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Edited Transcript of LFVN.OQ earnings conference call or presentation 30-Oct-19 8:30pm GMT

Q1 2020 LifeVantage Corp Earnings Call

Nov 11, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Lifevantage Corp earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 8:30:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Darren Jay Jensen

LifeVantage Corporation - President, CEO & Director

* Steven R. Fife

LifeVantage Corporation - CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Douglas Matthai Lane

Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research

* Jurriaan Hofman

Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. - Equity Analyst

* Scott Van Winkle

ICR, LLC - MD

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to today's conference call to discuss LifeVantage's first fiscal quarter of 2020 financial results. (Operator Instructions)

Hosting today's conference will be Scott Van Winkle with ICR. As a reminder, today's conference is being recorded.

And now I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Van Winkle. Please go ahead, sir.

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Scott Van Winkle, ICR, LLC - MD [2]

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Thank you. Good afternoon, and welcome to LifeVantage Corporation's conference call to discuss results for the first fiscal quarter of 2020. On the call from LifeVantage with prepared remarks are Darren Jensen, CEO; and Steve Fife, Chief Financial Officer.

By now, everyone should have access to the earnings release, which went out this afternoon at approximately 4:05 p.m. Eastern Time. If you've not received the release, it's available on the Investor Relations portion of LifeVantage's website at www.lifevantage.com. This call is being webcast, and a replay will be available on the company's website as well.

Before we begin, we would like to remind everyone that prepared remarks contain forward-looking statements, and management may make additional forward-looking statements in response to your questions. These statements do not guarantee future performance and therefore, undue reliance should not be placed upon them. These statements are based on current expectations of the company's management and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including those identified in the Risk Factors section of LifeVantage's most recently filed forms 10-Q and 10-K.

Please note that during today's call, we will discuss non-GAAP financial measures, including results on an adjusted basis. Management believes these financial measures can facilitate a more complete analysis and greater transparency into LifeVantage's ongoing results of operations, particularly when comparing underlying operating results from period to period. We've included a reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures with today's release.

This call also contains time-sensitive information that is accurate only as of the date of this live broadcast, October 30, 2019. LifeVantage assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking projection that may be made in today's release or call.

Now I will turn the call over to the company's CEO, Darren Jensen.

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Darren Jay Jensen, LifeVantage Corporation - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Thank you, Scott, and good afternoon, everyone. It's a pleasure to be with you again today to discuss our first quarter fiscal 2020 results. During the quarter, we are intensely focused on preparing for the launch of our most significant new product in recent years, Protandim NAD Synergizer. This revolutionary product is the first addition to our flagship Protandim line since 2016, and we're very pleased with initial sales and consumer response, which is meeting our robust expectations and, to date, is shaping up as one of the strongest product launches.

We're in the early days of the launch but anticipate that October could be among the best sales months in our history, and we'll continue to focus on building this product across our global footprint. Before I discuss our progress with Protandim NAD Synergizer, let me recap the first quarter activities, which again were largely focused on preparation for this important launch.

Our year-over-year revenue growth continued during the quarter as we generated 1% increase, which -- with significant improvement in margins, adjusted EBITDA and net income. The revenue growth reflected strong year-over-year gains in Asia Pacific and Europe, which increased 10.4%, including 10% growth in Japan. In September, we held a highly successful Japan convention, where we saw strong activity ahead of the event as well as increased sales and improved distributor engagement and customer demand.

Revenue in the Americas decreased 2.2% on a year-over-year basis as a result of the timing of activities in our Red Carpet program as well as our focus on previewing and training our field on Protandim NAD Synergizer ahead of the October launch.

We made good progress on our 2020 initiatives during the first quarter with a primary focus on our initiative to become masters of biohacking subscriptions. This initiative is intended to drive the percentage of our customers that process a subscription order within their first 90 days, increase average order sizes and drive retention. A key component to this initiative is the launch of Protandim NAD Synergizer.

As I noted, throughout the first quarter, we were focused on preparing for and building consumer excitement for the product launch. While these activities did not have an impact on first quarter revenue generation, each was designed to drive the success of our formal launch at the beginning of the second quarter. Our preparation for launch was comprehensive and intense, and these efforts have paid off with strong initial sales.

During the first quarter, we worked closely with our field leaders in preparation, including teasing the product at our July Elite Academy in Kansas City, providing training and product to our field leaders so they could test it and build personal experience ahead of initial shipments in October. As a result, our field leadership was better prepared to educate our broader consumer base at the time of launch, driving a stronger initial response. We also invested heavily in clinical studies, building marketing materials, presentations and promotional campaign to drive consumer demand. Each of these efforts reflects our confidence that Protandim NAD Synergizer will be a strong contributor to our growth and a key addition to our flagship Protandim line.

Protandim NAD Synergizer has been specifically formulated to target the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide molecule, more commonly known as NAD. By increasing NAD levels, we also know we are positively affecting NAD-dependent pathways, specifically activating a family of proteins called Sirtuins. Sirtuin activity, which declines as we age, has been linked to a host of health benefits, including supporting healthy longevity, improved mental focus and concentration, positive mood and motivation, boosting mental and physical energy, supporting a healthy inflammatory response and supporting a healthy cardiovascular system. We also know Protandim NAD Synergizer is more effective than the competition. Our studies have shown a significantly increased both NAD levels and Sirtuin activity at exponentially higher rates than that of others in the marketplace and do it in -- and do it much more quickly. Further, our studies show significant synergies when Protandim NAD Synergizer is combined with our Protandim Nrf1 and Nrf2 synergizers to further improve outcomes.

As a result of this synergy and the sensorial effects of Protandim NAD Synergizer, we have thus far seen a lower level of cannibalization and higher incremental sales than we would typically anticipate with a new product launch. In an effort to further capitalize on this synergy, we have also launched the Protandim Tri-Synergizer. The Tri-Synergizer combines all 3 Protandim offerings into a single stack, which is being very well received across our consumer base. Protandim NAD Synergizer and the Protandim Tri-Synergizer stack should be an important contributor to our initiative to drive subscriptions, increase average order sizes, improve the distributor sponsoring story and grow consumer demand and retention.

We also continue to evaluate implementing a free shipping program to further support our subscription model and adapting our product offering to support consumer demands in regional markets with the initial effort to offer a more consumer-friendly tablet size of our Protandim Nrf2 in Japan, which is slated for the second half of fiscal 2020.

Our second initiative is to continue to work to attract and create biohacking influencers. This includes our efforts to support our Red Carpet program, expand our geographic footprint further during fiscal 2020, drive growth in synergy in our Greater China region, refine the cadence and volume of our distributor events and introduce a new series of meetings for influencers. We began to execute the new event cadence in the first quarter. We'll continue to drive Red Carpet sales as the year progresses, and we are on pace with our planned November launch of New Zealand and for 1 additional new market in Asia Pacific during fiscal 2020.

Third, we plan to further simplify business building at LifeVantage with a goal of making it as easy to build at LifeVantage as it is to call an Uber. This includes a plan to introduce daily pay into our compensation plan, which is expected to roll out later this year, updating and enhancing our international compensation plan to further focus it on driving customer demand and driving further penetration of the LV app.

Finally, we will continue to focus on building and enhancing our foundation for future growth, including new programs to develop internal talent, enhance our cybersecurity and upgrade our consumer-facing systems to improve convenience, remove friction and improve efficiencies.

To close, we had a productive first quarter and are off to a good start in fiscal 2020. We're very pleased with the launch of Protandim NAD Synergizer and the Tri-Synergizer and believe we are on track to achieve our fiscal 2020 guidance.

Now before I turn the call over to Steve, I want to let our investors know that I have entered into a 10b5-1 program to sell a small portion of my LifeVantage holdings, roughly 10%, over the next year. This decision reflects my personal need to diversify, and I've set the amount at a modest percentage of my total holdings and have spread planned sales transactions across to the next year so that it's -- only a modest amount is sold each month. I continue to maintain a high percentage of my personal assets in the form of LifeVantage stock and, thus, remain aligned with my fellow shareholders. I felt it was important to be transparent and announced this prior to the first sale.

With that, let me turn it over to Steve to run through the financial results. Steve?

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Steven R. Fife, LifeVantage Corporation - CFO [4]

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Thank you, Darren, and good afternoon, everyone. I am pleased to report our first quarter results. We generated another quarter of positive year-over-year revenue growth, while delivering significant improvements in profitability. We remain confident in the momentum we have built, and we plan to build upon this further as fiscal 2020 progresses. Please note that I will be discussing our non-GAAP adjusted results. You can refer to the GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliations in today's press release for additional details.

First quarter revenue was $56.2 million, representing a 1.1% increase year-over-year. Revenue in the Americas decreased 2.2% to $40.2 million, while revenue in Asia Pacific and Europe increased 10.4% to $16 million, all year-over-year. Growth in the Asia Pacific and Europe region reflected continued strong performance across Asia Pacific, including strong growth in Japan of 10%. The modest decline in the Americas reflected our level of activity in preparation for the launch of Protandim NAD Synergizer as well as lower Red Carpet activity, which can fluctuate quarter-to-quarter. This also impacted the number of active distributors and customer accounts during the quarter. The impact of this change was partially offset by an increase in both our distributor and customer average order sizes. In addition, our year-over-year retention rates were consistent.

Gross margin was 83.7% compared to 83.5% in the prior year period. The modest increase in gross margin was driven by lower inventory obsolescence and handling costs as well as changes to our geographic and product sales mix.

Commissions and incentive expenses as a percent of revenue decreased 235 basis points year-over-year to 47.6%. The year-over-year decrease is due to the timing of accruals for incentives and promotional programs as well as the current quarter level of activity in our Red Carpet program. Just as a reminder, the commission and incentive expense rate will fluctuate quarter-to-quarter based on the timing and magnitude of promotions and incentive programs as well as the inherent fluctuations in Red Carpet expenditures. We continue to target commissions and incentive expenses to be around 48%.

Adjusted SG&A as a percent of revenue was 31% compared to 30.8% in the prior year period. The modest increase in adjusted SG&A as a percent of revenue primarily reflects an increase in employee headcount and related compensation costs and increased depreciation expenses associated with our investment in new technology assets that have been placed into service.

Adjusted operating income was $2.8 million or 5% of revenue compared to $1.5 million or 2.7% of revenue in the prior year period. Adjusted net income increased 85.6% to $1.9 million or $0.13 per fully diluted share, up from $1 million or $0.07 per fully diluted share in the prior year period.

Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter increased 44.7% to $4.7 million compared to $3.3 million in the prior year period.

Please note as we -- that we continue to expect fluctuations in our tax rate over the coming quarters as the first quarter effective tax rate of approximately 28% was above our full year expectation of 19% to 22%. Specifically, our tax rate can fluctuate significantly based on the timing and magnitude of stock awards vesting from quarter-to-quarter due to differences in the book versus tax expense deductions. These vesting events are treated as discrete items and accounted for solely within the period that they occur rather than adjusting for the differences on an anticipated annualized basis. As I noted, all of the adjustments from GAAP to non-GAAP are reconciled in our earnings press release.

We ended the first quarter in a strong financial position with $13 million of cash compared to $1 million of debt. During the first quarter of fiscal 2020, we used $3.5 million of cash from operations and invested $800,000 in capital expenditures. The operating cash flow reflected investments in working capital, including a $1 million increase in inventory in preparation of the launch of Protandim NAD Synergizer, the payment of fiscal 2019 bonuses and increases in prepaid expenses associated with future distributor events. During fiscal 2020, we continue to anticipate a lower level of capital expenditures compared to fiscal '19 as our incremental investments in the LV app are moderating.

Finally, we used $1.4 million in cash to repurchase approximately 111,000 common shares under our share repurchase authorization, and we paid down $500,000 on our term loan, which will be paid in full by the end of our third quarter. As noted last quarter, we have a 10b5-1 program in place to facilitate our share repurchases. As of September 30, there remain $7.5 million available under the company's $15 million share repurchase authorization.

Turning to our fiscal 2020 outlook, we are reiterating the guidance we provided when we reported fourth quarter 2019 earnings. For fiscal 2020, we expect to generate revenue in the range of $235 million to $245 million and adjusted non-GAAP EBITDA in the range of $20 million to $22 million with adjusted non-GAAP earnings per share in the range of $0.62 to $0.71. Our non-GAAP -- our adjusted non-GAAP EPS guidance assumes a full year tax rate in the range of 19% to 22% compared to our effective non-GAAP tax rate of 13% in fiscal 2019.

Now let me turn the call back to the operator to facilitate questions. Operator?

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Doug Lane from Lane Research.

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Douglas Matthai Lane, Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research [2]

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Just looking at the first quarter really came in at least right in line with what I was expecting and utility is very positive on the early days of the new Protandim products. So just wondering what we're looking for here going forward? Is -- are these new products sold in monthly supplies? Are we waiting to see what -- sort of what the reorder pace is here? I'm just wondering why you wouldn't raise guidance or whether you just think it's too early?

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Darren Jay Jensen, LifeVantage Corporation - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Well, Doug, thank you. That's actually a very good question. We launched the NAD products right at the beginning of October. So we're still within our first month of selling the product. Initially, it appears to be very well -- doing actually very well. And part of what we had explained in our earlier statements, what has been good about it is that we invested quite a bit in testing and in other programs, and part of the testing that came back showed a tremendous synergistic effect between the Protandim NAD, the Protandim Nrf2 and Nrf1 product when used in conjunction with each other. And that's why we are seeing what we believed a lower cannibalization rate because now there's a powerful story to show that all 3 should be used at the same time. So we've created packages of those 3 products together called Tri-Synergizer, and the initial outlook seems to be very positive on those. And as we continue to watch the development of this line and these packages, obviously, just like what we did last year, will begin to adjust our guidance, if needed, throughout the year.

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Douglas Matthai Lane, Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research [4]

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So I mean, you sold a lot in early October, which was when you launched it. So it's -- I guess, you won't really begin to see the reorder pace for a couple of weeks now. So -- okay. So that makes sense. I get that. Did I hear you right that this new -- these 3 new products are going to be launched in Japan in the second half of the year?

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Darren Jay Jensen, LifeVantage Corporation - President, CEO & Director [5]

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What I mentioned about Japan was what our efforts on -- are on right now is taking our Nrf2 product and adjusting the size. A lot of our consumer testing out there has indicated that Japan prefers a smaller tablet size. So we're adjusting the size of that product so that it will have greater appeal to the consumer. That will be the first thing that goes out into Japan. We're right now evaluating the formulation of our NAD product and beginning -- and developing the rollout for global. So we'll be announcing that in future calls.

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Douglas Matthai Lane, Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research [6]

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Okay. Got it. Now, Steve, I'm looking at the margins, which actually came in better than I was looking for. You have, whatever, 200 basis points of operating margin expansion on 1% growth in sales. So I'm wondering if we start to see the impact of the new products drive accelerated sales growth then shouldn't we get at least that kind of margin expansion going forward? I mean, there is some built-in leverage here. Isn't there?

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Steven R. Fife, LifeVantage Corporation - CFO [7]

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There is, and we fully expect that. I think our guidance, if you just take the midpoint of our annual guidance, which would be at $240 million, and the EBITDA associated with that at $21 million, we're -- that would be roughly a 6% revenue growth and 15% EBITDA growth. So we fully anticipate leverage coming from our revenue growth. And that revenue growth will be driven through the adoption of NAD and -- as well as continued success in our Red Carpet program.

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Douglas Matthai Lane, Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research [8]

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Right, of course. Now you mentioned free shipping, I think this is -- I don't know if I've heard this before, is that -- what's going to be the impact on margins, do you think, with the move to free shipping here?

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Steven R. Fife, LifeVantage Corporation - CFO [9]

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We believe that how we're structuring this, there will actually be a minimal impact to margins.

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Douglas Matthai Lane, Lane Research - Principal & Director of Research [10]

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Okay. Okay. Good. Lastly, and again, I don't want to dwell on the tax rate because you got so much going on operationally. But with the 28% tax rate in the first quarter, I'm a little surprised that you're sticking with your 19% to 22% for the full year. I guess, you're telling me you can't help me on the quarters, but what's the logic behind that? Why wouldn't you just eat the 28% and say 19% to 22% for the remaining 3 quarters?

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Steven R. Fife, LifeVantage Corporation - CFO [11]

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Well, if we're only that simple. We -- I'd say -- I'd ask you to look at our last year quarterly tax rate, Doug. And last year, in our Q1, we reported roughly a 22%. Q2 was a negative 103% tax rate and then Q3 was 17% and Q4 was 29%. And so that's what -- I mean, that's the magnitude of fluctuation that we're talking about. And I think at the end of the year, we're still fairly confident around that range of 19% to 22%. But it will fluctuate rather dramatically in Q2 and then again back in Q3 as we look forward, kind of, similar magnitude, maybe not quite as big but to what we saw last year.

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Operator [12]

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(Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from Jurriaan Hofman of Robeco.

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Jurriaan Hofman, Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. - Equity Analyst [13]

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Last year, you had a very strong launch in Taiwan. This quarter, like, Greater China sales were, yes, somewhat weaker. Can you just elaborate a little bit on, yes, the Greater China region?

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Darren Jay Jensen, LifeVantage Corporation - President, CEO & Director [14]

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Yes, sure. Thank you. The Greater China region has been a very interesting area, I'm sure, for those of you that are watching the channel. Initially, there was a 100-day review that the Chinese government was making in Mainland, which affected many of our other members within our channel, but due to our e-commerce model going in, there was very little effect on us. Where we're seeing some effect at least within Hong Kong and Mainland China has been with the riots that are occurring in Hong Kong. And I think that has been widespread across all businesses within Hong Kong in that area. But with Taiwan, Taiwan has been a bright star for us out there. It is still in the earlier days of growth of that market. And as we develop more leaders there, the way that the Taiwanese leaders work are more in sprints. And so as we bring on more and more leaders, I think we'll get more of a stabilization in the revenue from a month-to-month basis within Taiwan. So really, what we're seeing within Greater China is very positive when it comes to Taiwan. Right now, as with most businesses most of the world, we're just watching the events that are occurring in Hong Kong, and our prayers are out to everyone that hopefully, there is a resolution at some point in the near future. So thank you.

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Operator [15]

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We have reached the end of the question-and-answer session. I will now turn the call back over to Darren for any closing remarks.

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Darren Jay Jensen, LifeVantage Corporation - President, CEO & Director [16]

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All right. Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us today. We're excited about the launch of Protandim NAD Synergizer and our early results following the launch. We look forward to what fiscal 2020 has in store and updating you on our next call. Have a great day. Thank you.

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Operator [17]

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This concludes today's conference. You may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation, and have a wonderful day.