CalAmp Satellite Revenues Surge, Connected Transportation Coming in Focus – Satellite Today

CalAmp building

A CalAmp facility. Photo: CalAmp

[Via Satellite 12-23-2015] CalAmp, a communications specialist for Mobile Resource Management (MRM) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) markets, experienced a boost in revenues from its satellite division, though the company expects this to be a onetime event. During CalAmp’s 2016 third quarter, which ended Nov. 30, 2015, the company reported $11.8 million in satellite revenues, up from $8.6 million in the same quarter last year. Wireless datacom, the larger portion of CalAmp’s business, increased in revenue year over year to approximately $62.8 million up from $54.6 million in the same 2015 quarter. This helped boost the company’s total Q3 revenue to $74.7 million in 2016, compared to $63.2 million for the same period in fiscal year 2015.

Michael Burdiek, CalAmp’s president and CEO, described the company’s satellite segment performance as “somewhat better than expected,” in a Dec. 22 press release, but added that the banner quarter does not look like it will be the norm for satellite in future quarters.

“We expect our satellite segment revenue to be down slightly on a sequential quarter basis, with our wireless datacom segment revenue up sequentially in the fourth quarter and solidly higher on a year-over-year basis,” he said.

Satellite is a smaller part of CalAmp’s business, but still contributes meaningfully to the company’s profitability and operating cash flow.

“Our satellite business had a gross profit of $3.2 million with a gross margin of 26.7 percent,” Rick Vitelle, CFO of CalAmp, said during the company’s third quarter conference call. “This compares to gross profit of $2 million and a gross margin of 23.4 percent in the third quarter of last year.”

CalAmp serves a wide variety of markets, including transportation, oil and gas, construction and utilities. The company is planning new products for its satellite segment in the future, but still expects satellite revenues will return to a stable level more comparable to quarters past than present.

“Looking into the next fiscal year we believe that the new products will launch, but they will ship in parallel, or ship in combination, with some of our legacy products, so we don’t expect to see quite the margin hit that once upon a time we would have expected as it relates to product line transition with our key customer there. In the beginning of next fiscal year, we expect some marginal decline in gross margin profile for the business but not precipitously, and as we run through the next fiscal year we will probably see margins hover in the low 20 percent range as opposed to the mid-20s we’ve experienced over the last few quarters,” said Burdiek.

An area where CalAmp is looking for significant revenue opportunities, largely through it’s wireless datacom segment, is in connected transportation. Burdiek said the demand for fleet management, asset tracking and insurance telematics applications both domestically in the U.S. and internationally in places like Europe, Latin America and the Pacific, is significant. Earlier this year CalAmp acquired Crashboxx, an early stage technology company focused on insurance telematics applications across the entire auto insurance lifecycle, and about a month ago made a strategic investment in U.K.-based SmartDriverClub, a connected car startup focusing on using telematics to provide services and applications, particularly related to the auto-insurance market.

CalAmp is also aiming to strike a deal for LoJack, a company that specializes in recovery technology for stolen vehicles and other assets, but has faced resistance on this front. Burdiek said CalAmp has tried to engage LoJack in discussions about combining companies for the past two years, including three all-cash offers but to no avail. Now the company is taking a different approach.

“We determined that the most constructive path forward is a direct appeal to LoJack shareholders about the merits of our compelling offer,” said Burdiek, adding that the CalAmp board of directors is aligned with this strategy. “After our most recent offer, LoJack announced that they are evaluating strategic alternatives and we look forward to their serious consideration of our offer.”

Regarding a less difficult business pursuit, Burdiek said CalAmp is experiencing strong growth in shipping telematics devices to Caterpillar.

“Overall we are quite pleased with how our business with Caterpillar is progressing. Telematics is a key strategic thrust for Caterpillar and we continue to look for ways to expand our relationship with this important customer as well as develop additional opportunities in the burgeoning heavy equipment market,” he said.

Burdiek described working with Caterpillar as a market “in and of itself,” and one where CalAmp sees long-term opportunities.

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