Pre-Paid Legal Announces 2009 Year-End Results


    


    
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<p>ADA, Okla., <span class="xn-chron">Feb. 22</span> /CNW/ -- Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (NYSE:   PPD), announced results for the fourth quarter and year ended <span class="xn-chron">December 31, 2009</span>. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2009 decreased 23% to <span class="xn-money">$11.4 million</span> from <span class="xn-money">$14.7 million</span> for the prior year's fourth quarter. Diluted earnings per share for the 2009 fourth quarter decreased 15% to <span class="xn-money">$1.08</span> per share from <span class="xn-money">$1.27</span> per share for the prior year's comparable quarter due to a decrease in net income of 23% and a decrease of 9% in the weighted average outstanding shares. Membership revenues in the fourth quarter of 2009 decreased to <span class="xn-money">$108.6 million</span> from <span class="xn-money">$109.0 million</span> for the same period last year.</p>
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<p>Net income for the full year of 2009 decreased 8% to <span class="xn-money">$55.1 million</span> from <span class="xn-money">$60.2 million</span> for 2008. Diluted earnings per share for 2009 remained constant at <span class="xn-money">$5.04</span> per share for both years due to decreased net income of 8% and an 8% decrease in the weighted average number of outstanding shares. Membership revenues for 2009 were down 2% to <span class="xn-money">$426.4 million</span> from <span class="xn-money">$436.8 million</span> for the prior year.</p>
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<p>Net cash provided by operating activities increased 5% to <span class="xn-money">$67.8 million</span> for 2009 from <span class="xn-money">$64.3 million</span> for 2008. During 2009, we purchased and formally retired 1,354,183 shares of our common stock for <span class="xn-money">$50.7 million</span>, or an average price of <span class="xn-money">$37.44</span> per share. From <span class="xn-chron">April 1999</span> to year-end 2009, we invested <span class="xn-money">$457.9 million</span> in the repurchase of 15.1 million shares at an average price of <span class="xn-money">$30.32</span> per share, reducing the number of shares outstanding at year-end 2009 approximately 57% from 23.6 million at <span class="xn-chron">March 31, 1999</span> to 10.1 million. At <span class="xn-chron">December 31, 2009</span>, we had <span class="xn-money">$42.3 million</span> of debt outstanding and <span class="xn-money">$56.4 million</span> in cash and cash equivalents and unpledged investments.</p>
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<p>Fourth quarter 2009 membership fees increased to <span class="xn-money">$108.6 million</span> compared to <span class="xn-money">$105.4 million</span> for the 2009 third quarter. Commissions increased 2%, membership benefits were 34% of membership fees for the 2009 fourth and third quarters while general and administrative expenses were 12% of membership fees for both periods. Associate services revenues increased to <span class="xn-money">$9.5 million</span> compared to <span class="xn-money">$7.6 million</span> in the third quarter of 2009 and direct marketing expenses increased to <span class="xn-money">$10.8 million</span> from <span class="xn-money">$7.8 million</span>.</p>
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<p>We will conduct a conference call to present the year-end results on <span class="xn-chron">Wednesday, February 24, 2010</span> at <span class="xn-chron">8:30 a.m. Eastern Time</span>. The conference call will be web cast on the investor relations' page of <a href="http://www.prepaidlegal.com">www.prepaidlegal.com</a> or may be accessed by dialing (720) 545-0046. Audio replay will be available beginning at <span class="xn-chron">11:30 a.m. Eastern Time</span> on <span class="xn-chron">February 24, 2010</span> and will run through midnight <span class="xn-chron">Wednesday, March 3, 2010</span> by dialing (706) 645-9291; pass code for the replay is 56201592. The presentation will be available on the web site indefinitely by selecting "Earnings Calls" under the "Investor Relations" section. Questions may be submitted prior to the call via email to <a href="mailto:investor@pplsi.com">investor@pplsi.com</a>.</p>
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    About Us
    
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<p>We believe our products are one of a kind, life events legal service plans. Our plans provide for legal service benefits provided through a network of independent law firms across the U.S. and <span class="xn-location">Canada</span>, and include unlimited attorney consultation, will preparation, traffic violation defense, automobile-related criminal charges defense, letter writing, document preparation and review and a general trial defense benefit. We have an identity theft restoration product we think is also one of a kind due to the combination of our identity theft restoration partner and our provider law firms. More information about us and our products can be found at our homepage at <a href="http://www.prepaidlegal.com">http://www.prepaidlegal.com</a>.</p>
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    Forward-Looking Statements
    
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<p>Statements in this press release, other than purely historical information, regarding our future plans and objectives and expected operating results, dividends and share repurchases and statements of the assumptions underlying such statements, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements contained herein are based on certain assumptions that may not be correct. They are subject to risks and uncertainties incident to our business that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties are described in the reports and statements filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including (among others) those listed in our Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, and include the risks that our membership persistency or renewal rates may decline, that we may not be able to continue to grow our memberships and earnings, that we are dependent on the continued active participation of our principal executive officer, that pending or future litigation may have a material adverse effect on us if resolved unfavorably to us, that we may have compromises of our information security, that consumer purchases of discretionary items may be impacted by a downturn in the economy, that we could be adversely affected by regulatory developments, that competition could adversely affect us, that we are substantially dependent on our marketing force, that our stock price may be affected by short sellers, that we have been unable to increase our employee group membership sales, that our active premium in force is not indicative of future revenue as a result of changes in active memberships from cancellations and additional membership sales and that we have repurchased more than half of our outstanding shares. Please refer to pages 18 through 20 of our 2008 Form 10-K/A and pages 7 and 8 of our <span class="xn-chron">September 30, 2009</span> Form 10-Q for a more complete description of these risks. We undertake no duty to update any of the forward-looking statements in this release.</p>
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    PRE-PAID LEGAL SERVICES, INC.
    Financial Highlights (Unaudited)
    
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<p>         (Dollars and shares in 000s, except per share amounts)</p>
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                                          Three Months       Year Ended
                                       Ended December 31,    December 31,
                                       ------------------    -----------
                                        2009      2008      2009      2008
                                        ----      ----      ----      ----
    Revenues:
      Membership fees                 $108,573  $108,994 $426,429  $436,778
      Associate services                 9,538     4,952   28,352    23,534
      Other                                906       962    3,696     4,177
                                           ---       ---    -----     -----
                                       119,017   114,908  458,477   464,489
                                       -------   -------  -------   -------
    Costs and expenses:
      Membership benefits               36,919    37,619  145,128   150,318
      Commissions                       37,578    31,060  130,601   126,758
      Associate services and direct
       marketing                        10,789     5,591   31,921    23,582
      General and administrative        12,676    14,155   51,594    53,021
      Other, net                         2,063     3,277    8,558    13,413
                                         -----     -----    -----    ------
                                       100,025    91,702  367,802   367,092
                                       -------    ------  -------   -------
    
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    Income before income taxes          18,992    23,206   90,675    97,397
    Provision for income taxes           7,577     8,474   35,537    37,225
                                         -----     -----   ------    ------
    Net income                         $11,415   $14,732  $55,138   $60,172
                                       =======   =======  =======   =======
    
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    Basic earnings per common share      $1.08     $1.28    $5.05     $5.05
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    Diluted earnings per common share    $1.08     $1.27    $5.04     $5.04
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    Weighted average number of
     shares:
      Basic                             10,545    11,547   10,918    11,916
      Diluted                           10,559    11,561   10,932    11,934
    Net cash provided by operating activities             $67,794   $64,317
    Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities    $6,822   $(4,411)
    Net cash used in financing activities                $(68,240) $(58,319)




    

For further information: For further information: Steve Williamson of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., +1-580-436-1234 Web Site: http://www.prepaidlegal.com

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PRE-PAID LEGAL SERVICES, INC.

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