Online Resources Corp. landed several new clients in the first quarter and narrowed its loss but said that these gains could be offset in the seasonally slow second quarter.
The banking technology provider also faces an important shareholder vote this week that could remake its board. An activist shareholder has nominated board candidates and said the company should consider selling itself.
"New sales are strong," Matthew P. Lawlor, Online Resources' chairman and chief executive, said in a conference call last week. "At the same time, we are not immune to the general economic weakness. … After a weak start this quarter, transactions and user growth rebounded. We move into our normal season downswing in the second quarter."
The company said it has a good pipeline of incoming business, though it would not say how many contracts are pending. Lawlor also said that, among existing clients, "we feel very, very good about the renewals" expected this year.
Online Resources' first-quarter revenue of $39.2 million was flat with the year earlier. Its net loss available to common stockholders narrowed 55.6%, to $1.6 million.
Lawlor also addressed the board of directors election set for May 6. Three of the nine board seats are to be filled; an Online Resources slate faces nominees proposed by the hedge fund Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC. Tennenbaum has challenged Online Resources' management strategy.
Lawlor argued that Tennenbaum's motives are opposite those of other shareholders. "The liquidation value of its preferred stock," he said, "overwhelms the value of its common shares … ; this creates a strong incentive for Tennenbaum to pursue a sale of the company as soon as possible" at any price.
Tennenbaum owns less than 10% of the company's common stock, but its preferred stock rights give it 22% of the vote, he said. "Overcoming Tennenbaum's built-in voting advantage will be difficult, so every vote counts," he said.
Thomas C. McCrohan, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, wrote in a research note published Friday that the May 6 shareholder vote overshadows the earnings statement.
"Given the stakes of an upcoming shareholder meeting … , this quarter's results are essentially a nonevent," he wrote.