Autobytel Reports Improved Financial Results for 2012 Fourth Quarter and Full Year

  Autobytel Reports Improved Financial Results for 2012 Fourth Quarter and
  Full Year

      – Growth Driven by Industry-Leading 23% Sales Conversion Rate from
                            Autobytel.com Leads –

             – Net Income for Year More Than Triples over 2011 –

        – Upbeat for Strong 2013, Based on Healthy Automotive Market –

Business Wire

IRVINE, Calif. -- February 28, 2013

Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL), a leading provider of online consumer purchase
requests and marketing resources for the automotive industry, today announced
higher revenues and net income for the fourth quarter and full year ended
December 31, 2012, compared with the corresponding prior year periods.

Revenues for the 2012 fourth quarter increased to $16.9 million from $16.2
million last year. Revenues generated from automotive purchase requests, or
leads, the company’s core product offering, rose more than 8% to $14.6 million
for the 2012 fourth quarter, up from $13.5 million for the same quarter last
year, primarily reflecting continued demand from automotive dealers and
manufacturers. Revenue from automotive dealers (retail) increased 18%, and
revenue from automotive manufacturers (wholesale) grew 1% for the fourth
quarter of 2012, compared with last year’s fourth quarter. In addition, the
company said that it increased by 7.5% the number of dealers on its retail
program, resulting in Autobytel’s highest year-end dealer count since 2008.

Gross profit totaled $6.4 million for the 2012 fourth quarter, compared with
$6.9 million one year ago. Gross margin equaled 37.8% of total revenues for
the 2012 fourth quarter, versus 42.5% for the fourth quarter of 2011. The
decline in gross margin resulted from continued investments to drive increased
growth, including a 75% increase in the company’s search engine marketing team
to generate additional lead volume and further enhancements to the company’s
online consumer content. Additionally, there was a one-time recognition of
deferred revenue in the 2011 fourth quarter, which was not present in the 2012
fourth quarter. Autobytel’s longer-term gross margin target remains above 40%,
but given continued investment in driving lead revenue growth and its changing
revenue mix, the company expects gross margin to be slightly lower in the
near-term.

Total operating expenses decreased by 6% to $6.1 million, or 35.9% of
revenues, for the 2012 fourth quarter, from $6.5 million, or 39.8% of
revenues, for the 2011 fourth quarter. The reduction reflected ongoing cost
containment initiatives.

Net income for the 2012 fourth quarter was $351,000, or $0.04 per diluted
share, based on 9.0 million diluted average weighted shares outstanding. Net
income for the 2011 fourth quarter was $341,000, or $0.04 per diluted share,
based on 9.4 million diluted average weighted shares outstanding. Per share
amounts reflect a 1-for-5 reverse stock split effected on July 11, 2012.

Cash flow provided by operations was $1.4 million for the fourth quarter of
2012, compared with $2.1 million for the prior-year fourth quarter. Cash net
income was $1.1 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of
2012, the same as for last year’s fourth quarter.

“Automotive lead volume to dealers and manufacturers was solid during the
fourth quarter and continued to grow into the first quarter. This positive
trend is being driven by our ability to self-generate high quality consumer
leads for our customers – leads that convert at approximately three times the
rate of the estimated industry average. Verified by R.L. Polk & Co., the most
recent data shows that automotive leads from consumers shopping on
Autobytel.com have a conversion rate of approximately 23%,” said Jeffrey H.
Coats, President and Chief Executive Officer of Autobytel. “At the same time,
investments in refining and expanding the consumer experience at Autobytel.com
are paying off with growing brand recognition.”

Earlier today, the company announced that over just the last two years,
consumers who submitted leads sold by Autobytel to dealers accounted for
nearly 4% of all new retail car sales in the United States over that time
period, according to a just-completed study done in partnership with Polk.

“Our primary financial objective for this year is to accelerate revenue growth
while continuing to improve profitability,” Coats added. “We entered 2013 in a
strong position, and look forward to an outstanding year ahead with more
aggressive marketing plans to drive top-line growth as we continue to benefit
from the healthy automotive market, delivery of a robust consumer experience
and high sales conversion rates for our customers.”

Full-Year Results
Revenues for 2012 rose to $66.8 million from $63.8 million for 2011. Revenues
generated from automotive leads rose 9% to $57.1 million for 2012, up from
$52.5 million last year. Revenue from the retail channel rose 10%, and revenue
from the wholesale channel improved 7% for 2012 compared with 2011.

Gross profit improved to $26.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2012,
up from $26.0 million last year. Gross margin was 39.3% of total revenues for
2012, compared with 40.7% for 2011.

Total operating expenses for 2012 decreased to $24.7 million, or 36.9% of
revenues, from $25.3 million, or 39.6% of revenues, last year. 2012 marks the
third consecutive year of operating expense declines. Revenues have grown
approximately 30% over the same timeframe.

Net income for 2012 more than tripled to $1.4 million, or $0.15 per diluted
share, based on 9.2 million diluted average weighted shares outstanding, from
$416,000, or $0.04 per diluted share, based on 9.5 million diluted average
weighted shares outstanding, for 2011. Per share amounts reflect a 1-for-5
reverse stock split effected on July 11, 2012.

Cash flow provided by operations was $5.8 million for 2012, versus $2.2
million for 2011. Cash net income grew to $4.5 million, or $0.48 per diluted
share, for 2012, from $3.5 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, one year ago.

Cash and cash equivalents grew to $15.3 million at December 31, 2012, from
$11.2 million at the same time last year.

Conference Call
Autobytel management will host a conference call today at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT
to discuss its 2012 fourth quarter financial results. Interested parties may
participate in the live call by dialing (877) 852-2929, passcode 97502551. An
audio broadcast will also be available through a live webcast at
www.autobytel.com (click on “Investor Relations” and then click on “Events &
Presentations”). Please visit the website at least 15 minutes prior to the
start of the call to register and download any necessary software. For those
unable to listen to the live broadcast, the call will be archived for one year
on Autobytel’s website. A telephone replay of the call will also be available
through March 7, 2013 by dialing (855) 859-2056, passcode 97502551. The slides
that will be referenced during the call will be available on the company’s
website at www.autobytel.com (click on “Investor Relations” and then click on
“Events & Presentations”). The slides will contain disclosures of EBITDA
(earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), cash flow,
cash net income and cash net income per diluted share, which are non-GAAP
financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G. Reconciliations of these
non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial
measures will be included in the slides.

Note about Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Autobytel has disclosed Cash Net Income and Cash Net Income per Diluted Share,
which are non-GAAP financial measures as defined by SEC Regulation G, for the
2012 fourth quarter and full year within this press release. The company
defines Cash Net Income as net income/(loss) plus depreciation and
amortization and non-cash share-based compensation and defines Cash Net Income
per Diluted Share as Cash Net Income divided by weighted average diluted
shares outstanding. The company’s management believes that presenting these
non-GAAP financial measures separately provides useful information to
investors regarding the underlying business trends and performance of the
company’s ongoing operations. These non-GAAP financial measures are used in
addition to and in conjunction with results presented in accordance with GAAP
and should not be relied upon to the exclusion of GAAP financial measures.
Management strongly encourages investors to review the company's consolidated
financial statements in their entirety and to not rely on any single financial
measure. A table providing a reconciliation of Cash Net Income and Cash Net
Income per Diluted Share to the closest GAAP financial measures is included at
the end of this press release.

About Autobytel Inc.
Autobytel Inc., an online leader offering consumer purchase requests, or
leads, and marketing resources to car dealers and manufacturers and providing
consumers with the information they need to purchase new and used cars,
pioneered the automotive Internet when it launched its flagship website,
www.autobytel.com, in 1995. Autobytel continues to offer innovative products
and services to help consumers buy, and auto dealers and manufacturers sell,
more used and new cars. Autobytel has helped tens of millions of automotive
consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with
motivated car buyers; and helped every major automaker market its brand
online. Through its flagship website, network of automotive sites and
respected online affiliates, Autobytel continues its dedication to innovating
the industry's highest quality Internet programs to provide consumers with a
comprehensive and positive automotive research and purchasing experience, and
auto dealers, dealer groups and auto manufacturers with some of the industry's
most productive and cost-effective customer referral and marketing programs.

Investors and other interested parties can receive Autobytel news releases and
invitations to special events by accessing the online registration form at
investor.autobytel.com/alerts.cfm.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer
The statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts
are forward-looking statements under the federal securities laws. These
forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, comments regarding
the health of the automotive industry, looking forward to an outstanding year
ahead, and implementation of aggressive marketing plans to drive top-line
growth, are not guarantees of future performance and involve assumptions and
risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and
results may differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these
forward-looking statements. Autobytel undertakes no obligation to update
publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise. Among the important factors that
could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or
implied by, the forward-looking statements are changes in general economic
conditions; the financial condition of automobile manufacturers and dealers;
disruptions in automobile production; changes in fuel prices; the economic
impact of terrorist attacks, political revolutions or military actions;
failure of our internet security measures; dealer attrition; pressure on
dealer fees; increased or unexpected competition; the failure of new products
and services to meet expectations; failure to retain key employees or attract
and integrate new employees; actual costs and expenses exceeding charges taken
by Autobytel; changes in laws and regulations; costs of legal matters,
including, defending lawsuits and undertaking investigations and related
matters; and other matters disclosed in Autobytel’s filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are strongly encouraged to
review the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December
31, 2012 and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a
discussion of risks and uncertainties that could affect the business,
operating results, or financial condition of Autobytel and the market price of
the company’s stock.



AUTOBYTEL INC.
UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED BALANCE SHEETS
(Amounts in thousands, except share and per-share data)
                                                             
                                                                  
                                                 December 31,     December 31,
                                                 2012             2011
Assets
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents                        $ 15,296         $ 11,209
Restricted cash                                    -                400
Accounts receivable (net of allowances for
bad debts and customer credits of $426 and         10,081           10,144
$540, at December 31, 2012 and December 31,
2011, respectively)
Prepaid expenses and other current assets         504            571      
Total current assets                               25,881           22,324
Property and equipment, net                        1,593            1,629
Long-term strategic investment                     -                194
Intangible assets, net                             1,539            2,893
Goodwill                                           11,677           11,677
Other assets                                      77             77       
Total assets                                     $ 40,767        $ 38,794   
                                                                  
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable                                 $ 3,837          $ 3,081
Accrued expenses and other current                 5,377            4,994
liabilities
Deferred revenues                                 168            216      
Total current liabilities                          9,382            8,291
Convertible note payable                           5,000            5,000
Other non-current liabilities                     620            607      
Total liabilities                                  15,002           13,898
                                                                  
Commitments and contingencies
                                                                  
Stockholders' equity:
Preferred stock, $0.001 par value;
11,445,187 shares authorized; none                 -                -
outstanding
Common stock, $0.001 par value; 200,000,000
shares authorized; 8,855,400 and 9,224,345
shares issued and outstanding, as of               9                46
December 31, 2012 and December 31, 2011,
respectively
Additional paid-in capital                         306,252          306,733
Accumulated deficit                               (280,496 )      (281,883 )
Total stockholders' equity                        25,765         24,896   
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity       $ 40,767        $ 38,794   
                                                                             
                                                                             

                   
                   
AUTOBYTEL INC.
UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED CONDENSED STATEMENTS OF INCOME AND COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
(Amounts in thousands, except per-share data)
                                                           
                                                                    
                       Three Months Ended            Twelve Months Ended
                       December 31,                  December 31,
                       2012           2011           2012           2011
                                                                    
Revenues:
Lead fees              $ 16,032       $ 15,100       $ 63,109       $ 59,735
Advertising              854            1,077          3,524          3,850
Other revenues          25           46           169          227    
Total revenues           16,911         16,223         66,802         63,812
Cost of revenues
(excludes
depreciation of
$28 and $17 for
the three months
ended December 31,
2012 and 2011,          10,526       9,334        40,530       37,829 
respectively, and
$118 and $221 for
the twelve months
ended December 31,
2012 and 2011,
respectively)
Gross profit             6,385          6,889          26,272         25,983
                                                                    
Operating
expenses:
Sales and                1,888          2,124          8,536          8,906
marketing
Technology support       1,750          1,804          6,848          7,045
General and              2,080          2,178          7,852          7,987
administrative
Depreciation and         422            403            1,717          1,771
amortization
Litigation              (68    )      (59    )      (273   )      (451   )
settlements
Total operating         6,072        6,450        24,680       25,258 
expenses
Operating income         313            439            1,592          725
Interest and other       126            10             139            40
income, net
Income tax              88           108          344          349    
provision
Net income and
comprehensive          $ 351         $ 341         $ 1,387       $ 416    
income
                                                                    
                                                                    
Basic earnings per     $ 0.04        $ 0.04        $ 0.15        $ 0.05   
common share
Diluted earnings       $ 0.04        $ 0.04        $ 0.15        $ 0.04   
per common share
                                                                    
                                                                    
Shares used in
computing earnings
per common share
(in thousands):
Basic                   8,854        9,224        8,996        9,194  
Diluted                 9,040        9,424        9,204        9,536  
                                                                             
                                                                             



AUTOBYTEL INC.
RECONCILIATION OF CASH NET INCOME
                                                              
                                                                       
                                   Three Months Ended      Twelve Months Ended
                                   December 31,            December 31,
                                   2012        2011        2012        2011
                                                                       
Net income                         $ 351       $ 341       $ 1,387     $ 416
                                                                       
Depreciation and amortization        536         508         2,162       2,106
                                                                       
Share-based compensation            202        254        910        1,022
                                                                       
Cash net income                    $ 1,089     $ 1,103     $ 4,459     $ 3,544
                                                                       
                                                                       
Cash net income per diluted        $ 0.12      $ 0.12      $ 0.48      $ 0.37
share
                                                                       
Shares used in calculating
cash net income per diluted         9,040      9,424      9,204      9,536
share
                                                                         

Contact:

Investors:
Autobytel Inc.
Curt DeWalt
Chief Financial Officer
949-437-4694
curtisd@autobytel.com
or
PondelWilkinson Inc.
Roger Pondel/Laurie Berman
310-279-5980
pwinvestor@pondel.com
or
Media:
Splash Media
Jennifer Lange
949-916-4820
jlange@getsplashmedia.com
 
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