Groupon Forecasts Profit Growth on First Analyst Day

Groupon Inc., which is hosting its first analyst day, is touting profit and revenue growth for the next three years as the daily-deals company shifts from an e-mail model to a full-blown e-commerce site.

Groupon said it expects revenue growth of more than 15 percent next year, according to presentation slides for the event, which would equate to at least about $3.6 billion, in line with analysts’ estimates. Adjusted earnings will rise even faster, with the company projecting a more than 25 percent increase next year.

Chief Executive Officer Eric Lefkofsky has been working to make Groupon a marketplace for deals where consumers can shop the way they already do on sites like Amazon.com Inc. Lefkofsky is banking on growth in mobile and listings of local businesses to help offset a decline in e-mail effectiveness and demand for goods that has outpaced the company’s ability to build out fulfillment infrastructure.

“We’ve started to turn the corner and accelerate growth,” Lefkofsky said today at the Chicago event for analysts and investors.

The forecast for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to rise more than 25 percent in 2015 would equate to at least about $308 million, based on this year’s results so far and low end of the company’s projection for the fourth quarter. If Groupon reaches the high end of its fourth-quarter projection, then the 2015 forecast would be for at least $333 million.

Analysts expect $350 million on average, based on estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

2017 Forecast

Groupon shares rose 4.9 percent to $7.80 at the close in New York, paring their decline so far this year to 34 percent.

The company also forecast revenue growth of more than 20 percent by 2017. Groupon said it will sustain double-digit percentage growth in its local division in North America.

While Groupon has been adding new features such as a grocery loyalty program and listings of local businesses, customers have been slow to embrace the company’s shift to an e-commerce site. Lately, though, there have been signs of improvement.

Last month, the company reported third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates. It also said it hired advisers to evaluate financial and strategic options for its businesses in Asia. Groupon is seeking partners to help grow businesses such as South Korea’s Ticket Monster.

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