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Altair Engineering Inc (ALTR -0.62%)
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Nov 4, 2021, 5:00 p.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Good day, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Altair Engineering Third Quarter 2021 Earnings conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen only mode. After the presentation there will be a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] I' ll now hand the conference over to your host today, Dave Simon, Chief Administrative Officer.

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David Simon -- Chief Administrative Officer

Good afternoon. Welcome, and thank you for attending Altairs earnings conference call for the third quarter of 2021 ended September 30, 2021. I'm Dave Simon, Chief Administrative Officer of Altair, and with me on the call are Jim Scapa, Founder, Chairman and CEO and Matt Brown, Chief Financial Officer. After market closed today, we issued a press release with details regarding our third quarter performance and guidance for the fourth quarter and the full year 2021, which can be accessed in the Investor Relations section of our website at investor.altair.com. This call is being recorded, and a replay will be available on the IR section of our website following the conclusion of this call. During today's call, we will make statements related to our business that may be considered forward-looking under federal securities laws. These statements reflect our views only as of today and should not be considered representative of our views as of any subsequent date. We disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements or outlook.

These statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations. These risks are summarized in the press release that we issued earlier today. For a further discussion of the material risks and other important factors that could affect our actual results, please refer to those contained in our quarterly annual reports filed with the SEC as well as other documents that we have filed or may file from time to time. During the course of today's call, we will refer to certain non-GAAP financial measures. A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP measures is included in our press release. Finally, at times in our prepared comments or responses to your questions, we may offer metrics that are incremental to our usual presentation to provide greater insight into the dynamics of our business or our quarterly results. Please be advised that we may or may not continue to provide this additional detail in the future. With that, let me turn the call over to Jim for his prepared remarks. Jim?

James R. Scapa -- Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Dave, and welcome to everyone on the call. Altair had a strong third quarter 2021, but across the board momentum as customers invest for growth. Altairs products, services and business models are clearly providing value, and we continue to increase our market share. We are pleased to report Q3 results with total revenue of $121.3 million. Software product revenue for the quarter was $102.3 million versus $87.8 million in Q3 of 2020, resulting in year-on-year software product revenue growth of 16.5%. Adjusted EBITDA was $14.8 million compared to $8.2 million in Q3 of 2020, an increase of more than 81% from the third quarter of 2020. All were above our guidance ranges. Software product revenue for the first nine months of 2021 continued a strong positive trend at 84.7% of total revenue compared to 82.6% during the first nine months of 2020. Our recurring software license rate remained high at 90% for the third quarter of 2021 and 91% year-to-date.

To build awareness for our products throughout our target markets globally, we launched a series of virtual conferences. Registration and engagement numbers have been impressive with more than 30,000 people signing up to attend. Attendees learned about technical trends and innovative use cases, employing our solutions from a number of leading industry and academic speakers. Our response to these events has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are excited about the opportunities created. Positive growth trends for our business persists across verticals, technologies and regions. Today, I will talk about new product releases, including an exciting new offering for electronics designers, our acquisition of S-FRAME in the AEC vertical our just released corporate social responsibility report and some customer successes. One area of ongoing customer success is the conversion of data analytics customers from traditional named user licensing to Altair units. Long-term perpetually licensed data preparation customer in the financial industry was recently converted to a six-figure annual subscription contract to deploy data analytics and visualization throughout their organization, via Knowledge Studio and Panopticon.

We continue to evolve our product portfolio with a combination of sustaining and disruptive innovations and recently announced the 2022.2 product update. The 2021.2 release of Inspire, our simulation-driven design platform includes a large number of features, including a Python API, new geometry tools and optimization algorithms for minimizing 3D printing time. SmartWorks 2021.2 is a modern evolution of our desktop tools to harness the power of AI, analytics and the Internet of Things and a cloud-native platform built on the experience we have gained in data analytics and smart product development. It's built from the ground up using the latest in open source technologies to be performant, scalable, collaborative and secure. We've been able to build on top of today's best component technologies, including Kubernetes and an event-driven micro-services architecture.

We leverage the robust standardized interfaces like rest, open API and GraphQL. Security is inherent in the platform design, and we provide native support for big data engines, GPUs and open source data processing. The SmartWorks platform is edge optimized to accelerate development at the edge and includes tools that help build, manage and scale automation and intelligence. The management console helps to assemble, deploy, monitor and continuously improve applications at the edge. SmartWorks enables a contextual digital twin of entities in the applications universe and automatically gives internal automation and external applications, secure interfaces to access those entities. As an example of the power of our IoT solutions, we announced the launch of Toggled iQ. This offering leverages the SmartWorks platform and stems from our experience in LED lighting.

And as part of the transformation of that business toward a software focus, Toggled iQ helps businesses optimize their building environments, by streamlining operations, improving energy efficiency, saving money and reducing their carbon footprint through the connection of smart connected lighting with wireless sensors, controls and intuitive analytics. Last month, Altair announced an offering of a free edition of Altair PollEx, our electronic system design software tool for the Altium user community to allow printed circuit board designers on-demand access to all the tools they need in one workspace. This unique addition of Altair PollEx explored level simulation and design verification features seamlessly accessible to Altium designer users. We're excited to provide Altium users the ability to identify and correct errors before circuit boards received sign off and enter production.

And we plan to explore similar versions for other ECAD vendors. The power of PollEx is gaining excellent momentum, including a recent six-figure win in aerospace, in addition to driving important growth in the semiconductor and automotive industries. Applications in automotive include power electronics, sensors and ADAS systems. The 2021.2 update of FluxMotor, an exciting solution for electronic motor design across transportation and other industries, includes added transient thermal computation abilities and improved representation of solid conductors to simulate winding AC power losses. We believe the breadth of our manufacturing simulation offering continues to distinguish Altair as the leading player for modeling and simulation of production processes. Among the many new capabilities added, we recently launched a new sovereign environment to simulate binder jet additive manufacturing and a new release of Inspire Cast, where users can now predict thermal mechanical stresses and warpage during solidification. Altair recently announced the acquisition of S-FRAME, an innovator for more than 30 years with integrated solutions to analyze design and detail architectural and civil structures constructed from steel, concrete, composites and timber.

S-FRAME?s structural analysis and support for civil engineering codes across many countries and regions, together with Altairs state of the art simulation and optimization technology will allow architects and civil engineers to innovate and bring their visions to life while adhering to local code requirements. In addition to S-FRAMEs technology, we brought on board a great technical team. They have quickly integrated into Altair and are making an impact on how we package, position and develop solutions for the architecture, engineering, construction, or AEC market, which according to some data, will be one of the fastest-growing segments of the PLM market with a 14.7% CAGR to $11 billion in 2025. In the third quarter, Altair was awarded a significant contract in EMEA for the optimization of railway stations and other infrastructure.

This project requires multiple material families to be addressed, including steel, concrete and soil, and we believe it can be a significant driver toward more innovation and sustainable building practices. Last month, we published our first corporate social responsibility, or CSR report. At Altair, we have always worked hard to do the right things, which has created a unique workplace. For over 30 years, we have defined Altairs culture as one of innovation where we envision the future, communicate honestly and broadly, seek technology and business first and embrace diversity and risk taking. We achieved much success by staying true to who we are, and this has translated to success for our employees, customers, partners and shareholders, while also helping us contribute to a more sustainable future. We look at our CSR report as a living document and we'll update it regularly. Aligned with our CSR focus, we are delighted to have been recently named one of Newsweek's top 100 Most Loved Workplaces 2021.

And we are humbled by this award, but also accept the challenge to get better. We are at an exciting time in our history for our technology, software products and people, our ability to have a positive impact on global issues like sustainability, diversity and increased opportunity for underrepresented groups will continue to grow as we do. We are determined and committed to help the world be a better place. In addition to the most loved Workplaces award from Newsweek, a few days ago, Alta was named to Inc. first annual list of Best Led Companies. The selection algorithm included four key areas: performance and value creation, market penetration and customer engagement, talent and leadership team. Our senior leadership team is intent on achieving success for the company by upholding our core cultural values and this recognition of their focus, effort and achievement is a great team win. Our software technology and consulting services are key to designing a healthier and more sustainable future for humanity. OptiStruck usage increased tenfold between 2013 and 2020. As the world's leading tool for material optimization and weight reduction, this continuing trend bodes well for reductions in material usage, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, all aligned with the goals of the International Energy Agency and other global organizations.

I'm truly grateful to the entire Altair team for working so hard to sustain the type of company we can feel proud about being a part of. One newly published customer case study exemplifies that pride, Johnson & Johnson, the world's largest healthcare business and a Fortune 50 company produces pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer goods that benefit a billion people worldwide. Johnson & Johnson owns Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a company fighting sickness with science. Janssen created the one dose, Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that the World Health Organization approved to prevent infection and save lives. This research-driven organization relies on high-performance computing, or HPC, to power the discovery and production of effective broadly available pharmaceuticals. Their HPC solution including Altair Grid Engine and NavOps, enable them to scale in the cloud and grow their HPC infrastructure to support critical science and research, including COVID-19 vaccine development.

NavOps creates and scales Altair Grid Engine clusters dynamically, allowing Johnson & Johnson to continue innovating. Scalability limits from Janssen's previous configuration were removed with the Altair solution, and their clusters are now running at three times the size of the previous implementation. With increased scalability and improved agility, operations, deployment and management of HPC infrastructure, the team can perform science on demand with the flexibility to tackle events like COVID-19 at an enterprise level. This is the sort of technology application that keeps us truly excited to keep innovating forward. Altair performed well in the third quarter, and we believe we can carry good momentum through the remainder of the year. Global challenges, including COVID-19 and supply chain issues remain as negative effects on the macro economy, but we remain positive about our ability to help our customers drive more innovation into their products and services. Now I will turn the call over to Matt to provide more details on our financial performance and our guidance for the fourth quarter and full year 2021. Matt?

Matthew Brown -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Jim, and hello to everyone on the call. Thank you for joining us. We are extremely pleased with our third quarter 2021 financial results, achieving record high revenue and EBITDA for any third quarter in the company's history. Demand for our products continues to be strong. Once again, generating results above the high end of the range on every metric we guided to for the quarter. Total billings for the quarter were $117.2 million, an increase of 8.8% compared to Q3 2020. As with the past couple of quarters, our software billing strength relative to prior year, was driven by strong new and expansion opportunities and high retention on our renewal base. Again, we saw broad success across all three geographic regions and across our product offerings. We've continued to enhance the capabilities across our product portfolio with important product releases this quarter in Inspire, SmartWorks and FluxMotor and have expanded into the AEC market with the acquisition of S-FRAME, which closed in August.

Services and other billings were on track for the quarter, up slightly from Q3 in the prior year. In total, the strength in billings resulted in software product and total revenue exceeding our expectations for the third quarter. Software product revenue was $102.3 million or an increase of 16.5% compared to Q3 2020. Total revenue, which includes services and other revenue, was $121.3 million or an increase of 14% compared to Q3 2020. Our recurring software license rate, which is the percentage of software product billings that are recurring, continues to be strong at approximately 91% year-to-date.

As a reminder, a significant portion of our revenues are billed in currencies other than the U.S. dollar and are, therefore, impacted by changes in FX rates. Relative to Q3 2020, our revenues were favorably impacted by changes in FX rate of approximately one million during the quarter. Non-GAAP gross margin, which excludes stock-based compensation and restructuring expense, was 75.2% in the third quarter compared to 73.4% in the prior year; an increase of 180 basis points as our software revenue mix, which carries higher gross margins, increased as a percentage of total revenue. Software revenue was 84.3% of total revenue in Q3 2021 compared to 82.5% in the prior year. Over the long term, we continue to expect a general mix shift toward software product revenue as growth there will outpace services and other revenue. Non-GAAP operating expenses, which exclude stock-based compensation expense, amortization of intangible assets and restructuring charges, were $77.9 million compared to $72.4 million in the year ago period.

As a reminder, operating expenses in Q3 of last year were impacted by COVID-19 as a result of temporary salary reductions and significantly reduced marketing and travel costs. Adjusted EBITDA in Q3 2021 was $14.8 million or 12.2% of total revenue compared to $8.2 million or 7.7% in the prior year quarter, an increase of 81.4%. This increase compared to the prior year quarter as well as relative to our expectations, was driven by the increase in revenue in the quarter, combined with our disciplined spending, we are now seeing the full benefit and impact of the cost reduction efforts we initiated in Q1 and Q2 of this year. In addition, travel expenses remained significantly below historical levels and below our expectations for the quarter as COVID-19 has continued to impact travel, particularly internationally.

I'm extremely pleased with our ability to drive margin expansion and realize growth in adjusted EBITDA, even outpacing our strong top line revenue growth. Turning to the balance sheet. We ended the third quarter with $456 million in cash and cash equivalents, an increase of almost $196 million from the prior quarter. The quarter-over-quarter increase is primarily due to the $200 million private placement from matrix capital during the quarter, which we announced in late September. Matrix Capital is one of our largest shareholders, and we appreciate their vote of confidence and investment in our ongoing success. In addition, free cash flow during the quarter was negative $0.5 million compared to negative free cash flow of $7.5 million in Q3 2020. As a reminder, our cash flows throughout the year are seasonal in nature. Typically, with Q1 being our most significant cash flow quarter followed by Q2. Turning to guidance for Q4 and the full year 2021. For Q4 and full year 2021, we are looking to close out a very strong year on a high note.

We are expecting software product revenue for Q4 in the range of $106 million to $109 million, and we are raising the midpoint of our full year 2021 software product revenue guidance to a range of $437 million to $440 million or year-over-year growth of 11.6% to 12.3%. We continue to expect services and other revenue to be approximately flat in 2021 compared to 2020, consistent with our previous guidance. As a result, we expect total revenue for Q4 2021 in the range of $124 million to $127 million, and we are raising the midpoint of our full year 2021 total revenue guidance to a range of $515 million to $518 million or year-over-year growth of 9.6% to 10.2%. From a cost perspective, we've been successful in our disciplined approach to spending and expect to continue that approach into Q4. In fact, we now expect our overall cost structure to be better-than-expected just a quarter ago, including travel-related expenses that we had originally anticipated being higher in the second half. For Q4 2021, we expect adjusted EBITDA in the range of $11 million to $14 million or 8.9% to 11% of total revenue compared to $21.7 million or 16.3% of total revenue in the year ago period.

And for full year 2021, we are raising our adjusted EBITDA range to $72 million to $75 million or 14% to 14.5% of total revenue compared to $57.3 million or 12.2% of total revenue in 2020. We are also raising our full year 2021 free cash flow guidance to a range of $41 million to $44 million. As a reminder, our cash flow expectations are sensitive to billings and collection patterns, which fluctuate seasonally. In particular, our historical pattern has shown free cash inflow in the first half of the year, primarily from collections on billings from Q4 and Q1 and a smaller free cash outflow in the second half of the year. We are expecting that pattern to continue this year. We've provided detailed guidance tables in our earnings press release, including reconciliations to comparable GAAP amounts, which was issued after close of market today.

This was another quarter of solid execution by the entire team at Altair, and I couldn't be prouder to be a part of this team. We were once again able to exceed expectations on our top line organic revenue growth by providing the best products and services to our customers and driving margin expansion through our disciplined approach to spending. With that, we'd be happy to take your questions. Operator?

Questions and Answers:


[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Bhavan Suri with William Blair.

Duration: 51 minutes

Call participants:

David Simon -- Chief Administrative Officer

James R. Scapa -- Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Matthew Brown -- Chief Financial Officer

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