QUEBEC CITY, CANADA, January 10, 2017 — EXFO Inc. (NASDAQ: EXFO; TSX: EXF) reported today financial results for the first quarter ended November 30, 2016.
Sales reached US$61.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 compared to US$55.2 million in the first quarter of 2016 and US$62.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Bookings attained US$65.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 compared to US$58.5 million in the same period last year and US$62.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. The company’s book-to-bill ratio was 1.07 in the first quarter of 2017.
Gross margin before depreciation and amortization* amounted to 63.1% of sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 compared to 63.5% in the first quarter of 2016 and 61.6% in the fourth quarter of 2016.
IFRS net earnings in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 totaled US$3.3 million, or US$0.06 per diluted share, compared US$1.8 million, or US$0.03 per diluted share, in the same period last year and US$2.3 million, or US$0.04 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2016. IFRS net earnings in the first quarter of 2017 included US$0.4 million in after-tax amortization of intangible assets, US$0.3 million in stock-based compensation costs and a foreign exchange gain of US$0.5 million.
Adjusted EBITDA* totaled US$6.3 million, or 10.2% of sales, in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 compared to US$5.3 million, or 9.6% of sales, in the first quarter of 2016 and US$6.2 million, or 9.8% of sales, in the fourth quarter of 2016.
EXFO closed the acquisition of Absolute Analysis’ assets in late October for US$5.0 million in cash and US$3.5 million in stock. At the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2017, EXFO had a cash position of US$39.3 million and no debt.
“Fiscal 2017 has gotten off to a strong start with double-digit increases in sales, bookings and adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter, highlighting growing market traction of both of our product groups,” said Germain Lamonde, EXFO’s Chairman, President and CEO. “I am particularly pleased with robust results from our optical and high-speed transport businesses, where we are gaining market share and taking advantage of the 100G investment cycle in long-haul networks, Metro links and data centers. We also benefited from calendar year-end purchases by some communications service providers and early returns from our industry-only, all-in-one optical RF analyzer for mobile network operators. We remain fully confident about achieving our adjusted EBITDA goal of US$26 million in 2017.”
Selected Financial Information
(In thousands of US dollars)
Selling and administrative expenses totaled US$21.6 million, or 35.0% of sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 compared to US$20.3 million, or 36.7% of sales, in the same period last year and US$21.6 million, or 34.3% of sales, in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Net R&D expenses totaled US$11.3 million, or 18.3% of sales, in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 compared to US$9.9 million, or 18.0% of sales, in the first quarter of 2016 and US$11.3 million, or 18.0% of sales, in the fourth quarter of 2016.
- Sales and bookings. Sales and bookings increased 11.9% and 12.6% year-over-year, respectively, mainly due to strong market demand in EXFO’s three major selling regions and for optical and high-speed solutions. The company also benefited from a large wireless deal in Asia-Pacific in the first quarter. From a segmented revenue standpoint, 56% of sales originated from the Americas, 23% from EMEA and 21% from Asia-Pacific, while Physical-layer sales represented 68% of total sales and Protocol-layer sales 32%. EXFO’s top customer accounted for 13.8% of sales, while the top three represented 23.3%. This represents an unusually high concentration level for EXFO, but reflects greater success with Tier-1 operators.
- Profitability. EXFO generated adjusted EBITDA of US$6.3 million, or 10.2% of sales, in the first quarter of 2017 compared to US$5.3 million, or 9.6% of sales, in the first quarter of 2016.
- Innovation. EXFO acquired substantially all the assets of Absolute Analysis in the first quarter to combine radio frequency (RF) test software with its own optical and Ethernet technologies. EXFO also introduced three other new solutions including a power meter, variable attenuator and optical switch modules for its LTB-8 platform dedicated to the high-speed optical lab market, a segment of increased focus. Finally, EXFO supplied OpenReach, British Telecom’s local network business, with an initial order of MaxTesters to support its G.fast pilot project.
EXFO forecasts sales between US$58.0 million and US$63.0 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2017, while IFRS net results are expected to range between a loss of US$0.01 per share and earnings of US$0.03 per share. IFRS net results include US$0.01 per share in after-tax amortization of intangible assets and stock-based compensation costs as well as an anticipated foreign exchange loss of US$800,000 based on today’s exchange rates.
This guidance was established by management based on existing backlog as of the date of this press release, seasonality, expected bookings for the remaining of the quarter, as well as exchange rates as of the day of this press release.
Conference Call and Webcast
EXFO will host a conference call today at 5 p.m. (Eastern time) to review first-quarter results for fiscal 2017. To listen to the conference call and participate in the question period via telephone, dial 1-704-288-0432. Please take note the following conference ID number will be required: 30629172. Germain Lamonde, Chairman, President and CEO, and Pierre Plamondon, CPA, Vice-President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the call. An audio replay of the conference call will be available two hours after the event until 11:59 p.m. on January 17, 2017. The replay number is 1-855-859-2056 and the conference ID number is 30629172. The audio Webcast and replay of the conference call will also be available on EXFO’s Website at www.EXFO.com, under the Investors section.
EXFO provides communications service providers (CSPs) with test automation and 3D analytics solutions to ensure the smooth deployment, maintenance and management of next-generation, physical, virtual, fixed and mobile networks. The company has also forged strong relationships with network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) to develop deep expertise that migrates from the lab to the field and beyond. EXFO's key differentiation comes from combining intelligent, automated and cloud-based test and monitoring solutions with real-time analytics to deliver unmatched end-to-end visibility and assurance—from a network, services and end-user level. EXFO is no. 1 in portable optical testing and boasts the largest active service assurance deployment worldwide. For more information, visit www.EXFO.com and follow us on the EXFO Blog.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and we intend that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbors created thereby. Forward-looking statements are statements other than historical information or statements of current condition. Words such as may, expect, believe, plan, anticipate, intend, could, estimate, continue, or similar expressions or the negative of such expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In addition, any statement that refers to expectations, projections or other characterizations of future events and circumstances are considered forward-looking statements. They are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements due to various factors including, but not limited to, macroeconomic uncertainty as well as capital spending and network deployment levels in the telecommunications industry (including our ability to quickly adapt cost structures with anticipated levels of business and our ability to manage inventory levels with market demand); future economic, competitive, financial and market conditions; consolidation in the global telecommunications test and service assurance industry and increased competition among vendors; capacity to adapt our future product offering to future technological changes; limited visibility with regards to timing and nature of customer orders; longer sales cycles for complex systems involving customers’ acceptances delaying revenue recognition; fluctuating exchange rates; concentration of sales; timely release and market acceptance of our new products and other upcoming products; our ability to successfully expand international operations; our ability to successfully integrate businesses that we acquire; and the retention of key technical and management personnel. Assumptions relating to the foregoing involve judgments and risks, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict and many of which are beyond our control. Other risk factors that may affect our future performance and operations are detailed in our Annual Report, on Form 20-F, and our other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Canadian securities commissions. We believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable based on information currently available to us, but we cannot assure that the expectations will prove to have been correct. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These statements speak only as of the date of this document. Unless required by law or applicable regulations, we undertake no obligation to revise or update any of them to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date of this document.
EXFO provides non-IFRS measures (gross margin before depreciation and amortization and adjusted EBITDA) as supplemental information regarding its operational performance. The company uses these measures for the purpose of evaluating historical and prospective financial performance, as well as its performance relative to competitors. These measures also help the company to plan and forecast for future periods as well as to make operational and strategic decisions. EXFO believes that providing this information, in addition to IFRS measures, allows investors to see the company’s results through the eyes of management, and to better understand its historical and future financial performance.
The presentation of this additional information is not prepared in accordance with IFRS. Therefore, the information may not necessarily be comparable to that of other companies and should be considered as a supplement to, not a substitute for, the corresponding measures calculated in accordance with IFRS.
Gross margin before depreciation and amortization represents sales less cost of sales, excluding depreciation and amortization.
Adjusted EBITDA represents net earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation costs and foreign exchange gain.
The following table summarizes the reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to IFRS net earnings, in thousands of US dollars:
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