It was earnings come early for Synovus Financial Corp. on Thursday, with the regional bank moving its second-quarter report ahead a week to get a jump on paying back TARP money.
But there are three other publicly traded companies headquartered in Columbus chomping at the bit to tell investors and Wall Street analysts alike how well they did from April through June.
Movie-theater chain Carmike Cinemas will issue its financial details bright and early this morning before the stock markets open. They will be followed Tuesday by credit-card processor TSYS, and then a week later, on July 30, by supplemental insurer Aflac.
Will they or won't they beat the expectations of research analysts who follow them? Only time will tell. Synovus, in its quarterly report, did match the number anticipated by its followers -- earnings of 3 cents per share -- although its detailed action plan to pay back $968 million to the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program somewhat overshadowed its financial report.
Carmike's picture brightens
More about that later. Let's start with Carmike, the motion-picture exhibitor that relies on Hollywood stars to fuel its box-office
receipts and goose sales of popcorn and soft drinks, has made no secret that it is now driven to reach 300 theaters and 3,000 screens nationwide.
A mix of new theater openings and strategic purchases have put the Columbus company on track to achieving that goal. It is now roughly 50 theaters and 500 screens shy of its magic numbers and if Wall Street analysts are correct, it should have the cash to make that happen.
The seven researchers surveyed by Thomson Financial show Carmike earning 41 cents per share in the second quarter, which would blow away the year-ago performance of 7 cents per share.
On the horizon, the firm is expected to earn 78 cents per share for all of 2013, which would best a 2012 in which it turned a profit of 61 cents a share. As for 2014, investors might become somewhat giddy should the current expectations of $1.30 per share earnings materialize, making Carmike a big-screen success story.
TSYS solid in rest of 2013
Up next will be TSYS, which had a major-league second quarter with its largest acquisition ever. The company pulled the trigger on a Texas-sized $1.4 billion purchase of NetSpend Holdings, a prepaid card specialist that is expected to be a solid revenue generator for TSYS. NetSpend is located in the Texas capital of Austin, and will operate as a subsidiary there.
A Thomson Financial survey of 18 stock market analysts who follow TSYS show the global processor earning 33 cents per share in the second quarter. That would be lower than 35 cents per share in the same quarter of 2012.
But for all of 2013, TSYS currently is expected to earn $1.45 per share, which would be higher than the $1.29 per share it earned last year. And, for now, the 2014 estimate is $1.80 per share, which presumably would include NetSpend revenue, as well as Bank of America accounts being activated.
The company has said it has about 100 million credit-card accounts in the pipeline. It is paid per transaction or for the use of its system, along with services such as mailing out card statements.
Sales slowing for Aflac?
Closing out the local company earnings season on July 30 will be the duck dynasty known as Aflac, a company headquartered on two large campuses on Wynnton Road and in east Columbus, but also with prime office space in Tokyo, the health and life insurer's economic engine. Aflac does about 75 percent of its business in Japan.
Analysts who follow Aflac are forecasting more headwinds for the company's sales. But they also are betting that its strong cash flow will ease some of the financial pain.
"While the sluggish economy in both the U.S. and Japan has deterred the desired upside in Aflac's sales, earnings and investment portfolio, we believe that the company is still supported by strong risk-based capital and surplus cash," Zacks Equity Research said last week, recommending that investors place Aflac shares on hold for the time being. "Adequate liquidity not only paves the way for mitigating risk on balance sheet and operating leverage, but also scores well with the ratings agencies."
That said, a Thomson Financial survey of 22 followers of Aflac show the experts are anticipating operating earnings of $1.51 per share in the second quarter, down from $1.61 in the same April-June period a year ago.
It's still early in the game, but the analysts foresee Aflac earning $6.18 per share for all of 2013, sharply off the $6.60 per share a year ago. Looking ahead, however, the current prognostication is that 2014 will be a rebound year of sorts, with operating earnings of $6.53 per share.
More about Synovus, TARP
Now back to Synovus and some news following its surprise earnings release last Thursday and its detailed strategy for putting TARP behind it. To pay back the $968 million it owes the program, the company said it will use $680 million in cash. The balance will come from the sale of $185 million in common stock and $130 million in preferred stock.
On Friday, the bank offered a few more details. The common stock will be priced at $3.09 per share, with 59,870,550 shares up for grabs among investors. The closing date for the transaction is Wednesday.
The net proceeds after J.P. Morgan Securities, Goldman Sachs and Sandler O'Neill take their cut for handling the process will be $175 million. Synovus did not give a specific date for the TARP repayment, but it appears to be on a fast track.
As for earnings, the 3 cents per share earned by the bank in the second quarter is currently the same performance expected in the third quarter by 18 analysts following Synovus, according to Thomson Financial.
For the year, the experts anticipate earnings per share of 11 cents, which would obviously top a red-ink loss of 3 cents per share for all of 2012. For now, the post-TARP Synovus is expected to earn 17 cents per share in 2014.
The earnings and TARP information was released after the stock market's close on Thursday. Investors responded Friday by pushing the bank's stock to a 52-week high of $3.30 per share, with a closing price on the day of $3.24, which was 15 cents per share higher.