Ixia (NASDAQ:XXIA) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call February 24, 2015 5:00 PM ET
Maria Riley - Investor Relations
Bethany Mayer - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director
Brent Novak - Chief Financial Officer
Alexander Pepe - Chief Operating Officer
Errol Ginsberg - Founder, Chairman and Chief Innovation Officer
Patrick Newton - Stifel
Matt Robison - Wunderlich
Hendi Susanto - Gabelli
Good afternoon. I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Ixia’s Fourth Quarter 2014 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions].
I will now turn the call over to Ms. Maria Riley, of the Blueshirt Group which handles Investor Relations for Ixia. Ms. Riley, you may begin.
Good afternoon and thank you for joining us. This call is also being broadcast live over the web and can be accessed on the Investor Relations section of Ixia's website at www.ixiacom.com for at least 90 days.
Members of Ixia's management team that are with me today are Bethany Mayer, President and CEO; Alex Pepe, Chief Operating Officer; Brent Novak, Chief Financial Officer; and Errol Ginsberg, Chairman and Chief Innovation Officer.
After the market closed today, Ixia issued a press release reporting its preliminary financial results for the fourth quarter and the year ended December 31, 2014. The company’s financial results and other financial matters for the – financial information for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2014 as discussed in this call is preliminary. As a subject to the completion of the company’s financial close process and consolidated financial statements for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2014 and to the completion of the audit of the company’s financial statements as of and for the year December 31, 2014.
We would like to remind you that during the course of this conference call, Ixia's management may make forward-looking statements including, without limitation, statements regarding financial projections, statements as to the plans and objectives of management for future operations and statements as to the company's future economic performance, financial condition or results of operation.
These forward-looking statements are not historical facts, but rather, are based on the company's current expectations and beliefs. Words such as may, will, could, should, would, expects, intends, plans, projects, believes, seeks, estimates and variations of these words are intended to identify forward-looking statements. The company's future results may differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements.
We undertake no obligation to update any forward looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Note, that unless specifically noted otherwise we are just discussing all numbers on a non-GAAP for pro forma basis, prior to non-cash or non-recurring items.
A full reconciliation of a non-GAAP financial measures covered in this call to the most directly comparable GAAP measures is available in the investor relations section of our website.
I would also like to mention that our revenue mix information, such as revenue percentages by product, is based, primarily, on amounts invoiced to our customers during the specified period
With that, I would like to turn the call over to Ixia's President and CEO, Bethany Mayer. Bethany?
Thank you, Maria. And thank you, all, for joining us. I'm pleased to be here with you today to report on our preliminary fourth quarter results and the progress we have made towards our objective of improving our operational fundamentals, driving for financial discipline and transforming our business.
A few of our recent achievements include: delivering record revenue for the fourth quarter well above our guidance, sequentially growing our enterprise customer base by over 250 new customers in the fourth quarter and our enterprise bookings 30% significantly improving our operating margin in the fourth quarter as compared to the third quarter and delivering non-GAAP earnings of $0.19 per diluted share well above the high-end of our guidance range; launching new products such as our BreakingPoint virtual addition solution, control tower application visibility controller utilizing of IxFlow [ph] and continuing to integrate our Application Threat Intelligence across the product portfolio, concluding our search for candidate for the senior Vice President of Global Sales role with the acceptance of our offer by an exciting candidate who is expected to start in the next few weeks and defining both our near and long term plans to maximize our market opportunities which I will share with you in a moment.
Overall, our fourth quarter was a strong finish to a challenging year. Total revenue grew 12% sequentially to $127.2 million exceeding our guidance of $112 million to $122 million and our non-GAAP operating margin continued to improve reaching 19.2% our highest level in nearly two years and within our target range of 18% to 25% for the quarter.
Our better than expected fourth quarter results were driven by demand across all our product lines, geographies and verticals. Fourth quarter bookings reached a new record and we exited the quarter with a book-to-bill above one. Also, our improvement in operating margin reflects our continued commitment to maintaining operating expenses and gaining greater efficiencies from our resources generating an uplift in operating margin with the topline growth.
Our NVS revenue grew 30% sequentially. Increased sales to service providers including AT&T as well as higher enterprise sales contributed to a robust NVS performance. Our NTS revenue grew 5% from Q3. We achieved record bookings for our layer 2-3 100 gig modules in Q4 fuelled by demand for a high density, data center solutions. Additionally increased demand for our layer 4-7 application and security offerings and Wi-Fi products also contributed to our NTS growth.
We are very pleased with our fourth quarter results, execution and competitive advances across the portfolio. In particular, our focus on the enterprise is beginning to show positive results. We saw a strong sequential bookings growth in the enterprise of 30%. We continued to grow our footprint in the enterprise including a nearly 50% increase in the number of large deals over $500,000 from Q3 and adding 250 new customers.
In addition, we sold across the portfolio in several exciting application. Let me share with you how our technology is being put to use in some of our large enterprise accounts. A leading retailer with over 800 locations showed our security network packet brokers for in line security application. A leading vertical operation software company that is building new data center selected our visibility architecture to connect its monitoring infrastructure and ensure application performance.
A large U.S. financial services company shows our application performance solution to monitor a Microsoft Lync voice deployment and to validate several new devices including firewalls. And a large media conglomerate purchased our PerfectStorm security solutions to access its security posture and vulnerabilities after a high profile hacking scandal.
It is also important to note that our solutions are often being used to either validate the security resilience of the network or to layer inline security in the network to block cyber attacks from malware proliferations.
Moving onto our service providers in NEM customer base, as the year came to a close we saw a significant increase in spending by some of our largest customers in these verticals including AT&T and Cisco. While we find this very encouraging and we believe we have a solid position in these markets we believe that the near term spending environment will fluctuate from quarter to quarter as carriers continue to evaluate their capital investments and prepare to virtualize their networks and while network equipment manufacturers transition their products and organization to meet these new requirements.
Over the longer term we believe the technology transition to technology transition to SDN, virtualization and NFV presents a strong opportunity for Ixia. Before I turn the call over to Brent, I would like to discuss Ixia’s strategy and how we are aligning the company to address key technology needs to diversify and grow our business.
Ixia’s solution solved two key technology pain [ph] points for our customers, enhancing application performance and ensuring security resilience. We believe these are the top two concerns for CIOs, carriers and NEM. Our customers are focused on delivering application successfully to provide a rich end user or customer experience and ensuring that their devices and networks are hardened to attack that can cripple businesses and consumers alike.
How do we solve these pain points? Our solutions enhance application performance by validating chip sets, devices and networks to ensure that they meet application performance demands of the customer and their service level need for pre-deployment and in deployed networks. Our solutions increased security resilience of the network during roll out by simulating traffic from numerous investors including malware, [Indiscernible] attack as well as suspects, geographies and devices.
In addition, we enable a more secure network by layering in line by pass packet brokers that can access traffic and load balance between security devices so that they are not overwhelmed by too much traffic.
Finally, we optimize then network by monitoring, accessing and load balancing traffic between network tool or providing visibility to applications and data moving across the network.
Ixia’s ability to validate, secure and optimize across the entire network lifecycle is unique due to a rich technology portfolio and our ability to integrate our technologies to solve customer problems at any point in that life cycle addressing their most pressing need, enhancing application performance and ensuring security resilience.
For example in Q4 we enhanced our visibility architecture by integrating our Application and Threat Intelligent capabilities, creating a comprehensive solution to meets the needs of enterprises for simplified and actionable security insight.
We also enriched our Wi-Fi platform with our application performance technology creating a new solution for the enterprise environment that verifies the quality of service of Wi-Fi networks and performance of applications running on the Wi-Fi networks such as Microsoft Lync.
In addition as I mentioned earlier, we just announced extensions to our control tower visibility controller which is an SDN based offering that enhances application performance and visibility using OpenFlow across a [Indiscernible] switching fabric.
This is a unique offering that further extends our innovation and to the network packet broker market. We will build upon our strong legacy of helping the world’s largest network equipment manufacturers and service providers develop, deploy and secure cutting edge technologies that will not change.
However, our strategy also includes further cultivating a newer segment of our business which is the enterprise. To expand within the enterprise we have increased our investments in our channel program and campaigns by 40% and we are adding sales resources and training our teams to sell solutions in this key market.
We believe leveraging our channel will be essential to successfully growing our presence in the enterprise and driving growth. Our goal for the enterprise customer segment is to grow sales to become 40% or more of our total 2017 revenue.
Our strategy also includes expanding our enterprise oriented product offering and making them channel friendly as well as adding more focus to our software and subscription offering like our application and Application and Threat Intelligent security subscription, virtual test solutions and our new virtual breaking point product that we recently launched which validates security resilience of a network in a virtual environment.
While we plan to make substantial investments in our future in application performance and security resilience, we are committed to operational excellence and financial discipline. Our product involvement in go-to-market investments will be targeted with the objective of driving diversified long term growth but we will also continue to focus on leveraging our resources and increasing efficiencies.
In 2015, we are conservatively modeling our near term gross margin to remain at or around our 2014 levels and we expect to see a meaningful year-over-year improvement in our operating margin on an annualized basis. Over the longer term our goal is to expand our gross margins to 78% and deliver annual operating margin in the range of 18% to 25%. This will be driven by top line growth and a disciplined spending model with an operating expense target range of 53% to 58% of revenue.
Our target net margin remains unchanged at 12% to 16%. With that, I will turn the call over to Brent for a detailed review of our financial performance in Q1 outlook. Brent?
Thank you, Bethany. I would like to remind you that unless specifically noted otherwise, we are discussing all numbers on a non-GAAP or pro forma basis prior to noncash or non-recurring items.
Total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $127.2 million, above our guidance range of $112 million to $122 million. This compares with $120.6 million in Q4 of 2013, and $114 million in Q3 of 2014. Test or NTS revenue was $88.4 million compared with $94.6 million in Q4 of 2013 and $84.1 million in Q3 of 2014. Revenue from our visibility or NVS products was $38.8 million, which includes $17.8 million in revenue from Net Optics. This compares with Q3 2014 NVS revenue of $29.9 million, which included $17.3 million from Net Optics.
In the fourth quarter, hardware accounted for 62% of revenue, software 12%, warrantee 23% and other products 3%.
From a geographic perspective, revenue from the United States represented 57% or $72.1 million of total fourth quarter revenue. EMEA represented 18% or $22.6 million of fourth quarter revenue, while Asia-Pacific was 19% or $24.2 million. Approximately 43% of our fourth quarter revenue was from NEMs, 25% from service providers and 32% from enterprise and government customers.
Revenue in the quarter was well diversified with no one customer contributing to 10% or more of fourth quarter revenue. Our total non-GAAP gross margin for the fourth quarter was 76.8%, which was at the high end of our expected range of 75% to 77%, due in part to improve leverage and a favorable mix of products sold in the fourth quarter.
Total non-GAAP operating expenses were $73.3 million, relatively flat when compared with the $73.1 in Q3 of 2014.
Our non-GAAP operating expenses in the fourth quarter benefited from the strong U.S. dollar which helps to offset higher commissions.
Looking forward, we expect operating expenses to increase 3% to 4% in the 2015 first quarter when compared to Q4 2014, due in part to higher payroll taxes in the United States our global sales meeting and marketing events.
Fourth quarter non-GAAP operating margin was 19.2%, up from the 11.2% reported in the third quarter of 2014. Fourth quarter 2014 non-GAAP net income was $15.6 million or $0.19 per diluted share.
This compares with non-GAAP net income of $6.9 million or $0.09 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2014 and $11.9 million or $0.15 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The non-GAAP effective tax rate was 29% compared with 36% in the prior quarter. The low effective tax rate in the fourth quarter was due to the December renewal of the federal research credit for the 2014 calendar year.
The federal research credit has not been renewed for 2015 and as a result we expect our Q1, 2015 non-GAAP effective tax rate to be in the 33% to 36% range.
We reported GAAP net income in the fourth quarter of approximately $286,000 or breakeven on a per share basis. This compares with a GAAP net loss of $7.3 million or $0.09 per share.
In the third quarter of 2014, a GAAP net loss of $3.1 million or $0.04 per share in the fourth quarter of 2013. Fourth quarter 2014 GAAP net income includes the following non-cash or non-recurring items.
$10.8 million for the amortization of acquisition related intangible asset, $3 million in expenses related to investigations, remediation efforts, shareholder litigation and the restatement of our first and second quarter 2013 financial statement.
$5.4 million related to stock based compensation, $1.5 million and expenses related to restructuring acquisition and other related cost. A $1 million write-off of a development related contract, and a net tax benefit of approximately $6.5 million related to these items and certain other non-cash tax item such as changes in the valuation allowance related to the company’s deferred tax assets.
Turning to our balance sheet, cash, cash equivalent and investment were approximately $126.2 million at December 31, up from the $113.6 million at September 30. In Q4 cash flow from operations was approximately $13.7 million.
Fourth quarter 2014 deferred revenue was $118.2 million down slightly from the $120.6 million at the end of Q3, capital expenditures for the fourth quarter of 2014 were $2.7 million, accounts receivable increase to $99.5 million as of December 31 from $94.2 million as of September 30.
DSOs were 72 days in the fourth quarter, down from 77 days reported in the third quarter. We ended the fourth quarter with approximately $44.8 million of the inventory, a decrease from the prior quarter’s inventory balance of $46.5 million.
Annualized inventory turnover increased to 2.6 times. The number of full time employee equivalent including contractor at December 31, decrease to 1,755 as compared to 1,776 employees at the end of the prior quarter.
Before we move to our guidance, I’d like to discuss the timing of or 2014 financial statement and related audit. As mentioned in our press release we expect to need additional time to complete our 2014 financial statement and related audit and to file our 214 form 10-K which is due by March 2.
While we are quite far along in the process given our material weaknesses as a result of the event of last year, we’re still working to complete the expensive audit procedures related to our financial statement as well as to complete our assessment of our internal controls.
At this point we’re not aware of any material adjustment, but we are continuing to work through the remaining open items to close out the audit. We plan to file our 2014 10-K within the 15-day extension period.
Moving to our outlook, we currently expect revenue for the first quarter of 2015 to be in the range of $115 million to $120 million. Our guidance reflects first quarter seasonality and potential fluctuations in service provider spending.
We currently expect that our non-GAAP gross margin in the first quarter will be between 75% and 77%. We expect our Q1 non-GAAP EPS to be in the range of $0.08 to a $0.11 sense per diluted share and estimate the comparable GAAP loss per share to be within $0.07 to $0.10 per share.
The difference between estimated GAAP and non-GAAP results relates to expected non-cash and certain non-recurring changes and the associated tax effects, including charges related to stock based compensation.
We estimate this time that our stock-based compensation charges will be between $4.2 million and $5.2 million in the first quarter on a pretax basis. We currently estimate the non-GAAP diluted weighted average number of common equivalent shares outstanding to be in the range of 79.5 million to 80.5 million shares for the first quarter.
With that, I would like to turn the call over to the operators for questions. Operator?
[Operator Instructions] Your first question comes from the line of Patrick Newton from Stifel. Your line is open.
Yes. Thank you for taking my questions. Good afternoon, great job on the quarter. I guess, Bethany, wanted to dive into your longer term strategy that you discussed, you laid out layer 4 through 7 virtualizations, security and application performance, goals on the product side and I think you talked about enterprise representing more than 40% of sales by or 40% more of sales by 2017. I’m curious, how should we think about the growth of NTS segment during this timeframe through 2017?
NTS and Patrick hi, thanks for joining us. NTS we believe will remain in a single-digit growth to flat growth going forward. So we don’t anticipate double digital growth for that product line.
Great. And then, I’m curious on the gross margin side you talked about 2015 remaining around 2014 levels, given growing mix of the accretive NVS and we ask revenue. What is driving that expectation? Are there any pricing impacts in the market worth noting or why should the gross margin profile remained flattish?
So, the gross margin profile will remain flat primarily because what we’ve seen in terms of the product offerings that were selling to our customers tend to be very mix. So we don’t get just one product versus another. It’s a good mix across the product profile. And we’ve also seen consistent selling around the value of our products versus any sort commoditization. So it’s been strong in that regard.
I can add one piece. We saw an uptick in fourth here close to 77% and that was due to some additional leverage as well as a favorable product mix. So, we had sales of our higher margin, higher level of network packet brokers, whereas you do have from a mix perspective the lower end of our NVS product has lower gross margin compared to our traditional legacy products prior to the Net Optics acquisition.
Okay. And that’s helpful. And then I wanted to go little bit deeper into NVS at least from my model that’s where substantially all of the upside came from. I believe you said, service provider strengthen, I think you specifically call out AT&A and I’m curious that was running at a pretty low clip. I think when we talked in the past the communication with that AT&T may or may not return as a material customer that depending on how they decided to deploy their NFV strategy. Do you have some visibility to AT&T? Was this kind of one time poppers? Is it something more we should now start to think about AT&T as a material NVS customer on a go forward basis?
So, what we saw with AT&T in Q4 was definitely an uptick in revenue with them. And that was as a result I would say, of end of year, but also as a result of our continued development in their network. So we have a very strong in the AT&T network environment. And as they move to virtual we believe we’ll continue well there with AT&T.
The world of carriers and service providers tends to be a bit choppy. And so, we will continue to anticipate chop, but are uncomfortable that we’re not going to be in the mix. We will be in the mix and will be part of their architecture going forward.
Great. And last one from me is for Brent. I think last quarter you talked about paying down your December $200 million convertible with combination of existing cash and some sort of refinancing transaction. Just given that your revolver has gone from the $150 to roughly half of that, and I think you only extended it through early March, how should we think about your ability?
I think cash on hand is $126 million. How we should we think about your ability to pay down that revolver? How should we think about what type of refinancing transaction? Last quarter implied that sooner the better, so any update that would be appreciated?
First, I mean, our goal is to optimize our capital structure, so we want to maintain our low cost of capital as well as same time minimizing dilution to our shareholder. So with that said, we have been working with to amend the facility or to enter into a new facility, so we’re working with some of the banks and the existing banks that we’re in the – they are in the existing facilities as well as new bank. So, we’re pretty confident that we can get something done there and it certainly helps that when you look at our EBITDA trends from our adjusted EBITDA trends going from the second quarter to third to the fourth and actually we had year-over-year Q4 growth in EBITDA over Q4, 2013.
So, with these increasing and strengthening of our fundamentals we think the options will just be better for us. So, we’re looking to amend the facility, but there are other options if you want to pursue, such as a term loans or do something with our convertibles. And we are working on that diligently Patrick, so you’re aware.
Great. Thank you for taking my questions. Good luck.
Yes. Thanks, Patrick.
[Operator Instructions] Your next question comes from the line of Matt Robison from Wunderlich. Your line is open.
Hey, thanks for taking my questions. And congratulations, pretty stunning performance here. Can you talk a little bit about what are the factors that have enabled you to do so well in enterprise the past couple of quarters?
Well, thanks for joining us, Matt. Nice to have you in the call, and thanks for the congrats. So, it is combination of things. It is not one thing. And so, I’ll give you kind of the list of those things. First is we’ve really have made a shift in our go-to-market around a channel strategy and into the enterprise.
So, we have spent the last year building our channel program and the affectivity of that program has begun to really get some traction. I would also say that we’ve also put in place product that fit into the enterprise much more effectively. So, the Net Optics acquisition helped us quite a bit, because those products fit very well in enterprise. But even beyond that we have products like our virtual edition product that actually are very strong in the enterprise and some of the security products like the PerfectStorm particular very, very strong in the enterprise.
So, we now have products that go well into the enterprise. And then, I would say also we have really done – I think a good job of moving our message and our positioning more towards a broader approach in the enterprise, looking at their core issue for them and even for the carriers I would say, around application performance and security resilience. Those are top concern in those markets. And we really have product across the product portfolio that can address those needs. So, it is a combination of things for us.
What was so distinct about Net Optics versus new products for enterprise?
Well, Net Optics specifically have been built for the enterprise and had been selling in the enterprise for quite some time before our acquisition, and how to range your products from network packet brokers to tabs [ph] and tabs primarily sort of the leader for that company across those years. So, those were all very, very strongly received within the enterprise.
Annuity [ph] is product that sales more for the carrier market and we begin to see some traction there as well beyond AT&A which is very exciting for us. So, the annuity [ph] product we feel primarily around carrier. Now one comment I would make though is that as we go into large enterprises which is primarily where we are, the annuity product actually becomes more relevant because of its level of sophistication and what it can do for a customer for the very large network. And we see a lot of customers who do have very, very large network. So that sort of a bit of a difference between the two products portfolios. Errol on the call, you would like to comment.
Hi, Matt. So, one other thing that makes the Net Optics thought us very soon for enterprises. They have a lot of security oriented features. So we have inline bypass products as well as some load-balancing features that are built in along with secure with the heartbeat that makes them really well situated for enterprise security application. So we see a lot of applications where those products go into enterprises, large enterprises.
And with all of the stuff going on with security lately, it just kind of wrapped up. The desire for the products has wrapped up even more.
Thanks. Bethany, did you mentioned that a number for revenue growth this year or I thought you might have reiterated something you said previously?
Revenue growth for the year overall was flat from 2013. So we came in at….
I thought you might have said something outlook related?
No, I don’t believe I did.
Okay. Okay. And then, if I could just get the depreciation?
Yes. Sure. It’s $4.5 million. Matt, thanks.
Thanks a lot. Okay.
Thank you, Matt.
[Operator Instructions] Your next question is from the line of Hendi Susanto from Gabelli. You line is open.
Good evening and positive results for Q4, it’s a good way to end the year.
Thank you, Hendi.
Bethany you mentioned that in the NTS market, you are expecting single digit growth to flat growth. And then, I believe that the security tax solution is part of that segment. So assuming that the security will have a positive growth in 2015, does that imply that excluding security, your core network past may see like flat or like sales decline in 2015?
Our layer Q3 products are flattening definitely, while our security and application layer 4 through 7 including the security resilience product, those are all growing. So, we’re seeing growth in the security side of that portfolio, the application side of that portfolio, our Wi-Fi is growing there. But our layer 2-3 is not a high growth and it’s flatten.
Got it. And then, as you’re bringing a new global sales, do you have any specific like strategic objectives in the area of sales for 2015?
Well, I mean, one wonderful thing about this company is we have a very good bench in terms of our sales leadership. We have very strong regional VPs across the world who do an outstanding job, and so, one, we already have that in place which is great for a new sales leader to come in to a team that is strong.
I would say that one of the key emphasis for the new leader will be around the channel and driving enterprise, but I would also say that our carrier – our carrier market where we’re trying to broaden our customer base is going to be important for that individual as well and broadening the customer base into new network equipment manufacturers will be important. So in the NEMs and carriers the goal is to go broader in that customer base. And in the enterprise is to take new logos, new customers and use the channel to extend our reach.
Got it. Thank you.
Your next question comes from the line of Matt Robison from Wunderlich. Your line is open.
Well, thanks for the follow-up. Can you comment on what percentage of business was channel of this year versus last or maybe sequentially?
Yes. We don’t have a specific number that we want to disclose at this time. But obviously moving forward that’s going to be more and more focus for the company, so we’ll tracking that metric.
When you say, you have no 10% customers with the current mix does that also pertain to channel partners?
That’s true. It’s pretty diversify this quarter across the board.
Okay. Thanks a lot.
Thank you, Matt.
[Operator Instructions] There are no further questions at this time. Bethany?
Good ahead for closing remarks.
Yes. I just wanted to say thank you all for joining us. I’d also like to thank our employees, the investors, partners and customers for your continued support. Thank you.
This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.
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