When CalAmp Corp. (NASDAQ:CAMP) announced its fiscal second-quarter 2016 results earlier this week, investors were rightly excited. Quarterly revenue rose 18% year over over year, to $69.8 million, compared to expectations for $67.8 million, while earnings beat estimates by $0.01, at $0.27 per share.
CalAmp also raised its full fiscal-year revenue guidance to a range of $281 million to $289 million, the midpoint of which sits above consensus models calling for $283.6 million. When all was said and done Friday, shares of the machine-to-machine communications company had skyrocketed more than 16% over Thursday's close.
But CalAmp's business is about more than just revenue and earnings. Behind the headline numbers, the company is working hard to secure its place as an integral enabler of the burgeoning "Internet of Things" market. That's why investors would be wise to listen closely when CalAmp management offers additional insight during each quarterly conference call with analysts.
Here are five key points CalAmp CEO Michael Burdiek discussed during this quarter's call:
1. The satellite segment is more profitable than ever.
We continue to be pleased with the satellite segment's operational performance, which achieved gross margins of 27.6% in the second quarter, a new record for this business unit, and provide a healthy contribution to bottom-line results.
Though CalAmp's core wireless datacom business is its primary driver of growth -- where revenue climbed 23%, to $61.8 million -- we can't ignore the meaningful contributions its legacy satellite segment continues to make to the bottom line. Satellite revenue declined 11%, to $8 million during the quarter -- in line with expectations -- solid gross profit rang in at a strong $2.2 million. Better yet, Burdiek later confirmed that, within CalAmp's full-year guidance, there's an expected rebound in satellite-segment sales with sequential and year-over-year growth in the second half of the year.
2. Why concerns about Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) were unfounded.
Caterpillar sees [broadening its telematics strategy] as a way to not only gain more information about its products and their performance in the field, but also generate incremental revenue stream. So despite the relatively poor cyclical backdrop for Caterpillar and its core business, they view this program as a key and critical, in fact a way of sort of hedging against the softness in the global economy by creating a platform to generate incremental revenues.
Shares of heavy equipment juggernaut Caterpillar have fallen hard this year in a difficult global industrial environment. So naturally, some CalAmp investors worried this weakness could threaten the company's expectations for increased sales under a key deal to supply telematics devices to the heavy equipment juggernaut.
To the contrary, Burdiek argues that Caterpillar is using CalAmp's telematics products to help offset this weakness and drive incremental revenue. As a result, CalAmp anticipates sales to Caterpillar will continue growing through the end of this year, and into fiscal 2017.
3. Unique software application subscriptions returned to growth.
Across all of our market verticals, we had approximately 487,000 unique software application subscriptions at the end of the second quarter, with fleet subscribers increasing on a sequential quarter basis while automotive aftermarket subscribers remained flat versus the prior quarter. Margin trends and sales pipeline indicators were positive across all applications in the second quarter, including in the automotive aftermarket vehicle finance application, where elevated churn experienced over the prior two quarters abated considerably.
For perspective, last quarter, unique software subscriptions raised eyebrows after declining sequentially from 495,000 to 486,000. Management explained this was part of a natural "add and subtract" progression as older customers migrated away from legacy vehicle-finance systems, though investors could take solace knowing service revenue was continuing to grow, thanks to the ongoing addition of higher-margin fleet subscribers. As it stands, investors should be pleased that vehicle-finance churn has finally abated as fleet subscribers continue to grow.
4. Fleet management demand is broad based and stronger than ever.
[W]e continue to see strong demand for products used in fleet management and asset tracking applications both domestically and with key international customers. In fact, the second quarter represented the strongest quarter ever for fleet management product sales. Customer demand in the U.S. was particularly robust with solid demand also coming from customers in Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Rim.
As it turns out, that growing number of fleet subscribers also helped drive CalAmp's strongest-ever quarter for mobile resource management products. Meanwhile, recurring revenue from fleet management and communications services rose 23% year over year, to $11 million, or 15.9% of total revenue, up from 15.6% last quarter. Knowing demand was geographically broad based to support this valuable revenue stream is a further testament to CalAmp's customer satisfaction and global reach.
5. "Excellent" progress in commercializing Crashboxx.
Our recent acquisition of Crashboxx has positioned CalAmp at the forefront of telematics technologies for streamlining claims processing through the automation of crash notification and vehicle damage estimation. We have made excellent strides toward validating the core technologies through controlled crash testing with insurance carriers and key ecosystem players, and we're well on our way to productizing the core IP.
When CalAmp acquired Crashboxx in April for a consideration of $1.5 million plus future earn-out payments, Burdiek explained that its priority would be commercializing its unique intellectual property focused on software for usage-based insurance telematics -- a potentially massive market still in its early stages. This tangible progress in the form of crash-test validation, then, should serve as encouraging news for CalAmp investors waiting for this growth opportunity to materialize.
In addition, Burdiek noted during the Q&A portion of the call that "the application of [Crashboxx] technology is actually probably a lot more broad based than just the insurance segment." CalAmp is seeing interest, Burdiek says, from lease fleet managers, rental car companies, and potentially could find applications for customers in the heavy equipment industry. If CalAmp can ultimately expand the scope of this valuable IP, the Crashboxx purchase should prove well worth the price.