CalAmp Corp. Delivers an (Even) Better-Than-Expected Quarter

By Steve

CalAmp Corp. may have given investors a peek at its fiscal third-quarter 2016 results ahead of time, but the machine-to-machine communications specailist gave investors plenty of reason to celebrate when it revealed its formal report Tuesday after the bell.

The headline numbersQuarterly revenue climbed 18.2% year over year, to $74.7 million, including a 15% increase in sales from its core wireless datacom business, and an admittedly surprising 37.2% jump in satellite revenue, to $11.8 million.

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Meanwhile, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization climbed 29% year over year, to $12.8 million, and adjusted net income per diluted share rose 24%, to $0.31. Cash from operations came in at $9.1 million for the quarter, bringing cash from operations and free cash flow for the first nine months of the fiscal year to $37.9 million and $34.4 million, respectively.

Broad-based strengthPerhaps most encouraging is that CalAmp's top and bottom lines each came in at the high-end of the company'srecently raised guidance, whichcalled for revenue of $74 million to $75 million, and adjusted EPS of $0.29 to $0.31. CalAmp CEO Michael Burdiek stated, "Broad-based customer demand drove excellent third-quarter results, with consolidated revenue, wireless datacom segment revenue, and adjusted EBITDA each at all-time record levels for a single quarter."

More specifically, Burdiek also elaborated that CalAmp saw strong growth in shipments to its "key customer in the heavy equipment industry" -- a not-so-subtle reference to its budding relationship providing telematics devices toCaterpillar -- solid demand for mobile resource management and wireless network products, and a better-than-expected showing from the satellite segment.

Regarding the latter, earlier this year, Burdiek described the satellite segment as a roughly "$40 million a year business -- but not quite that predictable. That $40 million a year is really broken down to $10 million a quarter, plus or minus $2 million." As it stands, satellite product sales this quarter happened to run at the high-end of its usual range, and continued to meaningfully contribute to the company's profitability and operating cash flow.

The hopeful purchaseBurdiek also offered a brief update on CalAmp's outstanding offer to acquire vehicle-recovery specialistLoJack Corporation for $5.50 per share in cash, or roughly $113 million.

Earlier this month, CalAmp went out on a limb by making its offer public in an apparent effort to urge LoJack shareholders to consider the deal. At the time, Burdiek noted CalAmp has pursued "friendly discussions" with LoJack for almost two yearsto no avail, including two prior all-cash offers at a lower price. LoJack has since responded by launching its own "review of strategic alternatives," but offered no guarantees that the review will result in an acquisition.

Looking forwardFor the current quarter, CalAmp anticipates revenue of $73 million to $78 million, or a year-over-year increase of 9.1% at the midpoint, including a slight sequential decline in satellite sales and "solid" year-over-year and sequential increases in wireless datacom revenue. Fiscal fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted net income per share should be in the range of $0.28 to $0.32, compared to $0.32 per share in the same year-ago period.

That guidance may seem underwhelming given CalAmp's relative outperformance in fiscal Q3. But during the subsequent conference call, management also indicated that continued operational execution and investments in key initiatives should help CalAmp drive profitable growth "into fiscal 2017 and beyond."

Given CalAmp's propensity for under promising and over delivering of late, it's no surprise the company is receiving a pass on what seems likely a conservative look forward.

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