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Alliance Data Systems' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Bryan Pearson

Thanks Charles. LoyaltyOne had a strong first quarter in both revenue and both key growth metrics increasing by double-digit over the last -- over the first quarter of 2011. Revenue was up 20%, compared to the first quarter of 2011 before foreign exchange translation. Both our marketing and redemption related revenue were up double digits compared to the same quarter of last year.

Adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter was flat to 2011. However, we actually made two EBITDA investments in 2012, which position us well for future growth.

The first is, we introduced the new instant redemption program at our high frequency retail sponsors, which we called AIR MILES Cash and this required a sizeable one-time launch investment of $4.5 million in the quarter primarily to spot marketing activity and infrastructure.

The second investment is, in our expenses, is attributable to our international and non-AIR MILES Reward program related expenses.

Expenses in 2012 increased by $2.1 million over the first quarter of last year, supporting the roll out of Dotz in additional markets in Brazil and investments in other geographies, excluding these items, our adjusted EBITDA was up 13% for the first quarter of 2012 and adjusted EBITDA margin was 26% in line with historical margins.

Miles issued grew 11% for the quarter making five consecutive quarters of growth and two consecutive quarters of double-digit growth. The first quarter was particularly strong as both our credit card sponsors had a great start with strong acquisition programs and increased spend on the cards. In addition, we’ve benefited from aggressive marketing campaigns from our fuel sponsor, Shell, as they looked to gain market share in their sector.

Looking forward, we expect to see mid single-digit issuance year-over-year growth for the remainder of 2012. Miles redeemed were up by 26% for the quarter, which is higher than our normal growth, but in line with our expectations for the quarter.

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