Lionbridge Technologies CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Lionbridge Technologies, Inc. ( LIOX)

Q4 2011 Earnings Conference Call

February 7, 2012 9:00 AM ET

Executives

Sara Buda – VP, IR

Rory Cowan – Chairman, President and CEO

Don Muir – SVP and CFO

Analysts

Vincent Colicchio – Noble

Amit Singh

Kevin Liu

George Sutton

Richard Baldry

Presentation

Operator

(Operator Instructions) I’d like to introduce for today’s conference Ms. Sara Buda. Please go ahead, your line is now open, madam.

Sara Buda

Thank you and welcome to the Lionbridge Investor Call to discuss financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year of 2011.

During this call we may make certain statements that may be considered forward-looking statements under federal securities laws, and which involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual future results may differ significantly from the matters discussed in any forward-looking statements we’ve disclosed in greater detail in our Form 10-K filed March 13, 2010, and in subsequent filings.

And now, I’ll turn the call over to Lionbridge Chairman and CEO, Rory Cowan.

Rory Cowan

Great. Thanks, Sara, and good morning everybody. Thanks for joining us.

Today we’ll review our strong year-end results and discuss our approaches and strategy to 2012. But first let’s talk about Q4. You all have the release in front of you I assume. So Don will do a play by play and sort of walk you down the income statement and through the balance sheet. So I’ll spend a little bit more time really talking about our milestones for the quarter.

First, in revenue growth, of course, we delivered about $107.4 million, marking another quarter of 7% year-on-year revenue growth. Q4 revenue was slightly below our expectations. However, in constant currency with Q3, fourth quarter revenue was about $109 million. So we would have seen another sequential quarter of – quarter uptick as well. But more importantly, what I’m pleased is this growth came from – was really quite broad based across all areas of the business.

We grew our large existing accounts, including the clients and search, life sciences and automotive sectors. We ramped our newer wins into multimillion dollar relationships, including our recent win with the market leader in consumer technology. And we stabilized revenue with our largest client in the quarter. So overall, I’m confident in our demand environment as we head into 2012.

The second positive milestone for the quarter was gross margin. You see that gross margins grew about 200 basis points year-on-year. And those of you that have been following us for a while understand that volume really has a very nice effect on our gross margins, and we grew about 100 basis points sequentially from Q3. And in Q4, I’m particularly pleased with this, because of all the sort of paid time-off and vacation time around the Christmas holidays. So we’re seeing an overall strengthening in our profit profile.

Third, we delivered about $3 million of GAAP net income in the quarter, or about a nickel a share. The earnings growth stems from three factors. It is, of course, revenue volume, the benefits of our cost management actions over the past 18 months or so, and of course, a more favorable currency mix. As a result, in Q4 we drove about a 60% conversion of incremental revenue to operating profit on a year ex-restructuring.

Finally, cash flow. We drove about $8.3 million of positive cash flow from operations in Q4. So looking at all the factors, revenue growth, gross margins, earnings and cash flow, Q4 was a solid quarter.

So now let me take a moment and just look at some of the strong achievements for the year, and then I’ll share with you what our plans are for 2012. I’ve been characterizing 2011 as a year of transformation of Lionbridge, and as we view it, this is the early phase of the sustainable turnaround that we’ve all been working for for the past 24 months to 36 months.

As most of you know, we spent the last several years focusing on costs, and in early 2011 we shifted that focus to revenue growth and investing in innovation. And so you begin to see that these investments in growth initiatives are beginning to payoff.

In 2011, we delivered about 6% top line growth, or about $23 million year-on-year. And we drove this revenue growth despite a sobering $8 million decline year-on-year from our largest client. In fact, excluding this client, we delivered 10% year-on-year growth. So again, I think a lot of the initiatives we put together 9 months, 18 months ago are beginning to payoff.

In Q4, revenue from that client stabilized, and we expect that stability to continue in 2012. So we’re not really putting much growth for that large client into the 2011 plans, although we do see a firmness from a lot of their newer wins – their newer programs in consumer, mobile and entertainment divisions, where we have deep relationships. More importantly, we effectively diversified our revenue in the new vertical markets, secured a record number of multimillion dollar engagements and established new offerings.

I think in 2011 we also achieved we positive GAAP net income for the first time since we initiated our multimillion dollar cost reduction program several years ago. And we generated about $10 million in cash flow from operations despite our investments in SaaS technology and other growth initiatives.

So in sum, I think we delivered really solid financial achievements for 2011, drove record revenue, returned the business to GAAP profitability and continued to generate cash. On the business side, I’d group our achievements in really three key areas: new business, new technology and new offerings.

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