November 2, 2023
Motorola Solutions Reports Third Quarter 2023 Financial Results
Company raises full-year revenue and earnings outlook again
- Sales of $2.6 billion, up 8% versus a year ago
- Software and Services sales up 12%
- Products and Systems Integration sales up 5%
- GAAP earnings per share (EPS) of $2.70, up 66% versus a year ago
- Non-GAAP EPS* of $3.19, up 6% versus a year ago
- Generated $714 million of operating cash flow, up $326 million versus a year ago
- Record Q3 ending backlog of $14.3 billion, up 6% versus a year ago
CHICAGO – November 2, 2023 – Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI) today reported its earnings results for the third quarter of 2023.
“Q3 was another strong quarter, with record third-quarter revenue, earnings and cash flow,” said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions. “Safety and security have never been more important and we continue to see robust demand which drove our record Q3 backlog. As a result, we’re again raising our revenue and earnings expectations for the full year.”
OTHER SELECTED FINANCIAL RESULTS
- Revenue - Sales were $2.6 billion, up 8% from the year-ago quarter driven by growth in North America and International. Revenue from acquisitions was $19 million and currency tailwinds were $13 million in the quarter. The Products and Systems Integration segment grew 5%, driven by growth in land mobile radio communications ("LMR") and video security and access control ("Video"). The Software and Services segment grew 12%, driven by growth in command center, LMR and Video, partially offset by the revenue deferral for Airwave attributed to the pricing control in the remedies order as previously noted.
- Operating margin - GAAP operating margin was 25.0% of sales, up from 15.7% in the year-ago quarter primarily due to the $147 million fixed asset impairment charge related to the exit from the Emergency Services Network ("ESN") contract in the U.K. recorded in the prior year. Non-GAAP operating margin was 29.0% of sales, up 50 basis points from 28.5% in the year-ago quarter, driven by higher sales, lower material costs and improved operating leverage, partially offset by the revenue deferral for Airwave and mix in the Products and System Integration segment.
- Taxes - The GAAP effective tax rate was 21.5%, up from 15.9% in the year-ago quarter. The non-GAAP effective tax rate was 22.7%, up from 19.7% in the year-ago quarter. The increase in both the GAAP and non-GAAP tax rate was primarily driven by lower benefits from stock-based compensation recognized in the current year.
- Cash flow - Operating cash flow was $714 million, compared to $388 million in the year-ago quarter and free cash flow was $649 million compared to $318 million in the year-ago quarter. Both the operating cash flow and free cash flow for the quarter increased primarily due to higher earnings, net of non-cash charges, and improved working capital.
- Capital allocation - During the quarter, the company repurchased $322 million of shares, paid $147 million in cash dividends, and incurred $65 million of capital expenditures.
- Backlog - The company ended the quarter with record Q3 backlog of $14.3 billion, up 6% or $764 million from the year-ago quarter, inclusive of $321 million of favorable currency rates. Products and Systems Integration segment backlog was up $62 million, or 1%, driven by continued strong demand in North America. Software and Services segment backlog was up $702 million, or 8%, inclusive of $294 million of favorable currency rates, driven by increases in multi-year software and services contracts in North America, partially offset by revenue recognition for the Airwave contract.
NOTABLE WINS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Software and Services
- $23M LMR service agreement for a large European customer
- $23M LMR service agreement for East Bay Regional Communication Systems
- $20M LMR service agreement for the Los Angeles Police Department
- $12M command center order for Tarrant County 9-1-1 District, TX
- $8M body-worn camera order for the Metro Nashville Police Department
Products and Systems Integration
- $75M P25 device order for a U.S. federal customer
- $55M P25 system order for a Southeast Asia customer
- $42M P25 device order for the Texas Department of Public Safety
- $30M P25 device order for a U.S. federal customer
- $20M P25 device order for Indiana State Police
- $3M fixed video expansion order for a U.S. federal customer
- Fourth quarter 2023 - The company expects revenue growth of approximately 4%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2022. The company expects non-GAAP EPS in the range of $3.60 to $3.65 per share. This assumes approximately 171 million fully diluted shares and a non-GAAP effective tax rate of approximately 24%.
- Full-year 2023 - The company now expects revenue in the range of $9.930 billion to $9.945 billion, up from its prior guidance of $9.875 billion to $9.900 billion, and non-GAAP EPS of between $11.65 and $11.70 per share, up from its prior guidance of between $11.40 and $11.48 per share. This outlook assumes approximately $40 million in foreign exchange headwinds, approximately 172 million fully diluted shares and a non-GAAP effective tax rate of approximately 23%.
The company has not quantitatively reconciled its guidance for forward-looking non-GAAP metrics to their most comparable GAAP measures because the company does not provide specific guidance for the various reconciling items as certain items that impact these measures have not occurred, are out of the company’s control, or cannot be reasonably predicted. Accordingly, a reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP financial metric is not available without unreasonable effort. Please note that the unavailable reconciling items could significantly impact the company’s results.
In October 2021, the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (the "CMA") announced that it had opened a market investigation into the Mobile Radio Network Services market. This investigation included Airwave, the company's private mobile radio communications network that it acquired in 2016. Airwave provides mission-critical voice and data communications to emergency services and other agencies in Great Britain.
On April 5, 2023, the CMA issued its final decision which stated it will impose a prospective price control on Airwave. The company strongly disagrees with the CMA’s final decision and it filed an appeal with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) on June 5, 2023. On July 31, 2023, the CMA adopted a remedies order which implements the price control set out in its final decision; however, the remedies order has been suspended until the CAT’s judgment on the company’s appeal. The CAT appeal hearing took place on August 2 and 3, 2023. Depending on the outcome, further appeals may occur throughout 2023 and 2024.
Based on the adoption of the remedies order, since August 1, 2023, revenue under the Airwave contract has been deferred and recognized in accordance with the prospective price control, which will continue until a successful appeal. The company estimates a year-over-year reduction in Airwave revenue of approximately $80 million in 2023, driven by the deferral of revenue, offset by incremental ongoing services and favorable foreign exchange rates. Meanwhile, the company's backlog continues to remain at original contract terms until new pricing is final. The company has tested its Airwave asset group for impairment, noting the assets are expected to be recoverable.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has navigated disruptions in its supply chain, in particular challenges in procuring certain semiconductor components along with diminished transportation capacity and higher freight costs. During the first nine months of 2023, the company has experienced gradual improvement in the market conditions influenced by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inflationary cost environment, particularly with respect to availability of materials in the semiconductor market. Where appropriate, the company has taken pricing actions around its product and service offerings to mitigate its exposure to inflationary pressures and have benefited from these adjustments during the first nine months of 2023. The company expects to continue to benefit from such adjustments in the last quarter of 2023. The company remains focused on improving its supplier network, engineering alternative designs and working to reduce supply shortages and effectively manage costs. In addition, the company continues to actively manage its inventory in an effort to enable continuity of supply and services to its customers, which includes diversifying the footprint of its supply chain operations. The company expects to maintain elevated levels of inventory until supply conditions stabilize.
CONFERENCE CALL AND WEBCAST Motorola Solutions will host its quarterly conference call beginning at 4 p.m. U.S. Central Time (5 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time) on Thursday, November 2. The conference call will be webcast live at www.motorolasolutions.com/investors/. An archive of the webcast will be available for a limited period of time thereafter.
USE OF NON-GAAP FINANCIAL INFORMATION
In addition to the results presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. ("GAAP") included in this news release, Motorola Solutions also has included non-GAAP measurements of results, including free cash flow, non-GAAP operating earnings, non-GAAP EPS, non-GAAP operating margin, non-GAAP tax rate and organic revenue. The company has provided these non-GAAP measurements to help investors better understand its core operating performance, enhance comparisons of core operating performance from period-to-period and allow better comparisons of its operating performance to that of its competitors. Among other things, management uses these operating results, excluding the identified items, to evaluate the performance of its businesses and to evaluate results relative to certain incentive compensation targets. Management uses operating results excluding these items because it believes these measurements enable it to make better period-to-period evaluations of the financial performance of its core business operations. The non-GAAP measurements are intended only as a supplement to the comparable GAAP measurements and the company compensates for the limitations inherent in the use of non-GAAP measurements by using GAAP measures in conjunction with the non-GAAP measurements. As a result, investors should consider these non-GAAP measurements in addition to, and not in substitution for or as superior to, GAAP measurements.
Reconciliations: Details and reconciliations of such non-GAAP measurements to the corresponding GAAP measurements can be found at the end of this news release.
Free cash flow: Free cash flow represents net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures. The company believes that free cash flow is useful to investors as the basis for comparing its performance and coverage ratios with other companies in the company's industries, although the company's measure of free cash flow may not be directly comparable to similar measures used by other companies. This measure is also used as a component of incentive compensation.
Organic revenue: Organic revenue reflects net sales calculated under GAAP excluding net sales from acquired business owned for less than four full quarters. The company believes organic revenue provides useful information for evaluating the periodic growth of the business on a consistent basis and provides for a meaningful period-to-period comparison and analysis of trends in the business.
Non-GAAP operating earnings, non-GAAP EPS and non-GAAP operating margin each excludes highlighted items, including share-based compensation expenses and intangible assets amortization expense, as follows:
Highlighted items: The company has excluded the effects of highlighted items including, but not limited to, acquisition-related transaction fees, tangible and intangible asset impairments, reorganization of business charges, certain non-cash pension adjustments, legal settlements and other contingencies, gains and losses on investments and businesses, Hytera-related legal expenses, gains and losses on the extinguishment of debt and the income tax effects of significant tax matters, from its non-GAAP operating expenses and net income measurements because the company believes that these historical items do not reflect expected future operating earnings or expenses and do not contribute to a meaningful evaluation of the company's current operating performance or comparisons to the company's past operating performance. For the purposes of management's internal analysis over operating performance, the company uses financial statements that exclude highlighted items, as these charges do not contribute to a meaningful evaluation of the company's current operating performance or comparisons to the company's past operating performance.
Hytera-Related Legal Expenses: On March 14, 2017, the company filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (the “Court”) against Hytera Communications Corporation Limited of Shenzhen, China; Hytera America, Inc.; and Hytera Communications America (West), Inc. (collectively, “Hytera”), alleging trade secret theft and copyright infringement and seeking, among other things, injunctive relief, compensatory damages and punitive damages. On February 14, 2020, the company announced that a jury decided in the company's favor in its trade secret theft and copyright infringement case. In connection with this verdict, the jury awarded the company $345.8 million in compensatory damages and $418.8 million in punitive damages, for a total of $764.6 million. In a series of post-trial rulings in 2021, the Court subsequently reduced the judgment to $543.7 million, but also ordered Hytera to pay the company $51.1 million in pre-judgment interest and $2.6 million in costs, as well as $34.2 million in attorneys fees. The company continues to seek collection of the judgment through the ongoing legal process.
On December 17, 2020, the Court held that Hytera must pay the company a forward-looking reasonable royalty on products that use the company’s stolen trade secrets, and on December 15, 2021, set royalty rates for Hytera's sale of relevant products from July 1, 2019 forward. On July 5, 2022, the Court ordered that Hytera pay into a third-party escrow on July 31, 2022, the royalties owed to the company based on the sale of relevant products from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2022. Hytera failed to make the required royalty payment on July 31, 2022. On August 1, 2022, Hytera filed a motion to modify or stay the Court’s previous July 5, 2022 royalty order, which the Court denied on July 11, 2023. On August 3, 2022, the company filed a motion seeking to hold Hytera in civil contempt for violating the royalty order by not making the required royalty payment on July 31, 2022. On August 26, 2023, the Court granted the company's contempt motion. As a result, on September 1, 2023, Hytera made a payment of $56 million into the third-party escrow. In addition to the September 1, 2023 payment of $56 million, Hytera has made de minimis regular quarterly royalty payments into the third-party escrow from October 2022 through October 2023. The aggregate amount paid into escrow will not be recognized until all contingencies are resolved and such amount is released from escrow.
On August 2, 2022, Hytera appealed the Court’s July 5, 2022 judgment with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (the "Court of Appeals").The company filed its cross-appeal on August 5, 2022. The parties have now submitted all briefs and responses on Hytera's appeal and the company's cross-appeal. The Court of Appeals set an oral argument date of December 5, 2023.
Separate from the company's litigation with Hytera, on May 27, 2020, Hytera America, Inc. and Hytera Communications America (West), Inc. each filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California (the “Bankruptcy Court”). On February 11, 2022, the Court entered an order to confirm the liquidation plan for the two Hytera entities and the distributions were made on February 25, 2022 to the creditors, including $13 million to the company. On December 22, 2022, an additional distribution of $2 million was made to the Company as well as an assignment of various delinquent accounts receivable of the bankrupt Hytera entities. The gain for the two monetary distributions were recorded to Other charges (income).
Management typically considers legal expenses associated with defending the company's intellectual property as “normal and recurring” and accordingly, Hytera-related legal expenses were included in both the company's GAAP and non-GAAP operating income for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019. The company anticipates further expenses associated with Hytera-related litigation; however, as of 2020, the company believes that these expenses are no longer a part of the “normal and recurring” legal expenses incurred to operate its business. In addition, as any contingent or actual gains associated with the Hytera litigation are recognized, they will be similarly excluded from the company's non-GAAP operating income, consistent with the company's treatment of the $15 million of proceeds realized in 2022. The company believes after the jury award, the presentation of excluding both Hytera-related legal expenses and gains related to awards better aligns with how management evaluates the company's ongoing underlying business performance.
Share-based compensation expenses: The company has excluded share-based compensation expenses from its non-GAAP operating expenses and net income measurements. Although share-based compensation is a key incentive offered to the company’s employees and the company believes such compensation contributed to the revenue earned during the periods presented and also believes it will contribute to the generation of future period revenues, the company continues to evaluate its performance excluding share-based compensation expenses primarily because it represents a significant non-cash expense. Share-based compensation expenses will recur in future periods.
Intangible assets amortization expense: The company has excluded intangible assets amortization expense from its non-GAAP operating expenses and net income measurements primarily because it represents a non-cash expense and because the company evaluates its performance excluding intangible assets amortization expense. Amortization of intangible assets is consistent in amount and frequency but is significantly affected by the timing and size of the company’s acquisitions. Investors should note that the use of intangible assets contributed to the company’s revenues earned during the periods presented and will contribute to the company’s future period revenues as well. Intangible assets amortization expense will recur in future periods.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable federal securities law. These statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and generally include words such as “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “estimates” and similar expressions. The company can give no assurance that any actual or future results or events discussed in these statements will be achieved. Any forward-looking statements represent the company’s views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing the company’s views as of any subsequent date. Readers are cautioned that such forward- looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from the statements contained in this release. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, Motorola Solutions’ financial outlook for the fourth quarter and full-year of 2023 (including with respect to Airwave revenue); the impact of the CMA's final decision regarding Airwave (including the appeal of the final decision to the CAT); and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain constraints and inflation, including the impact of actions taken by Motorola Solutions in response to such events, on Motorola Solutions' business and results of operations. Motorola Solutions cautions the reader that the risks and uncertainties below, as well as those in Part I Item 1A of Motorola Solutions' 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K, Part II, Item 1A of Motorola Solutions' Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the Second Quarter of 2023 and in its other SEC filings available for free on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and on Motorola Solutions’ website at www.motorolasolutions.com, could cause Motorola Solutions’ actual results to differ materially from those estimated or predicted in the forward-looking statements. Many of these risks and uncertainties cannot be controlled by Motorola Solutions, and factors that may impact forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the impact, including increased costs and potential liabilities, associated with changes in laws and regulations regarding privacy, data protection and information security; (ii) challenges relating to existing or future legislation and regulations pertaining to artificial intelligence (“AI”), AI-enabled products and the use of biometrics and other video analytics; (iii) the impact of government regulation of radio frequencies; (iv) audits and regulations and laws applicable to our U.S. government customer contracts and grants; (v) the impact, including additional compliance obligations, associated with existing or future telecommunications-related laws and regulations; (vi) the evolving state of environmental regulation relating to climate change, and the physical risks of climate change; (vii) impact of product regulatory and safety, consumer, worker safety and environmental laws; (viii) impact of tax matters; (ix) the continuing and future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business; (x) impact of elevated inventory levels; (xi) additional compliance obligations and increased risk, costs and competition associated with the expansion of our technologies within our Products and Systems Integration and Software and Services segments (including, but not limited to, with respect to the CMA's final decision regarding Airwave and our actions in response to such decision, including the appeal of the final decision to the CAT); (xii) the effectiveness of our investments in new products and technologies; (xiii) the effectiveness of our strategic acquisitions, including the integrations of such acquired businesses; (xiv) increased cybersecurity threats, a security breach or other significant disruption of our IT systems or those of our outsource partners, suppliers or customers; (xv) our inability to protect our intellectual property or potential infringement of intellectual property rights of third parties; (xvi) our license of the MOTOROLA, MOTO, MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS and the Stylized M logo and all derivatives and formatives thereof from Motorola Trademark Holdings, LLC; (xvii) the global nature of our employees, customers, suppliers and outsource partners; (xviii) our use of third-parties to develop, design and/or manufacture many of our components and some of our products, and to perform portions of our business operations; (xix) the inability of our subcontractors to perform in a timely and compliant manner or adhere to our Human Rights Policy; (xx) our inability to purchase at acceptable prices a sufficient amount of materials, parts, and components, as well as software and services, to meet the demands of our customers, and any disruption to our suppliers or significant increase in the price of supplies; (xxi) risks related to our large, multi-year system and services contracts (including, but not limited to, with respect to the ESN and Airwave contracts); (xxii) the inability of our products to meet our customers’ expectations or regulatory or industry standards; (xxiii) impact of current global economic and political conditions in the markets in which we operate (including, but not limited to inflation); (xxiv) impact of returns on pension and retirement plan assets and interest rate changes; (xxv) inability to access the capital markets for financing on acceptable terms and conditions; (xxvi) inability to attract and retain senior management and key employees; and (xxvii) the return of capital to shareholders through dividends and/or repurchasing shares. Motorola Solutions undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement or risk factor, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
ABOUT MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS
Motorola Solutions is a global leader in public safety and enterprise security. Our solutions in land mobile radio communications, video security and command center, bolstered by managed & support services, create an integrated technology ecosystem to help make communities safer and businesses stay productive and secure. At Motorola Solutions, we’re ushering in a new era in public safety and security. Learn more at www.motorolasolutions.com.