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Compuware Corporation (NASDAQ:CPWR)

F2Q09 (Qtr End 9/30/08) Earnings Call Transcript

October 23, 2008, 5:00 pm ET

Executives

Lisa Elkin – VP, Corporate Communications and IR

Peter Karmanos, Jr. – Chairman and CEO

Bob Paul – President and COO

Laura Fournier – EVP, CFO and Treasurer

Analysts

Kirk Materne – Banc of America

Aaron Schwartz – JP Morgan

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

Operator

Hello and welcome to the Compuware Corporation’s second quarter results teleconference. At the request of Compuware, this conference is being recorded for instant replay purposes. At this time I’d like to turn the conference over to Ms. Lisa Elkin, Vice President of Communications and Investor Relations for Compuware Corporation. Ms. Elkin, you may begin.

Lisa Elkin

Thank you very much, Terry, and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. With me this afternoon are Peter Karmanos, Jr., Chairman and CEO; Bob Paul, President and Chief Operating Officer; Laura Fournier, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Jason Vines, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer.

Certain statements made during this conference call that are not historical facts, including those regarding the company’s future plans, objectives, and expected performance are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements represent our outlook only as of the date of this conference call.

While we believe any forward-looking statements we have made are reasonable, actual results could differ materially since the statements are based on our current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties are discussed in the company’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

You should refer to and consider these factors when relying on such forward-looking information. The company does not undertake and expressly disclaims any obligation to update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise except as required by applicable law.

For those of you who do not have a copy, I will begin by summarizing the press release. Pete, Bob and Laura will then provide details about the quarter and other Compuware business activities. We will then open the call to your questions.

Compuware final financial results for Q2 showed strength in product commitments and maintenance fees. Company to continue increasing focus reducing expenses. Compuware Corporation today announced financial results for the second quarter ended September 30, 2008.

Compuware reports second quarter revenues of $269.8 million compared to $302 million in the same quarter last year. Earnings were $0.08 per share in Q2 compared to $0.13 per share in the same quarter last year based upon 257.6 million and 295.4 million shares outstanding respectively. Compuware’s net income in the quarter was $21.6 million compared to $37.4 million in the same quarter last year.

During the company’s second quarter software license fees were $42.3 million compared to $70.0 million in the same quarter last year. Maintenance fees recognized in the quarter were $124.7 million compared to $116.3 million in Q2 last year. Revenue from professional services in the quarter was $102.8 million compared to $115.7 million in the same quarter last year.

I would now like to turn the call over to Pete. Pete?

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

Thanks, Lisa. As Compuware investors, I want you to know that the company is in excellent shape. Our second quarter performance simply reflects a two-week period when the worldwide purchasing environment came to a complete standstill. Bob and his team continue to monitor the deals that slipped out of quarter two every day. Our fundamentals remain sound. And maintenance, our most important revenue numbers, showed the most year-over-year growth that it has had in several years. Our maintenance commitments for the first six months reflect a 44% increase over the same period last year. That’s a very, very important number because maintenance is extremely plausible and repeatable.

I’m comfortable that services business will improve soon, in particular, the high margin work [ph] we do in services to install and maximize the value of our products appears to be growing. As Laura will tell you, we have cash and a solid line of credit up to a $150 million available and an additional $150 million that the bank has committed to us, but we’re discounting that even though we think we could get that, giving us ability to buy more of our stock should the price drop even further. And that’s an interesting statement. If it drops further, the faster we’ll buy it.

The company has done a first wave of cost cutting in addition to the $100 million we took out of the business last year. If the economy worsens, we even have further contingency plan that would allow us to adapt quickly to a changing environment. At this point in time, I believe we will finish the fiscal year with earnings in the range that we predicted. I feel very comfortable with that. We will continue to execute on our strategic transformation that Bob is leading and look forward to reporting our progress in the future. Bobby?

Bob Paul

Thanks, Pete. Compuware delivered the second quarter with some considerable core strength despite unprecedented help in worldwide commerce at the end of Q2. Compared with strong Q2 last year, the total product commitments were basically even. We had a particular strength in maintenance commitments, a figure that includes maintenance agreements and it ensue [ph] but not recognized as revenue in the quarter, which increased by nearly $19 million. Maintenance revenue recognized this quarter increased by more than 7%.

In addition, total operating expenses were significantly down year-over-year. The pipeline for the second half of the year remains robust. Approximately $32 million of product commitments left from Q2 as a direct result of the macroeconomic conditions. An additional $5 million was delayed in the normal course of business, but the financial lack out at the end of Q2 was the real culprit this quarter.

Many of these deals continue to track toward the Q3 or Q4 close. In fact, of the $6 million of the $32 million have come in already in Q3. I continue to monitor every opportunity in this category on a daily basis. We also continue to improve our overall sales discipline and are putting a conservative effort to close more deals in advance over the last few weeks of the quarter.

Given the strength of our existing pipeline, I believe that Compuware can deliver full year results in the range of our previously stated guidance. I’m fully aware, however, that financial conditions are volatile and could impact our performance. Having said that, at this time, we feel comfortable with current analysts’ estimates for the company.

I see great strength in our business today and I believe we are also taking the right steps to ensure our future success. As part of the Compuware 2.0 initiative, we are starting to see improved operations across the board. Just a few examples include the disciplined attack on maintenance programs has driven maintenance commitments up; a reference return on investment program that has led to a 137 new references and 22 ROI case studies that are or will shortly be completed. This is a significant accomplishment in an economy like today’s because demonstrating ROI to customers is more important than ever.

Concentration on customer user groups that will drive content for new initiatives or acquisitions and overall thought leadership in our target markets; a global new employee orientation program that should improve and play retention and job satisfaction; a new global image campaign that messages specific values to our target customers to create a pull in our chosen markets, a new lead generation program that is already delivering improved pipelines; a new target market initiative for our product solutions groups that will drive incremental revenue in the future quarters and margins; an introduction of new operating guidelines for the professional services division specifically aimed at improved margins.

From this strong foundation based on a tremendous amount of work done over the last six months, Compuware will at the end of November detail our long-term strategy as promised. This strategy will focus Compuware’s business on the market categories where we can be and will be best in the world, positioning the company for improved growth while reducing its expenses. While I can’t discuss details tonight, I expect this transformation to be significant and to benefit our customers, our employees, and you, our shareholders.

In the meantime, Compuware is evaluating further near-term measures to manage the company’s expenses. In addition to the $100 million reduction in the company’s operating expense run rate last year, we have identified new annualized reductions of $55 million and are working toward a goal of up to $80 million for the fiscal year.

On the revenue side of the equation, the increasing complexity of our customers’ computing environments and the growing impact of IT and revenue generating initiatives is creating strong opportunity for Compuware solutions. Compuware is positioning itself for breakout growth in business service delivery, a market that consults and predicts will be a $10 billion category by 2013.

The Compuware professional services organization will play a critical role in attacking this market. With our solutions delivery group’s ability to provide structure engagements around Compuware Vantage and other products, Compuware offers our customers everything they need to deliver immediate economic value for the business.

Furthermore, Compuware’s professional services organization has the people, the products, and the best practices to help customers around the world gain competitive and cost advantages in this difficult environment. Overall, I expect Compuware services business to leverage these opportunities to become more focused, more nimble, and especially more profitable.

Compuware Covisint continues to increase its momentum, especially in healthcare, completing new agreements with Michigan State Medical Society, Community Health of Washington, and several others. As written in the Wall Street Journal this week, the healthcare industry is about to undergo a global revolution driven by a force they can no longer resist, the information technology.

Covisint has a secure platform, the thought leadership, and the relationships it needs to achieve growth in this area. This group is working very hard to achieve a first mover advantage [ph] position in this marketplace. Overall, Covisint increased its commitments by 21% in the quarter, with a backlog increase of 22% and a deferred revenue increase of 11%. Quarter-over-quarter, given major revenue recognition, total Covisint revenues were basically flat. Due to that same reason, we should start to see revenue growth as these subscription-based contracts turn into recognized revenue.

The technology industry and Compuware in particular have a great advantage in tough times. We have a highly repeatable and profitable business, as you can see from our maintenance numbers. We will remain a highly profitable and fundamentally sound business as we move forward with our plan to transforming the company. Laura?

Laura Fournier

Thanks, Bob. Despite the debilitating economic prices currently impacting the global business community, Compuware’s balance sheet remained strong, which will enable us to endure the challenging times. This quarter we are especially encouraged with total product commitment, the sum of all software sales activity in the quarter, which were essentially flat year-over-year despite business virtually shutting down at the end of the quarter.

As for professional services, revenue was down year-over-year. However, as mentioned on last quarter’s call, such a decline was anticipated as we continue to transition this business to a more product focused model. As Bob said, the services organization is on the road to becoming a more focused, nimble, and profitable organization.

Due to the economic uncertainties plaguing the global business community, we have decided to temporarily suspend our share buyback program. With that said, we remain committed to buying back shares and to our goal of reducing our share count to 200 million shares outstanding. We will resume our buyback program when the credit markets settle down. And we could go significantly lower than the 200 million shares outstanding if it makes sense to do so. During Q2 we purchased 10.7 million shares of the company’s stock for approximately $118 million. We have approximately $566 million remaining under the current authorization for future buyback.

I would like to end with cash flow because liquidity is, although sometimes people like to forget this truism, the life blood of any organization. Cash is king. Currently we have $160 million in cash in addition to a solid $150 million line of credit available should we have the need to use it. Furthermore, our agreement includes an accordion feature for an additional $150 million under the same terms.

For Q2, operating cash flow was in line with expectations at $18.6 million. We anticipate operating cash flow to come in around $40 million in Q3, as we head into our biggest cash collection period for the year in the last quarter. Our cash collection efforts remain strong and effective. And we believe we will see $200 million in operating cash flow for the year.

As for the current credit crunch and our customers’ ability to obtain credit in order to purchase our solutions, this really is a non-concern for us. Besides, as I mentioned and as proven by the numbers, our cash collection efforts are highly effective. Like everyone else, we are uncertain of and remain cautious about what the immediate future holds. And being the prudent company we are, we are taking steps internally to best ensure we weather this impending storm. And we will weather the storm.

We estimate that customers will understand the value they get from Compuware and will agreeably pay to continue to receive that value. Long-term we are as bullish as ever about our future. The steps we are taking will allow Compuware to focus its resources on opportunities where we can be the absolute best in the world, which will, we are certain, lead to the type of breakout growth that will benefit all Compuware stakeholders. Most notably, our valued investors and employees. Lisa?

Lisa Elkin

Thanks very much, Laura. Ladies and gentlemen, we will now be happy to take your questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

Thank you. (Operator instructions) And our first question comes from Banc of America’s Kirk Materne. Please go ahead, sir.

Kirk Materne – Banc of America

Yes, thanks very much. I guess, Bob or Pete, whoever wants to take this, could you just fill in a little bit more detail on – I realize September is an unusual and hurtfully unique time. But could you just go into sort of the discussions where these big mainframe contracts that were coming out for renewal, they get pushed out or they – I mean, was it across the spectrum in terms of product lineup? And then in terms of your sort of your confidence in getting those deals back, clearly, I guess unfortunately things had gotten not much better. What gives you the confidence to believe that these deals need to close? Is it capacity restrictions? I’m just trying to get a sense on where your confidence level comes from, given the macro environment?

Bob Paul

Sure. Kirk, this is Bob. I’ll take a stab at this. In the last few weeks, actually specifically even closer than that, probably last four or five days of the quarter, there was not one business line solution category or even geography that really stood out as being part of the problem. When you look for operational weaknesses, up to two weeks before the end of the quarter we felt that we are going to have a pretty decent quarter. And then as documented, we have – I have a list of every single opportunity that slips and categorize whether there is one reason or another reason, specifically whether it’s due to the financial crisis or not. So it was across the board, which is unfortunate. But the good news is I think that that points to no sort of major weakness in the operations of the business, except for the fact that I think we should be doing a better job at bringing the deals in earlier into the quarter and also work on some other sales disciplines we are putting in the place now on pipeline creation. Relative to the confidence, so – on a daily basis with our two senior vice presidents and nine regional vice presidents across the world, I have a list that we review. And the expectation is that in the first two weeks of this quarter, we had every single one of these accounts contacted with an establishment of a close plan. And of those close plans, which required an agreement by the customer, there were a very small percentage that were permanently taken off the list or moved beyond the rest of this fiscal year. So that doesn’t mean that all the rest of these opportunities are going to hold. But right now, it’s looking quite strong. And so we’ll continue that discipline for the duration of the quarter to make sure that we are not leaving any stones unturned.

Kirk Materne – Banc of America

Okay. Thanks, that’s helpful. And then just maybe around sort of the additional cost restructuring that you guys are putting in place, you guys have done a lot thus far on the cost side, I guess where are you guys really trying to hone in on clearly the services business remains maybe a little bit of a sore spot when you look at your overall profitability? I guess how much just comes from getting that business to really start doing better from a margin standpoint? How much of it is just other operational things you can go after?

Bob Paul

I think there are some opportunities there, but we really have looked across the board, everywhere in the organization for additional expense reduction. We have gone through as part of this 2.0 actually looking at many, many internal major processes by which we could get more efficient and reduce ongoing cost, which includes everything you can possibly imagine, both direct, indirect, even some of the spend that we are doing that we see as effective; the marketing programs, for example. So it’s very real. We’ve had some goals targeted at the beginning of the year. We’ve got a little more aggressive on those goals to make sure we are getting the numbers that we talk about.

Kirk Materne – Banc of America

Okay. And then just last question for Laura, is there any level of cash flow that you guys need for just a working capital purposes that you really would not want to go below, say, in terms of using the buyback, or – you always draw down that line of credit, but I’m just trying to get a sense just sort of cash on the balance sheet. Is there a certain sort of minimum you’d like to keep or –? I don’t want (inaudible) preview what your buyback would be in the quarter, but I’m just trying to get a sense on if there are any restrictions on, say, just a $160 million on your balance sheet right now, either in terms of just the level you want to go below or anything that might be offshore?

Laura Fournier

Of the $160 million that we have in our balance sheet right now, there is – approximately half of it is offshore, but we can bring it back. There should be – there is no restrictions on that. We certainly wouldn’t want to go below $50 million. It’s per se in our balance sheet. But that’s an always moving target. Okay? It’s a dependent on the deals that are out there, the cash that is forecasted to come in off of receivables, any expenditures for the quarter. So the amount that we would want on our books at any given time depends on what we are doing at any given time and what the forecasts are.

Kirk Materne – Banc of America

Okay, that’s fair. Thanks very much.

Operator

Thank you. (Operator instructions) And our next question comes from JP Morgan’s Aaron Schwartz. Please go ahead.

Aaron Schwartz – JP Morgan

Good afternoon. I think we understand in terms of the environment maybe that you saw at the end of September, I think most other companies that we follow saw the same environment. But arguably things have not improved at all in October. And as we’ve heard a number of other companies report, they talked about a worsening environment and have adjusted their guidance accordingly. And I’m just wondering what would get you to take a look at your earnings guidance, or if you could help us out with a revenue level that you are basing your new $200 million cash flow guidance off of as it doesn’t seem like things have gotten any easier since the end of September.

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

Aaron, this is Peter Karmanos. I don’t think the cash flow number is new. I think we’ve always predicted that, and we don’t see a reason why that should change. The other thing, and it’s very important to understand this. And the key number was that maintenance number, that’s very repeatable business. It’s very important for our clients to renew the maintenance because the products that we have there serve them extremely well. And we haven’t seen any pressure on that at all. The only pressure that we have or had was last two weeks of the year where everything shut down. And that’s our fault because our hockey stick at the end of the quarters keeps increasing inside and this cut – this hurt that. The rest of our products, and we’re watching it and we know it could change any day. And I ask this question every single day. How is it going? What do the guys say? How is this deal going? How is that deal going? And they are moving along just fine. The real proof of the pudding is when it comes time for them to write the check or write the PO. And we’ve been monitoring that and we haven’t seen any softening of our forecast. But we will be on the air the first time that we see something that we think will affect our results. At this point in time, I as the CEO of this company feel extremely comfortable saying that we will achieve 20% to 30% growth in our EPS over last year and we are holding firm to that regardless of currency or anything else.

Aaron Schwartz – JP Morgan

Okay. And you mentioned you’re comfortable with the analyst estimates right now. We should assume that that’s the sort of –

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

Excuse me. Bob may have said analyst estimates. I think if you are going to downgrade a company because you are worried about their currency, you probably should take your estimates down as well. But other than that, I’m looking at our own forecast.

Aaron Schwartz – JP Morgan

Okay. I guess I’m getting to – it would be very helpful for us as we look at your cash flow number because I think that’s very important. And you mentioned the importance of maintenance to your business and cash flow to get a sense of what maybe your expectations are for topline growth to arrive at those numbers.

Laura Fournier

Aaron, it’s really a function of both topline growth and our level of operating expenses. So right now, as we said, we are very bullish on our forecast for the quarter. And again, we didn’t come into this lightly. We scrubbed that forecast very thoroughly. However, we are watching it very closely. And if we see any change in that, we will go – as Pete mentioned, we have a plan B. And we’ll look at operating expenses even more closely. So we are going to monitor both ends there, revenue and expenses to achieve that goal.

Aaron Schwartz – JP Morgan

Understood.

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

We are still planning to have topline growth in our maintenance and our new license sale. We haven’t seen any reason why that’s not going to happen. And we have customers in the financial services business as well. Right? And some of the deals that didn’t come in were pretty large deals with financial services businesses that we feel and they say are still going to happen.

Aaron Schwartz – JP Morgan

Okay. So I understand the strength you’ve had in your product commitments and also your maintenance business, and we’ve seen that and you have reported that, it’s been very helpful. But we should assume for the year that you will see revenue growth to get to the – in combination with expense cuts to get to the $200 million in cash flow from operations?

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

We will get to the $200 million in cash flow regardless because we have so much in past commitments and long-term maintenance contracts. So that isn’t even a thing that’s at risk. The risk is new license growth. And we’re pretty – we’re still bullish on that as well. All right? But that $200 million, you could count on it.

Aaron Schwartz – JP Morgan

Okay. That’s very helpful. And then just a question on the IBM agreement, I know that we’ve asked a bunch of questions on this over the years. In my – and correct me if I’m wrong here because I don’t if I have the latest information, but it looks like the last component of the services agreement goes from – or expires in September ’09. So we’re sort of in the last year of that. I’m just wondering, one, is that still the case? And then, two, is there any update on what could happen with the services side of that agreement?

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

There is really not an update on what could happen in the services side of agreement. The product side is cut-and-dry. I believe that my contact at IBM and I will work out what’s equitable on the services side. Right now, we are feeling very good about our services business anyway.

Aaron Schwartz – JP Morgan

Okay. That’s helpful. Thank you for taking my questions.

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

You’re welcome.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Thrivent Financial’s David Rudow. Please go ahead.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

Good afternoon, everybody.

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

Hi, David.

Bob Paul

Hi, David.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

Back to the cash flows, does that assume – and I might have missed this, so I apologize. Does that $200 million assume any cost-cutting goes through in the quarter? Or if things turn, you will then implement some of these cost-cutting initiatives?

Laura Fournier

It certainly assumes some level of cost cutting, but some of it – are you questioning whether it will be put back into the business –?

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

No, no. Does that $200 million, does that assume that you have to cut this $55 million out of the business in order to get to the $200 million, or is that completely separate from that?

Laura Fournier

That’s separate.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

Okay. And then back to the – on the premium license deals for mainframe, what do you think the percent of the customer base is on the new licensing program? And what do you think, what portion is left that could possibly get on to the premium license deal?

Bob Paul

Yes. I think we are in the upper single digits of percentage of customers, David, that have taken advantage of this so far. And what we see now is sort of a stable or a consistent number per quarter that are cropping up in the forecast. And the two variables there are – this obviously makes a lot more sense for organizations that have capacity increases. And then the second one is, based upon where they are at in the cycle of their maintenance agreements. So they are up for renewal on that. Sometimes they want to go early because of the opportunity, but it has to be tied with that capacity growth.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

And do you think half of the customer base are eligible or would benefit from this premium license deal, or is that more than that?

Bob Paul

Yes, it’s probably a moving target. And based upon the latest economic conditions, that number has probably changed because the capacity requirements have probably stabled – or flattened out a little bit. But there is still a substantial amount of customers that can take advantage of this. And I think that we’ll see this continue to be an opportunity for us over the next couple of years.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

Okay. And then with the credit squeeze, have you seen any problems or were some of the deals delayed because customers have a problem getting credit to do these larger deals, or is that not an issue for you guys?

Laura Fournier

It’s not an issue for us because we are working with our customers to finance their deals. And this is nothing new. We’ve been doing this for ten years. And so I don’t believe that it’s an issue right now at all.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

Okay. And then whenever – in terms of the buyback, you guys are going to temporarily halt that until things stabilize, whether it takes two, three or four months. Will you announce when you go back to market or we’ll just hear about it on the next earnings call?

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

Well, whatever we can get away with.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

Okay.

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

I mean, look, the price keeps dropping. I mean, I think it was at $6. And we started off – we almost got to $12. So, half of what it was when we were buying stock before. And we’ve got a lot of cash. Part of me on one hand wonders what price it will be when we decide we’ll just spend every penny we have to buy it. I mean, you know, it can’t get much lower before we get that attitude. So I don’t know what – I don’t know how to answer that question because it’s – the price of the stock today appears to be pretty stupid on the low side. And that means we should buy it. But if it goes a little lower, we’ll wait and we’ll buy it when it gets lower.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

Yes, because if you look at kind of where it’s at now, it’s yielding at about 20% based on the current number.

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

Right.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

So it’s extremely cheap.

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

Yes, it is. And then we’ll go after.

David Rudow – Thrivent Financial

Okay. Thank you very much for your time.

Peter Karmanos, Jr.

You’re welcome.

Bob Paul

Thanks, David.

Operator

Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, we will now conclude the question-and-answer portion of today’s conference call. I’d like to turn the conference back over to Lisa Elkin. Please go ahead.

Lisa Elkin

At this time, ladies and gentlemen, we will adjourn this conference call. Thank you very much for your time and interest in Compuware, and we hope you have a pleasant evening.

Operator

Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive Teleconference service. You may now disconnect.

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