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Realogy Holdings Corp. recently reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019, including the following highlights:

  • Revenue was $1.1 billion, a decrease of 9 percent compared to the first quarter in 2018 largely due to lower transaction volume at NRT.
  • The company’s combined home-sale transaction volume (transaction sides multiplied by average sale price) decreased 9 percent compared with the first quarter of 2018. For reference, the National Association of REALTORS® reported that home-sale transaction volume decreased 4 percent in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 2018. The differences were primarily driven by geographic concentration and an increase in the competitive environment especially in a few specific geographies.
  • Operating EBITDA was negative $4 million, a decrease of $38 million compared with the first quarter of 2018 with lower transaction volume partially offset by expense management.
  • Net loss was $99 million compared to net loss of $67 million for the first quarter of 2018. Basic loss per share was $0.87 compared with basic loss per share of $0.51 in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Adjusted net loss per share was $0.67 compared with adjusted net loss per share of $0.38 in the first quarter of 2018.
  • In the first quarter of 2019, Realogy generated free cash flow of negative $172 million. The company reported net cash used in operating activities of $103 million in the first quarter of 2019 compared with $130 million in the first quarter of 2018.

“In the first quarter of 2019, Realogy moved aggressively to deliver new marketing, technology and data products for our affiliated agents, roll out new pricing models and realize new efficiencies across the business,” says Ryan Schneider, Realogy’s chief executive officer and president. “Despite continued market headwinds and an increasingly competitive environment, we remain intensely focused on executing our strategy and improving our value proposition to drive greater success for our affiliated agents, our franchisees and ultimately, our shareholders.”

“We realized meaningful cost savings and operational realignment across the company during the first quarter,” says Charlotte Simonelli, Realogy’s executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. “We remain on track to achieve $70 million in cost savings in the full year 2019 and are actively pursuing additional opportunities across the business.”

In the first quarter of 2019, Realogy’s 190,800 U.S.-based affiliated independent sales agents helped consumers with approximately 263,000 home-sale transaction sides. In aggregate, Realogy achieved home-sale transaction volume of approximately $91 billion in the first quarter of 2019 with $60 billion at RFG and $31 billion at NRT. RFG home-sale transaction sides decreased 10 percent and average home-sale price increased 2 percent. NRT reported a home-sale transaction sides decrease of 9 percent and an average home-sale price decrease of 2 percent.

In the title and settlement services segment, TRG closed 32,000 transactions in the first quarter of 2019, which was a 14 percent decline driven by the lower housing market and refinance volume. Our mortgage joint venture achieved profitability in Q1 2019.

In the relocation services segment, Cartus initiations were up 1 percent and referrals were down 4 percent. Cartus generates highly qualified leads for its network of affiliated agents and helps them to build their businesses. Cartus generated referral opportunities for agents that resulted in approximately 80,000 in-network home-sale closings for Realogy and its brands in 2018. 

Balance Sheet and Capital Allocation
The company ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $243 million. Total corporate debt, including the short-term portion, net of cash and cash equivalents (net corporate debt), totaled $3.6 billion at March 31, 2019. The company’s net debt leverage ratio was 5.2 times at March 31, 2019. At year end, the company’s net operating loss carryforwards were $855 million, which it expects will allow it to continue to pay minimal cash taxes through 2020.

The company expects to prioritize investing in its business and reducing leverage over other potential uses of cash until it is able to reduce its consolidated leverage ratio to below 4.00 to 1.00, although the company currently anticipates continuing its quarterly cash dividend.

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