UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934|
For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2020
Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Commission File Number: 0-7928
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation /organization)|| ||(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)|
68 South Service Road, Suite 230,
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|(Address of principal executive offices)|| ||(Zip Code)|
|(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class|| ||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, par value $.10 per share|| ||CMTL||NASDAQ Stock Market LLC|
|Series A Junior Participating Cumulative Preferred Stock, par value $0.10 per share|| || |
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
(Title of class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
☐ Yes ☒ No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 of Section 15(d) of the Act.
☐ Yes ☒ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
☒ Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data file required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
☒ Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer|
|Emerging growth company|
|Smaller reporting company|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
☐ Yes ☒ No
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing sales price as quoted on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on January 31, 2020 was approximately $703,374,000.
The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding on September 25, 2020 was 24,994,323.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE.
Certain portions of the document listed below have been incorporated by reference into the indicated Part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K:
Proxy Statement for 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders - Part III
Note: As used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the terms "Comtech," "we," "us," "our" and "our Company" mean Comtech Telecommunications Corp. and its subsidiaries.
Note About Forward-Looking Statements
This Form 10-K contains "forward-looking statements," including statements concerning the future of our industry, product development, pending litigation, potential transactions, business strategy, continued acceptance of our products, market growth, and dependence on significant customers. These statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "could," "would," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential," "continue," the negative of these terms, or other similar words or comparable terminology. In general, all statements of fact in this report other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking information. When considering forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements included in this Form 10-K, because these risks and factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from those described in such forward-looking statements. However, the risks described in this Form 10-K are not the only risks that we face. Additional risks and uncertainties, not currently known to us or that do not currently appear to be material, may also materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and/or operating results in the future. We describe risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially in "Risk Factors" (Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K), "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" (Part II, Item 7 of this Form 10-K) and "Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk" (Part II, Item 7A of this Form 10-K). We do not intend to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
We are a leading provider of advanced communications solutions for both commercial and government customers worldwide. Our solutions fulfill our customers’ needs for secure wireless communications in some of the most demanding environments, including those where traditional communications are unavailable or cost-prohibitive, and in mission-critical scenarios where performance is crucial. In recent years, an increase in market demand for global voice, video and data usage has contributed to our growth.
As more fully described elsewhere in this Form 10-K, fiscal 2020 was challenging due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic ("COVID-19"). The impact of COVID-19 on our customers resulted in significant order delays and lower net sales for us as compared to our original business outlook for the year. Despite COVID-19, we achieved fiscal 2020 consolidated net sales of $616.7 million, consolidated net income of $7.0 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $77.8 million. We also generated $52.8 million of cash flows from operations. We completed two small acquisitions and finished fiscal 2020 with a solid backlog. As COVID-19 impacts subside, we believe that our business performance in future periods will improve from current levels. We also currently have two pending strategic acquisitions that we believe will significantly strengthen our company.
On November 21, 2019, we announced that we entered into an agreement to acquire UHP Networks Inc. and its sister company (together, “UHP”), a leading provider of innovative and disruptive satellite ground station technology solutions. With end-markets for high-speed satellite-based networks significantly growing, our acquisition of UHP will allow us to enhance our solution offerings with low cost time division multiple access (“TDMA”) satellite modems which we do not currently offer.
On January 29, 2020, we announced a highly strategic acquisition of Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. ("Gilat"). Gilat is a worldwide leader in satellite networking technology, solutions and services, with market leading positions in the satellite ground station and in-flight connectivity solutions markets and deep expertise in operating large network infrastructures. After we announced the Gilat acquisition, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a sudden and steep decline in the travel and aviation markets in which many of Gilat’s customers operate and a significant slowdown in Gilat's business. In July 2020, we commenced litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery seeking certain declaratory judgments including a declaratory judgment that Gilat has suffered a Material Adverse Effect (as defined in the Merger Agreement) and that, as a result, we are not obligated to complete the acquisition.
The pending acquisitions of Gilat (and related litigation) and UHP are discussed in more detail in Part II - "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Acquisition Plan Update" and "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (13)(a) - Commitments and Contingencies - Legal Proceedings and Other Matters" included in "Part II - Item 8.- Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our Business Outlook for Fiscal 2021 is discussed further in Part II - "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Impact of COVID-19 and Business Outlook for Fiscal 2021." For a definition and explanation of Adjusted EBITDA, see Part II - "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Comparison of Fiscal 2020 and 2019 - Adjusted EBITDA."
Our Internet website is www.comtechtel.com and we make available on our website: our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including annual reports, quarterly reports, current reports and any amendments to those filings. The reference to our website address does not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained therein into this Form 10-K. We also use our website to disseminate other material information to our investors (on the Home Page and in the "Investor Relations" section). Among other things, we post on our website our press releases and information about our public conference calls (including the scheduled dates, times and the methods by which investors and others can listen to those calls), and we make available for replay webcasts of those calls and other presentations for a limited time.
We also use social media channels to communicate with customers and the public about our Company, our products, services and other issues, and we use social media and the Internet to communicate with investors, including information about our stockholder meetings. Information and updates about our Annual Meetings will continue to be posted on our website at www.comtechtel.com in the "Investor Relations" section.
We are incorporated in the state of Delaware and were founded in 1967.
We intend to manage our business with the following principal corporate strategies:
•Seek leadership positions in markets where we can provide differentiated products and technology solutions;
•Identify and participate in emerging technologies that enhance or expand our product portfolio;
•Maximize responsiveness to our customers, including offering more integrated systems and solutions;
•Expand and further penetrate our diversified and balanced customer base; and
•Pursue acquisitions of complementary businesses and technologies.
The successful execution of our principal corporate strategies is based on our competitive strengths, including the following:
(1)We Have Significant Exposure to Large, Growing End Markets
We believe we are well positioned to capitalize on some of the most significant long-term technology trends occurring worldwide and that customers around the world will increasingly turn to us to fulfill their needs for secure wireless communications in some of the most demanding environments, including those where traditional communications are unavailable or cost-prohibitive, and in mission-critical scenarios where performance is crucial. These important technology trends include growth in global wireless penetration and consumption, the need for public safety agencies to seamlessly integrate various networks and protocols and utilize precise location to connect individuals with first responders, the rapidly expanding breadth of High Definition ("HD") and 4K broadcasting content and the need for governments to have more modern and mobile communications and transmission equipment to successfully complete mission-critical goals. We believe that all these long-term trends generate growth in global voice, video and data usage that, in turn, drives increased long-term demand for the secure wireless communication solutions that we provide.
(2)We Believe We Are a Market Leader in the End-Markets That We Serve
Commercial Solutions Segment
Satellite Ground Station Technologies - We believe we are the leading provider of Single Channel per Carrier ("SCPC") satellite earth station modems, solid-state amplifiers and traveling wave tube amplifiers. Many of our key satellite earth station modems incorporate Turbo Product Code ("TPC") forward error correction technology and bandwidth compression technology which enables our customers to optimize their satellite networks by either reducing their satellite transponder lease costs or increasing data throughput. Our amplifier products are used to amplify signals carrying voice, video or data for air-to-satellite-to-ground communications and are vital to satellite communication applications such as traditional broadcast, direct-to-home ("DTH") broadcast and satellite newsgathering. We differentiate our amplifier product offerings by our ability to develop the most efficient size, weight and power profile. Certain of our amplifiers are DO-160 (an airborne quality standard) certified and when incorporated into an aircraft satellite communication system, can provide passengers, both commercial and military, with email, Internet access and video conferencing.
Public Safety and Location Technologies - We believe that we are a leader in public safety communication and location technologies used for routing 911 calls. We meet the ISO 27001 data security standard and believe we have significant market share in the routing of U.S. wireless 911 calls, Voice over Internet Protocol ("VoIP") 911 calls and Text to 911 messaging. We believe we are one of a limited number of companies fulfilling the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") requirements for Enhanced 911 ("E911") call-routing to Public Safety Answering Points ("PSAPs") for wireless and VoIP network operators. E911 refers to 911 calls for both wireline and wireless telephones that are enhanced to provide the caller's location information. We are focusing our marketing and research and development efforts to meet system standards for next generation 911 ("NG-911"), which refers to an Internet Protocol ("IP") based system that allows digital information (e.g., voice, photos, videos, text messages) to flow seamlessly from the public, to the PSAPs and on to emergency responders. Our Short-Messaging Service ("SMS") Center software has been used by Mobile Network Operators (“MNOs”) to enable the exchange of text or data messages to and from wireless devices for almost two decades across 2G, 3G and 4G networks. Our flexible and modular platforms enable the MNOs with a wide range of positioning technologies based on Third Generation Partnership Project (“3GPP”) standards. Additionally, we offer Location Studio TM, a complete end-to-end location services platform consisting of maps, geoservices, application programming interfaces ("APIs") and software development kits ("SDKs") enabling MNOs, application developers, public safety customers, and enterprises to build custom and unique applications.
Government Solutions Segment
Mission-Critical Technologies - We are a key supplier to large governments (particularly the U.S. government) and large prime contractors, for mission-critical technologies, primarily tactical satellite-based technology solutions, field support services and satellite component supply chain management. We are a prime contractor under several indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity ("IDIQ") defense contract vehicles, including the: (i) U.S. Army’s Global Tactical Advanced Communications Systems ("GTACS") contract, (ii) U.S. Army’s Global Tactical Advanced Communications Systems (“GTACS II”) contract, (iii) U.S. Navy’s Seaport Next Generation (“SeaPort-Nxg”) contract, (iv) Complex Commercial SATCOM Solutions ("CS3") contract; and (v) Communications Electronics Command ("CECOM") Responsive Strategic Sourcing for Services ("RS3") contract with the U.S. Army Contracting Command - Aberdeen Proving Ground (“ACC-APG”). We provide field support sustainment services, centralized and deployed depot services, and technology insertion services to the U.S. Army’s AN/TSC-198 family of communication systems that are commonly referred to as "SNAP" (Secret Internet Protocol Router ("SIPR") and Non-secure Internet Protocol Router ("NIPR") Access Point) Very Small Aperture Terminals ("VSATs"). We also provide sustainment services for the U.S. Army’s Blue Force Tracking-1 ("BFT-1") system. Our field support services include providing U.S. Department of Defense ("DoD") personnel with curriculum development and training services to support cybersecurity workforce development. We provide high reliability Electrical, Electronic and Electromechanical (“EEE”) parts for use in satellite, launch vehicle and manned space applications. We also provide services encompassing all aspects of ground station life cycle to include requirements definition and analysis; design, development and integration of turnkey systems from antenna to data processing; civil works and construction; station installation and verification; operations and maintenance; and decommissioning at end of life. We also provide to customers worldwide a full line of X/Y satellite tracking antenna systems ranging in sizes from 30cm to 13m, as well as radomes, ideal for LEO, MEO and GEO constellations.
High-Performance Transmission Technologies - We are a world leader in the design and supply of troposcatter equipment, and a key supplier of radio frequency ("RF") solid-state, high-power amplifier and switching technologies. We have designed, manufactured and delivered troposcatter systems (sometimes referred to as over-the-horizon ("OTH") microwave products and systems) for over fifty years and are one of the largest independent suppliers of solid-state, high-power microwave amplifiers, which reproduce signals with high power and are extremely complex and critical to the performance of the systems into which they are incorporated.
Our CS67PLUS software defined, adaptive troposcatter radio can operate at over 200 megabits per second ("Mbps"). The radio is MIL-STD 461 EMI and MIL-STD 810G environmentally compliant. Our Modular Tactical Transmission System ("MTTS") provides a high capacity, troposcatter and beyond-line-of-sight modular communications system designed for easy and rapid deployment. Our best-in-class troposcatter solutions led to our equipment being chosen to be used on the U.S. Marine Corps’ next generation troposcatter system Program of Record. These dual frequency systems are designed to operate in harsh environmental conditions and are protected from Electromagnetic Interference and Electromagnetic Pulse (“EMI/EMP”).
Many solid-state power amplifier and switching technologies are produced in-house by large companies; however, our expertise has created a cost-effective and technologically superior alternative to in-house sourcing. Some of the companies who have outsourced amplifier development and production to us include Rockwell Collins, Inc., European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company ("EADS"), Lockheed Martin Corporation, L3Harris Technologies, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, BAE Systems Plc and Raytheon Technologies Corporation. Our amplifiers are also used in oncology treatment systems that allow physicians to give cancer patients higher doses of radiation that are more closely focused on cancerous tissue, thereby minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
(3)We Believe We Provide Industry Leading Innovation, Capabilities and Solutions
We have established a leading position of technology innovation in our fields through internal and customer-funded research and development activities, which have yielded significant advances. Examples of our industry-leading innovation include:
Our HeightsTM Networking Platform – Our HeightsTM networking platform ("Heights") is a cornerstone of our current research and development efforts and a continuing focus of our satellite earth station equipment sales and marketing efforts. HeightsTM is an advanced networking platform that combines our most efficient waveforms, compression engines and the ability to provide dynamic bandwidth and power management to meet the demands of customers operating on traditional fixed satellite service systems ("FSS") while providing advantages for customers who plan to transition to high throughput satellite ("HTS") systems in the future. HeightsTM is ideally suited for cellular backhaul, universal service obligation networks and other applications that require high performance in a hub-spoke environment. HeightsTM solutions are designed to deliver the highest Internet Protocol bits per Hertz in its class.
Our Solacom Software Solutions – In fiscal 2019, we acquired Solacom Technologies, Inc. (“Solacom”), a leading provider of NG-911 solutions for public safety agencies. Solacom has developed a best-in-class call handling solution marketed under the Guardian brand name which provides an integrated text-to-and-from 911 solution on a unified platform. The solution provides a flexible user interface, adapts to varying customer environments and preferences, provides powerful call conferencing capabilities, enhanced reporting capabilities and offers geospatial 911 location call display directly from a customized map. Because of its advanced features, it allows us to offer an immediate upgrade path to existing and new customers and has expanded our presence in the public safety solutions market. We are investing in product enhancements of the Guardian software including developing a cloud-based version so that we can offer software as a service (SaaS) type solutions to our public safety customers.
Our Compact Over-the-horizon Mobile Expeditionary Terminal (“COMET”) – In fiscal 2020, we introduced the Comtech COMET, the world’s smallest OTH microwave troposcatter terminal. COMET, which stands for Compact Over-the-horizon Mobile Expeditionary Terminal, is rapidly deployable, low power and highly portable. Troposcatter technology has long been associated with large antennas and high-power amplifiers that require kilowatts of prime power and large trucks to transport them to the field. The COMET has fundamentally changed this paradigm. The COMET is capable of being transported in a carry case by a single individual and set up in under fifteen minutes. The COMET is ideally suited for situations where high bandwidth backhaul communications are required, extending critical services into areas where there is no communications infrastructure, or the infrastructure has been destroyed. U.S. Special Forces have already begun procuring and deploying the COMET for high reliability, mission essential communications.
Our "XyPoint®" Mobile Location Platform – Our "XyPoint®" Mobile Location Platform is a standards-compliant, commercially available system used for the location of mobile devices connected to 2G, 3G, 4G-LTE, 5G NGC and Wi-Fi networks. Our XyPoint® platform provides device location for both public safety and commercial applications and enables device positioning for smartphones, tablets and internet of things ("IoT") devices connected to an MNO’s 5G cloud network.
(4)We Have a Diverse Global Customer Base
We have established long-standing relationships with thousands of customers worldwide, including leading system and network suppliers in the global satellite (such as Intelsat S.A. and SES S.A.), mobile cellular (such as Verizon Wireless), defense, broadcast and aerospace industries, as well as the U.S. federal government (such as the U.S. Army and Navy), U.S. state and local governments, and foreign governments. Our global commercial and government customers are increasingly seeking integrated solutions to meet their operational needs. We believe that our customers recognize our ability to develop improved technologies and to meet stringent program requirements.
Our ability to solve complex problems is well known and we believe we a have strong relationships with our customers. We hold prime positions on several key contracts and have had a long history of servicing key programs.
Fundamentally, we offer advanced secure wireless communication technologies with expertise in the satellite communications and cellular markets. We believe these markets are undergoing a period of significant growth and rapid technological change. We manage our business through two reportable operating segments: Commercial Solutions and Government Solutions. Our corporate senior management team supports the business segments by, among other things, actively seeking to exploit potential synergies that exist between the segments, including in areas such as manufacturing, technology, sales, marketing, customer support and finance.
The diagram below summarizes our key products, systems and services by our two reportable operating segments:
|Commercial Solutions Segment Technologies|
(approximately 57.4% of fiscal 2020 net sales)
|Government Solutions Segment Technologies|
(approximately 42.6% of fiscal 2020 net sales)
|Satellite Ground Station|
|Public Safety and Location|
•Satellite ground station technologies such as single channel per carrier modems and HeightsTM networking platform that facilitate the transmission of voice, video and data over satellite links
•Solid-state and traveling wave tube amplifiers used to amplify signals from satellite ground stations
•Wireless/VolP 911 service for network operators
•NextGen 911 solutions
•ESInet (Emergency Services IP Network)
•Call Handling applications for PSAPs
•Software and equipment for location-based and messaging services for various applications including public safety services
•Tactical satellite-based communications, field support and end-to-end integration
•Satellite-based mobile communications and tracking systems, including high precision full motion fixed and mobile X/Y satellite tracking antennas, RF feeds, reflectors and radomes
•Procurement and supply chain management of high reliability EEE parts for satellite, launch vehicle and manned space applications
•Over-the-horizon microwave equipment that can transmit digitized voice, video and data over distances up to 200 miles using the troposphere and diffraction
•Solid-state, high-power amplifiers designed for radar, electronic warfare, jamming, medical and aviation applications
|Commercial Solutions Segment Representative Customers||Government Solutions Segment Representative Customers|
|Satellite systems integrators, wireless and other communication service providers and broadcasters|
Domestic and international defense customers, as well as U.S. and foreign governments, prime contractors and system suppliers, such as General Dynamics Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation, L3Harris Technologies, Inc., Raytheon Technologies Corporation, SED Systems (a division of Calian Ltd.), and ViaSat Inc.
Satellite broadcasters, such as The DIRECTV Group and EchoStar Corporation
U.S. state and local governments, such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Iowa, Maine, South Carolina, the State of Washington and Tennessee
End-customers also include AT&T Inc., BT Group plc., China Mobile Limited, CenturyLink, Inc., Claro Argentina, Comcast Corporation, Intelsat S.A., Speedcast International Limited, Nokia Corporation, QUALCOMM Incorporated, SES S.A., T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
|U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy, prime contractors to the U.S. Armed Forces, NATO and foreign governments (i.e., ministries of defense)|
Domestic and international defense customers, prime contractors and system suppliers such as Lockheed Martin Corporation, L3 Harris Technologies, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Rockwell Collins, Inc., SES S.A., and The Boeing Company
Medical equipment companies, such as Varian Medical Systems, Inc., and aviation industry system integrators such as Collins Aerospace (a subsidiary of United Technology Corporation)
Foreign government customers in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific and related prime contractors and systems integrators
Oil companies such as Shell Oil Company and PETRONAS
Financial information about our business segments, including net sales, operating income, Adjusted EBITDA (a Non-GAAP financial measure), total assets, and our operations outside the United States, is provided in "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (12) Segment Information" included in "Part II - Item 8. - Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."
The markets and key technologies for each segment are further described below.
Commercial Solutions Segment
Our Commercial Solutions segment offers satellite ground station technologies (such as modems and amplifiers) and public safety and location technologies (such as 911 call routing, 911 call handling and mapping solutions) to commercial customers and smaller government customers, such as state and local governments. This segment also serves certain large government customers (including the U.S. government) that have requirements for off-the-shelf commercial equipment.
Key Markets and Technology Solutions
Satellite Ground Station Technologies
We offer our customers one-stop-shopping for satellite ground station technologies including modems, amplifiers, frequency converters and network software for customers who utilize satellite communications. Our products are used to modulate, demodulate and amplify signals, carry voice, video and/or data over networks and are vital to satellite communication applications, including air-to-ground communications, video broadcasting and the backhaul of cellular traffic. Our Commercial Solutions segment manufactures most of the satellite ground station equipment we sell to our customers including equipment sold by our Government Solutions segment.
We believe that the overall satellite ground station equipment industry will grow over the next few years. This growth is expected to occur as a result of widespread deployment and upgrades of ground-based systems, including satellite earth stations, as well as integration of high-performance amplifiers used for high-performance systems necessary to meet long-term demand for high-performance applications of satellite communications technologies, such as satellite-based wireless backhaul, DTH, HD and 4K broadcasting and in-flight connectivity. We believe that Comtech is well positioned to capitalize on this demand through sales of our market leading satellite ground station technologies.
Examples of end-market applications that are driving long-term demand for our satellite-based communication technologies include:
•Satellite-Based Cellular Backhaul. Demand for satellite-based cellular backhaul services is anticipated to grow rapidly as a result of the increased penetration of smart cellular phones and network upgrades to 3G and 4G in developing regions of the world. Ultimately, as 5G services continue to be deployed, mobile data services will become more critical. As mobile data penetration expands and mobile data consumption increases, wireless carriers must invest in their mobile network infrastructure and businesses will require back-up communications. In developing regions of the world and in remote areas where terrestrial network infrastructure is lacking, wireless network operators often backhaul, or transport, their wireless data traffic using satellite-based networking technologies. Comtech is well positioned to serve the high-performance, high availability needs of satellite-based cellular backhaul through sales of our satellite modems including our HeightsTM networking platform.
•New High Throughput Satellites. There are more than 100 new High Throughput Satellite ("HTS") payloads expected to launch over the next decade which we believe is expected to lead to increasingly complex satellite networks. As service providers work to offer connectivity to these high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites and expand their networks to handle the demand for new HTS applications, we believe our HeightsTM networking platform will be incorporated into many new installations and necessary upgrades of equipment.
•High Definition and Ultra-High Definition Broadcasting. Reports indicate that in recent years, consumers have purchased millions of HD televisions and Ultra-High Definition or "4K" televisions. We believe this will require a significant amount of satellite bandwidth, which will require satellite service providers to upgrade equipment and find new ways to manage the cost and transmission efficiency of their networks. We believe that these requirements will drive increased demand for our satellite ground station technologies.
Public Safety and Location Technologies
We are a leading provider of public safety and location technologies. Our next generation solutions enable rich, multimedia information to be delivered with 911 calls; our E911 call routing solutions allow cellular carriers and over the Internet ("VoIP") carriers to deliver emergency calls to Public Safety emergency call centers nationwide. When someone places an emergency call, our technologies can identify the call as an emergency call, access the user’s location information from the wireless network and route the call to the assigned public safety jurisdiction. Today, we provide public safety and location technologies to many U.S. telecommunication carriers, the largest being Verizon for which we provide their 911 call routing via cellular service. We believe the largest portion of the market for 911 cellular call routing service is split approximately equally between us and our leading competitor.
In addition to 911 call routing, we provide systems integration, satellite and location infrastructure terminals, and linkage to NG-911 Emergency Services IP Networks ("ESInet"). We also offer best-in-class 911 call handling solutions under the Solacom brand name. We believe state and local governments have a need to upgrade existing call handling systems and old networks to more modern NG-911 systems, including 911 text messaging services, advanced data, real-time photos and other types of information sharing over IP networks.
As the U.S. adopts upgraded call handling and NG-911 solutions, we believe that other countries will do so as well. Our public safety and location technology solutions have been deployed since 2006 and are utilized by MNOs nationally as well as internationally to provide reliable device location determination for public safety and commercial applications. Many of our technologies, such as positioning, mapping and text messaging, are embedded in our public safety and location offerings to help address mapping, routing and geolocations. We address the FCC mandates for emergency services as it relates to location by supporting precise location in our solutions. Our text messaging platforms are used by wireless carriers to provide SMS to their end-customers and are also used to communicate with 911 PSAPs through major network operators.
In order to maximize market growth opportunities, we are repositioning certain of our location technology solutions to increase our penetration into the public safety space. Although the market remains very competitive and the sales cycles are long, we believe demand for our public safety and location technologies will continue to grow and customers will continue to look for a more integrated solution. Our Location StudioTM platform enables customers, especially public safety agencies, to build their own applications with end-user functionality, such as maps, search, geocoding, routing and navigation, using their own brand. We believe that customers and prospects are increasingly looking for alternatives to mapping services that are subject to change by the provider and which meet market privacy and security requirements. As such, we are integrating our Trusted OpenStreetMap ("TOSM") technologies into our portfolio which will enhance the value proposition by providing rich maps and data while addressing privacy requirements. Our location technology solutions enable the determination of a mobile phone's geospatial position in a variety of environments leveraging a wide range of signals including Global Positioning System ("GPS"), Global Navigation Satellite Systems ("GNSS") and cellular technologies. For our installed base of systems, we provide ongoing operational support, including administration of system components, system optimization, configuration management, and maintenance services, including tracking customer support issues, troubleshooting and developing and installing maintenance release.
Government Solutions Segment
Our Government Solutions segment provides mission-critical technologies (such as tactical satellite-based networks and ongoing support for complicated communication networks) and high-performance transmission technologies (such as troposcatter systems and solid-state, high-power amplifiers) to large government end-users (including those of foreign countries), large international customers and domestic prime contractors.
Key Markets and Technology Solutions
With persistent threats from state and non-state actors, governments around the world are increasingly seeking ways to mitigate vulnerabilities using information and more reliable communication systems to increase decision-makers’ situational awareness. In response to this demand, we offer a variety of mission-critical technologies including the supply and field support of tactical satellite-based networks (including satellite modems, ruggedized routers and solid-state drives), sustainment services for the AN/TSC-198A SNAP (Secret Internet Protocol Router ("SIPR") and Non-classified Internet Protocol Router ("NIPR") Access Point), Very Small Aperture Terminals ("VSATs") and sustainment services for the U.S. Army’s Blue Force Tracking-1 ("BFT-1") system. Many of our mission-critical technologies are part of integrated communication infrastructure systems such as the U.S. Military Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (also known as "C5ISR") systems and similar complicated networks for international governments. We also provide a variety of in-class and on-line training services, labs and assessments to our customers to help them protect networks from cyber attacks.
We are recognized as an industry leader and global supplier of high reliability products. Our solutions include supply chain management and engineering services for high reliability EEE space parts and satellite and launch vehicle tracking solutions in support of critical National Aeronautics and Space Administration ("NASA") programs and for international space and defense agencies. Through our acquisition of CGC Technology Limited, we are also a leading, world-wide provider of high precision, full motion fixed and mobile X/Y satellite tracking antennas, RF feeds, reflectors, radomes and other ground station equipment.
High-Performance Transmission Technologies
We offer several unique high-performance transmission technologies that are used in sophisticated communication systems, such as electronic warfare, radar and identification friend or foe ("IFF"). As our customers push the envelope for mobility, speed and higher frequency, we believe that demand for high-performance transmission products will grow from current levels.
Our troposcatter technologies (sometimes referred to as over-the-horizon or "OTH" microwave systems) are extremely reliable and secure and are a cost-effective alternative or compliment to satellite communication as it does not require the leasing of expensive satellite transponder space with its attendant recurring costs. Our over-the-horizon microwave systems, which include our patented forward error correction technology, can transmit video and other broadband applications at throughputs of up to 200 Mbps. U.S. and foreign governments use our over-the-horizon microwave systems to, among other things, transmit radar tracking, run C4ISR applications and connect to remote border locations. Additionally, energy companies use our systems to enable communication links for offshore oil rigs and other remote locations, as well as for exploration activities. Our MTTS, the first truly modular, rapidly deployable transit case-based troposcatter system, has been purchased by the U.S. Army, incorporated into the SNAP family of products used by the U.S. military and designated the Tactical Transportable TROPO ("SNAP 3T") or AN/TRC 198(V3). We recently introduced the Comtech COMET, a rapidly deployable OTH microwave system. The Comtech COMET has a medium range (up to 60 km) and high bandwidth (up to 210 Mbps) that fills a void in distances that have long been desired by tactical communications planners. It uniquely addresses the special operations command (or “SOCOM”) community’s concern of low probability of intercept and low probability of detection (“LPI/LPD”), while providing high reliability, mission essential communications.
Our solid-state, high-power amplifiers and related switching technologies are utilized in several critical applications including electronic warfare, communications, radar, IFF and medical applications such as oncology cancer treatment systems. In the electronic warfare marketplace, we support a variety of legacy systems and are participating in the ongoing migration to platforms that require smaller and lighter amplifiers. Our solutions increase the flexibility of systems by providing wider bandwidth capabilities to address communication needs. We also believe that the desire for increased situational awareness of the airspace may create increased opportunities for our radar and IFF products, which are used by government customers around the world. Our high power and highly reliable Gallium Nitride ("GaN") amplifier technology is increasingly used both to update existing radar systems for improved sensitivity and range as well as for new radar installations. In addition to technologies that enhance performance of primary radars, we also supply solutions for IFF systems that provide positive identification of radar targets.
In order to position ourselves to take advantage of additional growth opportunities and meet our strategic objectives, we have followed, and will continue to follow, a disciplined approach in identifying, executing and capitalizing on acquisitions.
In the past several years, we have acquired businesses and enabling technologies.
On February 23, 2016, we acquired TeleCommunication Systems Inc. ("TCS"), a leading provider of commercial solutions (such as public safety and location technologies) and government solutions (such as mission-critical technologies). The TCS acquisition had an aggregate purchase price for accounting purposes of $340.4 million (also referred to as the transaction equity value) and an enterprise value of $423.6 million. The TCS acquisition, which has been fully integrated into our business, resulted in Comtech entering complementary markets and expanding our domestic and international commercial offerings.
On February 28, 2019, we completed our acquisition of Solacom, a leading provider of Next Generation 911 ("NG-911") solutions for public safety agencies. The acquisition of Solacom was a significant step in our strategy of enhancing our public safety and location technologies. The Solacom acquisition had an aggregate purchase price for accounting purposes of $32.9 million and was fully integrated into our Commercial Solutions segment.
On April 29, 2019, we acquired the state and local government NG-911 business from General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (the "GD NG-911 business") and at the same time announced a five-year contract award in excess of $100.0 million to develop, implement and operate a NG-911 emergency communications system for a Northeastern state. The acquisition strengthened Comtech’s position in the growing NG-911 solutions market. The GD NG-911 business had an aggregate purchase price for accounting purposes of $11.0 million and was fully integrated into our Commercial Solutions segment.
On January 27, 2020, we completed the acquisition of CGC Technology Limited ("CGC"), a small privately held company located in the United Kingdom. CGC is a leading provider of high precision full motion fixed and mobile X/Y satellite tracking antennas, reflectors, RF feeds, radomes and other ground station equipment around the world. The acquisition brought established relationships with several top-tier European aerospace companies and other government entities, and we expect it to allow us to participate in the anticipated growth in the number of low Earth orbit ("LEO") and medium Earth orbit ("MEO") satellite constellations. The CGC business has a preliminary purchase price for accounting purposes of $23.7 million and was fully integrated into our Government Solutions segment.
On February 21, 2020, we acquired NG-911, Inc. ("NG-911"), a small privately held company based in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. NG-911 is a pioneer in providing next generation 911 solutions, including those designed by Solacom, to public safety agencies in the Midwest. The acquisition allows us to cost-effectively expand sales of our industry leading Solacom Guardian call management solutions for public safety. The NG product line had a preliminary purchase price for accounting purposes of $1.2 million and was fully integrated into our Commercial Solutions segment.
Pending Acquisitions of UHP and Gilat
On November 21, 2019, we announced that we entered into an agreement to acquire UHP, a leading provider of innovative and disruptive satellite ground station technology solutions. UHP is primarily based in Canada and has developed revolutionary technology that is transforming the Very Small Aperture Terminal (“VSAT”) market. With end-markets for high-speed satellite-based networks significantly growing, our acquisition of UHP will allow us to enhance our solution offerings with low cost TDMA satellite modems which we do not currently offer. In June 2020, we agreed with UHP to amend the terms of our purchase agreement which resulted in the total aggregate purchase price being reduced by approximately 24% from $50.0 million to $38.0 million (of which $5.0 million will be paid in cash, with the remainder in shares of our common stock, cash, or a combination of both, as we may elect at the time of closing). The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval to allow us to purchase UHP's sister company which is headquartered in Moscow. If we do not receive approval by December 31, 2020, either we or UHP may terminate the purchase agreement. Additional discussion and information about the pending UHP acquisition can be found in "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Acquisition Plan Update."
On January 29, 2020, we announced a highly strategic acquisition of Gilat, a worldwide leader in satellite networking technology, solutions and services, with market leading positions in the satellite ground station and in-flight connectivity solutions markets and deep expertise in operating large network infrastructures. After we announced this acquisition, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a sudden and steep decline in the travel and aviation markets in which many of Gilat’s customers operate and a significant slowdown in Gilat's business. Based on the terms agreed to on January 29, 2020 and the September 24, 2020 closing price of Comtech Common Stock of $13.32 per share, the total amount payable to Gilat shareholders would have been approximately $465.8 million (consisting of approximately $402.9 million in cash with the remainder in Comtech Common Stock) or $8.30 per Gilat ordinary share.
In July 2020, we commenced litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery (the “Delaware Court”) seeking certain declaratory judgments, including a declaratory judgment that Gilat has suffered a Material Adverse Effect (as defined in the Merger Agreement) and that, as a result, we are not obligated to complete the acquisition of Gilat. The amended complaint also seeks a declaratory judgment that certain actions, if taken by Gilat, relating to Comtech’s application for Russian regulatory approval, would breach Gilat’s obligations under the Merger Agreement. Gilat subsequently sued in the Delaware Court for declaratory judgments, including that it has not suffered a Material Adverse Effect and that Comtech has not used reasonable best efforts to obtain Russian regulatory approval for the transaction. To-date, we incurred significant amounts of legal expenses and professional fees in connection with the litigation and a trial is scheduled for October 5, 2020. The Delaware Court has indicated that it intends to render a judgment prior to October 29, 2020, the date that we or Gilat may terminate the Merger Agreement. Litigation related to Gilat is further discussed in "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (13)(a) - Commitments and Contingencies - Legal Proceedings and Other Matters" included in "Part II - Item 8.- Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Sales, Marketing and Customer Support
Sales and marketing strategies include direct sales through sales, marketing and engineering personnel, indirect sales through independent representatives, value-added resellers, and sales through a combination of the foregoing. We devote resources to evaluating and responding to requests for proposals by governmental agencies around the world and, as needed, we employ the use of specialized consultants to develop our proposals and bids.
We intend to continue to expand international marketing efforts by engaging additional independent sales representatives, distributors and value-added resellers and by establishing additional foreign sales offices. In addition, we also leverage our relationships with larger companies (such as prime contractors to the U.S. government and large mobile wireless operators) to market our technology solutions.
We are pre-qualified as an approved vendor for certain government contracts. We collaborate in sales efforts under various arrangements with integrators. Our marketing efforts also include advertising, public relations, speaking engagements and attending and sponsoring industry conferences.
Our management, technical and marketing personnel establish and maintain relationships with customers. Our sales strategies include a commitment to providing ongoing customer support for our systems and equipment. This support involves providing direct access to engineering staff or trained technical representatives to resolve technical or operational issues.
Our products and services in many of our product lines have long sales cycles. Once a product is designed into a system, customers may be reluctant to change the incumbent supplier due to the extensive qualification process and potential redesign required in using alternative sources. In addition, in recent years, we have found that overall sales cycles for each of our product lines have significantly increased.
Sales by geography and customer type, as a percentage of related net sales, are as follows:
| ||Fiscal Years Ended July 31,|
|Commercial Solutions||Government Solutions||Consolidated|
|U.S. government||14.8 ||%||19.2 ||%||18.1 ||%||65.0 ||%||63.8 ||%||62.2 ||%||36.2 ||%||40.1 ||%||35.5 ||%|
|Domestic||58.9 ||%||53.9 ||%||54.6 ||%||15.2 ||%||12.5 ||%||14.9 ||%||40.3 ||%||34.5 ||%||38.9 ||%|
|Total U.S.||73.7 ||%||73.1 ||%||72.7 ||%||80.2 ||%||76.3 ||%||77.1 ||%||76.5 ||%||74.6 ||%||74.4 ||%|
|International||26.3 ||%||26.9 ||%||27.3 ||%||19.8 ||%||23.7 ||%||22.9 ||%||23.5 ||%||25.4 ||%||25.6 ||%|
|Total||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%|
Sales to U.S. government customers include sales to the U.S. Department of Defense ("DoD"), intelligence and civilian agencies, as well as sales directly to or through prime contractors.
Domestic sales include sales to commercial customers, as well as to U.S. state and local governments. Included in domestic sales, are sales to Verizon Communications Inc. ("Verizon"), which represented 10.0% of consolidated net sales for fiscal 2018. Except for the U.S. government, there were no customers that represented more than 10.0% of consolidated net sales during fiscal 2020 and 2019.
International sales for fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018 (which include sales to U.S. domestic companies for inclusion in products that are sold to international customers) were $145.1 million, $170.6 million and $145.8 million, respectively. When we sell internationally, we denominate virtually all of our contracts in U.S. dollars. Some of our sales to international customers are paid for by letters of credit or on an open account. From time to time, some of our international customers may require us to provide performance guarantees.
Except for the U.S., no individual country (including sales to U.S. domestic companies for inclusion in products that are sold to a foreign country) represented more than 10% of consolidated net sales for fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Our backlog as of July 31, 2020 was $620.9 million (of which $443.2 million was attributed to the Commercial Solutions segment and $177.7 million was attributed to the Government Solutions segment). We estimate that a substantial portion of the backlog as of July 31, 2020 will be recognized as sales during the next twenty-four month period, with the rest thereafter.
At July 31, 2020, 20.5% of our backlog consisted of orders for use by U.S. commercial customers, 66.8% consisted of U.S. government contracts, subcontracts and government funded programs and 12.6% consisted of orders for use by international customers (including sales to U.S. domestic companies for inclusion in products that will be sold to international customers).
Our backlog is defined as orders (sometimes also referred to herein as bookings) that we believe to be firm. Backlog that is derived from U.S. government orders relates to U.S. government contracts that have been awarded, signed and funded. Backlog for our U.S. government customers also includes amounts appropriated by Congress and allotted to the contract by the procuring government agency. Our backlog does not include the value of options that may be exercised in the future on multi-year contracts, nor does it include the value of additional purchase orders that we may receive under indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity ("IDIQ") contracts or basic ordering agreements. In some cases, such as contracts received from large U.S. based telecommunication companies, our backlog is computed by multiplying the most recent month’s contract or revenue by the months remaining under the existing long-term agreements, which we consider to be the best available information for anticipating revenue under those agreements. When we acquire a company with existing contracts, we only record bookings for those contracts that meet our definition. Almost all of the contracts in our backlog (including firm orders previously received from the U.S. government) are subject to modification, cancellation at the convenience of the customer or for default in the event that we are unable to perform under the contract. As of July 31, 2020, we performed a detailed review of our backlog, including assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the consolidation of two mobile carriers in the United States and unused contract commitments. Based on such review, we reduced our backlog as of July 31, 2020 by $29.8 million, which represented orders received in prior periods that we no longer believed met our definition of firm.
A significant portion of the backlog from our U.S. commercial customers relates to large, multi-year contracts to provide state and local governments (and their agencies) with public safety and location technology solutions. Although the contracts themselves represent legal, binding obligations of these governments, funding is often subject to the approval of budgets (for example, on an annual or bi-annual basis). Although funding for these multi-year contracts is dependent on future budgets being approved, we include the full estimated value of these large, multi-year contracts in our backlog given the critical nature of the services being provided and the positive historical experience of our state and local government customers passing their respective budgets.
There can be no assurance that our backlog will result in actual revenue in any particular period, or at all, or that any contract included in backlog will be profitable. There is a higher degree of risk in this regard with respect to unfunded backlog. The actual amount and timing of any revenue is subject to various contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. The actual recognition of revenue on contracts included in backlog may never occur or may change because a program schedule could change, a customer may not follow up with order details (e.g., delivery instructions), fluctuations in currency exchange rates after an order is placed could cause our products to become too expensive for a foreign customer, a customer’s program could be canceled, a contract could be reduced, modified or terminated early due to changes in a customer’s priorities, funding may not be included in future budgets, actual indirect rates being reimbursed on U.S. government contracts may ultimately be less than those indirect rates included in our initial proposals, or an option that we had assumed would be exercised is not exercised. As a result of these contingencies, we may adjust our backlog if we determine that such orders are no longer firm and or funded. In addition to adjustments from these types of contingencies, variations in backlog from time to time are attributable, in part, to changes in sales mix, the timing of contract proposals, the timing of contract awards, delivery schedules on specific contracts and new bookings obtained through acquisitions. A large majority of the solutions in our satellite ground station technologies product line operate under short lead times. Our Government Solutions segment backlog is highly influenced by the nature and timing of orders received from the U.S. government, which is subject to unpredictable funding, deployment and technology decisions. As a result, we believe our backlog and orders, at any point in time, are not necessarily indicative of the total sales anticipated for any future period.
Manufacturing and Service
Our manufacturing operations consist principally of the assembly and testing of electronic products that we design and build from purchased fabricated parts, printed circuits and electronic components. We consider our facilities to be well maintained and adequate for current and planned production requirements. All our manufacturing facilities, including those that serve the military market, must comply with stringent customer specifications. We employ formal quality management programs and other training programs, including the International Standard Organization’s quality procedure registration programs.
We operate a high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Tempe, Arizona. This manufacturing center is operated by our Commercial Solutions segment and can be utilized, in part, by our Government Solutions segment and by third-party commercial customers, including prime contractors to the U.S. government, who can outsource a portion of their product manufacturing to us. Increased usage of our high-volume technology manufacturing center allows us to secure volume discounts on key components, better control the quality of our manufacturing process and maximize the utilization of our manufacturing capacity.
To support our long-term business goals for our satellite earth station product line, in September 2020, we signed a 15-year lease for a 146,000 square foot facility in Chandler, Arizona. This facility is located less than 10 miles from our existing facility, and we anticipate that that we will be fully relocated to this new facility by February 2021.
All of our other manufacturing facilities are located in the United States except for a facility in the United Kingdom which manufactures our high precision X/Y satellite tracking antenna product line.
Our ability to deliver products to customers on a timely basis is dependent, in part, upon the availability and timely delivery by subcontractors and suppliers (including, at times, the U.S. government) of the components and subsystems that we use in manufacturing our products. Electronic components and raw materials used in our products are generally obtained from independent suppliers. Some components are standard items and are available from several suppliers. Others are manufactured to our specifications by subcontractors. Although we obtain certain components and subsystems from a single source or a limited number of sources, we believe that most components and equipment are available from multiple sources. Certain U.S. government contracts may require us to incorporate government furnished parts into our products. Delays in receipt of such parts can adversely impact the timing of our performance on the related contracts.
Research and Development
We have established a leading technology position in our fields through internal and customer-funded research and development activities.
Internal research and development expenses are reported as research and development expenses for financial reporting purposes and were $52.2 million, $56.4 million and $53.9 million in fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively, representing 8.5%, 8.4% and 9.4% of total consolidated net sales, respectively, for these periods. Customer-funded research and development activities relate to the adaptation of our basic technology to specialized customer requirements which is recoverable under contracts and is reflected in net sales with the related costs included in cost of sales. Certain of our government customers contract with us from time to time to conduct research on telecommunications software, equipment and systems. During fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018, we were reimbursed by customers for such activities in the amounts of $11.9 million, $14.7 million and $16.9 million, respectively.
We rely upon trade secrets, technical know-how, continuing technological innovation and, with respect to certain technologies, patents to develop and maintain our competitive position. The products we sell require significant engineering design and manufacturing expertise. For these technological capabilities that are not protected by patents or licenses, we generally rely on the expertise of our employees and our learned experiences in both the design and manufacture of our products and the delivery of our services.
Some of our key Commercial Solutions segment technology is protected by patents that are significant to protecting our proprietary technology. We have been issued several U.S. patents relating to forward error correction technology that is utilized in our TPC-enabled satellite modems. Due to our market leadership position, we do not expect that upon expiration of these patents, our future results will be negatively impacted.
We have a portfolio of several hundred patents worldwide relating to wireless location services, text messaging, GPS ephemeris data, emergency public safety data routing, electronic commerce and other areas. To-date, our strategy has been to avoid offensive and defensive patent litigation and focus on building meaningful partnerships with other companies through direct licensing, cross licensing, and other forms of agreements. We do not believe that any single patent or group of patents, patent application or patent license agreement is material to the Company’s operations.
We have filed additional patent applications for certain apparatus and processes we believe we have invented covering key features of the location services, wireless text alerts, SMS Center, mobile-originated data and E911 network software. There is no assurance that any patent application will result in a patent being issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or other patent offices, nor is there any guarantee that any issued patent will be valid and enforceable. Additionally, foreign patent rights may or may not be available or pursued in any technology area for which U.S. patent applications have been filed.
Almost all the products and services we sell to the U.S. government include technology and other technical know-how that we have internally developed. In past instances where we have provided government-purpose rights, to our knowledge, the U.S. government has not exercised any of these rights. To the extent that we have provided or will provide government-purpose rights in the future, we believe that given the rapidly changing nature of our technology, our future success will depend primarily on the technical competence and creative skill of our personnel, rather than any contractual protection.
Our businesses are highly competitive and are characterized by rapid technological change. Some of our competitors are substantially larger, have significantly greater financial, marketing, research and development, technological and operating resources and broader product lines than we have. Other companies are developing new technologies and the shift towards open standards such as IP-based satellite networks will likely result in increased competition. A significant technological breakthrough by others, including new companies, our existing competitors and our customers, could have a material adverse effect on our business. Our future success depends on, among other things, our ability to keep pace with such changes and developments and to respond to the increasing variety of electronic equipment users and transmission technologies.
Some large defense-based companies, such as Northrop Grumman Corporation, have subsidiaries or divisions that compete against us in one or more business segments. In addition, new and potential competitors are always emerging. Certain of our customers, such as prime contractors who currently outsource their engineering and manufacturing requirements to us, have technological capabilities in our product areas and could choose to replace our products with products they develop. In some cases, we partner or team with companies (both large and mid-tier) to compete against other teams for large defense programs. In some cases, these same companies may be among our competitors.
Listed below, in alphabetical order, are some of our competitors in each of our two business segments:
Commercial Solutions - ACTIA Group, Advantech Co., Ltd., Agilis Satcom, AnaCom, Inc., Bandwidth.com, CalAmp Corp., Codan Limited, CPI International, Inc., Datum Systems, Inc., dB Control Corp. (a subsidiary of HEICO Corp.), 8x8, Inc., ENENSYS Technologies, ETM, Inc., Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., Google Inc. (a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.), Here Technologies, Honeywell Aerospace (a subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc.), Infinite Convergence Solutions, Inc., Intermap Technologies Corporation, Intrado Corporation, Iridium Communications Inc., ITS Electronics Inc., KVH Industries Inc., LM Ericsson Telephone Company, L3Harris Technologies, Inc., Mission Microwave Technologies, LLC., Motorola Solutions, Inc., ND Satcom GmbH, Nokia Networks (a subsidiary of Nokia Corporation), NOVELSAT, Novra Technologies Inc., Orbcomm Inc., Panasonic Corporation, Paradise Datacom Ltd. (a subsidiary of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated), Polarity Inc., SatixFy Israel Ltd., SatPath Systems, Inc., Spacepath Communications Limited, Speedcast International Limited, ST Engineering iDirect, Inc. (including Newtec), Telenav, Inc., Terrasat Communications Inc, TMD Technologies LLC., TomTom N.V. and ViaSat Inc.
Government Solutions - Aethercomm Inc., AMERGINT Technologies, Inc., CACI International Inc., CalAmp Corp., CPI International, Inc., Cubic Corporation, dB Control Corp. (a subsidiary of HEICO Corp.), DXC Technology, Empower RF Systems, Inc., Envistacom, LLC, Escape Communications, Inc., General Dynamics Corporation, International Datacasting Corporation (a subsidiary of Novra Technologies Inc.), Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., L3Harris Technologies, Inc., Mercury Systems, Inc., NeuStar, Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation (including the former Orbital ATK, Inc.), Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Teledyne Technologies Incorporated, The KeyW Holding Corporation, Ultra Electronics Holdings plc. and ViaSat Inc.
We believe that competition in all our markets is based primarily on technology innovation, product performance, reputation, delivery times, customer support and price. Due to our proprietary know-how, we believe we can develop, produce and deliver products and services on a cost-effective basis faster than many of our competitors.
At July 31, 2020, we had 2,034 employees (including temporary employees and contractors), 1,274 of whom were engaged in production and production support, 382 in research and development and other engineering support, and 378 in marketing and administrative functions. None of our U.S. based employees are represented by a labor union. Of our 2,034 employees, 326 employees are based outside of the United States including 141 employees in the United Kingdom. We believe that our employee relations are good.
U.S. Government Contracts and Security Clearances
The U.S. government operates on an October-to-September fiscal year. Generally, in February of each year, the President of the United States presents to the U.S. Congress ("Congress") the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year and from February through September of each year, the appropriations and authorization committees of Congress review the President’s budget proposals and establish the funding levels for the upcoming fiscal year. Once these levels are enacted into law, the Executive Office of the President administers the funds to the agencies. Thereafter, we can receive orders pursuant to sole-source or competitively awarded contracts, which we describe below.
The U.S. government may be unable to complete its budget process before the end of any given government fiscal year and when the fiscal budget is not approved in a timely manner, the U.S. government is required either to shut down or be funded pursuant to a so-called "continuing resolution" that authorizes agencies of the U.S. government to continue operations but does not authorize new spending initiatives, either of which could result in reduced or delayed orders or payments for products and services we provide.
Sole-source contracts are generally awarded to a single contractor without a formal competition when a single contractor is deemed to have an expertise or technology superior to that of competing contractors or when there is an urgent need by the U.S. government that cannot wait for a full competitive process. Potential suppliers compete informally through research and development and marketing efforts. Competitively-bid contracts are awarded based on a formal proposal evaluation established by the procuring agency and interested contractors prepare bids. Competitively-bid contracts are awarded after a formal bid and proposal competition among suppliers.
The U.S. government has a stated policy direction to reduce the number of sole-source contract awards across all procuring agencies. In addition, the U.S. government is increasing the use of multiple-award IDIQ contracts to increase its procurement options. IDIQ contracts allow the U.S. government to select a group of eligible contractors for the same program. When the government awards IDIQ contracts to multiple bidders under the same program, a company that has already competed to be selected as a participant in the program must subsequently compete for individual delivery orders. As a result of this U.S. government shift toward multiple award IDIQ contracts, we expect to face greater competition for future U.S. government contracts and, at the same time, greater opportunities for us to participate in program areas that we do not currently participate in.
As a U.S. government contractor and subcontractor, we are subject to a variety of rules and regulations, such as the Federal Acquisition Regulations ("FAR"). Individual agencies can also have acquisition regulations. For example, the Department of Defense implements the FAR through the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation supplement (commonly known as "DFARs"). For all Federal government entities, the FAR regulates the phases of any product or service acquisition, including: acquisition planning, competition requirements, contractor qualifications, protection of source selection and vendor information, and acquisition procedures. In addition, the FAR addresses the allowability of supplier costs, while Cost Accounting Standards address how those costs can be allocated to contracts. The FAR also subjects suppliers to audits and other government reviews. These reviews cover issues such as cost, performance and accounting practices relating to our contracts. The government may challenge a supplier's costs and fees. Suppliers are also required to comply with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual which relates to requirements regarding classified materials and programs. Suppliers who do not comply with these various regulations may lose and/or become ineligible for facility security clearances and/or participation in classified programs.
Under firm fixed-price contracts, we perform for an agreed-upon price and we can derive benefits from cost savings, but bear the risk of cost overruns. Our cost-reimbursable type contracts typically provide for reimbursement of allowable costs incurred plus a negotiated fee. Cost-plus-incentive-fee orders typically provide for sharing with the U.S. government savings accrued from orders performed for less than the target costs and costs incurred in excess of targets up to a negotiated ceiling price (which is higher than the target cost), and for the supplier to carry the entire burden of costs exceeding the negotiated ceiling price.
In fiscal 2020, $223.4 million or 36.2% of our consolidated net sales were to the U.S. government (including sales to prime contractors to the U.S. government). Of this amount, firm fixed-price and cost-reimbursable type contracts (including fixed-fee, incentive-fee and time and material type contracts) accounted for approximately $139.6 million and $83.7 million, respectively.
In addition to the rules and regulations that pertain to us as a U.S. government contractor and subcontractor, we are also subject to a variety of local, state and federal governmental regulations.
Our products that are incorporated into wireless communications systems must comply with various government regulations, including those of the FCC. Our manufacturing facilities, which may store, handle, emit, generate and dispose of hazardous substances that are used in the manufacture of our products, are subject to a variety of local, state and federal regulations, including those issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. Our products are also subject to European Union directives related to the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment.
Our international sales are subject to U.S. and foreign regulations such as the Arms Export Control Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act ("IEEPA"), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations ("ITAR"), the Export Administration Regulations ("EAR") and the trade sanctions laws and regulations administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"), the Department of Commerce ("DoC") as well as other applicable laws relating to trade, export controls and foreign corrupt practices, the violation of which could adversely affect our operations. We cannot be certain that we will be able to obtain necessary export licenses, and such failure would materially adversely affect our operations. If we are unable to receive appropriate export authorizations in the future, we may be prohibited from selling our products and services internationally, which may limit our sales and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. We must comply with all applicable export control laws and regulations of the U.S. and other countries. Certain of our products and systems may require licenses from U.S. government agencies for export from the U.S., and some of our products are not permitted to be exported. In addition, in certain cases, U.S. export controls also severely limit unlicensed technical discussions, such as discussions with any persons who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. As a result, in cases where we may need an export license, our ability to compete against a non-U.S. domiciled foreign company that may not be subject to the same U.S. laws may be materially adversely affected. In addition, we are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") and other local laws that generally bar bribes or unreasonable gifts to foreign governments or officials. Violations of these laws or regulations could result in significant sanctions, including disgorgement of profits, fines, and criminal sanctions against us, our officers, our directors, or our employees, more onerous compliance requirements, more extensive debarments from export privileges or loss of authorizations needed to conduct aspects of our international business. A violation of any of the regulations enumerated above could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, changes in regulatory requirements which could further restrict our ability to deliver services to our international customers, including the addition of a country to the list of sanctioned countries under the IEEPA or similar legislation could negatively impact our business.
In the past, we have self-reported violations of export control laws or regulations to the U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls ("DDTC"), DoC and OFAC. In addition, we have made various commitments to U.S. government agencies that oversee trade and export matters that we will maintain certain policies and procedures including maintaining a company-wide Office of Trade Compliance. Also, we have agreed to have independent audits in future periods and will report any future violations to those agencies.
On September 17, 2020, we reported that we reached an agreement with OFAC resolving an investigation pending since 2014. In October 2014, as previously disclosed in our SEC filings, we reported to OFAC following a self-assessment of our export transactions that a shipment of modems sent to a Canadian customer by Comtech’s subsidiary, Comtech EF Data Corp., was incorporated into a communication system, the ultimate end user of which was the Sudan Civil Aviation Authority. The sales value of our equipment was approximately $288,000. At the time of shipment, OFAC regulations prohibited U.S. persons from doing business directly or indirectly with Sudan. Most of the U.S. sanctions related to Sudan were removed in 2017. After we reported the matter to OFAC, we responded to administrative subpoenas and OFAC initiated an investigation into the matter. Pursuant to the agreement, we will make a payment to OFAC of $894,111 and implement additional internal compliance commitments, a number of which were already in process. Additionally, we committed to creating a new position of Chief Trade Compliance Officer. Even though we take precautions to avoid engaging in transactions that may violate U.S. export control laws or regulations, including trade sanctions, those measures may not be effective in every instance. If it is determined that we have violated U.S. export control laws, civil and criminal penalties could apply, and we may suffer reputational harm.
Our financial reporting, corporate governance, public disclosure and compliance practices are governed by laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, and rules and regulations issued by the SEC. The SEC has adopted rules which require, among other things, public companies to conduct certain inquiries to determine whether or not Conflict Minerals (as that term is defined in the SEC rules) that are necessary to the functionality of their manufactured products or their product's production processes originated in a Covered Country (as that term is defined in the SEC rules) and ultimately file a report with the SEC. Conflict Minerals are widely used in many industries, including the telecommunications industry and almost all of our products include component parts purchased from third-party suppliers and we must rely heavily on information received from suppliers to determine the origin of those materials. We have implemented a due diligence program consistent with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines to collect information concerning the country of origin of Conflict Minerals and in that regard, have adopted a policy that requires our suppliers (both public and private) to commit to a code of conduct relating to the responsible sourcing of minerals and to establish a policy to reasonably assure that the products they manufacture do not contain Conflict Minerals that originated in a Covered Country. Efforts to comply with this SEC rule have resulted in additional costs to us and, we believe, to our suppliers. As such, the availability of raw materials used in our operations could be negatively impacted and/or raw material prices could increase. Further, if we are unable to certify that our products are conflict free, we may face challenges with our customers, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage and could harm our reputation.
Laws and regulations have been enacted that affect companies conducting business on the Internet, including the European General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"). The GDPR imposes certain privacy related requirements on companies that receive or process personal data of residents of the European Union that are currently different than those in the United States and include significant penalties for non-compliance. Similarly, there are several legislative proposals in the United States, at both the federal and state level, that could impose new obligations in areas affecting our business, such as liability for personal data protection. In addition, some countries are considering or have passed legislation implementing data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of data or similar requirements that could increase the cost and complexity of delivering our services. Our costs to comply with the GDPR as well any other similar laws and regulations that emerge may negatively impact our business.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
The following describes major risks to our business and should be considered carefully. Any of these factors could significantly and negatively affect our business, prospects, financial condition, or operating results, which could cause the trading prices of our equity securities to decline. The risks described below are not the only risks we may face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us, or risks that we currently consider immaterial, could also negatively affect us.
Risks Related to our Business
Despite our belief that Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. ("Gilat") suffered a material adverse effect and that we are not obligated to close on our pending acquisition of Gilat, we may be required to complete such acquisition. If such event occurs, the merger with Gilat may not be successful, as we may not realize the anticipated benefits from the merger, the merger may divert our resources and management attention causing our operating results to fall short of expectations and we would incur substantial indebtedness which we may not be able to service in the future.
On January 29, 2020, we entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the "Merger Agreement") with Gilat Satellite Networks, Ltd. Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, Comtech would acquire Gilat by way of a merger of Comtech's newly formed subsidiary with and into Gilat, with Gilat surviving the merger as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comtech. Gilat is a worldwide leader in satellite networking technology, solutions and services, with market leading positions in the satellite ground station and in-flight connectivity solutions markets and deep expertise in operating large network infrastructures.
Pursuant to the Merger Agreement, each Gilat ordinary share would be converted into the right to receive consideration of (i) $7.18 in cash, without interest, plus (ii) 0.08425 of a share of Comtech common stock (worth approximately $1.12 per Gilat ordinary share as of September 24, 2020), with cash payable in lieu of fractional shares. Based on the terms agreed to on January 29, 2020 and the September 24, 2020 closing price of Comtech common stock of $13.32 per share, the total amount payable to Gilat shareholders would have been approximately $465.8 million (consisting of approximately $402.9 million in cash with the remainder in Comtech Common Stock) or $8.30 per Gilat ordinary share.
Our intention would be to fund the $402.9 million cash portion of the acquisition by redeploying a large portion of both our and Gilat's unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, with the remaining funds provided by a new secured credit facility (the "Gilat Acquisition Related Credit Facility") that would replace our existing Credit Facility, allow us to refinance our existing debt of approximately $149.5 million as of July 31, 2020, and allow us to fund a $5.0 million commitment related to a small pending acquisition of UHP Networks Inc. and its sister company (together, “UHP”), a leading provider of innovative and disruptive satellite ground station technology solutions..
Our obligation to acquire Gilat remains subject to certain closing conditions, including (a) regulatory approval in Russia to purchase Gilat’s Russian subsidiary and (b) the absence of any Material Adverse Effect (as defined in the Merger Agreement) on Gilat. After we announced this acquisition, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a sudden and steep decline in the travel and aviation markets in which many of Gilat’s customers operate and a significant slowdown of Gilat's business.
In July 2020, we commenced litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery (the “Delaware Court”) seeking certain declaratory judgments including a declaratory judgment that Gilat has suffered a Material Adverse Effect and that, as a result, we are not obligated to complete the acquisition of Gilat. The amended complaint also seeks a declaratory judgment that certain actions, if taken by Gilat, relating to Comtech’s application for Russian regulatory approval, would breach Gilat’s obligations under the Merger Agreement. Gilat subsequently sued in the Delaware Court for declaratory judgments, including that it has not suffered a Material Adverse Effect and that Comtech has not used reasonable best efforts to obtain Russian regulatory approval for the transaction. To-date, we incurred significant amounts of legal expenses and professional fees in connection with the litigation and a trial is scheduled for October 5, 2020. The Delaware Court has indicated that it intends to render a judgment prior to October 29, 2020, the date that we or Gilat may terminate the Merger Agreement. If we are required to close the Gilat acquisition, total net debt of the combined companies would be expected to approximate $525.0 million. The acquisition of Gilat, the status of Russian regulatory approval and related litigation is discussed in detail in Part II - "Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Acquisition Plan Update" and "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (13)(a) - Commitments and Contingencies - Legal Proceedings and Other Matters" included in "Part II - Item 8.- Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
If our acquisition with Gilat is consummated, it will pose certain risks to our business.
In August 2020, Gilat publicly reported a net loss of $16.0 million and negative Adjusted EBITDA (as Gilat defines it) of $4.9 million for the six-month period ended June 30, 2020. The acquisition of Gilat would significantly increase our exposure to the global in-flight connectivity solutions market, which has suffered and is expected to continue to suffer, from a material and prolonged downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If Gilat continues to experience net losses and negative Adjusted EBITDA (as it defines it), future cash flows of the combined entities will be less than currently expected and we may be unable to meet future debt service obligations, resulting in potentially material adverse consequences.
Contemporaneously with entering into the agreement to acquire Gilat, we and our banking partners entered into a commitment letter with respect to the Gilat Acquisition Related Credit Facility. Under the terms of the commitment letter, the lender's commitment to fund the facility is subject to the condition that no Material Adverse Effect has occurred with respect to Gilat or Comtech. We face the risk that our banking partners would independently determine that a Material Adverse Effect has occurred with respect to Gilat and terminate their commitments. As a result, if we are compelled to complete the acquisition of Gilat, we may have to seek alternative financing, which may not be available on favorable terms, or at all.
If our banking partners do not terminate their commitment, under the terms of the Gilat Acquisition Related Credit Facility we would be required to grant the lenders a security interest in substantially all our assets as collateral security for our payment obligations. Accordingly, if we are unable to meet our debt service obligations, we could be forced to dispose of some or all of our assets on disadvantageous terms. We may not be able to refinance our indebtedness under the Gilat Acquisition Related Credit Facility on favorable terms, or at all. Moreover, borrowings under the Gilat Acquisition Related Credit Facility following completion of the Gilat acquisition would be significantly greater than our outstanding indebtedness under our existing Credit Facility.
The prospective merger with Gilat would significantly expand the types of products that we sell, expand the businesses in which we are engaged and expand our global footprint including increasing the number of facilities we operate, thereby presenting us with significant challenges as we will need to manage the substantial increase in scale resulting from the acquisition. The success of the acquisition, if completed, will depend, in part, on our ability to integrate Gilat’s workforce and complex operations (concentrated in large part in Israel and Peru), with Comtech’s business. That integration will be more difficult given the international travel restrictions still in place in many parts of the world as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The operational and administrative challenges we will face as we integrate Gilat’s operations into our business include maintaining our focus on meeting all customer commitments and expectations, including supporting all existing products, services and agreements.
Delays in the integration process could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operation and financial condition. Also, the diversion of our management’s attention to these matters and away from other business concerns could have an adverse effect on our business and operating results may fall short of expectations. Ultimately, we may not be successful.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our business, operating results and financial condition, as well as the operations and financial performance of many of the customers and suppliers in industries that we serve. We are unable to predict the extent to which the pandemic and related effects will adversely impact our business operations, financial performance, results of operations, financial position and the achievement of our strategic objectives.
Comtech’s second half of fiscal 2020, running from February 1 through July 31, 2020, corresponded almost precisely with the period in which significant worldwide restrictions on business activities were in force due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most if not all of our sales and marketing personnel were unable to travel and/or meet with customers. As a result, Comtech experienced significant order delays and lower net sales during such period.
These poor business conditions have resulted in the immediate suppression of end-market demand for many of our products such as satellite ground station technologies and other short-lead time products. Because the timing, impact, severity and duration of these conditions are impossible to predict and remain ongoing, there is a risk that such conditions will have a material adverse effect on our future consolidated results of operations. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a widespread health crisis and numerous disease control measures being taken to limit its spread. The impact of the pandemic on our business has included or could in the future include:
•disruptions to or restrictions on our ability to ensure the continuous manufacture and supply of our products and services, including insufficiency of our existing inventory levels;
•temporary closures or reductions in operational capacity of our facilities or the facilities of our direct or indirect suppliers or customers;
•permanent closures of our direct and indirect suppliers, resulting in adverse effects to our supply chain;
•temporary shortages of skilled employees available to staff manufacturing, production and assembly facilities due to stay at home orders and travel restrictions within as well as into and out of countries;
•increases in operational expenses and other costs related to requirements implemented to mitigate the impact of the pandemic;
•supply chain disruptions;
•delays or limitations on the ability of our customers to perform or make timely payments;
•cancellations in our backlog;
•reductions in short- and long-term demand for our products, or other disruptions in technology buying patterns;
•adverse effects on economies and financial markets globally or in various markets throughout the world, potentially leading to a prolonged economic downturn or reductions in business and consumer spending, which may result in decreased net revenue, gross margins, or earnings and/or in increased expenses and difficulty in managing inventory levels;
•delays to and/or lengthening of our sales or development cycles or qualification activity;
•challenges for us, our direct and indirect suppliers and our customers in obtaining financing due to turmoil in financial markets;
•workforce disruptions due to illness, quarantines, governmental actions, other restrictions, and/or the social distancing measures we have taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 at certain of our locations around the world in an effort to protect the health and well-being of our employees, customers, suppliers and of the communities in which we operate (including working from home, restricting the number of employees attending events or meetings in person, limiting the number of people in our buildings and factories at any one time, further restricting access to our facilities, suspending employee travel and inability to meet in person with customers);
•increased vulnerability to cyberattacks due to the significant number of employees working remotely; and
•our management team continuing to commit significant time, attention and resources to monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and seeking to mitigate its effects on our business and workforce.
The ultimate extent of the impact of COVID-19 on our business, financial condition and results of operations will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time. These impacts, individually or in the aggregate, could have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Such effect may be exacerbated in the event the pandemic and the measures taken in response to it, and their effects, persist for an extended period of time, or if there is a resurgence of the outbreak. Under any of these circumstances, the resumption of normal business operations may be delayed or hampered by lingering effects of COVID-19 on our operations, direct and indirect suppliers, partners, and customers.
Our fiscal 2021 business outlook is difficult to forecast and operating results are subject to significant fluctuations and are likely to be volatile.
Historically, our business outlook is difficult to forecast and backlog (sometimes referred to herein as orders or bookings), net sales and operating results may vary significantly from period to period due to a number of factors including: sales mix; fluctuating market demand; price competition; new product introductions by our competitors; customer bankruptcies; changing customer partnering procurement strategies; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; unexpected changes in the timing of delivery of components or subsystems; the financial performance and impact of acquisitions; new accounting standards; political instability; regulatory developments; changes in income tax rates or tax credits; the price and expected volatility of our stock (which will impact, among other items, the amount of stock-based compensation expense we may record); general global economic conditions, and the impact of natural disasters or global pandemics.
During fiscal 2020, largely as a result of the adverse impact of COVID-19 on business conditions, we ceased providing specific financial targets. Although we have now reinstated providing specific forward-looking financial targets in fiscal 2021, it remains difficult to predict the timing of customer awards and related shipments and we may not meet our targets.
We have experienced, and will experience in the future, significant fluctuations in bookings, net sales and operating results from period to period. For example, a sudden change in global economic conditions (or a worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic as described above) could have an immediate impact on a large portion of our net sales, a large amount of which are derived from products such as satellite ground station technologies, amplifier products and mission-critical technologies that generally have short order and lead times. Similarly, sales of certain of our public safety and location technologies are subject to sudden changes in wireless carrier procurement strategies, including decisions to sole-source such solutions or to perform such solutions internally. As a result of any such conditions or changes, bookings and backlog related to these solutions are extremely sensitive to short-term fluctuations in customer demand.
In addition, a large portion of our Government Solutions segment's net sales are derived in part from large U.S. government programs or large foreign government opportunities that are subject to lengthy sales cycles (including funding requirements) and are therefore difficult to predict.
If global economic business and political conditions deteriorate as compared to the current environment it could have a material adverse impact on our business outlook and our business, operating results and financial condition.
In addition to the unique business risks related to COVID-19, many of the end-markets for our products and services may be significantly impacted for other issues that result in adverse global economic conditions. For example, many of our international end-customers are in emerging and developing countries that are subject to sweeping economic and political changes. Many governments around the world are under pressure to reduce their spending. In recent years, global oil and natural gas prices have been volatile and significantly impaired the ability of certain of our government customers in the oil and gas producing regions of the world to invest in telecommunications products and infrastructure. Additionally, the relative strength of the U.S. dollar against many international currencies has negatively impacted the purchasing power for many of our international end-customers because virtually all of our sales are denominated in U.S. dollars. We generate significant sales from many emerging and developing countries.
We believe that the current global economic business environment is unstable and sudden negative changes could result in the immediate suppression of end-market demand for many of our products such as satellite ground station technologies and other short-lead time products. The timing, impact, severity and duration of these conditions are impossible to predict. In addition, many of our international customers (including our Middle Eastern and African customers) rely on European bank financing to procure funding for large systems, many of which include our equipment.
We believe that European financing has been and continues to be difficult to obtain. Volatility of financing conditions may cause our customers to be reluctant to spend funds required to purchase our equipment or projects could be postponed or canceled.
The United Kingdom ("U.K.") exited from the European Union ("E.U.") on January 31, 2020. Such exit is commonly referred to as "Brexit". During its 11 month transition period, the U.K. and the E.U. are expected to negotiate a free trade agreement which will (i) allow U.K. goods to move around the E.U. without extra charges and (ii) keep other barriers (such as border checks) to a minimum. However, there is no guarantee that the U.K. will reach an agreement with the E.U. by December 31, 2020. If a free trade agreement is not reached, then tariffs (taxes) and full border checks will be applied to U.K. goods travelling to the E.U. We maintain production, engineering and sales facilities in the U.K. and adverse consequences concerning Brexit could result in a deterioration in global economic conditions, instability in global financial markets, political uncertainty, volatility in currency exchange rates, or adverse changes in the cross-border agreements currently in place, any of which could have an adverse impact on our financial results in the future.
In the past, our overall business has not been immune from adverse economic conditions. If U.S. or global economic conditions deteriorate further, or political conditions become unstable, or additional economic sanctions are imposed on some of our end-customers, it could adversely impact our business in a number of ways, including:
•Difficulty in forecasting our results of operations - It is difficult to accurately forecast our results of operations during periods of adverse conditions as we cannot predict the severity or the duration of such conditions or the impact it could have on our current and prospective customers. If our current or prospective customers materially postpone, reduce or even forgo purchases of our products and services to a greater extent than we anticipate, our business outlook will prove to be inaccurate.
•Additional reductions in telecommunications equipment and systems spending may occur - In the past, our businesses have been negatively affected by uncertain economic environments in the overall market and, more specifically, in the telecommunications sector. Our customers have reduced their budgets for spending on telecommunications equipment and systems and in some cases postponed or reduced the purchase of our products and systems. In the future, our customers may again reduce their spending on telecommunications equipment and systems which would negatively impact both of our operating segments. If this occurs, it would adversely affect our business outlook, net sales, profitability and the recoverability of our assets, including intangible assets such as goodwill.
•Our customers may not be able to obtain financing - Although many of our products are relatively inexpensive when compared to the total systems or networks that they are incorporated into, our sales are affected by our customers' ability to obtain the financing they may require to build out their total systems or networks and fund ongoing operations. Many of our emerging market customers obtain financing for network buildouts from European commercial banks and/or governments. Our customers' inability to obtain adequate financing would adversely affect our net sales. In addition, if the economic environment and lack of financing results in insolvencies for our customers, it would adversely impact the recoverability of our accounts receivable which would, in turn, adversely impact our results of operations.
Our backlog is subject to customer cancellation or modification and such cancellations could result in a decline in sales and increased provisions for excess and obsolete inventory.
We currently have a backlog of orders, mostly under contracts that our customers may modify or terminate. Almost all of the contracts in our backlog (including firm orders previously received from the U.S. government) are subject to cancellation at the convenience of the customer or for default in the event that we are unable to perform under the contract.
In some cases, such as contracts received from large U.S. based telecommunication companies, our backlog is computed by multiplying the most recent month’s contract or revenue by the months remaining under the existing long-term agreements, which we consider to be the best available information for anticipating revenue under those agreements. Also, a significant portion of the backlog from our U.S. commercial customers relates to large, multi-year contracts to provide state and local governments (and their agencies) with public safety and location technology solutions. Although the contracts themselves represent legal, binding obligations of these governments, funding is often subject to the approval of budgets (for example, on an annual or bi-annual basis). Although funding for these multi-year contracts are dependent on future budgets being approved, we include the full estimated value of these large, multi-year contracts in our backlog given the critical nature of the services being provided and the positive historical experience of our state and local government customers passing their respective budgets.
There can be no assurance that our backlog will result in actual revenue in any particular period, or at all, particularly during periods of macroeconomic instability. Nor can there be any assurance that any contract included in backlog will be profitable. The actual amount and timing of any revenue is subject to various contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. The actual recognition of revenue on contracts included in backlog may never occur or may change because a program schedule could change, a customer may not follow up with order details (e.g., delivery instructions), fluctuations in currency exchange rates after an order is placed could cause our products to become too expensive for a foreign customer, a customer’s program could be canceled, a contract could be reduced, modified or terminated early due to changes in a customer’s priorities, funding may not be included in future budgets, actual indirect rates being reimbursed on U.S. government contracts may ultimately be less than those indirect rates included in our initial proposals, or an option that we had assumed would be exercised is not exercised.
We record a provision for excess and obsolete inventory based on historical and projected usage trends and other factors, including the consideration of the amount of backlog we have on hand at any particular point in time. If orders in our backlog are canceled or modified, our estimates of future product demand may prove to be inaccurate, in which case we may have understated the provision required for excess and obsolete inventory. In the future, if we determine that our inventory is overvalued, we will be required to recognize such costs in our financial statements at the time of such determination. Any such charges could be materially adverse to our results of operations and financial condition.
We have incurred indebtedness under a Credit Facility, and may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, and may not be able to service that debt in the future and we must maintain compliance with various covenants that impose restrictions on our business.
On October 31, 2018, we entered into a First Amended and Restated Credit Agreement (the "Credit Facility") with a syndicate of lenders, replacing our prior Credit Agreement dated as of February 23, 2016. The Credit Facility provides a senior secured loan facility of up to $550.0 million consisting of: (i) a revolving loan facility with a borrowing limit of $300.0 million; (ii) an accordion feature allowing us to borrow up to an additional $250.0 million; (iii) a $35.0 million letter of credit sublimit; and (iv) a swingline loan credit sublimit of $25.0 million. The obligations under the Credit Facility are secured by substantially all of our tangible and intangible assets.
As of July 31, 2020, the amount outstanding under our Credit Facility was $149.5 million, which is reflected in the non-current portion of long-term debt on our Consolidated Balance Sheet. At July 31, 2020, we also had $3.1 million of standby letters of credit outstanding under our Credit Facility related to guarantees of future performance on certain customer contracts.
The Credit Facility matures on October 31, 2023. If we do not have sufficient funds to repay our debt when due, it may be necessary to refinance our debt through additional debt or equity financings. If, at the time of any refinancing, prevailing interest rates or other factors result in higher interest rates on such refinancing, increases in interest expense could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our Credit Facility contains various affirmative and negative covenants that may restrict our ability to, among other things, permit liens on our property, change the nature of our business, transact business with affiliates and/or merge or consolidate with any other person or sell or convey certain of our assets to any one person.
As of July 31, 2020, our Secured Leverage Ratio (as defined in the Credit Facility) was 1.99x trailing twelve month ("TTM") Consolidated EBITDA (as defined in the Credit Facility) compared to the maximum allowable Leverage Ratio of 3.75x TTM Consolidated EBITDA. Our Interest Expense Coverage Ratio as of July 31, 2020 was 14.40x TTM Adjusted EBITDA compared to the Minimum Interest Expense Coverage Ratio of 3.25x TTM Adjusted EBITDA.
Assuming we are not obligated to complete the Gilat acquisition, we anticipate maintaining compliance with the terms and financial covenants in our Credit Facility for the foreseeable future. If we complete the Gilat acquisition, we expect to replace our Credit Facility with a new Gilat Acquisition Related Credit Facility, for which terms are still being negotiated. As such, there can be no assurance that we will be able to meet covenants in this new facility.
Further, our ability to comply with covenants, terms of and conditions of either facility may be affected by events beyond our control. Failure to comply with covenants could result in an event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could accelerate our repayment obligations. Our substantial debt obligations could impede, restrict or delay the implementation of our business strategy or prevent us from entering into transactions that would otherwise benefit our business. For example:
•we may be required to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flows from operations to payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flows for other purposes, including business development efforts, capital expenditures, dividends or strategic acquisitions;
•if we are not able to generate sufficient cash flows to meet our substantial debt service obligations or to fund our other liquidity needs, we may have to take actions such as selling assets or raising additional equity or reducing or delaying capital expenditures, strategic acquisitions, investments and joint ventures, or restructuring our debt;
•we may not be able to fund future working capital, capital investments and other business activities;
•we may not be able to pay dividends or make certain other distributions;
•we may become more vulnerable in the event of a downturn in our business or a worsening of general economic or industry-specific conditions; and
•our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and industry may be limited, thereby placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less indebtedness.
Moreover, we may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future to fund acquisitions or to fund other activities for general business purposes. If additional new debt is added to the current or planned debt levels, the related risks that we now face could intensify. A substantial increase in our indebtedness could also have a negative impact on our credit ratings. In this regard, failure to maintain our credit ratings could adversely affect the interest rate available to us in future financings, as well as our liquidity, competitive position and access to capital markets. Any decision regarding future borrowings will be based on the facts and circumstances existing at the time, including market conditions and our credit ratings.
In addition to the pending UHP and Gilat acquisitions, future acquisitions of companies and investments could prove difficult to integrate, disrupt our business, dilute stockholder value or adversely affect operating results or the market price of our common stock.
We expect to continue to evaluate other acquisitions and investments as part of our growth plans. Such efforts may not result in an acquisition or ultimately be beneficial to us.
Future acquisitions or investments may result in the use of significant amounts of cash, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, incurrence of large amounts of debt, increases to amortization expense and future write-offs of the acquired intangibles. Acquisitions and investments involve risks that include failing to:
•properly evaluate the technology;
•accurately forecast the financial impact of the transaction, including accounting charges and transaction expenses;
•integrate the technologies, products and services, research and development, sales and marketing, support and other operations;
•integrate and retain key management personnel and other key employees;
•retain and cross-sell to acquired customers; and
•combine potentially different corporate cultures.
Acquisitions and investments could also:
•divert management’s attention away from the operation of our businesses;
•result in significant goodwill and intangibles write-offs in the event an acquisition or investment does not meet expectations; and
•increase expenses, including expenses of managing the growth of such acquired businesses.
There can be no assurance that any future acquisition or investment will be successful within the anticipated time frame, or at all, will be as valuable as the amount we eventually pay to acquire it, and will not adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, if we consummate future acquisitions using our equity securities or securities convertible into our equity securities, existing stockholders may be diluted, which could have a material adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.
Our business is highly dependent on the budgetary decisions of our government customers, including the U.S. government (including prime contractors to the U.S. government), and changes in the U.S. government’s fiscal policies or budgetary priorities may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.
During our fiscal years ended July 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, sales to the U.S. government (including sales to prime contractors to the U.S. government) were $223.4 million, $269.2 million and $202.7 million or 36.2%, 40.1% and 35.5% of our consolidated net sales, respectively. In addition, a large portion of our existing backlog consists of orders related to U.S. government contracts and our Business Outlook for Fiscal 2021 and beyond depends, in part, on significant new orders from the U.S. government, which undergoes extreme budgetary pressures from time to time.
We rely on particular levels of U.S. government spending on our communication solutions, and our receipt of future orders depends in large part on continued funding by the U.S. government for the programs in which we participate. These spending levels are not generally correlated with any specific economic cycle, but rather follow the cycle of general public policy and political support for this type of spending. Government contracts are conditioned upon the continuing availability of congressional appropriations and Congress’s failure to appropriate funds, or Congress’s actions to reduce or delay spending on, or reprioritize its spending away from, U.S. government programs which we participate in, could negatively affect our results of operations. Because many of the items we sell to the U.S. government are included in large programs realized over a period of several years, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine specific amounts that are or will be appropriated for our products and services. As such, our assessments relating to the impact of changes in U.S. government spending may prove to be incorrect. The outcome of the national elections to be held in the U.S. in 2020 may also impact the levels of U.S. government spending.
The federal debt limit continues to be actively debated as plans for long-term national fiscal policy are discussed. The outcome of these discussions could have a significant impact on defense spending broadly and programs we support in particular. The failure of Congress to approve future budgets and/or increase the debt ceiling of the U.S. on a timely basis could delay or result in the loss of contracts for the procurement of our products and services and we may be asked or required to continue to perform for some period of time on certain of our U.S. government contracts, even if the U.S. government is unable to make timely payments. A decrease in Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security expenditures, the elimination or curtailment of a material program in which we are involved, or changes in payment patterns of our customers as a result of changes in U.S. government spending could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Ultimately, the U.S. government may be unable to timely complete its budget process or fully agree upon spending priorities. As such, it is possible that a shutdown of the U.S. government may occur, or interim budgets may be adopted. As such, we may experience delayed orders, delayed payments and declines in net sales, profitability and cash flows. We may experience related supply chain delays, disruptions or other problems associated with financial constraints faced by our suppliers and subcontractors. Moreover, an outbreak of a pandemic such as the COVID-19 pandemic and associated quarantines, closures and travel restrictions may cause temporary or long-term disruptions in our supply chain and distribution systems. All of the aforementioned conditions and factors could, in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, cost cutting, efficiency initiatives, reprioritization, other affordability analyses, and changes in budgetary priorities by our governmental customers, including the U.S. government, could adversely impact both of our operating segments. We are unable to predict the impact these or similar events could have on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
Our contracts with the U.S. government are subject to unique business, commercial and government audit risks.
We depend on the U.S. government for a significant portion of our revenues. Our contracts with the U.S. government are subject to unique business and commercial risks, including:
•unexpected contract or project terminations or suspensions;
•unpredictable order placements, reductions, accelerations, delays or cancellations;
•higher than expected final costs, particularly relating to software and hardware development, for work performed under contracts where we commit to specified deliveries for a fixed-price; and
•unpredictable cash collections of unbilled receivables that may be subject to acceptance of contract deliverables by the customer and contract close out procedures, including government audit and approval of final indirect rates.
Although we take steps to mitigate our risk with respect to contracts with the U.S. government, we may not be able to do so in every instance for any of the following reasons, among others:
•Our U.S. government contracts can easily be terminated by the U.S. government - Our U.S. government contracts can be terminated by the U.S. government for its convenience or upon an event of default by us. Termination for convenience provisions provide us with little to no recourse related to: our potential recovery of costs incurred or costs committed, potential settlement expenses and hypothetical profit on work completed prior to termination.
•Our U.S. government contracts are subject to funding by the U.S. Congress - Our U.S. government contracts are conditioned upon the continuing approval by Congress of the necessary funding. Congress usually appropriates funds for a given program on a fiscal year basis even though contract performance may take more than one year. Consequently, at the beginning of a major program, the contract may not be fully funded, and additional monies are normally committed to the contract only if, and when, appropriations are made by Congress for future fiscal years. Delays or changes in funding can impact the timing of awards or lead to changes in program content. We obtain certain of our U.S. government contracts through a competitive bidding process. There can be no assurance that we will win additional contracts or that actual contracts that are awarded will ultimately be profitable.
•We can be disqualified as a supplier to the U.S. government - As a supplier to the U.S. government, we must comply with numerous regulations, including those governing security, contracting practices and classified information. Failure to comply with these regulations and practices could result in fines being imposed against us or our suspension for a period of time from eligibility for bidding on, or for award of, new government contracts. If we are disqualified as a supplier to government agencies, we would lose most, if not all, of our U.S. government customers and revenues from sales of our products would decline significantly.
In addition, all of our U.S. government contracts can be audited by the Defense Contract Audit Agency ("DCAA") and other U.S. government agencies and we can be subject to penalties arising from post-award contract audits (sometimes referred to as a Truth in Negotiations Act or "TINA" audit) or cost audits in which the value of our contracts may be reduced. If costs are found to be improperly allocated to a specific contract, those costs will not be reimbursed, and any such costs already reimbursed would be required to be refunded. TCS underwent audits by the DCAA for periods prior to Comtech’s fiscal 2016 acquisition of TCS. The DCAA has informed us that it is proposing retroactive contracts adjustments that, if finalized and issued, would result in the need for us to provide a refund to the U.S. government of approximately $2.4 million. We disagree with the DCAA’s assessment and would vigorously protest any adjustment. We have not recorded any reserve related to these audits but ultimately an adjustment may be issued. Although we record contract revenues based upon costs we expect to realize upon final audit, we cannot predict the outcome of any such future audits and adjustments, and we may be required to materially reduce our revenues or profits upon completion and final negotiation of audits. Negative audit findings could also result in termination of a contract, forfeiture of profits, suspension of payments, fines and suspension or debarment from U.S. government contracting or subcontracting for a period of time.
Our dependence on sales to international customers exposes us to unique business, commercial and export compliance audit risks.
Sales for use by international customers (including sales to U.S. companies for inclusion in products that will be sold to international customers) represented approximately 23.5%, 25.4% and 25.6% of our consolidated net sales for the fiscal years ended July 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively, and we expect that international sales will continue to be a significant portion of our consolidated net sales for the foreseeable future. These sales expose us to certain risks, including barriers to trade, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates (which may make our products less price-competitive), political and economic instability, exposure to public health epidemics, availability of suitable export financing, tariff regulations, and other U.S. and foreign regulations that may apply to the export of our products. Although we take steps to mitigate our risk with respect to international sales, we may not be able to do so in every instance for any of the following reasons, among others:
•We may not be able to continue to structure our international contracts to reduce risk - We attempt to reduce the risk of doing business in foreign countries by seeking subcontracts with large systems suppliers, contracts denominated in U.S. dollars, advance or milestone payments and irrevocable letters of credit in our favor. However, we may not be able to reduce the economic risk of doing business in foreign countries in all instances. In such cases, billed and unbilled receivables relating to international sales are subject to increased collectability risk and may result in significant write-offs, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, foreign defense contracts generally contain provisions relating to termination at the convenience of the government.
•We rely on a limited number of international sales agents - In some countries, we rely upon one or a small number of sales agents, exposing us to risks relating to our contracts with, and related performance of, those agents. We attempt to reduce our risk with respect to sales agents by establishing additional foreign sales offices where it is practical and by engaging, where practicable, more than one independent sales representative in a territory. It is our policy to require all sales agents to operate in compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations. Violations of any of these laws, rules or regulations, and other business practices that are regarded as unethical, could interrupt the sales of our products and services, result in the cancellation of orders or the termination of customer relationships, and could damage our reputation, any of which developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•We currently price virtually all of our products in U.S. dollars - Today, virtually all of our sales are denominated in U.S. dollars. Over the last few years, the U.S. dollar has strengthened significantly against many international currencies. As such, many of our international customers experienced a drop in their purchasing power as it relates to their ability to purchase our products. To date, we have not materially changed our selling prices and have experienced lower sales volumes in certain cases. If the U.S. dollar strengthens from current levels against many international currencies, our customers may reduce their spending or postpone purchases of our products and services to a greater extent than we currently anticipate which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•We must comply with all applicable export control laws and regulations of the U.S. and other countries - Certain of our products and systems may require licenses from U.S. government agencies for export from the U.S., and some of our products are not permitted to be exported. In addition, in certain cases, U.S. export controls also severely limit unlicensed technical discussions, such as discussions with any persons who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. As a result, in cases where we may need a license, our ability to compete against a non-U.S. domiciled foreign company that may not be subject to the same U.S. laws may be materially adversely affected. U.S. laws and regulations applicable to us include the Arms Export Control Act, the IEEPA, the ITAR, the EAR and the trade sanctions laws and regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department's OFAC.
•We must comply with the FCPA and similar laws elsewhere - We are subject to the FCPA and other foreign laws prohibiting corrupt payments to government officials, which generally bar bribes or unreasonable gifts to foreign governments or officials. Violations of these laws or regulations could result in significant sanctions, including disgorgement of profits, fines, criminal sanctions against us, our officers, our directors, or our employees, more onerous compliance requirements, more extensive debarments from export privileges or loss of authorizations needed to conduct aspects of our international business. A violation of any of the regulations enumerated above could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that our employees, contractors, agents, or subsidiaries will not violate our policies. Additionally, changes in regulatory requirements which could restrict our ability to deliver services to our international customers, including the addition of a country to the list of sanctioned countries under the IEEPA or similar legislation could negatively impact our business. For the fiscal years ended July 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, we have conducted no business with states designated as sponsors of terrorism.
•We must maintain a company-wide Office of Trade Compliance - In the past, we have self-reported violations of export control laws or regulations to the U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls ("DDTC"), DoC and OFAC. In addition, we have made various commitments to U.S. government agencies that oversee trade and export matters and have committed that we will maintain certain policies and procedures including maintaining a company-wide Office of Trade Compliance. Additionally, we have agreed to have independent audits in future periods and will report any future violations to those agencies. Even though we take precautions to avoid engaging in transactions that may violate U.S. export control laws or regulations, including trade sanctions, those measures may not be effective in every instance. If it is determined that we have violated U.S. export control laws or regulations or trade regulations, civil and criminal penalties could apply, and we may suffer reputational harm.
•We are subject to future export compliance audits - We continue to implement policies and procedures to ensure that we comply with all applicable export control laws and regulations. We are subject to future compliance audits that may uncover improper or illegal activities that would subject us to material remediation costs, civil and criminal fines and/or penalties and/or an injunction. In addition, we could suffer serious reputational harm if allegations of impropriety were made against us. Each of these outcomes could, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. The absence of comparable restrictions on competitors in other countries may adversely affect our competitive position. In addition, in order to ship our products into and implement our services in some countries, the products must satisfy the technical requirements of that particular country. If we were unable to comply with such requirements with respect to a significant quantity of our products, our sales in those countries could be restricted, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•We may be affected by the future imposition of tariffs and trade restrictions - The current U.S. administration has signaled support for, and in some instances has taken action with respect to, major changes to certain trade policies, such as the imposition of additional tariffs on imported products, the withdrawal from or renegotiation of certain trade agreements and the imposition of certain export sanctions. Such changes could result in retaliatory actions by the United States’ trade partners. For example, over the last several months, the U.S. has increased tariffs on certain imports from China, as well as on steel and aluminum products imported from various countries and imposed export sanctions on certain Chinese entities. In response, China, the European Union, and several other countries have imposed or proposed additional tariffs on certain exports from the U.S. Our inability to effectively manage the negative impacts of changing U.S. and foreign trade policies, including, in connection with our business with customers outside of the United States or with newly sanctioned entities could adversely affect our business and financial results.
Our investments in recorded goodwill and other intangible assets could be impaired as a result of future business conditions, a deterioration of the global economy or if we change our reporting unit structure.
As of July 31, 2020, goodwill recorded on our Consolidated Balance Sheet aggregated $330.5 million. Additionally, as of July 31, 2020, net intangibles recorded on our Consolidated Balance Sheet aggregated $258.0 million.
For purposes of reviewing impairment and the recoverability of goodwill and other intangible assets, our Government Solutions and Commercial Solutions segment each constitute a reporting unit and we must make various assumptions in determining their estimated fair values. Reporting units are defined by how our Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") manages the business, which includes resource allocation decisions. We may, in the future, change our management approach which in turn may change the way we define our reporting units, as such term is defined by Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 350 "Intangibles - Goodwill and Other." A change to our management approach may require us to perform an interim goodwill impairment test and possibly record impairment charges in a future period.
In accordance with FASB ASC 350, "Intangibles - Goodwill and Other," we perform a goodwill impairment analysis at least annually (in the first fiscal quarter of each fiscal year), unless indicators of impairment exist in interim periods. If we fail the quantitative assessment of goodwill impairment ("quantitative assessment"), we would be required to recognize an impairment loss equal to the amount that a reporting unit's carrying value exceeded its fair value; however, any loss recognized should not exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit.
On August 1, 2020 (the first day of our fiscal 2021), we performed our annual quantitative assessment and estimated the fair value of each of our reporting units using a combination of the income and market approaches, and taking into consideration both the potential short-term and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on our quantitative evaluation, we determined that our Commercial Solutions and Government Solutions reporting units had estimated fair values in excess of their carrying values of at least 8.4% and 78.0%, respectively, and concluded that our goodwill was not impaired and that neither of our two reporting units was at risk of failing the quantitative assessment.
However, it is possible that, during fiscal 2021 or beyond, business conditions (both in the U.S. and internationally) could deteriorate from the current state, our current or prospective customers could materially postpone, reduce or even forgo purchases of our products and services to a greater extent than we currently anticipate, or our common stock price could decline further. Such deterioration could be caused by uncertainty about the severity and length of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on global business activity.
A significant decline in our customers' spending that is greater than we anticipate or a shift in funding priorities may also have a negative effect on future orders, sales, income and cash flows and we might be required to perform a quantitative assessment during fiscal 2021 or beyond. If assumed net sales and cash flow projections are not achieved in future periods or our common stock price significantly declines from current levels, our Commercial Solutions or Government Solutions reporting units could be at risk of failing the quantitative assessment and goodwill and intangibles assigned to the respective reporting units could be impaired.
In any event, we are required to perform the next annual goodwill impairment analysis on August 1, 2021 (the start of our fiscal 2022). If our assumptions and related estimates change in the future, or if we change our reporting unit structure or other events and circumstances change (e.g., a sustained decrease in the price of our common stock (considered on both absolute terms and relative to peers)), we may be required to record impairment charges when we perform these tests, or in other future periods. In addition to our impairment analysis of goodwill, we also review net intangibles with finite lives when an event occurs indicating the potential for impairment. We believe that the carrying values of our net intangibles were recoverable as of July 31, 2020. Any impairment charges that we may record in the future could be material to our results of operations and financial condition.
We could be negatively impacted by a system failure, lack of or failure of redundant system components, security breach through cyber-attack, cyber intrusion or otherwise, by other significant disruption of our IT networks or those we operate for certain customers, or third-party data center facilities, servers and related systems. If such occurs, in some cases, we may have to reimburse our customers for damages that they may have incurred, pay contract penalties, or provide refunds.
Similar to all companies in our industry, we are under constant cyber-attack and are subject to an ongoing risk of security breaches and disruptions of our IT networks and related systems, including third-party data center facilities, whether through actual breaches, cyber-attacks or cyber intrusions via the Internet, malware, computer viruses, attachments to e-mails, persons inside our organization or persons with access to systems inside our organization. Actual security breaches or disruption, particularly through cyber-attack or cyber intrusion, including by computer hackers, foreign governments and cyber terrorists, have increased in recent years and have become more complex. Our IT networks and systems, as well as third-party data center facilities, have been and, we believe, continue to be under constant attack. We face an added risk of a security breach or other significant disruption to certain of our equipment used on some of our customers' IT networks and related systems which may involve managing and protecting information relating to public safety agencies, wireless carriers as well as national security and other sensitive government functions. Many of our systems have, or are required to have, system redundancies and back-up; in some cases, we may not have sufficient redundancy and/or redundancy and/or back-ups may fail. We may incur significant costs to prevent and respond to system failures, failure of redundant system components, actual breaches, cyber-attacks and other systems disruptions.
As a communications company, and particularly as a government contractor and a provider of public safety and location technologies (including 911 hosted systems), we face a heightened risk of a security breach or disruption from actual breaches, cyber-attacks and other threats to gain unauthorized access to our and our customers' proprietary or classified information on our IT networks, third-party data center facilities and related systems and to certain of our equipment used on some of our customers' IT networks and related systems. These types of information, IT networks and related systems are critical to the operation of our business and essential to our ability to perform day-to-day operations, and, in some cases, are critical to the operations of certain of our customers. Although we make significant efforts to maintain the security and integrity of these types of information, IT networks and related systems, and we have implemented various measures to manage the risk of a security breach or disruption, there can be no assurance that our security efforts and measures will be effective or that actual security breaches or disruptions will not be successful or damaging. Even the most well protected information, networks, data centers, systems and facilities remain potentially vulnerable because security breaches, particularly cyber-attacks and intrusions, and disruptions have occurred and will occur again in the future. Techniques used in such breaches and cyber-attacks are constantly evolving and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, and in some cases are designed not to be detected and, in fact, may not be detected. In some cases, the resources of foreign governments may be behind such attacks. Accordingly, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate security barriers or other preventative measures, and thus it is virtually impossible for us to entirely mitigate this risk.
A security breach or other significant disruption (including as a result of a lack of redundancy and/or failure of such redundancy) involving these types of information, IT networks and related systems could:
•Disrupt the proper functionality of these networks, data center facilities and systems and therefore our operations and/or those of certain of our customers;
•Result in the unauthorized access to, and destruction, loss, theft, misappropriation or release of proprietary, confidential, sensitive or otherwise valuable information of ours or our customers, including trade secrets, which others could use to compete against us or for disruptive, destructive or otherwise harmful purposes and outcomes;
•Compromise national security and other sensitive government functions;
•Require significant management attention and resources to remedy the damage that results;
•Make payments to our customers to reimburse them for damages, pay them penalties or provide refunds; and
•Damage our reputation with our customers (particularly agencies of the U.S. government) and the public generally.
In addition, the cost of continually defending against cyber-attacks and actual breaches has increased in recent years and future costs and any or all of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The measures we have implemented to secure information we collect and store or enable access to may be breached, which could cause us to breach agreements with our partners and expose us to potential investigation and penalties by authorities and potential claims for contract breach, product liability damages, credits, penalties or termination by persons whose information was disclosed.
We take reasonable steps to protect the security, integrity and confidentiality of the information we collect and store and to prevent unauthorized access to third-party data to which we enable access through our products, but there is no guarantee that inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure will not occur or that third parties will not gain unauthorized access despite our efforts. If such unauthorized disclosure or access does occur, we may be required to notify persons whose information was disclosed or accessed under existing and proposed laws. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and are often not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate preventative measures. In the event of such disclosure, we also may be subject to claims of breach of contract, investigation and penalties by regulatory authorities and potential claims by persons whose information was disclosed. If there is a security breach or if there is an inappropriate disclosure of any of these types of information, we could be exposed to investigations, litigation, fines and penalties. Remediation of and liability for loss or misappropriation of end user or employee personal information could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Even if we were not held liable for such event, a security breach or inappropriate disclosure of personal, private or confidential information could harm our reputation and our relationships with current and potential customers and end users. Even the perception of a security risk could inhibit market acceptance of our products and services. We may be required to invest additional resources to protect against damage caused by any actual or perceived disruptions of our services. We may also be required to provide information about the location of an end user’s mobile device to government authorities, which could result in public perception that we are providing the government with intelligence information and deter some end users from using our services. Any of these developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our U.S. federal, state and foreign tax returns are subject to audit and a resulting tax assessment or settlement could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Significant judgment is required in determining the provision for income taxes.
The final determination of tax examinations and any related litigation could be materially different than what is reflected in historical income tax provisions and accruals.
Our federal income tax returns for fiscal 2017 through 2019 are subject to potential future Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") audit. None of our state income tax returns prior to fiscal 2016 are subject to audit. None of TCS' state income tax returns prior to calendar year 2015 are subject to audit. In addition to income tax audits, TCS is subject to ongoing state excise tax audits by the Washington State Department of Revenue. Although adjustments relating to past audits of our federal income tax returns were immaterial, a resulting tax assessment or settlement for other periods or other jurisdictions that may be selected for future audit could have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated results of operations and financial condition.
We have significant operations in Arizona, Florida, California, Washington State, Maryland, New York and other locations which could be materially and adversely impacted in the event of a terrorist attack and government responses thereto or significant disruptions (including natural disasters) to our business.
Terrorist attacks, the U.S. and other governments' responses thereto, and threats of war could materially adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition. For example, our 911 hosted location-based services and satellite teleport services operations depend on our ability to maintain our computer and equipment and systems in effective working order, and to protect our systems against damage from fire, natural disaster, power loss, telecommunications failure, sabotage, unauthorized access to our system or similar events.
Although many of our mission-critical systems and equipment are designed with built-in redundancy and security, any unanticipated interruption or delay in our operations or breach of security could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Our property and business interruption insurance may not be adequate to compensate us for any losses that may occur in the event of a terrorist attack, threat, system failure or a breach of security. Insurance may not be available to us at all or, if available, may not be available to us on commercially reasonable terms.
We currently, and intend to continue to, operate a high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Arizona. The COVID-19 pandemic, a terrorist attack or similar future event may disrupt our operations or those of our customers or suppliers and may affect the availability of materials needed to manufacture our products or the means to transport those materials to manufacturing facilities and finished products to customers. If a natural disaster or other business interruption occurred with respect to our high-volume technology manufacturing center, we do not have immediate access to other manufacturing facilities and, as a result, our business, results of operations and financial condition would be materially adversely affected. To support our long-term business goals for our satellite earth station product line, in September 2020, we signed a 15-year lease for a 146,000 square foot facility in Chandler, Arizona. This facility is located less than 10 miles from our existing facility located in Tempe, Arizona, and we anticipate that that we will fully relocated by February 2021. If we are unable to have a smooth transition to our new facility, production and deliveries of our products may be impacted and may incur unexpected costs.
We design and manufacture our over-the-horizon microwave equipment and systems in Florida, where major hurricanes have occurred in the past, and amplifiers in Santa Clara, California, an area close to major earthquake fault lines, and also manufacture amplifiers in Melville, New York, an area subject to hurricanes. Additionally, certain of our Commercial Solutions segment activities are conducted in Washington State which is also near a fault line. We maintain operations in Maryland near a U.S. Navy facility which is more prone to a terrorist attack. Our operations in these and other locations (such as in our high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Tempe, Arizona and our antenna production facility in the United Kingdom), could be subject to natural disasters or other significant disruptions, including hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, fires, water shortages, other extreme weather conditions, medical epidemics, acts of terrorism, power shortages and blackouts, telecommunications failures, and other natural and man-made disasters or disruptions.
We cannot be sure that our systems will operate appropriately if we experience hardware or software failure, intentional disruptions of service by third parties, an act of God or an act of war. A failure in our systems could cause delays in transmitting data, and as a result we may lose customers or face litigation that could involve material costs and distract management from operating our business.
In the event of any such disaster or other disruption, we could experience disruptions or interruptions to our operations or the operations of our suppliers, distributors, resellers or customers; destruction of facilities; and/or loss of life, all of which could materially increase our costs and expenses and materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
In addition, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in travel restrictions and business shutdowns both domestically and globally, including in locations in which we have significant operations. These or any further political, governmental or other actions to contain the spread or treat the impact of COVID-19, and the resulting developments, are highly uncertain and unpredictable and could result in social, economic and labor instability. These uncertainties could have a material adverse effect on the continuity of our business and our financial condition, the results of operations and cash flows.
We may be subject to environmental liabilities.
We engage in manufacturing and are subject to a variety of local, state and federal laws and regulations relating to the storage, discharge, handling, emission, generation, manufacture and disposal of toxic or other hazardous substances used to manufacture our products. We are also subject to the Restriction of Hazardous Substance ("RoHS") directive which restricts the use of lead, mercury and other substances in electrical and electronic products. The failure to comply with current or future environmental requirements could result in the imposition of substantial fines, suspension of production, alteration of our manufacturing processes or cessation of operations that could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, the handling, treatment or disposal of hazardous substances by us or our predecessors may have resulted, or could in the future result, in contamination requiring investigation or remediation, or lead to other liabilities, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
The success of our business is dependent on compliance with FCC rules and regulations and similar foreign laws and regulations.
Many of our products are incorporated into wireless communications systems that must comply with various U.S. government regulations, including those of the FCC, as well as similar international laws and regulations. As a result, our business faces increased risks including the following:
•We must obtain various licenses from the FCC - We operate FCC licensed teleports that are subject to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, or the FCC Act, and the rules and regulations of the FCC. We cannot guarantee that the FCC will grant renewals when our existing licenses expire, nor are we assured that the FCC will not adopt new or modified technical requirements that will require us to incur expenditures to modify or upgrade our equipment as a condition of retaining our licenses. We may, in the future, be required to seek FCC or other government approval if foreign ownership of our stock exceeds certain specified criteria. Failure to comply with these policies could result in an order to divest the offending foreign ownership, fines, denial of license renewal and/or license revocation proceedings against the licensee by the FCC, or denial of certain contracts from other U.S. government agencies.
•We are dependent on the allocation and availability of frequency spectrum - Adverse regulatory changes related to the allocation and availability of frequency spectrum and in the military standards and specifications that define the current satellite networking environment, could materially harm our business by: (i) restricting development efforts by us and our customers, (ii) making our current products less attractive or obsolete, or (iii) increasing the opportunity for additional competition. The increasing demand for wireless communications has exerted pressure on regulatory bodies worldwide to adopt new standards and reassign bandwidth for these products and services. The reduced number of available frequencies for other products and services and the time delays inherent in the government approval process of new products and services have caused, and may continue to cause, our customers to cancel, postpone or reschedule their installation of communications systems including their satellite, over-the-horizon microwave, or terrestrial line-of-sight microwave communication systems. This, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our sales of products to our customers. Changes in, or our failure to comply with, applicable laws and regulations could materially adversely harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
•Our future growth is dependent, in part, on developing NG-911 compliant products - The FCC requires that certain location information be provided to network operators for public safety answering points when a subscriber makes a 911 call. Technical failures, greater regulation by federal, state or foreign governments or regulatory authorities, time delays or the significant costs associated with developing or installing improved location technology could slow down or stop the deployment of our mobile location products. If deployment of improved location technology is delayed, stopped or never occurs, market acceptance of our products and services may be materially adversely affected. Because we rely on some third-party location technology instead of developing all of the technology ourselves, we have little or no influence over its improvement. The technology employed with NG-911 services generally anticipates a migration to internet-protocol ("IP") based communication. Since many companies are proficient in IP-based communication protocols, the barriers to entry to providing NG-911 products and services are lower than exist for the traditional switch-based protocols. If we are unable to develop unique and proprietary solutions that are superior to and/or more cost effective than other market offers, our 911 business could get replaced by new market entrants, resulting in a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•Under the FCC’s mandate, our 911 business is dependent on state and local governments - Under the FCC’s mandate, wireless carriers are required to provide 911 services only if state and local governments request the service. As part of a state or local government’s decision to request 911, they have the authority to develop cost recovery mechanisms. However, cost recovery is no longer a condition to wireless carriers’ obligation to deploy the service. If state and local governments do not widely request that 911 services be provided or we become subject to significant pressures from wireless carriers with respect to pricing of 911 services, our 911 business would be harmed and future growth of our business would be reduced.
Regulation of the mobile communications industry and VoIP is evolving, and unfavorable changes or our failure to comply with existing and potential new legislation or regulations could harm our business and operating results.
As the mobile communications industry continues to evolve, we believe greater regulation by federal, state or foreign governments or regulatory authorities is likely and we face certain risks including:
•We must adhere to existing and potentially new privacy rules - We believe increased regulation is likely in the area of data privacy, and laws and regulations applying to the solicitation, collection, processing or use of personal or consumer information could affect our customers’ ability to use and share data, potentially reducing our ability to utilize this information in the resale of certain of our products. In order for mobile location products and services to function properly, wireless carriers must locate their subscribers and store information on each subscriber’s location. Although data regarding the location of the wireless user resides only on the wireless carrier’s systems, users may not feel comfortable with the idea that the wireless carrier knows and can track their location. Carriers will need to obtain subscribers’ permission to gather and use the subscribers’ personal information, or they may not be able to provide customized mobile location services which those subscribers might otherwise desire. If subscribers view mobile location services as an annoyance or a threat to their privacy, that could reduce demand for our products and services and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Recently, there has been a number of laws and regulations enacted that affect companies conducting business on the Internet, including the European General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"). The GDPR imposes certain privacy related requirements on companies that receive or process personal data of residents of the European Union that are currently different than those in the United States and include significant penalties for non-compliance. Similarly, there are a number of legislative proposals in the United States, at both the federal and state level, that could impose new obligations in areas affecting our business, such as liability for personal data protection. In addition, some countries are considering or have passed legislation implementing data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of data or similar requirements that could increase the cost and complexity of delivering our services. Our costs to comply with the GDPR as well any other similar laws and regulations that emerge may negatively impact our business.
•We may face increased compliance costs in connection with health and safety requirements for mobile devices - If wireless handsets pose health and safety risks, we may be subject to new regulations and demand for our products and services may decrease. Media reports have suggested that certain radio frequency emissions from wireless handsets may be linked to various health concerns, including cancer, and may interfere with various electronic medical devices, including hearing aids and pacemakers. Concerns over radio frequency emissions may have the effect of discouraging the use of wireless handsets, which would decrease demand for our services. In recent years, the FCC and foreign regulatory agencies have updated the guidelines and methods they use for evaluating radio frequency emissions from radio equipment, including wireless handsets. In addition, interest groups have requested that the FCC investigate claims that wireless technologies pose health concerns and cause interference with airbags, hearing aids and other medical devices. There also are some safety risks associated with the use of wireless handsets while driving. Concerns over these safety risks and the effect of any legislation that may be adopted in response to these risks could limit our ability to market and sell our products and services.
•The regulatory environment for VoIP services is developing - The FCC has determined that VoIP services are not subject to the same regulatory scheme as traditional wireline and wireless telephone services. If the regulatory environment for VoIP services evolves in a manner other than the way we anticipate, our 911 business would be significantly harmed and future growth of our business would be significantly reduced. For example, the regulatory scheme for wireless and wireline service providers requires those carriers to allow service providers such as us to have access to certain databases that make the delivery of a 911 call possible. No such requirements exist for VoIP service providers, so carriers could prevent us from continuing to provide VoIP 911 service by denying us access to the required databases.
All of our business activities are subject to rapid technological change, new entrants, the introduction of other distribution models and long development and testing periods each of which may harm our competitive position, render our product or service offerings obsolete and require us to continuously develop technology and/or obtain licensed technology in order to compete successfully.
We are engaged in business activities characterized by rapid technological change, evolving industry standards, frequent new product announcements and enhancements, and changing customer demands. The introduction of products and services or future industry standards embodying new technologies, such as multi-frequency time-division multiple access ("MF-TDMA") based technologies could render any of our products and services obsolete or non-competitive. The successful execution of our business strategy is contingent upon wireless network operators launching and maintaining mobile location services, our ability to maintain a technically skilled development and engineering team, our ability to create new network software products and adapt our existing products to rapidly changing technologies, industry standards and customer needs. As a result of the complexities inherent in our product offerings, new technologies may require long development and testing periods. Additionally, new products may not achieve market acceptance or our competitors could develop alternative technologies that gain broader market acceptance than our products. If we are unable to develop and introduce technologically advanced products that respond to evolving industry standards and customer needs, or if we are unable to complete the development and introduction of these products on a timely and cost effective basis, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition or could result in our technology becoming obsolete.
New entrants seeking to gain market share by introducing new technology and new products may make it more difficult for us to sell our products and services and could create increased pricing pressure, reduced profit margins, increased sales and marketing expenses, or the loss of market share or expected market share, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. For example, many companies are developing new technologies and the shift towards open standards such as IP-based satellite networks will likely result in increased competition and some of our products may become commoditized.
Our Commercial Solutions segment provides various technologies that are utilized on mobile phones. Applications from competitors for location-based or text-based messaging platforms may be preloaded on mobile devices by original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, or offered by OEMs directly. Increased competition from providers of location-based services which do not rely on a wireless carrier may result in fewer wireless carrier subscribers electing to purchase their wireless carrier’s branded location-based services, which could harm our business and revenue. In addition, these location-based or text-based services may be offered for free or on a one-time fee basis, which could force us to reduce monthly subscription fees or migrate to a one-time fee model to remain competitive. We may also lose end users or face erosion in our average revenue per user if these competitors deliver their products without charge to the consumer by generating revenue from advertising or as part of other applications or services.
Our expected growth and our financial position depends on, among other things, our ability to keep pace with such changes and developments and to respond to the increasing variety of electronic equipment users and transmission technologies. We may not have the financial or technological resources to keep pace with such changes and developments or be successful in our research and development and we may not be able to identify and respond to technological improvements made by our competitors in a timely or cost-effective fashion. Any delays could result in increased costs of development or redirect resources from other projects. In addition, we cannot provide assurances that the markets for our products, systems, services or technologies will develop as we currently anticipate. The failure of our products, systems, services or technologies to gain market acceptance could significantly reduce our net sales and harm our business.
Our business is highly competitive, we are reliant upon the success of our partners, and some of our competitors have significantly greater resources than we do, which could result in a loss of customers, market share and/or market acceptance.
Our business is highly competitive. We will continue to invest in research and development for the introduction of new and enhanced products and services designed to improve capacity, data processing rates and features. We must also continue to develop new features and to improve functionality of our software. Research and development in our industry is complex, expensive and uncertain. We believe that we must continue to dedicate a significant amount of resources to research and development efforts to maintain our competitive position. If we continue to expend a significant amount of resources on research and development, but our efforts do not lead to the successful introduction of product and service enhancements that are competitive in the marketplace, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.
Several of our potential competitors are substantially larger than we are and have greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. In particular, larger competitors have certain advantages over us which could cause us to lose customers and impede our ability to attract new customers, including: larger bases of financial, technical, marketing, personnel and other resources; more established relationships with wireless carriers and government customers; more funds to deploy products and services; and the ability to lower prices (or not charge any price) of competitive products and services because they are selling larger volumes. Furthermore, we cannot be sure that our competitors will not develop competing products, systems, services or technologies that gain market acceptance in advance of our products, systems, services or technologies, or that our competitors will not develop new products, systems, services or technologies that cause our existing products, systems, services or technologies to become non-competitive or obsolete, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
Our Commercial Solutions segment provides public safety and location technologies to various state and local municipalities and to a large extent, we are reliant on the success of our wireless partners and distributors to meet our growth objectives. In some cases, our wireless partners may have different objectives, or our distributors may not be successful. We also began an evaluation and repositioning of certain of our location technology solutions within our Commercial Solutions segment in order to focus on providing higher margin solution offerings and increase our penetration into the public safety space. To date, we have ceased offering certain location technology solutions, have worked with customers to wind-down certain legacy contracts and have not renewed certain contracts. Going forward, we intend to continue to work with our partners and expand our direct and indirect sales and distribution channels in this area. If we are not successful in doing so, we may not be able to achieve our long-term business goals.
Contract cost growth on our firm fixed-price contracts, including most of our government contracts, cost reimbursable type contracts and other contracts that cannot be justified as an increase in contract value due from customers exposes us to reduced profitability and the potential loss of future business and other risks.
A substantial portion of our products and services are sold under firm fixed-price contracts. Firm fixed-price contracts inherently have more risk than flexibly priced contracts. This means that we bear the risk of unanticipated technological, manufacturing, supply or other problems, price increases or other increases in the cost of performance. Future events could result in either upward or downward adjustments to those estimates which could negatively impact our profitability. Operating margin is materially adversely affected when contract costs that cannot be billed to the customer are incurred. This cost growth can occur if initial estimates used for calculating the contract price were incorrect, or if estimates to complete increase. To a lesser extent, we provide products and services under cost reimbursable type contracts which carry the entire burden of costs exceeding a negotiated contract ceiling price.
The cost estimation process requires significant judgment and expertise. Reasons for cost growth may include unavailability and productivity of labor, the nature and complexity of the work to be performed, the effect of change orders, the availability of materials, the effect of any delays in performance, availability and timing of funding from the customer, natural disasters, and the inability to recover any claims included in the estimates to complete. A significant change in an estimate on one or more programs could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Ongoing compliance with the provisions of securities laws, related regulations and financial reporting standards could unexpectedly materially increase our costs and compliance related expenses.
Because we are a publicly traded company, we are required to comply with provisions of securities laws, related regulations and financial reporting standards. Because securities laws, related regulations and financial reporting standards pertaining to our business are relatively complex, our business faces increased risks including the following:
•If we identify a material weakness in the future, our costs may unexpectedly increase - Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related SEC rules, we are required to furnish a report of management’s assessment of the effectiveness of our internal controls as part of our Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our independent registered public accountants are required to attest to and provide a separate opinion. To issue our report, we document our internal control design and the testing processes that support our evaluation and conclusion, and then we test and evaluate the results. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be able to remediate material weaknesses, if any, that may be identified in future periods, or maintain all of the controls necessary for continued compliance. There likewise can be no assurance that we will be able to retain sufficient skilled finance and accounting personnel, especially in light of the increased demand for such personnel among publicly traded companies.
•Stock-based compensation accounting standards could negatively impact our stock - Since our inception, we have used stock-based awards as a fundamental component of our employee compensation packages. We believe that stock-based awards directly motivate our employees to maximize long-term stockholder value and, through the use of long-term vesting, encourage employees to remain with us. We apply the provisions of ASC 718, "Compensation - Stock Compensation," which requires us to record compensation expense in our statement of operations for employee and director stock-based awards using a fair value method. In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, we adopted FASB ASU No. 2016-09 which modified certain aspects of ASC 718, including the requirement to recognize excess tax benefits and shortfalls in the income statement. The ongoing application of this standard will have a significant effect on our reported earnings, and could adversely impact our ability to provide accurate guidance on our future reported financial results due to the variability of the factors used to estimate the value of stock-based awards (including long-term performance shares which are subject to the achievement of three-year goals which are based on several performance metrics). The ongoing application of this standard could impact the future value of our common stock and may result in greater stock price volatility. To the extent that this accounting standard makes it less attractive to grant stock-based awards to employees, we may incur increased compensation costs, change our equity compensation strategy or find it difficult to attract, retain and motivate employees, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Also, the accounting rules and regulations that we must comply with are complex. Accounting rules and regulations are continually changing in ways that could materially impact our financial statements. As further discussed in "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (1) - Summary of Significant Accounting and Reporting Policies" included in "Part II - Item 8. - Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we note the following:
•We must maintain compliance with new complex revenue recognition rules - On August 1, 2018 (our first quarter of fiscal 2019), we adopted ASU No. 2014-09 "Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606)," which replaces numerous requirements in U.S. GAAP, including industry specific requirements, and provides a single revenue recognition model for contracts with customers. The ASU applies to all open contracts existing as of August 1, 2018. We adopted this ASU using the modified retrospective method and there was no material impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•We must maintain compliance with new complex lease accounting rules - In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02, "Leases (Topic 842)," to revise existing lease accounting guidance. The update requires most leases to be recorded on the balance sheet as a lease liability, with a corresponding right-of-use asset. We adopted Topic 842 on August 1, 2019, the beginning of our first quarter of fiscal 2020. Except for recording a total right-of-use asset and corresponding lease liability on our Consolidated Balance Sheet, which amount approximates 4.0% of our total consolidated assets at July 31, 2019, our adoption of Topic 842 did not have a material impact to our statements of operations or cash flows.
We must comply with these new rules on a go-forward basis. Because of the uncertainties of the estimates, judgments and assumptions associated with these new accounting standards, as well as with any future guidance or interpretations related to them, we may incur additional costs and cannot provide any assurances that we will be able to comply with such complex rules.
Our costs to comply with the aforementioned and other regulations continue to increase and we may have to add additional accounting staff, engage consultants or change our internal practices, standards and policies which could significantly increase our costs to comply with ongoing or future requirements. In addition, the NASDAQ Stock Market LLC ("NASDAQ") routinely changes its requirements for companies, such as us, that are listed on NASDAQ. These changes (and potential future changes) have increased and may increase our legal and financial compliance costs, including making it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance or maintain our current liability coverage. We believe that these new and proposed laws and regulations could make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our Board of Directors, particularly to serve on our Audit Committee, and qualified executive officers.
We face a number of risks relating to the expected long-term growth of our business. Our business and operating results may be negatively impacted if we are unable to manage this growth.
These risks include:
•The loss of key technical and/or management personnel could adversely affect our business - Our future success depends on the continued contributions of key technical and management personnel. Many of our key and technical management personnel would be difficult to replace and are not subject to employment or non-competition agreements. We currently have research and development employees in areas that are located a great distance away from our U.S. headquarters and some work out of their respective homes. Managing remote product development operations is difficult and we may not be able to manage the employees in these remote centers successfully. Our expected growth and future success will depend, in large part, upon our ability to attract and retain highly qualified engineering, sales and marketing personnel. Competition for such personnel from other companies, academic institutions, government entities and other organizations is intense. Although we believe that we have been successful to-date in recruiting and retaining key personnel, we may not be successful in attracting and retaining the personnel we will need to grow and operate profitably. Also, the management skills that have been appropriate for us in the past may not continue to be appropriate if we grow and diversify.
•We may not be able to improve our processes and systems to keep pace with anticipated growth - The future growth of our business may place significant demands on our managerial, operational and financial resources. In order to manage that growth, we must be prepared to improve and expand our management, operational and financial systems and controls. We also need to continue to recruit and retain personnel and train and manage our employee base. We must carefully manage research and development capabilities and production and inventory levels to meet product demand, new product introductions and product and technology transitions. If we are not able to timely and effectively manage our growth and maintain the quality standards required by our existing and potential customers, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•Our markets are highly competitive and there can be no assurance that we can continue to compete effectively - The markets for our products are highly competitive. There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to compete successfully on price or other terms, or that our competitors will not develop new technologies and products that are more effective than our own. We expect the Department of Defense’s increased use of commercial off-the-shelf products and components in military equipment will encourage new competitors to enter the market. Also, although the implementation of advanced telecommunications services is in its early stages in many developing countries, we believe competition will continue to intensify as businesses and foreign governments realize the market potential of telecommunications services. Many of our competitors have financial, technical, marketing, sales and distribution resources greater than ours. Recently, we have seen increased requests for proposals from large wireless carriers for sole-source solutions and have responded to several such requests. In order to induce retention of existing customer contracts and obtain business on a sole-source basis, we may ultimately agree to adjust pricing on a retroactive basis. If our sole-source proposals are rejected in favor of a competitor’s proposal, it could result in the termination of existing contracts, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•We may not be able to obtain sufficient components to meet expected demand - Our dependence on component availability, government furnished equipment, subcontractors and key suppliers, including the core manufacturing expertise of our high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Tempe, Arizona, exposes us to risk. Although we obtain certain components and subsystems from a single source or a limited number of sources, we believe that most components and subsystems are available from alternative suppliers and subcontractors. During the past year or so, and as a result of overall increased industry-wide demand, lead times for many components have increased. In addition, threats of or actual tariffs could limit our ability to obtain certain parts on a cost-effective basis, or at all. A significant interruption in the delivery of such items could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, if our high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Tempe, Arizona is unable to produce sufficient product or maintain quality, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•Our ability to maintain affordable credit insurance may become more difficult - In the normal course of our business, we purchase credit insurance to mitigate some of our domestic and international credit risk. Although credit insurance remains generally available, upon renewal, it may become more expensive to obtain or may not be available for existing or new customers in certain international markets and it might require higher deductibles than in the past. If we acquire a company with a different customer base, we may not be able to obtain credit insurance for those sales. As such, there can be no assurance that, in the future, we will be able to obtain credit insurance on a basis consistent with our past practices.
We rely upon various third-party companies and their technology to provide services to our customers and if we are unable to obtain such services at reasonable prices, or at all, our gross margins and our ability to provide the services of our wireless applications business could be materially adversely affected.
Risks from our reliance with these third parties include:
•The loss of mapping and third-party content - The wireless data services provided to our customers are dependent on real-time, continuous feeds from map data, points of interest data, traffic information, gas prices, theater, event and weather information from vendors and others. Any disruption of this third-party content from our satellite feeds or backup landline feeds or other disruption could result in delays in our subscribers’ ability to receive information. We obtain this data that we sell to our customers from companies owned by current and potential competitors, who may act in a manner that is not in our best interest. If our suppliers of this data or content were to enter into exclusive relationships with other providers of location-based services or were to discontinue providing such information and we were unable to replace them cost effectively, or at all, our ability to provide the services of our wireless applications business would be materially adversely affected. Our gross margins may also be materially adversely affected if the cost of third-party data and content increases substantially.
•Third-party data centers or third-party networks may fail - Many products and services of our advanced communication solutions, in particular our public safety and location technology solutions, are provided through a combination of our servers, which are hosted at third-party data centers, and on the networks, as well as within the data centers of our wireless carrier partners. The third-party facilities are in Irvine, California, San Francisco, California, Dallas, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina, and we may use others as required. We also use third-party data center facilities in the Phoenix, Arizona area to provide for disaster recovery. Additionally, certain non-911 products, technologies, and solutions are currently hosted in cloud-based applications operated by third parties such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. As such, our business relies to a significant degree on the efficient and uninterrupted operation of the third-party data centers, customer data centers, and cloud providers we use. Network failures, disruptions or capacity constraints in our third-party data center facilities or in our servers maintained at their location could affect the performance of the products and services of our wireless applications and 911 business and harm our reputation and our revenue. The ability of our subscribers to receive critical location and business information requires timely and uninterrupted connections with our wireless network carriers. Any disruption from our satellite feeds or backup landline feeds could also result in delays in our subscribers’ ability to receive information.
•We must integrate our technologies and routinely upgrade them - We may not be able to upgrade our location services platform to support certain advanced features and functionality without obtaining technology licenses from third parties. Obtaining these licenses may be costly and may delay the introduction of such features and functionality, and these licenses may not be available on commercially favorable terms, or at all. Problems and delays in development or delivery as a result of issues with respect to design, technology, licensing and patent rights, labor, learning curve assumptions, or materials and components could prevent us from achieving contractual obligations. In addition, our products cannot be tested and proven in all situations and are otherwise subject to unforeseen problems. The inability to offer advanced features or functionality, or a delay in our ability to upgrade our location-based services platform, may materially adversely affect demand for our products and services and, consequently, have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
•We rely upon "open-source" software - We have incorporated some types of open-source software into our products, allowing us to enhance certain solutions without incurring substantial additional research and development costs. Thus far, we have encountered no unanticipated material problems arising from our use of open-source software. However, as the use of open-source software becomes more widespread, certain open-source technology could become competitive with our proprietary technology, which could cause sales of our products to decline or force us to reduce the fees we charge for our products, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Indemnification provisions in our contracts could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated results of operations, financial position, or cash flows.
In the ordinary course of business, we include indemnification provisions in certain of our customer contracts. Pursuant to these agreements, we have agreed to indemnify, hold harmless and reimburse the indemnified party for losses suffered or incurred by the indemnified party, including but not limited to losses related to third-party intellectual property claims. Some customers seek indemnification under their contractual arrangements with the Company for claims and other costs associated with defending lawsuits alleging infringement of patents through their use of our products and services, and the use of our products and services in combination with products and services of other vendors.
In some cases, we have agreed to assume the defense of the case. In others, the Company will negotiate with these customers in good faith because the Company believes its technology does not infringe the cited patents or due to specific clauses within the customer contractual arrangements that may or may not give rise to an indemnification obligation. It is not possible to determine the maximum potential amount the Company may spend under these agreements due to the unique facts and circumstances involved in each particular agreement.
The Company's assessments related to indemnification provisions are based on estimates and assumptions that have been deemed reasonable by management, but that may prove to be incomplete or inaccurate, and unanticipated events and circumstances may occur that might cause the Company to change those estimates and assumptions. Therefore, it is possible that an unfavorable resolution of one or more of these matters could have a material adverse effect on the Company's consolidated financial statements in a future fiscal period.
We are, from time to time, and could become a party to additional litigation or subject to claims, including product liability claims, employee claims, government investigations and other proceedings that could cause us to incur unanticipated expenses and otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We are, from time to time, involved in commercial disputes and civil litigation relating to our businesses. For example, in March 2019, we initiated litigation against a former employee and her new employer arising from such former employee's violation of her obligation to TCS of confidentiality, non-competition and non-solicitation of customers and employees. The former employee has responded with her own lawsuit against us.
Our agreements with customers may require us to indemnify such customers. Direct claims against us or claims against our customers may relate to defects in or non-conformance of our products, or our own acts of negligence and non-performance. Occasionally, we are called upon also to provide information in connection with litigation involving other parties or government investigations. Product liability and other forms of insurance are expensive and may not be available in the future.
We cannot be sure that we will be able to maintain or obtain insurance coverage at acceptable costs or in sufficient amounts or that our insurer will not disclaim coverage as to a future claim. In many cases, we are unable to obtain insurance and are self-insured. Any such claim could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
For additional information related to these lawsuits, see "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (13)(a) - Commitments and Contingencies - Legal Proceedings and Other Matters" included in "Part II - Item 8.- Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Because our software may contain defects or errors, and our hardware products may incorporate defective components, our sales could decrease if these defects or errors adversely affect our reputation or delay shipments of our products.
Products as complex as ours are likely to contain undetected errors or defects, especially when first introduced or when new versions are released. Software products, such as our 911 call handling software solutions, must meet stringent customer technical requirements and we must satisfy our warranty obligations to our customers. Our hardware products are also subject to warranty obligations and integrate a wide variety of components from different vendors.
Our products including software may not be error or defect free after delivery to customers, which could damage our reputation, cause revenue losses, result in the rejection of our products or services, divert development resources and increase service and warranty costs, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Protection of our intellectual property is limited and pursuing infringers of our patents and other intellectual property rights can be costly.
Our businesses rely, in large part, upon our proprietary scientific and engineering know-how and production techniques. We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark, service mark, trade secret and unfair competition laws, restrictions in licensing agreements, confidentiality provisions and various other contractual provisions to protect our intellectual property and related proprietary rights, but these legal means provide only limited protection. Although a number of patents have been issued to us and we have obtained a number of other patents as a result of our acquisitions, we cannot assure you that our issued patents will be upheld if challenged by another party. Additionally, with respect to any patent applications which we have filed, we cannot assure you that any patents will be issued as a result of these applications.
The departure of any of our key management and technical personnel, the breach of their confidentiality and non-disclosure obligations to us or the failure to achieve our intellectual property objectives could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Our ability to compete successfully and achieve future revenue growth will depend, in part, on our ability to protect our proprietary technology and operate without infringing upon the rights of others. We may fail to do so. In addition, the laws of certain countries in which our products are or may be sold may not protect our products or intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S.
Our ability to protect our intellectual property rights is also subject to the terms of future government contracts. We cannot assure you that the federal government will not demand greater intellectual property rights or restrict our ability to disseminate intellectual property. We are also a member of standards-setting organizations and have agreed to license some of our intellectual property to other members on fair and reasonable terms to the extent that the license is required to develop non-infringing products.
Pursuing infringers of our proprietary rights could result in significant litigation costs, and any failure to pursue infringers could result in our competitors utilizing our technology and offering similar products, potentially resulting in loss of a competitive advantage and decreased revenues. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, existing patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws afford only limited protection. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect our proprietary rights to the same extent as do the laws of the U.S. Protecting our know-how is difficult especially after our employees or those of our third-party contract service providers end their employment or engagement. Attempts may be made to copy or reverse-engineer aspects of our products or to obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary. Accordingly, we may not be able to prevent the misappropriation of our technology or prevent others from developing similar technology. Furthermore, policing the unauthorized use of our products is difficult and expensive. Litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce our intellectual property rights or to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others. The costs and diversion of resources could significantly harm our business. If we fail to protect our intellectual property, we may not receive any return on the resources expended to create the intellectual property or generate any competitive advantage based on it.
Third parties may claim we are infringing their intellectual property rights and we could be prevented from selling our products, or suffer significant litigation expense, even if these claims have no merit.
Our competitive position is driven in part by our intellectual property and other proprietary rights. Third parties, however, may claim that we, our products, operations or any products or technology we obtain from other parties are infringing their intellectual property rights, and we may be unaware of intellectual property rights of others that may impact some of our assets, technology and products. From time to time we receive letters from third parties who allege we are infringing their intellectual property and ask us to license such intellectual property. We review the merits of each such letter and respond as we deem appropriate.
From time to time our customers are parties to allegations of intellectual property infringement claims based on our customers’ incorporation and use of our products and services, which may lead to demands from our customers for us to indemnify them for costs in defending those allegations. Any litigation regarding patents, trademarks, copyrights or intellectual property rights, even those without merit, and the related indemnification demands of our customers, can be costly and time consuming, and divert our management and key personnel from operating our business. The complexity of the technology involved, and inherent uncertainty and cost of intellectual property litigation increases our risks. If any third party has a meritorious or successful claim that we are infringing its intellectual property rights, we may be forced to change our products or enter into licensing arrangements with third parties, which may be costly or impractical. This also may require us to stop selling our products as currently engineered, which could harm our competitive position. We also may be subject to significant damages or injunctions that prevent the further development and sale of certain of our products or services and may result in a material loss of revenue.
From time to time, there have been claims challenging the ownership of open source software against companies that incorporate open source software into their products. As a result, we could be subject to suits by parties claiming ownership of what we believe to be open source software. Some open source licenses contain requirements that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works under the terms of a particular open source license or other license granting third parties certain rights of further use. If we combine our proprietary software products with open source software in a certain manner, we could under certain of the open source licenses, be required to release our proprietary source code. Open source license terms may be ambiguous and many of the risks associated with usage of open source software cannot be eliminated, and could if not properly addressed, negatively affect our business. If we were found to have inappropriately used open source software, we may be required to release our proprietary source code, re-engineer our products and client applications, discontinue the sale of our products or services in the event re-engineering cannot be accomplished on a timely basis or take other remedial action that may divert resources away from our development efforts, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, and financial condition.
A change in our relationship with our large wireless carrier customers could have a material adverse effect.
Although we have a long history of providing services to many of our wireless carrier partners, a change in purchasing or procurement strategies by a wireless carrier partner could result in the loss of business from that partner. Additionally, from time to time, we routinely perform services without a multi-period contract while we negotiate new and extended contract terms and pricing. These negotiations are complex and may take long periods of time. Even when we successfully negotiate a multi-period contract, our wireless carrier contracts, such as the ones with Verizon which accounted for 8.8% of our sales in fiscal 2020, provide for terminations with notice and provide a mechanism for the wireless carrier to renegotiate lower fees and/or change services. Fee pressure from these carriers are constant and ongoing. Thus, even when we obtain a multi-period contract term, our revenues could be suddenly and materially reduced.
Competitors offer technology that has functionality similar to ours for free, under different business models. Competition from such free offerings may reduce our revenue and harm our business. If our wireless carrier partners can offer such technology to their subscribers for free, they may elect to cease their relationships with us, alter or reduce the manner or extent to which they market or offer our services or require us to substantially reduce our subscription fees or pursue other business strategies that may not prove successful for us and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If our wireless carrier partners change the pricing and other terms by which they offer our products to their end-customers or do not continue to provide our services at all or renegotiate lower fees with us, our business, results of operations, and financial condition could be suddenly and materially adversely affected.
We generate a significant portion of our revenue from customers that are wireless carriers, such as Verizon which accounted for 8.8% of our revenues in fiscal 2020. In addition, a portion of our revenue is derived from subscription fees that we receive from our wireless carrier partners for end-users who subscribe to our service on a standalone basis or in a bundle with other services. Future revenue will depend on the pricing and quality of those services and subscriber demand for those services, which may vary by market, and the level of subscriber turnover experienced by our wireless carrier partners. If subscriber turnover increases more than we anticipate, our financial results could be materially adversely affected.
Poor performance in or disruptions of the services included in our advanced communication solutions could harm our reputation, delay market acceptance of our services and subject us to liabilities (including breach of contract claims brought by our customers and third-party damages claims brought by end-users). Our wireless carrier agreements and certain customers require us to meet specific requirements including operational uptime requirements or be subject to penalties.
If we are unable to meet contractual requirements with our wireless carrier partners, such as Verizon, they could terminate our agreements or we may be required to refund a portion of monthly subscriptions fees they have paid us.
Risks Related to our Common Stock
Our stock price is volatile.
The stock market in general and the stock prices of technology-based companies, in particular, experience extreme volatility that often is unrelated to the operating performance of any specific public company. The market price of our common stock has fluctuated significantly in the past and is likely to fluctuate significantly in the future as well. Factors that could have a significant impact on the market price of our stock include, among others:
•strategic transactions, such as acquisitions and divestures;
•our ability to successfully integrate and manage recent acquisitions;
•issuance of potentially dilutive equity or equity-type securities;
•issuance of debt;
•future announcements concerning us or our competitors;
•receipt or non-receipt of substantial orders for products and services;
•quality deficiencies in services or products;
•results of technological innovations;
•new commercial products;
•changes in recommendations of securities analysts;
•changes in the status or outcome of government audits;
•proprietary rights or product or patent litigation;
•changes in U.S. government policies;
•changes in economic conditions generally, particularly in the telecommunications sector;
•changes in securities market conditions, generally;
•changes in the status of litigation and legal matters (including changes in the status of export matters);
•acts of terrorism or war;
•inflation or deflation; and
•rumors or allegations regarding our financial disclosures or practices.
Shortfalls in our sales or earnings in any given period relative to the levels expected by securities analysts could immediately, significantly and adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.
Future issuances of our shares of common stock could dilute a stockholder's ownership interest in Comtech and reduce the market price of our shares of common stock.
In addition to potential issuances of our shares of common stock associated with the pending acquisitions of Gilat and UHP, in the future, we may issue additional securities to raise capital. We may also acquire interests in other companies by using a combination of cash and our common stock or just our common stock. We may also issue securities convertible into our common stock. Any of these events may dilute a stockholder's ownership interest in Comtech and have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.
Provisions in our corporate documents and Delaware law could delay or prevent a change in control of Comtech.
We have taken a number of actions that could have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a merger or acquisition involving Comtech that our stockholders may consider favorable.
For example, we have a classified board and the employment contract with our President and CEO, and agreements with other of our executive officers, provide for substantial payments in certain circumstances or in the event of a change of control of Comtech. In the future, we may adopt a stockholder rights plan which could cause substantial dilution to a stockholder, and substantially increase the cost paid by a stockholder who attempts to acquire us on terms not approved by our Board of Directors.
In addition, we are subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, an anti-takeover law. In general, this statute provides that, except in certain limited circumstances, a corporation shall not engage in any "business combination" with an "interested stockholder" for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder, unless the business combination is approved in a prescribed manner.
A "business combination" includes mergers, asset sales and other transactions resulting in a financial benefit to the interested stockholder. Subject to certain exceptions, for purposes of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, an "interested stockholder" is a person who, together with affiliates, owns, or within three years did own, 15% or more of the corporation's voting stock. This provision could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control of Comtech.
A disruption in our Common Stock dividend program could negatively impact our stock price.
We have paid quarterly common stock dividends every quarter since September 2010.
Our ability to continue to pay quarterly dividends with respect to our Common Stock will depend on our ability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations in the future and maintain compliance with our Credit Facility or potentially the Gilat Acquisition Related Credit Facility. This ability may be subject to certain economic, financial, competitive and other factors that are beyond our control. Future Common Stock dividends remain subject to compliance with financial covenants under our Credit Facility, as well as Board approval. Our Board of Directors may, at its discretion, decrease the targeted annual dividend amount or entirely discontinue the payment of dividends at any time.
Additionally, our ability to declare and pay common stock dividends and make other distributions with respect to our capital stock may also be restricted by the terms of our Credit Facility, and may be restricted by the terms of financing arrangements that we enter into in the future.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Historically, we have not owned any material properties or facilities and have relied upon a strategy of leasing. The following table lists our primary leased facilities at July 31, 2020:
|Location||Property Type|| ||Square Footage|| ||Lease Expiration|
|Commercial Solutions Segment|
|Tempe, Arizona||A||Manufacturing and Engineering||152,000 ||February 2021|
|Seattle, Washington|| ||B||Network Operations, R&D, Engineering and Sales|| ||57,000 || ||December 2022|
|Santa Clara, California||C||Manufacturing and Engineering||47,000 ||April 2026|
|Stoughton, Massachusetts||D||Network Operations||26,000 ||March 2025|
|Various facilities||E||Engineering and General Office||23,000 ||Various|
|Lake Forest, California|| ||F||R&D and Engineering|| ||18,000 || ||July 2023|
|Gatineau, Canada||G||Network Operations, R&D, Engineering, Sales and General Office||15,000 ||April 2023|
|Moscow, Idaho||H||Support, Engineering and Sales||13,000 ||February 2025|
|Annapolis, Maryland|| ||F||Support, Engineering and Sales|| ||11,000 || ||July 2026|
|Germantown, Maryland||I||Engineering and General Office||6,000 ||May 2025|
|Government Solutions Segment|
|Orlando, Florida||J||Manufacturing and Engineering||99,000 ||April 2026|
|Melville, New York||K||Manufacturing and Engineering||45,000 ||December 2021|
|Hampshire, UK||L||Manufacturing and Engineering||41,000 ||Various|
|Cypress, California|| ||F||Support, Engineering and Sales|| ||28,000 || ||July 2025|
|Germantown, Maryland||I||Engineering and General Office||26,000 ||May 2025|
|Plano, Texas|| ||F||R&D and Engineering|| ||12,000 || ||August 2025|
|Various facilities||M||Support, Engineering and Sales||12,000 ||Various|
|Annapolis, Maryland|| ||F||Support, Engineering and Sales|| ||6,000 || ||July 2026|
|Annapolis, Maryland|| ||F||General Office and Common Areas|| ||2,000 || ||July 2026|
|Melville, New York||N||Corporate Headquarters and General Office||9,600 ||August 2027|
|Total Square Footage|| || ||648,600 || || |
A.Although primarily used for our satellite earth station product lines, which are part of the Commercial Solutions segment, both of our business segments utilize, from time to time, our high-volume technology manufacturing facilities located in Tempe, Arizona. These manufacturing facilities utilize state-of-the-art design and production techniques, including analog, digital and RF microwave production, hardware assembly and full service engineering. Our leases for these facilities expire through fiscal 2021.
To support our anticipated growth and long-term business goals for our satellite earth station product line, in September 2020, we signed a 15-year lease for a 146,000 square foot facility in Chandler, Arizona. We anticipate that all existing Tempe, Arizona locations will be fully relocated to this new facility by February 2021.
B.Our office in Seattle, Washington is used primarily for servicing and hosting our VoIP and VoWiFi E911 and NG-911 services, and related emerging technologies.
C.Our Commercial Solutions segment manufactures certain amplifiers in a leased manufacturing facility located in Santa Clara, California. Our Commercial Solutions segment also operates a small office in the United Kingdom with a lease that expires in October 2021.
D.Our Commercial Solutions segment maintains office space in Stoughton, Massachusetts used primarily for servicing certain of our state and local municipality NG-911 customers.
E.Our Commercial Solutions segment also leases an additional nine facilities, one of which is located in the U.S. The 4,000 square foot U.S. facility is primarily utilized for general office use. Our Commercial Solutions segment also operates eight small offices in Brazil, Canada, China, India, Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom, all of which aggregate 19,000 square feet and are primarily utilized for customer support, engineering and sales.
F.We have leases for facilities in Annapolis, Maryland and Lake Forest, California used primarily for the design and development of our software-based systems and applications and network operations. Major manufacturing and engineering facilities for our Government Solutions segment include Orlando, Florida, Cypress, California and Plano, Texas.
G.Our Commercial Solutions segment maintains office space in Gatineau, Canada that is utilized for network operations, R&D, engineering and sales of our public safety and location technology solutions.
H.Our office in Moscow, Idaho is primarily used for research and development, engineering and sales of our satellite earth station products.
I.Our Government Solutions segment leases a 32,000 square foot facility located in Germantown, Maryland, which is primarily used to support the U.S. Army's BFT-1 sustainment activities and certain cyber training activities. Our Government Solutions segment occupies 26,000 square feet of the facility with the remainder utilized by our Commercial Solutions segment.
J.Our Government Solutions segment engineers and manufactures our over-the-horizon microwave systems and mission-critical satellite equipment in a leased facility in Orlando, Florida. This segment also leases a small office in North Africa.
K.Our Government Solutions segment manufactures certain of our solid-state, high-power amplifiers in a 45,000 square foot engineering and manufacturing facility on more than two acres of land in Melville, New York and an 8,000 square foot facility in Topsfield, Massachusetts. We lease the New York facility from a partnership controlled by our CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors. The lease provides for our use of the premises as they exist through December 2021 with an option to renew for an additional ten-year period. We have a right of first refusal in the event of a sale of the facility. Our Massachusetts lease is currently on a month-to-month basis and is therefore excluded from the table above.
L.Our Government Solutions segment currently leases three manufacturing facilities in Hampshire, United Kingdom, which were assumed in connection with our acquisition of CGC in fiscal 2020.
M.Our Government Solutions segment also leases additional four facilities located in the U.S. that are primarily used for engineering, sales and software development.
N.Our corporate headquarters are located in an office building complex in Melville, New York. The lease provides for our use of the premises through August 2027.
The terms for all of our leased facilities are generally for multi-year periods and we believe that we will be able to renew these leases or find comparable facilities elsewhere.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Information regarding legal proceedings is incorporated herein by reference to the "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements – Note (13)(a) - Commitments and Contingencies – Legal Proceedings and Other Matters" included in "Part II - Item 8.- Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Stock Performance Graph and Cumulative Total Return
The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock with the cumulative total return on the S&P’s 500 Index and the NASDAQ Telecommunications Index for each of the last five fiscal years ended July 31, assuming an investment of $100 at the beginning of such period and the reinvestment of any dividends. The comparisons in the graphs below are based upon historical data and are not indicative of, nor intended to forecast, future performance of our common stock.
Our common stock trades on the NASDAQ Stock Market LLC ("NASDAQ") under the symbol "CMTL."
Since September 2010, we have paid quarterly dividends. On September 24, 2019, December 4, 2019, March 4, 2020 and June 3, 2020, our Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per common share, which were paid on November 15, 2019, February 14, 2020, May 15, 2020 and August 14, 2020, respectively.
On September 29, 2020, our Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per common share, payable on October 27, 2020 to stockholders of record at the close of business on October 14, 2020.
The Board of Directors is currently targeting fiscal 2021 quarterly dividend payments of $0.10 per common share.
Future Common Stock dividends remain subject to compliance with financial covenants under our Credit Facility, as well as Board approval.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
We did not repurchase any of our equity securities during the fiscal year ended July 31, 2020. As of July 31, 2020, we were authorized to repurchase up to an additional $8.7 million of our common stock, pursuant to a $100.0 million stock repurchase program that was previously authorized by our Board of Directors. On September 29, 2020, our Board of Directors authorized a new $100.0 million stock repurchase program, which replaced our prior program. The new $100.0 million stock repurchase program has no time restrictions and repurchases may be made from time to time in open-market or privately negotiated transactions, or by other means in accordance with federal securities laws. We had approximately 24.9 million of Common Stock outstanding as of July 31, 2020.
Approximate Number of Equity Security Holders
As of September 25, 2020, there were approximately 833 holders of our common stock. Such number of record owners was determined from our stockholder records and does not include beneficial owners whose shares of our common stock are held in the name of various security holders, dealers and clearing agencies.
ITEM 6. SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA
The following table shows selected historical consolidated financial data for our Company.
Detailed historical financial information is included in the audited consolidated financial statements for fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018.
| ||Fiscal Years Ended July 31,|
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
|Consolidated Statement of Operations Data:|| || || || || |
|Net sales||$||616,715 ||671,797 ||570,589 ||550,368 ||411,004 |
|Cost of sales||389,882 ||424,357 ||346,648 ||332,183 ||239,767 |
|Gross profit||226,833 ||247,440 ||223,941 ||218,185 ||171,237 |
|Expenses:|| || || || || |
|Selling, general and administrative||117,130 ||128,639 ||113,922 ||116,080 ||94,932 |
|Research and development||52,180 ||56,407 ||53,869 ||54,260 ||42,190 |
|Amortization of intangibles||21,595 ||18,320 ||21,075 ||22,823 ||13,415 |
|Settlement of intellectual property litigation||— ||(3,204)||— ||(12,020)||— |
|Acquisition plan expenses||20,754 ||5,871 ||— ||— ||21,276 |
| ||211,659 ||206,033 ||188,866 ||181,143 ||171,813 |
|Operating income (loss)||15,174 ||41,407 ||35,075 ||37,042 ||(576)|
|Other expenses (income):|| || || |
|Interest expense||6,054 ||9,245 ||10,195 ||11,629 ||7,750 |
|Write-off of deferred financing costs||— ||3,217 ||— ||— ||— |
|Interest (income) and other||(190)||35 ||254 ||(68)||(134)|
Income (loss) before provision for (benefit from) income taxes
|9,310 ||28,910 ||24,626 ||25,481 ||(8,192)|
|Provision for (benefit from) income taxes||2,290 ||3,869 ||(5,143)||9,654 ||(454)|
|Net income (loss)||$||7,020 ||25,041 ||29,769 ||15,827 ||(7,738)|
|Net income (loss) per share:|| || || || || |
|Basic||$||0.28 ||1.04 ||1.25 ||0.68 ||(0.46)|
|Diluted||$||0.28 ||1.03 ||1.24 ||0.67 ||(0.46)|
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding – basic
|24,798 ||24,124 ||23,825 ||23,433 ||16,972 |
Weighted average number of common and common equivalent shares outstanding – diluted
|24,899 ||24,302 ||24,040 ||23,489 ||16,972 |
| ||Fiscal Years Ended July 31,|
|Other Consolidated Operating Data:|| || || || || |
|Backlog at period-end||$||620,912 ||682,954 ||630,695 ||446,230 ||484,005 |
|New orders||584,448 ||724,056 ||755,054 ||512,593 ||451,278 |
Research and development expenditures - internal and customer funded
|64,103 ||71,086 ||70,793 ||81,310 ||59,622 |
|Adjusted EBITDA||77,803 ||93,472 ||78,374 ||70,705 ||48,062 |
| ||As of July 31,|