Sea Restricted (NYSE:SE) had an ideal quarter, beating income estimates and destroying revenue estimates. With its new give attention to enhancing effectivity and driving earnings, Sea appears to be like prefer it may ship compelling shareholder worth sooner or later.
Sea Restricted reported its most up-to-date quarterly outcomes on Tuesday morning. The corporate’s outcomes for its fiscal fourth quarter embrace the next headline numbers:
Income got here in additional than 10% forward of estimates, as analysts had predicted a income decline whereas precise enterprise development was fairly engaging, at 7%. Much more essential, nevertheless, was the corporate’s backside line beat. Analysts had estimated that Sea Restricted was deeply unprofitable throughout the interval, however that was in no way the case – as a substitute, the corporate showcased extremely compelling earnings for the interval.
A A lot Stronger-Than-Anticipated Efficiency
Let’s begin with the corporate’s revenues. Sea Restricted is a tech firm that is energetic throughout completely different industries. It provides e-commerce providers, digital leisure, and digital monetary providers to its clients. The atmosphere for these companies has not been too good within the current previous on account of a number of macro tendencies. Excessive inflation for items comparable to meals, vitality, and many others., causes shoppers to spend extra on this stuff (which can be usually not purchased on-line typically), which limits shoppers’ spending capability on the subject of discretionary shopper items which can be purchased on-line extra typically. On the similar time, the waning of the pandemic has prompted some shifts in shopper spending. Whereas shoppers purchased issues (e.g. electronics) throughout the pandemic, at the very least some shoppers are actually shifting their spending towards actions, comparable to journey, going to concert events, eating out, and so forth. Final however not least, a strengthening US greenback has been a headwind for firms with in depth non-US operations, as foreign money price headwinds damage their reported income efficiency, all else equal. The mix of those tendencies – excessive inflation, a shift in shopper spending, and foreign money price headwinds – has damage many e-commerce firms in current quarters, whereas robust comparables vs. the pandemic years additionally made for slightly low enterprise development charges. It is thus not too stunning to see that analysts had been anticipating a slightly weak top-line efficiency from Sea.
However Sea Restricted managed to blow these estimates away, showcasing optimistic income development in all enterprise models. The corporate’s e-commerce income was up by a really compelling 32% yr over yr, regardless of foreign money price headwinds. At fixed foreign money charges, income development would have been north of 40%. That is simply forward of the income development that bigger friends comparable to Amazon (AMZN) are reporting, and means that Sea is executing very nicely within the present atmosphere. Its give attention to higher-growth markets in Asia and Latin America performs a task in its robust enterprise development efficiency as nicely. However the enterprise development efficiency of the e-commerce unit additionally went hand in hand with robust profitability enhancements on this space. Whereas Sea’s e-commerce unit had generated an EBITDA lack of virtually $900 million throughout the earlier yr’s quarter, the corporate managed to generate optimistic EBITDA of $200 million throughout the fourth quarter of 2022. That makes for an enchancment of greater than $1 billion per quarter throughout a single yr, which is, I imagine, excellent. It ought to be famous that the newest quarter included a one-time tailwind from $80 million in accrual reversals, however even adjusted for that, the profitability enchancment would have been very robust. That was largely pushed by enhancements in Sea’s Asia e-commerce enterprise, the place EBITDA rose by $850 million year-over-year. However Sea additionally noticed its e-commerce enterprise in Latin America enhance because the EBITDA loss was reduce by two-thirds yr over yr. If operations in Brazil and different non-Asia markets strengthen additional, the corporate ought to have the ability to break even in these markets quickly, which is able to naturally have a optimistic influence on Sea’s company-wide backside line as nicely.
The efficiency within the digital leisure enterprise was not as nice, nevertheless. Whereas GAAP income development was optimistic, EBITDA declined barely, and each bookings and energetic customers pulled again as nicely. This will, I imagine, be attributed to the waning of the pandemic – as fewer shoppers had been locked down in This autumn of 2022, relative to 1 yr earlier, demand for at-home leisure declined. The pandemic was a rare time that had a big optimistic influence on digital leisure companies, together with gaming, video streaming, and so forth. With issues normalizing, it needed to be anticipated that demand declines to a point, as shoppers wish to spend extra time doing different issues once more.
Taking a look at Sea’s monetary providers enterprise, we see nice income development of 93%, though from a reasonably low stage: This stays Sea’s smallest enterprise unit by far. Nonetheless, if very robust development could be maintained, the monetary providers enterprise ought to flip into a considerable development driver of company-wide income ultimately. The monetary providers enterprise additionally was worthwhile throughout the interval, in contrast to throughout the earlier yr’s quarter, as EBITDA improved by greater than $200 million year-over-year.
General, the strong enterprise development and Sea Restricted’s give attention to enhancing profitability throughout its operations resulted in a internet revenue of greater than $400 million for the interval. Administration’s statements recommend that the corporate will proceed to crack down on bills to be able to drive margin upside, which is nice for shareholders – revenue, in the end, is the deciding issue for a corporation’s worth, in spite of everything.
I do imagine that analyst estimates for this yr’s earnings per share will become means too low. Proper now, analysts are predicting that Sea will generate a loss per share of $1.71 for fiscal 2023. Primarily based on what Sea Restricted has achieved within the final quarter of 2022, nevertheless, that appears unrealistic. If there is no revenue development in any respect, Sea may generate earnings per share within the $2.80 to $2.90 vary. Whereas there’s some seasonality in Sea’s outcomes, that seasonality is just not very pronounced. Even when Q1 and Q2 are seasonally weaker than the just-reported This autumn, this may very well be greater than offset by natural development all year long, whereas additional cost-cutting and effectivity enchancment efforts may drive additional profitability enhancements. In any case, it is a comparatively new technique for Sea, thus it appears unlikely to me that each one the potential margin upside has been captured throughout This autumn already – it appears extra sensible to me that the corporate will discover further methods to enhance its effectivity all through the present yr, thereby permitting for extra revenue development potential.
It is price noting that Sea’s earnings per share development is negatively impacted by a rising share depend. Throughout the newest quarter, the diluted share depend averaged 612 million shares, vs. 554 million within the earlier yr’s quarter, which makes for a ~10% enhance in SE’s shares. Share-based compensation totaled $190 million throughout the newest quarter, or near $800 million annualized. Whereas Sea was nonetheless worthwhile after we account for that, a rising share depend is unfavorable for shareholders, all else equal, thus buyers ought to hold this theme in thoughts.
Valuation, Potential, And Closing Ideas
Sea Restricted is valued at round $37 billion. For the reason that firm has a money place of round $7 billion and a debt place of round $3 billion, the online cash-adjusted firm worth is $33 billion. If Sea Restricted had been to earn $400 million per quarter going ahead, corresponding to the newest quarter, the earnings a number of (adjusted for SE’s internet money place) can be round 21. Whereas that is the next valuation relative to the broad market, it isn’t a excessive valuation after we take into account SE’s development and robust market place in development markets (each product-wise and geographically). There is not any assure that Sea will generate this stage of revenue going ahead, and outcomes may after all be risky. However the newest quarterly outcomes recommend that Sea may very well be a slightly worthwhile firm in 2023, whereas analysts had predicted the opposite. It might not be stunning to see this growth have a serious influence on Sea’s share worth. Sea traded at as a lot as $350 throughout the pandemic, vs. a worth within the mid-$60s at the moment. I don’t imagine that we are going to see the pandemic highs anytime quickly, however there’s potential for SE to reverse a few of the share worth losses we’ve seen since then. If Sea had been to earn $2.80 this yr (which is speculative after all), and if we had been to place a 30x earnings a number of on that, we might get a share worth within the mid-$80s.
General, we are able to summarize that administration has been guiding the corporate extraordinarily nicely within the current previous. The give attention to profitability has had a huge effect, and Sea has grow to be a fairly worthwhile tech firm that also generates engaging enterprise development – it appears to be like like cost-cutting and effectivity measures haven’t damage the corporate’s development momentum. It is arduous to forecast what earnings may appear to be a yr or two from now, however from what I see at the moment, Sea Restricted doesn’t appear to be an particularly costly inventory.