DGAP-News: SUSE S.A. / Key word(s): Quarter Results
Strong Revenue Growth Continues in First Quarter of 2022
- SUSE continued to deliver on its strategy in the first quarter of FY 2022, reporting 16% growth in Adjusted Revenue (17% at constant FX) and a 34% Adj EBITDA Margin
- SUSE reaffirms its guidance for the full year
- Group ARR of $574 million, a 17% increase on the prior year (19% at constant FX)
- ACV grew 5% in Q1, reflecting the impact of several multi-year deals signed in the prior period. Core ACV grew by 8% to $119.9 million. Emerging ACV declined by 9% to $23.9 million as a legacy SUSE contract was not renewed; excluding this, growth was 14%
- Adjusted Cash EBITDA was $93.1 million for Q1, as long-term contracts delivered over $40 million change in deferred revenue
- Adj unlevered Free Cash Flow was $44.6 million, a cash conversion rate of 85%
- Strong growth has continued in the Cloud route to market, and growth levers continue to deliver as SUSE benefits from the global trend toward cloud transformation
- The integration of NeuVector is proceeding well; previews of the source code have been published faster than anticipated
- Headcount grew by almost 200 in Q1, with approximately 140 new staff in sales and customer service
Note: This table contains Alternative Performance Measures as defined in Appendix 4 of this document. The presentation is based on pro forma numbers including Rancher on a coterminous basis in 2021 as if acquired on November 1, 2020. NeuVector is included from November 1, 2021, in all APMs and no prior year numbers are included, being immaterial to the group.
Constant Currency movement has been provided for ACV, ARR, Adjusted Revenue and Adjusted EBITDA. The definition of constant currency is included within Appendix 4.
Statutory data for the financial period is included in Appendix 1.
Luxembourg - March 17, 2022 - SUSE S.A. (the "Company" or "SUSE"), an independent leader in open source software specializing in Enterprise Linux operating systems, Enterprise Container Management and Edge software solutions, today announced its results for the first quarter of financial year 2022, which ended January 31, 2022.
"In the first quarter, SUSE once again delivered strong revenue growth and high profitability as we continue to implement our proven business strategy," said Melissa Di Donato, CEO of SUSE. "Customers depend upon our innovative, interoperable solutions and ability to help them adapt to evolving market conditions while reaping the benefits of developments in technology. We continue to expand our workforce and are well positioned to drive value for all our stakeholders in the months and years ahead."
"Today we are reaffirming our guidance for the current year and for the medium term," said Andy Myers, CFO of SUSE. "With another quarter of strong financial performance completed, we are continuing to invest in the business, increasing our capacity to innovate, sell and serve our customers as we facilitate their transition to the cloud. With established scale, a successful business model and high-quality enterprise customers buying mission-critical applications, we are confident in our ability to continue to deliver high profitability and cash flow."
Summary KPIs and Adjusted Profit and Loss Account for Q1 2022
Note: ARR and NRR are reported one quarter in arrears in USD millions at actual FX rates. Operating expenses exclude non-recurring items, as shown in the IFRS operating loss to Adjusted EBITDA reconciliation in Appendix 2. The presentation is based on pro forma numbers including Rancher on a coterminous basis in 2021 as if acquired on November 1, 2020. NeuVector is included from November 1, 2021, in all APMs and no prior year numbers are included, being immaterial to the group.
Constant Currency movement has been provided for ACV, ARR, Adjusted Revenue, Cost of Sales, Adjusted Gross Profit, Opex and Adjusted EBITDA. The definition of Constant Currency is included within Appendix 4.
Adj Earnings Per Share is calculated on the basis of the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the period. The number of ordinary shares in issue at as at January 31, 2022 was 169,027,117.
Financial and Business Review
The information in this section is based on the presentation of Alternative Performance Measures as defined in Appendix 4 and has not been audited. Historical data is also based on pro forma figures including Rancher prior to its acquisition by SUSE in November 2020. The Q1 numbers for 2021 include three months for Rancher on a pro forma basis. NeuVector is included in Q1 2022; prior year numbers have not been restated on a pro forma basis for NeuVector.
A reconciliation to the IFRS financials is included in Appendix 2. and summary financial statements containing statutory data for the three months ended January 31, 2022, are included in Appendix 1. Results are shown using actual exchange rates.
SUSE has continued to perform well in Q1 2022. Notwithstanding some difficult conditions in global markets, including the recent conflict in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, SUSE remains dedicated to delivering on its balanced, high growth strategy, delivering innovative, open source, interoperable, mission-critical software to its global customer base. As SUSE is already operating at scale, in growing markets, with enterprise customers on multi-year contracts, we remain confident that we can deliver long term sustainable growth, with high profit margins and cash conversion.
We continue to benefit from the mega trends driving the growth of our markets, including digitization and the movement to the cloud, while applying many growth levers and investing in product development, acquisitions and expanding headcount to drive future growth.
The purchase of NeuVector completed at the end of Q4 and the integration, which started during Q1, is making good progress and we expect to release the integrated Rancher-NeuVector product in May 2022. In January 2022 a preview of the source code was published on the NeuVector github page and Docker Hub, so interested parties can view the source and try the product itself. With this publication, NeuVector is the industry's first end-to-end open source container security platform, the only solution that delivers enterprise-grade zero trust security for containerized workloads.
Following the end of Q1, the events in Russia and Ukraine have been unfolding. SUSE has very limited direct exposure to Russia and Ukraine, with no direct legal presence in Russia and less than $5 million of annual revenue sold via third-party distributors. SUSE is responding to sanctions and as a result, we have ceased product updates and upgrades to existing sanctioned entities. Further, we have suspended entering into new sales in Russia. We will respond to additional sanctions that may be implemented.
Market and Revenues
Reported ACV for Q1 was $143.8 million, representing growth of 5% from the prior year, which was 8% on a constant currency basis.
In Q1 2021, a number of large, multi-year contracts were signed which have contributed to revenues in Q1 2022, but they do not recur in ACV. This has contributed to a lower rate of ACV growth in the quarter, as anticipated and indicated in our Q4 disclosures.
Core ACV for Q1 was $119.9 million, growth of 8% at actual FX rates and 11% on constant FX.
Emerging ACV for the quarter, was $23.9 million, a year-on-year decline of 9%. The Emerging business includes some legacy products which are being phased out following the Rancher acquisition and one large legacy contract was not renewed in Q1. Excluding the effect of this legacy business, Emerging ACV grew 14%. This is lower than the anticipated rate of growth for the full year due to the impact of the multi-year contracts signed in the prior year, as well as a relatively high comparable ACV due to the inclusion of Rancher on a proforma basis. Q1 2021 for SUSE included two months of Rancher's Q4 (Rancher operated on a December fiscal year end), which was the largest quarter for Rancher, as is typical for many software companies. In Q1 2022 there was no equivalent Rancher year end sales peak, as this happened in SUSE's Q4.
There were no unusually large contracts in the quarter which would add to the quarterly variability of reported ACV, and the LTM ACV continues to show steady progress, having grown 18% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022.
Adjusted Revenue growth for the quarter was 16% at actual FX rates and 17% on constant FX, in line with our guidance for the year. Total Adjusted Revenue for the quarter was $155.0 million, of which $130.2 million was in Core and $24.8 million was in Emerging - representing annual growth rates of 10% and 60%, respectively.
ACV - By Route to Market
End User growth of 5% was primarily driven by growth in the Cloud channel, which exceeded 25%. IHV/Embedded sales continue to be impacted by hardware shortages due to supply chain issues.
Average contract lengths on a LTM basis increased by one month to 20 months. End User saw longer contract lengths, on average, in all regions.
ACV - By Region
EMEA ACV growth was negatively impacted by the legacy contract in Emerging that did not renew in Q1, combined with a lower renewal pool due to the prior year multi-year contracts.
Very strong growth was seen in North America where there was a larger renewal pool and SUSE Rancher Government Services continued to grow from its relatively small base.
Asia Pacific and Japan declined slightly year on year, reflecting the timing of renewals and following a very strong 87% growth in Q4. China declined 3% where the market continues to be challenging.
Latin America also delivered strong growth of 62%, in line with prior year growth, as the new sales organization continues to gain traction.
Annual Recurring Revenue and Net Retention Rate
As stated at the time of the 2021 Full Year results, SUSE is now moving to one global SUSE figure for ARR and NRR as the customer base is now fully merged and many customers are now purchasing both SUSE and Rancher products.
ARR is reported three months in arrears as a significant portion of the revenues are invoiced retrospectively. The ARR at the end of October 2021 was $574 million, a 17% increase on the prior year or 19% on a constant currency basis, and an increase of 2.5% from the previous quarter.
NRR was 110%, broadly the same as last year and the previous quarter, demonstrating a consistent ability to build on and expand existing customer relationships.
Adjusted gross profit margin slightly reduced from 94% last year to 92% in Q1 2022. This is due to the growth in SUSE Rancher Government Services consulting, which deploys a third-party delivery model.
A key factor driving the growth in operating costs, up 39% to $90.9 million in the quarter, was the increase in headcount as SUSE invests in additional resource to drive growth in product innovation, customer support and sales.
The additions to the sales force are a key driver of our expected future growth and support the ongoing drive towards commercial excellence, in line with the new sales organizations set up at the end of the last financial year. Imran Khan has now joined as the new Chief Customer Officer, responsible for Customer Renewals, Customer Services and Customer Support, and Adam Spearing has also joined in the role of Chief Revenue Officer. As the new organizations take shape and the new sales staff move toward full productivity, we expect this will fully support our growth objectives.
Headcount grew by 197 to 2,242 in Q1. The majority of the net new hires were in sales and customer care, totaling 138, with 39 in R&D and the balance in General and Administration. At the end of Q1, headcount was 17% higher than at the same time in the prior year.
The recruitment environment remains highly competitive. SUSE is able to both retain and recruit staff due to the attractive open source culture of the company as well as its reputation and size, working with leading companies and organizations around the world. The rate of salary inflation is increasing but remains reasonable, and it has been anticipated and accounted for in our guidance. Some early compensation increases have been made to support retention.
Sales, Marketing & Operations costs increased 37%. Key drivers were recruitment, an increase in marketing spend, and a gradual return to travel. In Q1 2021 there was also an abnormal IFRS 15 commission accrual deferral adjustment resulting from the acquisition of Rancher.
Research & Development costs increased 23%, primarily due to recruitment to support innovation.
General and administration costs increased by 77%, $9.1 million, to $20.9 million. $3.8 million of the cost increase is from FX movements; normalizing for this, the true cost increase is 45%. The remainder of the increase reflects investment to support the business, headcount and third-party costs, some of which is related to the IPO which took place in Q2 last year.
The Adjusted EBITDA of $52.3 million was 14% below the prior year, giving a margin of 34%, compared to 45% in the prior year. The prior year margin was exceptionally high in Q1, compared to the annual result of 37%, due to one-off cost credits from IFRS15 deferrals (the Rancher catchup), as well as lower travel and marketing costs due to the pandemic.
Adjusted Cash EBITDA was $93.1 million, down 13% from prior year, but still representing a margin of 60%. The change in deferred revenue was a strong $40.8 million. Although less than the prior year, which benefited from several large multi-year deals, it demonstrates strong sales performance and longer average contract durations.
Adjusted Unlevered Free Cash Flow for the quarter was $44.6 million, compared to $38.8 million in the prior year. This is largely due to lower trade receivables due to the collection of receipts following the year end, and to lower billings versus the prior year. Gross capex increased, due to investment in a data center move. Cash taxes increased, due to payments of Corporation tax in the period.
Cash conversion was 85% for the quarter, below the full year guidance as we expect this to increase during the year. The key drivers are the reduced Adjusted Cash EBITDA and working capital movements.
Total Net Debt at the quarter end was $689 million, significantly below the prior year figure which was before the IPO. Compared to the year end, Net Debt reduced by $31 million or 4.4%.
As a result, the leverage ratio, calculated as the Net Debt divided by the last 12 months Adjusted Cash EBITDA, was 2.6x, the same as at the year end and well within our cap of 3.5x.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is central to our business and our sustainable growth.
In January 2022, SUSE published its first Annual Report and Accounts as a listed company, which includes comprehensive ESG disclosure.
In Q1, SUSE defined its ESG roadmap for the year and started delivering on the same. Its key commitments for FY22 include:
1. Climate Action: Set science-based emission targets for SUSE and develop a workplan for delivering these, to limit global warming.
2. Information Security: Strengthen our information security management by implementing processes and protections in accordance with ISO 27000 series.
3. Disclosure: Continue to publish our FY22 Annual Report in line with GRI Standards and EU's directives for corporate sustainability reporting.
4. External Assessment: Evaluate our material ESG impact with the help of an independent rating agency.
We have kicked off the project to set science-based targets for SUSE and will extend our commitment to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in the months ahead.
We continue to be transparent in our ESG efforts and were recently listed on the Deutsche Boerse ESG Visibility Hub, providing further transparency of our ESG performance and impact. We were one of the first 15 companies to do so.
SUSE is pleased to reaffirm its guidance for the full year 2022 and the medium term.
We expect to see ACV Core continue to grow at a rate of mid- to high-teens percent per year, while ACV Emerging is expected to continue to grow in excess of 60% in FY 2022 and in excess of 50% per year in the medium term.
We expect Adjusted Revenue to grow at mid-to-high teens percent in 2022, thereafter with growth around 20% per year in the medium term.
The Adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to be in the mid-thirties percent in FY2022, allowing for some dilution from NeuVector, but it will then grow in the medium term toward 40%.
Adjusted Unlevered Free Cash Flow conversion is expected to be stable to slightly increasing from the FY2021 level, measured as a percentage of Adjusted EBITDA.
SUSE is a global leader in innovative, reliable and secure enterprise-grade open source solutions, relied upon by more than 60% of the Fortune 500 to power their mission-critical workloads. We specialize in Business-critical Linux, Enterprise Container Management and Edge solutions, and collaborate with partners and communities to empower our customers to innovate everywhere - from the data center, to the Cloud, to the Edge and beyond. SUSE puts the "open" back in open source, giving customers the agility to tackle innovation challenges today and the freedom to evolve their strategy and solutions tomorrow. The company is headquartered in Luxembourg and employs more than 2,000 people globally. SUSE is listed in the regulated market (Prime Standard) of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
For more information, visit www.suse.com.
Melissa Di Donato (CEO) and Andy Myers (CFO) will host an analyst and investor conference call at 2:00 PM CET / 1:00 PM GMT on March 17, 2022, to discuss the results.
The audio webcast can be followed via https://www.webcast-eqs.com/suse20220317. A replay will be available on the Investor Relations website. The accompanying presentation also can be downloaded from the Investor Relations website.
Certain statements in this communication may constitute forward-looking statements. These statements are based on assumptions that are believed to be reasonable at the time they are made, and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those risks and uncertainties described in SUSE's disclosures. You should not rely on these forward-looking statements as predictions of future events, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise these statements. Our actual results may differ materially and adversely from any forward-looking statements discussed in these statements due to several factors, including without limitation, risks from macroeconomic developments, external fraud, lack of innovation capabilities, inadequate data security and changes in competition levels.
The Company undertakes no obligation, and does not expect to publicly update, or publicly revise, any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to it or to persons acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements referred to above and contained elsewhere in this communication.