Wright Express Corporation (WXS)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 27, 2010 10:00 am ET


Steve Elder - VP, IR

Mike Dubyak - Chairman, President and CEO

Melissa Smith - CFO and EVP, Finance and Operations


John Williams - Goldman Sachs

Bob Napoli - Piper Jaffray

Tom McCrohan - Janney Montgomery Scott

Tien-tsin Huang- JPMorgan

Robert Dodd - Morgan Keegan

Greg Smith - Duncan Williams

Paul Bartley - PB Investment Research

David Parker - Lazard Capital Markets



Greeting and welcome to the Wright Express Corporation Second Quarter 2010 Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions). As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It is now my pleasure to introduce to your host, Steve Elder, Vice President of Investor Relations for Wright Express. Thank you, Mr. Elder, you may begin.

Steve Elder

Good morning. With me today are our CEO, Mike Dubyak and our CFO, Melissa Smith. The financial results and press release we have issued early this morning is posted in the Investor Relation section of our website at wrightexpress.com. A copy of the release has also been included in an 8-K we submitted to the SEC. As a reminder, we will be discussing a non-GAAP metric specifically adjusted net income during our call. For this year's second quarter, adjusted net income excludes non-cash, mark-to-market adjustments and our fuel price related derivative instruments and the amortization of acquired intangible assets as well as the related tax impacts.

Please see exhibit one included in the press release for an explanation and reconciliation of adjusted net income to GAAP net income. I would also like to remind you that we will discuss forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those forward-looking statements as a result of various factors including those discussed in our press release, most recent Form 10-K and other SEC filings.

While we may update forward-looking statements in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so. You should not rely on these forward-looking statements after today.

With that I will turn the call over to Mike Dubyak.

Mike Dubyak

Hello everyone and thanks for joining us. Our results this quarter were lead by increased fleet customer revenue. This was driven by the first quarter of growth in existing customer transactions since the start of the recession two and a half years ago. Total revenue was up 17% from Q2 last year primarily due to a $0.54 increase in fuel prices and accelerating MasterCard spend as well as increased fueling activity.

Adjusted net income increased 20% and exceeded the top end of our guidance by $0.02 reflecting revenue growth as well as a decline in operating expenses highlighted by lower than expected credit loss. Since the third quarter of 2008, fleet fueling activity in our installed base or same-store sales has been consistently down on a year-over-year basis.

These declines however have been narrowing for nearly a year now as the economy recovers. Same-store sales in the first quarter of 2010 were essentially flat on a year-over-year basis, which suggested to us that we were finally seeing direct evidence of the economic recovery in our core business.

We were pleased to see this trend continue in the second quarter as same-store sales finally turn positive. Increasing consistently from month-to-month in the quarter and growing a solid 4% from Q2 last year.

Total payment processing transactions were up 2.5%, the first year-over-year increase since Q3 of '08. As in the first quarter, the transportation and manufacturing sectors experienced the strongest rebound in fueling activity in Q2. Construction remained our weakest major sector but even construction improved to essentially flat year-over-year.

Last quarter we reported that business services and the other verticals were continuing to bounce along the bottom. This quarter we saw the majority of our SIC codes post year-over-year increases, including business services which is second in size only to construction. We will continue to watch this metric closely for signs of changes in economic activity.

Unlike Q1 when patterns were consistent from region-to-region, we did see some significant differences in Q2 with the South West out performing the other regions and the West under performing. Fueling volume on a total basis turn positive this quarter, despite a continued year-over-year reduction in the number of vehicles in existing customer fleets. Although our front end programs have added nearly 425,000 new vehicles to our install base since Q2 '09, our second quarter 2010 total vehicle count was still down by approximately 100,000 vehicles from a year ago.

We did see an increase in the number of vehicle serviced as compared with the first quarter however, excluding the fourth quarter of '08 when we added the GSA fleet portfolio; Q2 marked our first sequential increase in vehicles since the beginning of the downturn nearly two years ago.

Breaking it down by fleet segment, the average number of vehicles in our large and mid-sized fleet portfolio declined 3% year-over-year. In small fleets, our average vehicle count was flat with Q2 last year. In both our Wright Express direct and program channels, the average vehicle count was up 2% from Q2 of '09 while private label was down 2%.

We are continuing to invest in building the strongest front end capabilities in the industry and the sales force produce some significant wins in the second quarter. These included the state of Florida, New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the US Department of the Treasury.

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