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Alliance Data Systems' CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Stocks in this article: ADS

Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter was up 14% over the same quarter last year. Again excluding the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange translation and incremental international operating losses adjusted EBITDA was up 25% in the second quarter. Adjusted EBITDA margins in the core Canadian operation were very strong and slightly over 29%.

Miles issued grew by 8% for the quarter marking six consecutive quarters of growth. In the second quarter, we saw the continuation of the strong start from our credit card sponsors and our fuel sponsor, Shell. In addition, we experienced gains in our grocery category as our sponsors increased their presence of vendor promotions in store. Looking forward, our current momentum and our recent new sponsor signings in specialty retail categories have positioned us well to achieve mid-single digit plus issuance growth for 2012.

Miles redeemed were 25% for the quarter, which is higher than the traditional growth rates been in line with our expectations. In late 2011, we announced the implementation of a five-year expiry on all existing and future AIR MILES. We experienced what we believe to be a one-time pull forward of miles redeemed in the first quarter, which moderated substantially in the second quarter.

You can see the moderation in the burn rate. The burn rate, which we define as current quarter redemptions over current quarter issuances dropped to 78% for Q2 compared to over 100% for Q1. We have a target of about 74% burn rate for full 2012. So overall, we expect the redemption activity to further moderate as the year progresses.

And one of the main reasons we expect the redemption activity for the second half to moderate is we plan to phase out certain gift certificates in favor of AIR MILES Cash. AIR MILES Cash are new entry reward program launched late in the first quarter of 2012 with four sponsors providing national coverage. To-date, we are please with the collector acceptance is over 600,000 collectors have signed up for the program.

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