Wex reports first-quarter net loss of $16.3 million and EPS miss

WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX) said the coronavirus pandemic created an “unprecedented environment” causing business to “slow considerably” in the first quarter.

The company reported adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.81, $0.23 lower than the consensus estimates of $2.04.

“The quarter started off very strong as we expected, but like many other businesses slowed significantly toward the end as the effects of stay home orders and restrictions of non-essential businesses went into place,” said Melissa Smith, WEX’s chair and chief executive officer, during the company’s earnings call on Thursday, May 7.

Smith added, “even with a slowdown, we had strong results in our Corporate Payments and U.S. Health businesses for the quarter.”

The truck fleet payments and fuel card provider posted revenue of $431.7 million for the first quarter, an increase of 13% compared to $381.9 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Net income attributable to shareholders on a GAAP basis decreased by $32.4 million to a net loss of $16.3 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, compared with net income of $16.1 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2019.

WEX reported a 7.3% year-over-year increase in fleet solutions revenue at $249.8 million for the first quarter. Fuel transactions processed increased 7% to $150.7 million. Payment processing transactions increased 5% to $121.6 million.

Travel and Corporate Solutions’ purchase volume decreased 4% to $8 billion compared to $8.4 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

Wex officials also said due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the company will no longer continue with plans to acquire ENett and Optal.

“We have informed the owners of eNett and Optal that we have concluded that the pandemic and conditions arising in connection with it have had, and continue to have, a material adverse effect on their businesses and that WEX is not required to close the transaction,” Smith said.

In January, Wex announced it would acquire ENett and Optal for $1.7 billion. ENett and Optal are payment technology companies for travel suppliers like airlines and online travel agencies.

Officials for ENett and Optal issued a release on Thursday, May 7, stating they “reject WEX’s attempt to walk away from its binding agreement.”