Luxoft Holding's Management Presents at JP Morgan Small/Mid Cap Conference (Transcript)

| About: Luxoft Holding (LXFT)

Luxoft Holding, Inc. (NYSE:LXFT)

JP Morgan Small/Mid Cap Conference

December 10, 2013 4:30 PM ET


Roman Yakushkin - CFO

Alina Plaia - VP, IR


Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Terrific, thanks everyone for joining and coming in. My name is Tianjiao Wang. I cover the computer services and IT consulting group at JP Morgan, really excited to have Luxoft here to present with us. It’s a first us to have Luxoft at one of our conference events and hopefully there would be many more.

With us from Luxoft we’ve got Roman Yakushkin. He is the CFO of Luxoft and also Alina Plaia, she is the VP of Communications. And also she does a terrific job at Investor Relations. She is here as well to help tell the Luxoft story. So format wise, Roman is going to come up here and go through some slides which I think we’ve also left on some tables here as well and then we will open it up to Q&A. If that’s okay, so you want to come up and give us your story.

Roman Yakushkin

Good afternoon everyone. We will do the short presentation and then Alina and myself will be happy to answer your questions. So let me start with what Luxoft is today. So the Company was formed in the year 2000. So we are a 13 year old, fairly young Company, since the establishment we have experienced uninterrupted growth and we even grew in the years which were characterized by some market turbulences or economic downturn.

So looking at what the Company is today, we have in total more than 7,000 personnel in 19 offices, out of which about more than 6,100 are full time experienced IT professionals. And if you look at the profile of IT professionals, then more than 85% of our personnel have five years plus experience in the industry and more than 80% have masters degree or higher. So we have 19 offices today, out of which 14 are our delivery centers where we basically render our services to the customers and while we will see it like later in the presentation, but while we target mainly Central and Eastern Europe we also have offices worldwide and that includes North America, Western Europe and Asia.

So today we have more than 130 clients and most of our key clients are large scale S&P 500 blue chip banks and corporations. Our client list includes such names such as you will see again, Deutsche Bank, UBS, CITI, Boeing, IBM and et cetera. And we have long-standing recurrent relationships with our clients. We have basically a long history with our existing accounts and also we have a number of new high potential accounts which we believe are going to become major driver growth of the revenues for our Company, so that all results in quite strong financials and robust sound financial position.

Our revenue in the last three years have been growing in average by 26%, we also are profitable on all levels, starting from gross margin and we have basically got net income et cetera and that was almost from day 1 of the Company as well. We also have very stable strong balance sheet, very low capital expenditure requirements, superior cash flow from operations, very limited debt. So basically that makes us very kind of financially sound Company.

So let me now talk a bit about key five elements defined in our unique value proposition. So number one is accessibility, access to the unique talent pool located in Central and Eastern Europe. Again we estimate that the market today is about more than half a million professionals with strong experience and with great educational background in applied math, computer sciences or physics and our ability to basically continuously tap into that pool, enables us to continue satisfying the demand that is coming from our customers.

Number two is great business understanding. We are very focused vertically, and we target kind of, we apply what we call anchored developed growth strategy, meaning that we are mainly after the large clients with whom we can develop longstanding recurrent relationships.

Number three is technological expertise. So basically we are striving to constantly be on the edge of the technological spread and that we apply technologies today that will become buzz words in the future and just a few examples would Big Data, software defined networks, human machine interface et cetera.

Number four is industry solutions. So while we position ourselves as IT services company we have recently started developing our own portfolio of products, platforms and that basically enhances our current offering to the clients and gives us additional cross-selling opportunities.

Last but not least is we are agile and flexible in every meaning. Our global delivery model as you will see allows us to service our clients well be enclosed proximity to them and basically be able to respond to their ever changing needs and requirements. And we also have what we call agile delivering methodology which basically a kind of stimuli for the delivery process making that large number of short-term iteration and by doing that we are able to take early feedback from our customers and if necessary to basically to correct and adapt to an early stages.

We target to these six key verticals and we have great business expertise in each of the verticals that we serve. So basically to name them they are all financial services, travel, innovation, technology, telecom, automotive and energy.

Based on six months numbers for this year all of our six verticals kept growing with us and this is especially notable to automotive that grew by 65% in the first half of the year on year-on-year basis and financial services that grew by 52% in the same time period.

Again our clients mainly include like large blue chip names banks and corporates again I am not going recite all the names here but that’s Deutsche Bank, UBS, Boeing, et cetera and examples of project that we have -- that we successfully accomplished or continue to work with our clients on would be like develop and risk management systems, trading platforms with our financial clients, some network testing software with our telecoms clients with our automotive clients that would be some advanced navigation human machine interface, in car connectivity tools.

Great, so as I said we have agile, global delivery model with our key locations be in Central and Eastern Europe. Our four largest delivery centers today are in Ukraine where we employ about 47% of our total headcount, followed by Russia where we have 52% and Romania and we are also very rapidly growing in Poland. We have already more than 300 people today and growing fast. Also we are potentially open in new locations in Central and Eastern Europe in the future.

It have been said that we also do have offices in the other parts of the world like in the U.S., in Western Europe, in Asia and Vietnam, for example, we have delivery office. We have recently opened up an office in Stuttgart to be closer to our automotive clients.

So this we believe that this delivery model is one of our key competitive advantages and it gives us an edge on certain things like for example, we are able to diversify the risks because we are not dependent on the single economy so basically we have limited risk such as like political risks, inflation, wage increase, foreign currency, et cetera.

Also we have very low ratio of the own sites so today it stands less than 10% which makes for us potential disruptive Visa legislation virtual non-existent like for example in the U.S. we today only have like four employees working on H1 business which makes this non-issue for us.

Also we believe that our global delivery model is basically -- it’s a great cost management too because we are able to efficiently redeploy the resources between different delivery centers what we call like Tier 1, Tier 2 structure and that gives us an edge in managing our cost line and optimize our margins.

Also again by here in this model we can adapt very quickly to and respond early to the needs of our clients like seeking personnel to close proximity or if needed we can open up a new delivery center if the client wishes us to do so. We also have -- we don’t have language barriers with English being corporate language in the company and all key personnel not just key personnel who directly interact with the clients having language skills. Also last but not least mainly the time difference is also not an issue for us.

So looking at the way the Company is positioned today we believe that we are located in sweet spot of valley, sitting between the lower cost, large scale Indian providers and global IT service companies. So the market in Central East Europe is rather fragmented today, no industry consolidation occurs that’s why, though we have limited competition in our direct segment with probably EPAM being the only one that is kind of known, well known and yet again while we have some similarities with EPAM we also have a number of differences with them as well.

And we compete successfully with large Indian providers due to our ability to successfully execute complex projects due to our innovation potential and because we have superior quality of the service they too provide.

On the other hand we are equally successfully able to compete with large multinationals due to our flexibility and agility which I have basically spoken about several times already and we do compete with them on pricing as well. So while we are able to charge for our premium services, the higher revenue, the higher rates and today we have about $68,000 per billable employee based on half year results that is an increase of 10%. And that’s more than most of our peers have.

On the other hand we’re still more than capable to compete with multinationals on the pricing as well. So looking at confiscating some quantitatively over to what has been above said. Our revenues last year increased from $271 million to $350 million of that growth 80% came from existing accounts and 20% from new clients and should note here that in any given year 3% to 5% of total revenues come from brand new accounts which were not there at the beginning of the year.

We have quite balanced geographical mix between Europe and North America, 46% of our revenues today comes from our clients from Western Europe and 45% from North America with remaining 9% coming from the rest of the world. Our three largest locations today are, not locations, three largest kind of geographies today are U.S., UK and Germany.

And to add some more kind of recent figures in the first half of the current fiscal year, we earned $181 million representing 25% year-over-year increase and notably in the second quarter alone we made 97.7 million which is 32% year-over-year growth and 16.6% sequential growth.

Apart from revenue all our profitability indicators exhibited strong growth at the same timeframe as well, both our EBITDA and net income adjusted for stock-based compensation grew by in excess of 20% in the last three years, so for EBITDA in the first six months we have earned $34 million and that represents 43% increase year-over-year. At the same time, our EBITDA margin currently stays at around 18%. Last year, we ended up with 18.1% for shuffle this year with 18.6%.

We have a target range of 17% to 19% which we see as not just kind of today, but also the sustainable rate for EBITDA margin in the next three to five years and we employ a structure so that any extra profit generated. We reinvested back into business into boosting our sales capabilities hiring additional subject matter experts, enhancing our recruitment potential, opening new locations, business development regarding new accounts and basically some other activities.

On the net income adjusted for stock-based compensation and acquisition-related amortization in the six months, we earned $27 million that represents growth of 50% year-over-year basis and our net income margin stays around 14%. So just to give key highlights post-IPO, we are public now for six months, we had so far complete it two quarters and believe that we have done it quite successfully.

So on the financials, I already elaborated on so not going to kind of repeat it by can say that all of our key geographies, all our key verticals, key accounts different quite well. And what I am especially pleased to say that we beat the -- our own internal forecast on both earning growth and we have also increased the guidance for both top-line and bottom-line figures.

So for top-line, we have increased our full year guidance to at least 22% increase year-over-year and we expect the revenue to be at least $384 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014, and we have all -- and that’s up from 20% that we had a quarter ago.

Equally, we have revised our EPS upwards from $1.48 to $1.60. So not only on the financial but on other operational metrics, we have performed quite well. Our headcount grew by 22% account for now and basically 25% revenue growth so that proves that we do have some non-linear increase of the growth and our average revenue per employee keeps growing.

At the same time, our attrition is down by 2% from 12.9% last year to 10.9% and that’s due to number of our corporate initiatives aimed at improvement retention and basically combating the attrition. Also we have just successfully completed SPO secondary public offering just a couple of weeks ago for $34 per share basic has been three times as far as I remember or subscribed.

Also our R&D developments are continued well. We enhanced our existing expertise in all technologies that we currently target. We’ve also been leveraged to our cross-selling opportunities with existing accounts.

And last but not least, we were able to add some accounts and what is especially important some of them were what we call high potential clients. Again, our definitional high potentials the ability to grow, for the revenue to grow from scratch from zero to more than 5 million in less than three years, so we have today 15 accounts which we call high potential out of which five was added in the first six months of the current year. So let me complete the presentation part and switch. I would be happy to address your questions. Thank you.

Question-and-Answer Session

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Alright, that’s great. Thanks for the overview. Maybe I’ll kick it off and then we can open it up and I will just start with a question I guess about margins, top-line has been strong but I think one of the biggest surprises for us has been the gross margin has been nicely moving up in the last quarter or so. Can you just elaborate on what’s driving the trend around gross margin and how much more potential there could be there on the gross margin side?

Roman Yakushkin

On the gross margin side, let me start with the target ranges so basically we have 40% as a gross margin ratio which we believe will be sustainable ratio for the next three to five years. Last year we completely finished with 41% and this year we're doing better, so as you noted by roughly 200 basis points over the same period last year.

So basically among the factors that are driving the gross margin I would definitely worth mentioning the recent transition from time and materials contracts to managed delivery through fixed price which we have basically completed, not completed but which we have accomplished in the last two years from 20% of total revenues to almost 50%, today the proportion looks as follows. 49% fixed price and 51% T&M.

So basically having more fixed price managed delivery gives us additional edge in managing cost line because as I said we are able to efficiently utilize our Tier 1, Tier 2 delivering structure. And because we do have wage inflation in a number of regions, so by having this Tier 1, Tier 2 we are able to redeploy the resources and to stop growing in those places where the inflation is higher. To give you one example in Moscow we had wage inflation kind of top-end 10% last year. So basically we essentially stopped growing and even shrank our operations a bit over there.

And with the transition to fixed price, it’s fair to say that because we need to invest in the first year, so the first year impact is usually negative, but it is compensated for and it has greater potential in the second and especially third year. So we can say that the measures that we have basically done in the last couple of years have started to kick in.

Also we have favorable foreign currency scenario with Russian Rouble, Romanian Leu, Polish Zloty being kind of at lower levels than what we had last year and because we have those currencies, we are basically net short positions with those currencies that gives is us also additional boost to the earnings.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Speaking of currency I guess Ukraine I am curious you have got a pretty big delivery exposure in Ukraine, anything to consider in terms of currency impact there, anyway to hedge or trends on wages to consider as we look to '14?

Roman Yakushkin

Ukraine is different, because in Ukraine while Hryvnia is the settlement currency it is typically not a currency in which the contacts are denominated, so basically while we pay to our employees in Hryvnia the contracts with them are in fact all denominated in U.S. dollars. So that's why our exposure to Hryvnia is virtually non-existent, because it's all passed to USD.

And that's the only and we do this just because this is basically the way all the other companies do in Ukraine it's kind of pattern which most of the players on the market have that here to.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Alright, good any questions from the audience? Otherwise I can keep going? Yes?

Unidentified Analyst

[Indiscernible]…if you look at your business model I mean it appears you have established relationships with your…

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

You have established relationships with your existing clients and a lot of your growth has come from building those relationships overtime. I am assuming that your compositors have established relationships, how do you compete for business and how much shifting do we see at the large contracts within the space?

Alina Plaia

Let me take that one, hi guys and thank you so much for your interest. The way we compete we actually try to think about us going after certain domains within client, if you look at the enterprise you have a back-end has been historically monopolized by the Indian providers, they definitely optimized it, it's kind of the traditional outsourcing model where we play, we start usually in the middle office and then we actually target the front office.

And we target certain domains within front office, and we target certain transformational engagements, so especially thus as the case in the last couple of years there are business model and our kind of competitive strategy became a lot more laser focused if you will.

So when we do compete at this point we actually encounter very little competition from what you call a usual suspect. In the middle office it's definitely the case but in the front office we compete either with internal IT or we actually are capable to extend a bandwidth of internal IT. As it is the case for example with the UBS, or we compete with Tier 1 suppliers and Tier 2 suppliers as it is the case in automotive verticals. So a competition there would be dealt by who is actually our client, electro beat and the like.

So when we do compete Roman actually went through the competitive landscape picture. Basically if you look at the usual suspects of the ITO services, the way we compete with the last quarter and if you remember there were large IT companies from India is basically on our agility on the quality of work and our clients would really give you probably very satisfactory overview of what we do and how we do it and the responsiveness for clients and with the upper quadrant where the Accenture’s of the world, McKenzie’s of the world lie defiantly the cost would be the big thing and also the agility and the responsiveness to clients.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Maybe I wanted to ask --, we get some questions about the automotive sector, and you have done it quite well there in connected car and there is some big themes in general can you just quickly update us on sort of the products that you have in place and the newer initiatives and what's happening on the ground on the auto sector?

Alina Plaia

Yes absolutely. We have that’s definitely really, really cool actually and theme that so many people can relate to the cars of 2016 and 2017 will respond to gestures, they will have completely brand new navigation screens, it’s not what we are really used to seeing. So, what we’re working on and one of the reasons why as Roman mentioned, we opened the office in Stuttgart is to be closer to OEMs who are the end customers of Harman which is the large -- our number three client, is because the next generation navigation we are working on it’s going to be probably most likely projected on a glass on the front gas of the window, it’s very fun but it’s very complex project and you really have to know the domain very well, you have to know the automotive domain, you have to know obviously the math. So, we have very advanced engineers working PhDs in implied math and so on so forth who are working on that.

Also, HMI we have a product actually two chain, that’s [Tiara] if you look at our perspective initially it was called Swift, we augmented it with several detail such as HTML 5 technology and basically this is a two chain for a rapid prototyping and development of automotive HMI. So, it basically helps speed our clients up to market and creating whatever they want to create for their consumer of tomorrow.

Another exciting thing that we had was we had ID link which was the connectivity platform that’s basically connectivity platform that recognizes whatever device consumer has in the pocket and then connects it to the head unit of the car. We collaborated with Ford, we cooperated with them on this work with GENIVI Alliance if you guys don’t know what GENIVI Alliance is basically aligns of some of the world’s largest OEMs and together with Ford we created something that’s called smart device link and it became a connectivity standard for all OEMs that are going into the GENIVI Alliance.

So, we’ve definitely created a good name for ourselves within the sector and we’re kind of the go to service provider. And so, it’s going to be a lot of exacting things and then 2016, 2017 cars.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Is there anything large that could be incremental that you’re pursuing in terms of joint ventures or partnerships or is it more just continuing on with existing relationships as you talked about to drive maybe ’14 and ’15 with your automotives vertical?

Alina Plaia

Yes. As you remember we were completing a JV we are still kind of going back and forth on that but the primary goal is really to forge ahead on the work that we do with Harman and with some other providers, it’s about this Ford our direct OEM contract and just focus on that for now.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Just for the clarification of everyone else, how large is the automotive sector and sort of how fast it has been growing, I think it is like low teens as a percent of revenue if I remember?

Roman Yakushkin

Well as a percent of revenue it is today the fastest growing vertical of the Company, it has grown by 65% in the first six months from 8.5% of total revenue to 11.5% of total. So today in terms of size it became vertical number two following the financial services.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

So, high potential accounts you mentioned that in your presentation, can you give us some sense of what verticals some of these players are in, are any of these potentially very chunky deals that could come as early as 2014 just trying to better understand how important some of these wins are?

Roman Yakushkin

We’ve most opportunities I mean with regard to the high potential clients and the financial services automotive and technology verticals, just to give you like an example of CTA with whom we started three years ago and it was a brand new account for us at that time. So we grew in less than three years from scratch to 3.3 million revenues. This year we target at least 9 million of revenues and I believe that this account has a potential to become second Deutsche Bank or second UBS in terms of the volume for the Company. So, this year according to top-10 list. We have another count in the automotive which has a history of less than one year with us and it is already in top-10 list as well.

So, basically those are examples of our kind of anchor development growth strategy work and the high potential accounts delivering triple-digit growth rates and basically becoming the major driving force behind the revenues. We have also some other names in again -- in the same verticals including Credit Suisse, Swiss Global Financial Services, Delphi, Ford or some others in the automotive.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

One of the big themes I think that came out of this earning season amongst your peers that you talked about was that discretionary spending seems quite good. But you’ve also seen some delays in sales cycles for larger deals and implementations. So, obviously you’re growing through both of that. So, I’m just curious what is sort of your view on discretionary spend in general and sort of this theme towards outsourcing. Do you -- any change in the macro environment that you’ve seen in the last couple of quarters worth calling out?

Alina Plaia

How do you guys define discretionary spend because it’s like ongoing not bad or like a friendly bad conversation with investors and with the analysts because in the conventional sense the way we view a discretionary is anything that can be postponed and definitely or cancelled kind of things that are nice to have. How do you define it when you asked that question?

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Short-term project work, things that come and go call it six to nine months in links, you’re right things that can delayed or pushed out maybe less essential work, maybe more innovation driven but things that could get delayed in terms of not needing to do that work to keep the lights on kind of thing?

Alina Plaia

See, we try not to actually focus on that kind of work and that’s probably why our business model is a little less volatile and our revenues are a little less volatile and a lost more sticky and as I like to describe we work on the sort of cardiovascular system of the enterprise we try not to go to the gym and work out and like try to lose some pounds, gain some pounds, we're really just trying to figure out okay what is the priority for the next 24 months, what is the office of the CIO and the office of the CEO and CFO, of each company really has to have in order to survive, especially that's true for the financial services vertical right, because if you can't provide clean data to the regulators whether it’s in London, whether it’s in Germany or to the fed here, then forget about bring your own device projects, right.

I mean in all due respect, so we try to take the volatility and maybe some of the icing off the top of our cake, we’re not subject to the budget flushes, that is also another very popular question, we're a lot more even Steven and perhaps we’re giving up some upside for some steady recurring revenue and steady recurring work.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Okay, good, so maybe just ask a same question in a different way, amongst your top-10 clients then how much visibility do you have in terms of their budget and their spend with Luxoft?

Roman Yakushkin

Well for current year it's basically 100% because we're well into the third quarter and so the remaining four month visibility is still there right. And typically for any given year we have about 90% of revenues, in the beginning of the year as a backlog, and that is due to our contractual relations with the clients so with any given large client we have one master service agreement, which defines just the very generic terms and that acts as an umbrella for all the small agreements which are below them and with Deutsche Bank we have the same time 300-400 projects, riding simultaneously with UBS it’s about 100 projects right.

So typically in most cases the resigning those once per year coincides with calendar year and our own fiscal year starts from April 1st right, so by the time our financial year starts the resigning process is normally done, so basically we can reasonably say that 90% of the revenues is clearly visible at this point.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Alright, good, that's perfect. Any other -- couple of questions, yes, please?

Unidentified Analyst

Could you talk about sourcing employees as you continue to grow, is it becoming any more difficult competing for talent? And then secondarily why did you a secondary so soon after the IPO, what was the need for the funds?

Roman Yakushkin

Well the secondary it’s easy, it’s our minority shareholders VTB Asset Management decided to sell the position before the end of this calendar year, so they initiated this ATSPO and other shareholders didn’t sell during that time.

Alina Plaia

It was a welcome clean up trade, because we were in the no dry, no liquidity, so now we doubled basic there.

Roman Yakushkin

It has improved liquidity it eliminated some overhang that investors were slightly cautious about so that was very positive and reflected in the positive movement of stock price as well. So with one of these tail-end question, well we believe we still have plenty of room to grow within our existing driver that we target again Central Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Romania, in Poland we still have plenty of room to grow and we are present only in limited number of cities and we can always kind of expand by moving into, by opening traditional, additional locations within our existing generals and Kevin said that we are also planning to expand further and probably will open one brand new location in Central and Eastern Europe later this year.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Anything else? I'll ask about M&A, along the same lines there Roman, I think with the idea of your targets would you be looking to add delivery sensors, through an inorganic deal or is it more adding product lines and specific protocols, or maybe entering new verticals?

Roman Yakushkin

Well the Company was growing mostly organically in its 13 year history, we did only two M&A’s in the process, one was done in 2006 and another was done in 2008, which was quite long time ago so basically we believe that today, we have more than enough capabilities to continue I mean to continue growing organically and we would not need M&A’s to boost the scalability. We also believe that we would be more efficient if, whenever we decide to expand to new locations, so for us the focus would be on the takeover targets that would bring to the Company some new technologies, new expertise or kind of would give us an opportunity to establish foothold in the new fields with even existing accounts, just to give you an example, in the beginning of this calendar year we bought the assets of the small U.S. company called Freedom and by doing this we were able to enter, to penetrate the wealth management segment with UBS where we were not presented before.

So basically that's where our kind of key interest in M&A lies and we’re planning to, well basically we’re looking at a number of takeover targets today, to execute the deal next year. In terms of the size we are looking at more kind of rather small acquisition ranging from somewhere around $5 million to up to maybe $50 million.

Tianjiao Wang - JP Morgan

Right, terrific, we should probably stop there, really appreciate you being here and thank you for having that.

Alina Plaia

Thank you for having us on.

Roman Yakushkin

Thank you.

Alina Plaia

Thank you guys.

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