DreamWorks Animation Zooms Past Expectations With Strong Q4

Stock spikes as Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s company reports revenues of $319 million, $48 million in net income to cap year of restructuring

What a difference a year has made for DreamWorks Animation, which has turned itself around with some bullet-biting cutbacks and a global expansion highlighted by the opening of Oriental DreamWorks in China.

On Tuesday, the company reported revenues for the 2015 fourth quarter of $319.3 million, an increase of 36.3 percent from the same period in 2014. In addition, DWA reported adjusted operating income of $56.5 million and adjusted net income of $48.1 million or $0.55 per diluted share for the quarter.

The good news drove a nearly 10 percent surge in DWA stock in after hours trading and lifted the share price to $23.15. It comes one year after Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s company slashed its film slate and staff and sold off its campus in Glendale, Calif., in the wake of a $247 million fourth quarter loss, and undertook a massive restructuring.

“Momentum is now on our side, with the transition of DreamWorks into a global animation brand,” Katzenberg said in a Q&A session following the report. “Our best top-line results in 11 years and our top revenue growth in eight years … shows our commitment to grow our business while managing costs.”

Analysts had projected earnings per share of $0.16 on revenue of $274.02 million The consensus range was $0.09 to $0.23 for EPS on revenue of $259 million to $289 million.

Driven by the box-office hit “Home” — DWA’s only 2015 release — revenues for feature film unit increased to $146.4 million, up from $131.3 million in the prior-year period and gross profit improved to $63.5 million compared to a loss of $152.2 million in the same period of last year.

The $55.3 million in revenues from “Home” came primarily from worldwide pay television and home entertainment. Through the end of the fourth quarter, the film reached an estimated 6 million home entertainment units sold worldwide.

Library titles contributed feature film revenue of $71.2 million in the quarter, driven by an extension of existing licensing arrangements for the streaming and VOD distribution of  titles including “The Croods” and “Turbo.”

Television series and specials revenues increased to $104.9 million, compared to $50.7 million during the prior-year period and gross profit increased to $46.6 million in the current quarter, from a loss of $2.6 million in the same period of the prior year. The increase was primarily driven by higher revenues and lower marketing costs compared with the prior-year period.

The full bottom-line impact of “Kung Fu Panda 3” won’t be clear until the next reporting period. DWA’s only other release this year will be “Trolls,” which the company is counting on to boost its growing consumer products efforts via toy sales.