Previous Statements by CLCT
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We will then open the call for questions. Strategically, a number of important initiatives occurred this quarter. We developed a plan and framework for our first significant trip across the Pacific. During the last week of March and first week of April we will have a team of 22 attend a significant show in Hong Kong where we will conduct onsite grading and begin the process of building relationships in this area of the world.Second within our online division, we initiated a listing fee. What does this mean? In addition to our membership, our customers now pay a modest listing fee for inventory listed. We believe our marketplace is equal to or superior to other options. At the same time, the price for our services has been significantly below our competitors, most notably eBay. While no customers warmly embraces a new fee, we have been encouraged by the acceptance from our clients and importantly I see it as an affirmation of the quality and value of the service we deliver for them. Moreover we think this step leads to greater crispness in this business. Notably coins that are sold will no longer show as being available for purchase. Why would a client pay a fee for an item that it has already sold. Next, we inked a number of advertising deals for our European websites, further evidence of the extension and possibilities for our product and services broadly defined in foreign countries. Next our East Coast office for autograph authentication is meeting our objectives and providing better service and access to our customers while more aggressively competing against the firms in the Northeast. Finally during the quarter we initiated and completed a significant upgrade to our core software systems. The project came in on time and on budget. It is very easy to say these words but many people worked long and hard to make this happen and we all know the many horror stories when it comes to these types of major IT projects. These are several examples of the types of actions we are taking that focus on and support our stated strategy which is to protect our core business and extend prudently and pragmatically.
Financially, I thought I would take a minute and provide a snapshot of progress we have made on corporate financial metrics over the last three calendar years. For the latest twelve months ended in December of 2008, we were loosing money. Operating income was negative and balance sheet metrics were not applicable.For the latest 12 months of the quarter just ended December 2011, operating income was approximately 22% excluding stock based comp. Return on assets 16%, return on equity 23% and return on invested capital approaching 50%. This is with a balance sheet that is entirely equity financed and quite conservative. Not surprisingly, total shareholder returns over the same period including dividends was over 663%. We think our strategy is working and its success is predicated on the credit thinking of our leaders to provide to our customer products and services they value, solid execution and attention to detail within our core business and a focus on running the business financially well. I would like to say thank you to a number of the key executives for making this happen. Don Willis, President of PCGS; Miles Standish, President of our Modern Business; Muriel Eymery, Vice President of our International Development and she has been very busy lately; Joe Orlando, President of PSA and DNA; Cassi East, President of CCE and our online activities; and Anibal Almeida, he is our Operation Guru that helps move 3 million units through this building every year; and David Rosenberg, our IT leader. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com