Company saw strong sequential growth in revenue and orders in fourth quarter
Q4 2020 Highlights
- Revenue of $368 million
- Orders up 7 percent year over year
- Diluted GAAP EPS of $0.04
- Diluted non-GAAP EPS of $0.51
- Cash and short-term investments of $320 million as of Dec. 31, 2020
AUSTIN, Texas — (BUSINESS WIRE) — January 28, 2021 — National Instruments (Nasdaq: NATI) today announced Q4 2020 revenue of $368 million, up slightly year over year for an all-time quarterly record.
In Q4 2020, the value of the company’s total orders were up 7 percent year over year; orders over $20,000 were up 13 percent year over year; and orders under $20,000 were down 4 percent year over year. As we expand our systems and software offerings, we may see larger differences between bookings and revenue on a quarterly basis.
“This year was a stress test for our strategy and it proved resilient. We delivered a strong close to a challenging year with record quarterly revenue above the high end of guidance," said Eric Starkloff, NI president and CEO. "The areas where we have focused showed strength and momentum increased throughout the year with fourth quarter orders up sequentially across all regions and business units. I believe we enter 2021 in a position of strength and poised to accelerate growth and deliver increased value to all our stakeholders."
Geographic revenue in U.S. dollar terms for Q4 2020 compared with Q4 2019 was down 6 percent in the Americas, up 5 percent in APAC and up 3 percent in EMEA. Excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange, revenue was down 6 percent in the Americas, up 5 percent in APAC and up 1 percent in EMEA. Historical revenue from these three regions can be found on NI’s investor website at www.ni.com/nati.
In Q4, GAAP gross margin was 70 percent and non-GAAP gross margin was 74 percent. Total Q4 GAAP operating expenses were $245 million, up 10 percent year over year, which includes approximately $30 million of restructuring-related charges. Total Q4 non-GAAP operating expenses were $196 million, down 3 percent year over year. GAAP operating margin was 4 percent in Q4, with GAAP operating income of $13 million, down 75 percent year over year. Non-GAAP operating margin was 21 percent in Q4, with non-GAAP operating income of $79 million, down 6 percent year over year.
GAAP net income for Q4 was $5 million, with diluted earnings per share ("EPS") of $0.04, and non-GAAP net income was $67 million, with non-GAAP diluted EPS of $0.51. EBITDA, or Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization, was $42 million for Q4. GAAP EPS includes higher restructuring charges than previously expected.
"I believe our strong close to 2020 is proof in our ability to adapt quickly to the global pandemic. We were diligent in managing expenses and achieved the 2020 annual targets shared at our investor conference in August," said Karen Rapp, NI CFO. "We remain committed to our 2023 financial model. In order to accelerate growth, we will continue to align investments to our higher growth opportunities within our four strategic pillars. I believe our strong balance sheet also gives us the opportunity to capitalize on inorganic investments to meet our growth targets faster and deliver shareholder returns."
As of Dec. 31, 2020, NI had $320 million in cash and short-term investments with $181 million in cash generated from operations in 2020. During Q4, NI paid $34 million in dividends and repurchased approximately 275,000 shares of our common stock at an average price of $34.39 per share. For the year, we returned over $185 million to our shareholders through dividends and stock repurchases, including the repurchase of 1.4 million shares at an average price of $35.04 per share. The NI Board of Directors approved a dividend of $0.27 per share payable on March 1, 2021, to stockholders of record on February 8, 2021. This represents an increase of 4 percent per share.
The company’s non-GAAP results exclude, as applicable, the impact of purchase accounting fair value adjustments, stock-based compensation expense, amortization of acquisition-related intangibles, acquisition-related transaction and integration costs, taxes levied on the transfer of acquired intellectual property, foreign exchange loss on acquisitions, restructuring charges, tax reform charges, disposal gains on buildings and related charitable contributions, tax effects related to businesses held for sale, gain on sale of businesses, and capitalization and amortization of internally developed software costs. Reconciliations of the company’s GAAP and non-GAAP results are included as part of this news release.
FY 2020 Highlights
- Revenue of $1.29 billion, down 5 percent year over year
- GAAP gross margin of 71 percent
- Non-GAAP gross margin of 75 percent
- Diluted GAAP EPS of $1.09
- Diluted non-GAAP EPS of $1.24
- Dividends paid of $137 million, or $1.04 per share
In 2020, GAAP operating expenses were $876 million, up 1 percent year over year, and non-GAAP operating expenses were $759 million, down 5 percent year over year. GAAP net income in 2020 was $144 million, down 11 percent year over year, and non-GAAP net income in 2020 was $164 million, down 24 percent year over year.
NI currently expects Q1 revenue to be in the range of $324 million to $354 million and Q1 non-GAAP revenue, which we define as GAAP revenue adjusted to exclude the impact of purchase accounting fair value adjustments (for Q4 2020 these adjustments related to our recently acquired OptimalPlus subsidiary), to be in the range of $325 million to $355 million. The company currently expects that GAAP diluted EPS will be in the range of $(0.05) to $0.09 for Q1, with non-GAAP diluted EPS expected to be in the range of $0.24 to $0.38. For 2021, NI estimates its non-GAAP effective tax rate to be approximately 17 percent to 18 percent.
Conference Call Information
Interested parties can listen to the Q4 2020 earnings conference call with NI management today, January 28, at 4:00 p.m. CT at www.ni.com/call or dial (855) 212-2361 and enter confirmation code 3484087. Replay information is available by calling (855) 859-2056, confirmation code 3484087, shortly after the call through January 31, at 11:59 p.m. CT or by visiting the company’s website at www.ni.com/call.
In addition to disclosing results determined in accordance with GAAP, NI discloses certain non-GAAP operating results and non-GAAP information that exclude certain charges. In this news release, the company has presented its gross profit, gross margin, operating expenses, operating income, operating margin, provision for income taxes, net income, net margin and diluted EPS for the three-month and 12-month periods ending Dec. 31, 2020 and 2019, on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis. In this news release the company has also presented its non-GAAP revenue, and guidance for its Q1 non-GAAP revenue. In this news release revenue is also referred to as net sales, and non-GAAP revenue is also referred to as non-GAAP net sales. In this news release the company has also presented its estimated non-GAAP effective tax rate for 2021. When presenting non-GAAP information, the company includes a reconciliation of the non-GAAP results to the GAAP results. The company is not able to provide guidance on its GAAP tax rate or a related reconciliation without unreasonable efforts since its future GAAP tax rate depends on its future stock price and related information that is not currently available. Management believes that including the non-GAAP results assists investors in assessing the company’s operational performance and its performance relative to its competitors. The company presents these non-GAAP results as a complement to results provided in accordance with GAAP, and these results should not be regarded as a substitute for GAAP. Management uses these non-GAAP measures to manage and assess the profitability and performance of its business and does not consider purchase accounting fair value adjustments, stock-based compensation expense, amortization of acquisition-related intangibles, acquisition-related transaction and integration costs, taxes levied on the transfer of acquired intellectual property, foreign exchange loss on acquisitions, restructuring charges, tax reform charges, disposal gains on buildings and related charitable contributions, tax effects related to businesses held-for-sale, gain on sale of businesses, and capitalization and amortization of internally developed software costs in managing its operations. Specifically, management uses non-GAAP measures to plan and forecast future periods; to establish operational goals; to compare with its business plan and individual operating budgets; to measure management performance for the purposes of executive compensation, including payments to be made under bonus plans; to assist the public in measuring the company’s performance relative to the company’s long-term public performance goals; to allocate resources; and, relative to the company’s historical financial performance, to enable comparability between periods. Management also considers such non-GAAP results to be an important supplemental measure of its performance.