MarketAxess Holdings, Inc.
Jan 25, 2017
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MarketAxess Reports Fourth Quarter 2016 Revenues of $94.4 Million, Pre-Tax Income of $50.3 Million and Diluted EPS of $0.88

Company Announces 27% Increase in Regular Quarterly Dividend to $0.33 per Share, up from $0.26

Fourth Quarter Financial Highlights*

*All comparisons versus fourth quarter 2015.

Full Year 2016 Financial Highlights**

**All comparisons versus full year 2015.

NEW YORK, Jan. 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq:MKTX), the operator of a leading electronic trading platform for fixed-income securities, and the provider of market data and post-trade services for the global fixed-income markets, today announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2016.

"Our fourth quarter and full year 2016 results show accelerating revenue and earnings growth, driven by broad based market share gains in all of our core credit products. Clients have responded favorably to the expansion of liquidity solutions, trading protocols and data available on the MarketAxess trading system," said Richard M. McVey, Chairman and CEO of MarketAxess. "The growth in our network is delivering more trading opportunities and lower transaction costs for credit market participants."

Fourth Quarter Results

Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased 23.2% to $94.4 million, compared to $76.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2015.  Pre-tax income was $50.3 million, compared to $37.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 36.1%.  Pre-tax margin was a record 53.3%, compared to 48.3% for the fourth quarter of 2015.  Net income totaled $33.2 million, or $0.88 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $24.5 million, or $0.65 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2015.  

Commission revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased 26.5% to $85.5 million, compared to $67.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2015. The growth in commission revenue was principally due to growth in variable transaction fees, which increased 36.4% to $70.0 million on total trading volume of $338.3 billion for the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to variable transaction fees of $51.3 million on total trading volume of $250.4 billion for the fourth quarter of 2015. U.S. high-grade trading volume as a percentage of FINRA's high-grade TRACE trading volume increased to an estimated 17.2% for the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to an estimated 15.1% on an adjusted basis for the fourth quarter of 2015. See Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Other Items below.

All other revenue, which consists of information and post-trade services, technology products and services, investment income and other revenue, decreased to $8.9 million, compared to $9.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2015.  The slight decrease in all other revenue was principally due to the unfavorable impact of $2.7 million caused by the stronger U.S. dollar offset by higher data revenue.

Total expenses for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased 11.2% to $44.1 million, compared to $39.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2015. The increase in total expenses was principally due to higher employee compensation and benefits costs of $1.4 million, marketing and advertising costs of $1.3 million and professional and consulting costs of $1.2 million.

The effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2016 was 34.1%, compared to 33.8% for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Employee headcount was 383 as of December 31, 2016, compared to 342 as of December 31, 2015.

Full Year 2016 Results

Total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2016 increased 22.0% to a record $369.9 million, compared to $303.1 million for 2015.  Pre-tax income was a record $191.6 million, compared to $147.9 million for 2015, an increase of 29.5%.  Pre-tax margin was a record 51.8%, compared to 48.8% for 2015.  Net income totaled $126.2 million, or $3.34 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $96.0 million, or $2.55 per share, for 2015. 

Commission revenue for the year ended December 31, 2016 increased 24.8% to a record $332.3 million, compared to $266.2 million for 2015.  The growth in commission revenue was principally due to growth in variable transaction fees, which increased 33.2% to $268.1 million on total trading volume of $1.3 trillion, compared to variable transaction fees of $201.3 million on total trading volume of $978.5 billion for 2015.  U.S. high-grade trading volume as a percentage of FINRA's high-grade TRACE trading volume increased to an estimated 16.0%, compared to an estimated 14.6% on an adjusted basis for 2015. See Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Other Items below.

All other revenue increased 2.0% to $37.6 million in 2016, compared to $36.9 million for 2015. The increase in all other revenue was principally due to higher data revenue offset by the unfavorable impact of the stronger U.S. dollar totaling $5.9 million.

Total expenses for the year ended December 31, 2016 increased 14.9% to $178.3 million, compared to $155.2 million for 2015.  The increase in total expenses was principally due to higher employee compensation and benefits costs of $12.9 million resulting from an increase in employee headcount and higher incentive and stock-based compensation costs, professional and consulting fees of $4.1 million, marketing and advertising costs of $2.8 million and clearing costs of $2.8 million.

The effective tax rate for 2016 was 34.1%, compared to 35.1% for 2015.  The lower effective tax rate was principally due to a higher percentage of income attributable to lower tax jurisdictions and a reduction in statutory foreign and state tax rates.

Dividend

The Company's board of directors declared a 27% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to $0.33 per share of common stock outstanding, to be paid on February 23, 2017 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on February 9, 2017. 

Share Repurchase Program

A total of 62,800 shares were repurchased in the fourth quarter of 2016 at a cost of $10.1 million under the Company's $75.0 million share repurchase program. As of December 31, 2016, approximately $51.1 million was available for future repurchases under the program. 

Balance Sheet Data

As of December 31, 2016, total assets were $528.0 million and included $362.6 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments.  Total stockholders' equity as of December 31, 2016 was $468.0 million.

Guidance for 2017

The Company expects total expenses for 2017 to be in the range of $192.0 million to $208.0 million and its capital expenditures for 2017 to be in the range of $25.0 million to $30.0 million.  The Company also anticipates that the overall effective tax rate for 2017 will be between 32% and 34%.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Other Items

To supplement the Company's unaudited financial statements presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), the Company uses certain non-GAAP measures of financial performance, including earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") and free cash flow.  The Company believes that these non-GAAP financial measures, when taken into consideration with the corresponding GAAP financial measures, are important in understanding the Company's operating results.  See the attached schedule for a reconciliation of GAAP net income to EBITDA and GAAP cash flow from operating activities to free cash flow.

For purposes of calculating U.S. high-grade estimated market share, FINRA TRACE volumes have been adjusted to eliminate the increased reporting of affiliate back-to-back trades to FINRA from April 2014 through October 2015.  Based on information provided by FINRA, the Company believes that adjusted FINRA TRACE volumes provide a more accurate comparison to prior period reporting.  The Company has provided a reconciliation of U.S. high-grade TRACE volumes to the adjusted U.S. high-grade TRACE volumes on the "Investor Relations-Volume" section of its website.

Webcast and Conference Call Information

Richard M. McVey, chairman and chief executive officer, and Antonio L. DeLise, chief financial officer, will host a conference call to discuss the Company's financial results and outlook on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. To access the conference call, please dial 855-425-4206 (U.S.) or 484-756-4249 (international). The Company will also host a live audio Webcast of the conference call on the Investor Relations section of the Company's website at http://investor.marketaxess.com. A replay of the call will be made available by dialing 855-859-2056 (U.S.) or 404-537-3406 (international) for one week after the announcement. The Webcast will also be archived on http://investor.marketaxess.com for 90 days following the announcement.

About MarketAxess

MarketAxess operates a leading electronic trading platform that enables fixed-income market participants to efficiently trade corporate bonds and other types of fixed-income instruments using MarketAxess' patented trading technology.  Over 1,100 institutional investor and broker-dealer firms are active users of the MarketAxess trading platform, accessing global liquidity in U.S. high-grade corporate bonds, emerging markets and high-yield bonds, European bonds, U.S. agency bonds, municipal bonds, credit default swaps and other fixed-income securities. MarketAxess also offers a number of trading-related products and services, including: market data to assist clients with trading decisions; connectivity solutions that facilitate straight-through processing; technology services to optimize trading environments; and execution services for exchange-traded fund managers and other clients.  Through its Trax® division, MarketAxess also offers a range of pre- and post-trade services, including trade matching, regulatory transaction reporting and market and reference data, across a range of fixed-income products.  Trax is the trading name of Xtrakter Ltd., a MarketAxess group company.

MarketAxess maintains its headquarters in New York and has offices in London, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, São Paulo, Hong Kong and Singapore. For more information, please visit www.marketaxess.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including statements about the outlook and prospects for Company and industry growth, as well as statements about the Company's future financial and operating performance.  These and other statements that relate to future results and events are based on MarketAxess' current expectations.  The Company's actual results in future periods may differ materially from those currently expected or desired because of a number of risks and uncertainties, including: the volatility of financial services markets generally; the level of trading volume transacted on the MarketAxess platform; the absolute level and direction of interest rates and the corresponding volatility in the corporate fixed-income market; the level and intensity of competition in the fixed-income electronic trading industry and the pricing pressures that may result; the variability of our growth rate; the rapidly evolving nature of the electronic financial services industry; our ability to introduce new fee plans and our clients' response; our exposure to risks resulting from non-performance by counterparties to transactions executed between our clients in which we act as an intermediary in matched principal trades; our dependence on our broker-dealer clients; the loss of any of our significant institutional investor clients; our ability to develop new products and offerings and the market's acceptance of those products; the effect of rapid market or technological changes on us and the users of our technology; our ability to successfully maintain the integrity of our trading platform and our response to system failures, capacity constraints and business interruptions; our vulnerability to cyber security risks; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights or technology and defend against intellectual property infringement or other claims; our ability to enter into strategic alliances and to acquire other businesses and successfully integrate them with our business; our ability to comply with new laws, rules and regulations both domestically and internationally; our ability to maintain effective compliance and risk management methods; the strain of growth initiatives on management and other resources; our future capital needs and our ability to obtain capital when needed; limitations on our operating flexibility contained in our credit agreement; and other factors.  The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.  More information about these and other factors affecting MarketAxess' business and prospects is contained in MarketAxess' periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and can be accessed at www.marketaxess.com.

 
MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Operations
    
 Three Months Ended December 31,  Twelve Months Ended December 31,
  2016  2015  2016  2015
 (In thousands, except per share data)
 (unaudited)
Revenues       
Commissions$  85,519 $  67,613 $  332,307 $  266,221
Information and post-trade services   7,538    7,678    31,225    30,660
Investment income   668    284    2,137    905
Other   711    1,069    4,250    5,312
Total revenues   94,436    76,644    369,919    303,098
        
Expenses       
Employee compensation and benefits   22,529    21,087    96,785    83,856
Depreciation and amortization   4,292    4,685    17,838    18,542
Technology and communications   4,449    3,720    17,275    15,916
Professional and consulting fees   4,726    3,540    17,175    13,043
Occupancy   1,075    1,215    4,681    4,685
Marketing and advertising   3,192    1,888    8,934    6,148
General and administrative1   3,846    3,523    15,629    13,008
Total expenses   44,109    39,658    178,317    155,198
        
Income before taxes   50,327    36,986    191,602    147,900
Provision for income taxes   17,162    12,495    65,430    51,863
Net income$   33,165  $   24,491  $   126,172  $   96,037
        
        
Per Share Data:       
Net income per common share       
Basic$  0.90 $  0.67 $  3.42 $  2.62
Diluted$  0.88 $  0.65 $  3.34 $  2.55
        
Cash dividends declared per common share$  0.26 $  0.20 $  1.04 $  0.80
        
Weighted-average common shares:       
Basic   36,837    36,673    36,844    36,690
Diluted   37,742    37,638    37,738    37,637
        
        
1 Includes clearing costs of $1.3 million and $1.1 million for the three months ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively, and $6.1 million and $3.3 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
        

 

 
MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
Commission Revenue Details
        
 Three Months Ended December 31, Twelve Months Ended December 31,
  2016  2015  2016  2015
        
  Total Commissions Revenues 
 (In millions)
 (unaudited)
Transaction Fees       
U.S. High-Grade$  34,191 $  24,686 $  135,295 $  101,348
Other Credit 1   35,048    26,002    129,976    97,323
Liquid Products 2   699    606    2,795    2,595
Total Transaction Fees   69,938    51,294    268,066    201,266
        
Distribution Fees       
U.S. High-Grade   15,107    14,665    58,705    58,075
Other Credit1   346    1,439    4,783    5,839
Liquid Products3   128    215    753    1,041
Total Distribution Fees   15,581    16,319    64,241    64,955
Total Commissions$   85,519  $   67,613  $   332,307  $   266,221
        
        
  Average Variable Transaction Fee Per Million 
 (unaudited)
U.S. high-grade - fixed-rate$  189 $  180 $  191 $  182
U.S. high-grade - floating-rate   49    33    39    42
Total U.S. high-grade    185    172    185    175
Other credit   258    285    256    290
Liquid products    40    38    39    40
Total   207     205     205     206
        
1 Other Credit includes high-yield, emerging markets, Eurobonds and structured products bonds.  
2 Liquid Products includes U.S. agencies and European government bonds.    
3 Includes CDS SEF-related revenue.      
        


 
MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
 Consolidated Condensed Balance Sheet Data
      
 As of
   December 31, 2016 December 31, 2015
   (In thousands)
   (unaudited)
Assets   
 Cash and cash equivalents$  168,243 $  199,728
 Investments, at fair value   194,404    84,706
 Accounts receivable, net   50,668    40,459
 All other assets   114,727    114,148
  Total assets$   528,042  $   439,041
      
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity    
 Total liabilities   60,029    48,328
 Total stockholders' equity   468,013    390,713
  Total liabilities and stockholders' equity$   528,042  $   439,041
      


 
MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
        
 Three Months Ended  Twelve Months Ended
 December 31, December 31,
  2016   2015   2016   2015 
        
  Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization 
 (In thousands)
 (unaudited)
Net income $  33,165  $  24,491  $  126,172  $  96,037 
Add back:       
Interest expense   -      -      -      -  
Provision for income taxes   17,162     12,495     65,430     51,863 
Depreciation and amortization   4,292     4,685     17,838     18,542 
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization $   54,619   $   41,671   $   209,440   $   166,442  
        
        
  Free Cash Flow 
 (In thousands)
 (unaudited)
Cash Flow From Operating Activities$  56,315  $  43,858  $  80,289  $  120,196 
Add back:       
Net purchases of corporate debt trading investments   (340)    -      74,195     -  
Less:       
Purchases of furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements   (1,631)    (1,065)    (6,385)    (4,795)
Capitalization of software development costs   (3,060)    (3,072)    (12,118)    (10,589)
Free Cash Flow$   51,284   $   39,721   $   135,981   $   104,812  
        

 

 
MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
Volume Statistics*
      
 Three Months Ended December 31, Twelve Months Ended December 31,
  2016  2015  2016 2015
       
  Total Trading Volume 
 (In millions)
 (unaudited)
U.S. high-grade - fixed-rate$  179,317 $  136,015 $  704,648$  549,086
U.S. high-grade - floating-rate   5,749    7,234    25,917   28,547
Total U.S. high-grade    185,066    143,249    730,565   577,633
Other credit   135,799    91,257    506,762   335,513
Liquid products    17,393    15,864    71,375   65,365
Total$   338,258  $   250,370  $   1,308,702 $   978,511
       
  Average Daily Volume 
 (In millions)
 (unaudited)
U.S. high-grade$  3,034 $  2,310 $  2,922$  2,311
Other credit   2,207    1,462    2,021   1,338
Liquid products    285    256    285   261
Total$   5,526  $   4,028  $   5,228 $   3,910
       
Number of U.S. Trading Days 1   61    62    250   250
Number of U.K. Trading Days 2   63    64    253   253
       
       
1 The number of U.S. trading days is based on the SIFMA holiday recommendation calendar. 
2 The number of U.K. trading days is based on the U.K. Bank holiday schedule.  
       
*Consistent with FINRA TRACE reporting standards, both sides of trades are included in the Company's reported volumes when the Company executes trades on a riskless principal basis between two counterparties.
       
Media and Investor Relations Contacts:
Tony DeLise 					
MarketAxess Holdings Inc. 			
+1-212-813-6017				

Mary Sedarat
MarketAxess Holdings Inc.
+1-212-813-6226

William McBride
RF|Binder
+1-917-239-6726