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Acorn International Reports Preliminary Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018

Vlad Poptamas

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Acorn International, Inc. (NYSE: ATV) (“Acorn” or the “Company”), today announced its preliminary unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2018.

Fourth Quarter 2018 Preliminary Financial Highlights

  • Net revenues increased 65.7% year-over-year in Q4 2018 to US$8.4 million
  • Gross profit rose 65.8% year-over-year in Q4 2018 to US$5.9 million
  • Gross margin remained stable year-over-year at 69.8% in Q4 2018
  • Income from continuing operations was US$1.7 million in Q4 2018, compared to a loss from continuing operations of US$1.0 million in Q4 2017
  • Net income was US$1.6 million in Q4 2018 as compared to net income of US$7.5 million in Q4 2017

Full Year 2018 Preliminary Financial Highlights

  • Full year net revenues rose 40.2% in 2018 to US$28.4 million
  • Gross profit increased 42.3% in 2018 to US$20.2 million
  • Gross margin increased to 71.1% in 2018 from 70.1% in 2017
  • Income from continuing operations was US$2.9 million in 2018, compared to a loss from continuing operations of US$4.2 million in 2017
  • Net income was US$29.1 million in 2018, as compared to net income of US$12.4 million in 2017

For the first time in recent history, Acorn achieved profitability at the operating level for the full year.  Revenue growth of 40.2% combined with strong gross margin and significant operating leverage led to income from continuing operations of US$2.9 million in 2018, up from a loss from continuing operations of US$4.2 million in 2017. Net income attributable to Acorn for 2018 was US$29.1 million, including a one-time gain of US$30.0 million from the sale of non-core assets in May 2018.

Throughout 2018, Acorn leveraged its 20-year history as a leading marketing and branding company in China to focus on new media in China, while simultaneously expanding its e-commerce B2C platforms and promoting its products through digital media in China.

The Company’s Babaka brand of posture correction products continued to perform well, and new product category Acorn Fresh saw monthly net revenue more than double from October to December.  The Company recently began promoting its popular line of collectibles, which were historically sold offline, on Acorn Streaming in an effort to further drive online sales.

In the year ahead, Acorn plans to build on its success in 2018 by focusing on growing e-commerce sales via streaming content as it taps into this large and growing market in China, and also seeks to drive further revenue from Acorn Entertainment, which is a social media business that helps western sports and entertainment talent and a diverse range of brands develop a deep and meaningful impact in the Chinese market and Acorn Streaming, which is primarily focused on live streaming and pre-recorded video content creation and distribution.

Preliminary Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter of 2018:

Total net revenues were US$8.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, up 65.7% from US$5.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, primarily due to an increase in e-commerce sales of Babaka branded products as well as other products.

Cost of sales in the fourth quarter of 2018 was US$2.5 million, up 65.6% from US$1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. The increase was attributable to increased sales volume and net revenues.

Gross profit in the fourth quarter of 2018 was US$5.9 million, up 65.8% from US$3.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Gross margin was 69.8% in the fourth quarter of 2018, unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2017.

Total operating expenses in the fourth quarter of 2018 were US$4.1 million, down 9.3% from US$4.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, due primarily to lower general and administrative expenses, which were partially offset by an increase in selling and marketing expenses to support e-commerce sales.

Income from continuing operations was US$1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, as compared to a loss from continuing operations of US$1.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Income tax expense was US$0.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. This compares to an income tax benefit of US$9.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, which was due to the recording of a tax asset of US$8.0 million from deductible loss and a US$1.6 million write-down of previously accrued income tax expenses based on the full-year financial performance.

Net income from continuing operations was US$1.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. This compares to net income from continuing operations of US$8.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, which was primarily due to the previously mentioned income tax benefit realized in 2017.

Net income from discontinued operations, which reflects the sale of a majority stake in the Company’s HJX electronic learning products business to a third-party investor and operator in 2017 (Refer to “Discontinued Operations” discussion below), was US$0.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to a net loss from discontinued operations of US$1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Net income attributable to Acorn was US$1.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. This compares to net income attributable to Acorn of US$7.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, which was primarily due to the previously mentioned tax benefit realized in 2017.

During the fourth quarter of 2018, the Company repurchased 14,615 ADSs at an average price of US$20.56 per ADS under its share repurchase program, which was approved by the Board of Directors on December 8th, 2017.

Preliminary Full Year 2018 Financial Results

Total net revenues were US$28.4 million in 2018, up 40.2% from US$20.3 million in 2017, primarily due to an increase in e-commerce sales of Babaka branded products as well as other products.

Cost of sales in 2018 was US$8.2 million, up 35.2% from US$6.1 million in 2017. The increase was attributable to increased sales volume and net revenues.

Gross profit in 2018 was US$20.2 million, up 42.3% from US$14.2 million in 2017. Gross margin was 71.1% in 2018, up from 70.1% in 2017. The slight increase in gross margin was due to a larger proportion of higher margin products in the product mix.

Total operating expenses in 2018 were US$17.4 million, down 5.7% from operating expenses of US$18.4 million in 2017, due primarily to lower general and administrative expenses and an increase in other operating income from loan interest income and net revenue from Acorn Entertainment, which were partially offset by an increase in selling and marketing expenses to support e-commerce.

Income from continuing operations was US$2.9 million in 2018, as compared to a loss from continuing operations of US$4.2 million in 2017.

Other income was US$30.0 million in 2018, primarily due to a gain on the sale of non-core assets, as compared to other income of US$11.6 million in 2017, which was primarily due to dividends received and gains from sales of shares of E-Money Holding Co., Ltd. (formerly known as “Yimeng Software Technology Co., Ltd.”), a publicly traded company in China.

Income tax expense was $3.0 million in 2018. This compares to an income tax benefit of $7.9 million in 2017, which was primarily due to the recording of a one-time tax asset of US$8.0 million from a deductible loss in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Net income from continuing operations was US$30.3 million in 2018, compared to net income from continuing operations of US$15.9 million in 2017.

Net loss from discontinued operations, which reflects the sale of a majority stake in the Company’s HJX electronic learning products business to a third-party investor and operator in 2017 (Refer to “Discontinued Operations” discussion below), was US$1.2 million in 2018, compared to net loss from discontinued operations of US$3.5 million in 2017.

Net income attributable to Acorn was US$29.1 million in 2018 as compared to net income attributable to Acorn of US$12.4 million in 2017.  Net income for 2018 includes the one-time gain of US$30.0 million from the sale of non-core assets while net income for 2017 includes the one-time gain of US$11.8 million due to dividends received and gains from sales of E-Money/Yimeng shares, along with an income tax benefit of US$9.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.

As of December 31, 2018, Acorn’s cash and cash equivalents, with restricted cash, totaled US$20.1 million. The cash balance at the end of 2018 reflects the payment of a special cash dividend of approximately US$40 million in June 2018. Cash and equivalents, with restricted cash, totaled US$21.1 million as of December 31, 2017.

On December 10, 2018, we executed an agreement to sell Acorn’s former principal office in Shanghai to a third party for US$6.7 million and received the initial payment of US$5.1 million on December 24, 2018.

In addition to a tax asset of $8.2 million already netted against deferred tax liabilities in the balance sheet as of December 31, 2018Acorn also has an aggregate net deductible loss of approximately $33.4 million expiring within the next 5 years, which we will strive to utilize for our benefit going forward.

Discontinued Operations

In 2017, Acorn reached an agreement to sell a majority stake in its HJX electronic learning products business (“HJX Business”) to a third-party investor and operator, allowing the Company to focus on existing businesses and brands with higher profit margins, and on achieving profitable growth of new, potentially high margin businesses. Acorn maintains a 37.5% stake in a joint venture established with this third party. As a result of this transaction, the Company is required by applicable accounting rules to treat the historical operations of the wholly owned HJX Business as discontinued operations and the minority stake in the HJX Business as equity in losses of affiliates in the consolidated statements of operations for all periods presented, subject to the consolidation of the HJX Business into the joint venture entity.

Conference Call

The Company will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET on March 7, 2019 to discuss financial results. Dial-in details for the earnings conference call are as follows:

US/Canada:

877-260-1479

International:

+1 334-323-0522

Please dial in 10 minutes before the call is scheduled to begin and provide the passcode 3807702 to join the call. A replay will be available approximately two hours following the conclusion of the conference call through March 14, 2019and can be accessed by dialing (888) 203-1112, or (719) 457-0820, passcode 3807702.  An archived audio file of the call will be available on the Company’s website http://www.acorninternationalgroup.com/news-and-events/webcasts-and-presentations/.

 

SOURCE Acorn International, Inc.

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Attest Raises $16 Million to Take the Guesswork Out of Growth for Consumer Businesses

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: 123RF.com
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Attest, the London-based technology startup launched to enable every business to be consumer-focussed, today announced a $16 million Series-A investment round to expand their Consumer Growth Platform.

Attest’s Consumer Growth Platform enables companies to engage directly with over 100 million consumers across 80 countries, in as little as 90 seconds. The platform is used by consumer businesses, to learn, measure and grow ever-faster, across ideas, departments and teams.

The financing was led by leading global venture capital firm NEA headquartered in Menlo Park, California, with participation from existing investors Oxford Capital and Episode 1 Ventures. Crystal Huang, Principal at NEA, will join the Attest board of directors.

The Attest platform is designed for any business looking to unlock its full growth potential, by engaging real consumers to uncover the right decisions.

Jeremy King, Founder and CEO of Attest, said: “Businesses are constantly seeking new ways to understand trends, grow in new markets, and explore innovations – however 99% of the questions businesses would love to explore go unanswered. Attest is designed to solve that, replacing the guesswork with facts, for all consumer businesses everywhere.

“Our team is so excited to work with NEA and their global scale. NEA share our vision for helping consumer businesses discover predictable, repeatable growth by enabling anyone to get much closer to consumers and real inputs than has ever been possible before.

“Attest is built to deliver the most powerful, unique insights that can help every business unlock their greatest growth opportunities. Attest can deliver over 467% return on investment; it’s a huge new capability, now open to all.”

This financing comes hot on the heels of a year of dramatic growth for Attest, with recurring revenues climbing 1,800% across 2018, and the Attest team more than doubling in size from 20 to over 50. The company’s expanding client roster has added notable brands such as Heineken, Walgreens Boots, Samsung, Fever-Tree, Discovery and Transferwise.

The new capital also accelerates Attest’s growth in North America with the opening of a new office in New York, while expanding engineering, product and design teams to deliver ever-more intuitive and predictive insights; supporting Attest’s mission to enrich consumer understanding for all.

“We’ve been exploring innovations within the consumer growth and insights space for a while,” said Crystal Huang, Principal at NEA. “The traditional research market is worth $76 Billion, and yet it only serves a fraction of those who would benefit from fast and reliable consumer insights. Attest has a tremendous vision, thoughtful culture, ambitious team and impressive traction, which puts them in a position to accelerate the delivery and adoption of a category-defining and market-expanding platform. Our investment in Attest also reflects our enthusiasm for the UK tech ecosystem and eagerness to continue investing in this region going forward.”

Attest combines power and simplicity into an all-in-one SaaS platform. “It’s always been easy to guess or project, but now it’s possible for anyone to simply ask detailed consumer groups for their input directly. Not just any consumers, the real people that matter most for each decision. We’re democratising, demystifying and accelerating consumer intelligence.”

Jamie Cooke, Chief of Staff EMEA at Discovery, added “Attest gives us agility and empowerment, bringing the consumer and people in the organisation doing the work together in a faster, more direct and intuitive way than our traditional ways of doing things. Attest is a catalyst for changing the culture of our company.”

Jeremy King concluded “We believe that unique consumer insights and understanding hold the key to long-term business success, and we’re on a mission to place real consumers into daily decision-making for every business. Most importantly, we do this in ways that suit consumers; constantly respectful of time and privacy, all via beautiful interfaces. We aspire to be leading global business, and that take a great leap forward today.”

 

SOURCE Attest

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Comscore Releases New Advanced Segmentation Data for Digital Audiences in Canada

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: macleans.ca
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Comscore, a trusted partner for planning, transacting and evaluating digital media across platforms, today released new data from Plan Metrix® Multi-Platform Powered by Vividata, the psychographic digital segmentation tool. Launched in Canada in December of 2018, Comscore Plan Metrix Multi-Platform combines consumers’ desktop and mobile behaviour with detailed information about their lifestyles, interests, attitudes, demographics and behaviors from Vividata’s survey data for a unified digital view.

“We are excited about the early client participation and industry excitement with Plan Metrix Multi-Platform. This reinforces our beliefs that there has been a gap in Canada for robust, person-centric data sets that are better aligned with how digital media is analyzed and planned today,” said Bryan Segal, senior vice president, commercial, Comscore. “We are looking forward to serving the industry and helping our clients deliver against these new data and insights with this innovative partnership.”

A first for the Canadian marketplace, the new data from Plan Metrix Multi-Platform provides the following benefits to buyers and sellers of media:

  • Generate stronger media plans, identify advanced audience segments, and reach consumers across different platforms
  • Achieve better ROI by creating segments based on nearly 20,000 attributes
  • Demonstrate the value of a platform’s audiences and competitive comparisons through a deep understanding of the total media consumption, attitudes and interest of their audience

Media buyers and sellers can combine a wide array of behaviour and lifestyle categories to create richer custom segments in different industries, including retail, travel, automotive, media, real estate, lifestyle, finance and household products. An online lifestyle publisher, for example, can demonstrate how their properties over index for certain attractive target groups such as expectant mothers, food lovers or cosmetics shoppers. Inversely, a media buyer for a baby formula brand can gain insight into expectant mothers’ online behaviors to better optimize advertising campaigns.

“Plan Metrix Multi-Platform is part of our continued strategic plan to build and partner on new solutions for the marketplace that help media buyers and sellers maximize the power of our rich consumer and media data,” said Pat Pellegrini, Ph.D., president and CEO, Vividata.

Since its initial launch the solution has been met with enthusiastic responses from industry thought leaders who are engaged with the platform:

“We are thrilled to add Plan Metrix Multi-Platform data to enhance The Globe and Mail’s continued investment in audience data science, which is extremely valuable in generating brand engagement,” said Greg Doufas, chief digital and technology officer, The Globe and Mail. “This will allow us to deepen our understanding of audiences and to use Plan Metrix Multi-Platform data to showcase our value to advertisers throughout the entire consumer path to purchase.”

“The Comscore and Vividata partnership will enable agencies to create better targeting and narratives, and more complex campaigns for our clients looking to reach the multi-touchpoint, multi-screen consumer of today,” said Fred Auchterlonie, executive vice president, client service, PHD Canada. “We welcome the availability of new tools that enable us to deliver more relevant and timely ads by using third-party, industry standard data to give our clients a complete picture of how to optimize success in reaching their targets.”

 

SOURCE Comscore

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Highlights At Singapore Cocktail Festival 2019

Betty Tűndik

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The annual Singapore Cocktail Festival (SGCF) is back from 10 to 18 May 2019, with this year’s Festival Village returning to Empress Lawn with an exciting line-up of bar pop-ups, masterclasses, brand experiences, live entertainment acts and more

Supported by Singapore Tourism Board, Singapore Cocktail Festival is now into its fifth year and will once again spotlight the city’s cocktail culture on the world stage. The Festival presents an impressive gathering of over 100 of the world’s best bartending talents at the Festival Village; further augmented by a collaboration with The World’s 50 Best Bars organisation to introduce ’50 Minutes with 50 Best’, a series of exclusive cocktail masterclasses, for the first time. The awards for Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 will take place in Singapore on 9 May 2019, the evening prior to the opening of SGCF.

What’s new at the Festival Village?

Open 10 to 12 May from 4 to 11pm, the Festival Village on Empress Lawn is the heart of the cocktail celebrations. Highlights include:

  • Headlining bartenders from The World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars lists such as Kazuhisa Arai of Sober Company, Shanghaiand Lolita Goh from Junglebird, Malaysia, who will be serving signature cocktails at $12 nett.
  • ’50 Minutes with 50 Best’ Masterclasses, presented by The World’s 50 Best Bars organisation. Sample signature cocktails from acclaimed bartenders, and learn the stories behind their bars and cocktails. Entry to these classes are limited to Festival Village ticket holders through contest giveaways on the SGCF Facebook and Instagram. A limited number of tickets can also be purchased through: https://sgcf2019.hungrygowhere.com/ from 5 April 2019.
  • The “Barstylez International Bartender Championship”, where over 60 bartenders from more than 25 countries will compete in two categories — ‘Flairing’ (International) and ‘Cocktail’ (Asia).
  • Bar and brand pop-ups under one roof offering signature tipples and brand-new concoctions.
  • Brand experiences such as the Four Pillars Gin putting green; the “Hendrick’s Botanical Sanctuary” and a “Monkey Shoulder Boom Box Bar”.
  • Debut brands at the Artisanal Spirits Tasting Room, including Amrut Distilleries and Tanglin Gin; and restaurant pop-ups on the Food Street like COMO Cuisine and Neon Pigeon.
  • Live music and DJ acts

Festival Village tickets are priced from $35 for a one-day pass, inclusive of a welcome drink. For a complete list of ticket categories and prices, visit www.singaporecocktailfestival.com.

Cocktail experiences around the city

From 10 to 18 May 2019, expect a diverse round-up of cocktail experiences around the city across 45 participating venues. Highlights on the Festival calendar include:

  • Thematic bar tours such as ‘Whisky Business’, an all-whisky cocktail showcase; and ‘New Kids on the Block’ featuring the latest cocktail hotspots. Bar tours are available for booking on www.singaporecocktailfestival.com from 5 April 2019.
  • Exclusive cocktail deals redeemable via the Sluggr App across participating bars.
  • Guest Bartender feats around town include ‘One Thousand and One Drunken Nights’, featuring Jay Natividad from The Spirits Library (Manila, Philippines) and Ian Libang from NoKal (Manila, Philippines) at Fat Prince on 16 and 17 May 2019.

 

SOURCE: Singapore Cocktail Festival

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