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MICROS Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:MCRS)

F3Q 2014 Earnings Conference Call

May 1, 2014 04:45 PM ET

Executives

Peter Rogers - EVP, IR

Peter Altabef - President and CEO

Cindy Russo - EVP and CFO

Analysts

Gil Luria - Wedbush Securities

Dan Perlin - RBC Capital Markets

Keith Housum - Northcoast Research

Tom McCrohan - Janney Montgomery Scott

Tony Abbate - Granite Value Capital

Operator

Welcome to the Fiscal 2014 Third Quarter Call. During the presentation all participants will be in a listen only mode. Afterwards we will conduction a question and answer session (Operator Instructions). As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Thursday, May 1, 2014.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Peter Rogers, Executive Vice President. Please go ahead, sir.

Peter Rogers

Thank you. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the entire MICROS team assembled here today, I thank you for joining us to discuss our fiscal 2014 third quarter fiscal results which we released today after the market closed.

I'm here today with Peter Altabef, our President and CEO; Cindy Russo, our CFO; and Thomas Patz, our Chief Legal Counsel and EVP of Strategic Initiatives. I will start by reading a Safe Harbor statement and then turn the call over to Peter Altabef for his comments.

Some of the comments today are forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, such as the uncertainties of product demand and market acceptance, the impact of competitor products and pricing on margins, the ability to obtain on acceptable terms the right to incorporate in MICROS' products and services technology patented by others, environmental and health-related events, unanticipated tax liabilities and the effects of terrorist activity and armed conflict.

MICROS’ undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements to conform to actual results, or changes in MICROS' expectations. Other risks and uncertainties associated with MICROS' business are identified in the Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and Business Investment Risk sections of MICROS' SEC filings.

I’ll now turn the call over to Peter Altabef, MICROS’ CEO and President. Peter?

Peter Altabef

Thank you, Peter and good afternoon everyone. We reported revenue of $349 million, an increase of $33.9 million or 10.7% over a year ago and 10.2% on a constant currency. The quarter revenue is a record for MICROS and the revenue growth is all organic.

Our third quarter non-GAAP net income was $55 million producing an EPS of $0.72, $0.07 above expectations. Our strong profit performance was driven by higher than expected revenue, a lower tax rate, and continued reduction in our share count. Our quarterly EPS performance is a record both on a non-GAAP and GAAP basis. Our food and beverage vertical recorded an excellent quarter with revenue increasing 15.9% over a year ago and 11.6% for nine months. Demand was strong in our two segments, U.S. Canada and international. The demand is being driven by several factors, such as an improved business environment, sites upgrading from Microsoft XP based software and new client wins.

Our SONIC rollout is proceeding well with 350 sites installed. Our Simphony product which is gaining momentum in the market was selected by several U.S. food and beverage chains including Ovation brands with 350 sites, Bruegger's Bagels with about 300 sites and a major global hotel chain. Internationally, we were selected by the 35 site Norwegian Dolly Dimple's pizza chain and the more than 600 site Australian QSR restaurant company, which includes the Red Rooster brand.

The hotel vertical also had a strong quarter with revenue increasing 14.3% versus a year ago and 7.8% year--date. Demand was strong in both reporting segments. Noticeable is the demand for OPERA from independent and smaller chains, several of which are new clients. We were selected to install OPERA in Foxwoods Resort & Casino. Great Stone Hotels a California based hotel chain selected OPERA delivered on our SaaS platform.

Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, a Singapore-based hotel chain, selected our reservation system myfidelio to be deployed with its current OPERA platform. GJP Hotels, a Brazilian hotel chain selected both OPERA and Simphony. And another significant event was the decision by Carlson Hotels to move over 500 hotels installed with OPERA On-Premise to our hosted solution. These hotels will join the over 500 Carlson Country Inns & Suites which already use OPERA SaaS.

The retail vertical declined to 2.2% versus a year ago with revenue up slightly at 0.6% on a year to date basis. The decline in the quarter was principally caused by a reduction in the Nordic and Benelux regions due to difficult comparisons versus the prior year. We expect modest revenue growth in the fourth quarter. In the quarter we won significant deal with Comex of Mexico, a large paint retailer. Bonmarche of Great Britain selected Retail-J and our multichannel hub software solution. Brooks Brothers selected Relate solution and both Trans World Entertainment and Samsonite selected Xstore.

Looking at our lines of business, hardware demonstrated significant strength with revenue increasing 21.8% versus a year ago and 10.6% on a year to date basis. The hardware performance is driven mainly by surging food and beverage demand. Software license revenue grew 6.6% on a quarterly basis and 11.3% year-to-date. Service revenue grew 8.1% on a quarterly basis and 5.8% on a year to date basis. We had a strong showing in our cloud based business with revenue growing 20.3% on a quarterly basis versus a year ago and 11.8% year to date. The SaaS hosting quarterly results will continue to fluctuate as our offerings mature but we are excited about the growing client interest in our expanding cloud based platforms.

We held an Investor Day in February, during which we presented our business and product strategy by vertical and a comprehensive view of the markets we serve. Additionally, we highlighted our portfolio of software service and hardware solutions. The presentation is available in the Investor Relations section of our website. The growing strength of our business reflects the wide range of leading solutions we have for clients and our global distribution. The investments we are making in additional product development and SaaS hosting infrastructure are paying off with significant client wins.

I will now turn the call over to Cindy for an explanation of our financials. Cindy?

Cindy Russo

Thank you, Peter. Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. As Peter stated, we had a quarter of strong revenue growth and financial performance. I will focus my comments on geographical revenue performance, margins, cash flow and the balance sheet. Quarterly revenue increased $33.9 million or 10.7% on an as reported basis. On a constant currency basis, revenues increased 10.2% over the prior Q3. While the effects of foreign exchange were not material to the consolidated financials, there were meaningful impacts in the three regions of our international reporting segment.

The U.S. Canada segment grew 20.5% over the year ago quarter driven by strong food and beverage and hotel vertical performance. The international segments grew 4.5% on a reported basis and 3.5% on a constant currency. Sales in EAME grew 5.9% on a reported basis and 0.7% in constant currency. The strengthening of the pound and the euro was beneficial to reported revenue.

Similar to last quarter, our teams in the United Kingdom led the pack as we continue rollouts in an improving economic environment. Conversely but Asia Pacific and Latin America experienced a material, unfavorable impact due to the movements of several currencies. Asia Pacific reported revenue growth of 0.7% yet grew 9.3% in constant currency. Many areas of the region exhibit solid growth with China, Indonesia and Taiwan topping the list. Latin American reported revenue growth of 1.6%, yet grew 12.3% on a constant currency basis.

Peter mentioned a few wins in the hotel and retail verticals here, and we can certainly see the impact of the sales execution. Our gross margin for the quarter was 52.1% versus 52.5% a year ago. The decline is attributable to this quarter’s revenue mix. In fact margins in hardware and services both grew in the period and software margins remain strong. In terms of mix, hardware revenue represented 22.5% of revenue this quarter versus 20.5% a year ago, an increase of 200 basis points.

As hardware margins are lower than margins in our software and service lines of business, this had a dilutive effect on our total gross margins to the tune of 40 basis points. Our hardware backlog is strong and we currently anticipate another two to three quarters of heavier hardware rollouts before we move back towards our historical mix. Recurring revenues were a record $152.8 million, an increase of $9.6 million or 6.7% over a year ago. To break this down; SaaS hosting revenue was $26.1 million, a 20.3% increase; maintenance revenue was $126.7 million, an increase of $5.2 million or 4.3%.

Our non-GAAP quarterly operating margin grew 8.4% over the prior year, while net income grew 10.8% aided by a lower tax rate in the interim period. The Company’s Q3 non-GAAP effective tax rate of 23.4% was impacted by a favorable jurisdictional mix of earnings in the second half of fiscal 2014. For the full year we project a non-GAAP tax rate of approximately 30.5%.

Our non-GAAP EPS was $0.72, up from $0.62 last year. The $0.10 increase is due to a $0.05 increase from operations, $0.02 from a lower Q3 tax rate, and $0.03 provided by our lower outstanding share count. We continue our share buyback with our diluted share count down 3.7 million shares versus a year ago, a 4.6% share count reduction. We took advantage of the pull back in our stock price later in the quarter and repurchased 1.1 million shares for $59.3 million in Q3. Thus far in Q4, we have repurchased 500,000 shares. There are currently $211 million remaining to be purchased in the plan.

Now turning to the balance sheet; our cash position at quarter end was $658.4 million. Our domestic holdings are $234 million or 36% of cash while $424 million resides in our subsidiaries outside of the United States. Our free cash flow for the nine months period was $141.7 million, an increase of $17.3% over the same time frame last year. Cash flows provided by operating activities increased 26.3% to $176.7 million, offset by capital expenditures of 26.6 million and capitalized product development of $8.4 million. Our day sales outstanding were 68.4 days, versus 68.2 days the year ago quarter, essentially flat. DSOs increased 10.6 days over December to typically seasonally increase. We should see a decrease in our DSOs for the June quarter. International DSOs were 82.5 days while the U.S. Canada DSOs were 47.9 days.

Inventories at March 31st amounted to $63.6 million, a $5 million increase from December 2013 in order to support an expected strong fourth quarter demand. Overall we are pleased with our healthy balance sheet, solid cash flows and earnings. We feel that we are well positioned for strong finish to fiscal 2014 and continued growth in fiscal 2015.

I will now turn the call back to Peter.

Peter Altabef

Thank you, Cindy. Given our results for the nine months, we are now raising our fiscal 2014 guidance with revenue now expected to be between $1.360 billion and $1.385 billion and non-GAAP EPS between $2.53 and $2.57. Cerci, we will now take questions.

Question-And-Answer Session

Operator

Certainly, thank you. (Operator Instructions) And our first question comes from the line of Gil Luria with Wedbush Securities. Please proceed with your question.

Gil Luria - Wedbush Securities

You provide a great level of detail, but I wanted to drill on a couple of different points. First, food and beverage, U.S. small restaurants, is that part of the healthy mix or was it all the national chains?

Cindy Russo

Food and beverage overall in the United States was very strong and it was a combination of both major account and independent restaurants.

Gil Luria - Wedbush Securities

Great. And then retail. Is U.S. retail -- you named a couple of issues internationally for retail in Europe. But is U.S. retail still growing? Did U.S. retail grow in the quarter?

Peter Altabef

Yes, Gil, thank you for both questions. It did. So our U.S. retail actually performed well in the quarter relative to EAME and it did grow. So it was a disappointing quarter at EAME. It was not completely unforeseen. So with respect to the Nordics and Benelux, we had in Benelux a government contract that had already been terminated and was just winding down in the third quarter of last year. And in the Nordics we had a one-time hardware purchase. Both of those really dampened our European business and hurt the quarter-on-quarter comparisons. In U.S. Canada we had what I would consider nice growth.

With respect to retail overall, those are not the numbers I would have hoped we had posted. However it does kind of go to diversity of the company. And when we look at a company the size of MICROS, I think we are fairly well diverse while keeping focus. So retail really performed extremely strongly for us in FY13, stronger than food and beverage or hotel. This year we’re seeing the reverse. So those three verticals, while similar tend to be a little counter cyclical to one another. From a geographic diversity region, only 43% of our revenue is U.S. and Canada. So I think again for a Company our size we’ve got good geographic diversity. You especially see that with respect to currency swings in our three other regions. So this quarter Asia Pacific and Latin America clearly went strongly against us on the currency side while Europe favored us on the currency side.

And then from delivery standpoint we have delivery diversity. So we’re focusing both on license as well as SaaS in terms of ways to get our software to our clients and then in terms of the way they physically will appreciate that software, they can do it both in on premise or in cloud. So I do believe that we’re fairly well balanced again for a company of our size. And those quarters will happen in the different verticals.

Operator

The next question comes from the line of Dan Perlin with RBC Capital Markets. Please proceed with your question.

Dan Perlin - RBC Capital Markets

So, I wanted to just talk a little bit about hardware in aggregate for a second. The growth rate on that number was pretty significant. You called out XP upgrades and improving demand environment. I wanted to kind of parse that if I could a little bit, and just try to get a sense of the order of magnitude. So is the XP switch-over, is that a major driver to this upgrade or is it just a catalyst for discussion, and then you kind of go in with some incremental products, and that's what's driving the bigger ticket?

Peter Altabef

Dan, again we referenced it for couple of reasons and pointed it out. First of all, there clearly is an XP affect although it’s difficult as you would appreciate to understand exactly how strong it is. So it’s pretty clear if it’s at existing client that has an XP machine and it is moving to another piece of hardware. It’s less clear if it’s an XP client using someone’s software and then have to modernize and so modernize along with us. So it’s not so easy to parse it out, but there clearly is an XP effect. Because you do -- the hardware uptick is concentrated in our food and beverage line.

You saw that growth from the 20.5 to the 22.5 quarter-on-quarter I would say to you, if I look long term for us, we’re kind of expecting hardware to be in the 20% rate. So, we do expect at some point that may come down a little bit. In terms of the XP cycle and where we are in the XP cycle, XP is now not being updated by Microsoft, which means from a PCI compliance standpoint it’s kind an out of compliance. You would have thought therefore that anyone who is going to upgrade from XP has already done it. That is not the case. So, there is still a fair amount of us stuck out there and the question is will people now actually do it or has everybody who has done it -- will do it. Our view is that there is more of the XP upgrades to come. We see kind of a winding down through the end of this calendar year. I don’t know if that helps you. I’m not sure if Cindy has any more specific loss but I’ll turn it over to Cindy.

Cindy Russo

No, that’s correct. Right now we anticipate having that higher percentage of overall revenue very consistent with this quarter for the next couple of quarters until the end of course winding down and what I would say our second quarter of fiscal year ’15 by going through calendar year.

Dan Perlin - RBC Capital Markets

Okay. So the call-out for the two or three quarters of hardware running at this -- it's unclear, running at this level is mix. So 22.5% of total, we’re running kind of in that forward for the next couple of quarters and you're saying, is that right Cindy? I am sorry.

Cindy Russo

I am sorry. Yes, if gross high is 22.5 this quarter and I do expect it to slowly come down over that time frame until the end of calendar 2014.

Dan Perlin - RBC Capital Markets

Okay. We'll take growth however we get it. The other question I just had also still in this hardware vein is how much of that is driven, if we just forget XP for a second. In terms of hardware replacement cycles just being compressed because of this XP and/or new client wins. Is this an existing book that's getting refreshed or this the incremental new client that's coming onboard?

Peter Altabef

I think it’s a combination of both. But I can’t parse it out in more detail. Cindy maybe able to in a follow up for you but I’d say a combination of both. You see in general the food and beverage business doing pretty well for us and we are writing as I pointed out in my comments some real momentum with the Simphony product and we’re finding real success with that. So we’re very excited about it.

Dan Perlin - RBC Capital Markets

And then just on the kind of aggregate margin, operating margin side. I know earlier in the year, I think you had promised for a little bit of margin expansion. I think the way the guidance plays out just tweaking my model a little bit it looks like it would be flat to a little bit down. I guess two things one is, is that consistent with what you're telling us today? And then, two, if it isn't, is there some sort of balance that we just need to be a little bit more mindful of in terms of achieving this revenue growth, but also reinvesting? Thanks.

Peter Altabef

I’ll take a little bit of that and then hand it over to Cindy for more substantive answers. In terms of the gross margin number, the gross margin number for us obviously was down against a year ago quarter as Cindy pointed out. You can trace that pretty much completely to the mix change because hardware as you know has a lower gross margin for us than software and services. In terms of the operating margin number we have consciously did investing, both in application development and in hosting SaaS capabilities. So we have put a little more money into that and frankly have taken a little advantage of the higher revenue growth to make sure we do that. But from an operating margin standpoint I think you’re seeing us now being fairly disciplined about it but I’ll turn that over to Cindy.

Cindy Russo

Yes, I mean, you could see from this quarter the revenue growth of 10.7$ and this quarter our operating margin increased compared to other quarters from this fiscal year up to 8.4%. So we definitely heavily invested more heavily in the beginning of the year and it has reduced as most of our hosting centers, as Peter stated last quarter had been completed. We will be giving updates but the infrastructure is in place. But we will continue on from an R&D and then overall infrastructure will continue to invest.

Operator

The next question comes from the line of Keith Housum with Northcoast Research. Please proceed with your question.

Keith Housum - Northcoast Research

Could you guys give me an update on your tablet rollouts? The mTablet mStation that has been out there for a while now. And if I recall correctly, your retail tablet may not yet be out the other maybe, just to get out there. But give us an update on how it’s being received in the market and what your expectations are going forward for those devices.

Peter Altabef

Yes, thanks. So our first tablet has been out for a while that if you recall is a bit of a flagship tablet in a sense that it is hardened, it operates at different temperature ranges than most tablets. It has a different screen that can be visible in bright sunlight. We’re finding that particular model to be incredibly useful in the stadium and arena business. And it is a little more expensive than a typical tablet but it really shines in that environment or in a beach front environment. Over time you will see us release additional tablets which will be a little more standard in terms of those specific issues but they’ll also come in at a lower price point. And we will be excited about those I am looking at Cindy to find out we made an announcement of those tablets yet and we have not. But they will be coming.

Keith Housum - Northcoast Research

Okay. And then, are you seeing the adoption of the mTablet within the restaurants themselves or is this primarily in the outdoor arenas where you’re seeing that most accepted?

Peter Altabef

We’re seeing it in restaurants but I would say the bulk of the demand is more in an outdoor context because of its kind of industrial strength format, which is one of the reasons why we’re coming up and we’ll be rolling out the other form factors for the tablets. In addition to our own hardware of course one of the things we’re doing is making sure that our software is hardware agnostic. So you will find our Simphony software will be able to run on both Microsoft, iOS as well as Android. So we will have a very healthy and I feel very good about our hardware developments to come but we’re not relying on our hardware to move our software.

Keith Housum - Northcoast Research

Okay. And if I can just squeeze one question more here. Services were up great for the quarter. Do you think those services benefited from the large increase that you had in the hotels for the quarter?

Cindy Russo

Service revenue obviously did increase quite a bit SaaS and hosting was the largest growth percentage and the labor. That is factor of large increase in food and beverage and also the hotel vertical.

Operator

The next question comes from the line of Tom McCrohan with MICROS. Please proceed with your question.

Tom McCrohan - Janney Montgomery Scott

Hi. I don't think I work for MICROS, but good company.

Peter Altabef

But Tom you could still sound like a MICROS person if you want to.

Tom McCrohan - Janney Montgomery Scott

Peter, within food and beverage, the surging demand you’re seeing, is that specific to MICROS solutions or is it a situation of a rising tide lifting all boats?

Peter Altabef

I think both. I think there is -- food beverage had a tough year last year as you know. I think there is growing demand for new platforms in food and beverage in addition obviously to the XP situation. I also -- so I don’t think we can take complete credit for it at all I think. It is rising demand. On the other point I do think we take some credit for this. Our new platforms are being very well received in the market. So I think it’s a little of both, Tom.

Tom McCrohan - Janney Montgomery Scott

Is this any call out Peter, that is specifically differentiated of what your, within the food and beverage segment, something differentiated you folks are offering today, relative to the competition that you can call on?

Peter Altabef

I make it a point not to actually compare us to the competition pretty much ever. But I will tell you that our Simphony solution is a cloud based solution. It is enterprise wide. The data analytics again are all cloud based we’ve provided in a hosted or cloud services environment that we will provide for our clients could host it themselves. And it is global. I mean it’s in all four regions of the world and so for any substantial client that wants to put in a unified platform across the globe that’s enterprise wide it’s really a very powerful solution. So that’s as salesy [ph] as I get on these calls and I do that Tom because although we think you’re from Janney, you are really from MICROS. But it is really a product we’re very proud of and it’s doing very well.

Tom McCrohan - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC

Excellent. One last question, if I can squeeze it in. The decision by Carlson Hotels to shift from on-site to hosted, is that a trend that you think is going to pick up amongst your existing hotel chain? And if so, how should we be thinking about it from the financial and tech perspective.

Peter Altabef

Well, it’s interesting. I do believe it will be a trend and I think it’s a good trend. Carlson in particular and the reason and I devoted two sentences to it was not only because of the size, the number of units but because of where they are in their decision making framework. So we’re already providing to Carlson for 500 of their hotels, a SaaS hosted solution. And the difference for these calls for us between SaaS and hosted is SaaS is where we are effectively not separately providing -- charging for a license. It’s all built in. Whereas hosted is where they have already purchased where they buy separately a license and we provide the datacenter.

So for these calls we’ve created for you if you will a financial distinction between the two rather than a technical one. But at the end of the day some of our clients are large enough that and especially given the franchisee nature of their business -- even if we do a deal with one client so to speak, we’re still sending out invoices to many, many franchisees all around the world. So there isn’t a huge amount of distinction when we’re providing these services between SaaS and hosted but that is one way we look at it.

With respect to Carlson, what I find reassuring and the reason I pointed it out is because they’re already got 500 of their hotel sites that are on -- that we’re providing those SaaS hosted services for. They already have on premise solution for their other 500 and then they’ve chosen to convert those and give them to us, which I think is a pretty sign of confidence both in the economic model for our SaaS and hosting and in the quality of the delivery model.

Operator

(Operator Instructions) The next question comes from the line of Tony Abbate with Granite Value Capital. Please proceed with your question.

Tony Abbate - Granite Value Capital

Quick question for you I just wanted to find out your thought process behind share buybacks. Do you tend to look at the price of the stock and buy more when it's down or are you looking to do certain amount per quarter or try to offset option dilution? So any thoughts you have would be appreciated. Thank you

Cindy Russo

Sure. I mean overall as a Company we have a very strong cash flow and because of that and as always as a Company we’ll review our capital allocation strategy regularly and make adjustments when needed. One of the important factors is our share buyback. We do have a plan and a focus and the beginning of the year on but we do -- depending upon the quarter there are some fluctuations based upon stock price in our model that we do buy a little bit more when the stock price does go down. But of course our capital allocation plan also we look at -- as you’ve seen in our increase in reinvestment in the business and the R&D spend and then of course we’re always looking from an M&A perspective both domestically and aboard and make sure that we return our excess capital to our shareholders in the most efficient manner.

Peter Altabef

Tony, as Cindy said, we are pretty disciplined about this. I think those of you who have followed the Company for a while know that we really had a fee chain -- a fee [ph] change in our approach to stock buyback really starting early last year. Before that historically the Company had really focused on a share maintenance progress program where a lot of the share buyback was to make sure that from option issuances and otherwise there wasn’t a lot of dilution. We looked at -- we relooked at our program early last year and felt that given the opportunities and given the returns to our shareholders associated with the buyback and our cash flow ability to do that, we would dramatically ramp up the buyback which we did. And you saw us over the course of last year execute that. And I think you’re seeing us over the course of this year continue that execution, roughly at the same level as last year. Now that may or may not change in the future but that’s what you’re seeing from us, pretty consistent behavior.

Operator

Mr. Rogers, there are no further questions at this time. I’ll turn the call back to you.

Peter Rogers

So thank you to our investors, shareholders, initial parties. Thank you very much. Appreciate that and we’ll be talking again in our fiscal ’14 year end call in the end of August. Thank you very much for your time today.

Peter Altabef

Thanks everyone.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude the conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your line.

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