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Advent Software (NASDAQ:ADVS)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 30, 2012 5:00 pm ET

Executives

Heidi Flaherty

James S. Cox - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Senior Vice President

David Peter F. Hess - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Analysts

David M. Scharf - JMP Securities LLC, Research Division

Gil B. Luria - Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division

Sterling P. Auty - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Christopher R. Donat - Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Second Quarter 2012 Advent Software Earnings Conference Call. My name is Keith, and I'll be your operator for today. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, today's conference is being recorded for replay purposes. And I would now like to turn the call over to your host, Ms. Heidi Flaherty. Please go ahead.

Heidi Flaherty

Thanks, Keith. Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Heidi Flaherty, Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations. Thank you for joining us today for Advent's second quarter 2012 earnings call. Hosting our call today are Pete Hess, Advent's Chief Executive Officer; and Jim Cox, Advent's Chief Financial Officer.

Most of you participating in this call are aware of the regulations regarding forward-looking statements. Accordingly, we would like to note that during the course of this conference call, we will make forward-looking statements regarding future events and the future performance of the company. We wish to caution you that such statements are just predictions that involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual events or results could differ materially. We discuss a number of these results in detail in the company’s SEC reports, including our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and our Annual Report on Form 10-K, and any forward-looking statements must be considered in the context of such risks and uncertainties. The company disclaims any intention or obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

As a reminder, we include non-GAAP financial measures in our disclosures. These non-GAAP financial results are not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for results prepared on a GAAP basis. Please refer to the tables entitled "Reconciliation of Selected Continuing Operations: GAAP Measures to Non-GAAP Measures" in our earnings release, which is filed with the SEC on a Form 8-K and available on our website for a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial measures.

I'll now turn the call over to Jim.

James S. Cox

Thanks, Heidi. Advent had a solid second quarter, with record quarterly revenue, record second quarter ACV, non-GAAP operating margin over 22% and non-GAAP EPS of $0.20 -- $0.24 per share. This performance is all the more encouraging given the recent broader market headwind.

Let's start with booking. Our second quarter annual contract value or ACV of $7.2 million, an increase of 10% over the second quarter of last year, was well dispersed across all of our products and no individual deal was larger than 10% of our bookings total. Pete will provide more color about our new and expanded client relationships in his prepared remarks, but it's fair to say that our continued focus on our clients and their industries’ needs results in continued healthy demand for our products and services.

Turning to renewal. Our initially reported renewal rate, which is based on cash collections and therefore reported 1 quarter in arrears, was 91% in the first quarter. This rate is the same as the first quarter of last year but lower than the more recent trend due to longer negotiation cycles and slower cash collections in June. In fact, if the renewal rate were calculated today instead of on June 30, the renewal rate would be 93%, and there's still more cash to collect.

Speaking of slow collections, we were disappointed with our reported operating cash flow of $14.9 million in the second quarter, a decrease of $5.3 million compared to the second quarter of last year. The lower cash flows are mainly the result of 2 factors: first, there were slower collections particularly in Europe and the Middle East; second, we accommodated more clients that have asked for quarterly payment terms on their contract and a few new large customers asked for delayed billing dates. While these tools have spurred demand, which is good for the long-run trajectory of our business, it does pressure our cash flows in the short run, and we will continue to evaluate the use of these practices going forward.

Having said that, it's important to note that our cash flows still exceed both our GAAP and non-GAAP net income, which is a good indicator of the strong quality of our earnings.

Speaking of earnings, let's turn to the income statement. Revenue in the second quarter was up 12% over the second quarter of 2011 and recurring revenue represented 90% of total revenue. Recurring revenue grew 13% over the second quarter of 2011, while nonrecurring revenue grew 2%. As a percentage of total revenue, international revenue was lower at 17%. For the first half of 2012, international revenue grew by 5% over the first half of 2011.

Gross margins decreased 1 point to 65%, compared to the same period last year. That decrease was driven by lower than planned utilization in professional services, resulting in gross margins of negative 25% for nonrecurring revenue in the quarter.

Total second quarter operating expense was $46.3 million compared to $42.5 million in the same period last year, an increase of $3.8 million or 9%. Of the operating expense increase, $2 million was from product development, which, as a percentage of total revenue, remains 18%. The expense line grew to 14% over the same period last year.

In addition to reallocating resources from some mature products to new project development, spending on headcount increased by $2.5 million, and we spent about $500,000 on design services from a third party. This $3 million was partially offset by $1 million in increased capitalized software development from the second quarter of last year.

GAAP operating income for the second quarter was $12.1 million, a 16% increase over the prior year and comprised 13.4% of revenue. GAAP net income was $7.2 million for the quarter, up slightly from the same period last year, despite additional interest expense from our line of credit and a higher effective tax rate compared to the prior year, as a result of the federal R&D credit lapsing.

GAAP-diluted earnings per share were $0.14 in the quarter, up $0.01 from the same period last year.

Turning to non-GAAP results. Non-GAAP operating income for the second quarter was $20 million, up $2.5 million from the same period last year. Non-GAAP margin for the second quarter was 22.3% of revenue, which was up 0.4 point when compared to the same period last year.

Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share were $0.24 per share in the quarter, up from $0.21 in the same period last year.

Turning to our financial position and liquidity. Cash and marketable securities were $134.8 million at June 30, after we repurchased $19.3 million of our common stock in the second quarter. Accounts receivable were $56.7 million, flat with the same period last year. Deferred revenue was $163.6 million, up 3% over the same period last year.

Turning to guidance. I'll be making additional forward-looking statements so I'll remind you of the Safe Harbor statement in Heidi's opening remarks.

In the third quarter, we expect revenue to be between $89 million and $91 million, up 5% to 8% over the third quarter of 2011. Please note that both third quarters include approximately $1 million of revenue from our annual U.S. Client Conference.

As for annual guidance, with the slowing market environment, we are reducing our full year revenue guidance range to $358 million to $362 million, which reflects 10% to 11% growth over the full year 2011, down from our original guidance of $361 million to $368 million.

With respect to operating cash flows, we are reducing annual guidance for cash flows to the range of $83 million to $86 million, which implies second half operating cash flows of $55 million to $58 million or a 6% to 12% increase over the second half of 2011. To mitigate the impact on free cash flow, we're also decreasing capital expenditures, and therefore, our CapEx guidance by $2 million in 2012 to a new range of $11 million to $13 million. All other annual guidance measures remain as we originally guided in February.

In summary, although 2012's economic environment is proving to be tougher than we anticipated at the beginning of the year, we continue to focus on our customers and execute for the long run.

Now let me turn the call over to Pete so he can share his additional insights on the quarter. Pete?

David Peter F. Hess

Thank you, Jim, and hello, everybody. I'd like to share some color on the quarter and how the strategy's progressing, and then we'll open the line for questions.

As Jim just outlined, we had another solid quarter with strong revenue and healthy bookings, beating the competition in all segments and regions. I'm proud that the team continued to turn in strong bookings despite a tough market environment, especially in Europe. We see the effects of the ongoing global economic uncertainty continuing to extend sales cycles, and we expect these conditions to persist through the remainder of this year.

As we said at Investor Day in May, Advent's strategy remains the same: to continue to extend our leadership by adding new clients; as well as working with our existing clients to more fully adopt our broad solution set to help them differentiate themselves and strengthen their business.

In the second quarter, we saw new client wins across all our platforms, including significant wins for Geneva, Advent Portfolio Exchange or APX, as we call it, and Black Diamond. Our Geneva solution continues to be the leader in the alternative investment segment, and among many new clients we added, Highland Management and Potamus Trading.

As we mentioned on our last call in April, we launched a major release of our platform for asset management. That platform is comprised of APX, Moxy, Advent Rules Manager and Advent Revenue Center. Our clients and prospects are responding very positively to the enhancements that we've made and we have added several new clients such as Karpus Investment Management, Good Harbor Financial and Caird Capital, as well as a number of Axys to APX migrations, including Madison Asset Management.

In the world of advisory, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of our Black Diamond acquisition. We've taken great care to align and integrate the 2 companies in order to be the best partner possible to the advisory community. I'm proud to say that our Black Diamond team continues to set the pace in the advisory space. And among many new Black Diamond clients in the second quarter, we added our largest so far: H.D. Vest.

We expanded our relationship with another large Black Diamond client, Dynasty Financial Partners, who added another subsidiary company on the Black Diamond platform. And we're also excited to share that our Black Diamond application has won FTF News Most Innovative Mobile Technology Award.

Black Diamond is the latest of the acquisitions that we've made in recent years to extend our addressable market, and we're seeing the benefits of this strategy.

Tamale continued to add new clients in the second quarter as well, including Johns Hopkins University, CI Investments and SeaStone Capital, among others. Tamale helps safeguard valuable intellectual properties that helps investment managers formalize the investment process. Research management's become a must-have in the manager-of-manager market and is steadily gaining momentum in the hedge fund and asset management segments as well.

In order to help our clients gain greater market performance and operational efficiency, we also acquired the margin and finance management solution, Syncova, last year. In the second quarter, we signed our first fund administrator client for the Syncova Solution, Deutsche Bank Alternative Fund Services, a fund administrator affiliated with Deutsche Bank.

Additionally, Manikay Partners went live this quarter on Syncova Essentials, our cloud-delivered version of Syncova, designed to ease deployment and ownership of Syncova for firms who require more basic functionality.

We are still expanding into new regions where we see the right kind of opportunity, and one such market is Brazil. As we've done in APAC, we're taking a conservative approach in focusing on just a handful of strategic beachhead accounts in the region. In the second quarter, we signed Vinci Partners, a Brazilian investment management firm for Geneva and Geneva World Investor to support management of their offshore investment strategies. Geneva will help Vinci Partners more easily invest overseas while better managing operational risk and expense.

Looking forward, our goal is to transform our client's business by eliminating boundaries between systems, information and people. Our plan is to make our offerings increasingly easier to implement, adopt and own, focusing on integrated workflows across the Investment Management enterprise and between their counterparties. As we described at Investor Day back in May, our strategy remains consistent with regard to what we do: mission-critical technology solutions for investment managers. We're making investments to evolve how we deliver our solutions to become an even more valuable partner to our clients. We see the industry trends such as regulatory change, diversification of investment product offerings and globalization as well; as well as the technology paradigm shifts of cloud, mobile and social, as a tremendous opportunity for Advent and our clients to shine even more brightly in the future.

Thank you for joining us. And now I'd like to open the call for questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And your first question is from the line of David Scharf with JPM (sic) [JMP] Securities.

David M. Scharf - JMP Securities LLC, Research Division

Just curious. When we look at the slight drop in revenue guidance, would you characterize that in your internal plans as being derived more from lower bookings or from potentially lower renewal rates or a mix of that?

James S. Cox

David, this is Jim. Thanks for asking that. I think that part of it has to do with that we completed a lot of implementations in the first half of the year. And so we saw the tailwind of that and we obviously don't expect that good impact in the second half of the year. Part of it is that the utilization of the professional services practices are lower than we had planned. And then a final element of that is with respect to bookings, a very solid first half of the year but with the current market environment, I think, we're taking a conservative approach with respect to our ability to execute on our plan going forward.

David M. Scharf - JMP Securities LLC, Research Division

Okay. And drilling down just a little more, given the headlines, it doesn't sound surprising that based on your prepared remarks, it sounds like Europe is particularly lower right now. And I don't know if that's partially just the summer months over there or is the slowdown in your expectations disproportionately focused on overseas?

James S. Cox

So as you recall, international isn't a huge piece of our business, but I think our experience in the second quarter and I think our caution with respect to the rest of the year is only amplified by what we're seeing in Europe and in the Middle East as well. We have a good practice in the Middle East and there continue to be challenges there as well.

David M. Scharf - JMP Securities LLC, Research Division

Okay. And you had mentioned the current period bookings was pretty broad in terms of, I guess, product and type of customer. What about going forward? Are you starting to see extended sales cycles with a particular type of customer, whether it be asset manager, IRA, hedge, global asset manager? Or is it pretty much across the board?

James S. Cox

Well, I think -- here's Pete. I'll let Pete answer that.

David Peter F. Hess

Yes, so, David, I'll take that. We've got some experience with tough markets now over the past few years, especially 2009. And one generalization that I think holds true is that the delayed sales cycle dynamic tends to play a little more prevalently with the large firms. So the way I would characterize where the sales cycles are being delayed is with the biggest firms, and then geographically, it's more on the -- more, as Jim called out, Europe, Middle East and APAC as well. That has slowed down. And even in the U.S., there -- I think there's apprehension about the markets and so there's a bit of a hesitancy there, too. Not as bad as it was in 2009, but certainly, I think we're in a tougher environment this year than we were last year.

David M. Scharf - JMP Securities LLC, Research Division

Sure, sure. And when you look back, 2009 was such a unique period. I mean, you've just had so many clients flat out shut their doors. I mean, is there any -- when you look back to that period versus what you're seeing now or sort of warning signs kind of indicated, is there anything in what you are seeing that would suggest renewal rates potentially bottoming out at close to those mid '09 levels?

David Peter F. Hess

I don't think we're going to get back to the mid '09 levels with regard to renewal rates. You called it. There was a lot of rightsizing of businesses and closing of businesses in 2009 so I don't think we're talking about that kind of an environment. But we are seeing some consolidation in our industry, in the hedge fund administration space in particular. Everybody knows about GlobeOp and SS&C and people may not know about Wells Fargo and LaCrosse management but there's some consolidation there. And there are some firms that are closing. So we -- I would say, overall, this year is tougher than last year, but nothing like what we had in 2009.

David M. Scharf - JMP Securities LLC, Research Division

Got you. And lastly, on the cash flow guidance and lowering CapEx and so forth, I mean, you're obviously mindful of some of the near-term headwinds, sounds like, on the collection front. But there's clearly some more initiatives underway. You’ve spent more on headcount. Just curious, you've had slides for quite a while that had a targeted range of product development spending, at least a long-term goal of 15% of revenue. I can't remember it ever being at that level. Is there anything that would sort of push that target out for you now, given whether it's cloud offerings or other things on the near-term horizon or is that still something that's kind of a reasonable goal in the next couple of years?

David Peter F. Hess

I do think we still hold it out as our goal. But we do also look at a lot of the -- those trends that I called out in my script about cloud mobile, social and regulatory change and some other things. And so we're making those investments right now. And as we're seeing such progress with it and we think we can differentiate in a very important way, we're not throttling it back significantly right now. But as I project forward, I think to think of us as getting to that 15% mark maybe 5 years from now, I think that that's kind of how we think about it.

Operator

Your next question is from the line of Gil Luria with Wedbush Securities.

Gil B. Luria - Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division

On the operating cash flow guidance, is that -- is the entire reduction, the inability to collect from some customers? Is the -- are you writing those off or would those go into next year or are there other pieces there?

James S. Cox

Great. Thanks, Gil. This is Jim. So a portion of it -- so none of it is writing it off, Gil. It's just the extension in kind of -- when we look at our agings and what's over 30 days past due, that has extended when you look back 6 months, 12 months. That's definitely -- we've seen a change there. Where we're seeing a larger impact is in us either pushing out a billing date to a point in the future, either specifically related to a deal or because of a different commercial structure, i.e. paying quarterly or monthly in arrears or it could be with respect to a specific renewal and clients asking for quarterly payment terms on that renewal. So that -- we've got our arms around that and understand that. And that was clearly what happened in the second quarter. Then the question becomes: first, do we want to change that trend or not; and secondly, if we do want to change that trend, how long does it take for us to basically recapture all of that cash flow that we've pushed out into future quarters? And so as we thought about guidance for the rest of the year, we thought that we would be about neutral with respect to these activities, both the speed of collection and the activities we're doing with respect to our booking and renewal.

Gil B. Luria - Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division

Got it. And then in terms of use of cash, you bought back quite a bit of shares this quarter. You probably regret not buying more in 2009 when the stock was far lower. Are you sensitive to where the stock is in terms of how much you buy back or are you looking more at the alternative of making more acquisitions?

James S. Cox

So I think we at least want to buy back more shares than are issued i.e. offsetting dilution. I think we want to do that regardless of price. Obviously, back -- hindsight is 2020 and we would have loved to buy back a lot more shares, you're absolutely right, back then. And so we are sensitive to the share price and I think we would be more than just offsetting dilution, depending on the share price.

Operator

Your next question is from the line of Sterling Auty with JPMorgan.

Sterling P. Auty - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Can you remind us, because I think it ties together a couple of things, what the deferred revenue release in the quarter did for operating margin? And maybe the timing linearity of that during the quarter, meaning was it balanced through the quarter, did maybe some of them release earlier or later in the quarter.

James S. Cox

So we do the assessment of the release just once a quarter at quarter end, but there was a release of revenue of $1.6 million in the quarter. And the impact on margin would be similar to that amount, 2% in the second quarter.

Sterling P. Auty - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Okay. So you got a 2% lift in the margins for the release, correct?

James S. Cox

Yes, yes.

Sterling P. Auty - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

All right. And when you talked about the deployments in the first half, the tailwind that may not be there in the second half, can you talk to us about how you're managing the headcount in the services? Are you going to maintain them and reallocate them as you hopefully are still at the top of the funnel and then get them off the bench or is there going to be some amount of headcount changes through the process?

David Peter F. Hess

Sterling, this is Pete. So we're not going to be adding headcount in the second half of this year the way that we've -- from a trending perspective, the way that we have over the last 12 months. And Europe is where we've hit it -- we've had the worst bout in terms of demand for professional services and utilization. So we'll look at our staffing and make sure that we're deploying people, even across regions if we need to, to keep them billing. And so there's some management to do to improve the performance of that professional services practice, and that's Jim's and my top priority. It's a difficult one to manage because you've got your costs, but the demand is a bit variable with regards to how the markets are playing out and we're taking a perspective look forward that the markets are going to continue to be tough, especially in Europe. And so we're going to manage the professional services practice and headcount accordingly.

Sterling P. Auty - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

How would you characterize the demand in terms of new demand that would flow through ATV versus upsell, cross-sell of existing customers? Are you seeing the demand soften on both sides or is it more pronounced in one side or the other?

David Peter F. Hess

Probably a bit more pronounced on the new client acquisition side. It's always a bit easier to make a sale when it's an upgrade or an add-on, just because it's a less intrusive -- less expensive event for that client than switching systems and vendors altogether.

Sterling P. Auty - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Okay. And last question, I appreciate the commentary about the closures not being what it was in 2009 since that really helps kind of frame it. But just to try to close the door, when you look at -- if you were to look at renewal rate, I know you don't calculate it this way, but on a customer basis instead of a dollar basis, can you give us a sense of what's happened there?

David Peter F. Hess

So I don't have a number but the general characterization I would make is that there's not -- we're not seeing nearly, as I said before, the attrition from a customer count standpoint that we saw in 2009, and there are 2 reasons for that: one is it's not as bad a market environment, not a great market environment, but it's not that bad; and number two, we own Black Diamond now. And we have shored up what would have been an attrition issue. It was an attrition issue for us in the advisory segment in years past because we had slipped competitively, and so that's, again, that was part of the reason why we acquired Black Diamond. So we don't see the same amount of attrition in that part of the market that we used to.

Operator

Your next question is from the line of Chris Donat with Sandler O'Neill.

Christopher R. Donat - Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division

Just -- I'm just trying to understand maybe more of the context around accommodating customers who are seeking some delayed payments. I assume it's a practice that's gone on for years and you've done it for some large clients. Can you just give some color on maybe what percentage of clients or is it a substantially different number of clients now?

James S. Cox

Sure, Chris. So I would say that we actually haven't done this for a large number of years. I think if you put it into kind of 2 buckets, 1 are our customers who are renewing. Generally, they're renewing annually in advance. And over the last 2 to 3 years, we've offered up quarterly payment terms on occasion for a few larger clients, and we found that, that has just continued to expand. The second bucket that I would -- but not meaningfully and -- but is obviously a negative trend with respect to cash flows. The second bucket which I think we've used opportunistically more recently is to try and align the payment that our customers make with the value that they receive, i.e. clients are paying more often when they go live as opposed to when they sign. And that, that has been a good sales tool that we have used over the last 2 years. And I think we've seen it used increasingly in the last 12 months. And it has been helpful in reconciling that value question with those clients. But I think we have to be a little more selective about those practices but I think we're happy that we've done it because it's important to get a customer and to retain them long term.

Christopher R. Donat - Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division

Right. But -- so again, first bucket, renewing. The second bucket, those are new clients or...

James S. Cox

Yes. Typically, we do that for a large, new client. When they have to pay for implementation, they also have to pay for license, et cetera.

Christopher R. Donat - Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division

Okay, got it. And then shifting gears a little bit. But on the interest expense, you commented, Jim, that you were using your credit facility here. Was that just something for the quarter or is that something that we're likely to see going forward, a little more interest expense if you tap into it?

James S. Cox

So I think there's 2 components within that line: one is interest expense, which round numbers is about $500,000 a quarter that we're paying on the $150 million line of credit that we have outstanding. And then the other element that flows through there, which is causing the variation between the first quarter and the second quarter, is foreign exchange gains and losses go through there, because -- that we had somewhat of a gain in the first quarter and we obviously had losses in the second quarter.

Christopher R. Donat - Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division

Okay, got it. And then just lastly for me on the -- to drill a little bit on the deferred revenue, as I look at that Slide 8 you have in your presentation, and you see the steady growth in term license, and I know it's an annual slide up into the last 2 quarters, but just anything there on the term license? Does that downshift from $83 million in the first quarter to $78 million, I mean that represent either terms of products or is just more flowing off than flowing in?

James S. Cox

It's funny; that is exactly the delay in billings, both with new customers and a conversion to quarterly payment terms. Obviously, if you have a quarterly payment term, you don't have any deferred revenue associated with that and you're just taking the revenue.

Operator

We have no other questions at this time, so I'll turn it back over to Pete Hess, CEO.

David Peter F. Hess

Okay. Well, thank you, everybody. I think one important narrative that underlies what's happening is from a competitive perspective, I think we've had greater success in the past quarter and 6 months than we've ever had. I mean, since we've had Black Diamond, it's really enabled us to specialize and to focus and win rates really have never been better. So we certainly are facing headwinds in the market. We have to look at how we're managing the demand in the market for delayed payment terms and things like that and cash flow considerations. But from a fundamental perspective, we're really enjoying a lot of success right now in the marketplace. So we appreciate everybody dialing in. Thank you very much.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, that will conclude today's conference. Thank you very much for joining us. You may now disconnect. Everyone, have a great day.

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