For the quarter ended December 31, 2016, the company reported GAAP net income allocated to common stockholders of $44.7 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, compared with $50.2 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2015. On an adjusted basis, net income allocated to common stockholders was $51.5 million, or $0.63 per diluted share, compared with $48.9 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, in the prior year period. Operating revenue for the fourth quarter was $163.2 million, up 5 percent compared to $156.0 million in 2015’s fourth quarter.
For the year ended December 31, 2016, GAAP net income allocated to common stockholders decreased 9 percent to $184.9 million, or $2.27 per diluted share. For 2015, the company reported GAAP net income allocated to common stockholders of $204.1 million, or $2.46 per diluted share. On an adjusted basis, net income allocated to common stockholders decreased 1 percent to $197.3 million, or $2.42 per diluted share, from $198.9 million or $2.40 per diluted share in 2015. Operating revenue of $645.1 million increased 2 percent in 2016, compared with $634.5 million in 2015.
Financial results presented on an adjusted basis for the fourth quarters and years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 exclude certain items that management believes are not indicative of the company’s core operating performance, which are detailed in the reconciliation of non-GAAP results in the accompanying financial tables.
1A full reconciliation of CBOE Holdings’ non-GAAP results to its GAAP results for the reporting periods is included in the attached tables. See “Non-GAAP Information” in the accompanying financial tables.
“The fourth quarter capped off another year of solid financial results for CBOE Holdings, highlighted by record trading in our SPX options and VIX futures. In addition, we are closer to completing our pending acquisition of Bats Global Markets, Inc. (Bats), which we now expect to close by the end of the first quarter, pending the receipt of certain regulatory approvals and the satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions. We are preparing for a seamless integration process that will enable us to immediately begin to realize the benefits of bringing together Bats’ U.S. and European equities, options, ETF trading and global FX platform with CBOE’s wide array of equity and index options, multi-asset volatility products and educational resources,” said Edward T. Tilly, CBOE Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer.
“We finished 2016 on a strong note and enter 2017 excited about expanding our sources of value creation and the diversification of our earnings profile we expect to achieve through our acquisition of Bats,” said Alan J. Dean, CBOE Holdings’ Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “Our strong financial position and operating cash flow generation has allowed us to invest in CBOE’s future, and we look forward to executing on our strategy to deliver long-term value creation for our stockholders.”
Key Statistics and Financial Highlights:
The table below highlights CBOE Holdings’ operating results on a GAAP basis and on an adjusted basis for the comparative quarters and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2016 and 2015. Financial results presented on an adjusted basis provide supplemental information to facilitate period-over-period comparisons by adjusting for certain items that management believes are not indicative of the company’s core operating performance.
Operating revenue was $163.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of $7.2 million, or 5 percent, compared to $156.0 million in 2015’s fourth quarter. On an adjusted basis, operating revenue increased $9.2 million, or 6 percent, compared to $154.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The increase in both operating revenue and adjusted operating revenue primarily resulted from an increase of $4.6 million in transaction fees and $1.5 million in market data fees. In addition to these increases, adjusted operating revenue includes a $2.4 million increase in other revenue.
Transaction fees increased $4.6 million, or 4 percent, for the fourth quarter of 2016 due to a 13 percent increase in trading volume, offset somewhat by an 8 percent decrease in the average revenue per contract (RPC) compared with 2015’s fourth quarter. Total trading volume for the quarter was 305.8 million contracts, or 4.85 million contracts per day, compared with 271.6 million contracts, or 4.25 million contracts per day in 2015’s fourth quarter. RPC for the quarter was $0.377 compared with $0.408 in the fourth quarter of 2015. The decrease in RPC primarily resulted from higher volume discounts and incentives.
The average RPC represents total transaction fees recognized for the period for Chicago Board Options Exchange® (CBOE®), C2 Options Exchange (C2) and CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE®) divided by total contracts traded during the period.
Total operating expenses were $88.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, up $8.0 million or 10 percent, compared with $80.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, driven by higher professional fees and outside services, royalty fees and compensation and benefits, partially offset by lower depreciation and amortization. The increase in professional fees and outside services largely reflects fees incurred relating to the company’s planned acquisition of Bats. Total adjusted operating expenses, which exclude accelerated stock-based compensation, acquisition-related expenses and other unusual items were $83.4 million, up $3.3 million or 4 percent, compared with $80.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2015.
The company’s core operating expenses, which include total operating expenses less volume-based expenses, depreciation and amortization, accelerated stock-based compensation expense and unusual or one-time expenses, were $53.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of $3.5 million or 7 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2015. The increase primarily reflects higher expenses for compensation and benefits and travel and promotional expenses.
Volume-based expenses, which include royalty fees and order routing, were $20.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of $2.3 million or 13 percent, compared with the same period a year ago. The increase was due to higher royalty fees resulting from the growth in trading volume in licensed index options and futures products, which rose 12 percent versus 2015’s fourth quarter.
The company’s operating margin was 46.0 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with 48.7 percent in the prior year period. The adjusted operating margin for the fourth quarter was 48.9 percent, up 90 basis points from 48.0 percent in 2015’s fourth quarter.
Effective Tax Rate
The company’s effective tax rate was 39.8 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with 36.7 percent in 2015’s fourth quarter. The company’s effective tax rate for the full-year 2016 was 39.4 percent compared to 36.7 percent for 2015. The increase in the effective tax rate for the quarter and year was due to an increase in uncertain tax positions in 2016 versus a decrease in the comparable periods in 2015.
Fourth Quarter 2016 Operational Highlights and Recent Developments
- On February 2, 2017, the company reported that January 2017 average daily volume (ADV) for total options was 4.66 million contracts, a 7 percent increase from December 2016 and a 10 percent decrease from January 2016. In addition, the company reported that January 2017 ADV for futures contracts traded on CFE was 233,707 contracts, an increase of 15 percent from December 2016 and a decrease of 14 percent from January 2016.
- On January 17, 2017, the company announced that at a special meeting, its stockholders approved the issuance of shares of CBOE Holdings common stock pursuant to the previously announced Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of September 25, 2016, by and among CBOE Holdings, two wholly-owned subsidiaries of CBOE Holdings, and Bats. In addition, Bats’ stockholders approved the proposal to adopt the Agreement and Plan of Merger at a special meeting of Bats stockholders.
- The company entered into a term loan agreement and completed a notes offering, securing $1.65 billion to finance the cash portion of its pending acquisition of Bats as well as the repayment of Bats’ existing indebtedness. On December 15, 2016, the company entered into a $1 billion five-year delayed draw term loan agreement and on January 12, 2017, the company completed an offering of $650 million of 3.650% senior notes due 2027.
- On December 22, 2016, the company announced that William J. Brodsky, R. Eden Martin and Susan M. Phillips, among CBOE Holdings’ longest serving Board members, notified CBOE Holdings that they intend to step down from CBOE Holdings’ Board of Directors upon the closing of the CBOE Holdings acquisition of Bats. Their resignations are conditioned upon the transaction closing. In addition, the Board announced that it has unanimously elected Edward T. Tilly, CBOE Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer, to serve in the additional role of Chairman of the Board upon the closing of the transaction.
- On November 18, 2016, the company announced that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in connection with its proposed acquisition of Bats.
- On November 9, 2016, CBOE Futures Exchange set record trading volume in futures contracts on the CBOE Volatility Index® (VIX® Index) traded in non-U.S. trading hours with 263,663 contracts changing hands from 3:30 pm CT November 8 through 8:30 am CT November 9, surpassing the previous single-day record of 235,141 contracts set during the overnight session on June 24, 2016.
- On October 25, 2016, CBOE announced the launch of the CBOE S&P 500® Smile Index (Ticker: SMILE), a premium-capture strategy benchmark index based on the steepness of the curve of implied volatilities of S&P 500 Index (SPX) options — often referred to as the “smile.”
- On October 18, 2016, CBOE Vest, an investment manager focused on Target Outcome Investment strategies, launched the CBOE Vest Defined Distribution Strategy Fund (VDDIX). VDDIX seeks to generate consistent monthly distributions, non-correlated to equity or bond markets, of 5.25% annualized over the one-month Treasury yield, before fees and expenses, while preserving capital over the long term.
Return of Capital to Stockholders
As of December 31, 2016, the company had approximately $97.0 million of availability remaining under its existing share repurchase authorization. There was no activity in the company’s share repurchase program during the fourth quarter, due to the company’s planned transaction with Bats.
For the year ended December 31, 2016, the company repurchased 947,786 shares of its common stock at an average price of $63.83 per share, for an aggregate purchase price of $60.5 million.
Since the inception of its share repurchase program in 2011 through December 31, 2016, the company has repurchased 10,947,401 shares of its common stock at an average price of $45.95 per share, for a total of $503.0 million.
2017 Fiscal Year Financial Guidance
CBOE Holdings currently expects the following for the year ending December 31, 2017. This guidance does not take into account the company’s planned acquisition of Bats. The company expects the acquisition to be accretive to adjusted diluted EPS in the first year following the close and plans to update guidance for full-year 2017 after the acquisition closes.
- Core operating expenses are expected to be in the range of $214.0 million to $218.0 million, an increase of 3 to 5 percent compared with $208.4 million in 2016.(2)
- Stock-based compensation expense, included in compensation and benefits expense, is expected to be approximately $27.5 million for 2017. This includes $13.0 million in accelerated stock-based compensation, approximately $12.0 million of which is expected to be recognized in the first quarter of 2017. The company plans to include the accelerated stock-based compensation in its non-GAAP reconciliation. The increase in accelerated stock-based compensation versus 2016, reflects a planned change in the retirement vesting schedule for equity award grants.
- Depreciation and amortization expense is expected to be in the range of $40.0 million to $42.0 million.
- The effective tax rate is expected to be in the range of 38.5 percent to 39.5 percent. Significant changes in trading volume, expenses, state and local tax rates and other items, including ongoing state and federal tax audits, could materially impact this expectation.
- Capital expenditures are projected to be in the range of $46.0 million to $48.0 million, reflecting the company’s ongoing investments in systems hardware and software to support and enhance its trading technology.
(2)Specific quantifications of the amounts that would be required to reconcile the company’s core operating expenses guidance are not available. The company believes that there is a degree of volatility with respect to certain of its GAAP measures, primarily related to volume-based expenses, which include royalty fees and order routing fees, the items that would be required to reconcile to GAAP operating expenses, which preclude the company from providing accurate guidance on certain forward-looking GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliations. The company believes that providing estimates of the amounts that would be required to reconcile the range of the company’s core operating expenses would imply a degree of precision that would be confusing or misleading to investors for the reasons identified above.
Earnings Conference Call
Executives of CBOE Holdings will host a conference call to review the company’s fourth quarter financial results today, February 6, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. CT. The conference call and any accompanying slides will be publicly available via live webcast from the Investor Relations section of the company’s website at www.cboe.com under Events & Presentations. Participants may also listen via telephone by dialing (877) 255-4313 from the United States, (866) 450-4696 from Canada or (412) 317-5466 for international callers. Telephone participants should place calls 10 minutes prior to the start of the call. The webcast will be archived on the company’s website for replay and is expected to be available on February 7, 2017. A telephone replay of the earnings call is also expected to be available from February 7, 2017, through 11:00 p.m. CT, February 13, 2017, by calling (877) 344-7529 from the U.S., (855) 669-9658 from Canada or (412) 317-0088 for international callers, using replay code 10098281.
About CBOE Holdings
CBOE Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBOE) is the holding company for Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) and other subsidiaries. CBOE, the largest U.S. options exchange and creator of listed options, continues to set the bar for options and volatility trading through product innovation, trading technology and investor education. CBOE Holdings offers equity, index and ETP options, including proprietary products, such as options and futures on the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX Index) and S&P 500 options (SPX), the most active U.S. index option. Other products engineered by CBOE include equity options, security index options, Weeklys options, FLEX options, and benchmark products such as the CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index (BXM). CBOE Holdings is home to the world-renowned Options Institute, Livevol options analytics and data tools, and www.cboe.com, the go-to place for options and volatility trading resources.