|Compliments of Upticked's great effort tonight, here is a transcript of the entire 20 minute Q&A session of the Q3 conference call. I've taken her 7 posts on Yahoo! and combined them. Thanks Upticked.|
Joan Lapin, Gramercy? Capital: Hi, glad to see you on the mend. Can you tell me if you look forward a year or six quarters, how much of your business do you think will be defense related and because--I mean--we know that goes up and down with changes in governments and whatever.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Right.
Strategically we have an internal goal that defense won’t be more than one-third of our business, and this year it will be in the 20-25 percent range, and if our communications business continues to grow as rapidly as it does, I think looking forward we see defense sort of in the 25% or less range—going forward.
Joan Lapin: Okay, so as you look out to next year, where--would you sort of summarize what you think the big chunks of your—you know— business will be.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Well, at the macro level we see the defense sales growing very quickly, but fortunately, the rest of our business is growing as fast or even slightly faster so that the percentage of sales that you see this year should look somewhat similar next year. And probably the big difference is that we see the fiber optic’s section taking on more a percentage of the total company pie in terms of revenues, but we do not see a return to being dominated by military as we were three or four years ago. So, the answer to your question more succinctly—20-25% military.
Joan Lapin: Yeah, but I’m asking about the OTHER parts, I mean how much do you see each big chunk being?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Well we don’t— you know satellite communications sales this year are going to be approximately 60% of our revenues. Dick, wouldn’t you say that’s accurate?
Dick Forsyth, CFO: I would say that is an accurate figure.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: And, FOG sales are roughly a small percentage this year—5-10% or less and that’s because, you know, we are really just getting into production now. Next year we see the percentage of satellite communications sales will probably drop but only because the fiber optics will increase to maybe 10-20% of our sales.
Joan Lapin: Okay. Thanks
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Thank you.
James Shay of Salomon Smith Barney: Yes, Martin, if we could just digress for a moment. Pertaining to that announcement back in July with Crossbow where you both brought your technologies together. . .
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Yes.
James Shay: And you were optimistic on the development of certain new products in three industry areas.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Right.
James Shay: But it was contingent upon a certain new design meeting certain performance criteria—could you just go over that and elaborate?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Sure, good question. The Crossbow project is on track, and when I talked about the revenue, the backlog for the fiber optic group, I was actually excluding the million dollar Crossbow order that we have because that will ship mostly starting in Q1. We are on schedule to deliver in Q4 this year fairly small quantities which are what we call pre-production units. Basically, it’s a repackaging project that allowed our gyros to fit into their host system, so it’s more of a mechanical redesign, but that’s on schedule and we expect that to be a great relationship going forward.
James Shay: Martin?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Yes
James Shay: This is Jim again. Maybe for Dick. Dick, the expansion in gross margins with the development of these two new areas, mobile broadband and photonics, do you see in 2001 a peaking out of the expansion of these gross margins?
Richard Forsyth: We don’t have any of these products in house as yet. When we look at them, they appear to have stronger gross [inaudible from microphone noise, but it seems he said “margins than our”] existing products, so depending on when these products are introduced into the market, when that happens we feel are going to have a very positive impact on margin expansion.
Joan Lapin’s Follow-up Question:
Joan Lapin: The mobile antennas--is there any potential for you in the rollout of all of this Xfm Serious Radio stuff, is there any relevance to that?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Well, there is in the sense that these antennas—those are also satellite antennas, they are operating in the S-band—and we’ve looked at whether there would be any customer interest in combining, you know, that feature into our antennae as well, and it has mainly to do with real estate on the vehicle so that by combining that--you probably don’t save any money, but you simplify the installation and just eliminate the proliferation of FM, cellular, satellite, you know, and XM radio antennas all in the same vehicle. So I think it really depends on whether that service catches on or not and becomes popular, but we do have the capability to incorporate that antennae into our technology.
Joan Lapin: Without any increase in size?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Without any increase in size.
Joan Lapin: Okay, and for Dick, you mentioned these financing options, and you included joint venture or whatever you called it, so would you amplify on what you would prefer to do and what your thinking is on that score as you start to earn money?
Richard Forsyth: Joan, we’re looking at three options. Customer funding traditionally is an option that we’ve been very successful with as Martin alluded to in his description of R&D. In the military we even spin some of that off for commercial purposes, so that’s an area that is open and we are addressing that. Corporate partnering is a significant piece of the mobile broadband picture and we’re looking at that. Some of these partners have deep pockets, and they may have a tremendous interest in participating in the project. At the same time, we are also looking at the equity market and seeing if there is anything that makes sense in those areas. So, the answer is we’re really pursuing all three.
R. Adkins of Adkins Securities: Thank you. Say, Martin, Dick, I’ve got a question here regarding your product that you had been developing, I believe had been testing regarding a voltage sensor. I think you were talking about eventually bringing in some sort of an industry player on that, to assist you in marketing that. What’s the status of that?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: We’ve actually made very good progress there, and we do have a—you know, we’ve made some, basically we’ve signed an MOU with a company so we’re in the process of continuing that partnership, and we hope to have something to talk about there, but we don’t have anything concrete yet. But, you know, in terms of market opportunity, we’re still extremely excited about the fiber optic current sensor. It’s a market that’s at least as large as our fiber optic gyro market and uses all the same technology as our current product, so it’s very, very similar in terms of production, so we see that as a big opportunity. We are pursuing it hard, and hopefully we’ll have something more to talk about there, but unfortunately right now at the customer’s request, I really can’t say any more.
Adkins: Okay. You had indicated--as you did just now, I guess--that you were thinking of that, in prior conference calls you’d indicated that you’d thought that was a pretty large market, had large market potential for you. What about other sensors? I’ve been doing a little reading up, and I see that the fiber optic technology is applicable apparently in a lot of different sensor markets. Are you working in other areas also besides the current sensing?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: No, we’re not and what we’re focusing on right now is the optical networking market. The additional sensors while technically feasible--there’s a lot of things you can do with fiber optics—but right now, we have an extremely exciting opportunity and some very unique technology that we’re pursuing aggressively in what is a much larger market than any sensor market—and that’s the high-speed optical network market.
Adkins: Okay. Can you describe a little more or expand a little more fully on what-- when you say ‘optical networking’, can you tell me or tell us what that product would be or the products would be—what are they going to do?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Well, they are going to do a variety of things. The first product is this optical modulator that I described and that’s a product that encodes data onto fiber. So, in all fiber optic networks, you have the problem of taking information from computers and routers and putting it into fiber for transmission. The advantage of fiber is that it has nearly infinite bandwidth in and of itself, but the problem is getting the data—the electrical data—into the fiber, and that’s done by this device which is known as a modulator. So it turns the light on and off in a way that corresponds with the 1s and 0s of the digital data from the electronic stream, the digital data stream. And our technology will enable that to be done much faster and much less expensively than any method that we are aware of today.
Adkins: Do you visualize or do you see that you’re going to have to license someone else’s technology at this point then to build upon that or are you developing something that is proprietary just to KVH?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: It’s proprietary to KVH. We have, as I mentioned, you know, we have almost 70 patents already. We’ve got 14 that are directly related to this project, and we have about 23 patents pending. So, we are very comfortable with our intellectual property position, and we do not require patents from anyone else in order to move forward here.
Adkins: These conference calls that you hold, I think, are just wonderful for getting your story out, but I’m just curious what other efforts are you getting involved in to increase, I guess, the corporate visibility to the investment community for KVH?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Well, we’re speaking at some conferences. I’m going to be speaking at a conference in New Orleans at the beginning of December which is a power industry conference which is sponsored by George Gilder’s group--and that’s in early December. So, you know, we continue to speak at conferences, and we’ll probably be more visible in terms of getting our story out now because we really have a very strong position. It’s a very good time for us to be talking about KVH, so I think you will see that we will be more active now.
Adkins: Can you talk at all about the magnitude of the financing that you’re talking about in order to move further towards your mobile broadband and your fiber optic developments—can you talk about the size of the financing that you are thinking about?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: I really can’t at this time because it’s a combination of both the project’s scope and the method of financing. So, I think it will really depend on the interest that we get and the pricing, and we’re very sensitive to any possible dilution to the company at this point. So, you know, we are going to keep our shareholders’ interest at heart there, as far as dilution goes, but we can’t really discuss the details of size at this point — because we really haven’t nailed that down.
Adkins: Okay, well you had a wonderful quarter, and I’m looking forward to next quarter. Thanks for answering my questions.
Tim Murray of Briarpatch: Hello, Martin.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Hi, Tim.
Tim Murray: How yall doing up there? Rowley asked so many of the questions that I was thinking that it has covered it very well. After two years of listening to your reports, it has just been very positive and very--I am going to say plodding in a positive way--and I really appreciate the way that yall have handled it. I’m excited to see that you will be here in New Orleans in December, and I look forward to getting together with you.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Great
Tim Murray: Thank you very much.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Thank you.
Steve Krueger with Forsyth Investments: Hi, Martin. Great quarter.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Thank you.
Steve Krueger: Question about the development timeline on the photonic fiber products and the modulator in particular. Do you have a prototype of the modulator yet, and if not, when do you expect to have a prototype that you could start sampling and showing to prospective customers?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: That’s a great question, and that’s probably something I should have addressed--and I meant to--in a conference call. You know, both of these projects are early stage developments. You know, we are looking at round numbers of twelve-month time frame for, you know, complete development. Obviously, well before that, we’ll have samples that will be developing a prototype that will be testing. We are making very good progress today, but I don’t want to, both for competitive reasons, and for--just simply for the fact that this is R&D and it’s difficult to predict with any finite certainty, you know, details. I don’t want to discuss exactly when these samples will be available, but, you know, it’s not something that is going to be impacting revenue in the next couple of quarters, but it’s not something that is a multi-year development project, either, so I think that in a 12-month time frame is probably as close as I’d like to nail it at this point.
Steve Krueger: Right. I heard you say that you don’t have prototypes, so I wonder what are your performance targets based on then at this point?
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Well, we’ve done quite a bit of testing of--the material itself has already been tested at over 100 gigahertz. We’ve built parts of the devices that I mentioned in the call, so we’re building it up in stages. We are using manufacturing processes which are identical to what we are using in our fiber optic sensors. So, you know, and we’re doing it fairly methodically in terms of the steps that are required. Now, we feel fairly confident that because the material has already been tested, each component has been tested individually, what we are now doing is aggregating all of these inventions into the final device and that’s the part that we are working on now.
Steve Krueger: Okay, thanks very much.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: You’re welcome.
Joan Lapin: I have two more questions. What are you doing that relates to the power industry that Dick [sic – she meant George] Gilder has invited you to talk about? And secondly, can you size the potential for some of these markets, you know, with what you’re doing with regard to the optical networking market and what you’re doing, well, which would be these optical modulators, I guess, but, if you could just size some of these markets that you are starting to address now that are new to you.
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen: Sure, I’ll start with your first question—which is what are we doing in the power industry. We have been working with a major player in the power industry to develop a fiber optic current sensor, and that product is a very high-speed, high-precision, very safe, small device that replaces large current transformers measuring electricity in very high voltages in the electrical power grid. And there’s a tremendous interest now in transforming the way electricity is generated and distributed and sold in this country, and I think that’s the reason we’ve been asked to speak to the conference because this is a device that will impact that business because you’ll now be able to measure very accurately high voltage current flows throughout the grid. The market today for these devices which are conventional transformers—the conventional technology is about 500 million dollars a year, today.
The second part of your question--the optical networking, the component market--has been estimated to be, you know, a multi-billion dollar market. And these components today are sold both as individual elements and part of larger systems. So, today that’s an enormous market, and not only is that a larger market, but there’s also tremendous capacity constraints right now so that there are shortages of a lot of these key products. So, we see that from a financial perspective as the largest opportunity that we have in front of us today.
Joan Lapin: Thanks