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NetScout Systems (NTCT 0.70%)
Q1 2023 Earnings Call
Aug 04, 2022, 8:30 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to NetScout's first quarter fiscal year 2023 financial results conference call. At this time, all parties are in listen-only mode until the question-and-answer portion of the call. As a reminder, this call is being recorded. Tony Piazza, senior vice president of corporate finance, and his colleagues at NetScout are on the line with us today.

[Operator instructions] I would now like to turn the call over to Tony Piazza to begin the company's prepared remarks.

Tony Piazza -- Vice President, Corporate Finance

Thank you, operator, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to NetScout's first quarter fiscal year 2023 conference call for the period ended June 30, 2022. Joining me today are a Anil Singhal, NetScout's president and chief executive officer; Mike Szabados, NetScout's chief operating officer; and Jean Bua, NetScout's executive vice president and chief financial officer. There is a slide presentation that accompanies our prepared remarks.

You can advance the slides in the webcast viewer to follow our commentary. Both the slides and the prepared remarks can be accessed in multiple areas within the Investor Relations section of our website at www.netscout.com, including the IR landing page under Financial Results, the webcast itself and under financial information on the quarterly results page. Moving on to Slide No.3, today's conference call will include forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements include statements regarding our future financial performance or position, results of operations, business strategy, plans, and objectives of management for future operations, and other statements that are not historical facts.

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You can identify forward-looking statements by their use of forward-looking words such as anticipate, believe, plan, will, should, expect, or other comparable terms. We caution listeners not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements included in this presentation, which speak only as of today's date. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results could differ materially from the forward-looking statements due to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, including but not limited to those described on this slide and in today's financial results press release. For a more detailed description of the risk factors associated with the company, please refer to the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022, on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

NetScout assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this communication or with respect to the announcement described herein. Let's now turn to Slide No.4, which involves non-GAAP metrics. While this slide presentation includes both gap and non-GAAP results, unless otherwise stated, financial information discussed on today's conference call will be on a non-GAAP basis only. The rationale for providing non-GAAP measures, along with the limitations of relying solely on those measures, is detailed on this slide and in today's press release.

These measures should not be considered in isolation from or as a substitute for financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP. Reconciliations of all non-GAAP metrics with the applicable GAAP measures are provided in the appendix of the slide presentation, in today's earnings press release, and on our website. I will now turn the call over to Anil for his prepared remarks. Anil?

Anil Singhal -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Tony, and good morning, everyone. Welcome and thank you all for joining us today. Let's turn to Slide No.6 for a brief recap of our non-GAAP financial results for the first quarter of our fiscal year 2023. In the first quarter, we achieved a strong top and bottom-line performance, extending our business momentum from our last fiscal year into our current fiscal year 2023.

Revenue was $208.8 million, representing a year-over-year growth of nearly 10%. Our strong revenue expansion was driven approximately by 20% product revenue growth and approximately 2% service revenue growth, both on a year-over-year basis. During the first quarter, our services revenue grew by approximately 11% while our security revenue grew by approximately 7%, both on a year-over-year basis. As a result, we grew over diluted EPS by approximately 20% year over year to deliver $0.24 per diluted share in the period.

Now let's to move Slide No.7 for some further perspective on marketing and business insights. On the security front, our new Omnis solution suite continued to gain recognition and traction in the marketplace as further expanded its offerings. For example, we recently launched the Omnis ATLAS Intelligence Feed for smarter automated DDOS attack blocking. As a new, innovative, AI-based solution, our Omnis AIF is continuously updated and enables the instantaneous blocking of a large portion of DDOS attacks, thus simplifying operations and minimizing risk for our customers businesses.

In recognition of our ongoing cybersecurity focus, we recently received the Cyber Defense Magazine Global Infosec Award and for Market Leader in Network Detection and Response, as well as the Fortress Cybersecurity Award in the Threat Detection Category. Although the total contribution from our new Omnis solution within our security portfolio remains small relative to our overall revenue, this solution suite continues to show solid potential. And we are seeing our customer's network and security teams beginning to understand the value of a shared visibility platform. Now let's turn to our customer verticals for more business insights, starting with our service provider.

Service provider revenue in the first quarter grew approximately 27% year over year, primarily driven by radio frequency propagation modeling-related revenue. We continue to see carriers invest in the 5G deployment, as evidenced by the number of radio frequency propagation modeling projects we are working on. During the first quarter, we also received additional 5G-related orders from a not -- from both Tier 1 domestic and international carriers. Moving to our enterprise customer vertical, revenue declined by approximately 5% year over year in the first quarter of our fiscal year 2023.

This decline was primarily due to the timing of enterprise customer orders shipments. We remain confident in the health of this customer vertical, despite the fluctuations in the near-term. Enterprises continue to demand best-in-class cyber security solution, as well as those solutions that can help facilitate the acceleration of their digital transformation. Michael will provide more insight regarding customer orders in our verticals during his remarks.

Now let's move to Slide No.8 to review our outlook. Looking ahead, we remain excited about the market opportunity we are seeing for both our existing and new solutions from both a financial and a business perspective, we remain confident in our underlying fundamentals and positioning despite the persistence of various macro headwinds. As such, we are reiterating our non-GAAP outlook for our full fiscal year 2023. Jean will provide additional color and a recap of the numbers in her remarks.

In summary, our first quarter performance has extended our momentum into the new fiscal year while also providing us with a solid foundation going forward. Additionally, we remain encouraged by our ability to help customers address the challenges and opportunities of today's digital world effectively through our unique solutions. We look forward to sharing our progress with everyone throughout the remaining -- remainder of our fiscal year. With that, I'll turn the call over to Michael.

Mike Szabados -- Chief Operating Officer

Thank you, Anil, and good morning, everyone. Slide 10 outlines the areas I will be covering today, starting with customer service wins. In our service provider customer vertical, we continue to see 5G-related activity both in domestic and international markets. For example, during the first quarter, we received mid-seven figure orders with 5G-related elements from a Tier 1 domestic carrier and an international carrier as they continue to advance their 5G network deployment.

Notably, these are follow-on orders at both carriers that placed 5G-related orders with us in the past. Now turning to our enterprise customer vertical, in the first quarter we secured a low seven-figure deal with a law enforcement agency of a large U.S. city for a combination of our service assurance and security solutions. In order to win this deal, we collaborated with the customer's network and security operations teams, who consequently judged and evaluated our solutions.

With requirements for more comprehensive insights and a scalable deep-packet inspection solution to meet visibility and security needs, the customer seems determined that our solutions are ideal, particularly when compared to a competitor solution that was unable to fulfill the customer's requirements. Our deployment for this customer utilizes the ISNG data source, our service assurance analytics provided by our nGeniusONE stack as well as the network-based detection and response capabilities of our new Omnis cyber intelligence stack. We are excited by this deal, particularly because it demonstrates how both network and security teams can leverage a scalable deep-packet inspection technology to create a shared visibility platform. And we continue to see increasing customer interest in these types of use cases.

Now our go-to-market activities. Now turning to our go-to-market activities, importantly, we have continued to prioritize attending in-person events. We find these gatherings both effective and efficient, allowing us to demonstrate our solutions and engage with existing and prospective customers. For our second fiscal quarter, we plan to attend the Black Hat conference, which takes place in Las Vegas and caters to the cybersecurity community.

We also plan to attend VMware Explore, formerly known as VMworld, which takes place in San Francisco and is focused on enterprise digital transformation as well as cybersecurity. At these events, we will demonstrate how NetScout and our customers are extending our visibility platform and underlying deep-packet inspection technology into adjacent areas ranging from cybersecurity to adaptive DDOS. We will also showcase how our solutions are incorporating our Omnis AI-Intelligence Feed, solving remote work service assurance challenges and enhancing AIOps analytics and more. As Anil mentioned, while our new cybersecurity solutions are already starting to receive recognition, our existing solutions in both security and service assurance are also changing further awareness.

For example, in June, Forrester published its Total Economic Impact study on Omnis AED. Commissioned by NetScout, this report showed an impressive ROI of 201% over three years, effectively paying black the solutions cost -- back the solutions cost in just seven months. We also were recently awarded the Digital Innovator Award in the Enterprise Digital Transformation -- in Enterprise Visionary Transformation from Intellyx, an analyst and advisory firm for our enterprise service assurance solutions. With that, I'll conclude my prepared remarks for today.

Thank you, everyone. I will now turn the call over to Jean.

Jean Bua -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Michael, and good morning, everyone. I will review key metrics for our first quarter fiscal year 2023 and provide some additional commentary on our fiscal year 2023 outlook. As a reminder, this review focuses on our non-GAAP results unless otherwise stated and all reconciliations with our GAAP results appear in the presentation appendix. Regardless, I will note the nature of any such comparison.

Slide No.12 details of first quarter fiscal year 2023 results. During the quarter, total revenue grew 9.7% year over year to $208.8 million, product revenue grew 19.9%, and service revenue grew 2.1%, both on a year over year basis. Our first quarter fiscal year 2023 gross profit margin was 74.5%, up 0.3 percentage points over the same quarter last year. Quarterly gross margin was impacted by the addition of approximately $15 million in radio frequency propagation modeling projects, which had an average gross margin of less than 30%.

Quarterly operating expenses increased 9.7% year over year, primarily attributable to the return to a pre-pandemic environment, including more in-person sales and marketing events, as well as increased travel costs. We reported an operating profit margin of 11.7%, compared with 11.4% in the same quarter last year. Diluted earnings per share was $0.24, compared with $0.20 in the same quarter last year, an increase of 20% year over year. Turning to Slide 13, I'd now like to review key revenue trends by customer verticals and product line.

For the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, on a year-over-year basis our service provider customer vertical revenue grew 26.9% while our enterprise customer vertical revenue declined 4.8%. During the quarter, our service provider customer vertical accounted for 53% of our total revenue while our enterprise customer verticals accounted for the remaining 47%. Now turning to our product lines. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, our service assurance revenue increased by 11% year over year, while our security revenue increased by 6.7% year over year.

During the first quarter, the service assurance product line represented approximately 72% of total revenue while our security product line represented the remaining 28%. Turning to Slide 14 with geographic revenue mix. In the first quarter, our revenue was more concentrated than usual in the U.S. due to increased Tier 1 domestic carrier radio frequency propagation modeling project revenue.

Also, two customers represented 10% or more of our total revenue in the quarter. Slide 15 details, our balance sheet highlights and free cash flow. We ended the quarter with $374.6 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short- and long-term marketable securities, representing a decrease of $328.6 million since the end of fiscal year 2022. The decrease was primarily attributable to the two capital structure transactions we initiated in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023.

The first transaction was the repayment of $150 million of debt on our revolving credit facility while the second transaction was the execution of an accelerated share repurchase agreement to repurchase up to $150 million of our common stock. Through the accelerated share repurchase transaction, we received 70% of the estimated program shares upfront or approximately 3.3 million shares. We anticipate receiving the remaining 30% when the program concludes no later than the end of the third quarter of our fiscal year 2023. Free cash flow for the quarter was negative $14.9 million.

From a debt perspective, we ended the first quarter of fiscal year 2023 with $200 million outstanding on our $800 million revolving credit facility, which expires in July 2026. To briefly recap our other balance sheet highlights, accounts receivable net was $112.9 million, a decrease of $35.3 million since March 31, 2022. The DSO metric at the end of the first quarter of fiscal year 2023 was 44 days versus 63 days at the end of the first quarter of fiscal year 2022 and 64 days at the end of our fiscal year 2022. Let's move to Slide 16 for commentary on our outlook.

I will focus my review on our non-GAAP targets for fiscal year 2023. As I know noted earlier, we are reiterating a non-GAAP outlook for fiscal year 2023 that was presented during our May 15, 2022 fourth quarter and full fiscal year earnings call. As a reminder, for fiscal year 2023, we anticipate revenue in the range of $895 million to $925 million, which implies a mid to high single digit top-line growth rate. The effective tax rate is anticipated to be in the range of 20% to 22% with the current rate at the upper end of that range.

Assuming between $73 million and $74 million weighted average diluted shares outstanding, which includes the estimated impact of the $150 million accelerated share repurchase program with a partial offset to stock compensation dilution, we expect our non-GAAP diluted earnings per share to be between $1.97 and $2.03. I'd also like to offer some color on the second quarter as we assess the opportunities in front of us. We currently anticipate mid-single digit revenue and EPS growth rates on a year-over-year basis. That concludes my formal review of our financial results.

Thank you. And I will now turn the call over to the operator for a Q&A.

Questions & Answers:


Operator

[Operator instructions] We'll take our first question from Matt Hedberg with RBC.

Dan Bergstrom -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hey, it's Dan Bergstrom for Matt Hedberg. Thanks for taking our questions. So your start to the year here, reiterating guidance for the year, nice to see. Maybe with a lot going on, could you talk to some of the confidence points you have around guidance for the year? And then on the enterprise side, could you drill down there a bit? Did you notice any changes in buying patterns, any additional scrutiny around deals there? Maybe expanding upon Anil's statement, where he called out some timing of enterprise customer order shipments?

Anil Singhal -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So, Matt, overall, I mean, I know there is a lot of anxiety about recession and what's going on. So far, luckily, we are not seeing the impact on that on our pipeline or our business. Our enterprise business was very strong last year and some pull forward deals and all those. So I think this is just a timing and I think our quarterly results versus the yearly get skewered because of large deals.

So at this point, we are not seeing any impact really on -- from what is the macro headwinds. And as we see -- I mean, we still feel good about the guidance range we have provided.

Dan Bergstrom -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Great. Thanks. Helpful. And then with security, Jean, thank you for that historical break out.

Nice to see something we were looking for. Just said -- just that said, on the seasonality here, it looks like your third quarter, the December calendar year quarter was seasonally strongest last year. Is that the type of cadence we should look for on security here or kind of that normal enterprise build through the year with the segment or is there anything else to keep in mind around enterprise seasonality for security?

Jean Bua -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. As you pointed out, Dan, the second half of our year either Q3 or Q4 is seasonally higher due to timing of the calendar year budget companies. The only thing I would say is as the year progresses and we continue to see traction in Omnis, you might be able to see a little more of an impact in Q4 than in Q3.

Dan Bergstrom -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK. Great. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from James Fish with Piper Sandler.

James Fish -- Piper Sandler -- Analyst

Hey, guys. Thanks for the questions. Jean, deferred revenue was down a bit more than normal this quarter. It looks like by about $40 million sequentially.

Was there -- was this related to product backlog or something else? In the last few quarters, you actually gave us product backlog. Can you give us that this quarter, including across I think you broke out core and radio frequency parts in the past.

Jean Bua -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. So deferred revenue is a function of two things. One, as you mentioned, the use of the calibration project revenue, the radio frequency publication modeling that we started to execute on in this fiscal year as well as generally just the timing of multi-year renewal orders, where we're very heavy in Q3 and Q4 and much lighter in Q1. The product backlog as you recollect, was about $110 million at the end of last fiscal year with about $60 million of that being calibration.

So we used approximately $15 million this year -- this quarter, I'm sorry. And so of that we would have about $45 million left of calibration revenue to go through the product revenue line item. The shippable backlog, which goes to product revenue also, we shipped the $50 million at the beginning of Q1 and then we built the backlog in that area back up to about $40 million. So total backlog at the end of Q1 still sits around $85 million.

James Fish -- Piper Sandler -- Analyst

OK. Great. Appreciate that and also appreciate that security versus service assurance, so I won't bug you on on that question like I normally do, Jean.

Jean Bua -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

James Fish -- Piper Sandler -- Analyst

On the radio frequency side, great quarter there, but how much longer of a tail do you guys expect the ERP business to have versus we're starting to hear some of the core service assurance deployments. And is there any way to think about how you guys are getting to kind of gross margin on the year, given the mix between RFP and the core service assurance? Thanks, guys.

Anil Singhal -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, as we move more and more toward software side, I mean, we can compensate for some of the lower gross margins on calibration and service revenue. That overall as our business grows, I mean, we see top-line growth. And of our opex line is generally similar to the previous year except for those travel expenses we talked about. We said this will be balanced out and when we give the guidance on EPS and everything.

It has used most of the calibration or all of it, I guess, Jim, to be shipped this year. So that's all built into the numbers, which we have provided for the guidance.

Jean Bua -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Just to add to that point, Jim, gross profit, you're correct, will be absorbing about $60 million of backlog at probably less than 40% margin. So I think we anticipate that our gross margin this year on a year-over-year basis will be relatively flat to potentially slightly up from the full gross profit margin of last year.

James Fish -- Piper Sandler -- Analyst

Very helpful. Thanks, Anil. Thanks, Jean.

Jean Bua -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our final question comes from Kevin Liu, K. Liu & Company. Your line is open.

Kevin Liu -- K. Liu and Company -- Analyst

Hey, good morning, guys. Could you talk a little bit about what the government pipeline looks for this quarter and if you would kind of expect the normal seasonal strength you tend to see?

Jean Bua -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. So this quarter, as you know, the Q2 is the 930 government year. Again, we have excellent relationships with government. The good news this year is that most of the projects that we have in our Q2 forecast have been funded.

Usually we have a lot of projects and some of them are funded or not funded. I would say on a year-over-year basis, given just the state of the U.S. government at this point in purchasing and their focus, I would think that our Q2 revenue would probably be similar to the Q2 of last year and maybe up from that percentage.

Kevin Liu -- K. Liu and Company -- Analyst

Got it. And then just in terms of the second half outlook for service provider spending, it seems like many of the large Tier 1s basically at least have invested more heavily in the front half of the year. Just wondering how you guys think the second half progresses in terms of service provider mix and whether you'll continue to see more kind of work on the application modeling side or if that starts to change either to more traditional assurance or security deployments.

Anil Singhal -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I think it's going to be more -- it's going to be much less calibration and mostly service assurance orders and business in the second half. And this quarter's year-over-year growth was driven somewhat by the backlog. So we still have a lot of business in the pipeline with the service provider and I think the enterprise looks depressed. But overall, when we're at end the year will be -- it'll be in line with very similar breakdown between service provider and enterprise tomorrow.

And yeah, I think so. Basically there is -- besides calibration and traditional service assurance, there are some other things happening with -- as people are getting the 5G spectrum, which is the RAN area. So calibration is one of the bookends, very, very low margin. And then we have service assurance, which is the other bookend.

But in between we have the RAN business. So as people are getting more 5G spectrum, like everyone in -- I mean in India and other places, we see some much better business in the RAN area, which has very similar margin profile as a general service assurance business [Inaudible] last is.

Kevin Liu -- K. Liu and Company -- Analyst

Appreciate you taking the question.

Anil Singhal -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks.

Operator

There are no further questions at this time. I'll turn the call over to Tony for closing remarks.

Tony Piazza -- Vice President, Corporate Finance

Thank you, operator. Thank you, everybody, for joining us today. That concludes our call for the day. Have a good day.

Thank you. Bye.

Duration: 0 minutes

Call participants:

Tony Piazza -- Vice President, Corporate Finance

Anil Singhal -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Mike Szabados -- Chief Operating Officer

Jean Bua -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Dan Bergstrom -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

James Fish -- Piper Sandler -- Analyst

Kevin Liu -- K. Liu and Company -- Analyst

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