After CalAmp Corp. (NASDAQ:CAMP) reported fiscal first quarter 2016 results late last month, it was surprising at first when the stock popped nearly 10% the following day. Quarterly revenue rose 11% year-over-year to $65.4 million, while adjusted net income jumped an even more impressive 37% to $9.5 million, or $0.26 per diluted share. But both figures were merely in line with analyst expectations.
It made more sense, however, when I saw full fiscal year management guidance for revenue of $280 million to $290 million, the midpoint of which sat well above Wall Street forecasts for full-year sales of $282.8 million. Investors were presented with a solid quarterly performance with the promise that it should further improve later in the year.
But the CalAmp business is about more than just revenue and earnings. To truly understand what is driving that improvement, it helps to consider the words of CalAmp leadership during their subsequent conference call with analysts. Here are five of the most important points they covered during the discussion:
1. On why CalAmp decided to raise money
[W]e also took advantage of strong market conditions and historically low interest rates, and completed a very successful convertible notes offering that raised proceeds of $152 million net of underwriting fees, related transaction cost, and the cost of the call spread option. This helped push our cash equivalents and marketable securities balance up to $209 million at quarter end. Our strong liquidity position provides ample flexibility to take advantage of potential future growth opportunities including pursuing strategic M&A. -- CEO Michael Burdiek
For perspective on the size of this offering, CalAmp's entire market capitalization as of this writing is just less than $700 million. But the deal was not always supposed to be quite as large. When CalAmp proposed this offering in April, it initially suggested a smaller aggregate principal amount of $125 million with a 30-day option for the initial purchasers to buy up to an additional $18.75 million.
Two days later, however, CalAmp was comfortable enough to increase the amount to $150 million, with a 30-day option of $22.5 million, all of which was successfully purchased and netted the $152 million referenced by Burdiek above. As I suggested in my initial earnings recap last week, this gives CalAmp the leverage to acquire businesses that are either complementary to its existing offerings -- not unlike its purchase of usage-based insurance IP holder Crashboxx last quarter -- or give it the opportunity to expand into new machine-to-machine, or M2M, communications verticals.
2. On the accelerating growth of usage-based insurance
In the auto insurance telematics market, first quarter demand for hardware devices increased over the prior quarter and we expect demand will continue to improve throughout this fiscal year. We continue to believe that insurance telematics can be a key growth driver for CalAmp over the longer term, particularly as we bring to market value-added services beyond hardware devices. -- Michael Burdiek
Last fiscal year, CalAmp blamed "technological issues" for a significant falloff in UBI device shipments, as well as customer onboarding challenges across each of the three UBI programs it was shipping into through Modus, Himex, and RAC. But by the end of the year, all three customers were back on track and expected to resume contributing to the top and bottom lines through UBI hardware device sales. Investors should be encouraged, then, that CalAmp not only fulfilled that promise but also expects insurance telematics to play a sequentially larger role in each quarter this year.
As for his reference to the "longer term," note that CalAmp is also working to expand its role with UBI software. That encompasses the ongoing commercialization of insurance telematics technology from Crashboxx, including Android-based apps for things like driver scoring and driver feedback applications. CalAmp hopes to bring these apps to market in early 2016 when it can monetize them through its existing app store.
3. Why SaaS revenue and subscribers went different directions
Across all of our market verticals we had approximately 486,000 unique software application subscriptions at the end of the first quarter, which is down from approximately 495,000 at the end of the prior quarter due to a decline in vehicle finance SaaS subscribers for similar reasons as described on our last earnings call. However, higher margin fleet SaaS subscribers grew approximately 5% on the sequential quarter basis, driving overall growth in service revenue with higher associated gross margins due to favorable mix. -- Michael Burdiek
Last quarter, CalAmp stated that application subscriptions were essentially flat from the previous period, citing "higher than normal churn of vehicle finance subscribers" as older customers migrated away from legacy platforms. Over time, Burdiek elaborated that many of these customers should eventually migrate to newer systems, but it will "be more of an ongoing add and subtract phenomenon" as the process plays out.
While it might seem disconcerting that this churn persisted in the most recent quarter, resulting in a sequential decline, investors can take solace knowing that CalAmp is seeing growth where it counts in higher-margin fleet subscribers. As it stands, recurring subscription-based revenue accounted for 15.6% of overall sales during the most recent quarter, up from around 15% of revenue in the previous quarter.
4. CalAmp (still) isn't worried about the satellite business
Moving onto our satellite segment, revenue in the first quarter was $7.6 million in line with expectation. We continue to be pleased with the satellite segments operational performance which achieved gross margins of 25.5% in the first quarter and provided solid contribution to our operating cash flow and bottom line results. -- Michael Burdiek
Next, another potential concern lies in the smaller satellite business, especially considering that revenue from the segment plummeted 31.5% year-over-year to $7.6 million. But here again, perspective is in order, as CalAmp has previously described the satellite business as a $10 million-per-year opportunity, plus or minus roughly $2 million as industry demand ebbs and flows.
Burdiek also insists that satellites turned in an "exceptional" performance last year, making the more sluggish revenue stream this year a reversion to the mean. Until satellite returns to more normal levels, CalAmp is happy to enjoy its contribution to operating cash flow and net profits.
5. CalAmp relationship with Caterpillar is strong
[R]evenue from telematics products shipped to our key OEM customer in the heavy equipment industry were in line with our expectations for the quarter. We are quite pleased with our relationship with this customer's progressing and expect revenue to increase in the second quarter and further expand in the second half of the year. Overall we expect that this customer will represent a significant year-over-year growth opportunity for CalAmp in fiscal 2016. -- Michael Burdiek
Finally, while CalAmp has several other intriguing long-term opportunities in the M2M communications space, its deal to provide telematics products to heavy-equipment juggernaut Caterpillar is arguably the most compelling near-term contributor. With CalAmp products, Caterpillar is able to give customers the ability to track when and where crews use company vehicles, monitor driver safety, prevent theft, and even manage fuel-efficiency and tax recovery by monitoring miles driven.
CalAmp did not provide specific revenue figures from Caterpillar this quarter, but it did note that the figure was in-line with expectations. That gives us a good idea of where it is headed, because three months ago, CalAmp management said they expected Caterpillar revenue to decline slightly on a sequential basis from just above $7 million -- up from around $5 million in the previous quarter -- before resuming growth later in the year. Based on the comments above, investors should be happy that CalAmp is once again delivering as promised.
Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends CalAmp. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.