Advertise with us
[March 11, 2013]
AMBIENT CORP /NY - 10-K - MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATION.
(Edgar Glimpses Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Overview Ambient Corporation is an award-winning provider of smart grid communications technology for utilities. Our innovative platform enables utilities to deploy and integrate multiple smart grid applications and technologies, in parallel on a single communications infrastructure, supporting smart metering, distribution automation, distribution management, demand response, distributed generation and more.
Company History We were incorporated in 1996 in the state of Delaware. Through the third quarter of 2008, we were a development stage company. We are focused on the development of a communications platform that meets the needs of utilities, including specifically for the implementation of smart grid applications.
On July 18, 2011, we implemented a reverse stock split of our issued and outstanding shares of common stock at a ratio of 1-for-100 shares (the "Reverse Split"). On August 3, 2011, our common stock began to trade on the NASDAQ Capital Market under our new ticker symbol "AMBT." Duke Energy Relationship Since 2005, we have maintained a strategic relationship with Duke Energy. The utility is actively deploying our communications nodes and is licensing our AmbientNMS ® for its deployment in Ohio. We believe that we are the predominant provider of communications nodes and network management system software for Duke Energy's Ohio deployment.
We believe that we have demonstrated that our technology is secure, two-way, flexible, open, scalable, reliable and cost-effective through the total deployment of approximately 125,000 communications nodes in the field with Duke Energy. We believe that Duke Energy will continue to predominantly use our communications platform for the remainder of its Ohio smart grid deployment through 2013. Furthermore, Duke Energy's pilot deployment of approximately 3,000 communications nodes in the Carolinas predominantly uses our communications platform as well. Throughout the past five years, we have worked with Duke Energy to develop our communications platform, which has enabled Duke Energy's ability to deploy its smart grid initiatives.
We believe that we have a substantial opportunity to grow our business with Duke Energy. In addition to the communications nodes scheduled for deployment in Ohio, we estimate that Duke Energy would potentially require hundreds of thousands of communications nodes if it implements a full deployment of smart grid communications nodes in Indiana, Kentucky and the Carolinas. Duke Energy is using information from its North Carolina pilot programs and its Ohio deployment to enhance its customer experience in its other service territories.
Since we established our relationship with Duke Energy, we have been focused on developing our technology to meet the needs of their smart grid communications platform. Based upon the success of the relationship and our ability to prove our technology, we have recently begun to expand our infrastructure to focus on new business development, marketing and sales programs and further technology development in order to expand our customer base, and we expect to increase investment in our marketing and sales efforts over the next twelve months.
Backlog We define our backlog as products that we are obligated to deliver based on firm commitments relating to purchase orders received from customers. As of December 31, 2012, we had backlog of approximately $10 million, entirely from Duke Energy.
20 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents Critical Accounting Policies and Use of Estimates The discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based upon our financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. On an on-going basis, we evaluate our estimates, including those related to revenue recognition, bad debts, investments, intangible assets and income taxes. Our estimates are based on historical experience and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from these estimates.
We have identified the accounting policies below as critical to our business operations and the understanding of our results of operations.
Revenue Recognition Total revenue consists primarily of sales of hardware, software, and maintenance services. The Company recognizes revenue when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, delivery has occurred, the sales price is fixed or determinable, and collection is reasonably assured. Product is considered delivered to the customer once it has been shipped and title and risk of loss have been transferred. For most of the Company's product sales, these criteria are met at the time the product is shipped. The Company records deferred revenue when it receives payments in advance of the delivery of products or the performance of services.
Hardware sales consist of our Ambient Smart Grid® communications nodes which are physical boxes that contain the hardware and embedded software needed for communications and data collection in support of smart grid assets. The system software embedded in our communications nodes is used solely in connection with the operation of the physical boxes.
Our proprietary software AmbientNMS® is our smart grid network management system that controls the large numbers of communications nodes, devices and customers on a smart grid. NMS software is offered on a stand-alone basis.
We generally include a period of free maintenance services beginning from the sale of the communication nodes and NMS Software. As such, we recognize a portion of the revenue from the sales of our products upon delivery to the customer. The revenue allocated to the free period of maintenance services is deferred and recognized ratably over the period of performance.
We offer additional software maintenance service, on a fee basis, that entitles the purchasers of our products and AmbientNMS® software to post-contract customer support including help desk support and, unspecified updates and upgrades to our products on a when-and-if available basis. Maintenance services are recognized ratably over the period of performance.
The Company recognizes revenue from the sale of (i) hardware products and (ii) software bundled with hardware that is essential to the functionality of the hardware in accordance with revenue recognition for multiple element arrangements. The Company recognizes revenue in accordance with applicable industry specific software accounting guidance for (i) standalone sales of software products, (ii) maintenance renewals, and (iii) sales of software bundled with hardware not essential to the functionality of the hardware.
21 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents Revenue Recognition for Arrangements with Multiple Deliverables In October 2009, the FASB issued ASU No. 2009-13, Multiple-Deliverable Revenue Arrangements, (amendments to ASC Topic 605, Revenue Recognition) (''ASU 2009-13'') (formerly EITF Issue 08-1) and ASU No. 2009-14, Certain Arrangements That Include Software Elements, (amendments to FASB ASC Topic 985, Software) (''ASU 2009-14'') (formerly EITF 09-3). ASU 2009-13 eliminates the residual method and requires arrangement consideration to be allocated using the relative selling price method, which requires entities to allocate revenue in an arrangement using the best estimated selling price ("BESP") of each element when a vendor does not have vendor-specific objective evidence of selling price ("VSOE") or third party evidence of selling price ("TPE"). ASU 2009-14 removes tangible products from the scope of software revenue guidance and provides guidance on determining whether software deliverables in an arrangement that includes a tangible product are within the scope of the software revenue guidance. ASU 2009-13 and ASU 2009-14 are effective for arrangements entered into or materially modified in fiscal years beginning on or after June 15, 2010.
The Company adopted ASU 2009-13 and 2009-14 effective January 1, 2011.
We evaluate each deliverable in an arrangement to determine whether it should be accounted for as a separate unit of accounting. The delivered items or item shall be considered a separate unit of accounting if it has standalone value to the customer and there are no customer-negotiated refunds or return rights.
We allocate the total arrangement consideration to each unit of accounting in a multiple-element arrangement based on its relative selling price, and include our bundled hardware and software component as one unit of accounting and the free period of maintenance as a separate unit of accounting. The Company uses a hierarchy to determine the selling price to be used for allocating revenue to each of the deliverables. We determine the selling price for each deliverable using vendor specific objective evidence (VSOE), if it exists or third party evidence (TPE) if VSOE does not exist. If neither VSOE nor TPE of selling price exists for a deliverable, we use our best estimate of selling price (BESP) for that deliverable. Revenue allocated to each element is then recognized when the basic revenue recognition criteria are met for each element.
We determine VSOE of a deliverable based on the price at which we sell the deliverable on a standalone basis to third parties or from the stated renewal rate for the elements contained in the initial arrangement. VSOE has been established for our software maintenance element. When VSOE cannot be established for all deliverables in an arrangement with multiple elements, we attempt to estimate the selling price of each element based on TPE. When we are unable to establish a selling price using VSOE or TPE, we establish the BESP in our allocation of arrangement consideration. The objective of BESP is to determine the price at which we would transact a sale if the product or service were sold on a standalone basis. BESP has been established for our bundled hardware and software portion of the arrangement.
When establishing BESP the Company considers multiple factors including, but not limited to, the relative value of the features and functionality being delivered to the customer, and general pricing practices. Based on our analysis of pricing stated in contractual arrangements for our hardware products in historical multiple-element transactions, we have concluded that we typically price our hardware and embedded software at the contractually agreed upon amounts. Therefore, we have determined that, for our hardware and embedded software for which VSOE or TPE is not available, our BESP is generally comprised of prices based on our contractually agreed upon rates. We have established an annual review process around VSOE, TPE and BESP.
The Company accounts for multiple element arrangements that consist only of software or software-related products, including the sale of maintenance services to previously sold software, in accordance with industry specific software accounting guidance. For such multiple element software transactions, revenue is allocated to each element based on the residual method when VSOE has been established for the undelivered element. If the Company cannot objectively determine the VSOE of any undelivered element included in such multiple-element arrangements, the Company defers revenue until VSOE is established for any remaining undelivered elements, or all elements are delivered and services have been performed.
Inventory Valuation. We value inventory at the lower of cost or market determined on a first-in, first-out basis. Certain factors may impact the net realizable value of our inventory, including technological changes, market demand, new product introductions and significant changes to our cost structure.
We make estimates of reserves for obsolescence based on the current product mix on hand and its expected net realizable value. If actual market conditions are less favorable or other factors arise that are significantly different than those anticipated by us, additional inventory write-downs or increases in obsolescence reserves may be required. We consider lower of cost or market adjustments and inventory reserves as an adjustment to the cost basis of the underlying inventory. Accordingly, we do not record favorable changes in market conditions to inventory in subsequent periods.
22 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents Software Development Costs. We have historically expensed costs incurred in the research and development of new software products and enhancements to existing software products as incurred. After we establish technological feasibility, we capitalize additional development costs. No software development costs have been capitalized as of December 31, 2012 or 2011.
Stock-Based Compensation. We account for stock-based compensation in accordance with accounting guidance now codified as Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, Accounting Standards Codification, or ASC, 718, "Compensation - Stock Compensation (formerly known as SFAS No. 123(R))." Under the fair value recognition provision of ASC 718, stock-based compensation cost is estimated at the grant date based on the fair value of the award. We estimate the fair value of stock options granted using the Black-Scholes option pricing model. Key input assumptions used to estimate the fair value of stock options include the exercise price of the award, the expected option term, the expected volatility of our stock price over the option's expected term, the risk-free interest rate over the stock option's expected term and the annual dividend yield.
Fair Value of Warrants. Warrants are recorded as liabilities at their estimated fair value at the date of issuance, with subsequent changes in estimated fair value recorded in other income (expense) in the statement of operations in each subsequent period. Fair value of the warrants is determined by management using a multiple scenario, probability-weighted option-pricing model using the following inputs: the fair value of the underlying common stock at the valuation measurement date; the risk-free interest rates; the expected dividend rates; the remaining contractual terms of the warrants; the expected volatility of the price of the underlying common stock; and the probability of certain events occurring. The assumptions used in calculating the estimated fair value of the warrants represent our best estimates; however, these estimates involve inherent uncertainties and the application of management judgment. As a result, if factors change and different assumptions are used, the warrant liabilities and the change in their estimated fair values could be materially different.
Deferred Income Taxes. We recognize deferred income taxes for the tax consequences of "temporary differences" by applying enacted statutory rates applicable to future years to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts and the tax basis of existing assets and liabilities. At December 31, 2012, our deferred income tax assets consisted primarily of net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards and stock-based compensation charges that have been fully offset with a valuation allowance due to the uncertainty that a tax benefit will be realized from the assets in the future. At December 31, 2012, we had available approximately $71.7 million of net operating loss carryforwards, for U.S. income tax purposes which expire at various dates through 2031. However, due to changes in stock ownership resulting from historical investments, the use of the U.S. net operating loss carryforwards are significantly limited under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, approximately $61.4 million of our net operating loss carryforwards will expire and will not be available to use against future tax liabilities.
Warranties. We account for our warranties under the FASB ASC 450, "Contingencies." Our current standard product warranty includes a one-year warranty period for defects in material and workmanship. We currently accrue a liability of approximately 0.5% of current communications node revenues for the estimated future costs of meeting our warranty obligation, based on our actual historical return rate for repair of products within the one-year warranty period. We make and revise this estimate based on the number of communications nodes delivered and our historical experience with warranty claims. We continually monitor the rate of actual product returns for repair and the quality of our products including the quality of the products produced by our U.S.-based contract manufacturer in China.
We engage in product quality programs and processes, including monitoring and evaluating the quality of component suppliers, in an effort to ensure the quality of our products and reduce our warranty exposure. The warranty obligation will be affected not only by product failure rates, but also the costs to repair or replace failed products and potential service and delivery costs incurred in correcting a product failure. If our actual product failure rates, repair or replacement costs, or service or delivery costs differ from these estimates, accrued warranty costs would be adjusted in the period that such events or costs become known.
Our software license agreements generally include provisions for indemnifying customers against liabilities if our software infringes upon a third party's intellectual property rights. We have not provided for any reserves for such warranty liabilities. Our software license agreements also generally include a warranty that our software will substantially operate as described in the applicable program documentation. We also warrant that we will perform services in a manner consistent with industry standards. To date, we have not incurred any material costs associated with these product and service performance warranties, and as such we have not provided for any reserves for any such warranty liabilities in our operating results.
23 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents RESULTS OF OPERATIONS Comparison of the Year Ended December 31, 2012 and the Year Ended December 31, 2011 Total Revenue.Total revenue for 2012 was $42.8 million compared to $62.1 million in 2011, representing a decrease of approximately 31%. Substantially all revenue from 2012 and 2011 was derived from one customer. The decrease in total revenue is primarily attributable to our primary customer's decision to modify its node deployment schedule which extended installations of nodes further into 2013. We expect that our primary customer will continue to be the source of a substantial portion of our revenue for the next twelve months.
Cost of Goods Sold.Cost of goods sold for 2012 was $24.5 million compared to $35.3 million in 2011. The decrease in cost of goods sold primarily reflected a decrease in sales volume to Duke Energy. Cost of goods sold includes all costs related to the manufacture of our products by our contract manufacturer, accruals for warranty and other overhead costs. Our contract manufacturer is responsible for substantially all aspects of manufacturing, including procuring most of the key components required for assembly.
Gross Profit.Gross profit for 2012 was $18.3 million compared to $26.8 million in 2011, a decrease of approximately 32%. Gross margin for 2012 and 2011 has remained flat at approximately 43%.
Research and Development Expenses. Research and development expenses were approximately $14.3 million for 2012 compared to approximately $11.7 million in 2011. The increase in research and development was primarily due to increased personnel and consultant expenses required for the continued development of our communications nodes, enhancements of our AmbientNMS ®, and other product development efforts. We believe that our continued development efforts are critical to our strategic objectives of enhancing our technology while simultaneously reducing costs. We expect that our research and development expenses will increase in 2013 as we continue to develop and improve our communications platform.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses. Selling, general and administrative expenses for 2012 were approximately $9.6 million compared to $8.2 million for 2011. The increase in selling, general and administrative expenses was due to an increase in personnel and related costs related to our increased efforts to market and commercialize our communications platform.
Selling, general and administrative expenses consisted primarily of salaries and other related costs for personnel in executive and other administrative functions. Other significant costs included professional fees for legal, accounting and other services. In 2013, we expect our selling, general and administrative expenses to increase as we continue to increase our efforts to market and commercialize our communication platform to additional customers.
Write-off of Deferred Financing Costs. In August 2011, we filed a Form S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed public offering of our common stock, for which we had incurred approximately $389,000 in expenses as of December 31, 2011. Such costs were capitalized and were to be charged to additional paid-in capital upon completion of our proposed public offering. In April 2012, we voluntarily filed an application with the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting the withdrawal of such registration statement. We requested withdrawal of the registration statement based on then current market conditions and management's ensuing determination to not proceed with the contemplated offering at that time. Accordingly, previously capitalized deferred financing costs of approximately $389,000 were written off in the three months ended March 31, 2012.
Other Income, net. Other income for 2012 was approximately $197,000 compared to approximately $19,000 for the corresponding period in 2011, primarily representing the partial recovery of loans made by us to an unrelated company during 2000 and 2001, which had been previously written off in 2001.
Mark-to-Market Adjustment of Warrant Liability. Changes in the fair value of warrant liabilities resulted in a net non-cash gain of $452,000 in 2012 and $3.3 million in 2011.
Provision for Income Taxes. As a result of our loss before taxes of $5.4 million, the Company did not record a provision for income taxes in 2012. As a result of our income before taxes of $10.3 million in 2011, we recorded a provision for income taxes of approximately $204,000 in 2011, primarily reflecting federal alternative minimum taxes.
24 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents Liquidity and Capital Resources Since inception, we have funded our operations with proceeds from the sale of our securities and, more recently, with revenue from sales of our products. At December 31, 2012, we had working capital of $12.1 million, including cash and cash equivalents of $13.3 million.
Net cash used in operating activities during the year ended December 31, 2012 was approximately $4.4 million and net cash provided by operating activities during 2011 was approximately $12.1 million. Cash used in operations for the year ended December 31, 2012 was due primarily to a net loss of $5.4 million (partially offset by stock-based compensation expense of $2.5 million) and an increase in accounts receivable of $2.0 million (which were subsequently collected in January 2013) and a reduction in accounts payable of $1.2 million.
Net cash provided by operating activities in 2011 was primarily due to net income of $10.1 million (plus stock based compensation of $3.5 million, which was substantially offset by mark-to-market adjustments of warrant liabilities of $3.3 million), as well as a decrease in accounts receivable of $1.4 million.
Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2012 was approximately $659,000 as compared to approximately $962,000 for the same period in 2011. Net cash used in investing activities for each period was for additions of fixed assets.
Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2012 was approximately $376,000 as compared to net cash used by financing activities of approximately $129,000 in 2011. For the year ended December 31, 2012 net cash provided by financing activities consisted primarily of proceeds from exercises of warrants. For the year ended December 31, 2011, net cash used by financing activities consisted primarily of approximately $389,000 in deferred financing costs offset by proceeds from exercises of warrants and stock options.
We believe that our business plan will provide sufficient liquidity to fund our operating needs for the next 12 months. However, there are factors that can impact our ability continue to fund our operating needs, including: Our expectations regarding the continued favorable relationship with Duke Energy, which we expect will continue to be a substantial source of our revenue ; Our ability to maintain product pricing as expected, particularly in light of increased competition and its unknown effects on market dynamics; Our and our contract manufacturer's ability to reduce manufacturing costs as expected; Our ability to expand sales volume, which is highly dependent on the smart grid implementation plans of Duke Energy and other utilities; and The need for us to continue to invest in operating activities in order to remain competitive or acquire other businesses and technologies in order to complement our products, expand the breadth of our business, enhance our technical capabilities or otherwise offer growth opportunities.
If we cannot effectively manage these factors, we may need to raise additional capital in order to fund our operating needs. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when we require it, our ability to continue to grow or support our business and to respond to business challenges could be significantly limited and we may be required to implement spending reduction measures in order to preserve cash.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements As of December 31, 2012 and 2011, we did not have any relationships with unconsolidated entities or financial partnerships, such as entities often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities, which would have been established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements or other contractually narrow or limited purposes. Other than our operating leases for office space and certain other capital lease obligations, we do not engage in off-balance sheet financing arrangements. In addition, we do not engage in trading activities involving non-exchange traded contracts. As such, we are not materially exposed to any financing, liquidity, market or credit risk that could arise if we had engaged in these relationships.
Contractual Obligations and Commitments The following table summarizes our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2012 and the effect such obligations are expected to have on our liquidity and cash flow in future periods: (in thousands) Less Than 1-3 3-5 More Than Total 1 Year Years Years 5 Years Contractual Obligations Rent obligations $ 583 $ 583 Insurance premium obligations 237 237 Total $ 820 $ 820 $ - $ - $ - 25-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements In May 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued ASU No.
2011-04: Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Amendments to Achieve Common Fair Value Measurement and Disclosure Requirements in U.S. GAAP and IFRSs (ASU 2011-04). ASU 2011-04 clarifies application of fair value measurement and disclosure requirements and was effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2011. The Company adopted the provisions of ASU 2011-04 which did not have a material effect on its financial position and results of operations.
In February 2013, the FASB issued guidance requiring disclosure of amounts reclassified out of accumulated other comprehensive income by component. In addition, an entity is required to present either on the face of the statement of operations or in the notes, significant amounts reclassified out of accumulated other comprehensive income by the respective line items of net income but only if the amount reclassified is required to be reclassified to net income in its entirety in the same reporting period. For amounts not reclassified in their entirety to net income, an entity is required to cross-reference to other disclosures that provide additional detail about those amounts. This guidance is effective prospectively for the Company for annual and interim periods beginning January 1, 2013. The Company will comply with the disclosure requirements of this guidance for the quarter ending March 30, 2013.
We do not believe that any other recently issued, but not yet effective, accounting standard if currently adopted would have a material effect on our accompanying financial statements.
Back To NFVZone's Homepage