SPOKANE, Wash., Feb. 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ambassadors Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:EPAX), a leading provider of educational travel experiences and online education research materials, today announced its results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2010.

Overview
  • Ended year with $8.1 million in net income, or $0.42 diluted earnings per share in a challenging economic environment.
  • 2010 gross margin of 40.8 percent on gross revenue of $162.0 million compared to 41.1 percent on gross revenue of $203.7 million in 2009.
  • Operating expenses for 2010 up $2.4 million to $56.0 million from $53.6 million in 2009 as the Company drives revenue generating activities and positions for economic recovery.
  • Fourth quarter results were weaker than originally anticipated, caused by additional air travel and marketing costs, lower than expected advertising revenues, and non-cash impairments of print equipment.
  • Fall marketing campaign for 2011 travel season completed; continues to be positive with a 1.4 increase in overall enrolled revenue for 2011 travel programs as of February 6, 2011 compared to one year ago.
  • Cash returns to shareholders continued, through both dividends and an active share buy-back program.
  • Continued strong balance sheet with quality assets, no debt outstanding and adequate liquidity.

Financial Highlights

( in millions except earnings per share data)
  UNAUDITED
  Year ended December 31, Quarter ended December 31,
  2010 2009 2010 2009
Gross revenue, all travel programs $158.9 $200.4 $9.1 $10.3
Internet content and advertising revenue $3.1 $3.3 $1.0 $1.0
Gross margin, all travel programs $63.4 $80.9 $3.6 $4.1
Gross margin, internet content and advertising $2.7 $2.9 $0.8 $0.9
Operating expenses $56.0 $53.6 $14.8 $14.3
Net income (loss) $8.1 $20.3 $ (6.7) $ (6.1)
Diluted earnings per share $0.42 $1.05 $ (0.36) $(0.32)

"2010 was certainly a challenging year," stated Jeff Thomas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ambassadors Group, Inc. "We weathered an erratic economy that is still weak on discretionary spending, which impacts leisure travel and people's willingness to send their children overseas. While our 2010 results reflect those challenges, I am pleased with our team's execution as we managed through this downturn. We have laid the groundwork for a stronger 2011 travel season through the marketing efforts of our fall campaign and through our continued commitment to the ideals of cultural exchange and education."

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