(By Balaseshan) CIBC World Markets Inc. lowered its earnings estimates for Constellation Software Inc. (TSE:CSU) after the company's first quarter results. The brokerage maintained its "Sector Performer" rating and $99 price target on shares of CSU.
CSU reported $195 million in revenue and adjusted EPS of $1.50 in Q1, below consensus ($201 million/$1.81). Revenue was impacted by a lower organic growth rate (3%) and slower acquisition activity in 2011. Increased marketing activities, which appear to be seasonal, impacted margins (20%).
Public sector organic headwinds impacted revenue in Q1. CIBC expects this to continue through 2012, given weakness in the public sector, particularly in the US and UK. However, the firm expects improving growth in the private sector vertical to somewhat offset.
[Related -Savings Glut and Financial Imbalances]
The brokerage expects acquisition activity to improve over last year's levels. Year-to-date, Constellation has completed nine acquisitions (deal value up $20 million) versus seven ($31 million) in the prior period. With the strategic review a distraction in the second half of 2011, the firm expects acquisitions to be up year-over-year in the second half of 2012.
Despite a weak Q1, CIBC's view on CSU remains unchanged. About 55% recurring maintenance revenue provides some consistency and strong cash flow, $174 million 2012 (up 27% year-over-year), is used to fund acquisitions and the dividend.
The brokerage reduced its 2012 EPS estimate for Constellation Software to $7.36 from $7.74, while maintaining its 2013 estimate of $8.57.
[Related -A Dividend Aristocrat Is Now On Sale]
Constellation Software acquires, manages and builds vertical market software (VMS) businesses. It is engaged in the development, installation and customization of software, and in the provision of related professional services and support. The company operates its business in two segments: the Public Sector segment and the Private Sector segment.
CSU is trading up 0.63% at C$89.36 on Friday.