Telenav's (TNAV) CEO HP Jin on Q4 2014 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

| About: Telenav, Inc. (TNAV)

Telenav, Inc. (NASDAQ:TNAV)

Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call

July 31, 2014 5:00 p.m. ET


Alice Kousoum - IR

HP Jin - President & CEO

Mike Strambi - CFO


Greg Burns - Sidoti


Good day everyone, and welcome to the Telenav Fourth Quarter 2014 Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded.

At this time, I'd like to turn the call over to Alice Kousoum, Investor Relations. Please go ahead, ma'am.

Alice Kousoum

Thank you, Jamie. This is Alice Kousoum, Telenav Investor Relations, and I'm pleased to welcome you to Telenav's conference call to discuss its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2014 earnings results.

After the market close today, Telenav issued a press release through Globe Newswire. The release is also available on the Telenav Web site at

During the course of today's presentations, our executives will make forward-looking statements, including statements regarding among others, the company's expected financial performance for the first quarter of fiscal 2015, and full year fiscal 2015, anticipated sources and mixes of revenue, expected profitability, products and business strategies, and strategic relationship.

We wish to caution you that such statements are just predictions based on management's current expectations or beliefs and that actual events or results may differ materially. We refer you to the documents we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K and other periodic filings.

These documents identify important risk factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those contained in our forward-looking statements. We assume no duty to confirm, update or revise the financial forecast for the year or any other forward-looking information in this call, as a result of new developments or otherwise.

Today, we'll be discussing our results on a GAAP as well as non-GAAP basis. These non-GAAP results including adjusted EBITDA, also sometimes called pro forma results, exclude stock-based compensation expenses and assumes that our preferred stock was converted for common stock on a state of issuance for calculations of earnings per share. We use these additional non-GAAP measures as we believe they give useful operating information in addition to the GAAP results.

A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial statements is available on our press release and on our Investor Relations webpage.

As a reminder, we completed the sale of our enterprise business on April 1, 2013 and its net operating results are classified as discontinued operations. The following discussions, unless otherwise indicated are for our continuing operations and exclude discontinued operations relating to the enterprise business.

Let me now turn the call over to HP Jin, Telenav's President and CEO.

HP Jin

Thank you. Thank you for joining Telenav's fourth quarter and fiscal year 2014 earnings call. With me on the call today is our Chief Financial Officer, Mike Strambi.

As you all know, Telenav has been in the business model transition for several years from traditional white label mobile navigation into high-growth automotive navigation and location-based mobile advertising.

We've experienced two consecutive years of significant revenue and profit declines. Our revenue declined 7% in fiscal 2013 and 22% in fiscal '14. Due to our strong execution in these growth areas we have successfully stabilized our revenue decline this quarter, and expect to grow revenue in the coming fiscal year.

Business transitions at our scale are not easy to execute. And I'd like to thank our team for making that happen. We believe that we'll achieve approximately 10% growth on our top line in fiscal 2015. In order to support the growth for fiscal 2015 and beyond, we'll continue to make investments in these high-growth markets. We believe that this investment will allow us to achieve sustainable long-term profitable growth and maintain our market leadership.

After I go over the highlights of this quarter and the year, I'll provide more insights about where we're investing and why they're important to our business short-term and long-term.

Let me now go over the financial highlights. In fiscal 2014, our continued momentum in our automotive and mobile advertising businesses drove revenue from these combined businesses through 58% of total revenue.

We achieved total revenue in the fourth quarter of $34.4 million in line with our guidance compared with $34.5 million last quarter. Automotive revenue in the fourth quarter was $18 million or 52% of the total revenue.

Mobile advertising revenue in the fourth quarter was $3.8 million or 11% of total revenue, up over 150% year-over-year and 32% sequentially.

Now, moving on to our business highlights. We had an exciting year in our automotive business, including the extension of our agreement with Ford, and our new strategic partnership with another top five global OEM.

We're also excited about overall industry trend towards more and more connected cars, which is a new paradigm shift that presents a lot of opportunities for players like Telenav.

Let me provide you a few updates on our current roll outs with Ford. With still expect to be embedded in all 24 and the Lincoln models in North America in the fall. And we remain on track to launch with Ford Europe on two models in the September quarter.

To provide some context with respect to our other top five global auto OEM, we believe this new partnership will have similar revenue potential when fully deployed globally. We believe our partnership with Ford can generate more than $100 million in annual revenue once fully deployed across all markets.

With this new partner, we anticipate rolling out model year 2017 automobiles in late calendar 2016. We believe that this partner could potentially have a faster global deployment than our Ford partnership.

And we're pleased to announce that we plan to launch with our large Chinese auto OEM in the fall of this year as well. These partnerships have established our reputation as the leading supplier of embedded and the connected navigation across all regions and platforms for global auto OEMs.

We believe another auto industry trend is that large OEMs are looking for single partner for global coverage in order to achieve operational efficiency, consistent experience across platforms in the globe and a faster innovation to compete in the market. Telenav is the only company in the industry working two of the top five OEMs on a global navigation sourcing as a single provider.

We believe our market leadership and technology differentiation will be instrumental in our ongoing discussions with other auto OEMs and positions us to expand our market share in embedded and connected navigation.

For example, we have just been awarded a contract by a top ten global automotive OEM based in Europe to work on a proof-of-concept for next-generation connected navigation system to provide a similar experience between smartphone and the in-car infotainment system. This proof-of-concept will provide OEMs customers a more integrated and customized experiences compared with Apple CarPlay and Google's Auto Link, and allow them to differentiate from other OEMs.

As a part of our Skobbler acquisition, we're engaged with a smart division of Mercedes on an OSM-based brought-in smartphone navigation application, which is already launched in Europe and USA.

We now have a growing presence in Europe, which is enabling us to win the confidence of local OEMs. Prior to the acquisition of Skobbler, Telenav was not in discussion with any European OEMs, and in the last three months we have received several requests from local OEMs for our [SKUs] (ph).

Now, let me brief you on the progresses we've made in second key growth area; location-based mobile advertising business. Mobile advertising revenue in fiscal 2014 was 8% of the total revenue, up approximately 200% year-over-year. For this quarter, we achieved 32% sequential revenue growth.

Looking forward, we anticipate mobile advertising revenue to represent 17% to 20% of the total revenue, all growth at the midpoint of over 150% in fiscal 2015. Our fast growth is being driven by market awareness related to our Thinknear solution, and with the overall increase adoption of location-based mobile advertising.

As location becomes more and more important in mobile local advertising, we continue to lead the industry with innovative technology and products. In May, we launched Location Score, an industry-first initiative to measure the accuracy of location data used in mobile marketing campaigns to improve targeting and contain performance for marketers.

The Location Score is a zero to 100 point scale that helps marketers understand the quality of location data used in their campaigns. By emphasizing the accuracy of location, Telenav's Thinknear solution we've made the industry more aware that often times location-oriented campaigns are not reliable.

Our Thinknear platform not only allow us to measure the Location Score, but also help to improve the location accuracy to ensure that our advertiser's ad are delivered to the right location at the right time.

Also in the quarter, GeoCookie's all product focus on re-targeting was awarded top owners in the mobile category in the Location Search Association's Ad to Action awards, a program dedicated to highlighting the most effective and creative technologies in the local advertising space. We believe this award validates the strength of our technology to enable advertisers to better reach their targeted audience in mobile marketing campaigns.

Now, I'd like to discuss our progress in OSM, OpenStreetMaps. We launched OSM on Scout for iPhone and Android in the U.S. during this quarter. Since the launch, we have received positive user reviews. We're very excited by the progress we've made in our OSM-based solutions, and we'll continue to work to be at the forefront of providing users more accurate and up-to-date maps than otherwise possible using commercial map data.

Based on the launch, we've been able to validate that our services in the U.S. are equivalent or better than other commercial map data contents.

Also, on iOS and Android, we recently re-branded our Skobbler GPS Navigation app to Scout, which is now available in over 50 app store markets with maps and navigation for almost 200 countries. And lastly, we're excited about the roll out of our Scout OSM SDK that is available to any developer.

Scout SDK is the first commercial-grade navigation for mobile app developers worldwide based on OpenStreetMap, and the first widely available navigation SDK to offer online and offline navigation.

This solution has already attracted interests of significant customers, and we're pleased to have signed on TripAdvisor and support their 140 millions of mobile users worldwide, as well as cycling and running app Strava. We believe our SDK solution will drive awareness of how highly accurate OSM-based maps can be.

Before I turn the call over to Mike, I wanted to go over some details of our fiscal year 2015 guidance and provide more insights about where we're investing, and why they're important to our business, short-term and long-term.

We now expect to see growth in our total revenue in fiscal year 2015; a significant milestone for the company. As noted above, our growing mobile advertising and automotive business require continuing investment to maintain their momentum. As a result, we expect our adjusted EBITDA results to be between (indiscernible) $25 million to $30 million in fiscal 2015. We'll continue to focus efforts on reducing our costs in areas outside of our growth area.

As an example, we've been prudent on our cost structure and we took a workforce reduction of about 15%. With careful monitoring of our operating expenses, we'll continue to make investments we believe are important to our business for both short-term and long-term sustainable healthy growth.

As an example, our investment during this coming year, in our mobile advertising business we plan to increase headcount in our sales team to provide broader coverage across national and local advertisers; also invest into our operations to scale our business efficiently.

With our auto business, we're investing into our Ford relationship to ensure that the product roll out in Europe and China are successful. For long-term revenue alternatives, we're investing into the product development for the second top five OEM opportunity and also other top OEM partnerships.

For long-term growth margin improvement, we're investing significantly into our fed initiatives. As you know, most of our cost of sales in our navigation solution is map cost. For both mobile and auto, we've been successful in using OSM for all of our mobile Scout solutions with a very positive review from customers and our own regimen. If we can achieve same success with auto, then our overall gross margin should see meaningful improvement.

In summary, I want to remind investors that we're strongly focused on driving the growth of the business in the long-term sustainable profitability in order to deliver significant value to our shareholders.

Let me now turn the call over to Mike Strambi, our CFO. Mike?

Mike Strambi

Thanks, HP. As a remainder, we completed the sale of our enterprise business on April 1 of 2013, and its net operating results are reported as income from discontinued operations net of tax for fiscal 2013, and the remainder of our business is reported as income from continuing operations net of tax.

Also a reminder that this portion of the presentation as well as HP's remarks contain forward-looking statements. We encourage you to review our risk factors in our most recent form 10-Q filed with the SEC, which set forth risks and uncertainties that may affect these forward-looking statements.

Let me now discuss results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year in more detail. These discussions unless otherwise indicated are for our continuing operations. Revenue in the fourth fiscal quarter was $34.4 million compared with $34.5 million of revenue in the prior sequential quarter and $47.1 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013. The year-over-year decrease was primarily a result of the extended continuing decline in our carrier business. This was partially offset by growth in our mobile advertising business.

Revenue for fiscal year 2014 was $150.3 million, down from $191.8 million in fiscal year 2013, which again reflects the decline in our carrier business which was partially offset by higher revenues in our automotive and mobile advertising businesses. Automotive revenue for the fourth quarter was $18 million or 52% of total revenue, down from $18.3 million sequentially and $21.6 million year-over-year. The year-over-year decrease was primarily a result of lower revenue from customized engineering services and the order of replacement units from Ford.

For fiscal year 2014, automotive revenue was $75.2 million, up from $71.5 million in the prior year. This growth seems modest because we had $13 million less revenue in customized engineering services and replacement units in fiscal year 2014. More importantly annual revenue from royalties earned on new vehicles outfitted with navigation grew 32% to approximately $69 million due to higher overall take rate, greater penetration into more vehicle models, higher overall vehicle production volumes and expanded international deployment.

Mobile advertising revenue was $3.8 or 11% of revenue, up from $2.9 million in the prior quarter or 32%. For fiscal year 2014, mobile advertising revenue was $11.7 million, up from $3.9 million or 200% than the prior year. In the fourth quarter Ford comprised 60% of revenue compared to 40% than the year ago quarter. For fiscal year 2014 Ford comprised 46% of revenue compared with 34% for the prior year.

AT&T comprised 22% of revenue compared to 24% than the year ago quarter. For fiscal year 2014, AT&T comprised 24% of revenue compared to 28% than the prior year.

Gross margin for the quarter was 55%, down from 59% than the prior quarter, and from 61% than the same quarter last year. For fiscal year 2014, gross margin was 60% down from 64% in the prior year. The year-over-year decrease in gross margin was consistent with our expectations based on the shipping revenue mix toward automotive, which has lower margins due to relatively higher math and POI content cost.

Research and development expenses in the quarter were relatively flat at $16 million up from $15.8 million in the prior quarter and $15 million in the June quarter of last year. For fiscal year 2014, research and development expenses were $60.6 million flat as compared to $60.3 million in the prior year.

Sales and marketing expenses were $8.8 million, down slightly from $8.9 million in the March quarter and up from $7.7 million in the same quarter last year. For fiscal year 2014, sales and marketing expenses were $33.1 million, up from $30.4 million in the prior year primarily due to our efforts to expand our advertising sales capabilities.

General and administrative expenses were $6.7 million compared to $6.9 million with the prior quarter and up from $6.1 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013. For fiscal year 2014, general and administrative expenses were 26.2 million, up from $24.8 million in the prior year.

We experienced a net loss for the fourth quarter of $18 million or $0.46 per diluted share compared to a net loss of $7.6 million or $0.19 per diluted share in the prior quarter, and a net loss of $900,000 or $0.02 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013.

The sequential decrease was primarily a result of the impact of $7.4 million write-off of deferred tax assets and $3.6 million in restructuring costs primarily associated with a reduction in workforce. For fiscal year 2014, we had a net loss of $29.5 million or $0.76 per diluted share compared to net income of $5.6 million or $0.13 per diluted share in the prior year. The decrease was a result of lower revenue and lower gross margins.

We generated an adjusted EBITDA loss of $7.4 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014, exclusive of a restructuring charge of $3.6 million as compared to a $6.8 million loss in the prior quarter and $4.2 million profit in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2013, exclusive of a restructuring charge of $1.7 million.

For fiscal year 2014, our adjusted EBITDA loss was $12.1 million exclusive of a restructuring charge of $4.4 million compared to $25.5 million adjusted EBITDA profit in the prior year exclusive of a restructuring charge of $1.7 million. Excluding the negative effect of recording a reserve against deferred tax assets of $7.4 million, we recorded an income tax benefit in fiscal year 2014 of $11.4 million on a GAAP basis. Once we follow our related tax return for fiscal year 2014, we expect to receive a tax refund in fiscal year 2015 of approximately $8 million.

Turning to the balance sheet, we continue to be debt free and ended the June quarter with approximately $137 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments compared to $146 million as of March 31 quarter end. The decrease in cash is primarily a result of the adjusted EBITDA loss of $7.4 million.

We ended the quarter with 639 full time employees, a decrease from 733 at the March 2014 quarter end. As I mentioned earlier, we conducted a reduction in workforce in the June 2014 quarter to realign our resources toward our higher growth businesses.

Let me now discuss the highlights of our business outlook for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 and the full fiscal year. The full guidance is discussed in our earnings press release. Our expectation for the September quarter are as follows; total revenue is expected to be $34 million to $36 million. Within our two growth segments, automotive revenue is expected to be approximately 55% of total revenue while mobile advertising revenue is expected to be approximately 13% of total revenue.

GAAP gross margin is expected to be 52% to 53%. GAAP operating expenses are expected to be $32 million to $33 million. GAAP net loss is expected to be $12 million to $13 million.

We also provide guidance for certain non-GAAP financial metrics including adjusted EBITDA. The metric a key performance indicator for the company that management closely tracks as it is a very good proxy for measuring operating cash flow as it excludes the effect of certain non-cash related charges.

For the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 we expect our adjusted EBITDA loss to be between $8 million and $9 million. This metric is calculated as GAAP net loss adjusted for the impact of approximately $3.5 million of stock based compensation expense and approximately $1.5 million of depreciation and amortization expenses, other income and expense and income taxes. Weighted average diluted shares outstanding are expected to be approximately 39.5 million.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 our business outlook is as follows. Total revenue is expected to be $160 million to $170 million. Automotive revenue is expected to be 55% to 60% of total revenue. Included in this category is royalty revenue which is expected to grow approximately 30% year-over-year.

Mobile advertising revenue is expected to be between 17% and 20% of total revenue and the annual growth rate in excess of 150%. GAAP gross margin is expected to be 51% to 52%. GAAP operating expenses are expected to be $130 million to $135 million reflecting our continuing need to invest to support the growth of our automotive and advertising businesses all set in part by redeploying existing resources into these areas where appropriate and other cost reduction efforts around infrastructure.

GAAP net loss is expected to be $40 million to $45 million. Adjusted EBITDA loss is expected to be $25 million to $30 million and represents GAAP net loss adjusted for the impact of approximately $15 million of stock based compensation expense, $6 million of depreciation and amortization expenses, other income and expense and income taxes.

Weighted average diluted shares outstanding are expected to be approximately 40 million shares. Due to our expectation to incur net losses in fiscal year 2015, we estimate deriving an income tax benefit of approximately 10% to 12% resulting from a tax carry back benefit from taxes paid in prior years.

With that, HP and I are available to take your questions. Operator, if you can please open the line for questions.



Thank you, sir. (Operator Instructions) And we'll take a question from Greg Burns with Sidoti & Company.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Good afternoon. The auto market, when you look at what Google and Apple are trying to do, they're obviously signing some OEMs on to roll out their platforms. How does like an OEM solution like they're providing live next to a Google or Apple solution? Is it either awarded as the carrier to Google or Apple and that's it or do they co-exist side-by-side and then the consumer kind of chooses what they want?

HP Jin

It depends on OEM-by-OEM, but one likely scenario, it will be co-exist. So the form-based solution, you bring that into the cars. So you have to connect with the cars through either cable or something, and versus embedded connected solution. So what we believe is they'll be co-existing.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Okay. So, like an OEM that's using Apple CarPlay could also have their own branded solution that they're offering to subscribers -- consumers and the consumer chooses at the time they get a car at CarPlay or to get it with the OEM solution. Is that how it works or we got to call how CarPlay …

HP Jin

So if you buy a car, you can buy the embedded connect solutions together with the new car. That's similar today. Normally they were bundled with other service as well. So this is more like native software, native services for new cars, and then the solution being raised to embrace especially low-end cars for you to connect with your smartphone through CarPlay. So, their CarPlay will be just -- you take your phone with you when you get into the car and uses in. The way you're using today with your phone, you just will be working in your car through the car system.

But the user experience will be different. The embedded or connected the car solutions will be much more reliable. It works with the car's (indiscernible) also integrate with your other sensors you set in the car. And you can also give other solutions like a more personalized solutions because the available of other condition of the car for you to use.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Okay. And can you just give us some more color on what you are d with Skobbler and Mercedes? It was my understanding that using OSM in the auto market was kind of not feasible now, but it sounds like maybe it's further along than you talked about in the past. Can you just talk about that partnership, the geography of it?

HP Jin

I think the OSM into auto is not the mainstream right now. It's still in the testing mode through small scale tryout kind of thing rather than full scale. But we do see a lot of interest in OSM because of its uniqueness in terms of the cost and also the richness of the data and the ability to update the data much more frequently than the one you got from commercial available products.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Okay. And particularly with Mercedes, what are you doing with them?

HP Jin

That is like a small -- I think it had a smart service, smart division on Mercedes. I think this is some low-end cars, very small fleets kind of launch business form-based. Okay. This is a brought in solution with OSM using a form solution to drive that. So it's not embedded solution for navigation.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Okay. And in terms of the mobile advertising market, I mean historically you have given some metrics in terms of -- you've given some additional metrics in terms of the size of -- the ad size or things of that nature. Is there any additional color that you can give around the growth that you are seeing there?

HP Jin

So the growth where we're seeing their size, I think it just support well -- from what we see is in terms of last as we mentioned about a dozen of advertisers of Fortune 100 or 500, so that's a good size of advertisers. But in terms of 100 followers and we normally gave 100,000K sales is pretty stable right now. It's not we do this is getting growth or this is getting dropped. I just think overall volume is growing.

Mike Strambi

And I would just add, Greg, that we still see very healthy bookings and our booking that are at higher rate than what's we are recognizing revenue. And so what that provides us is a very healthy backlog as we enter our quarter and gives us very good predictive ability of being able to forecast the prospective quarters in front of us.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Okay. And then in terms of the cost cuts, I understand the need to continue to invest in the business. But do you think you need to -- it feels like whenever we are thinking around the edges here, the year-over-year operating expenses are still going to be roughly flat. Do you feel like there is additional areas where you can optimize the cost structure of the business?

HP Jin

Yes. There are still -- there are areas of optimizations available. As we move, just focus into more and more into this growth areas, one is just that area become, let's say, last importance. We don't need to put as much resource into that, number one. Number two, they're also the areas we -- technology-wise, we have synergies across all the locations we have today like in Europe and U.S. and in China. So they're the certain common components we can just use one rather than multiple today. So they're definitely the areas we can optimize more.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Okay. All right. And then, I guess in terms of how you expect to recognize those savings; are they going to be more back half loaded, how are those going to be layering in throughout the year?

HP Jin

So, we don't have specific plan on that, but it's most likely at the later part of the year, not at the first part of the year. These were just date blind, so we also -- there are potential returns from other investments we are making today. So, we'll not have that clarity until maybe the later part of the year.

Mike Strambi

And I'd add, Greg, if you look at the guidance that we gave on OpEx in the first quarter of $32 million to $33 million, we don't expect significant increase above those levels as indicated by the $130 million to $135 million in OpEx for the year, which is really driven by our continued investment in advertising and specifically about building out a more robust sales force to support the growing advertising business.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Okay, all right. And then, in terms of rolling out OSM across the Scout mobile products, you mentioned that I guess the feedback has been positive, but in rolling out OSM, have there been any degradation in the level of service that you're providing the customers there?

And then more broadly, how do you think offering OSM might help you differentiate yourself from like a Google or some of the platforms that are out there?

HP Jin

So, in terms of the first question, and the review has been positive, the user engagement, ad revenues has been declining in user engagement, because of OSM. So, that's the reason we're pretty happy. I mean they were -- before the launch of that it definitely -- there are some concern of potential risks of piecing out some customers, but their end result is pretty positive overall, because even the old commercial products, a great product and not perfect, so mapping always have some problems here or there, but statistically it's as good as any other product we have in the market. So that's number one.

Number two, in terms of differentiation, so the area of differentiation for OSM is in the richness of the content in the areas, the other maps don't even offer especially for non-driving areas, for like parts, mountain, field, biking, those areas are not (indiscernible) they don't offer good data, including Google. If anyone would like to leverage your employees to drive around the map, it's hard to achieve that level of details. I think OSM can offer that. I think that will offer us differentiation in terms of how we leverage that level of details to offer additional value beyond just navigation.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Okay. And in terms of driving adoption or consumer awareness of the product, what differentiates TeleNav -- how do you drive that adoption or that consumer awareness going forward?

HP Jin

So the main focus -- I mean OSM is the key value. Number one value for us is its really lowest cost, right, for map. If we use the other providers, the cost is too much for us to make it really do a premium model. So I think the number one is our first hurdle.

Number two, in terms of really driving the adoptions, so the way we need to do it is really have strong social elements in our products, which we're been -- have been working on. That's from early low as you saw that EPA sharing kind of capabilities. But they're much more enhanced, experience will be, if been developed, will be deployed soon, but we believe that the integrated experience are for location, navigation, social and information will provide differentiation to drive more rapid adoption. So that's our belief, and we're continuing to work in that direction.

Greg Burns – Sidoti

Okay, thank you.


This now concludes the question-and-answer session. I'd like to turn the call back to Ms. Kousoum for any closing remarks.

Alice Kousoum

Thank you everyone for joining us on our call today, and we look forward to updating you next quarter.


And that does conclude today's conference. We do thank you for your participation.

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