QUEBEC CITY, CANADA, January 12, 2021 — EXFO Inc. (NASDAQ: EXFO; TSX: EXF), the communications industry's test, monitoring and analytics experts, reported today financial results for the first quarter ended November 30, 2020.
“EXFO delivered a strong first-quarter performance in fiscal 2021 as compared to a coronavirus-free opening quarter in 2020,” said EXFO’s CEO Philippe Morin. “Robust sales and earnings results confirm market acceptance of our highly differentiated solutions related to fiber, cloud-native and 5G network deployments as we continue to develop new ways to engage and serve our global customer base in this virtualized environment. We’re particularly pleased with our SASS offering’s penetration into new accounts through the recently announced fiber monitoring deal with BT’s subsidiary, Openreach, and five service assurance contracts secured in the fourth quarter of 2020.”
Sales decreased 2.8% to US$71.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 from US$73.6 million in the first quarter of 2020.
Bookings dropped 1.2% to US$69.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 from US$69.9 million for the same period in 2020. The company's book-to-bill ratio was 0.97 in the first quarter of 2021.
Gross margin before depreciation and amortization* amounted to 58.2% of sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to 58.9% in the first quarter of 2020.
Selling and administrative expenses totaled US$21.6 million, or 30.2% of sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to US$24.5 million, or 33.3% of sales, in the first quarter of 2020.
Net R&D expenses amounted to US$11.2 million, or 15.7% of sales, in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to US$11.7 million, or 16.0% of sales, in the same period last year.
IFRS net earnings totaled US$3.6 million, or US$0.06 per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to a net loss of US$0.1 million, or US$0.00 per share, in the first quarter of 2020. IFRS net earnings in the first quarter of 2021 included US$2.0 million in after-tax amortization of intangible assets, US$0.6 million in stock-based compensation costs, US$0.5 million in after-tax restructuring charges and a foreign exchange loss of US$0.2 million. IFRS net earnings also included an after-tax wage subsidy of US$1.4 million under the Canada emergency wage subsidy program to help qualifying businesses alleviate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as an after-tax insurance recovery of US$2.5 million related to the loss of assets.
For the first quarter of 2020, net loss included US$1.4 million in after-tax amortization of intangible assets, US$0.5 million in stock-based compensation costs and a foreign exchange loss of US$0.1 million.
Adjusted EBITDA* amounted to US$9.9 million, or 13.9% of sales, in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to US$7.5 million, or 10.3% of sales, in the first quarter of 2020.
EXFO will host a conference call today at 5 p.m. (Eastern time) to review first-quarter results for fiscal 2021. To listen to the conference call and participate in the question period via telephone, dial 1-323-289-6576. Please take note the following participant passcode will be required: 2900379. Executive Chairman Germain Lamonde, CEO Philippe Morin and Pierre Plamondon, CPA, Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President of Finance, will participate in the call. An audio replay of the conference call will be available two hours after the event until 8 p.m. on January 19, 2021. The replay number is 1-719-457-0820 and the participant passcode is 2900379. 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 (NASDAQ: EXFO) (TSX: EXF) develops smarter test, monitoring and analytics solutions for fixed and mobile network operators, webscale companies and equipment manufacturers in the global communications industry. Our customers count on us to deliver superior network performance, service reliability and subscriber insights. They count on our unique blend of equipment, software and services to accelerate digital transformations related to fiber, 4G/LTE and 5G deployments. They count on our expertise with automation, real-time troubleshooting and big data analytics, which are critical to their business performance. We’ve spent over 30 years earning this trust, and today 1,900 EXFO employees in over 25 countries work side by side with our customers in the lab, field, data center and beyond.
This news 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 statements that refer 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, namely the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our employees, customers and global operations, including the ability of our suppliers to fulfil raw material requirements and services and our ability to manufacture and deliver our products and services to our customers; the effects of emergency measures related to isolation periods for individuals in affected areas, lockdown restrictions imposed by national governments on businesses in countries where we operate and have employees, and limitations on travel to attract new customers and serve existing ones; deteriorating financial and market conditions as well as a potential recession; trade wars, and our ability to successfully integrate businesses that we acquire; capital spending and network deployment levels in the communications industry (including our ability to quickly adapt cost structures to 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 communications test, monitoring and analytics solutions markets and increased competition among vendors; capacity to adapt our future product offering to future technological changes; limited visibility with regard to the timing and nature of customer orders; delay in revenue recognition due to longer sales cycles for complex systems involving customers’ acceptance; 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 and to conduct business internationally; 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 you 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. Gross margin before depreciation and amortization represents sales, less cost of sales, excluding depreciation and amortization. Adjusted EBITDA represents net earnings (loss) before interest and other income/expenses, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation costs, restructuring charges and foreign exchange loss.
These non-IFRS measures eliminate the effect on IFRS results of non-cash statement of earnings elements, restructuring charges as well as elements subject to significant volatility such as foreign exchange gain or loss. EXFO uses these measures for evaluating its historical and prospective financial performance, as well as its performance relative to competitors. These non-IFRS measures are also used by financial analysts who evaluate and compare EXFO’s performance against that of competitors and industry players in the sector.
Finally, these measures help EXFO to plan and forecast future periods as well as make operational and strategic decisions. EXFO believes that providing this information to investors, in addition to IFRS measures, allows them to see the company’s results through the eyes of management, and to better understand historical and future financial performance. More importantly, it enables the comparison of EXFO’s performance on a relatively similar basis against that of other public and private companies in the industry worldwide.
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.
The following table summarizes the reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to IFRS net earnings (loss) loss in thousands of US dollars:
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