Blackbaud, Inc. Earnings: The Strong Momentum Continues

By Markets Fool.com

Blackbaud's fourth-quarter earnings report capped off what was a solid year for the company. Not only did the company's results hit the high end of its guidance, but its strong momentum also accelerated during the quarter. While earnings for the quarter missed Wall Street's estimates by a penny, the overall picture was quite positive.

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A closer look at the numbers that matter
Blackbaud earned $152.8 million of revenue in the quarter, which was about $1.25 million more than analysts were expecting. Overall, revenue was up 13.3% over the prior year, driven by two factors. The first was subscriptions revenue, which increased 20.1% to $73.1 million. The other was non-GAAP organic revenue growth, which accelerated from 7.1% during the year to 7.5% last quarter. That organic growth, when combined with the revenue growth from acquisitions, enabled the company to end the year on a positive note.

Earnings also ended the year on a positive note, as the company's fourth-quarter non-GAAP income from operations increased by 10% to $27.6 million while non-GAAP net income came in at $15.5 million, or $0.34 per share. While that missed estimates by a penny, it still pushed the company's full-year earnings up to $1.27 per share, which was right in the middle of the company's increased guidance range.

Blackbaud continues to generate a lot of cash flow, as it produced $16.8 million in cash this past quarter. However, its cash balance did slip from $54 million to $14.7 million, as it used cash to acquire MicroEdge. as well as on capital spending and capitalized software costs while also sending some of its cash back to investors through dividends.Those capital outlays, however, rewarded investors in several ways, as the growth spending not only helped to drive some of the growth this past quarter, but that spending will also help drive growth in the year ahead.

A look at the outlook
Speaking of the year ahead, Blackbaud issued its 2015 guidance along with its fourth-quarter results. For the year the company sees non-GAAP revenue of $625 million to $645 million, which represents growth of 10% to 13% from 2014. Meanwhile, Blackbaud expects non-GAAP net income to be between $112 million and $118 million, or $1.39-$1.47 per share, which is 9%-16% higher than 2014. Finally, the company expects to generate cash flow from operations in a range of $110 million to $120 million, which is well ahead of last year's $102.3 million.

This guidance assumes, of course, that the company doesn't make any acquisitions in the year ahead. However, given its history of acquisitions -- it made two just last year -- it's quite possible that the company will be able to achieve even better results in the year ahead if it finds a suitable opportunity to expand.

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Investor takeaway
Blackbaud delivered another pretty solid quarter. Not only did the company achieve the higher end of its own guidance range, but its organic growth also accelerated in the quarter. It expects this solid performance to continue over the next year as it sees double-digit growth in revenue, earnings, and cash flow in 2015.

The article Blackbaud, Inc. Earnings: The Strong Momentum Continues originally appeared on Fool.com.

Matt DiLallo owns shares of Blackbaud. The Motley Fool recommends Blackbaud. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.