Ballantyne Strong's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Id: 435001

Ballantyne Strong, Inc (BTN)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

March 13, 2012 10:00 am ET


Robert Rinderman - Jaffoni & Collins

Gary Cavey - President & CEO

Mary Carstens - CFO


James Fronda - Sidoti & Co

Deforest Hinman - Walthausen & Co



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Ballantyne Strong 2011 fourth quarter results conference call. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Tuesday, March 13, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Robert Rinderman, of Jaffoni & Collins Ballantyne Strong, Investor Relations. You may proceed, sir.

Robert Rinderman

Thank you very much France. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Ballantyne Strong’s 2011 fourth quarter results conference call. This call may contain forward-looking statements related to Ballantyne’s future financial results. Listeners are cautioned that such statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties within the meaning of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Listeners should note that these statements are only predictions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties that are detailed from time-to-time in the company’s Securities & Exchange Commission filings.

The company’s actual performance may differ materially because of these or other factors discussed in the management’s discussion and analysis of results of operations and financial condition section of the company’s SEC filings, copies of which can be obtained from the SEC or Ballantyne’s website at

All information discussed on this conference call is as of today and the company undertakes no obligation to update these statements or expectations from prior conversations and today's call is being webcast live over the Internet and a replay will be available on our website for 30 days.

I’m now going to turn the call over to President and CEO, Gary Cavey, who is joined by CFO, Mary Carstens. Gary?

Gary Cavey

Good morning and thank you for joining us. Earlier today, Ballantyne Strong reported profitable Q4 results and making this our 12th consecutive profitable quarter. We also achieved record top and bottom line financial performance for the full-year 2011. Similar to Q3, Ballantyne’s digital projection equipment sales and cinema services revenue helped us achieve another solid quarter of operating results.

Unlike Q3, we didn’t have a large digital deployment like Marcus to account for the revenue increase. Rather it was many mid-sized and smaller exhibitors converting to digital cinema. Our year-end cash balance increased to $40 million as we collected on receivables associated with Marcus installation which included more than 550 auditoriums that Ballantyne completed in just 45 days towards the end of Q3.

Our solid cash generation performance was one of the reasons Ballantyne’s Board felt comfortable authorizing the $8 million share repurchase late last December. The first purchases commenced during Q1, 2012. One of our key competitive advantages is that as a true turnkey cinema products and services provider, our organization provides a full complement of digital projection systems, screens, installations and 24x7 support from our state-of-the-art network operation center.

To our knowledge there is no other competitor in the world that can offer an exhibitor a one-stop solution that matches ours. Ballantyne has been an industry leader across the globe for decades building strong long-term relationships and our customer-centric reputation for working with the exhibitors over the past 80 years.

As we stated in the corporate refocus announcement in January, Ballantyne cinema service business is one of the key areas where we foresee achieving our best future growth. We expect to generate service, gross profit margins in the mid-20s, which is double while we typically make on digital projection system sale where we act as a master reseller of NEC or Barco equipment.

We recorded over a 100% increase in digital service revenues in the fourth quarter. Ballantyne has the largest and most talented service team in the industry today and we will continue to focus on diversifying into related areas where we can leverage the talent and reach of our 80 technicians in the company’s NOC.

For example, security, our energy management are a couple of the sectors we’re exploring. Some of our exhibitor customers aren’t related, but different businesses such as hotels and we’ve been in engaged in active, recent discussions about additional ways we can help them on the service front. Our service group is well versed in integrating, installing and servicing equipment built by all of the major cinema projector manufacturers as well as all the related digital equipment such as servers and network systems.

Their unique skill sets are generally transferable to other areas such as security and energy management as I mentioned earlier. The ultimate goal is to grow the company’s recurring revenue base by bringing on additional annual maintenance accounts and utilizing the tremendous scalability of our network operation center. We can monitor any digital equipment if it has had an IP address which includes numerous non-cinema related possibilities.

In addition to targeting customers where we previously sold cinema equipment, we are also focusing on wining service business from exhibitors who previously purchased projectors from one of our competitors. Recent experience tells us there is a significant opportunity for Ballantyne to bring in additional contracts from the theatre owners who originally opted to have their equipment serviced by the company who sold it to them or in some instances from their own in-house service teams.

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