|• FORM 10K FY2012 • EXHIBIT 21 • EXHIBIT 23 • EXHIBIT 24 • EXHIBIT 31.1 • EXHIBIT 31.2 • EXHIBIT 32.1 • EXHIBIT 32.2 • XBRL INSTANCE DOCUMENT • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION SCHEMA DOCUMENT • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION CALCULATION LINKBASE DOCUMENT • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION DEFINITION LINKBASE DOCUMENT • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION LABEL LINKBASE DOCUMENT • XBRL TAXONOMY EXTENSION PRESENTATION LINKBASE DOCUMENT|
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended April 28, 2012
o TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Transition Period From ___ to ___.
Commission File Number: 0-23246
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No x
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 x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files) . Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o No x
The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of October 29, 2011 (which is the last business day at the Registrant’s most recently completed second quarter), computed by reference to the closing sales price of the registrant’s common stock on the NASDAQ Stock Market on such date, was approximately $438,325,388. For purposes of determining this number, individual stockholders holding more than 10 percent of the Registrant’s outstanding Common Stock are considered affiliates. This number is provided only for the purpose of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and does not represent an admission by either the Registrant or any such person as to the status of such person.
The number of shares of the registrant’s Common Stock outstanding as of June 4, 2012 was 42,015,406.
Documents Incorporated By Reference
Portions of the Registrant’s Proxy Statement for its Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held August 22, 2012 are incorporated by reference in Part III of the Form 10-K, as indicated in Items 10 through 14 of Part III.
DAKTRONICS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED APRIL 28, 2012
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD–LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K (including exhibits and any information incorporated by reference herein) contains both historical and forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The statements contained in this report that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21B of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including statements regarding our expectations, beliefs, intentions and strategies for the future. These statements appear in a number of places in this Report and include all statements that are not historical statements of fact regarding the intent, belief or current expectations with respect to, among other things: our financing plans; trends affecting our financial condition or results of operations; our growth strategy and operating strategy; our competition; our business outside of the United States; our large contracts with significant customers; our ability to protect our intellectual property rights; excess production capacity or capacity needs; our involvement in litigation; difficult conditions in the economy; and the declaration and payment of dividends. The words “may,” “would,” “could,” “will,” “expect,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “plans” and similar expressions and variations thereof are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risk and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our ability to control, and that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors discussed herein, including those discussed in the section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K entitled “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and those factors discussed in detail in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Item 1. BUSINESS
General Development of Business
Company Background and Overview. Daktronics, Inc. was founded by Dr. Aelred Kurtenbach and Dr. Duane Sander in 1968 while they were professors of electrical engineering at South Dakota State University (“SDSU”) in Brookings, South Dakota. Our relationship with SDSU and other colleges and universities is a key factor contributing to our leadership in the industry. We have been able to experience sustained long-term growth due in part to the capability of the local universities and colleges to provide an important source of highly educated full-time and student employees.
Over the years, our products have evolved significantly, from scoreboards and matrix displays and related software applications to complex, integrated visual display systems that include full color video, text and graphics displays located on a local or remote network and tied together through sophisticated control systems. In the mid-nineties, as light emitting diodes (“LEDs”) became available in red, blue and green colors with outdoor brightness, we pioneered the development of full color LED video displays capable of replicating trillions of colors, thereby producing large format video systems with excellent color, brightness, energy efficiency and lifetime. Due to our foundation of developing scoring and graphics display systems, in which we were already a leader, we were able to add video capabilities so all of a customer’s large format display needs could be met in a complete, integrated system. This has proven to be a key factor in Daktronics becoming a leader in large electronic displays. Over the years, we have invested in product development to add complementary products and services, such as production services, liquid crystal display (“LCD”) networks, architectural lighting solutions, sound systems, marketing services, maintenance and support and other products and services for our customers.
Business Developments. As a result of our line of LED display systems and software applications, we gained significant market share through designing and manufacturing quality products and providing technical expertise and services. Our products are in use throughout the world, as we are the world’s leader in all LED display product categories, according to independent research.
In the sports market, our integrated video and scoring systems have been installed at many professional, collegiate and high school facilities, particularly in North America, and at international sporting events such as the Olympic Games.
With commercial applications, our video, digital billboard and graphics displays can be seen in major destination sites, such as Las Vegas and Times Square, along roadsides at retail establishments and at many other locations.
In the transportation market, our Vanguard® displays are in use in numerous jurisdictions across North America, and our customers include many state departments of transportation.
One of our core growth strategies on a historical basis has been to enter geographic markets by developing a small sales and service presence that provides after-sale support to our entire product line and sales of our products. This network of offices, including home offices, had been an important part of our growth strategy. Although we expect to continue to open offices where it is important to have such a presence, beginning in fiscal 2009 and through fiscal 2011, we closed a number of offices that we believed were not critical to
our business. In connection with these closings, most of our employees have transitioned to home offices. We currently have approximately 28 corporate offices throughout the world.
We occasionally acquire businesses that provide access to new markets or complement our existing products. Although these acquisitions have increased the scope of services and technology that we are able to provide, our primary growth objective is to increase sales and profitability through organic growth.
We manufacture most of our products in South Dakota and Minnesota. Prior to fiscal 2006, almost all manufacturing was centralized in Brookings, South Dakota. As a result of the rapid growth during fiscal years 2006 through 2008, we experienced limitations in our ability to effectively hire sufficient numbers of employees in manufacturing. This caused us to expand operations in 2006 into Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Redwood Falls, Minnesota. We also invested in facilities in Shanghai, China, where we manufacture our architectural lighting products and perform final assembly for video displays for the Chinese market. We also have a plant in Victor, New York that produces our rigging products.
Description of Business
We are the world’s leading supplier of electronic scoreboards, large electronic display systems and related marketing services, digital messaging solutions, software and services for sporting, commercial and transportation applications. Our continuing focus is on supporting customers with superior products, integration and services that provide dynamic, reliable and unique visual communication solutions. We offer a complete line of products, from small indoor and outdoor scoreboards and electronic displays to large multi-million dollar video display systems as well as related control, timing, sound and hoist systems and related professional services. We are recognized worldwide as a technical leader with the capabilities to design, market, manufacture, install and service complete integrated systems that display real-time data, graphics, animation and video.
We are engaged in a full range of activities: marketing and sales, engineering and product development, manufacturing, technical contracting, professional services and customer service and support. Each of those activities is described below.
Marketing and Sales. Our products have been sold throughout the United States and other countries through a combination of direct sales personnel and resellers. In the United States and Canada, we use primarily a direct sales force for professional sports, colleges and universities, convention centers and smaller sports facilities, including high schools and transportation applications. In smaller commercial applications, we rely primarily on resellers. We also utilize resellers outside North America on large video system projects where we do not have a direct sales presence. Sales to resellers generally have terms consistent with sales directly to end users.
The majority of the products sold by resellers are standard catalog products. These are typically moderately priced and relatively easy to install. A limited number of models are built to inventory and available for quick delivery. We support our resellers through direct mail advertising, trade journal advertising, trade show exhibitions and our sales force support in the field. We believe that we can expand sales and, in some niches, market share, by expanding both our direct sales force and resellers.
Our direct sales force is comprised of a network of corporate and home offices located throughout the world supporting all customer types in both sales and service. In addition to supporting resellers as described above, the direct sales staff sells the entire range of our standard products and substantially all of the large video display systems. Our direct sales staff is structured in a way to maximize cross-selling opportunities across segments.
We have organized our business into five business units which have a primary focus on particular markets and a secondary focus on opportunities in other markets. The business units consist of four domestic business units that include the U.S. and Canada – Commercial, Live Events, Schools and Theatres, and Transportation and a fifth business unit for all international operations. We believe that customers in each of the domestic areas share common attributes and are different from customers in the other areas which make them conducive to this structure. For example, Live Events customers usually have a large variety of products tied into a system in a single location that involve much more creative production services, design and event support. The Commercial business unit serves the needs created by large and remote networks of displays connected through various modes of communication. The Transportation business unit focuses on the unique needs of governmental contractors and ties into integrated systems that manage the flow of travelers and vehicles. Finally, the Schools and Theatre business unit focuses on the increasing level of support and service and limited resources along with all the statistics and related software and communication needs of athletic conferences and leagues. The International business unit comprises all of these areas outside of North America.
When we target a potential customer for sales opportunities, the prospect is contacted either directly or through a reseller. Frequently, on larger sales opportunities, engineers, technicians and sales personnel jointly participate in site visits to assess site conditions, evaluate the customer’s requirements and assemble and present proposals. Proposals to prospective customers include business and technical presentations as well as product demonstrations and visits to existing installations. We also regularly host customers at our various manufacturing facilities to demonstrate product quality, manufacturing and design capabilities.
International sales can fluctuate from year to year based on the timing of large system projects. A typical term of sale for international projects includes a letter of credit, bank guarantee or partial payment in advance. We believe that in addition to the growth we expect domestically, we will also achieve growth in the international markets. During fiscal years 2012, 2011 and 2010, approximately 17 percent, 17 percent and 12 percent of our net sales, respectively, were derived from international sales. Since 2000, we have acquired or opened international offices in Canada, China, France, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Spain, Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
Much of our marketing and sales success in the past was based on our ability to create new products and product enhancements for customers by understanding their needs and opportunities. We have developed and continue to develop this understanding through active participation in the sales cycle by engineers and other personnel and through attending trade shows, conventions and seminars and fostering a culture of teamwork throughout the organization.
Engineering and Product Development. The large screen electronic display industry is characterized by ongoing product innovations and developments in technology and complementary services. To remain competitive, we must continue to anticipate and respond to changes and developments in the industry. We will continue our tradition of applying engineering resources throughout our business to help achieve more effective product development by investing approximately four percent of our net sales over the long-term into product design and development.
We employ engineers and technicians in the areas of mechanical and electrical design, applications engineering, software design and customer and product support. We use primarily in-house engineering to anticipate and respond rapidly to the product development needs of customers and the marketplace. We assign product managers to each product or product family to assist our sales staff in training and implementing product improvements, and to ensure that each product is designed for maximum reliability and serviceability. We also invest in new creative technologies and in companies developing new technologies.
Our engineering staff consists of four product development groups – Sports, Video, Commercial and Transportation. The Sports product development group focus is aligned with the Schools and Theatres business unit; the Video group is aligned with the Live Events, International and Commercial business units; and the Commercial and Transportation groups are aligned with the Commercial and Transportation business units. These groups leverage common technology, concepts and platforms through various knowledge centers that span across all groups. This alignment has driven improved product reliability, lower costs and better functionality for our customers. The development of these knowledge centers and various other practices within product development are modeled after best practices for lean product development.
Manufacturing. As a vertically integrated manufacturer of display systems, we perform most sub-assembly and substantially all final assembly of our products.
Our manufacturing operations include component manufacturing and system manufacturing (metal fabrication, electronic assembly, sub-assembly and final assembly). We flex our production capacity through varying work hours and the use of outside resources. We also use outside providers when it is more cost effective.
We use a modular approach for manufacturing displays. Standard product modules are designed to be used in a variety of different products. This modular approach reduces parts inventory and improves manufacturing efficiency. We inventory a limited supply of standard products. Custom projects are built according to the customer’s specifications through the use of common components. Product modules are designed so that a custom product may include a significant percentage of standard components to maximize reliability and ease of service. A key strategy of ours is to reduce the need for customization of displays and increase standardization.
Our order entry, production, customer service and many other functions are also consolidated through an enterprise resource planning system to facilitate communication among employee teams throughout the entire sales, design, production and delivery process.
We have manufacturing facilities in Brookings, South Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Redwood Falls, Minnesota; Victor, New York; and Shanghai, China. Locations outside of Brookings, South Dakota produce a material amount of our products.
Our plants are loosely aligned with the five business units described above. This alignment has been critical to allow us to respond to the different types of customers in the different business units in areas such as lead times and product consolidation. Furthermore, we have decentralized to these plants certain functions such as materials planning and scheduling. Our goal was to generally align sales, marketing, engineering and manufacturing into a cohesive business unit with a focus on customers while not giving up the synergies of shared resources. On the other hand, given the cyclical nature of some parts of our business, we also needed to balance and maintain our ability to manufacture the same products across our plants so that we can smooth out the peaks and valleys of customer demand of the various business units. We expect that emphasis on aligning manufacturing to a business unit as opposed to a shared resource will continue to change as our business changes.
Our manufacturing facilities have embraced lean manufacturing techniques throughout all areas. We also have placed significant emphasis on lean techniques in the non-manufacturing areas. Although there are direct costs associated with implementing lean techniques, the goal of doing so is to eliminate waste and deliver products to a customer when the customer desires the products while maintaining minimal inventory and eliminating non-value added tasks.
Technical Contracting. We serve as a technical contractor for larger display system installations that require custom designs and innovative product solutions. The purchase of standard displays and other state-of-the-art display systems typically involves competitive proposals. As a part of our response to a proposal request, we may suggest additional products or features to assist the prospective customer in analyzing the optimal type of display system. We usually include, as a part of our proposal, site preparation and installation services related to the display system. In these cases, we serve as a contractor and may retain subcontractors. We are licensed in a number of domestic jurisdictions as a general contractor. Generally, we outsource all related electrical, steel and installation labor to qualified subcontractors with which we have developed relationships.
Professional Services. Our professional services are essential to continued market penetration and growth. Professional services we provide in addition to technical contracting include event support, content creation, product maintenance, marketing assistance, training on hardware and software, and display rentals. Our creative production staff provides a variety of services to customers, including video content, event support, control room design, on-site training (hardware and software), and continuing technical support for operators of complicated display systems.
Our sports marketing division provides customers with marketing and ad sales for facilities to fund display system purchases. These marketing services extend beyond the marketing potential of the equipment in the facility to other facility-related components. Typically, we render these services to facilities that do not have in-house marketing programs and staff.
We provide these services through our own employees located in company or home offices throughout the world in more than ten countries.
Customer Service and Support. Our customer service distinguishes us from our competitors. This service includes limited warranties for most of our products against failure due to defective parts or workmanship for periods generally ranging from one to five years after the first sale or installation, depending on the product or type of customer, and extended service agreements. We also provide help-desk access, parts repair and replacement and programming support for video, animation and other displays. We staff our technical help desk with experienced technicians who are available on-call 24 hours a day to support events and sites.
Our repair centers, located in the United States, Germany and Shanghai, are staffed with trained technicians who repair and return components that require service, and we offer a component exchange program for same-day shipment of replacement parts.
Our North American field service personnel are centralized as opposed to focused on a particular business unit so that we can better focus on the commonality of the products across units rather than the unique needs of each customer. We also use third party authorized service companies to improve the overall utilization of our field service staff as the needs of the customer fluctuate greatly during the fiscal year. This allows us to better respond to changes in volume of service, which peaks in the late summer and early fall.
General Description of Our Products and Technologies
Our display technologies have changed significantly since the mid-1990s, when incandescent lamps were the primary display element. Presently, LED and LCD technologies are the primary display elements. The invention and availability of blue and green LED in the mid-1990s, along with the already available red LED, allowed the introduction of full-color video displays using LEDs as the primary colors to form all other colors in the video display. The decreasing costs of LCD components along with the drive for smaller displays and digital networks have led to the addition of LCD displays. Driven by customer demand, we have enhanced our video display technology into mobile and modular technologies and high definition capabilities.
The cost, performance and availability of LEDs have made them the preferred display element for large displays as compared to alternatives such as incandescent and reflective technologies, most of which are obsolete or unproven. The cost effectiveness, life and performance of LCDs have made them the preferred small display solution. The vast majority of displays we sell today utilize LED technology.
The two principal components of many of our systems are the display and the controller. The controller uses computer hardware and software to process the information provided by the operator and other integrated sources and then compiles the information, graphics or animation to be presented on the display. Data can be transferred between the controller and local or remote displays. Local connections may use wire cables, fiber optic cables, infrared links or radio links. Standard and cellular telephone connections and satellite transmissions are used to connect to remote displays. The controller controls each of the pixels (which are the dots or picture elements that make up the image) on the display to present the message or image.
Most of our display technologies rely on one or more of our software products to manage and provide content for the display. These software products range in complexity from scoring consoles; to the Venus® 1500 control software that allows the creation, display and scheduling of dynamic text and basic graphics content on electronic displays; to the Show Control display control system that controls multi-color displays and video displays, providing the ability to create graphics and animation as well as interfacing with third-party software for content. Additionally, our Visiconn® control software is used to display targeted messages to specific audiences and to control large networks of digital displays. Complementary software, such as our DakStats® and interfacing software, is also available and can be fully integrated into the control software.
Our display systems range from small scoreboards and digit displays priced at under $1,000 to large complex display systems priced in excess of $10 million. Generally, our product sales are either custom products or standard catalog scoreboards or displays. Historically, these standard catalog sales have accounted for less than 25 percent of our total annual revenues. Our custom products are customized in terms of size, configuration and installation type but generally are built using standard technology platforms.
Within each product family, we produce displays that vary in complexity, size and resolution. The physical dimensions of a display depend on the size of the viewing area, the distance from the viewer to the display, and the amount and type of information to be displayed. Generally, for longer distance viewing, the light sources, or pixels, are larger and spaced farther apart. The type of the display may also depend on the location of the viewing audience. For example, arena scoreboards may have a viewing angle nearly as wide as 180 degrees, compared with roadside displays, which typically are viewed from a passing vehicle only within a narrow angle from the display. We customize our products according to the design specifications of the customer and the conditions of the environment in which our products function.
Product Families and Technologies
Our products are comprised of the following primary product families, all of which include control systems and software:
Each of these product families are described below.
Scoring and Timing Products. Our line of scoring and timing products includes indoor and outdoor scoreboards for many different sports, digit displays, scoring and timing controllers, statistics software and other related products. Indoor systems range in complexity from two-digit shot clocks and small scoreboards to large, center-hung scoreboards incorporating video displays, message centers, advertising panels, hoist systems and control software. Outdoor scoreboards range in complexity from two-digit game timers and small scoreboards to larger systems incorporating scoring, timing, video, message centers, advertising panels and control software.
We expect LED technology will remain the technology of choice for scoreboards and displays due to its lower power consumption, longer life and resulting lower maintenance costs as compared to other technologies. Because most of the scoreboards and display products within this group have significant standardization, we have been able to make progress on our goal of delivering high quality products.
We offer a variety of internally developed controllers complementing our scoreboards and displays. These controllers vary in price and complexity from the All Sport® 100, a handheld controller for portable scoreboards, to the All Sport® 5000 series, designed for more sophisticated scoring systems and allowing for more user-defined options. These controllers communicate with scoreboards through radio frequencies, fiber optic connections or other means.
We also offer timing systems for sports events, primarily aquatics and track competitions. A primary component of these systems is our OmniSport® 2000 timing console. The system has the capability to not only time and rank the competitors but also to interface with event management software created by third parties to facilitate the administration of the sporting event. Other timing system components include swimming touchpads, race start systems, and relay take-off platforms.
As a key component of an integrated system, we market sports statistics and results software under the DakStats® trademark. The software allows entry and display of sports statistics and other information. It is one of the leading applications of its type in collegiate and high school sports.
Audio Systems. The audio system offerings include both standard and custom options. Standard audio systems are designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of outdoor sports venues based on the size and configuration of the facility. Each of the standard outdoor systems includes control systems that feature digital signal processing for improved sound quality reproduction. Custom indoor and outdoor systems are also offered for larger venues and venues with unique seating configurations. Our sound systems are often integrated into an overall venue solution that includes scoring, timing, message display and/or video capability.
Automated Rigging and Hoist Products. The automated rigging and hoist product family includes our Vortek® automated hoists which complement our arena center-hung scoreboard/display systems for both small and large sporting facilities. The hoist is an important part of an integrated solution for indoor venues that have center-hung, suspended displays. Many of these hoist systems are customized based on the weight and design of the equipment being suspended, along with the load capacity of the building structure and attachment points within the facility.
Additionally, we provide automated rigging for theatre applications, primarily in high schools and similar venues. The strengths of our automated rigging systems include safety and ease of operation. The theatre rigging control system includes intuitive touch screens and menus to control the integrated hoist systems for added safety and enhanced operation of a theatre production, making changes in scenery, lighting and sound preprogrammed, timed and easy to control.
Video Display Systems. This group consists primarily of displays, which are comprised of a large number of full-color pixels capable of showing various levels of video, graphics and animation; and controllers, which manage the operation of the display. Video displays are comprised of red, green and blue LEDs arranged in various combinations to form pixels (picture elements). The electronic circuitry which controls the pixels allows for variances in the relative brightness of each LED to provide a full color spectrum, thereby displaying video images in striking, vibrant colors.
We offer a wide range of video display systems for different applications and budgets. Variables in video displays include the spacing of the pixels (pixel pitch), the resolution (number of pixels) of the displays, the brightness of the displays (nits), the number of discrete colors that the display is able to produce (color depth), and the viewing angles. In addition, modular design allows the product to be readily configured in custom sizes to meet each customer’s specific requirements, with virtually no limit to the size of display that can be built.
We offer a complete line of video display systems that is second to none in the industry. At the high end, the product is capable of displaying up to 144 quadrillion colors and is available with pixel spacing as close as four millimeters. Currently, we offer a wide range of pixel spacing, ranging from four millimeter to 26 millimeter. The six millimeter application provides the user with the greatest pixel density and shortest viewing distance, and the 26 millimeter is the most cost effective for physically large displays with longer viewing distances. In addition, the uniformity of colors across the display is important to the quality of the video image. Our unique display control circuitry, along with our proprietary manufacturing and calibration procedures, provide uniform colors across the display.
In addition to traditional rectangular video displays, we have adapted LED video technology into ribbon board displays and modular display systems. Our ribbon board display systems are configured in different height-to-width ratios to give arenas and stadiums the ability to install long, narrower bands of displays in the facility. For new construction projects, our ProRail® attachment system is combined with ribbon board technology to provide improved sight lines for fans and reduce construction costs for the building’s owner. Digital ribbon boards generally serve as a revenue generation source for teams and facilities through advertising as well as another location to display information such as scoring and statistics.
Our transportable display systems are comprised of lightweight individual LED video panels less than a square meter in size that are assembled together to form a display in a customizable height and width. These panels are used in what we refer to as mobile and modular applications, such as touring shows and the events market.
During the second half of fiscal 2010, we introduced our DVX series outdoor video display technology. This new generation of product created a common module and cabinet platform across all pixel pitches to gain synergies on materials, improve reliability, decrease selling prices and decrease engineering costs over the long-term. In fiscal 2012, we introduced our DVN series of indoor video display technology to achieve similar goals as our DVX outdoor technology.
The primary control components for video displays in live event applications are Show Control, proprietary digital media players, and proprietary video processors. These control components provide advanced capability for the display of live video and real time content on our displays.
Our Show Control Software Suite is designed to improve event management and display control for large video applications. The Show Control Software Suite can operate entire networks of displays from a single control interface with a more intuitive user interface. Features such as smart buttons allow users to instantly deliver media clips, camera feeds, and streaming information to any display in a network. It also includes advanced scheduling tools to supplement the revenue generating use of displays.
Daktronics digital media players store recorded video clips and can function as a still store and character generator. Managed through our Show Controller Software Suite, the digital media player provides instant access to any video, animation, graphic and real-time data files on the player. It also controls the overall picture settings of any Daktronics LED display, making it the most feature-rich product of its kind in the live events industry.
We also provide a proprietary video processing system developed specifically for LED display technology. For larger venues that host live events, the Show Control Software Suite, digital media player and video processor are typically part of a larger system that includes cameras, switchers and other components. These systems provide the ability to show instant replays, live action video, prerecorded video clips, and overlays of scoring, timing and statistical information. We sometimes package our components with control components from other suppliers to provide a complete video production solution.
Architectural Lighting and Display Products. Our line of ProPixel® LED architectural lighting and display products include our freeform video elements, which are available as individual pixels or strips of pixels that can be assembled and interconnected to transform structures into stunning visual landmarks. Flexible mounting platforms allow designers to transform structures into full-motion video displays and to create various effects. These elements can be structured in various resolutions depending on the application. The freeform video elements are controlled by our various controllers, depending on the specific application.
Text and Graphics Display Systems. The key product lines in this group are marketed under the names Galaxy® and GalaxyPro® and are generally controlled with our Venus® 1500 display controller.
Galaxy® full-matrix displays, available in both indoor and outdoor models, are our leading product line for commercial applications and are expected to be a key product line for growth in the future. Galaxy® displays are red, amber or full color, with pixel spacing ranging from six millimeter to 46 millimeter depending on color, size and viewing distance. They are used primarily as message centers to convey information and advertising to consumers. The modular design of the product allows us to configure a display to readily meet the size requirements of each customer. We offer various price points for displays within the Galaxy® line.
GalaxyPro® displays are full-matrix outdoor displays capable of displaying text, graphics and animation, as well as prerecorded video clips. The product was developed to meet the video needs of the commercial market, primarily large retail market applications such as auto dealerships and shopping centers. GalaxyPro® displays are offered in full color with pixel spacing ranging from 16 to 26 millimeter. GalaxyPro® displays are capable of producing 68 billion colors, have excellent color uniformity across the display, and are fully compatible with our Venus® 1500 display control software. The modular design of the product allows us to configure a display to readily meet the size requirements of each customer.
Galaxy® and GalaxyPro® series displays utilize our proprietary Venus® 1500 display control software to control the creation of messages and graphic sequences for downloading to the display. This software is designed to be usable without any special training, and it is applicable to all general advertising or message presentation applications. We also provide software that allows system integrators to write their own software using the Venus® 1500 software developer’s kit to communicate to displays supplied by us. Several system integrators have implemented the Venus® 1500 protocol into their specific applications, resulting in additional display sales.
Digital Billboards. Our Valo® line of digital billboards offers a unique digital display solution for the outdoor advertising industry. The products, developed based on our experience with other full-color LED display technologies, are used primarily to display static images that change at regular intervals. Valo® systems include many features that are unique to the outdoor advertising market, such as our patented mounting system, self adjusting brightness, improved energy consumption, and enhanced network security.
The Visiconn® system is the primary software application for controlling content and playback loops for digital billboard applications. The Visiconn® display management solution can transform any Internet-ready computer into a secure, global control center for multiple LED displays, flat panel monitors, such as LCDs, and other display technologies. A rights-based control environment allows users to grant advertisers access to powerful content management tools while also providing detailed ad tracking and proof-of-play reports. These features, combined with instant content deployment and the ability to sync with trusted real-time data providers, allow for incorporation of live information into any presentation.
Digit and Price Displays. Other product lines marketed primarily to Commercial customers include our DataTime® and Fuelight™ display systems. The DataTime® product line consists of outdoor time and temperature displays that use a remote sensor for temperature data and are available in red or amber in various character sizes. Fuelight™ digit displays are specifically designed for the petroleum industry, offering high visibility and quick fuel price updates using the Fuelink™ control software. The product easily retrofits into existing structures and is also available in single-face or double-face (on certain models) configurations.
Transportation Products. Transportation products include a wide range of LED-based displays for road management, parking, mass transit and aviation applications. The Vanguard® family of dynamic message displays are typically used to direct traffic and inform
motorists. These displays are used over freeways, on arterial roads, near bridges, at toll booths and in other locations. We have also developed a control system for these displays to help transportation agencies manage large networks of displays.
Our digit and directional displays are primarily marketed and sold for use in parking facilities. They include multi-line displays delivered in vertical cabinets or drop-in digit panels designed to be mounted in existing structures or signs.
Most of the transportation products are designed and tested to rigorous transportation industry standards. Our personnel routinely work with standards development organizations to assist in writing standards that benefit the public and take advantage of the latest display technologies.
Financial Information About Segments and Geographic Areas
Our operations in countries outside the U.S. are accompanied by certain financial and other risks. Relationships with customers and terms of sale vary by country, often with longer-term receivables than are typical in the U.S. Currency exchange rate fluctuations can affect net sales from, and the profitability of, operations outside the U.S. We attempt to hedge these exposures to reduce the effects of foreign currency fluctuations on net earnings. In addition, the repatriation of certain earnings of our foreign subsidiaries may result in substantial U.S. tax cost.
See Note 2 of the Consolidated Financial Statements for financial information pertaining to our business segments and geographic operations.
Sources of Raw Materials
We source some of our raw materials, including LEDs, power supplies, circuit boards and other components, from a limited number of suppliers, primarily due to quality control or the customized nature of the materials. The loss of one of these key suppliers could have an adverse impact on our business and operations. For additional information, refer to “Item 1A – Risk Factors.” From time to time, we enter into pricing agreements or purchasing contracts under which we agree to purchase a minimum amount of product in exchange for guaranteed price terms over the length of the contract, which generally does not exceed one year.
We develop technology on a continuing basis that we consider for patent application. We apply for the majority of our patents to establish the creation of the technology so that other parties cannot later claim ownership. The remainder of our patents are designed to prevent infringement, and we aggressively pursue infringement claims for protection due to patent violations.
We apply for patents in the U.S. and a limited number of foreign jurisdictions. These patents generally pertain to our display technologies and product features and have various terms of duration. The patents we hold which are designed to protect and prevent competitors from infringing include, for example, patents on mechanical designs, such as our ProRail® system and Valo® Mount, formed cabinet design and latching system for modules. They also include patents for product features and capabilities which we believe are superior in the marketplace and that give us a competitive position, such as our touchpad products for aquatics. There are a limited number of patents that apply to our electronics due to the rapid rate of change in the industry. However, we hold patents on such things as calibration methods and pixel arrangements. Due to the general nature of our business and the rapid rate of change in technology, we do not incur significant expenditures in defending or prosecuting patent claims.
We rely on trademarks, in addition to patents, to help establish and preserve limited proprietary protection for our products. Our trademarks are registered in the United States and other countries. These trademarks are used to establish brand recognition and distinction in our various markets.
Product drawings, software, training and product manuals and other works of authorship are also subject to applicable copyright law protections. We provide software to our customers in object code to help preserve our intellectual property rights. We also rely on nondisclosure and license agreements with our employees to protect our intellectual property. Despite these intellectual property protections, there can be no assurance that a competitor will not copy the functions or features of our products.
Seasonal Nature of the Business
Our sales and profitability historically have fluctuated due to the impact of large product orders, such as display systems for facilities where professional and major college sports events take place, and large commercial systems and networks. The seasonality of the sports market and the concentration of holidays in our third fiscal quarter have also played a part in our sales and profit fluctuations. As a result, net sales and net income tend to be lower in the third quarter of a fiscal year.
The seasonality of the sports business is caused by sales related to facilities for football, basketball and hockey in the summer and fall and for baseball in the early to late spring leaving a slower time in the winter. This seasonal effect can be compounded by large product orders in the sports markets and by the effects of holidays during our third fiscal quarter. The effects of seasonality unrelated to holidays are generally not found in our Commercial, International and Transportation business units, although the impact of large orders in those markets and implications of weather during the winter months can cause fluctuations in net sales and profits.
Gross margins on large orders tend to fluctuate more than the gross margins on smaller orders. Large product orders that involve competitive bidding and substantial subcontract work for product installation generally have lower gross margins with greater variability in margins. Although we follow the percentage-of-completion method of recognizing revenues on the majority of these larger orders, we nevertheless have experienced fluctuations in operating results and expect that our future results of operations will be subject to similar fluctuations.
Working Capital Items
On large product orders, the time between order acceptance and project completion may extend up to and exceed 18 months depending on the amount of custom work and the customer’s delivery needs. We often receive down payments or progress payments on these orders. To the extent that these payments are not sufficient to fund the costs and expenses associated with these orders, we use working capital and bank borrowings to finance these cash requirements.
The primary markets we serve, along with primary types of customers, are as follows:
We have a large and diverse customer base. The nature of our business generally is not repetitive business from one or a few significant customers. As a result, and except in the outdoor advertising component of our Commercial business unit, the loss of a major customer generally would not have a material adverse impact on us.
Our backlog consists of customer sales agreements or purchase orders that we expect to fill within the next 24 months and was approximately $123 million as of April 28, 2012 and $131 million as of April 30, 2011. Because sales agreements and purchase orders may be subject to cancellation or delay by customers, our backlog is not necessarily indicative of future net sales or net income. Although orders for many of our products may be shipped within 90 days, other orders may take longer depending on the customer’s project schedule or other factors. Contracts related to new construction projects generally tend to have the longest lead times.
Government and Other Regulation
In the United States and other countries, various laws and regulations, including zoning ordinances, restrict the installation of outdoor signs and displays, particularly in the commercial market. These laws and regulations include those that impose greater restrictions on electronic displays than on non-electronic displays such as traditional billboards due to alleged concerns over aesthetics or driver safety if a display is located near a road or highway. These factors may prevent or inhibit us from selling products to some prospective customers.
Some of our products are tested to safety standards developed by Underwriters Laboratories in the United States, as well as similar standards in other countries. We design and produce our products in accordance with these standards.
Our manufacturing operations use certain chemical products and chemical processes that are subject to various environmental rules and regulations. Our manufacturing operations must also meet various safety related rules and regulations. We believe we are in material compliance with applicable governmental laws and regulations.
In some countries in which we operate, such as China, there are various laws and regulations that may inhibit our operations and financial condition. These include restrictions or limitations on our ability to withdraw our capital investment, undeveloped legal frameworks to enforce our rights, and different levels of enforcement and consistency of laws.
The large electronic display industry is highly fragmented and characterized by intense competition from a variety of sources. There are a number of established suppliers of competing products which may have greater market penetration in certain of our market niches or greater financial, marketing and other resources. Competitors also attempt to copy our products or product features. Because a customer’s budget for the purchase of a large screen electronic display is often part of that customer’s advertising budget, we may also compete with other forms of advertising, such as television, print media or fixed display signs.
There are generally more competitors in product categories and applications that require less complicated display systems, such as the high school scoreboard market, the text and graphics display market and the market for less customized video displays. As the needs of customers increase and the display systems become more complex, there are generally fewer competitors. However, due to the high profile nature of larger complex display systems, the competition is generally more intense.
Within our standard product business, which includes our Galaxy® and Valo® display lines and scoreboard products, there are a large number of competitors, none of which we consider to be dominant. In addition, in the Galaxy® and Valo® display business, there are a significant number of Asian competitors that attempt to sell in our marketplace and generally compete on the basis of price. We generally compete based on our depth of service and the wide range of our product offerings.
Within our large video system business, across all segments, there are various competitors that have different levels of strength in individual niches, but none that have a dominant position overall. For example, a single competitor may have strength in the mobile video business but very little in the fixed installation business. Another competitor may have strength in the billboard display business but very little strength in any other large display applications. In addition, our large display business has competitors in a narrow niche that were significant at one time in that niche and then substantially decreased their presence in that niche. These changes seem to happen as a result of the complexities of the marketplace and the failures that are experienced on installations that receive a great deal of visibility. Our video systems, especially those systems that are comprised of many displays networked together, are highly complex and visible and thus require a high standard of performance that is difficult for other industry participants to maintain over the long-term. There are a growing number of Asian based competitors that are expanding their presence beyond Asia to compete more directly with us. These competitors generally offer limited products and solutions at a lower price.
Our competitors are not generally aligned by business unit. The focus of competitors tends to be more of a product focus. For example, our Galaxy® line of displays has competitors that are also concentrated in the Commercial business unit, although, like us, they also compete with these same products in our other business units. Competitors with a focus on video displays compete generally across all of our business units.
Overall, we compete based on our broad range of products and features, complementary services, advanced technology, prompt delivery, and reliable and readily available customer service and support. We also strive to provide cost-effective products and solutions for our customers. Contrary to our focus on technologically advanced products and customer support, some of our competitors compete in some markets by providing lower-cost display systems, which are of a lesser quality with lower product performance or less customer support. If a customer focuses principally on price, we are less likely to obtain the sale. To remain competitive, we must continue to enhance our existing products, introduce new products and product features, and provide customers with cost-effective solutions to their display needs.
Research and Development
We believe our engineering and product development capability and experience will continue to be a very important factor in our markets. Product development expenses for fiscal years 2012, 2011 and 2010 were $23.5 million, $18.9 million and $21.9 million, respectively.
Our products and production processes require the storage, use and disposal of a variety of chemicals that are considered hazardous under applicable federal and state laws. Accordingly, we are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements for the handling and disposal of such materials. We do not anticipate any material effect on our capital expenditures, earnings or competitive position due to compliance with government regulations involving environmental matters.
As of April 28, 2012, we employed approximately 2,300 full-time employees and approximately 520 part-time and temporary employees. Of these employees, approximately 1,020 were in manufacturing, 580 were in sales and marketing, 560 were in customer service, 400 were in engineering and 260 were in general and administrative. None of our employees are represented by a collective bargaining agreement. We believe employee relations are good.
We make available, free of charge, on or through our website (http://investor.daktronics.com), our annual, quarterly and current reports and any amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The reports are also available through a link to the SEC website at http://www.sec.gov. Information contained on our website or linked through it is not part of this report.
Item 1A. RISK FACTORS
A number of risks and uncertainties exist which could impact our future operating results. These uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions, competition, our success in developing new products and technologies, market acceptance of new products and other factors, including those set forth below.
Competition could result in lower net sales and decreased margins. We operate in highly competitive markets, some of which are highly fragmented. We also compete against products produced in Asia and other parts of the world, including the U.S., which in some cases are of lower quality or performance and lower cost. In addition, because a customer’s budget for the purchase of an electronic display is often part of that customer’s advertising budget, our products often compete with other forms of advertising, such as television, print media or fixed display signs. Competition could result in not only a reduction in net sales but also in the prices charged by us for our products. To remain competitive, we must be able to not only anticipate and respond quickly to our customers’ needs and enhance our existing products and services to meet those needs but also continue to price our products competitively. Our competitors may develop cheaper, more efficient products, or they may be willing to charge lower prices for strategic marketing or to increase market share. Some competitors have more capital and other resources than we do and may be better able to take advantage of acquisition opportunities or adapt more quickly to changes in customer requirements, which could negatively affect our ability to compete effectively.
Our business may suffer if we are not successful in our efforts to keep up with a rapidly changing product market. The electronic display industry is characterized by ongoing product improvement, innovations and developments in display and controller technology. Competitors could develop new or superior products to increase their share of the markets. Our future success in addressing the needs of our customers will depend in part on our ability to continue to understand their needs and to make timely and cost-effective product improvements, innovations and developments.
We enter into fixed-priced contracts on a regular basis, which could reduce our profits. Almost all of the contracts we enter into to sell our products are on a fixed-price basis. If our actual costs exceed original estimates on fixed-price contracts, our profits will be reduced. Although we benefit from cost savings, we have a limited ability to recover cost overruns. Because of the large scale and long duration of some contracts, unanticipated cost increases may occur as a result of several factors including, but not limited to, increases in the cost or shortages of components, materials or labor; unanticipated technical problems; required project modifications not initiated by the customer; and suppliers’ or subcontractors’ failure to perform or a delay in performing their obligations. These factors could delay delivery of products, and contracts may provide for liquidated damages for late delivery. Unanticipated costs that cannot be passed on to customers or the payment of liquidated damages under fixed contracts would negatively impact our profits.
Backlog may not be indicative of future revenue. Customers may cancel or delay projects for reasons beyond our control. Orders normally contain cancellation provisions that permit our recovery of costs expended and a portion of the anticipated profit if a customer cancels an order. If a customer elects to cancel, we may not realize the full amount of revenues included in our backlog. If projects are delayed, the timing of revenues could be affected, and projects may remain in the backlog for extended periods of time. Revenue recognition occurs over longer periods of time and is subject to unanticipated delays. If we receive relatively large orders in any given quarter, fluctuations in the levels of the quarterly backlog can result because the backlog in that quarter may reach levels that may not be sustained in subsequent quarters. For these reasons, backlog may not be indicative of future revenues.
Our ability to conduct business outside the United States may be adversely affected by factors outside of our control, which could adversely affect net sales and profits from international sales. For fiscal years 2012, 2011 and 2010, revenue outside the United States represented approximately 17 percent, 17 percent and 12 percent of our consolidated net sales, respectively. Our operations and earnings throughout the world have been and may in the future be adversely affected from time to time in varying degrees by war, political developments, foreign laws and regulations, regional economic uncertainty (including the ongoing European debt crisis), political instability, restrictions, customs and tariffs, changing regulatory environments, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, longer accounts receivable cycles
in certain foreign countries (whether due to cultural, exchange rate or other factors), compliance with import/export laws and foreign tax laws and potential increased costs associated with overlapping tax structures. The likelihood of such occurrences and their overall effect on us vary greatly from country to country and are not predictable. These factors may result in a decline in net sales or profitability and could adversely affect our ability to expand our business outside of the United States.
Our operating results may vary significantly from quarter to quarter, making it difficult to estimate future revenue and earnings. Our quarterly revenues and earnings have varied in the past and are likely to vary in the future. Contracts we enter into generally stipulate customer-specific delivery terms and may have contract cycles of a year or more, which subjects them to many factors beyond our control. Furthermore, because significant portions of our operating costs are fixed, an unanticipated delay or cancellation of orders in backlog may have a significant negative impact on our quarterly operating results. Factors that could cause our operating results to vary also include new product introductions, variations in product and project mix, and delivery due date changes. Therefore, quarterly operating results may be subject to significant variations, and operating results in one quarter may not be indicative of future operating results.
Our products are covered by warranties, and fulfilling these warranties could adversely affect our financial results. Unanticipated warranty and other costs for defective products could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and reputation. We provide warranties on our products generally for terms of five years or less. In addition, in response to customer needs, we regularly offer extended warranties. These warranties require us to repair or replace faulty products and meet certain performance standards, among other customary warranty provisions. Although we continually monitor our warranty claims and provide a reserve for estimated warranty issues on an on-going basis, an unanticipated claim could have a material adverse impact on our financial results. In some cases, we may be able to subrogate a claim back to a subcontractor or supplier if the subcontractor or supplier supplied the defective product or performed the service, but this may not always be possible. The need to repair or replace products with design or manufacturing defects could temporarily delay the sale of new products, reduce profits and adversely affect our reputation.
Product liability claims not covered by insurance could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. We may be subject to product liability claims involving claims of personal injury or property damage. Although we maintain product liability insurance coverage to protect us in the event of such a claim, our coverage may not be adequate to cover the cost of defense and the potential award. Also, a well-publicized actual or perceived problem could adversely affect our reputation and reduce the demand for our products.
Large contracts with significant customers represent a significant portion of our accounts receivable and costs and estimated earnings in excess of billings. We closely monitor the credit worthiness of our customers and have not, to date, experienced significant credit losses. Significant portions of our sales are to customers who place large orders for custom products. We mitigate our exposure to credit risk, to some extent, by requiring deposits, payments prior to shipment, progress payments and letters of credit. However, because some of the exposure is outside of our control, unanticipated events could have a material adverse impact on our operating results.
The amounts of our orders and net sales and our financial results will be substantially affected by whether we are awarded large contracts and the size and timing of large contracts. The amounts of our orders and net sales and our financial results will be substantially affected by whether we are awarded large contracts, primarily in the professional and major college sports facilities market, the outdoor advertising niche and for large spectaculars around the world and the amounts and timing of these contracts. Whether we are awarded large contracts and their timing and amount could also cause material fluctuations in our net sales and earnings. Awards of large contracts and their timing and amount are difficult to predict and are outside of our control.
The terms and conditions of our credit facility impose restrictions on our operations, and if we default on our credit facility, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. The terms and conditions of our credit facilities impose restrictions that limit, among other things, our ability to incur debt, merge, sell assets, make distributions (including cash dividends) and create or incur liens. The availability of credit facilities is also subject to certain covenants as explained in “Item 7 – Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Our ability to comply with the covenants may be affected by events beyond our control, and we cannot assure that we will achieve operating results and maintain a financial position meeting the requirements of the credit facility. A breach of any of these covenants could result in a default under the facilities. In the event of a default, the bank could elect to declare any outstanding principal amount of the credit facilities and term debt, any and all accrued interest thereon and any and all other amounts payable under the credit facilities to be immediately due and payable, which would have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. As of April 28, 2012, we were in compliance with all financial and other covenants of our credit facilities.
We must comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We are required to comply with the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits United States companies from engaging in bribery or making other prohibited payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. It also requires us to maintain specific record-keeping standards and adequate internal accounting controls. Foreign companies, including some of our competitors, are not subject to these prohibitions and requirements. Corruption, extortion, bribery, pay-offs, theft and other fraudulent practices occur from time to time in many jurisdictions,
including the Middle East and China. If our competitors engage in these practices, they may receive preferential treatment from the personnel of some companies or governmental agencies, giving our competitors an advantage in securing business from these companies or from government officials who might give them priority in obtaining new licenses or permits, which would put us at a disadvantage. In addition, although we inform our personnel through training sessions, policies and other means that such practices are illegal, we cannot assure that our employees or agents will not engage in such conduct for which we might be held responsible even if we are not aware of such conduct. If our employees or agents are found to have engaged in such practices, we could suffer severe penalties.
Our operations in the People’s Republic of China (”China”) subject us to risks and uncertainties relating to the laws and regulations of China. We have offices and manufacturing facilities and make sales to customers in China which encompass many different activities. Under its current leadership, the government of China has been pursuing economic reform policies, including the encouragement of foreign trade and investment and greater economic decentralization. However, the government of China may not continue to pursue such policies. Despite progress in developing its legal system, China does not have a comprehensive and highly developed system of laws, particularly with respect to foreign investment activities and foreign trade. Enforcement of existing and future laws and contracts is uncertain, and the implementation and interpretation of them may be inconsistent. As the Chinese legal system develops, the promulgation of new laws, changes to existing laws and the preemption of local regulations by national laws may adversely affect foreign investors and foreign companies with operations in China, such as ours. In addition, some government policies and rules are not published or communicated in local districts in a timely manner, if they are published at all. If they are published, they may not be followed consistently by local districts. As a result, we may inadvertently operate our business in violation of new rules and policies without having any knowledge of their existence. These uncertainties could limit the legal protections available to us. Any litigation in China may be protracted and result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention. Furthermore, a significant portion of our business in China involves contracts with government bodies which can significantly inhibit our ability to enforce a contract through litigation or similar means.
Our ability to satisfy any debt obligations will depend upon our future operating performance, which will be affected by prevailing economic, financial and business conditions and other factors, some of which are beyond our control. It is anticipated that borrowings from our existing credit facilities and cash provided by operating activities should provide sufficient funds to finance our capital expenditures, working capital and otherwise meet operating expenses and debt service requirements as they become due. However, if additional capital is required, there can be no assurance that we will be able to raise such capital when needed or on satisfactory terms, if at all.
We may make future acquisitions, which may be difficult to integrate, divert management resources, result in unanticipated costs or dilute our shareholders. Part of our business strategy is to make acquisitions of or investments in companies, businesses, products or technologies that complement our current products, enhance our market coverage or technical capabilities, or offer growth opportunities. We currently do not have any definitive agreements to acquire any company or business, and we may not be able to identify or complete any acquisition in the future. Additional risks associated with acquisitions include the following:
In connection with these acquisitions or investments, we could incur debt, recognize amortization expenses related to intangible assets, recognize large and immediate write-offs, assume liabilities, or issue stock that would dilute our current shareholders’ percentage of ownership. We may not be able to complete acquisitions or integrate the operations, products or personnel gained through any such acquisition without a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our business is partially subject to risks of terrorist acts and, to a lesser degree, acts of war. Terrorist acts and, to a lesser degree, acts of war, may disrupt our operations as well as the operations of our customers. Such acts have created an interruption of orders and delays in orders already booked, primarily in sports facilities and destination sites. Any future terrorist activities and, to a lesser degree, acts of
war, could create additional uncertainties, forcing customers to further reduce or delay their spending or cancel or delay already planned projects, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results or financial condition.
Our common stock has at times been thinly traded, which may result in low liquidity and price volatility. The daily trading volume of our common stock has at times been relatively low. If this were to occur in the future, the liquidity and appreciation of our common stock may not meet shareholders’ expectations, and the prices at which our stock trades may be volatile. The market price of our common stock could be adversely impacted as a result of sales by existing shareholders of a large number of shares of common stock in the market or by the perception that such sales could occur.
We may fail to continue to attract, develop and retain key management and other key employees, which could negatively impact our operating results. We depend on the performance of our senior management team and other key employees. The loss of certain members of our senior management, including our Chief Executive Officer, could negatively impact our operating results and ability to execute our business strategy. Our future success will also depend in part upon our ability to attract, train, motivate and retain qualified personnel. We do not have employment agreements with the executive officers or other employees, but we do maintain key person life insurance on the lives of our Chairman of the Board and our Chief Executive Officer.
We may be unable to protect our intellectual property rights. We rely on a variety of intellectual property rights that we use in our products and services. We may not be able to successfully preserve our intellectual property rights in the future, and these rights could be invalidated, circumvented or challenged. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries in which our products and services have been or may be sold do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. A failure to protect proprietary information and any successful intellectual property challenges or infringement proceedings against us could materially and adversely affect our competitive position. In addition, even if we are successful in protecting our intellectual property rights or defending ourselves against a claim of infringement, any related dispute or litigation could be costly and time-consuming and divert management’s attention from business.
We may be sued by third parties for alleged infringement of their proprietary rights, which could be costly, time-consuming and limit our ability to use certain technologies in the future. As the sizes of our markets increase and our product offerings continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, we are more likely to be subject to claims that our technologies infringe upon the intellectual property or other proprietary rights of third parties. Given the current legal framework associated with infringement claims, any such claims, with or without merit, could be time consuming and expensive and could divert our management’s attention away from the execution of our business plan. Moreover, any settlement or adverse judgment resulting from a claim could require us to pay substantial amounts, obtain a license to continue to use the technology that is the subject of the claim, or otherwise restrict or prohibit our use of the technology. There can be no assurance that we would be able to obtain a license from the third party asserting the claim on commercially reasonable terms, if at all; that we would be able to develop alternative technology on a timely basis, if at all; or that we would be able to obtain a license to use a suitable alternative technology to permit us to continue offering, and our customers to continue using, our affected product. In addition, we may be required to indemnify our customers’ partners for third-party intellectual property infringement claims, which would increase the cost to us of an adverse ruling in such a claim. An adverse determination could also prevent us from offering our products to others. Infringement claims asserted against us or our vendors may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.
We maintain inventory that is subject to obsolescence and write downs to the extent it is replaced through product enhancements or advances in technology. As a result of our products being subject to continuous enhancements and design changes, inventory held by us is subject to the risk of obsolescence and excess levels that may not be saleable. Losses incurred as a result could have an adverse impact on our future profits.
We may not be able to utilize our capacity efficiently or accurately plan our capacity requirements, which may negatively affect our business and operating results. We increase our production capacity and the overhead that supports production based on anticipated market demand. Market demand, however, has not always developed as expected or remained at a consistent level. The underutilization that can result decreases our profitability. For example, in fiscal 2007 and 2008, market demand for our products was increasing rapidly, resulting in expanding our capacity. In the second half of fiscal 2009, net sales were below our expectations. This resulted in underutilization of our manufacturing capacity. As a result, our profitability also was below our expectations.
The following factors complicate accurate capacity planning for market demand:
A future deterioration of our business could result in further underutilization of our manufacturing capacity, resulting in an impairment of certain assets in the future. Our inability to plan our capacity requirements accurately and efficiently utilize our production capacity, or our failure to put in place the technologies and capacity necessary to meet market demand, could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We depend on single-source suppliers for some of the raw materials used in the manufacture of our products. We obtain some of our raw materials, including, but not limited to, LEDs, power supplies, circuit boards and plastics, from a limited number of suppliers. If we cannot obtain some key raw materials from our suppliers, the raw materials may not be readily available from other suppliers, other suppliers may not agree to supply the materials to us on terms that are as favorable as the terms we currently receive, or that the raw materials from any other suppliers may not be of adequate and consistent quality. Although we believe our supply of raw materials currently is adequate for the needs of our business, we cannot assure you that new sources of supply will be available when needed. Any interruption in our supply of raw materials could have a material adverse effect on our ability to manufacture our products until a new source of supply is located and, therefore, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
New regulations related to conflict-free minerals may force us to incur additional expenses. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act contains provisions to improve transparency and accountability concerning the supply of minerals originating from the conflict zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and adjoining countries. As a result, the SEC is required to establish new annual disclosure and reporting requirements for those companies who use “conflict” minerals mined from the DRC and adjoining countries in their products. When these new requirements are implemented, they could affect the sourcing and availability of minerals used in the manufacture of our products. As a result, we cannot ensure that we will be able to obtain minerals at competitive prices, and there may be additional costs associated with complying with the new due diligence procedures as required by the SEC. In addition, because our supply chain is complex, we may face reputation challenges with our customers and other stakeholders if we are unable to sufficiently verify the origins of all minerals used in our products through the due diligence procedures that we implement.
General price increases or significant shortages of raw materials and components could adversely affect our operating margin. We purchase large quantities of raw materials and components, including, but not limited to, aluminum, LEDs, power supplies, circuit boards and various other electronic components. Materials comprise the largest component of costs, representing nearly 71 percent of the cost of sales in fiscal 2012. Unless, to the extent described above, we have multiple sources of supply for many of our raw materials, significant shortages could disrupt the supply of raw materials. Further increases in the price of these raw materials and components could further increase our product costs and materially adversely affect margins. Although we attempt to pass along increased costs in the form of price increases to customers, we may decide not to do so for competitive reasons. Even when our price increases are successful, the timing of such price increases may lag significantly behind the incurrence of higher costs. As of the date of this report, there were no material parts shortages in the market place that were impacting our business.
If our internal control over financial reporting is found to be inadequate, our financial results may not be accurate, raising concerns for investors and potentially adversely affecting our stock price. Under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, we are required to evaluate and determine the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting. We have dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to ensure compliance with this legislation for the fiscal years ended April 28, 2012, April 30, 2011 and May 1, 2010 and will continue to do so for future periods. We may encounter problems or delays in completing the review and evaluation, the implementation of improvements, and the receipt of a positive attestation, or any attestation at all, from our independent registered public accounting firm. In addition, our assessment of our internal controls may identify deficiencies that need to be addressed in our internal controls over financial reporting or other matters that may raise concerns for investors and therefore adversely affect our stock price.
Our manufacturing would be interrupted if we were unable to use one of our manufacturing facilities. We manufacture most of our products in two locations in South Dakota and one in Minnesota. In addition, we manufacture certain products in our China facility. If any of these facilities, or a part thereof, were to be destroyed, shut down or unable to be used for its intended purposes, we would be limited in our capacity to meet customer demands until a replacement facility and equipment, if necessary, was found. The replacement of the manufacturing facility could take an extended amount of time before manufacturing operations could restart. The delay engendered by, and the potential cost incurred in, these steps could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
The protections we have adopted may discourage takeover offers favored by our shareholders. We have adopted, and there are available under the South Dakota Business Corporation Act (“SD Act”), several provisions that could have the effect of discouraging takeover offers. Of the 120,000,000 shares of capital stock authorized in our articles of incorporation, 5,000,000 shares are undesignated. Our Board of Directors may issue the undesignated shares on terms and with the rights, preferences and designations determined by the Board without shareholder action, which could be used to discourage takeover attempts. Our articles of incorporation provide for a classified board consisting of three classes of directors. Our classified board generally makes it more difficult to replace directors and to acquire our company. We have adopted a shareholder rights plan that provides for the exercise of preferred share purchase rights when a person becomes the beneficial owner of 15 percent or more of our outstanding common stock (subject to certain exceptions). In addition, we are governed by the anti-takeover provisions of the current SD Act, which may deny shareholders the receipt of a premium on their
common stock, which in turn have a depressive effect on the market price of the common stock. In general, shares of a corporation acquired in a “control share acquisition,” as defined in the SD Act, have no rights unless voting rights are approved in a prescribed manner. There are also provisions that prohibit a public South Dakota corporation from engaging in a “business combination,” as defined in the SD Act, with an “interested shareholder,” as defined in the SD Act, for a period of four years after the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested shareholder unless the business combination is approved in a prescribed manner. The SD Act also limits the voting rights of shares acquired in specified types of acquisitions and restricts specified types of business combinations. The existence or issuance of "blank check" stock, the classified Board, the existence of our shareholder rights plan and the effect of the anti-takeover provisions of the SD Act, individually or in the aggregate, may discourage potential takeover attempts and delay, deter or prevent a change in control. They also may make the removal of management more difficult, which could deprive our shareholders of opportunities to sell their shares at prices higher than prevailing market prices.
Significant changes in the market price of our common stock could result in securities litigation claims against us. Significant price and value fluctuations have occurred with respect to the publicly-traded securities of technology companies generally. The price of our common stock has changed significantly in the past and is likely to continue to experience significant changes in the future. In the past, securities litigation claims have been filed against certain companies following a period of decline in the market price of their publicly-traded securities. We may be the target of similar securities litigation claims in the future. Risks associated with litigation often are difficult to assess or quantify, and their existence and magnitude can remain unknown for significant periods of time. Although we maintain directors’ and officers’ insurance, the amount of insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover a claim, and the continued availability of this insurance cannot be assured. Future litigation, if any, may result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.
Difficult conditions in the capital, credit and commodities markets and in the overall economy could continue to materially adversely affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flow and those of our customers, and we do not know if these conditions will improve in the near future. Our financial position, results of operations and cash flow and those of our customers could continue to be materially adversely affected by the current and continuing difficult conditions and volatility in the capital, credit and commodities markets and in the overall worldwide economy. These factors, combined with the prior declines in business and consumer confidence and higher unemployment, have precipitated a worldwide economic slowdown. Although these conditions appear to have improved, the continuing impact that these factors might have on us and our business is uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time. Current economic conditions have accentuated each of the risks described in this Report and magnified their potential negative effect on us and our business. The difficult conditions in these markets and the overall economy affect our business in a number of ways. For example:
We do not know if market conditions or the state of the overall economy will improve or if any improvement will benefit our market.
Circumstances could arise in which our goodwill and intangible assets could become impaired, causing us to recognize substantial non-cash impairment charges, which would adversely affect our financial results. We have pursued and will continue to seek potential acquisitions to complement and expand our existing businesses, increase our revenues and profitability, and expand our markets. As a result of prior acquisitions, we have goodwill and intangible assets recorded on our balance sheet as described in the notes to the consolidated financial statements contained elsewhere in this Report. We will continue to evaluate the recoverability of the carrying amount of our goodwill and intangible assets on an ongoing basis, and we may incur substantial non-cash impairment charges, which would adversely affect our financial results. There can be no assurance that the outcome of such reviews in the future will not result in substantial impairment charges. Impairment assessment inherently involves judgment as to assumptions about expected future cash flows and the impact of market conditions on those assumptions. Future events and changing market conditions may impact our assumptions as to prices, costs, holding periods or other factors that may result in changes in our estimates of future cash flows. Although we believe the assumptions we used in testing for impairment are reasonable, significant changes in any one of our assumptions could produce a significantly different result. A decline in our market capitalization or in our estimated forecasted discounted cash flows also could result in an impairment of our goodwill and intangible assets. A non-cash impairment charge could materially and adversely affect the net income for the reporting period in which it is recorded.
Our directors and executive officers have substantial influence over us and could limit the ability of our other shareholders to affect the outcome of key transactions, including changes of control. Dr. Aelred Kurtenbach serves as our Chairman of the Board. His brother, Mr. Frank Kurtenbach, is also on our Board and serves in a part-time role within our sales organization. Mr. Reece Kurtenbach, his son, serves as our Executive Vice President. In addition, Dr. Aelred Kurtenbach has two other children who serve as our Vice President of Human Resources and as our Vice President of Manufacturing. Together, these individuals, in the aggregate, beneficially owned 10.6 percent of our outstanding common stock as of June 4, 2012, assuming the exercise by them of all of their options that were currently exercisable or that vest within 60 days of June 4, 2012. In addition, our other executive officers and directors, in the aggregate, beneficially owned 5.3 percent of our outstanding common stock as of June 4, 2012, assuming the exercise by them of all of their options that were currently exercisable or that vest within 60 days of June 4, 2012. These Kurtenbach family members and our other executive officers and directors and their affiliated entities, if acting together, thus are able to influence significantly all matters requiring approval by our shareholders, including the election of directors and the approval of mergers or other significant corporate transactions. These shareholders may have interests that differ from other shareholders, and they may vote in a way with which other shareholders disagree and that may be adverse to other shareholders’ interests. The concentration of ownership of our common stock may have the effect of delaying, preventing or deterring a change of control of our company, could deprive our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of our company, and may affect the market price of our common stock. This concentration of ownership of our common stock may also have the effect of influencing the completion of a change in control that may not necessarily be in the best interests of all of our shareholders.
Our data systems could fail or their security could be compromised. Our business operations depend on the reliability of sophisticated data systems. Any failure of these systems, or any breach of our systems’ security measures, could adversely affect our operations, at least until our data can be restored and/or the breaches remediated.
Item 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
Item 2. PROPERTIES
Our principal real estate properties are located in areas we deem necessary to meet sales, service and operating requirements. We consider all of the properties to be both suitable and adequate to meet current and near-term operating requirements.
As of April 28, 2012, we leased approximately 18 facilities throughout the United States and 10 facilities outside the United States for sales and service offices. We also leased one facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, comprising approximately 140,000 square feet. The lease contains an option to purchase the building from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. Our China subsidiary leases approximately 90,500 square feet in a building in Shanghai for sales, service and manufacturing. The majority of the remaining sales and service offices located throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and China are small offices, generally consisting of less than 10,000 square feet leased under operating leases. These lease obligations expire on various dates, with the longest commitment extending to fiscal 2017. We believe all of our leases will be renewable at market terms in our discretion as they become due or that suitable alternative space will be available to lease under similar terms and conditions.
We own various buildings in Brookings, South Dakota, totaling approximately 1,000,000 square feet, and a building in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, totaling approximately 100,000 square feet.
Item 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We are involved in a variety of legal actions relating to various matters that arise in the normal course of business. Although we are unable to predict the ultimate outcome of these legal actions, it is the opinion of management that the disposition of these matters, taken as a whole, will not have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
Item 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Item 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Our common stock currently is quoted on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “DAKT.” As of June 4, 2012, we had 1,085 shareholders of record. Following are the high and low sales prices for our common stock for each quarter within the last two fiscal years.
On May 24, 2012, our Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.115 per share payable on June 25, 2012 to holders of record of its common stock on June 14, 2012.
On December 2, 2011, our Board of Directors declared a semi-annual dividend of $0.11 per share and a special dividend of $0.40 per share payable on December 22, 2011 to holders of record of our common stock on December 8, 2011.
On June 2, 2011, our Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.11 per share payable on June 24, 2011 to holders of record of our common stock on June 13, 2011.
On September 17, 2010, our Board of Directors declared a special dividend of $0.50 per share payable on October 14, 2010 to holders of record of our common stock on September 30, 2010.
On June 3, 2010, our Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per share payable on June 25, 2010 to holders of record of our common stock on June 14, 2010.
Although we expect to continue to pay dividends for the foreseeable future, any and all subsequent dividends will be reviewed regularly and declared by the Board at its discretion. In addition, our credit facility imposes limitations on our ability to pay dividends as further described in “Item 7 – Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
The following graph shows changes during the period from April 28, 2007 to April 28, 2012 in the value of $100 invested in: (1) our common stock; (2) The NASDAQ Composite; and (3) the Standard and Poor's 600 Index for Electronic Equipment Manufacturers. The values of each investment as of the dates indicated are based on share prices plus any dividends in cash, with the dividends reinvested on the date they were paid. The calculations exclude trading commissions and taxes.
Item 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA (in thousands, except per share data)
The table below provides selected historical financial data, which should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements, the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” which are included in Items 7 and 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The statement of operations data for the fiscal years ended April 28, 2012, April 30, 2011 and May 1, 2010 and the balance sheet data at April 28, 2012 and April 30, 2011 are derived from, and are qualified by reference to, the audited Consolidated Financial Statements included elsewhere in this report. The statement of operations data for the fiscal years ended May 2, 2009 and April 26, 2008 and the balance sheet data at May 1, 2010, May 2, 2009 and April 26, 2008 are derived from audited financial statements that are not included in this report.
Item 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS (in thousands, except per share data)
The following discussion highlights the principal factors affecting changes in our financial condition and results of operations. This discussion should be read in conjunction with the accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements and notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
We design, manufacture and sell a wide range of display systems to customers throughout the world. We focus our sales and marketing efforts on markets, geographical regions and products. Our primary five segments consist of four domestic segments and one International segment. The four domestic segments consist of Live Events, Commercial, Schools and Theatres, and Transportation.
Our net sales and profitability historically have fluctuated due to the impact of large product orders, such as display systems for professional sports facilities and colleges and universities, as well as the seasonality of the sports market. Net sales and gross profit percentages also have fluctuated due to other seasonality factors, including the impact of holidays, which primarily affects our third quarter. Our gross margins on large product orders tend to fluctuate more than those for smaller standard orders. Large product orders that involve competitive bidding and substantial subcontract work for product installation generally have lower gross margins. Although we follow the percentage of completion method of recognizing revenues for large custom orders, we nevertheless have experienced fluctuations in operating results and expect that our future results of operations will be subject to similar fluctuations.
Orders are booked and included in backlog only upon receipt of a firm contract and after receipt of any required deposits. As a result, certain orders for which we have received binding letters of intent or contracts will not be booked until all required contractual documents and deposits are received. In addition, order bookings can vary significantly as a result of the timing of large orders.
Our business, especially the large video display business in all of our business units, is very competitive, and generally our margins on large video display contracts are similar across the business units over the long-term. There are, however, differences that arise in the short term among the business units, which are discussed more fully in the following analysis.
Overall, our business growth is driven by the market demand for large format electronic displays and the depth and quality of our products, including related control systems, service offerings and our technology that serve these market demands. This growth, however, is partially offset by declines in product prices caused by increasing competition as well as declines in the costs of the raw materials and improved product designs and manufacturing methods which decreases the per unit selling prices of displays. Within each business unit, there are also key growth drivers that apply uniquely to that business unit.
Commercial Business Unit: Over the long-term, we believe that the following factors are important growth drivers to our Commercial business unit:
Live Events Business Unit: Over the long-term, we believe that growth in the Live Events business unit will result from a number of factors, including:
Schools and Theatres: Over the long-term, we believe that growth in the Schools and Theatres business unit will result from a number of factors, including:
Transportation: Over the long-term, we believe that growth in the Transportation business unit will result from increasing applications of electronic displays in locations to manage an increasing number of commuters, including roadway, airport, parking, transit and other applications. This growth is highly dependent on government spending, primarily federal government spending.
International: Over the long-term, we believe that growth in the International business unit will result from achieving greater penetration in various geographies, building products more suited to individual markets, and the reasons listed in each of the other business units to the extent they apply outside the United States.
Each of our business units is impacted by adverse economic conditions in different ways and to different degrees. The effects of an adverse economy are generally less severe on our sports related business as compared to our other businesses, although in severe economic downturns, the sports business can be adversely impacted. Our Commercial and International business units are highly dependent on economic conditions in general. Beginning in fiscal 2009, we began to see the impacts of the economy negatively impact our Commercial business unit and, to a lesser degree, our International business unit. As we entered into fiscal 2010, we began to see the adverse economic conditions impact the sports business in our Live Events and Schools and Theatres business units. Beginning in the second half of fiscal 2011, we saw our Commercial business unit start to rebound, led by improvements in orders for digital billboards, followed by improvements in other business units. We are uncertain as to how much the current economic conditions are still impacting our business, but we believe that there are still adverse implications of the current economic conditions in all of our business units.
The cost and selling prices of our products have significantly decreased over time due to increased competition across all business units, lower component costs and product design changes. They are expected to continue to decline in future years. As a result, each year we must sell more products to generate the same level of net sales as in previous fiscal years.
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES
The following discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations are based upon our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. On a regular basis, we evaluate our estimates, including those related to estimated total costs on long-term construction-type contracts, costs to be incurred for product warranties and extended maintenance contracts, bad debts, excess and obsolete inventory, income taxes, share-based compensation and contingencies. Our estimates are based on historical experience and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
We believe the following critical accounting policies require significant judgments and estimates in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements:
Revenue recognition on long-term construction-type contracts. Earnings on construction-type contracts are recognized on the percentage-of-completion method, measured by the percentage of costs incurred to date to estimated total costs for each contract. Contract costs include all direct material and labor costs and those indirect costs related to contract performance. Indirect costs include charges for such items as facilities, engineering, and project management. Provisions for estimated losses on uncompleted contracts are made in the period
in which such losses are capable of being estimated. Generally, construction-type contracts we enter into have fixed prices established, and to the extent the actual costs to complete construction-type contracts are higher than the amounts estimated as of the date of the financial statements, the resulting gross margin would be negatively affected in future quarters when we revise our estimates. Our practice is to revise estimates as soon as such changes in estimates are known. We do not believe there is a reasonable likelihood that there will be a material change in future estimates or assumptions we use to determine these estimates. We combine contracts for accounting purposes when they are negotiated as a package with an overall profit margin objective, essentially represent an agreement to do a single project for a customer, involve interrelated construction activities, and are performed concurrently or sequentially. When a group of contracts is combined, revenue and profit are earned uniformly over the performance of the combined projects. We segment revenues in accordance with the contract segmenting criteria in Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 650-35, Construction-Type and Production-Type Contracts.
Allowance for doubtful accounts. We maintain an allowance for doubtful accounts for estimated losses resulting from the inability of our customers to make required payments. If the financial condition of our customers were to deteriorate, resulting in an impairment of their ability to make payments, additional allowances may be required. To identify impairment in customers’ ability to pay, we review aging reports, contact customers in connection with collection efforts and review other available information. Although we consider our allowance for doubtful accounts adequate, if the financial condition of our customers were to deteriorate and impair their ability to make payments to us, additional allowances may be required in future periods. Subsequent to April 28, 2012, we became aware of circumstances that could cause an increase in our allowance for doubtful accounts in an amount between $0 and $2.5 million. These circumstances arise out of a contract in China for which payment by our customer is dependent on funding from a local government entity that is not under any legal obligation to provide. Excluding this issue, we do not believe there is a reasonable likelihood that there will be a material change in the future estimates or assumptions we use to determine the allowance for doubtful accounts. As of April 28, 2012 and April 30, 2011, we had an allowance for doubtful accounts balance of approximately $2.4 million and $2.5 million, respectively.
Warranties. We have recognized a reserve for warranties on our products equal to our estimate of the actual costs to be incurred in connection with our performance under the warranties. Generally, estimates are based on historical experience taking into account known or expected changes. If we would become aware of an increase in our estimated warranty costs, additional reserves may become necessary, resulting in an increase in costs of goods sold. We do not believe there is a reasonable likelihood that there will be a material change in the future estimates or assumptions we use to determine our reserve for warranties. As of April 28, 2012 and April 30, 2011, we had approximately $22.2 million and $23.0 million reserved for these costs, respectively.
Extended warranty and product maintenance. We recognize deferred revenue related to separately priced extended warranty and product maintenance agreements. The deferred revenue is recognized ratably over the contractual term. If we would become aware of an increase in our estimated costs under these agreements in excess of our deferred revenue, additional reserves may be necessary, resulting in an increase in costs of goods sold. In determining if additional reserves are necessary, we examine cost trends on the contracts and other information and compare that to the deferred revenue. We do not believe there is a reasonable likelihood that there will be a material change in the future estimates or assumptions we use to determine estimated costs under these agreements. As of April 28, 2012 and April 30, 2011, we had $14.0 million and $13.3 million of deferred revenue related to separately priced extended warranty and product maintenance agreements, respectively.
Inventory. Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market. Market refers to the current replacement cost, except that market may not exceed the net realizable value (that is, the estimated selling price in the ordinary course of business less reasonably predictable costs of completion and disposal), and market is not less than the net realizable value reduced by an allowance for normal profit margins. In valuing inventory, we estimate market value where it is believed to be the lower of cost or market, and any necessary changes are charged to costs of goods sold in the period in which they occur. In determining market value, we review various factors such as current inventory levels, forecasted demand and technological obsolescence. We do not believe there is a reasonable likelihood that there will be a material change in the future estimates or assumptions we use to calculate the estimated market value of inventory. However, if market conditions change, including changes in technology, product components used in our products or in expected sales, we may be exposed to unforeseen losses that could be material.
Income taxes. As part of the process of preparing our consolidated financial statements, we are required to estimate our income taxes in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. This process involves estimating the actual current tax expense, as well as assessing temporary differences in the treatment of items for tax and financial reporting purposes. These timing differences result in deferred tax assets and liabilities, which are included in our consolidated balance sheets. We must then assess the likelihood that our deferred tax assets will be recovered from future taxable income in each jurisdiction, and to the extent we believe that recovery is not likely, a valuation allowance must be established. We review deferred tax assets, including net operating losses, and to the extent we believe that the asset may not be realized, we recognize a valuation allowance. If our estimates of future taxable income are not met in future periods, a valuation allowance for some of these deferred tax assets may be required. We believe that we will generate taxable income in future years which will allow for realization of deferred tax assets. Realization of the deferred tax assets would require approximately $25 million of taxable income, which we believe is achievable through carry back of losses or future earnings.
We operate within multiple taxing jurisdictions, both domestic and international, and are subject to audits in these jurisdictions. These audits can involve complex issues, including challenges regarding the timing and amount of deductions and the allocation of income amounts to various tax jurisdictions. At any one time, multiple tax years are subject to audit by various tax authorities.
We record our income tax provision based on our knowledge of all relevant facts and circumstances, including the existing tax laws, the status of any current examinations and our understanding of how the tax authorities view certain relevant industry and commercial matters. In evaluating the exposures associated with our various tax filing positions, we record reserves for probable exposures consistent with ASC 740, Income Taxes. A number of years may elapse before a particular matter for which we have established a reserve is audited and fully resolved or clarified. We adjust our income tax provision in the period in which actual results of a settlement with tax authorities differs from our established reserve, when the statute of limitations expires for the relevant taxing authority to examine the tax position, or when more information becomes available. Our tax contingencies reserve contains uncertainties because management is required to make assumptions and apply judgment to estimate the exposure associated with our various filing positions. We believe that any potential tax assessments from various tax authorities that are not covered by our income tax provision will not have a material adverse impact on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flow.
We have not recorded U.S. deferred income taxes on certain of our non-U.S. subsidiaries’ undistributed earnings, as such amounts are intended to be reinvested outside the United States indefinitely. However, should we change our business and tax strategies in the future and decide to repatriate a portion of these earnings to one of our U.S. subsidiaries, including cash maintained by these non-U.S. subsidiaries, additional U.S. tax liabilities would be incurred. It is not practical at this time to estimate the amount of additional U.S. tax liabilities we would incur.
Some of the countries in which we are located allow tax holidays or provide other tax incentives to attract and retain business. We have obtained holidays or other incentives where available and practicable. Our taxes could increase if certain tax holidays or incentives were retracted for past periods (which in some cases could occur if we had not satisfied the conditions on which such holidays or incentives are based), they are not renewed upon expiration, or tax rates applicable to us in such jurisdictions are otherwise increased. Our tax holiday with respect to our Chinese operations expired as of December 31, 2011 and as of April 28, 2012, we are not benefiting from any tax incentives in foreign jurisdictions which would have a material impact on our effective tax rate. In addition, any acquisitions may cause our effective tax rate to increase, depending on the jurisdictions in which the acquired operations are located.
Asset Impairment. Carrying values of goodwill and other intangible assets with indefinite lives are reviewed at least annually for possible impairment in accordance with ASC 350, Intangibles - Goodwill and Other. Our impairment review involves estimating of the fair value of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets using a combination of a market approach and an income (discounted cash flow) approach at the reporting unit level that requires significant management judgment with respect to revenue and expense growth rates, changes in working capital, and the selection and use of an appropriate discount rate. The estimates of fair value of reporting units are based on the best information available as of the date of the assessment. The use of different assumptions would increase or decrease estimated discounted future operating cash flows and could increase or decrease an impairment charge. We use our judgment in assessing whether assets may have become impaired between annual impairment tests. Indicators such as adverse business conditions, economic factors and technological change or competitive activities may signal that an asset has become impaired.
Carrying values for long-lived tangible assets and definite-lived intangible assets, excluding goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets, are reviewed for possible impairment as circumstances warrant in connection with ASC 360-10-05-4, Impairment or Disposal of Long-Lived Assets. Impairment reviews are conducted when we believe that a change in circumstances in the business or external factors warrants a review. Circumstances such as the discontinuation of a product or product line, a sudden or consistent decline in the forecast for a product, changes in technology or in the way an asset is being used, a history of negative operating cash flow, or an adverse change in legal factors or in the business climate, among others, may be indicators that trigger an impairment review. The Company’s initial impairment review to determine if a potential impairment charge is required is based on an undiscounted cash flow analysis at the lowest level for which identifiable cash flows exist. The analysis requires judgment with respect to changes in technology, the continued success of product lines, future volume, revenue and expense growth rates, and discount rates.
Share-based compensation. We use the Black-Scholes standard option pricing model (“Black-Scholes model”) to determine the fair value of stock options and stock purchase rights. The determination of the fair value of the awards on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes model is affected by our stock price as well as by assumptions regarding other variables, including projected employee stock option exercise behaviors, risk-free interest rate, expected volatility of our stock price in future periods, and expected dividend yield.
We analyze historical employee exercise and termination data to estimate the expected life assumption of a new employee option. We believe that historical data currently represents the best estimate of the expected life of a new employee option. The risk-free interest rate we use is based on the U.S. Treasury zero-coupon yield curve on the grant date for a maturity similar to the expected life of the options. We estimate the expected volatility of our stock price in future periods by using the implied volatility in market traded options. Our decision to use expected volatility was based on the availability of actively traded options for our common stock and our assessment that expected volatility is more representative of future stock price trends than the historical volatility of our common stock. We use an
expected dividend yield consistent with our dividend yield over the period of time we have paid dividends in the Black-Scholes option valuation model. The amount of share-based compensation expense we recognize during a period is based on the portion of the awards that are ultimately expected to vest. We estimate pre-vesting option forfeitures at the time of grant by analyzing historical data, and we revise those estimates in subsequent periods if actual forfeitures differ from those estimates.
If factors change and we employ different assumptions for estimating share-based compensation expense in future periods or if we decide to use a different valuation model, the expense in future periods may differ significantly from what we have recorded in the current period and could materially affect our net earnings and net earnings per share in a future period.
RECENT ACCOUNTING PRONOUNCEMENTS
For a summary of recently issued accounting pronouncements and the effects those pronouncements would have on our financial results, see Note 1 of the Notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in this report.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Fiscal Year 2012 as compared to Fiscal Year 2011
Commercial: The increase in net sales in our Commercial business unit for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of:
Live Events: Net sales were generally flat in fiscal 2012 as compared to fiscal 2011. During fiscal 2012, orders and net sales were impacted by:
Net sales were $20.2 million and $7.3 million for fiscal 2011 and 2012. This change was the result of the labor issues in both sports in the spring and summer of calendar year 2011.
A number of factors, such as the discretionary nature of customers committing to upgrade systems, versus the non-discretionary purchases associated with new construction, the current aggressive competitive environment and various other factors, make forecasting fiscal 2013 orders and net sales difficult. However, for the reasons cited previously, we believe that over the long term, we expect to see this business unit grow, assuming that the economy continues to improve and we are successful at counteracting competitive pressures.
Schools and Theatres: The decrease in net sales in our Schools and Theatres business unit for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the result of economic pressures on schools, which we believe inhibits spending in spite of the revenue generation abilities of these display systems for schools.
A positive aspect that could drive growth in the Schools and Theatres business unit in the future is the increase in opportunities for larger video systems, primarily in high school facilities which benefit from our sports marketing services that generate advertising revenue to fund the display systems. For the long term, we believe that this business unit presents growth opportunities as the economy improves.
Transportation: The increase in net sales in our Transportation business unit for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the result of the increase in orders booked during this period, which was driven by orders from the New Jersey Turnpike under a $25 million, three year procurement contract. Net sales from this customer exceeded $5.0 million for fiscal 2012. As a result of a large order booked in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 in excess of $20 million and an award of a large procurement contract for more than $20 million which is subject to contract negotiations and a minimum commitment of approximately $5 million, we believe that net sales will increase significantly in fiscal 2013 as compared to fiscal 2012.
International: The increase in net sales in our International business unit for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the result of the higher backlog of business we had at the beginning of fiscal 2012, primarily as a result of a large contract for a new arena built in Mexico during fiscal 2012. At the end of fiscal 2011, the backlog of this contract was approximately $8.9 million compared to zero at the end of fiscal 2012. We believe that although orders for this business unit have declined in fiscal 2012, over the long-term, this business unit represents a significant area of growth as we penetrate markets we have not focused on previously.
Fiscal Year 2011 as compared to Fiscal Year 2010
Commercial Business Unit. Net sales in our outdoor advertising business, which is a component of the Commercial business unit, were up 65 percent in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010. Orders in the outdoor advertising business were up approximately 108 percent in fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010. In addition to better economic conditions in fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010 for outdoor advertisers, during the first quarter of fiscal 2011, we were successful in earning back business from a large outdoor advertising company that had not placed significant orders with us during fiscal 2010. During the second quarter of fiscal 2011, two of the large outdoor advertising companies in the United States announced their plans for an increase in digital billboard deployments beginning in the first calendar quarter of 2011. These plans, in addition to the improving economy benefiting other outdoor advertising companies, caused both orders and sales to rise. We also believe that our ability to maintain our market share had been aided by the industry’s acceptance of our Series 4000 digital billboard product.
Net sales in the reseller portion of the Commercial business unit increased by approximately 14 percent in fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010, while orders increased by approximately 15 percent. The increase in both orders and net sales was primarily driven by an increase in the large contract portion of this business, which includes spectaculars and other large video display systems. The increase was also aided by the introduction of our architectural lighting products.
Live Events Business Unit. The changes in net sales and orders for the Live Events business unit for fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010 was the result of a number of factors. The most significant positive factor was the improvement in orders for professional baseball facilities. We were awarded over $20 million in contracts each exceeding $3 million for major league baseball facilities during the second and third quarters of fiscal 2011 compared to none for the same periods in fiscal 2010. These baseball contracts, plus one additional contract booked in late fiscal 2010, contributed over $27.0 million in net sales in fiscal 2011. This increase from the baseball contracts was offset by a decline in large contracts over $5 million in fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010. Net sales on contracts in excess of $5 million declined from $37.3 million in fiscal 2010 to $34.8 million in fiscal 2011. The decline is primarily due to the decreased number of new construction projects as discussed in prior filings.
Schools and Theatres Business Unit. The changes in net sales in the Schools and Theatres business unit in fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010 were the result of the sale of a higher number of custom video and scoring systems due to more opportunities created by our sports marketing business and the increased demand for large video systems, offset by declines in our standard scoreboard, display and hoist product sales.
Transportation Business Unit. The increase in net sales in the Transportation business unit for fiscal 2011 was due to the reduction in backlog that existed at the beginning of the fiscal year, which was higher than normal. Orders were down slightly in fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010 as a result of a couple of unusually large orders booked in the second half of fiscal 2010, including one order in excess of $8 million for an east coast transit authority. The decline in backlog resulted from improvements in our manufacturing throughput during late fiscal 2011.
International Business Unit. The increase in net sales in the International business unit during fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010 was the result of the higher backlog at the beginning of fiscal 2011 as compared to the backlog at the beginning of fiscal 2010 and the increase in orders throughout fiscal 2011. Included in orders in fiscal 2011 is a large project in excess of $10 million for a new arena in Mexico.
We occasionally sell products in exchange for the advertising revenues generated from the use of our display products. These sales represented less than one percent of net sales for fiscal 2011 and 2010. The gross profit percent on these transactions has typically been higher than the gross profit percent on other transactions of similar size, although the selling expenses associated with these transactions are typically higher.
The product order backlog as of April 28, 2012 was approximately $123 million as compared to $131 million as of April 30, 2011. Historically, our backlog varies due to the timing of large orders and customer delivery schedules for these orders. The backlog decreased from one year ago in our Live Events and Schools and Theatres business units and increased in our other business units.
Backlog is not a measure defined by U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, and our methodology for determining backlog may vary from the methodology used by other companies in determining their backlog amounts. Our backlog is equal to the amount of net sales expected to be recognized in future periods on standard product and contract sales that are evidenced by an arrangement, with prices that are fixed and determinable and with collectability reasonably assured. Backlog may not be indicative of future operating results, and arrangements in our backlog may be canceled, modified or otherwise altered; therefore, it is not necessarily indicative of future sales or net income.
Fiscal Year 2012 as compared to Fiscal Year 2011
The decrease in our gross profit percentage for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of the following:
We have been challenged with increased levels of competitive pressures, by added costs of our services infrastructure as we deploy and reengineer systems and processes, and, to a lesser degree, higher than expected warranty costs. In order to reduce warranty costs and to address competitive factors, we began expending significant effort on developing our new outdoor DVX technology in fiscal 2009 and then, in fiscal 2011, on our new indoor DVN technology, which are common module platforms that have replaced many of the different and unique modules for each of our display resolutions and types. Part of this development also involves the markets’ increasing interest in higher resolution outdoor displays, which require surface mount technology as opposed to the traditional through-hole technology.
The DVX and DVN technologies decrease the cost of displays significantly and supply the market with higher resolution products. We have also invested significant resources in quality initiatives and reliability equipment to test new designs. We believe that this technology and investment in quality initiatives will drive down warranty costs over the long term and make our products more competitive, both of which are intended to increase gross profit percentages and drive higher sales.
One of the challenges that occurred with the downturn of our business during fiscal 2009 was the higher percentage of fixed costs in manufacturing relative to net sales. Since the downturn, we have been lowering that percentage through cost reductions, lean initiatives and higher sales, and we expect to continue lowering it, adding to the gross profit percentages. Total manufacturing conversion costs for fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2011 were approximately $77.2 million and $72.3 million, respectively. These conversion costs represented 15.8 percent and 16.4 percent of sales for fiscal 2012 and 2011, respectively.
It is difficult to project gross profit levels for fiscal 2013 because of the uncertainty regarding the level of sales, and the competitive factors described previously, although we expect that gross profit levels will increase as we improve utilization of our services organization and we continue to decrease warranty expenses as a percentage of sales. This assumes that competitive pressures remain consistent with the levels of fiscal 2012.
Commercial: The gross profit percent increase in the Commercial business unit for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of:
Live Events: The gross profit percent decrease in the Live Events business unit for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of:
Schools and Theatres: The gross profit percentage decrease in the Schools and Theatres business unit for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of:
Transportation: The gross profit percent increase in the Transportation business unit for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of:
International: The gross profit percent decrease in the International business unit for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of:
Historically, our gross margins in the International business unit have generally been higher than in our other business units as a result of the focus on more profitable contracts, as we have limited penetration in international markets. In prior quarters, we stated that the gross margin levels in our International business unit were not sustainable as we penetrated more deeply in international markets and competition increased. We are now beginning to recognize lower gross margins in our International business unit due to these factors. The recent declines in gross profit percentage in the International business unit reflect our deeper penetration and our success with larger international customers, typically resulting in lower gross margins due to the customers’ potential volume and more intense competition.
Fiscal Year 2011 as compared to Fiscal Year 2010
The increase in gross profit in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010 was due primarily to higher net sales. The increase in gross profit as a percent of sales is the result of an improved gross profit on our services business and a lower conversion cost of manufacturing as a percentage of sales, which were partially offset by a decrease of approximately two percentage points in gross profit on product sales, primarily large contract sales, and higher warranty costs as a percentage of net sales. The decline in large contract gross profit percentage was primarily due to the competitive factors described above. Gross profit percentages were relatively flat in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2010 on small contract sales. Large contracts were approximately 64 percent of net sales in fiscal 2011, compared to approximately 61 percent in fiscal 2010. Warranty costs were approximately 3.9 percent of net sales for fiscal 2011 and 3.5 percent of net sales in fiscal 2010.
Within the Commercial business unit, the gross profit percentage increased in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010 as a result of an improved margin on services related sales, which added approximately one percentage point to gross profit and improved manufacturing conversion costs, as described previously. This increase was partially offset by higher warranty costs, which caused a one-half of a percentage point decline in gross profit percentage.
Gross profit percentage in the Live Events business unit decreased in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010 as a result of lower margins on large contracts, which caused the gross profit percent to decline by approximately four percentage points, partially offset by improvements in manufacturing conversion costs and an improvement in gross profit percent on services. The lower gross profit percent on contracts is attributable to the competitive factors described above.
Gross profit percentage in the Schools and Theatres business unit increased in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010 as a result of improvements in manufacturing conversion costs as a percent of sales, which were partially offset by lower gross profit percents on equipment sales in the sports portion of this business unit.
Gross profit percentage in our Transportation business unit increased in fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010 by approximately three percentage points as a result of the improvement in manufacturing conversion costs as previously described.
Within the International business unit, the gross profit percentage increased in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010 as a result of an improvement in manufacturing conversion costs as previously described.
Fiscal Year 2012 as compared to Fiscal Year 2011
Selling expenses consist primarily of salaries, other employee-related costs, travel and entertainment expenses, facilities-related costs for sales and service offices, and expenditures for marketing efforts, including the costs of collateral materials, conventions and trade shows, product demos and supplies. The increase in selling expenses in fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of the following:
Commercial: The increase in selling expenses for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 was a result of a $1.0 million increase in personnel costs, including taxes and benefits, and a $0.5 million increase in travel and entertainment costs. These increases are a result of the increase in orders, as explained previously.
Live Events: The decline in selling expenses for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 was a net result of:
Schools & Theatres: The increase in selling expenses for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 was the net result of:
Transportation: Selling expenses were flat for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011, although there were increases in payroll costs, net of taxes and benefits, which were offset by decreases in various other expenses.
International: The increase in selling expenses for fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011 was the result of a $1.1 million increase in payroll costs, net of taxes and benefits, which were offset by cost savings in various other expenses.
Fiscal Year 2011 as compared to Fiscal Year 2010
Selling expense decreased in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010 as a result of a decrease in personnel costs, including taxes and benefits, of approximately $3.4 million; a decrease of $2.2 million in depreciation; and a $1.1 million decrease in bad debt expense. These savings were offset by increases of $0.5 million in travel and entertainment costs, a $0.7 million increase in costs of conventions, a $0.5 million increase in commission and consultants, and an increase in other costs of $0.3 million. The decrease in personnel costs was the result of the lower number of employees caused by the reduction efforts explained above and decreases in benefits due to a change in health insurance plans. The increase in travel and entertainment costs was a reflection of the higher level of sales opportunities and costs of conventions. The decline in bad debt expense in fiscal 2011 was due to two larger isolated reserves established in fiscal 2010. The increase in costs of conventions was a result of higher costs incurred on trade shows attended. Depreciation costs declined as a result of a lower level of demonstration equipment.
In the Commercial business unit, selling expenses were down approximately 7.0 percent for fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010. The changes for the fiscal year were primarily due to lower personnel costs, including taxes and benefits, of $0.7 million and lower depreciation costs of $0.5 million, partially offset by higher travel and entertainment costs of $0.3 million and various other expenses.
In the Live Events business unit, selling expenses declined by 13.0 percent for fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010. The decline for the quarter was the result of a $2.0 million decrease in personnel costs, including taxes and benefits, and a $0.3 million decrease in depreciation, which was partially offset by an increase in various other expenses.
Selling expenses for the Schools and Theatres business unit declined by 16.9 percent in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010. The decrease was the result of lower sales administration costs of $1.0 million; lower personnel costs, including benefits and taxes, of $0.5 million; lower bad debt expenses of approximately $0.4 million; and lower commission expense paid to third parties of $0.2 million.
In the Transportation business unit, selling expenses were generally flat for fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010.
In the International business unit, selling expenses increased one percent in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010. The increase was due to an increase in commissions to third parties of $0.6 million, an increase in travel and entertainment of approximately $0.2 million, and an increase in personnel costs, including taxes and benefits, of $0.3 million, which were partially offset by a decrease in depreciation of approximately $0.4 million and a decrease in bad debt expense of approximately $0.8 million.
Other Operating Expenses
Fiscal Year 2012 as compared to Fiscal Year 2011
General and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries, other employee-related costs, professional fees, shareholder relations costs, facilities and equipment related costs for administrative departments, training costs, amortization of intangibles and the costs of supplies. The increase in general and administrative expense in fiscal 2012 as compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of the following:
Product design and development expenses consist primarily of salaries, other employee-related costs, facilities and equipment-related costs and supplies. Investments in our DVX and DVN technology platform, architectural lighting products, various other initiatives to standardize display components and in other display technologies and related items, including control systems for both single site displays and networked displays, continue to drive product design and development expenses. Our costs for product development represent an allocated amount of costs based on time charges, materials costs and overhead of our engineering departments. Generally, a significant portion of our engineering time is spent on product development, while the rest is allocated to large contract work and included in cost of goods sold. The increase in product development expense in fiscal 2012 as compared to fiscal 2011 is the net result of the allocation of the following changes in our engineering department total spending and other charges made directly to product development initiatives:
Overall, we expect that product design and development expenses will increase slightly in fiscal 2013 as compared to fiscal 2012, although our goal is to continue to challenge our cost structure until our operating margin returns to more reasonable levels.
Fiscal Year 2011 as compared to Fiscal Year 2010
General and Administrative expenses decreased as a result of approximately $1.3 million in personnel costs, including benefits and taxes; lower costs related to hardware and software infrastructure, including depreciation, which decreased $0.3 million; and lower professional fees, which decreased by approximately $0.5 million. The decreases were offset by an increase of $0.4 million in computer software, hardware, and maintenance costs. The lower level of personnel costs was the result of the reductions in employees in prior years as described above. The lower level of professional fees was due to the decreased audit and tax fees.
Product and design development expense declined in fiscal 2011 as compared to fiscal 2010 as the result of a decrease of $2.4 million in personnel costs, including taxes and benefits, and a decrease of approximately $0.1 million in depreciation expenses within our engineering departments.
Gain on insurance proceeds: During the third quarter of fiscal 2010, we recorded a gain on insurance proceeds of $1.5 million related to the fire at our Star Circuits manufacturing facility as described in Note 15 to the Consolidated Financial Statements. The proceeds from the insurance company were used to purchase replacement equipment, inventory and supplies and offset the extra expense of outsourcing this manufacturing and building out a new facility to house the operations.
Goodwill Impairment: During the third quarter of fiscal 2010, we recorded a non-cash impairment charge of $1.4 million related to our Schools and Theatres and International business units. The charge was approximately $0.7 million for each business unit. There was no similar impairment expense in prior fiscal years. The impairment resulted from our analysis of goodwill, which factored in the unexpected decline in forecasted discounted cash flows. We attributed the decline to the weaker economic conditions and the continued decline in our stock price. See Note 4 of the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information, including estimates and assumptions we used to determine this charge.
Fiscal Year 2012 as compared to Fiscal Year 2011
Interest income, net: We generate interest income through short-term cash investments, marketable securities, product sales on an installment basis, under lease arrangements, or in exchange for the rights to sell and retain advertising revenues from displays, which result in long-term receivables. Interest expense is comprised primarily of interest costs on long-term marketing obligations.
Interest income declined slightly for fiscal 2012 as compared to fiscal 2011 due to a reduction in our cash and short term investment balances that was mainly the result of dividends paid during fiscal 2012. As a result of the volatility of working capital needs and changes in investing and financing activities, along with changes in the interest rate environment, it is difficult to project changes in interest income. We expect that our cash balances will be increasing during fiscal 2013; however, we are unable to project how that will compare to fiscal 2012.
Interest expense increased to $0.3 million for fiscal 2012 as a result of borrowings in China to support our expanding business there and the impact of currency controls, which limit our transfers of investment capital from the U.S. to fund operations in China. We expect that interest expense will remain at relatively low levels for fiscal 2013.
Other (expense) income, net: The decrease of $1.0 million for fiscal 2012 as compared to fiscal 2011 is due to the net result of a $0.6 million gain on the settlement of amounts owed by Outcast Media International, Inc. in fiscal 2011, as described in previous filings, an increase of $0.7 million in foreign currency losses, and various other non-operating gains.
In addition, as a result of the decrease in the value of the U.S. dollar, we experienced higher levels of currency losses on U.S. dollar advances to foreign subsidiaries in fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011.
Fiscal Year 2011 as compared to Fiscal Year 2010
Interest income, net: Interest income increased to $1.9 million for fiscal 2011 as compared to $1.5 million for fiscal 2010. The increase was the result of higher levels of temporary cash investments and an increase in interest income recognized on long-term receivables. Interest expense remained flat at $0.2 million in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2010.
Fiscal Year 2012 as compared to Fiscal Year 2011
Income tax expense decreased to $3.1 million in fiscal 2012 as compared to $7.9 million in fiscal 2011. The decrease was attributable primarily to the decrease in income before income taxes and a decrease in the effective income tax rate. The effective tax rate was approximately 26.7 percent for fiscal 2012 as compared to 35.7 percent for fiscal 2011.
In comparing fiscal 2012 to fiscal 2011, changes in the effective tax rate is due to the net impact of the following items:
We operate within multiple taxing jurisdictions, both domestic and international, and are subject to audits in these jurisdictions. These audits can involve complex issues, including challenges regarding the timing and amount of deductions and the allocation of income amounts to various tax jurisdictions. At any one time, multiple tax years are subject to audit by various tax authorities as different taxing jurisdictions have different statutes of limitations. The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is currently in the process of examining our U.S. federal tax returns for fiscal years 2009 and 2010. This audit is substantially complete and we believe that it will result in a net refund of approximately $0.1 million. The Chinese tax authorities recently completed an audit of our tax returns for calendar years prior to 2012 in connection with a transfer of location of our business address in China, which did not have a material impact on our financial statements.
Fiscal Year 2011 as compared to Fiscal Year 2010
Income tax expense (benefit) increased to $7.9 million in fiscal 2011 as compared to ($1.2) million in fiscal 2010. The increase was attributable primarily to the increase in income before income taxes and an increase in the effective tax rate. The effective rate for fiscal 2011 was an expense of approximately 35.7 percent as compared to a benefit of 14.2 percent in fiscal 2010. Included in income tax expense for fiscal 2011 was the impact of the reinstatement of the research and development tax credit, which was signed by the President in late calendar year 2010. This reduced our income tax expense by approximately $0.2 million, as the reinstatement was retroactive to January 1, 2010. Had this benefit not been recognized, our effective tax rate would have been approximately 36.6 percent for fiscal 2011. In addition, as a result of the operating losses in fiscal 2010, we were not entitled to the benefit of the domestic production activities deduction. which caused a reduction in the effective rate of approximately three percentage points in fiscal 2011. In addition to the foregoing factors, the effective tax rate varied from fiscal 2010 to 2011 as a result of the mix of pre-tax income in different countries. Furthermore, the rate was impacted by the magnitude of permanent adjustments compared to income before income taxes. In fiscal 2010, these permanent differences, which are generally consistent in amount from year to year, had a greater impact on the effective rate than they did in fiscal 2011 when income before taxes was higher.
Fiscal Year 2012 Fourth Quarter Summary
During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, net sales decreased 2.1 percent to $112.0 million as compared to $114.4 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The decrease was primarily due to decreased net sales in the Live Events, Transportation, and International business units, which was partially offset by an increase in net sales in the Commercial business unit. The decline in Live Events resulted primarily from the decrease in net sales from professional baseball opportunities as explained previously. The decline in sales in the International business unit, was the result of orders being delayed and getting pushed out into fiscal year 2013. The decline in the Transportation business unit was the result of timing on customer orders and related delivery expectations. The increase in the Commercial business unit was the result of increased orders for large video systems, primarily from orders placed prior to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.
Gross margin percentage decreased to 22.0 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 from 24.9 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The decrease in gross profit percentage was the net result of:
Selling expenses rose from approximately $12.5 million to $13.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The increase was the net result of:
General and administrative costs rose by 13.2 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 to $7.0 million as compared to $6.2 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The increase was the net result of:
Product development costs increased by 25.1 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 to $6.5 million as compared to $5.2 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The increase in cost was the result of:
Net interest income decreased to $0.4 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 from $0.5 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The decrease was attributable to the same reasons as explained previously.
The effective tax rate decreased to a benefit of approximately 77 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 from an expense of 42 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The decrease was the result of the recognition of various tax benefits in foreign jurisdictions, the reversal of a valuation allowance relating to net operating losses in a foreign jurisdiction, and an adjustment of state income tax estimates related to fiscal 2011.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES