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PAR Technology Corporation (NYSE:PAR)

Q2 2008 Earnings Call

July 28, 2008 10:00 am ET

Executives

Christopher Byrnes - Director of Investor Relations

John Sammon - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Ronald Casciano - Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Unidentified Analyst

Brian Murphy - Sidoti & Co

Vincent Colicchio - Noble Financial Group

Anton Brenner - Roth Capital Partners

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

Operator

Welcome to the second quarter 2008 PAR Technology earnings conference call. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today's call, Chris Byrnes, Director of Investor Relations.

Christopher Byrnes

I just want to give a couple of bookkeeping issues here out of the way as the operator previously said we will be recording the call this morning and it will be available for playback. We are broadcasting the conference call via the worldwide web as well. Please be advised that you ask a question that will be included in both our live conference in any future use of the recording. Joining me on the call today is PAR Chairman and CEO, John Sammon and Ronald Casciano, the company's Chief Financial Officer.

I also want to take this opportunity to tell you that this conference call includes forward-looking statements that reflect the management's expectations based on currently available data. However, actual results are subject to future events and uncertainties and the information in this conference call related to projections or other forward-looking statement maybe relied on subject to the Safe Harbor Statement included on our earnings release this morning and may continue to be used while this call remains available for replay.

I now like to turn the call over to John Sammon, PAR's Chairman and CEO for his formal remarks.

John Sammon

Today, I will be presenting the results of our second quarter ending June 30, 2008. The second quarter revenues reached a record $57.2 million, a 14.8% increase from the $49.9 million reported for the same period a year ago. Net income for the quarter was $674,000 compared to a net loss of a million dollars reported last year. The earnings per share for the period were $0.05 per share compared to a loss of $0.07 recorded last year.

Looking at the quarterly revenue breakdown, product revenue for the quarter was $20.8 million, up 13.3% compared to the second quarter of 2007. This increase derived primarily from increased domestic sales to McDonald’s, CKE, KFC and Catalina. Service revenue for the quarter was $17.7 million, up 10.1% compared to Q2 of last year. Contributing to this increase were both field services and installations. Contract revenue was $18.8 million, up 21.4% for the quarter. This increase derives from two new long-term Navy contracts initiated last year. One involves a $9 million R&D contract to develop and deploy advance sensor technology to detect mines and IEDs.

The other is a multiyear $33 million contract to operate a satellite communications network for the Navy. Looking at margins, product margins for the quarter were 39.2% versus 41.6% last year. This decrease resulted from lower margins on a special project from McDonald’s offset by significant increases in higher margins software sales. Service margins were 27.4% versus 26.2% a year ago. This increase resulted primarily from improved margins on field services and installations. Contract margins were on plan at 5.6% compared to 5.2% last year.

Looking at expenses, SG&A for the quarter were $8.7 million versus $9.2 million last year, a decrease of $500,000. This decrease result from several factors including stock option expense, reduced benefit cost from recovery of previously reserved bad debts. R&D expenses were $3.9 million versus $4.4 million last year, a decrease of $500,000 associated with planned reductions in R&D as we near completion of several development projects that were initiated last year.

In summary, Q2 was a turnaround quarter with record revenues. Hospitality revenues were up significantly due to a number of positive advances including the following. In Q2, we competed against numerous companies for the KFC domestic business and we are again selected as their preferred vendor for the next several years. This important win contributed to Q2's revenue increase. In Q2, our domestic sales to McDonald’s began a long awaited rebound with the release of new third party software. Domestic sales were up significantly which we believe to be a very good indicator for the future.

Sales of our InFusion QSR solution consisting of US hardware, software and services to Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. contributed to Q2's record revenue. Finally, sales of our new table service products to Catalina including point-of-sale (POS) hardware, software, wireless order entry and pay at table contributed to the domestic revenue growth. International hospitality revenues were down 12% during the quarter and 7% year to date. This decrease reflect a larger than normal shipments to McDonald’s International in 2007 and poor economic conditions this year in some regions of Latin America. We feel that in spite of the slow start that our international service business will recover in the second half.

Hospitality margins were off for the quarter due to a low margin special project conducted from McDonald’s which maps the significant improvement in software content in the product mix. It is our intention to continue to increase software content and gradually improve product margins to the low 40% level. Government revenues for the quarter were up 21.4% and for the year to date, up 20.9%. As explained earlier, these increases derived essentially from new Navy contracts initiated in the second half of 2007.

With this excellent start, we feel that we are well on our way to achieving and possibly exceeding this year’s plan. While contract margins for the quarter were below the normal range of 67%, they were nevertheless on plan. We traditionally run lower profits at the start of new fix price contracts which gradually improve over the course of the job. Since we are early in a multiyear contract with the Navy, our margin is temporarily depressed. We anticipate continuing success in our government business considering our pipeline visibility and the current backlog of a $142 million which is up $6 million from Q1.

During our last conference call at the end of Q1, I stated that the most important issues related to our future success will be determined by the help of the markets, the improvement of our McDonald’s business and the success of our strategic plans. I like to spend a few minutes to update you on our view of these issues. First, the health of our markets, we continue to assume that our markets will remain healthy throughout 2008 and for the foreseeable future. There are reports of business softening in table service sector of the restaurant market, yet all of our QSR customers have reflected confidence in their business especially those with broad international presence.

McDonald’s, our largest account, leads the restaurant industry by consistently posting outstanding performance results. Yum! Brands and CKE are all performing well when the entire international market continues to show real growth opportunities. Thus far, we have detected a very slight slow down in our high end spot in resort markets as sales cycles lengthen a bit. Market reports generally indicate that the high end resorts and hotels remain strong while the mid level hotel market is slowing. As for our government business, we do not believe that we will be impacted by recessionary threats.

Now looking at our McDonald’s future, our domestic McDonald’s business has begun to improve with the release of the long awaited domestic software and our firsthand experience with the performance of our integrated product. We are optimistic that several thousand stores will be upgrading their POS system over the next three years. We further expect this replacement business to ramp up gradually as we work with McDonald’s on new deployment processes that are required for this complex software. Another factor influencing the timing of the ramp up relates to the potential competition for capital between POS upgrade and McDonald’s high priority beverage program.

While we do not yet fully understand how this will play out, we were nevertheless faced with this potential issue this quarter and we are pleased to see this quarter’s substantial increase in sales. Success within the McDonald’s account is a fundamental platform for our financial success since it will contribute to growth over the next three years. However, reduced dependency and improving profitability in the short term will depend upon the execution of our strategic plans involving increasing software, expanding channels of distribution and the international growth.

So, now looking at our strategic investments and our plans, restaurant software was up sharply again in Q2 with sales of our new table serve products to both new and existing table serve accounts and infusion sales to the QSR market. Now, this is certainly good news since over the past year, we have been reporting internal software delays. We have made good progress in expanding software sales and continue to believe that we are on track for a good second half. In Q2 we experienced continuing strong growth in our dealer channel business driven by increased sales of our bundled hardware and software which includes the pixel software and our POS hardware.

While this sector of our business is relatively small; we are pleased with the progress today and feel that our investment in this area is beginning to demonstrate real success. International sales for the quarter were down coming off a larger than normal McDonald’s sales in Q2 of 2007 and the fragile economy in certain sectors of Latin America. Last year, we enjoyed larger than normal shipments to China, Canada and Thailand which were not repeated this year. We have invested substantially in expansion of our international presence and capabilities with the knowledge that the international hospitality market will continue to provide the greatest opportunity for growth.

In spite of the slow start this year as I said earlier, we feel that we are still on track for good international growth in the second half and beyond. To summarize, we feel that our company has made the turn and is heading in the right direction. We believe that the health of our markets is generally good; that our McDonald’s business is beginning to pick up and that our investments are showing definite signs of progress.

This ends my formal remarks and now I would like to turn it over to Q&A.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions)

Your first question comes from Unidentified Analyst.

Unidentified Analyst

A couple of questions for you on McDonald’s. It sounds like they are ramping up and on the expansion side, as they start to increase the orders, are you going to have to see some list expenditures as well?

John Sammon

No, I do not think the expansions are going to go up as it starts ramping up. I think that we have the capacity within our organization to deliver the product and deploy the product as the ramp up begins. So, there will be some proportional increase in expenditures especially in the deployment area but I do not think that is going to impact negatively the financials.

Unidentified Analyst

And so far, how many McDonald's restaurants have started the program versus what is left in the opportunity for them to deploy wider?

John Sammon

Only a very small amount, I would say probably in the range of 300 stores, maybe 500 at most, I think in the domestic US. Internationally, a significant number have installed the third party software but the US has been lagging and has been behind and causing us delayed sales for the last 18 months but we put in several hundred of stores with the new software and based upon the experience that we have had, it is working quite well. The only difficulties that we are having are really the deployment. The software is quite complex, it does quite a lot of new things for the store and it takes effort to deploy the software and the hardware. So we are delivering an integrated solution which is much more complex than the solution that we are previously delivering and that has an impact in terms of our ability to ramp up quickly so as far as we are concerned, we have turned the corner and the good news is that it is the only software that is available for licensees of McDonald’s and corporate stores from McDonald’s. The old product has ended its life and we have been installing it and it is working well.

Unidentified Analyst

John, I mean there is a value proposition that is pretty strong for the individual restaurant. Are they giving pretty good feedback? If I recall correctly, they could take several more cars through the drive-thru that could be more efficient than the restaurant.

John Sammon

Yes, I think there is a value proposition but that is to be discovered, I believe. It seems the strategic initiative that McDonald’s has which is their top priority is to rule out their beverage program and the beverage program as you may have been aware of in the press has some mix reviews right now but there is different levels of the beverage program. The basic coffee program is the lowest level and that is the one that is receiving the press where some licensees are pushing back.

But the more advanced program sells up-scale drinks like Smoothies for example which has only been released to a couple of regions within McDonald’s and those sales are doing extraordinarily well and driving profits. Now, speed of service through the drive- thru is essential for the beverage program and speed of service is one of the attributes in the new software which is a compelling story then for the adoption of the new software in conjunction with the more advanced beverage program but all these has to be discovered.

I mean it is one thing for McDonald’s to publish the speed of service increase which we were just referring to and showing that the new software does, in fact, statistically prove that they can put more cars to the drive-thru. That is another thing for the licensees to adopt to both the software and the advance beverage program but it is our belief that as that information becomes solidified throughout the McDonald’s community that there will be a strong value proposition for putting in both the software in conjunction with the advance beverage program and therefore not have competition per capital.

Unidentified Analyst

My final question is I think we have not heard you talk about China and India and I think that is a huge opportunity out there because you come at little bit on China and India the and kind of the size of the KFC opportunity.

John Sammon

Well, we have opened up an office in India. McDonald’s has only a handful of properties in India but they have expansion plans to grow there. We are the provider for McDonald’s in India currently. KFC has a bigger presence in India and we expect that we will be participating more fully in their business. As far as China is concern, our principal account remains McDonald’s and we are doing quite well with the McDonald’s accounts. We are the sole source provider and so as McDonald’s expands in China, so does our business. As we reported in the last quarterly report, we were in competition for the KFC account in China. They have declared they would like to have a second source. The primary source is IBM. A number of companies competed for the second source position including IBM and at this time, it is my best understanding that IBM has the lowest price.

Nevertheless they are still talking to us about us becoming a potential second source for them but right now, IBM is the sole supplier to KFC in China. So, we are still in the game but right now, we are not the lowest priced supplier to KFC, China.

Unidentified Analyst

What about Yum! Brands?

John Sammon

Yum! Brands is of course in China has both the KFC and the Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut is not one of our major targeted areas. The Yum! Brands has its own software for the Pizza Hut chains and with that, they have also a hardware product which is a customized product that they have put in to their stores. Pizza Hut has not been one of our targeted concepts. Within Yum! KFC and Taco Bell are our targeted concepts.

Operator

Your next question comes from Brian Murphy - Sidoti & Co.

Brian Murphy - Sidoti & Co

John, could you give us a little bit more color on the special project that you are doing for McDonald’s and is this sort of a one time thing or can we expect these projects to continue in the second half?

John Sammon

I think you can expect these projects to continue. Basically what it involves is doing some IT work around the requirement for upgrading stores for the beverage program. There is some adjustment of the point-of-sales (POS) system within the environment as they make physical changes to accommodate the beverage program and that is a special project that I referred to. It is a lower margin project and it has a negative impact on our margins but of course it is contributing to the overall profitability.

We expect that it will continue and it will be continuing as long as the beverage program is active, which we would expect will continue on through 2009 but I nevertheless feel that with the increasing business with McDonald’s, the impact of that depression of our product margin will be mitigated by an offset by a higher margins both within the McDonald’s account as we upgrade the stores and also as we increase the software content of our product mix.

Brian Murphy - Sidoti & Co

I think you touched on a service gross margin in your comments but I think I missed it. That is I think that is the highest service gross margin that I have seen from you guys. What is driving your strength there?

John Sammon

Well primarily it is the installation and the field services. They are both carrying higher margins than normal. Ron, do you have any additional thoughts?

Ronald Casciano

Well, a lot of it, Brian, is the additional volume of revenue in those areas that are absorbing some of the fixed cost in those areas and a example of how we can leverage the infrastructure once the business takes off so that is the main reason why you are seeing improvement there.

Brian Murphy - Sidoti & Co

Okay and the contracts revenue, I mean I think what we are expecting for the year was something in the sort of high single digit range and the first half, it is running at over 20% now. Should we be modeling contract revenue down sequentially in the second half?

Ronald Casciano

I think you will see some leveling off in the second half, Brian. We mentioned in the first quarter that we had a lot of pass through work, material buys etc and some of these new contracts that will taper off somewhat in the second half of the year but as John said in his remark, in spite of that tapering off, we still have a good shot of leading our plan for the year and the plan was the high single digits.

Brian Murphy - Sidoti & Co

Just with the operating expenses, they seem to be sort of trending down toward historical levels here. What can we expect in the second half? Is the second quarter level sort of a good run rate for the rest of the year?

Ronald Casciano

I think SG&A is probably a good run rate. That might pick up a little bit in the second half of the year. As hopefully, sales commissions grow etc, R&D though go the other way that should taper off even a little bit more that what we have been running.

Operator

Your next question comes from Vincent Colicchio - Noble Financial Group.

Vincent Colicchio - Noble Financial Group

What were the McDonald’s and Yum! Brands contribution to the percentage of revenue?

Ronald Casciano

For the six months, McDonald’s has 21% of the total revenue and Yum! Brands was 14%.

Vincent Colicchio - Noble Financial Group

It sounds like you obviously have a lot more comfort with your McDonald’s business, John. Can you give us a sense for what kind of growth we could be expecting on the second half from over all McDonald’s business?

John Sammon

Well, as I said in the remarks, I think we are in the discovery phase in terms of the ramp up in our business. I think gradual is the way I see it, there is just too many uncertainties for me to predict when things are going to rapidly change and you can see that in the press relative to this beverage program. We are still in the state of discovery of what the best procedures are for the deployment of the complex software but I would say the things are heading in the right direction. The good news has been, in spite of these issues about the competition per capital, the quarter was quite good and that competition existed in the quarter and if we use that as a measure, I will say that we are on a good track for increasing our business. It will be a gradual build up through the end of this year and into 2009 as the field discovers the values that we have talked a moment ago about the value proposition with the software and its relationship to the beverage program. We really feel that there is going to be a ramp in business with McDonald’s because there are clearly thousands of stores that need to upgrade.

Vincent Colicchio - Noble Financial Group

If I heard you correctly, John, in your prepared remark you said the high end hotel demand remain strong and mid level hotels are seeing some weakness. Your hotel product is, your Springer Miller is a high end product so does that mean that we should see this in the second half versus the year ago period?

John Sammon

I think it is going to be okay. I do not think there is going to be any ramp up in that business. I did indicate in my formal remarks that we are seeing a lengthening of the sales cycle. It is slight. It is not anything major but we are not looking for any significant growth in that business in the second half. So, I think what we are trying to convey is that the help of this high end market remains good, that there is a slight extension of the sales cycle but we do not see any particular rapid growth within that business in the second half.

Vincent Colicchio - Noble Financial Group

Back to the international side a little bit, what encouraged you about the international side of the business for the second half of the year? I know you have mentioned KFC but besides that?

John Sammon

Well I think looking at the pipeline that we have and the opportunities before us and some of the targeted areas in Latin America that I spoke to about weakness, there are accounts in that area that have indicated that they expect their business to be bouncing back and that they expect to do business in the fourth quarter. So, it is a combination of the business that we see in Europe, in Asia and improvement in Latin America that lead us to believe that we will have a pretty good second half in our international business.

Vincent Colicchio - Noble Financial Group

Ron, what was the cash from operations in DSO in the quarter?

Ronald Casciano

Cash flow for the quarter, operating cash flow was about a negative $2.5 million and DSO are running in the commercial side about 68 days and on the government side about 66 days.

Vincent Colicchio - Noble Financial Group

Actually, the capital spending also, you have that one?

Ronald Casciano

Capital spending for the quarter was about half a million dollars and depreciation and amortization was about a million.

Operator

Your next question comes from Tony Brenner - Roth Capital Partners.

Anton Brenner - Roth Capital Partners

Let me understand one thing as to McDonald’s domestic, this has ramps up as you replace sequentially in increasing number of McDonald’s units. Does that have a beneficial effect on product profit margins or a negative effect?

John Sammon

Tony, the McDonald’s business because there is no software in it as you know, they buy the software from a third party, carry a lower margin than our normal sales which obviously most include software so if everything else is equal and the percent of McDonald’s revenue compared to the rest of the business increases, that will drag the margins down a little bit on an overall basis. But the plan for the second half of the year is we hope to see some increasing software business over the first half that will help mitigate, if not offset, the margin impact of the growing McDonald’s business.

That is always the hope but of course we are very happy to have the growing McDonald’s business.

Anton Brenner - Roth Capital Partners

Second you indicated that most of the R&D program that has inflated that figure is behind, as I recall, much of that will have to do with upgrading your web-based software and adapting it to QSR. I wonder if you could just elaborate a little bit on what kind of success you are having and placing some of this software about QSR and table serve to new accounts?

John Sammon

Well, the R&D that I was referring is the entire R&D across the corporation, a large portion, as you indicate Tony, is going towards software but there is also a hardware components and the completion of some of the projects I think I am referring to more on the hardware side. We continue to have investments towards next generation software. As far as success is concerned, I think that you look to the Catalina account where we are in a roll-out currently and that is the advanced software. It is a table serve implementation and involves all of the products and not only the hardware but it is also the software to pay at table, it is a wireless order entry and configuration management above a collection of couple of a hundred restaurants. So, it is a very good example of some success that we are having with our next generation platform.

Operator

Your next question comes from Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

Can you tell me how much McDonald’s business with this quarter in dollar terms versus last year '07 second quarter? I know you gave the six months but I am wondering what the figures were for the second quarter.

Ronald Casciano

We just disclosed the percentages for the percentage with the McDonald’s was 23% of the business in the quarter. Now, as you know, that is worldwide product and service sales to McDonald’s and similar number for the Yum! Brands that was 16%.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

So, what were McDonald’s businesses in '07 second quarter?

Ronald Casciano

That was 27% and Yum was 14%.

John Sammon

That is global. That is domestic and international.

Ronald Casciano

In reference to John said in his remarks, the McDonald’s international business was down this year versus last year but the domestic business is up.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

Can you also talk about the recent purchase of Orderman by Radiant? Does that put iSiva’s technology as a disadvantage?

John Sammon

No, I do not think it puts iSiva’s product at any particular disadvantage. The Orderman is a very strong product in Europe, to the best of my knowledge; it has not entered this country at all. It is a very, very European and since we have taken iSiva to the international marketplace at this point in time, they are really addressing two different market spaces.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

If you did take iSiva overseas, can they go head to head with Orderman and not..?

John Sammon

Well, yes, I think so. I mean the Orderman is a particular product that has gained some momentum in Europe as remote order taker but it is not an exceptional product and there are a lot of competitors that have products that are similar to the Orderman product. I think they were probably one of the first in Europe to bring out that product which has gained them a nice collection of customers but I think as far as the technology is concerned, I do not think there is anything particularly remarkable about that product.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

It seems product line or revenue for the quarter broken down in the queue.

John Sammon

No, it is not, Sam.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

That is right. Can you give us any figures on that?

John Sammon

No, we cannot.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

Okay, the next question is can you tell us the opportunities you guys will have with KFC in the second half? Can you talk some of the opportunities internationally and in the US?

John Sammon

Well, we have opportunities both in the US as a consequence of this recent competition that we went through and we will expect, we would have a continuation of business as a consequence continuation of the second quarter of the business as a consequence of that decision that KFC has made so have a sense to your primary supplier going forward. As far as international is concerned, we do have some European opportunities where we have integrated our in-touch product with an ASP back office product of a third party company and that has successfully been tested in some regions in Europe and we will expect the business to develop as a consequence of that as well.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

Is there any extra work that you guys will get from KFC this second half of the year to fund that exclusive contract that you won or is that just timed over several years?

John Sammon

It is not an exclusive contract, Sam. It is very similar to a competition that we went through a couple of years ago where everybody that has hardware products and services to offer to KFC, has been invited to bid and we have gone through a second round after winning it a couple years ago and becoming the primary supplier. We have just recently, in this last quarter, gone through that same competition and have re-established our position as the primary supplier to KFC. With that decision, there was an increase in KFC business in the second quarter which I would expect to be a baseline for going forward over the next couple of years.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

And the last question is regarding the opportunities in China. Can you talk about, I know you spent money last year in ongoing, you are spending money, can you talk about opportunities in China this quarter that presented itself to you guys versus prior quarter or versus last year?

John Sammon

No, there is a long-term effort on our part. As you know, China has a very dynamic economy. We have a strong position with McDonald’s and we are using that position in order to take on more business, win more business and we have strategic plans but I am at liberty to talk about it at this point in time. So, there is nothing specific Sam that I could point to, that happened within this last quarter. I think we are continually optimistic about the possibilities in China but there is nothing to announce at this point in time.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

So in order words, the strategic plans that you cannot talk about, when do you think that will come to fruition? Will it be the second half of '08 or '09?

John Sammon

I think of strategy as being something that happens over three to five years so the direction that we have been talking about are directions that will improve our business, our profitability, we will win new accounts. We will reduce dependency on our major accounts as the strategy unfolds and we have success. That is why I have been trying to focus on the strategy and some of the results of that strategy in the last two quarters to indicate that they were generally satisfied, they were making progress but you should not expect that all of the sudden there is going to be some big increase in business. I look at it as a long term and gradual improvement of the business.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

Can you tell then the strategic options or what is happening in China includes or does not include outsourcing your hardware to China?

John Sammon

Well, we actually have our own assembly manufacturing operation in China. That was something that the McDonald’s account wanted and in order to keep our promises to McDonald’s, we have established the manufacturing capability within the country which we expect to then exploit because there are lower costs in that part of the world and so we are not actually following an outsourcing. We are actually doing our assembly work in China in our own facility.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

And your expectations to bring more of that business to China from other accounts that you have or is it just the McDonald’s account with you today that…

John Sammon

Right now it is just the McDonald’s account but I think as we understand the cost in China and see the advantages in that part of the world, I think that it will be quite logical to do our manufacturing assembly in Asia itself especially for the Asian market.

Sam Bergman - Bayberry Capital Management

Can you give us any idea what the savings are on the hardware?

John Sammon

We really cannot, Sam.

Operator

That concludes the question-and-answer session of today's conference.

John Sammon

Thank you for listening in to our call and have a great day.

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