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American Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMSWA) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

American Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMSWA) Q4 2023 Earnings Call Transcript June 8, 2023

American Software, Inc. beats earnings expectations. Reported EPS is $0.12, expectations were $0.09.

Operator: Good day, everyone. And welcome to today’s Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2023 Results for American Software. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later you will have the opportunity to ask questions during the question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Please note, this call may be recorded and I will be standing by if you should need any assistance. It is now my pleasure to turn the conference over to Vince Klinges, CFO of American Software. Please go ahead.

Vince Klinges: Thank you, Reva. Good afternoon, everyone. And welcome to American Software’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2023 earnings call. On the call with me is Allan Dow, President and CEO of American Software. Allan will provide some opening remarks and then I will review the numbers, but first our Safe Harbor statement. This conference call may contain forward-looking statements, including statements regarding, among other things, our business strategy and growth strategy. Any such forward-looking statements speak only as of this date. Forward-looking statements are based largely on our expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, some of which cannot be predicted or quantified and are beyond our control.

Future developments and actual results could differ materially from those set forth in, contemplated by or underlying the forward-looking statements. There are a number of facts that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by statements made on this call. Such factors include, but are not limited to, changes and uncertainty in general economic conditions, the growth rate of the market for our products and services, the timely availability and market acceptance of these products and services, the effect of competitive products and pricing and other competitive pressures and the irregular and unpredictable pattern of revenues. In light of these risks and uncertainties, there can be no assurance that the forward-looking information will prove to be accurate.

At this time, I’d like to turn the call over to Allan for our opening remarks.

Allan Dow: Thank you, Vince. Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. I’d like to begin by reviewing our fourth quarter results, providing an update on the current business environment, ensuring our initial outlook for the fiscal year 2024. After experiencing delays in deal closures over the past several quarters, I am pleased to report that we had a strong finish to the year. We had a strong closure rate and our gross subscription bookings were at the highest level of any quarter this year. This was evidenced by our RPO expansion of 4% quarter-over-quarter, with progress in both short- and long-term components. During the quarter, we had a bias towards new logo wins, which was not unusual when considering the prior quarters were heavily skewed towards existing clients as those traction -- transactions with new prospects face greater scrutiny.

We still anticipate that over the year, our new cloud bookings will be split evenly between new and existing clients. However, we could see a bias toward existing clients if the economic pressures accelerate, because existing client projects have easier and faster approval rates, given that they are typically smaller add-on projects. Although our new bookings performance was encouraging, the ongoing economic stress had a direct consequence on our fourth quarter revenue, most notably on our cloud revenue growth. Where we typically see only churn for small non-strategic subscriptions and temporary projects, in the fourth quarter we took some very unusual adjustments. Specifically, we were negatively impacted by a bankruptcy and we put a few contracts into suspension due to delays on renewals and payments.

We anticipate that a few of these may be recovered later this year, but we took a very conservative approach and removed all the revenue on those contracts from our fourth quarter results and from the RPO. The net result was a wash in the sequential gains we would otherwise have achieved in cloud revenue in the fourth quarter. We expect to see an uplift in Q1 resulting from those Q4 bookings, but several of those projects started too late in the quarter to fully offset the cancellations. Vince will provide some additional commentary on the impact of these cancellations. However, we expect the year ahead to track along our normal churn rates. In the end, we were very pleased that our cloud revenue was up 18% year-over-year in the fourth quarter and for the full fiscal year 2023 we were up 20% year-over-year.

This is great progress from our primary objective of growing our recurring revenue, which again represented 71% of our total revenue this past quarter, exceeding the 70% threshold for the second quarter in a row. We also saw continued downward pressure on our services revenue. Specifically, the economically sensitive IT staffing business experienced significant decline and they continue to see volatility. However, we are focused on improving the margin within that business by adjusting staffing levels and by emphasizing higher margin contract rates. Furthermore, in our Supply Chain business, the impact of our simplification initiative is reducing the overall effort from each project and we also continue to outsource incrementally more work to our service partners.

These efforts will give us performance [ph] improvements, search capacity, a broader market reach and a continued emphasis on our more reliable recurring revenue streams. Although the economic uncertainty continues to persist, we are cautiously optimistic as we enter the fiscal year 2024. The remainder of this calendar year is the hardest to predict given the headwinds from recent interest rate hikes, regional banking issues and recession fears, but the longer term trends all point to a strong market for Supply Chain Planning Solutions for years to come. Currently, the potential for a recession continues to create uncertainty in our core consumer goods markets. We have seen both existing clients and prospects carefully scrutinizing their costs, resulting in longer collection times and elongated sales cycles.

Business, Company, Finance
Business, Company, Finance

Photo by Rodeo Project Management Software on Unsplash

The selection process is taking one month or two months longer, but even more exaggerated is the approval cycle, which has gone from four weeks to six weeks to two months to three months with a lot of pushback on the ROI justification and the time to value questions. This favors our prescriptive DNA brand, which consists of value-driven agile implementations, prescriptive methodology tailored to each client’s needs and an off-the-shelf configurable solution, but it also creates more uncertainty into the timing of specific deal closures. Our overall pipeline is still continuing to grow. It’s up about 10% over this time last year, even with the accelerated closure rates at the end of the fourth quarter, having offset some of the top of the funnel.

Additionally, with the large installed base, most of which is still on-prem, we have ample pipeline to support the accelerated lift and shift transition objectives that we set out for this fiscal year. Our goal is to significantly increase our conversions this year, potentially triple the historic trend of 10 or 12. First and foremost, these transitions give our clients the opportunity to take advantage of all the new features from newer releases, but also continues to build upon the recurring revenue stream, enhancing the strength and predictability of our financial model. One interesting transition is that the staffing pressure has been relieved due to recent layoffs in our sector, which will allow us now to continue to focus hires in critical areas of need and to backfill only those critical role vacancies as you see the need arise as opposed to pre-hiring or having underutilized bench strength to hedge against the labor stresses.

We will, of course, continue to control our costs and with the goal of maintaining a flat to slight reduction in overall cost this year in spite of some of the accelerating demand. On the acquisition front, first, we continue to see positive momentum with our network design and optimization solution from the Starboard acquisition. We are still building that book of business with new wins from both standalone projects, as well as part of an integrated transformational suite, where it is used strategically to optimize the existing Supply Chain network utilization. Furthermore, we believe the recent layoffs at Coupa will result in accelerated defections from the LLamasoft community, creating even more market demand for the easy-to-use sustainable model that we offer.

We are making progress in our efforts to find new acquisitions that will be complementary to our current platform. We believe that it is likely that we will be able to meet our goal of ingesting one or more strategic fit companies this year utilizing our on-hand cash for a stronger investor return, while maintaining the quarterly dividend, which is covered by earnings from our operations. As we look forward to the fiscal year ahead, we remain bullish on the Supply Chain planning market and our ability to compete effectively. However, we are taking a conservative approach to our financial guidance due to the increasing economic uncertainty in North America, which is by far our largest market and the continued pause in new projects in Europe, where some of the largest economies have already entered into a recession and facing continued weight of the ongoing war.

Our guidance metrics remain unchanged from last year, but we would place greater emphasis on the guidance for recurring revenue and the adjusted EBITDA as these remain the most stable metrics. We anticipate that the professional services revenue streams may remain under a lot of pressure, particularly in the economically sensitive non-core IT services segment. For fiscal 2024, we are expecting recurring revenue to be between $88 million and $92 million, for adjusted EBITDA, which removes the acquisition costs and stock-based compensation to be between $19 million and $21 million, and for total revenue to be between $120 million and $126 million. However, as noted earlier, the total revenue outcome will be highly dependent on the variations in the IT services business.

In summary, we are pleased with the fourth quarter results in the Supply Chain segment during these uncertain times and expect to see further progress in the year ahead. We will remain disciplined with our investments in the short-term, but continue to see large growing market opportunity for our Supply Chain solutions. As we head into the new fiscal year, we are pleased to see continued growth in our pipeline, which will allow us to continue increasing our recurring revenue and provide the flexibility to achieve EBITDA growth by managing costs appropriately. At this time, I will turn the call over to Vince, who will provide details on our financial results.

Vince Klinges: Thanks, Allan. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023, total revenues were $29.9 million and that was a decrease of 14% from $34.6 million in the same period last year. Our subscription fees increased 18% year-over-year to $13 million, but it was flat on a sequential basis. And as Allan mentioned, our fourth quarter was our strongest quarter of gross subscription bookings for fiscal 2023, but that was masked by a couple of unusual circumstances, including one bankruptcy and several other customers that had -- we have categorized as suspended due to delays in contract renewals and payments. Had this not occurred, our sequential year-over-year growth would have been more consistent with what we have experienced in recent quarters.

Our software license revenue was $0.7 million for the current quarter, compared to $3.1 million in the prior year period, which included a special $2 million license fee deal in the existing customers. Professional services and other revenues decreased 32% to $8 million. That’s compared to $11.7 million a year ago period. The year-over-year decrease reflects a 23% decrease in our Supply Chain management unit due to a slowdown in project activity, which we have experienced over the past few quarters and a 43% decrease in our IT Consulting business unit, the Proven Method, which continues to be impacted by macroeconomic conditions. Our maintenance revenues declined 7% year-over-year to $8.2 million, reflecting a normal falloff rate this quarter.

Total recurring revenues comprised of subscription and maintenance fees represented 71% of total revenues in fourth quarter and that compares to 57% in the same period last year. Our gross margin decreased to 60% from the current year period versus 62% in the same period last year. License -- our subscription fee margin was 68% for the current year period, compared to 70% in the prior year period. Excluding the non-cash amortization of intangible expense of $398,000 in the fourth quarter, subscription gross margin would have been 71% versus 73% last year, which less amortization of cap software of $366,000 in the prior year period. The decline in our subscription gross margin reflected a loss of revenue associated with the client bankruptcy and suspensions discussed earlier, as well as a higher short-term cost at the end of the quarter for onboarding new customers we secured in the fourth quarter.

Our license fee margin was 77%, compared to 84% in the same period last year and that’s primarily due to lower license fees this quarter. Our services margin decreased to 25% from 33% last year due to lower revenues. With stronger bookkeeping in the fourth quarter, we expect to see seasonally adjusted improvements in utilization moving forward, but we will be closely monitoring our resources to ensure we maintain optimal levels of productivity throughout the year. Our maintenance margin was 80% for the current quarter and that compares to 83% in the prior year period. R&D expenses were 15% of total revenues for the current period and that’s compared to 12% in the prior year period. And our sales and marketing expenses were 18% of revenues for the current quarter and that’s compared to 16% in the prior year period.

G&A expenses were 20% of total revenues for the current quarter and that’s compared to 18% in the same period last year. So our operating income decreased 58% to $2.3 million this quarter, compared to $5.5 million in the same quarter last year, primarily due to a one-time license fee transaction in last year’s fourth quarter. Our net income decreased 20% to $2.9 million or earnings per diluted share of $0.08, compared to net income of $3.6 million or $0.10 per earnings per diluted share. On an adjusted basis, which excludes non-cash amortization of intangible expense related to acquisition and stock-based compensation expense, adjusted operating income decreased 43% to $3.7 million, compared to $6.6 million in the same period last year.

Our adjusted EBITDA decreased 43% to $4.3 million, compared to $7.5 million in the fourth quarter last year. Adjusted net income increased 6% to $4.1 million adjusted for earnings per diluted share of $0.12 in the fourth quarter and that compares to adjusted net income of $4.4 million or adjusted earnings per diluted share of $0.13 in the same period last year. Our international revenues this quarter were approximately 20% of total revenues. That compares to 16% in the same period last year. On the full year 12-month period ended April 30, 2023, total revenues decreased 3% year-over-year to $123.7 million. However, the Supply Chain segment grew 2%. Subscription fees increased 20% to $50.4 million and that compares to $42.1 million last year.

Our license fees were $2.8 million, our professional services declined by 17% to $35.9 million and maintenance revenues declined 6% to $34.6 million. Our adjusted operating income for the current fiscal year decreased 4% to $16.7 million, representing an operating margin of 13%, compared to $17.3 million or 14% margin for the same period last year. Our adjusted EBITDA decreased 11% to $18.9 million for this year and that compares to $21.2 million in the year ago period, representing an adjusted EBITDA margin of 15%, compared to 17% last year. Adjusted net income totaled $15.2 million or $0.45 per diluted share, compared to $16 million or $0.47 per diluted share in the same period last year. We exited the quarter with remaining performance obligation or RPO, which we refer to as backlog of $124 million.

Our total RPO was down 7% from the prior year period due to shorter contract durations from recent deals and we note that both our short- and long-term RPO increased 3% and 5%, sequentially. Looking at our balance sheet. Our financial position remains strong with cash investments of approximately $115.5 million at the end of the quarter, which increased $10.6 million sequentially. During the quarter, we paid $3.7 million in dividends. Our days sales outstanding as of the end of April 30, 2023 was 86 days for the current period and that compares to 62 days in the same period last year due to some delays in collections when compared to last year. However, that is down from 101 days in the prior sequential period, and we -- we expect further improvements in the coming quarters.

We remain confident in our ability to collect our outstanding receivables due to the high quality nature of our customer base. As Allan mentioned, we are providing guidance for fiscal 2024. We anticipate revenues in the range of $120 million to $126 million, including recurring revenues of $88 million to $92 million and adjusted EBITDA we anticipate in the range of $19 million to $21 million for fiscal 2024. Although our pipeline continues to grow and our close rates improved in Q4, our revenue guidance assumes that bookings remain volatile in the near-term, given our ongoing economic uncertainty. To the extent our macro conditions improve, we will adjust our outlook as appropriate over the course of the year. In the interim, we will continue to prudently manage our headcount and cost structure, which we expect to remain relatively flat compared to last year.

Finally, we expect to incur about $2 million in expenses this year related to our first earn-out payment for Starboard, of which approximately $0.6 million will be recognized in the first quarter. As we do not consider this a normal operating cost, the related expense will be excluded from our adjusted EBITDA guidance as we -- but the impact -- this will impact our GAAP earnings for fiscal year 2024. At this time, I’d like to turn the call over to questions.

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