain on change in fair value of derivative liabilities of $0.1 million and the non-cash charge related to stock- based compensation of $0.3 million, was $4.3 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, compared to $3.3 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, in the prior year period*
-- Acquired three travel agencies in China
"Our strong first quarter performance was driven by organic revenue growth and the financial results from our three recent acquisitions," said Ms. Jiangping Jiang, Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer. "Our organic sales growth was primarily driven by our successful efforts in cross-marketing and cross-selling our travel related products across our three business segments, along with the strong demand for travel as a result of the healthy Chinese economy and the continuing positive impact from the Chinese government´s stimulus package. We also benefited from increased brand awareness from both our online presence and from the deployment of our TRIPEASY kiosks."
First Quarter 2010 Financial Results
Revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2010, was $26.1 million compared to $15.5 million for the same period in 2009, an increase of 68.5%. In March 2010, the Company completed the acquisitions of Huangshan Holiday Travel Service Co., Ltd. ("Huangshan Holiday"), Hebei Tianyuan International Travel Agency Co., Ltd. ("Tianyuan"), and Zhengzhou Yulongkang Travel Agency Co., Ltd. ("Yulongkang"). The revenue contribution from these three newly acquired subsidiaries in the first quarter of 2010 was $5.3 million, or 20.2% of the Company´s total revenues for the quarter. Excluding the contribution of these newly acquired businesses, revenue for the first quarter of 2010 was $20.8 million, an increase of 34.5% from $15.5 million in the same period last year.
Revenue from air-ticketing was $4.4 million, compared to $2.8 million for the same period last year, an increase of 61.3%. This increase was mainly due to the increased demand for air passenger transportation and sales from the Company´s Chongqing subsidiary as consumers across China are traveling more as the domestic economy recovers. In order to capitalize on the opportunities arising from the economic promotion by the Chinese government of the mid and western regions of the PRC, the Company strategically set up Chongqing Universal Travel E-Business Co., Ltd. to strengthen its presence in that region in the second quarter of 2009. The Chongqing subsidiary began generating revenues in the third quarter of 2009.
Revenue generated by the Company´s hotel reservation segment was $3.2 million compared to $2.5 million for the same period in 2009, an increase of 25.2%. This increase was also due to healthy market demand and the Company´s ability to successfully cross market across its three business segments.
Revenue generated by package tours was $18.5 million compared to $10.2 million for the same period in 2009, an increase of 81.0% from the same period last year. This increase was a result of the three recent acquisitions, the recovery of the domestic economy, the positive impact from the government´s stimulus package, and the Company´s strong efforts in carrying our various marketing programs and campaigns.
Gross profit was $8.5 million compared to $6.1 million for the same period last year, an increase of 39.5%. Gross profit margin for the first quarter of 2010 was 32.5% compared to 39.3% for the same period last year. The decrease in gross profit margin was primarily because the packaged tour business, which has a lower profit margin due to the way revenues are recognized, constituted a higher percentage of the Company´s total revenues than during the prior year period.
Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses totaled $3.1 million compared to $1.9 million for the same period last year, an increase of 65.1%. The SG&A expenses were 11.7% of revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2010, compared to 12.0% for the same period last year. General increase in selling, general and administrative expenses are in tandem with the growth in business operations during the three months ended March 31, 2010, as compared to the same period of last year. During the first quarter of 2010, the Company incurred extra professional fees and consolidation expenses for the three acquisitions. In addition, the slight increase in percentage was also due to the issuance of stock based compensation in early 2009 and the amortization of such stock based compensation, whereas the stock based compensation is less significant during the same period last year.
Income from operations was $5.4 million compared to $4.2 million in the same period last year. The Company incurred non-cash charges related to stock- based compensation of $0.3 million in the first quarter of 2010 compared to $0.2 million in the prior year period. Excluding these non-cash charges, the Company´s adjusted income from operations was $5.8 million for the first quarter of 2010, compared to $4.4 million in the prior year period. Adjusted operating margin was 22.1%.*
Net income from continuing operations was $4.1 million, or $0.23 per diluted share, compared to $3.4 million, or $0.23 per diluted share, for the same period last year. Excluding the effect of the non-cash gain on change in fair value of derivative liabilities of $0.1 million and the non-cash charge related to stock-based compensation of $0.3 million, the Company´s adjusted net income from continuing operations was $4.3 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, compared to $3.3 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2009.*
Cash and cash equivalents were $37.8 million as of March 31, 2010. Current assets and current liabilities as of March 31, 2010, were $69.8 million and $11.0 million, respectively, yielding working capital of $58.8 million. The Company has no long-term debt. For the quarter ended March 31, 2010, net cash provided by operating activities was $6.5 million.
-- In March 2010, the Company acquired the following three travel agencies in China: (i) Huangshan Holiday for approximately $2.9 million, of which 80% was in cash and 20% in stock; (ii) Tianyuan for approximately $4.4 million, of which 80% was in cash and 20% in stock; and (iii) Yulongkang for approximately $5.7 million, of which 90% was in cash and 10% in stock.
-- In April 2010, the Company entered into letters of intent to acquire the following four travel agencies in China for a total purchase consideration of $19.5 million: (i) Tianjin Hongxun Aviation Agency Co., Ltd.; (ii) Shanxi Jinyang Travel Agency Co., Ltd.; (iii) Kunming Business Travel Agency Co., Ltd.; and (iv) Shandong Century Aviation Development Co., Ltd. The combined unaudited 2009 revenue and net income for the four travel agencies were $23.0 million and $3.0 million, respectively.
Ms. Jiang commented, "We are optimistic about our business prospects. Our main base of operations in Shenzhen in the Pearl River Delta region of China continues to perform well and the expansion of our business into Western China, through our second home base in the Chongqing Delta region is ramping up nicely. We are very pleased with our recently completed acquisitions as they were made at attractive valuations and enable Universal Travel Group to expand into additional under-penetrated domestic travel markets.
"Our three newly acquired businesses are traditional travel agencies with a minimal online presence and the bulk of their business comes from selling package tours. As such, we see many opportunities to improve sales and profitability by expanding their online bookings and air ticketing and hotel reservation sales as we integrate these businesses and their customers into our wider travel platform over the coming weeks and months. We expect this initiative not only to increase sales, but also to help improve overall margin performance given that online bookings, air ticketing and hotel reservations all have higher margins than sales via customer service representatives and, given the way revenues are recognized, sales of package tours. We expect to see the results of our efforts as the year progresses and expect stronger overall margin performance in the second half of 2010 as a result of these initiatives, but also because the package tour business is seasonal and the third and fourth quarters typically outperform the first two quarters of the year.
"We recently announced our intent to acquire an additional four travel agencies in China. These companies have a greater focus on air ticketing and hotel reservations versus package tours. Following the closing of these acquisitions, our geographic coverage will have expanded to ten provinces in mainland China and we are confident that these acquisitions will have a positive impact on our top and bottom line performance for the year and beyond."
For full year 2010, the Company reiterates its previously issued guidance of achieving a growth rate range of between 45% and 55% in both revenues and net income, excluding the effect of non-cash charges related to the change in fair value of derivative liabilities and stock-based compensation. This guidance does not include any impact from the four companies the Company has announced it is in the process of acquiring.
About Universal Travel Group
Universal Travel Group is a leading travel service provider in China offering packaged tours, air ticketing, and hotel reservation services via the Internet and customer service representatives. The Company also operates TRIPEASY Kiosks, which are placed in shopping malls, office buildings, residential apartment buildings, and tourist sites. These kiosks are designed for travel booking with credit and bank cards, and serve as an advertising platform for Universal Travel Group. The Company´s headquarters and main base of operations is located in Shenzhen in the Pearl River Delta region of China. More recently, Universal Travel Group has expanded its business into Western China, opening a second home base in the Chongqing Delta region, and other attractive, under-penetrated tier-two travel markets throughout the country. For more information on the Company, please visit http://us.cnutg.com .