(By Balaseshan) H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB), a tax service provider, reported a narrower quarterly loss due to lower costs and a 6% rise in revenue. Results exceeded Street's expectations.
Loss from continuing operations for the second quarter narrowed to $101.2 million or $0.37 per share from $123.01 million or $0.41 per share last year. The company typically reports a second quarter operating loss due to the seasonality of its U.S. tax business.
Adjusted loss from continuing operations for the latest quarter was $99.87 million or $0.37 per share.
Revenue for the quarter rose to $137.26 million from $129.19 million, due primarily to a strong tax season in Australia.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a loss of $0.40 per share on revenue of $130.47 million for the second quarter.
Service revenue increased to $116.44 million from $109.98 million.
Revenue from Tax Services grew 7% to $130 million, primarily due to an 8% increase in tax returns prepared in Australia.
"I'm very pleased with the improvement in our second quarter results, which reflect savings from our cost reduction initiatives and a strong tax season in Australia. The U.S. tax season is right around the corner and we believe we're on pace to deliver significant earnings and margin expansion in fiscal 2013," said Bill Cobb, H&R Block's President and CEO.
A previously announced quarterly cash dividend of 20 cents per share is payable on Jan. 2, 2013 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 10, 2012. The Jan. 2 payment marks the company's 201st consecutive quarterly dividend.
HRB closed Wednesday's regular trading down 1.57% at $17.57. The stock has been trading between $14.35 and $18.38 for the past 52 weeks.