Synovus, TSYS, Aflac, Carmike tee up earnings reports

Columbus-based companies all should post profits, according to analysts

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 20, 2014 

It’s earnings season for the four publicly traded companies that call Columbus home.

Synovus Financial Corp., TSYS, Aflac and Carmike Cinemas all are preparing to deliver their financial reports covering the fourth quarter and full-year 2013.

Kicking off things early Tuesday morning will be Synovus, a regional bank and parent of Columbus Bank and Trust. It will be followed by TSYS on Jan. 28 and Aflac on Feb. 4, with Carmike yet to say when its report will be issued.

Synovus is coming off a year of continued healing and recovery, punctuated by its repayment last summer of about $968 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money to the federal government. The bank has worked to get a handle on problem loans and expenses, with investors still measuring progress on the earnings front in pennies per share.

That looks to continue, with nearly two dozen Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial anticipating earnings, or a profit, of 5 cents per share for the October-December quarter. That’s improved from a loss of 10 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.

For all of 2013, Synovus is projected to post a total profit of 14 cents per share, up from a loss of 3 cents per share in 2012. It’s still early, but analysts see earnings of 20 cents for all of 2014.

For TSYS, also known as Total System Services, it was steady as she goes over the past year, with the global credit-card processor building on its profits, working new accounts into its pipeline and making the biggest purchase of its corporate life. It paid $1.4 billion for Austin, Texas-based NetSpend, betting the prepaid card specialty company will push profits steadily higher.

The 20 brokerage analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are expecting a quarterly profit of 48 cents per share out of TSYS, significantly better than the 32 cents per share it made in the same three-month period a year ago.

For 2013 as a whole, TSYS earnings are expected to be $1.72 per share, up from $1.29 in 2012. For now, the analysts foresee a 2014 profit of $2.03 per share, which would be approaching double-your-money territory from 2012.

Aflac, meanwhile, had to deal with slowing sales in Japan last year, with the supplemental health and life insurer deciding to do something major to address the issue. That came in the form of an agreement over the summer between it and Japan Post, the Asian nation’s postal service, which along with Japan Post Insurance, is peddling Aflac policies from more than 20,000 locations.

Still, the sluggishness will be apparent on the bottom line, with the nearly two dozen stock market analysts polled by Thomson Financial anticipating operating earnings of $1.39 per share, down from $1.48 per share in the same period a year ago.

For all of 2013, Aflac is looking at earnings of $6.17 per share, the analysts say, sharply lower than the $6.60 per share it racked up in 2012. Looking ahead to 2014 — and Aflac has been known to outperform expectations — the duck-inspired company is projected to see a profit of $6.23 per share.

And last, but not least, there’s Carmike Cinemas, which has been on a steady diet of new-theater openings and acquisitions in recent quarters, buying theaters from Rave Reviews Cinemas, Cinemark and Muvico Entertainment.

The theater chain is on a quest to grow itself to 300 theaters and 3,000 screens, believing its current corporate infrastructure can handle the extra load with little extra expense. At last count, the firm was at 257 theaters and 2,681 screens in 37 states.

It also signed a contract with IMAX to add the large-screen format at some of its theaters, including the Carmike 15 in Columbus.

The eight analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial apparently believe Carmike has set the stage for a strong performance in 2014. In the fourth quarter, earnings are expected to come in at 27 cents per share, down from 29 cents a year ago, while the company’s full-year 2013 profits should hit 62 cents per share, only a penny-per-share higher than in 2012.

But the payoff — if the analysts are right — will come this year, according to their early forecast, as Carmike reaches full-year earnings per share of $1.21, nearly double its 2013 showing.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Here are the dates for local companies reporting their financial information for 2013 and the year’s fourth quarter:

• Synovus Financial Corp. — Tuesday

• TSYS — Jan. 28

• Aflac — Feb. 4

• Carmike Cinemas — Date not yet released; Nasdaq exchange estimates March 13

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