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Edited Transcript of CDNS earnings conference call or presentation 22-Jul-19 9:00pm GMT

Q2 2019 Cadence Design Systems Inc Earnings Call

SAN JOSE Jul 23, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Cadence Design Systems Inc earnings conference call or presentation Monday, July 22, 2019 at 9:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Alan H. Lindstrom

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior Group Director of IR

* John M. Wall

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO

* Lip-Bu Tan

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Gal Munda

Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst

* Gary Wade Mobley

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Jason Vincent Celino

KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Associate

* Jay Vleeschhouwer

Griffin Securities, Inc., Research Division - MD of Software Research

* John William Pitzer

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Global Technology Strategist and Global Technology Sector Head

* Krish Sankar

Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst

* Mitchell Toshiro Steves

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst

* Richard Frank Valera

Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Sterling Auty

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Thomas Robert Diffely

D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good afternoon. My name is Erica, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Cadence Second Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Thank you.

I'll now turn the call over to Alan Lindstrom, Senior Group Director of Investor Relations for Cadence. Please go ahead.

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Alan H. Lindstrom, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior Group Director of IR [2]

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Thank you, Erica, and I would like to welcome everyone to our second quarter 2019 earnings conference call. I am joined today by Lip-Bu Tan, CEO; and John Wall, Senior Vice President and CFO. The webcast of this call is available through our website, cadence.com, and will be archived through September 13, 2019. A copy of today's prepared remarks will also be available on our website at the conclusion of today's call.

Please note that the discussion today will contain forward-looking statements and that actual results may differ materially from those expectations. For information on the factors that could cause a difference in our results, please refer to our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These include Cadence's most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q, including the company's future filings and the cautionary comments regarding forward-looking statements in the earnings press release that we issued today.

In addition to financial results prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, we will also present certain non-GAAP financial measures today. Cadence management believes that in addition to using GAAP results in evaluating our business, it can also be useful to review results using certain non-GAAP financial measures. Investors and potential investors are encouraged to review the reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures with their most direct comparable GAAP financial results. The reconciliations are available at the Investor Relations section of cadence.com. Copies of today's press release dated July 22, 2019, for the quarter ended July 29 -- excuse me, June 29, 2019, related financial tables and the CFO commentary are all available on our website.

Now I will turn the call over to Lip-Bu.

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [3]

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Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. Cadence achieved strong operating results for the second quarter of 2019, delivering 12% year-over-year revenue growth on broad-based strength across our product lines. Based on the strength of our business, we are raising our outlook for the year. John will provide more details shortly.

While there's an ongoing global economic and geopolitical uncertainty, we remain confident about the multiple long-term trends that continue to drive strong design activity. Driven by trends such as artificial intelligence, or AI, 5G, autonomous driving and IoT, design activity is being fueled by workload-specific computing, system companies building custom silicone, new silicone startups and digital transformation of industries such as automotive, aerospace, medical and other industrial applications.

Our Intelligent System Design strategy will enable us to provide more capabilities and value to our customers while also expanding our current total addressable market from about $10 billion to estimate $30 billion over the next 5 years. The foundation of the strategy is designed excellence, which is comprised of our core EDA and IP business. In addition, we are building upon our core competency in computational software to expand into 2 new areas: the first one is system innovation, where we are expanding into new system domains with products like Clarity, our new 3D EM solver that was launched last quarter. Clarity has received considerable customer interest with numerous evaluations underway. And second new area is pervasive intelligence, where we are beginning to apply AI and our algorithmic knowledge to our core business and specific verticals.

Now let us turn to our quarterly highlights for our core business. Our innovation engine continued to deliver as we introduced 4 significant new products in the quarter. We grew revenue in digital and signoff by double digit year-over-year through both ongoing proliferation with market-shaping customers and adoption by new customers at advanced nodes.

Samsung Austin R&D Center, a leader in high-performance design, has selected Cadence digital implementation solution for a next-generation high-end mobile CPU codesign. Cadence's state-of-art, Innovus-based floor delivered the best quality of results for their design, enabled Samsung Austin R&D Center to meet its advanced process node objectives.

Innovium, a leading provider of innovative data center switching solutions, adopted Innovus for its highly scalable Teradyne -- TERALYNX Ethernet switch design. There were more than 40 tapeouts at 7-nanometer and below using our full digital flow in the first half of 2019. And Innovus, our digital implementation solutions, has over 80 active customers for 7-nanometer and below designs, including 10 at 5-nanometer.

Next, I want to discuss highlights of our System Design and Verification solutions, for which revenue grew 7% year-over-year. Our hardware-assisted verification products, which are an integrated part of our Verification Suite, had done another good quarter. With the addition of Protium X1, we also provide a comprehensive solutions across IP and SoC verification, hardware/software regressions, system validation and earlier software development.

Palladium Z1, our flagship emulation platform, added 6 new customers and had 9 repeat orders. Habana Labs, a leading AI processor startup, say that Palladium was instrumental for the development of Gaudi, the industry first AI training processor that natively integrate Ethernet and RDMA and for their Goya inferencing chip.

Fungible, a pioneer in data-centric computing, used a combination of Palladium Z1 and Protium S1 systems in the development of their DPU summary of products. The DPU is a new type of microprocessor that will revolutionize the performance, reliability and economics of data center at all scales.

We introduced the Protium X1 Enterprise Prototyping Platform, which is the first data center-optimized FPGA-based prototyping system and provides multi-megahertz speed for 1 [billion-gig] designs, accelerating earlier software development and hardware/software convergence. Customer reception of Protium X1 has been very positive with earlier adoption from some market-shaping customers, including NVIDIA.

Protium S1 and X1 also added 3 new customers and received 7 repeat orders. We also delivered the smart JasperGold Formal Verification Platform that delivers an average of 2x faster proofs out of box and 5x faster regression runs by leveraging new machine learning-enabled smart proof technology. STMicro has been able to significantly boost its verification productivity with smart JasperGold.

Custom/analog grew a strong 11% year-over-year. In the quarter, we introduced an important new product Spectre X Simulator which is next-generation massively parallel circuit simulator designed to provide up to 10x performance gain while solving 5x larger designs, and while maintaining the golden accuracy customer expect from 25 years of Spectre industry leadership in analog, mixed-signal and RF applications. Spectre X was endorsed by MediaTek, Mellanox, Renesas and Silicon Works.

Now let me make a few comments on the geopolitical situation. We have, and we will continue, to comply with the United States Department of Commerce export control regulations. The situation is fluid, and we will continue to closely monitor it. While there is an ongoing uncertainty, thanks to our strategy, continued innovation and operational execution, we are well positioned to capture growth opportunities arise from the longer-term trends, driving strong design activity. While we do not provide details about any specific customer, I do want to emphasize that we have a very broad, diversified and global customer base.

With that, I will now turn the call over to John to review the financial results and provide our updated outlook.

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [4]

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Thanks, Lip-Bu, and good afternoon, everyone. I'm pleased with our results for Q2 and our updated outlook for fiscal 2019. Q2 was a little unusual due to the export limitations that were imposed during the quarter. The export limitations that took effect on May 16 and June 24 in respect to certain customers remain in place today. We are aware that this is a very fluid situation, so for the purpose of providing guidance for the second half of 2019, we've assumed that these current export limitations remain in effect for the remainder of the year. Now let me walk you through the key results for Q2, beginning with the P&L. Total revenue was $580 million. Non-GAAP operating margin was 33.6%. GAAP EPS was $0.38 and non-GAAP EPS was $0.57.

Next turning to the balance sheet and cash flow. At the end of the quarter, cash totaled $633 million, while the principal value of debt outstanding was $350 million. Operating cash flow for Q2 was $246 million. DSOs were 38 days, and during Q2, we repurchased $75 million of Cadence shares.

Now I will provide our updated guidance. For Q3, we expect the following results: revenue in the range of $570 million to $580 million; non-GAAP operating margin of approximately 30%; GAAP EPS in the range of $0.32 to $0.34; and non-GAAP EPS in the range of $0.50 to $0.52.

Our updated guidance for fiscal 2019 is now as follows: revenue in the range of $2.315 billion to $2.335 billion; non-GAAP operating margin in the range of 31% to 32%; GAAP EPS in the range of $1.44 to $1.50; non-GAAP EPS in the range of $2.11 to $2.17; operating cash flow in the range of $680 million to $720 million; and for the year, we continue to expect to use approximately 50% of free cash flow to repurchase Cadence stock. You will find guidance for additional items as well as further analysis in the CFO commentary available on our website.

In summary, I am pleased with our execution so far this year. We are living in uncertain times and I am proud of how we are adapting to a fluid environment. Our improved outlook speaks to the diversification of our customer base, the underlying strength of demand for our technology and solutions and the continued focus of our employees throughout the company on achieving our key financial metrics.

I would like to thank our customers, partners, and of course, our employees. We look forward to updating you on our progress throughout the second half of 2019.

And with that, operator, we'll now take questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) The first question comes from Tom Diffely with D. A. Davidson.

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Thomas Robert Diffely, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [2]

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I was wondering if there's any way you could do more of a quantification of the impact from the different export controls in China right now, kind of the relative size of that or the impact to earnings or anything more you can give would be great.

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [3]

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Tom, we wanted to provide clarity in relation to second half guidance and expectations without speculating on what may or may not happen with regard to current export limitations. While we don't provide details on what that speculation might be, we do want to emphasize that we have a very broad, diversified and global customer base.

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Thomas Robert Diffely, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [4]

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Okay. There's no way to size it in case it does come back to give us a sense of what the upside potential could be to your guidance?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [5]

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It's very hard to say. We don't want to speculate.

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Thomas Robert Diffely, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [6]

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Okay. And then moving on, maybe you could talk about the margins in the quarter versus the guided margins, about 10% lower. Is it just mix or is there more going on in there?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [7]

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Yes, certainly Q2 was -- there was more profitable mix in revenue. We were happy with the performance in Functional Verification. We continue to expect modest growth for 2019 even considering the impact of those export limitations. The -- we expect gross margins of course -- like Q2 was a little unusual to see export limitations. We'd expect the gross margins for the second half to return to more typical levels. We're investing in opportunities to expand our business with market-shaping customers and investing in TAM expansion opportunities. So that's why the op margin is -- for the second half, is forecast at approximately 30%.

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Thomas Robert Diffely, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [8]

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Okay. And finally, when you look at the growth in Intelligent System Design over the next several years, does that meaningfully change the model for either a margin or cost structure point of view versus traditional EDA?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [9]

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Well, we're not guiding out beyond 2019. Everything we know is included in our guidance for 2019. We take a longer-term view over things, and again, wouldn't focus on any 1 quarter. I tend to like compare current results against our current midpoint of guidance against 2016, and I think I'd expect the model to be pretty consistent.

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Operator [10]

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Your next question comes from John Pitzer with Crédit Suisse.

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John William Pitzer, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Global Technology Strategist and Global Technology Sector Head [11]

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John, just a follow-up on the gross margin. I want to make sure I understand. What was unusual about the June quarter? I thought I heard you say from the last question it had to do with the export tariffs, but then you're saying that gross margins should return back to normal in the back half of the year despite the fact that it looks like you're still excluding some business related to the tariff issues.

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [12]

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Well, Q2 was a little unusual in that the export limitations took effect on May 16 and again on June 24 in respect to certain customers, and like I say those remain in place today. And then, I mean we had a few things in terms of hardware results. Hardware was a little bit more profitable -- more profitable than we expected. Services revenue was a little bit more profitable than we expected. And just generally, like I say, I wouldn't -- it was great. It was a profitable quarter for Q2, but I wouldn't extrapolate that into any kind of future guidance. But we expect non-GAAP gross margin to return to more typical levels in the second half of the year.

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John William Pitzer, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Global Technology Strategist and Global Technology Sector Head [13]

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That's helpful. And maybe as kind of a follow-up for Lip-Bu. Lip-Bu, clearly, China is going to continue to be a long-term strategic customer for you. I'm just kind of curious, given the heightened tension U.S.-China trade, is there any concern that we should have that China might try to do EDA on their own? Or are the barriers to entrance to that business just so high it would be difficult for them to kind of generate domestic sources for what you provide? Any sort of longer-term color on that would be very helpful.

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [14]

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Sure. So I think clearly they have a number of Chinese -- China-based EDA companies offering field point tool solutions. And clearly we are not going to speculate in the broader hypothesis, but clearly, we focus to be the best partner for our customer and globally, include China.

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Operator [15]

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Your next question comes from Gary Mobley with Wells Fargo Securities.

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Gary Wade Mobley, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [16]

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John, I want to ask you a question about your fiscal year '20 outlook. I know you're not going to say anything with respect to revenue growth or margins or anything at all relating to 2020, but as you enter your budget meeting, whenever that is, are you still going to use the guiding principle of the -- the rule of 40 in terms of looking at the revenue growth -- some of the revenue growth and operating margin?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [17]

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Yes, Gary. Certainly, I mean, the model we have, we expect to apply consistently. And rule of 40 has been something we've looked at across the different business groups. But with that, we're guiding for 2019 now, we're not guiding beyond.

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Gary Wade Mobley, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [18]

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Understood, understood. And with respect to your market-shaping customer, I presume that you're still in the investment mode with this customer. Is it fair to assume that you haven't been able to recognize any revenue from the relationship at this point? And if that's the case, when would you expect to bring the product to full fruition and be able to recognize revenue?

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [19]

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Yes. So I think, Gary, we mentioned quite a few market-shaping customers. There's quite a few important one. They are the leader in the industry. And I think I assumed you referred to this marquee U.S. semiconductor company. Clearly, we have a breakthrough and wide-ranging win with this U.S.-based semiconductor company, where we have a breakthrough and wide-ranging win. We are in the early stage of partnership. We are very heavily engaging with them across the product line, the breadth of our engagement. So we are excited about it, but we continue to stay on course and focus.

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Operator [20]

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Your next question comes from Jay Vleeschhouwer with Griffin Securities.

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Jay Vleeschhouwer, Griffin Securities, Inc., Research Division - MD of Software Research [21]

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Lip-Bu, let me ask you a competitive question regarding Mentor. That is it's become recently apparent that since the acquisition 2.5 years ago, they've been doing quite well with revenues, well beyond what they last reported in 2016, and particularly in the areas for which they were always the market leader, including [signal] verification, [QC] and it looks most recently also in hardware. The question is have you encountered that before? And have you had to make competitive adjustment, let's say, to the fact that Mentor is, in fact, doing somewhat better than they were pre-acquisition? And I have a couple of follow-ups.

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [22]

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Yes, Jay, first of all, we respect Mentor tremendously. And right now part of Siemens, is a very big in the $100 billion company, so we don't take them lightly. And meanwhile, we respect them a lot. And clearly, there are some products are competing with us. I think you mentioned earlier the hardware verification emulation side, and of course, their Calibre products. So I think clearly, we continue to respect them, but we're effectively competing with them. So we treat them as business as usual.

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Jay Vleeschhouwer, Griffin Securities, Inc., Research Division - MD of Software Research [23]

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All right. You've grown your headcount pretty substantially year-to-date and also in Q1. Can you talk specifically about how well you've been able to bring on applications engineers? We talked about this that probably the last half year going back to last fall, you've had a significant increase to open reqs for your AEs to [live] domestically. Are you now looking for more AEs well beyond the number that either Synopsys or Mentor are looking for? So I imagine you've been able to onboard some, but can you talk about how you're doing in terms of bringing those kind of people on? And then lastly, for John, you've talked for the last number of years about deal quality, price optimization and so forth. When you think about your base of customer contracts in cohort terms or aging of the cohort of the contracts, how do you think you have done so far in terms of optimizing the basic contracts? Or how much is left to be done in terms of outstanding contracts or [at renewals] you can optimize?

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [24]

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So Jay, let me answer the first question and then John will answer the second question. So on the headcount, and we're pretty much -- it's pretty much on plan in terms of what we plan to bring on board, in terms of the talent and also the FAE and engineering talent we continue to bring in. John and I, we have very thoughtfully tried to bring on talent with our executive team to really drive on our focus on customer success. And so clearly, we have a lot of multiple market-shaping customer. We are proliferating, and we need the FAEs to support customer success. And that is something we are very focused on that.

In term of the AE resources increase, clearly, not just domestically, also internationally to support our customers. So I think all in all, I think it is pretty much on plan, and we continue to drive that. And then the -- as we always say, only when we see the green light from the customer in term of commitment, in term of proliferation with us, then we add AE and engineering talent to support it.

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [25]

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Yes. And Jay, in respect to your question about deal quality and optimizing pricing, I mean we're very disciplined and value driven. We believe the best way to derive value from our -- for our products is to collaborate deeply with customers and deliver innovative and clearly differentiated solutions. And As Lip-Bu highlighted, we're investing in opportunities to expand our business with market-shaping customers. And we're investing in TAM expansion opportunities that result from our Intelligent System Design strategy. I mean in the end, it's all about innovation which means attracting, retaining and incentivizing top talent.

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Operator [26]

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Your next question comes from Sterling Auty with JPMorgan.

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Sterling Auty, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [27]

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I want to start off by circling back to the export control, the quantification. I understand you don't want to speculate on what might come back in, but is there a way to look backwards and just give us some quantification of how much contribution we've gotten from these customers in the past?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [28]

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I guess, Sterling, I mean...

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [29]

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So let me start first, I think, John. First of all, I think, Sterling, we're clearly complying the regulation and limit some of our relationship with some of the -- any customer that may be on that entity list. And clearly, we review all the product portfolio to determine which are the product and related support, subject to the limitations. So I think this is something that we really focus on what are the maintenance and support we can provide, and we wanted the best customer and we want to do the best we can. But meanwhile, very important is to comply with the regulation.

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [30]

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Yes. We're not going to speculate on if and when either the regulations may change. Our ability to service these customers under the existing regulations may change. But our updated guidance for fiscal 2019 assumes no change, either positive or negative, to current export limitations. But we would want to highlight that and emphasize that we have a very broad, diversified and global customer base.

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Sterling Auty, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Analyst [31]

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Okay. And then on the margin guidance for the back half of the year, you talked about the gross margins, but is there anything else that would kind of dictate why the operating margin would be -- I mean, the set up in operating margins has been kind of down for, I think, third quarter or even the second half since the beginning. And usually that's kind of counterintuitive when we think about when your FICA rolls off and some other timing of investments. We usually thought about you guys like most enterprise software as being more profitable in the back half than the front half. So just looking at the margin guide for next quarter, other than gross margins, is there anything else that we can look to describe why the operating margins would be down sequentially?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [32]

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Of course, Sterling, yes. And like you say -- like you point out most of it's the expectation of a reversion to mean kind of for the gross margins. But on the op margin side, we're investing in opportunities with market-shaping customers and in our TAM expansion opportunities. We also have the annual pay increases for employees are effective in July here at Cadence. So that kicks in for the second half of the year, and that's what's taking us to an expectation of 30% for the second half.

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Operator [33]

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Your next question comes from Rich Valera from Needham & Company.

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Richard Frank Valera, Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [34]

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Lip-Bu, you referenced geopolitical tension in your prepared remarks, which I think most would agree has increased probably over the last quarter or so. And notwithstanding the fact that your business remains obviously very healthy, have you seen any change in any customer buying patterns or demand due to this increased tension, or any perhaps unexpected customer attrition?

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [35]

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Yes, so far we don't see that. But clearly, when the process prolong, and clearly, we'll see some impact. But clearly, right now, so far we don't see any impact. And then we have a very broad-based customer, as John mentioned, and we're happy in serving those customers.

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Richard Frank Valera, Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [36]

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Got it. And then the Custom/Analog was particularly strong this quarter. I think 11% was the growth rate you provided. Is there anything you can point to, to sort of justify why that was I think sort of above trend? And should we think of this as somewhat anomalous? Or do we think that this business might be growing at a faster rate than it has historically?

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [37]

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Yes. We are very delighted with that 11% growth with the big base we have. And then clearly, it reflect our -- the leading products that we have and the tools that we have and the customer really counting on us to deliver the design. And then, meanwhile, a lot of application that I mentioned earlier in the 5G and some of the IoT and autonomous driving, and they are all mixed-signal. And so that is really strong combination of our strength in the analog, and now very strong portfolio that we have in digital and they make it very compelling to grow that -- the mixed-signal RF area.

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [38]

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And as always, we'd encourage you not to focus on any 1 quarter, but you kind of have to look at the results over a longer period. And certainly, I wouldn't focus on -- if you're picking 1 quarter, I wouldn't extrapolate Q2 given the unusual nature of the impact of export limitations imposed during the quarter.

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Richard Frank Valera, Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [39]

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Got it. And then just a follow-up on the Q2 gross margin. Just a little confused, it sounds like you're suggesting that the export limitations bumped up the gross margins, and just trying to understand why that would be. Did you ship less hardware than you expected to and that helped your mix? Or just if there is any color you can provide on why the export restrictions would actually help gross margin.

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [40]

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Certainly, it's not just export restrictions. Essentially, it's a combination of events in the quarter. Like I say, the quarter was a little bit unusual in that respect. But hardware was a little bit more profitable than we originally anticipated. Services revenue was a little bit more profitable than we originally anticipated. And just Q2 was unusual in itself given the export limitations imposed during the quarter. That's why I'm saying I wouldn't focus on extrapolating Q2 but focus on any 1 quarter, but you look at the year, really.

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Operator [41]

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Your next question is with Mitch Steves from RBC Capital Markets.

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Mitchell Toshiro Steves, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [42]

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So if I look at your China revenue growth, you guys are up 20%, 21% sequentially, and then in your prepared remarks, you don't really say that you couldn't ship. So when you say that there is an anomaly in Q2, was that the actual negative in the quarter or did it actually not impact the revenue line?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [43]

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So you say China is up -- yes, of course, yes. Yes, China was up. It was up -- it was 12% of our revenue in Q2 in comparison to 10% in Q1. But of course, that's down from 13% in Q4. The nature of hardware and IP is a bit lumpy in nature, anyway. But like I say, we wouldn't read into any 1 quarter. But yes, our forecast for the second half of the year assumes that the export limitations that are in place today remain in effect for the rest of the year.

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Mitchell Toshiro Steves, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [44]

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Sure, yes. So just to clarify that, so I realize that you're assuming a neutral environment as of today, but was it a negative for Q2 results?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [45]

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Yes. I think our results would have been higher if there were no limitations.

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Operator [46]

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Your next question is from Gal Munda with Berenberg Capital.

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Gal Munda, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [47]

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Just to follow up on that China argument. So it's up to 12% of the revenue today versus a year ago, 8%. It was trending between 8% and 10%, except for the Q4 which probably was hardware-heavy. Can you just talk a bit more about the overall growth there? Is it the big players that are driving it? Or is that a lot of the smaller players that are basically trying to ramp up their semi space. Where are you seeing demand if we kind of ignore the trade restrictions for a particular customer for now?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [48]

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Sure. Like you say, I mean, our China revenue mix over the past 5 quarters has ranged from a low of 8% in Q2 '18 to a high of 13% in Q4 '18. While I'm not inclined to attribute motivation, our China business has been strong over the past several quarters. But for now, our ability to deliver products and services to certain customers that are on the BIS entity list is limited. So we would expect the percentage of revenue in China to be lower for the second half of fiscal 2019 than the first half.

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Gal Munda, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [49]

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Okay, that makes sense. And then just as a follow-up, if I think about -- and without thinking about a particular number, but just for margin outlook in the future. Recently we've had this bump in gross margin helping and the mix helping, but going forward, would you expect the gross margin to start contributing to the operating margin improvement as well? Or do you think it's mostly based on continued operating leverage of the business?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [50]

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Yes. I'd expect non-GAAP gross margin to return to more typical levels in the second half of the year. And then the reason we expect operating margin to be 30% is because we're investing in new employees as we invest in opportunities to expand our business with market-shaping customers and the TAM expansion opportunities we have, and also because the annual pay increases for employees were effective in July. That's impacting our Q3 and Q4 op margin. But I wouldn't -- I expect gross margin to return to more typical levels in the second half of the year.

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Gal Munda, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [51]

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John, if you look maybe a year or 2 ahead, and I'm not asking for the guidance, but just kind of trend-wise, is there a potential in gross margin to contribute to operating margin improvement in the future? Is it mostly going to be from operating leverage?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [52]

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Again, everything we know is in our guidance for 2019, and we're not guiding beyond 2019.

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Operator [53]

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Your next question comes from Jason Celino with KeyBanc Capital Markets.

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Jason Vincent Celino, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Associate [54]

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Just a quick one for me. So I appreciate your comments around kind of the investing in your market-shaping customers and your TAM expansion opportunities. But as you think about these investments, over the next second half and longer-term, is there one area that you feel is going to be more investment near term and then one area that's going to be more investment long term? Or is it going to be kind of equal?

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [55]

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We assess that -- I mean, we assess that regularly as part of our normal review of annual operating expenses. But -- and really back to Gary's comment earlier, in terms of rule of 40, our approach is to invest in the areas where we think we have the highest revenue growth. I'm not saying 40 is the right number because actually we're not guiding beyond 2019. But essentially, the whole premise on rule of 40 is you add your operating margin to revenue growth. And so basically the -- where we have areas of more revenue growth, we'll invest a little bit heavier there. Where we have less revenue growth opportunities, we'll look for more profitability.

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Operator [56]

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Your final question comes from Krish Sankar with Cowen.

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Krish Sankar, Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [57]

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I have 2 of them for either Lip-Bu or John. Number one is on your IP business, especially with your hyperscale customers, are you guys doing any more customized projects or is it all mostly done, behind us at this point? And then the second question is on the PCB business, have you seen any incremental design activities in PCB over the last few months? And if so, do you think is that just a short-term blip or do you think there's something else interesting in the horizon longer term on PCB?

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [58]

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So Krish, let me address these 2 topics and then John will add some color. First of all, IP is a very lumpy business. And clearly, if you look at the first half, it's double-digit growth for us, and we like that. And then secondly, we just announced our Tensilica Q7. We're excited about that whole double vision and AI performance for automotive AR, VR, mobile and civilian applications, and so we just put [out a] release on that. And we have a couple of design wins in the data center, mobile and automotive application. And then the other part we like a lot is this 30 -- high-speed 30, 112 gig 30 at 7-nanometer. And we have very strong customer demands, and we're working very intensively with them.

So overall, we like the IP business, and we continue to build that as part of our whole, we call it the design excellence. Including EDA and IP, that is our strategy.

In terms of the PCB in the interconnect side, also a very good, solid business. And clearly, the whole system interconnect and system analysis side, and we are double-digit growth in that area. And so clearly, the whole system analysis, that will increase $4.5 billion TAM market. And then our Clarity 3D Solver, very well received by customer. We have numerous evaluations and strong customer engagement and interest. So all in all, I think we are pretty solid on that.

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John M. Wall, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - Senior VP & CFO [59]

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And I would just add that IP, as Lip-Bu says, can be lumpy in any single quarter. But looking at the first half for IP, we had double-digit growth there, and we're happy with that. But -- and with regard to system interconnect, it was a strong quarter for our PCB IC packaging and Sigrity analysis products. And again, as Lip-Bu said, we had double-digit growth there. So we're very pleased with the results there.

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Operator [60]

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If there are no further questions at this time. Mr. Lip-Bu, your closing remarks, please.

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Lip-Bu Tan, Cadence Design Systems, Inc. - CEO & Director [61]

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Yes. Thank you all for joining us this afternoon.

Next phase of our strategy, Intelligent System Design brings new opportunities in the design excellence, system innovation and pervasive intelligence, and an expanded total addressable market. Of course, Cadence will comply with all export regulation and will continue to access and adopt to the situation.

In summary, we are capitalizing on the multiple technology waves and further proliferating our solutions with a broader base of our customers.

In closing, I would like to thank all our shareholders, customers and partners, Board of Directors and our hard-working employees for their continued support.

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Operator [62]

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Thank you for participating in today's Cadence Second Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call.

This concludes today's call. You may now disconnect.