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Executives

Mark Gallenberger – VP & CFO

David Tacelli – President & CEO

Analysts

David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

Vernon Essi - Needham & Company

Patrick Ho - Stifel, Nicolaus

[John Cangelosa] – Unspecified Company

LTX-Credence Corporation (LTXC) Q3 2009 Earnings Call June 3, 2009 4:30 PM ET

Operator

Welcome to the LTX-Credence Corporation’s third quarter conference call. (Operator Instructions) Speakers for today’s call will be David Tacelli, Chief Executive Officer and President, and Mark Gallenberger, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. At this time I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Gallenberger.

Mark Gallenberger

Welcome to LTX-Credence Corporation’s third quarter fiscal year 2009 conference call for the period ended April 30, 2009. Joining me on today’s call is David Tacelli, CEO and President. After my introductory comments David will discuss the company’s performance for the third quarter and discuss the business outlook. Then I will provide further detail on the company’s financial performance during the third quarter of fiscal year 2009 as well as provide guidance for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2009. We will take your questions after our prepared remarks.

A replay of this call will be made available through July 2, by dialing 888-286-8010, and the pass code is 14037832, or you can visit our website at www.ltx-credence.com. We’ve recently asked Richard [Gainien] to assume responsibility for the company’s Investor Relations activities. Most of you already know Richard when he was in the IR function several years ago. More recently Richard has spent the last few years in our sales organization responsible to North America.

Please join me in welcoming Richard back into the Investor Relations role. As a reminder the only authorized spokespeople for the company are David Tacelli, Richard Gainien, and myself.

Now for our Safe Harbor statement. During the course of this conference call we may make projections or other forward-looking statements regarding LTX-Credence’s business outlook, its merger integration plans, or the future financial performance of the company. We wish to caution you that these statements, such as projected revenues, net loss, loss per share, operating expenses, gross margin, cash flow, non-GAAP measures and break-even targets are only predictions and that actual events or results may differ materially.

The guidance provided during this call represents the company’s estimates as of this day and the company assumes no obligation to update this guidance. Please refer to our Safe Harbor statement in our earnings release for more information on important factors that could cause actual results to differ.

Now on to the call. David.

David Tacelli

Thank you Mark, and good afternoon everyone. My prepared remarks will focus on three important areas today. First I’ll plan to frame our third quarter results in the context of the current business environment and our expectations as we head towards the second half of the calendar year.

Second I want to review the progress we’ve made in integrating LTX and Credence and how we are more then 95% of the way through the integration process and are essentially complete. And finally with the integration efforts behind us, I’ll comment on our plans to grow the company.

We believe our third quarter revenues reflect the bottom in the business cycle driven by our relentless pursuit by our customers to work down existing inventory levels, and avoid purchasing capital unless there is an ironclad revenue opportunity that would fund it.

Several customers have told me directly of the difficulty their having getting long range forecasts from their end customers. Without these long-range forecasts they’ve cut back manufacturing and have relied on inventories to deliver their product. As a result they’ve been drawing down inventory to unsustainably low levels.

As this inventory has been mostly depleted through the first calendar quarter companies are now rebuilding those inventories but with a very close watch on end customer demand. In many cases our customers are requiring hard copy orders from their customers before engaging the supply chain for additional [test] capacity.

This is creating potential bottlenecks in the supply chain because many semiconductor manufacturers have reached the inventory replenishment point which is driving an increase in utilization rate to test equipment. The question is whether this surge in utilization rate is temporary or one that is driven by true end market demand and therefore more sustainable.

Although we continue to see positive momentum with many of our customers we are taking a conservative position at how we run the business. The challenge is that most manufacturers still do not have a clear picture of sustainability of their business and their confidence beyond calendar Q2 is quite limited.

And while there is some bright spots in wireless, power management, and consumer to digital segments of the market, the overall business environment is still very cautious about the second half of 2009 and what type of business conditions will be present.

To give an indication of the volatility in the market we had one customer who four weeks prior to the end of our fiscal quarter provided us with a forecast for seven machines. This turned into an order for one machine because of the forecast changes from their end customers. We do believe that this business will return in the next two quarters but this is the type of environment the test industry faces today.

The key message here is that a company needs to have the right business model to adapt to these radical changes, controlling inventory while being able to deliver to dramatic upside with limited visibility. Because of the steps we’ve taken with respect to expense reductions and outsource manufacturing, LTX-Credence is well positioned to handle this business climate. With all of that said, we continue to outperform our plan and because of that our loss for the quarter was more favorable then expected as we realized better margins and a much better cost profile.

As you see from our guidance this positive trend will continue into the July quarter. With the current market conditions as a backdrop, we are looking to take advantage of the integration work that has been completed and focus on ways of growing the business.

In just over eight months, we have completed the integration between LTX and Credence well ahead of the original plan. There were a lot of decisions that needed to be made regarding infrastructure, product roadmap, sales and support, manufacturing strategy, and corporate footprint.

Although difficult these decisions have been made and in almost all cases we’ve completed the integration. So with the heavy lifting behind us the primary focus of the executive team is on executing the plans as established and growing the overall business level of the company.

We have created a new product lineup that reflects a combination of both companies, providing a stronger portfolio of products and services to our customers. The merged product portfolio has created a much larger addressable market then either Credence or LTX could have effectively addressed as independent companies.

The Diamond product is one in particular that we focused on. With several hundred units already shipped into the consumer SOC and microcontroller markets we have a solid foundation to build customer momentum.

The compact physical size, pin density, and low comparative costs to other testers on the market is providing an accelerating growth curve for Diamond. On the customer side of the integration, we have retained all of the customers for both LTX and Credence. In addition to retaining these accounts we’ve been able to expand our presence in Asia through our value added partners in the region.

Because of the increased sales and support structure we have increased our penetration into several key RF wireless design companies in both China and Taiwan. In the past we’ve discussed the strategic benefits that Spirox brings to LTX-Credence through its tremendous sales and support infrastructure in the Taiwan China region.

In addition to Spirox we have also built significant partnerships with two other companies in the area, UST and [Neosim] which greatly enhances our presence in Thailand, Malaysia, and Korea. Because of these three partnerships combined with our own direct presence in Singapore, LTX-Credence now has the largest sales and support presence throughout all of Asia.

So how will all of these changes effect the financial performance of the company? By the end of our fourth quarter in July, we will have exceeded our goal of business model improvements leading to significant lower break-even numbers on a quarterly basis creating the opportunity for strong cash generation as we grow and profitability across an entire business cycle.

Our goal is to be the first in the industry to return to positive cash flow. The changes to our business model have led to the following improvements. We have lowered our quarterly EBITDA break-even by over 55% to approximately $39 million. We streamlined the headcount of the combined company resulting in the integration of some of the best talent in our industry.

We combined the innovative, engineering, design, applications, and support teams to provide the highest level of support and R&D and a product pipeline necessary to move the company forward. We reduced our facility’s footprint by over 65% worldwide eliminating redundant space, exiting fixed costs, and improving our overall flexibility.

And we moved our manufacturing to be completely outsourced. This was a natural extension of the process LTX had adopted several years ago and one that Credence was moving to when we merged. This model gives us the ability to move quickly and satisfy the radical changes in customer demand while controlling our inventory exposure.

Overall we have completed these actions and reduced our expenses over $100 million annually. In addition to these dramatic changes to the P&L we have aggressively positioned ourselves to strengthen the balance sheet. As many of you have seen from our recent press releases, we have extended the maturity date on over 95% of our outstanding convertible debt from May of 2010 to May of 2011 given us a longer time horizon and additional balance sheet flexibility.

We have also repurchased a significant portion of our debt at a discount to [bar] thereby improving our overall net cash position. And finally we worked closely with our long-time partner Silicon Valley Bank, on establishing a two year $40 million credit facility which has provided the company with additional working capital.

So with the integration effectively complete, the question is how does this new LTX-Credence grow its top line to be a significant player in the test equipment space? The source of growth will come from three major areas. One, we have been extremely successful in maintaining our existing customer base between the two companies and have improved our position at several accounts because of the more complete product lineup the company has.

These customers who when current market conditions that purchase only small amounts of capital equipment will be the engine of future growth. We now have significant position with some of the largest semiconductor companies, specializing in a broad range of SOC devices. Companies like Texas Instruments, Renesas, ST Microelectronics, Maxim, Infineon, Mediatech, Austria Microsystems, Silicon Labs, AMD, and Atmel just to name a few.

Second other acquisitions in the test industry have been between companies with significant customer product overlap. And in some cases created situations where customers with dual vendor strategies are now sole-sourced, a position they do not want to continue. There are several active situations we are pursuing that should add incremental revenue in the next up cycle.

All of these opportunities are in the high growth analog portion of the market. And third, we continue to grow our new customer base by targeting a selection of customers inside the target markets we’ve chosen where either our technical or cost advantage give us an opportunity to win accounts away from the competition.

Over the next two quarters I expect to add at least three to four new customers that will drive volume next fiscal year. This volume should account for $20 million to $30 million of new business per year by the end of 2010.

We will not deviate from our focus of innovation for the mix signal marketplace, including RF, power, data converter, complex SOC computing and microcontroller. These are critical market segments that we are focused on. We have plans to release a series of new products over the next 12 to 18 months that will provide us the opportunity to gain market share, without sacrificing target profitability.

We have a long history of innovation in the semiconductor test industry and we expect that to continue. We have the best team of employees in the industry. This group has excelled in their ability to adapt to the changes in our business and the economy. This is the group that is positioning the company for substantial growth as the market turns positive.

And we have a solid group of customers that believe in our product strategy, have seen the benefits we bring to both the technical side of the business, as well as provide them with the lowest overall cost of test in the industry. They continue to reward LTX-Credence’s investments and development and support with new opportunities inside their business.

As the market recovers and it will, the opportunities we have today will turn into the revenue growth that leads the industry in the future. I’d now like to turn the call over to Mark for his detailed comments on the quarter.

Mark Gallenberger

Thanks David, revenue for the quarter was $24.7 million, down from $30.4 million last quarter. Although revenue declined gross margin improved from 21.9% last quarter to 28.3% due to a reduction in fixed costs and more favorable product mix.

R&D spending declined sequentially from $21.7 million to $16.6 million this quarter. SG&A also declined sequentially from $15 million to $11.1 million this quarter. Amortization of purchased intangibles related to the Credence merger was $4.4 million. Net loss for the quarter was $27.8 million or $0.22 loss per share on a GAAP basis.

Excluding the net impact of restructuring charges and other one-time items totaling $1 million and excluding amortization of purchased intangibles of $4.4 million, the net loss for the quarter was $22.3 million or $0.18 loss per share.

Excluding these one-time items the EBITDA for the quarter was negative $15.3 million which puts our theoretical break-even at $51 million for the quarter, down from $69 million last quarter. The EBITDA calculation excluded amortization of purchased intangibles of $4.4 million, depreciation expense of $4.6 million, stock based compensation expense of approximately $800,000, net interest income of $822,000, and $197,000 in income tax expense.

During the quarter we incurred $3.3 million in charges that were related to headcount reductions that were taken in April. Next I’ll provide a breakdown of revenue for the quarter.

Seventy percent of revenue came from IDMs, while 30% came from subcontract tests in [inaudible]] companies, 47% of revenue was for product and 53% for service. Now on to the balance sheet, we ended the quarter with gross cash of $121 million and net cash of $24.6 million. For the quarter net cash decreased by $26 million which was about $2 million better then our original plan.

Also in February we secured a $40 million revolving line of credit with Silicon Valley Bank which we drew down to finance the repurchase of convertible notes at a discount. Subsequent to the quarter end we also successfully closed a public tender offer to exchange our notes maturing in May of 2010 for new notes with a maturity date of May of 2011.

In conjunction with this exchange offer we repurchased 25% of the tendered bonds at a discount and retired that debt. This exchange offer along with the bond transactions that occurred in our fiscal Q3 enabled us to retire approximately $15 million in notes at a discount and extended the maturity on approximately $35 million in debt to May of 2011.

The remaining convertible debt due in May of 2010 is now only $1.5 million. We finished the quarter with trade accounts receivable of $18.8 million. As a result DSO increased to 69 days versus 64 days in the prior quarter primarily due to late shipments in the quarter.

Inventory was $38.1 million this quarter which is slightly up sequentially. Net capital expenditures were $300,000 for the quarter primarily driven by world [spares] requirements. Depreciation expense was $4.6 million. We ended the quarter with an accounts payable balance of $16 million and stockholders equity of $113 million.

Guidance for Q4 2009 is as follows, we expect revenue to be in the range of $31 million to $34 million which is a sequential increase of 26% to 38%. Non-GAAP net loss per share is projected to be in the range of $0.10 to $0.08 assuming 127.5 million shares outstanding. The non-GAAP net loss guidance does not include amortization of purchased intangibles of approximately $4.4 million or any one-time charges.

In summary we are significantly ahead of our original plan to reduce expenses and improve break-even. We originally expected $25 million in annual cost savings and we are now over $100 million. As a result our EBITDA has improved from $88 million per quarter to approximately $39 million for the July quarter, which is approximately a 55% reduction.

The merger integration activities are essentially complete and well ahead of our original timetable and expectations. Although industry conditions have been at historically low levels, our business model continues to show significant improvements and once the next up cycle arrives the company is well positioned to drive significant profit leverage.

With the business model now in place, the focus for the executive team is growing our market share which will ultimately drive top line revenue growth for LTX-Credence.

This concludes our prepared remarks and at this time we will take your questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from the line of David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

Congratulations on being ahead of the cost cutting curve there, and guiding revenues up going forward. I was wondering if you might be able to frame for us with the expected loss in this upcoming quarter, it looks like that number is getting cut roughly in about half, what the cash burn or cash usage might be in the current July quarter.

Mark Gallenberger

I would go with an estimate, like you said it looks like the losses are getting cut in half and for this quarter our net cash consumption was about $26 million for our April quarter and right now the EBITDA loss would be somewhere in the, with the guidance that we gave somewhere in the $5 to $7 million range. But we are also relieving the balance sheet with accruals that we have related to severance and restructuring charges.

So right now I’m expecting the cash loss to basically get cut in half. I would estimate in the $12 to $13 million range for the July quarter.

David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

What is the expected gross margin level in your guidance, I haven’t been able to work through the numbers yet, but clearly it seems like you might get some improvement on operating costs and improvement on gross margins to kind of whack that operating loss in half so could you give us an idea of where the gross margins are going to be.

Mark Gallenberger

We haven’t provided official guidance as it relates to gross margin. As you know there’s a fair number of different products that we sell to the marketplace now so it’s a little bit more difficult for us to predict exactly where margins will come in.

If we hit our internal targets in terms of product mix and given a lot of the improvements we’ve made to the gross margin line in terms of the fixed costs, I’m seeing another significant improvement quarter over quarter. We saw gross margin move from around 22% to 28% which is around six points on actually a lower revenue base.

Now we’re talking about a significant increase in revenues on a percentage basis. I could see gross margins going into the mid 30’s.

David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

Were there any 10% customers during the quarter and if you could share those names with us that would be great. If you just want to tell us what the percentages were, that would be great as well.

Mark Gallenberger

We break that out on an annual basis in our 10-K. What I can share with you is we did have two greater then 10% customers for revenues and they were both in the range of 10% to 20%. So once again with the combination between LTX and Credence we have a much more diversified customer base instead of a heavy concentration with any one customer.

David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

Why was the inventory balance up just a smidge on down revenue and how much did you draw down the credit line.

Mark Gallenberger

The inventory, we were expecting inventories to actually decline sequentially. The main reason for the reason why that did not decline was because we came in at the lower end, actually slightly below the low end of the revenue guidance and so that was a portion of it.

We also reclassified some of our long-term consignment assets from Credence into the inventory line which is more consistent with the way LTX historically accounts for consignments. So those two items were the main contributors.

In terms of the SVB revolver, it is a $40 million line and we drew down approximately $39.5 million of that line. As I stated before we used a good portion of those proceeds to do bond repurchases inside the April quarter and we also drew that down in anticipation of this public tender offer closing in May and so we used some of those proceeds to finance those bond repurchases towards the end of May.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Vernon Essi - Needham & Company

Vernon Essi - Needham & Company

Just to revisit the products and services breakout, I missed that on the call.

Mark Gallenberger

No problem, we had 47% of revenue come from product and 53% for service and if you didn’t catch the other number that I gave you, 70% of the revenue came from IDMs and 30% came from subcontract test in [fabless] companies.

Vernon Essi - Needham & Company

Can you go over the, you talked about an order that sounded like it got pushed out, what was the nature of that and is there any more color we can get on that and I assume that’s obviously a pretty big piece of the sequential guidance that you’re giving, correct.

David Tacelli

Actually not, what we had anticipated was a customer placing an order for seven machines that was due to be shipped between April and October and they held back that order because of changes in the forecast from their end customer. Based on additional conversation with that customer those orders look like they’re going to be delayed probably three months.

So I anticipate that it will be made up some time between let’s say the July quarter and the January quarter but it just shows the volatility, here we are looking at four weeks to go in the quarter anticipating demand, that their end customer then changed on them.

So its not really related to the change in the uptick from the third quarter to the fourth quarter. It was more the order pattern we anticipated.

Vernon Essi - Needham & Company

And then the follow-on, I guess I know you weren’t getting too granular on sort of the line items in terms of the guide, but given this guidance that you, and how you’re outlining this, I’m assuming you’re going to have a pretty material decline again in your operating expenses. Can you give us an understanding of where you might see the most improvement between SG&A and R&D.

David Tacelli

I’d say its probably going to be fairly evenly spread between the two. And so if you look at our sequential declines from our January quarter to April, you could see that both the R&D and the SG&A lines came down about the same amount and so I think what you should expect to model for the July quarter is basically similar types of mix in terms of SG&A and R&D and how they come down.

So they’re both coming down about the same amounts.

Vernon Essi - Needham & Company

Right of course, that’s moderating I assume.

David Tacelli

Yes absolutely, you shouldn’t use the actual sequential decline from $22 million down to $16 million and say okay its going to drop another $5 million. It is moderating but in terms of how those improvements are breaking out, they’re breaking out fairly evenly between the two line items.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Patrick Ho - Stifel, Nicolaus

Patrick Ho - Stifel, Nicolaus

What market segments would you say are driving the outlook for July.

David Tacelli

A combination of three, we’re seeing some level of what I’ll call consumer digital. I think driven by two factors. One there has been a lot of movement for companies shipping into China for consumer devices. And also as I mentioned in the script some inventory replenishment.

We are seeing analog, straight analog or some combination of complex analog drive a portion of the market, again consumer related. Again I think inventory plays a role and I think the China stimulus plan plays a role. And RF in general.

We are not seeing any increases at all in areas like automotive, that remains as most people would guess pretty depressed right now.

Patrick Ho - Stifel, Nicolaus

I think based on some of the commentary by your peers in terms of the overall demand environment, what are you seeing from your customers, have they come to you and basically said that they feel that as they look out into second half 2009 that its more demand driven then the inventory replenishment that we probably saw in the first half of the year.

David Tacelli

As I said, its pretty simple. They’re playing it quite cautious right now. They’ve seen their business and I’ll speak calendar quarter now. In calendar Q2 they’ve seen an uptick from calendar Q1 but again coming off very depressed levels. They’re anticipating based on forecasts that they’re receiving today and I’ll call short-term, that that trend will continue into the September quarter or third calendar quarter.

But they’re being very cautious on buying into that September third quarter. That’s why the visibility coming back to us is very, very limited right now. The other thing is we’re seeing what I call a selection of signs that you can go back and look in history that tell us that things are improving. Things like project completion at our customer sites. Project initiation for specific design or ICs. The overall sales quoting activity has picked up across the board.

Requests for additional support, those have picked up across the board. I’ll call it other anecdotal information is we had a lot of customers going through selected furloughs and shutdowns of manufacturing sites. I had one customer talk about shutting down all their manufacturing sites for in excess of 300 work days in the first quarter and that’s down to almost zero in the second quarter.

So a lot of those signs, their seeing positive drivers but are also kind of leading us to believe that it’s the beginning. I don’t want to say we’re out of this, but the beginning of some positive momentum. And we’ll see, we’ll see how this plays through the September quarter and see if its getting more sustainable. Does the US and Europe start to participate in driving end demand. Right now a lot of it is driven out of China.

So that’s what, they’re a little cautious. They talk directly to me. They want me to be ready to supply equipment when they call for it. And I think that’s one of the benefits we have of what I call leading the outsource charge many years and Credence kind of being on that path as well. We’ve got the ability to supply demand in these what I’ll call radical conditions.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of [John Cangelosa] – Unspecified Company

[John Cangelosa] – Unspecified Company

I have a quick question, how much further do you have more to merge in with, you said that you still time to integrate with Credence systems, how much more do you have left, how much more time.

David Tacelli

There’s really no time, if you look at where we are in the integration process. We talk about it being virtually complete. We have a couple of small, I’d say small facilities things that we’re working on that will drive additional cost reductions mainly as we get out of this calendar year into next calendar year. So we’re still moving some employees around, but as far as restructuring, headcount changes, product line changes, all of those things are complete.

We don’t plan on making any more changes with that respect but we’ll still continue to fine tune and like I said the remaining 5% we have a couple of facility things that will drive some nice substantial cost savings as we approach 2010 but that’s about it.

[John Cangelosa] – Unspecified Company

And how is the [LTX Fusion], is that still, do you still have a lot of customers interested in that.

David Tacelli

What you’re talking about is the LTX X Series products and yes, the X Series products are providing a substantial portion of our revenue along with some of the new products and future products that we’re out talking to customers about as well.

Operator

Your next question is a follow-up from the line of David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

Couple of things, I noticed the service business was down more then the product revenue in the current quarter, how should those two line items foot to your guidance in the July quarter.

David Tacelli

What we’ve seen is as customers have I’ll call through the balance of the beginning part of this calendar year because that’s when most contracts are struck, the December, January timeframe, at that point there was a high level of underutilized equipment which they took of contract. So if you were to go back into let’s say our first quarter, the October quarter then look forward into the January and then April quarter, you’ve seen a decline in the service revenue.

I think the service revenue will probably start to flatten out now into the July quarter and what I would look for down the road probably in the let’s say October or January quarters, beyond July, is that service revenue may actually start to strengthen but in the July quarter I would say its going to be pretty much flat to where it was, maybe down a tick, but pretty flat to where it was in the April quarter.

So if you’re looking to gain some knowledge on what product is going to do, product will be substantially up quarter over quarter, service revenue will be flat to slightly down in the July quarter.

David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

Well I guess that might be good news for the October then if service could uptick back up a million dollars—

David Tacelli

Yes, at that point it will depend on how much equipment has been turned on and one of the signs of an economy or things turning around is customers will turn equipment back on. The other decision that customers make at that point in time depending on where that equipment is, is now the time to turn that equipment back on or are their more cost effective solutions that exist in the market.

So we’re actually talking to several customers about those activities as well.

David Dooley – Steelhead Securities

And I know you don’t talk about orders or disclose orders, but maybe you could help us understand sequentially what did product orders do.

David Tacelli

It’s a really, it’s a good question, but we’re not going to address that. Let me address something else which may be of value to you. If you looked at our April quarter, during the April quarter I’ll call it book shipped percentage of our business was I want to say relatively high, in excess of 60%. If I looked out towards the July quarter that percentage is dramatically lower, much lower in the July quarter book shipped.

We’re feeling very good about the solidness of the quarter. Again as I stated in the script we’re taking a very conservative approach on how we run the business, how we manage the expenses, how we look at gross margin and again, of course how we look at the balance sheet but also taking every opportunity to take customers and take share where we can.

Operator

There are no additional questions at this time; I would like to turn it back over to management for any additional or closing comments.

Mark Gallenberger

Thank you very much for joining us today and look forward to speaking with you either over the summer or at our next earnings call once we’ve finished up our fiscal year end. Thank you very much and have a good day.

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Source: LTX-Credence Corporation F3Q09 (Qtr End 04/30/09) Earnings Call Transcript
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