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Executives

Doug Milner – President and CEO

John Penver – VP and CFO

Analysts

Walter Nasdeo – Ardour Capital Investments

Jeff Osborne – Stifel Nicolaus & Company

Carter Driscoll – Capstone Investments

Active Power, Inc. (ACPW) Q1 2012 Earnings Call April 24, 2012 4:30 PM ET

Operator

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for participating in today’s conference call to discuss Active Power’s Financial Results for the First Quarter ended March 31, 2012.

With us today is Mr. Doug Milner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Active Power and Mr. John Penver, the Company’s Chief Financial Officer. Following their remarks, we will open up the call for questions.

Before I continue, I would like to take a moment to read the Company’s Safe Harbor statement. The company’s management on this call may make forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including statements related to Active Power’s current expectations of operating results for the second quarter of 2012 and fiscal 2012, its future operating results, and its customers’ current intentions.

Any forward-looking statements and all other statements that may be made during this call that are not historical facts and subject to a number of risks and uncertainties may actual results may differ materially. Factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially for the results predicted include, among others; the deferral or cancellation of sales commitments as a result of general economic conditions and uncertainty, risks related to our international operations, and product performance and quality issues.

For more information on the risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from this forward-looking statements, please refer to Active’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and its current reports on Form 8-K filed since then.

Active Power assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements or information, which are in effect as of respective dates. I would like to remind everyone that this call will be available for replay via Active Power’s website at www.activepower.com.

I would now like to turn the call over to the President and Chief Executive Officer of Active Power, Mr. Doug Milner. Sir, please go ahead.

Doug Milner

Thank you. Good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining us today. Earlier today, in fact just a short while ago, we issued a press release announcing our results for the first quarter of 2012.

We started off 2012 with a solid quarter generating revenues of $19.8 million. This represented a record first quarter for us and our second highest revenue quarter overall. Our gross margin improved to 27% from 20% in the previous quarter. This was due to more favorable margins in our UPS business as well as improved execution and better pricing in our solutions business. As you may recall these were two of our key priorities.

To take us through the financials, the financial details for the quarter, I’d like to turn the call over to our Chief Financial Officer, John Penver but just before I do that I’d like to express everyone how pleased I am to be with Active Power. This is a unique company, built on a foundation of highly differentiated technology and backed by a passionate group of people. From our Board of Directors to our management team and employees, everyone works together as a team to bring ingenuity and a positive whatever it takes attitude to meeting customer needs.

Active Power’s experienced tremendous growth over the last several years by sticking to a simple value proposition and by taking an entrepreneurial approach to emerging business opportunities. However, the missing piece has been consistent profitability. We believe this can a remedied by getting back to basics, improving our execution and driving productivity within the business. As my predecessor Jan Lindelow spoke openly about we need a more consistent focus on our core UPS business along with improvement in the overall execution of our infrastructure solutions business. I’ll speak about that in more detail later.

Now I’d like to turn the call over to John to take us through our first quarter financial results then I’ll come back to talk more in depth about our priorities and strategies moving ahead including our outlook for the second quarter of 2012. We’ll then open the call up to you questions. John?

John Penver

Thank you, Doug. Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us on our call today. Revenue for the first quarter of 2012 was $19.8 million increasing sequentially by 8% an increasing by 14% compared to the first quarter of 2011. This is the highest first quarter revenue we recorded and the first time our first quarter has sequentially increased from the prior quarter.

Revenue in the quarter included $13.6 million of PowerHouse and infrastructure solutions and services which was 68% of our revenues with our largest quarterly revenue ever from infrastructure solutions in the first quarter.

Looking at our product revenues of $16.4 million, that was split as follows, UPS systems $4.2 million, continuous power solutions $4.9 million and infrastructure solutions $7.3 million. While our UPS systems business was down by 14% from the prior quarter which reflects pass seasonal trends we have seen an increase in orders in our pipeline and believe that this will result in an increase in our UPS systems revenue as a remainder of 2012.

This quarter we shipped 70 flywheels in UPS systems compared to 69 flywheels in the previous quarter. This was up from the 131 wheels shipped in the same year ago a quarter. Now a portion of these flywheels shipped in our continuous power solutions including PowerHouse so we would report the sales of such products as continuous power solution revenues.

The majority of growth in our business compared to a year ago is from the sale of continuous power and infrastructure solutions including our PowerHouse products. Revenues from our infrastructure solutions in particular were up by $6.5 million compared to the first quarter of the prior year. We continue to see demand for continuous power solutions in all of our markets.

Since our last call, we’ve seen an increase in demand for our infrastructure products as demand for modular data center products accelerates. The order size for these infrastructure products can vary greatly resulting in large changes in revenue on a quarterly basis from sales of infrastructure products.

Now looking at revenues by geography, our revenues from Asia this quarter of $1.6 million were up by $1.4 million from the same year ago quarter and we’re down by $600,000 from the previous quarter. This year-over-year result reflects growth in our China operations and from a number of PowerHouse orders in Southeast Asia.

Revenues from Asia comprised 8% of our total revenue for the quarter, compared to 1% of revenue in the previous year. Revenues from Europe were 24% of revenues in the first quarter compared to 23% in the previous quarter, and 46% in the same year ago quarter. And for the quarter the revenues from Europe the $4.8 million were up by $600,000 from the previous quarter. The revenues from Europe decreased by $3.2 million a 40% compared to the first quarter of 2011.

Revenues from the Americas were 68% of our revenue this quarter compared to 65% in the previous quarter and 52% a year ago. In absolute dollar terms, our first quarter sales from the Americas of $13.4 million were up by $1.5 million or by 13% from prior quarter due to higher infrastructure solutions sales. They were up by $4.3 million or 47% compared to the first quarter of 2011 from higher continuous power and infrastructure solutions sales.

In total international sales were 32% of our revenues in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 35% in the previous quarter, and 52% in the first quarter of 2011. In terms of service revenues these revenue will fluctuate with product revenue levels. In total service revenues were 17% of revenue in the first quarter compared to 19% of revenue in the previous quarter and 15% of revenue a year ago. In absolute dollar terms, our service revenue of $3.4 million increased by $800,000 or 31% from the first quarter a year ago.

Now that I have discussed revenue I’ll turn to our overall financial performance. Our gross margin this quarter was 27% this was up from 20% in the prior quarter and driven by the operational changes that Doug alluded to earlier. This compares to 27% margin in the first quarter of 2011. Overall our service margins improved to 26% this quarter from 19% in the same year ago quarter.

Research and development expenses for the quarter were approximately $1.3 million, so that were $367,000 or 40% higher than the first quarter of 2011 and that were 12% lower than the previous quarter.

The increase in spending reflects increased development efforts on our next generation UPS products, our development activities on our infrastructure solutions and increased head count. We anticipate that our research and development expenses will remain at these levels or increased slightly as we increased product development efforts. We will continue to make prudent investments in R&D to improve and to broaden the solutions that we bring to market.

Our selling and marketing expenses at $3.5 million were 4% lower than the previous quarter and were higher by 2% compared to the first quarter of 2011. This was attributable to higher head count costs as we continue to invest in sales talent and channel development. The prior quarter’s expenses included approximately $500,000 of expenses associated with the closure of our sales operations in Japan during the fourth quarter of 2011.

For the first quarter, our general and administrative expenses of $1.5 million decreased by $600,000 from the prior quarter and over $176,000 higher compared with the same year ago quarter. The increase from the prior year reflects higher professional recruiting fees and a decrease from the prior quarter reflects the absences – of absence of expenses associated with restructuring cost reductions and a change in CEO that we announced in October of 2011.

Our operating loss for the period was $1.1 million or $0.01 per share, this loss compares to an operating loss of $3.3 million or $0.04 a share in the fourth quarter of 2011 and an operating loss of $1.1 million or $0.01 a share we had in the first quarter of 2011. The major change in our balance sheet since year end has been increased in cash and investments of $8.7 million reflecting the proceeds we received in March from the sale of equity to existing shareholders.

Other changes in our balance sheet have been heavily influenced by the timing and value of our continuous power and infrastructure orders and the related customer and vendor payments.

Our receivables increased by $4.4 million due to the timing of shipments compared to the earlier period. This was offset by a decrease in inventory of $1.1 million and an increase of $1.4 million in payables. We also had a $3.3 million increase in advanced customer payments against future orders. All that said we believe we have adequate liquidities for our quarterly revenue. We continue to take the steps necessary to support more revenue growth and to react quickly to large orders or a sudden increase in sales orders.

I would like to remind everybody that our 2012 Annual Shareholders Meeting is taking place on May 17 at 2 p.m. Central Time at Active Power’s Headquarters in Austin, Texas. I encourage our shareholders to review and the proposals that we set forth in the proxy statement.

So this completes the financial portion of the presentation. I’ll now turn the call back over to Doug for some further comments on the business and the priorities moving ahead. Thanks Doug.

Doug Milner

Thank you, John. I want to briefly address some of the basic elements we believe we have in place to drive further improvement in our business.

Active Power has stuck to its roots over time in terms of technology, innovation and its value proposition. Both PowerHouse and CleanSource UPS are technical differentiators in the market with a simple value proposition of being efficient, reliable and green. These products and solutions deliver a very clear outcome in terms of overall performance and value to our customers.

In addition our customer base is growing and is made up of some of the world’s leading innovators in data center design and operations. These organizations get what we do, they value our technology and they keep coming back asking us to help them achieve their business and IT goals. This is evident in the fact that we ship to-date more than 3,300 flywheels in UPS systems. This equates to more than 800 megawatts of critical power deployed worldwide and more than 125 million hours of efficient, reliable and green power protection.

From a market perspective, the inherent benefits of our products and solutions are becoming more relevant particularly as data center growth continues worldwide. I met recently with a number of customers to understand the power and cooling issues they face. The most consistent challenges expressed with the need to grow their IT capacity while having to manage rapidly increasing power densities within their data centers.

It’s no surprise then the data center space requirements driven by cloud computing and enterprise outsourcing remain a key challenging for growing number of data center operators. In a recent survey from Digital Realty Trust, 92% of some 300 IT decision makers at large organizations across North America claimed they will expand their facility footprint in 2012. In fact 41% of those surveyed who anticipate expanding plan to use a modular design to house either their IT equipment or their power and cooling infrastructure.

These scenarios lend themselves particularly well to our products and solutions since we provide superior energy and space efficiencies along with high reliability and green benefits. We have the experience in the market to enable our customers to achieve their data center objectives be it a traditional brick and motor building, a modular configuration or a series of IT containers.

With the right market trends in play and a strong foundation in place we now need to focus on the basics of execution to drive improvement in our business. We are aligning our product roadmap to directly address the technical challenges our customers face in the field. This includes continuing to work on our next generation UPS which we believe will be a disruptive technology in the market. This project is on track and we anticipate product launch later this year.

We are also investing in the execution of our go to market strategy in the development of our sales channels. This will enable us to meet customers where they buy and deliver value via a highly skilled sales and distribution network. We continue to maximize our inherent competitive advantage of being fast and responsive to quickly meet customer needs and requirements. We are anticipating signs of improved productivity throughout the year with this strategy in place.

In summary, we are getting back to basics. As we have said many times these basics are defined as refocusing on the growth of our core UPS business and improving margins and productivity in our solutions business. Our priorities are set its now about delivering execution to achieve our financial goals.

Now turning to our second quarter expectations. For our guidance we usually provide a range of expected revenues as unforeseen customer events can impact the timing and amount of revenue recognized for a particular quarter. Based on orders we have on hand and our current forecasts we’re providing revenue guidance of $18 to 22 million for the second quarter. Second quarter earnings per share is expected to be between a loss of $0.02 per share and break-even.

With that, John and I would be happy to open up the call to your questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions). And our first question comes from Walter Nasdeo. Your line is live.

Walter Nasdeo – Ardour Capital Investments

Thank you. Good afternoon guys.

Doug Milner

Hi Walter.

Walter Nasdeo – Ardour Capital Investments

Hi. Can you give a little bit of guidance on the gross margin as since this quarter is so was pretty strong, what you kind of seeing over the course of the second quarter and maybe a little bit out of the rest of the year?

Doug Milner

Well the guidance on gross margin is very difficult to give, I mean our product mix as you are well aware and as we’ve spoken about in the past impacts margin. What I will say is this, there were some structural cost issues in the business and structural commercial issues in the business that we feel that we have come a long way to resolving.

And so we feel is if we have returned back to a gross margin level that we’ve been able to historically achieve and we don’t see anything dramatic in the business that would change that in the immediate term. Now clearly, our goals are going to be on productivity particularly on variable cost productivity and improving gross margins on the base line of business that we do. But beyond that I don’t think we’re, we’d be well served to give specific guidance on what that number is.

Walter Nasdeo – Ardour Capital Investments

Okay, thank you. Where you’re seeing the most aggressive growth internationally right now?

Doug Milner

Internationally right now we see large data center at power very involved power protection systems. Those are the opportunities that we are seeing and we are pursuing them aggressively.

Walter Nasdeo – Ardour Capital Investments

In what geographies?

Doug Milner

Well we’re seeing really through the geographies that is managed by our European organization and then more specifically in China.

Walter Nasdeo – Ardour Capital Investments

Okay, thank you.

Doug Milner

You’re welcome.

Operator

And our next question comes from Jeff Osborne. Your line is live.

Jeff Osborne – Stifel Nicolaus & Company

Great, thank you, guys. Just wondering if you could back on the gross margin issue just talk about the improvement this quarter, how much of that was from cost control which you mentioned several times, but I think in your prepared remarks you also talked about pricing?

Doug Milner

Yes. We had, really there were many activities that led to improved margins in the quarter, one is we had some favorable mix within our UPS line and favorable pricing within our UPS line driven by that mix.

Number two, we improved upon the execution of building our continuous infrastructure products and gained labor productivity. And third, through experience with our continuous infrastructure products on both our customer side and our side, we’ve been able to I think achieve more balanced pricing for that particular product line.

And so, it really was not one single thing that contributed to margin improvement, it was really across the line. But what we had discussed last quarter was pricing and execution on our continuous infrastructure products and we did in fact achieve improvement in both of those categories.

Jeff Osborne – Stifel Nicolaus & Company

Excellent, great to hear. On the visibility front with the guidance of $18 million to $22 million typically when you give guidance how much of that do you have in backlog versus what’s your expectations for churns and execution business within the quarter?

John Penver

Just enough. We have, typically I think we’ve been just given you are a new sheriff in town I wasn’t sure what your style is?

Doug Milner

Conservative, no, I mean we’re following pretty much past practice but the thing that’s the reason that question is difficult to give you a precise answer to is that we have even the backlog that we have in hand is subject potentially to movement from one quarter to another quarter and so generally speaking we like to have a good solid backlog in hand and a forecast of opportunities that we feel will ship in the quarter that we feel very, very good about, typically those are ones that we’ve ruled out rebids, competitive action and so forth that we really have gotten the customer down to a point where they are committed to take the product. So I would say conservative but subject to change and that is the nature of this business.

Jeff Osborne – Stifel Nicolaus & Company

Got you, just two quick ones. Back on the gross margin, I think 18 to 24 months ago the company was talking about a kind of low to mid 30s gross margin as a target business model is that something you think you can achieve either through, the initiatives that you’ve installed here in recent months or perhaps at a certain revenue level is there any kind of longer term operating model that willing to share either today or potentially on a future call?

Doug Milner

Well I mean certainly we want to get the business to that range, and I think the steps that we’ve outlined will help move us into significantly more favorable gross margins and that’s driving volume and driving an improved mix of our UPS line and as everyone is I’m sure aware we’re in the middle of an investment and training program in a sales organization and are somewhat new go to market strategy.

And so as that gains traction we expect to drive more sales of our UPS systems which just by mixed will naturally drive our gross margin out. That having been said we also we’ll identify a number of initiatives internally to improve productivity. We’re going to drive waste out of the business, where waste is unproductive and doesn’t add value for our customer. And so that will improve our gross margin productivity as well.

Jeff Osborne – Stifel Nicolaus & Company

And last one is just the, the last in environment has been pretty challenging in China in particular. I was just – want to get a sense from you what kind of headwinds do you face from a sales perspective just given the cheap lead acid batteries that are kind of out there at the moment given the subdue demand?

Doug Milner

Well yes certainly there is price pressure and you’re correct in pointing that out. We’ve seen I would say some elevated pricing pressure or lower prices from our competition but more simply in China. But really the distinction is I mean the customers that buy our solution buy it for a very specific reason. And it doesn’t matter how expensive or inexpensive lead acid batteries are – that reason is tough to beat in that space efficiency and power efficiency.

So yes we have seen it we have had to address it, we’re taking a number of actions to reduce our landed cost and ultimately our delivered cost in China for the long term. But our customer buy Active Power solutions for a specific reason and I don’t think that we’re really subject to the same competitive pressure necessarily then the lead acid providers are subjecting each other to right now.

Jeff Osborne – Stifel Nicolaus & Company

I understand, thanks very much for the detail.

Operator

And our next question comes from Carter Driscoll. Your line is live.

Carter Driscoll – Capstone Investments

Good afternoon gentlemen. Our first question is I think exiting 2011 you talked about record backlog and hoping the pull through would be in the second and third quarters of this year and may be you could talk about relative to your guidance how much of that do you think is coming in the second quarter may be do we get pushed out at all, do you see it really impacting our third quarter and a greater volume roll?

John Penver

Carter, I think we continue to see strong growth in ourselves kind of flare opportunities. I believe it’s at a level that it has never been at in our history and coming across our whole products suite. A lot of them are in the UPS space. I think the guidance that we’re giving so as reasonable level of year-over-year growth and I think the number of large opportunities we’re getting and the opportunity to participate in has continued to increase and I think that office will for the back end of the year to be strong but we think we started the Europe pretty strong.

So I mean I rule I think that in the cases I gave in the last year we’re seeing an uptick in sales activity and cloning activity that continues to out show and hasn’t weakened any. I am no sure Doug wants to add anything more than that.

Doug Milner

No, no, I think we announced some sizable orders. Towards the end of last year in the first quarter I can’t remember when those were announced and those, we’re not, right now we’re not seeing any indication that those are going to other go away, get smaller or move. So you know the backlog that we carried into the year for the big projects has stayed reasonable stable and you know you are going see project movements all over the place and especially in the smaller ones, but I think what you would call the base load of our orders on hand we feel pretty good about.

Carter Driscoll – Capstone Investments

Thanks. Could you talk about Doug having recently met some of your customers, maybe you could talk about the two bigger ones, HPQ and Caracol and talk about may be what they are seeing from end market demand, what they may have communicated to you in terms of what they hope to see from you over the course if the relationship changes, I know you’ve signed obviously a new agreement with Caterpillar in the year and see if that’s evolved at all maybe you can address those two customers?

Doug Milner

I’ll start with Caterpillar. Yeah, we just did sign a five-year extension to that agreement. Generally speaking, there were some Caterpillar dealers who just aren’t really best aligned with selling UPS products in the market. There are some Caterpillar dealers that are ideally aligned with selling UPS products in the market and in end package there is overall solutions.

And so one of the things that I think we talked about in the last call is that we are working with Caterpillar to be able to focus and work more directly with a subset of those dealers that have a more natural ability and a more natural support system to sell UPS products. The result of that has been and we hope will continue to be a number of large opportunities that have been added to our pipeline based on being able to engage at a very technical and strategic level with those dealers.

So in terms of the capital or relationship we feel good about the relationship, we feel good about the ability to work more directly with some of the dealers that have, I would say more built-in capability to sell UPS products. And we’ve been reasonably satisfied by the opportunities that have presented themselves in the opportunity pipeline. And some of those big ones which John alluded to earlier.

In terms of HP, I mean we are, we do manufacture their infrastructure solutions and the meetings, our discussions with HP have been business as usual and focused on product configuration and cycle times and the things that you would usually expect from a customer supplying those kinds of solutions in the market. We’re not having conversations or we’re not seeing any changes from them in terms of their outlook for opportunities for those solutions. And certainly, generally speaking the modular and containerized market for either IT or for power and cooling infrastructure certainly seems to be building momentum.

Carter Driscoll – Capstone Investments

Great, thank you for that. And just sort of couple of housekeeping questions I’ll get to you in a second. Could you talk about some of the changes, obviously a change of some of the domestic UPS sales staff. And may be give us an idea of the typical time that a newer sales person might have to penetrate an account or to grow that account base is it three or six months you had to change the compensation at all for some of the people you’ve added or is it still roughly what it had been in terms go?

John Penver

From a compensation structure I’m not aware that we, necessarily.

Doug Milner

Yeah we really haven’t changed the compensation structure too much, and I am rollout kick start and we can tough times think about cut of the time. I think the time it takes to ramp up varies between three to six months we have some people to come on board and we’ve been able to close deals fairly quickly but the nature of some of these large opportunities is a fairly long sales time as they go through design and make these decisions.

And so they get on to opportunities very quickly, but saying that translate into sales orders offers the function of the opportunity as oppose to individual that’s working but I’d say three to six months you go pretty good indication of the talent, the performance the people based on their final recording activities and/or the orders that they’re doing.

Carter Driscoll – Capstone Investments

Yeah, I guess that has, is there any accelerated compensation to the pulling through and order faster than it might difficult to take?

Doug Milner

No and, I really in most situations I doubt that, the money we’re going to pay to our sales person is going to make the customer go faster. But, I can say that, more specifically about where we are, where we have being monitoring and productivity of the sales organization because this is a key question that’s come up on the last one or two calls and it’s certainly something we talk about daily.

We’re making an investment. We’ve got roughly the third of our sales force is going to on the job less than nine months. We’re taking our time and we’re being very rigorous about our training of those sales people and great detailed about our training of those sales people. The total pipeline of opportunities is up sharply over the same time last year and in fact over the average of what the pipeline has been, over the past three years were still up significantly in terms of the total number of opportunities in the pipeline and that’s a result of traction in our sales organization.

Now we need to move the pipeline and closure on it John said, we’ll see that as we progress throughout the year. That having been said, we have a handful of people that have brought in some significant deals and we’ve had actually a pretty gratifying first quarter in terms of winning really tightly contested competitive deals based on our value proposition, based on the fact that we provide a space in power efficient solution that is extremely reliable and doesn’t force the customer to use batteries.

So it’s early to tell, keep asking that question, because we are going to keep asking that question and we’re going to continue to gather data and monitor the individual productivity of the people we’ve invested in the field.

Carter Driscoll – Capstone Investments

Okay. Thank you for that. And then John just a couple of housekeeping items if I may, typically I apologize if I missed it. You typically talked about the ASP per megawatt of critical power delivered, I don’t know if that’s necessarily divest metric but if you have that handy I love to see for capability sake. And then just CapEx and D&A in the quarter? And then share count that you think will be for second quarter I’m assuming the whole placement will be available at that point.

John Penver

So the share count going forward will be about 95 million shares of Q2. On the metric we decided to discontinue providing it because it really excluded as a significant portion of the business, it really struggled historically we used when our business was primarily just UPS systems we could use the number wheels and ASP. But there’s a product range diversified we try that other metric but it really didn’t taken to a fact that infrastructure solutions then a critical power necessarily included in them.

And so, we really have struggled account with single meaningful metric that, that would be – could be used as an indicator for future revenues. So, we’ve decided to refrain from that and what if we had to lie that we can help people develop future expectations of the business. In terms of CapEx they really – we’re not that significant quarter a fraction of $400,000. Okay?

Carter Driscoll – Capstone Investments

Okay. Thanks for your time guys.

John Penver

Okay, thank you

Doug Milner

Thanks

Operator

And there are no more questions in the queue.

Doug Milner

Thank you very much everybody for joining the call. And we look forward to speaking with you again after the second quarter. Have a great afternoon.

Operator

That concludes today’s conference. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.

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