Align Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALGN) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript
Align Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALGN) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript February 1, 2023
Operator: Greetings, welcome to the Align Fourth Quarter and 2022 Earnings Call. . Please note, this conference is being recorded. I will now turn the conference over to your host, Shirley Stacy, with Align Technology. You may begin.
Shirley Stacy: Thank you. Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us. I'm Shirley Stacy, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. Joining me for today's call is Joe Hogan, President and CEO; and John Morici, CFO. We issued fourth quarter and full year 2022 financial results today via Business Wire, which is available on our website at investor.aligntech.com. Today's conference call is being audio webcast and will be archived on our website for approximately 1 month. A telephone replay will be available by approximately 5:30 p.m. Eastern time through 5:30 p.m. Eastern time on February 15. To access the telephone replay, domestic callers should dial 866-813-9403 with access code 328900. International callers should dial 929-458-6194 using the same access code.
As a reminder, the information provided and discussed today will include forward-looking statements, including statements about Align's future events and product outlook. These forward-looking statements are only predictions and involve risks and uncertainties that are described in more detail in our most recent periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission available on our website and at sec.gov. Actual results may vary significantly, and Align expressly assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. We have posted historical financial statements, including the corresponding reconciliations, including our GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation if applicable. And our fourth quarter and full year 2022 conference call slides on our website under Align quarterly results.
Please refer to these files for more detailed information. With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Align Technology's President and CEO, Joe Hogan. Joe?
Joseph Hogan: Thanks, Shirley. Good afternoon, and thanks for joining us. On our call today, I'll provide an overview of our fourth quarter results and discuss a few highlights from our 2 operating segments, Systems and Services and Clear Aligners. John will provide more detail on our Q4 financial performance and comment on our views for 2023. Following that, I'll come back and summarize a few key points and open the call to questions. You'll note that we have shortened our formal remarks in order to leave more time for Q&A. Overall, I'm pleased to report fourth quarter results that reflect a more stable environment for doctors and their patients than the recent quarters, especially in the Americas and EMEA regions, as well as parts of APAC.
For Q4, trends in consumer interest for orthodontic treatment, patient traffic in doctors' practices and iTero scanner demos improved. However, the unfavorable effect of foreign exchange on our fourth quarter and full year 2022 results reduced our revenues and margins significantly. Despite the large impact of unfavorable foreign exchange, Q4 revenues of $901.5 million, increased sequentially from Q3, reflecting growth in Systems and Services as well as a slight increase in Clear Aligner shipments. This is the first quarter in a year that our total revenues and Clear Aligner volumes increased sequentially. As we move through 2023 and hopeful that we'll see continued stability in an improving operating environment, but remind everyone that the macroeconomic situation remains fragile.
Regardless, we are confident in our large untapped market opportunity for digital orthodontics and restorative dentistry. We anticipate 2023 will be an exciting year for new innovation at Align, and we'll begin to commercialize one of the largest new product and technology cycles in our 25-year history. The Q4 Systems and Services revenue of $169.9 million were up 7.8% sequentially and down 21.3% year-over-year. On a constant currency basis, Q4 Systems and Services revenues were impacted by unfavorable foreign exchange of approximately $2.7 million or 1.5% sequentially and approximately $11.2 million or 6.2% year-over-year. For Q4, Systems and Services revenues increased sequentially, driven by growth in the Americas and EMEA regions, reflecting continued sales of intraoral scanners, especially the iTero 5D.
Q4 sequential growth also reflects continued growth of our scanner rental programs as well as initial deployment of a certified preowned, what we call CPO scanner leasing rental program with desktop metal, that I'll describe in more detail shortly. We continue to develop new capital equipment opportunities to meet the digital transformation needs of our customers, and DSO partners, which is a natural progression for our equipment business with a large and growing base of scanners sold. As our scanner portfolio expands and we introduce new products, we increased the opportunities for customers to upgrade to make trade-ins to provide refurbished scanners for emerging markets. We expect to continue rolling out programs such as leasing and rental offerings that help customers in the current macroeconomic environment by leveraging our balance sheet and selling the way our customers want to buy.
On a year-over-year basis, Q4 services revenues increased primarily due to increased subscription revenue, resulting in a larger number of field scanners. We also had higher non-case systems revenues related to our scanner leasing rental programs previously mentioned. To help accelerate the adoption of digital orthodontics and restorative dentistry, in Q4, we announced a strategic collaboration with Desktop Metal to supply iTero Element Flex scanners to Desktop Labs, one of the largest lab networks in the U.S. serving general dentists. The iTero Element Flex is now the preferred restorative scanner for desktop labs and will connect dentists directly to a suite of offerings from desktop labs that simplifies the digital design and manufacture restorations with both traditional and digital technologies.
Our collaboration with Desktop Metal reflects our commitment to a relationship we expect will evolve and expand to being advanced restorative workflows to market. We see significant opportunities to enable dentists to use scan data directly order restorative services or printed ready digital files from Desktop Labs that can be used for 3D printing in their offices. In addition to iTero scanners, we're also excited about extending the benefits of the Align Digital Platform, including the Invisalign System and Exocad software to Desktop Labs' customers as well. For Q4, total Clear Aligner revenues of $731.7 million were down slightly, 0.2% sequentially and down 10.3% year-over-year. On a constant currency basis, for Q4 Clear Aligner revenues were impacted by unfavorable foreign exchange of $13.4 million or 1.8% sequentially and $56.4 million or 7.2% year-over-year.
Q4 total Clear Aligner volumes of $583,000 was up slightly sequentially, reflecting growth in the Americas and EMEA regions, offset by lower APAC volumes primarily in China. For the Americas, Q4 Clear Aligner volumes were down slightly sequentially, reflecting lower ortho cases, especially teen starts as compared to the typical higher teen season in Q3. Offset primarily by an increase in adult patients from the GP dentist channel. For Q4, Clear Aligner volume from DSO customers continue to outpace non-DSO customers. For EMEA, Q4 Clear Aligner volume increased sequentially in all markets and across products, especially recently launched Invisalign Moderate, iGO Plus and iGO Express, which enabled GP dentists to treat a broader range of cases, mild-to-moderate types of malocclusions and can easily be integrated in a wide range of restorative treatments in a dental practice.
EMEA had a strong sequential growth in the teen market segment with continued demand for Invisalign Teen case packs, which are available in France and Iberia as well as Invisalign's first treatment for kids as young as 6 years old. APAC, Q4 Clear Aligner volumes were lower sequentially due primarily to China, which continues to be impacted by COVID. In Q4, ongoing COVID restrictions and lockdowns in China persisted throughout the quarter. Outside of China, APAC volumes increased sequentially led by Japan, Taiwan, India and Southeast Asia markets. On a year-over-year basis, Q4 Clear Aligner case volumes reflected increased shipments led by Korea, India, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam. While the easing of COVID restrictions in China and the more recent downward trend in COVID infection rates are encouraging, many uncertainties remain, including the lingering impacts from COVID across the population and the time and effort needed to restore consumer confidence.
For the other non-case revenues, which include retention products such as our Vivera Retainers, clinical training and education, accessories, e-commerce, and a new subscription programs such as our DSP, fourth quarter revenues were down slightly sequentially and up double digits year-over-year. For retention and e-commerce products, Q4 revenues were relatively unchanged from Q3. We are pleased with our subscription-based programs like DSP, which increased sequentially and year-over-year and expect to continue expanding DSP offerings in other regions. For Q4, the total number of new Invisalign trained doctors decreased sequentially due primarily to fourth quarter being a seasonally slower period for clinical education with holidays, et cetera, as well as fewer trainings in China and Brazil.
This was offset by somewhat significantly higher numbers of new Invisalign doctors trained in EMEA. Teen orthodontic treatment is the largest segment of the orthodontic market worldwide and represents our largest opportunity for Clear Aligner sales to orthos. We continue to focus on gaining share from traditional metal braces through team specific sales and marketing programs and product features, including Invisalign First for kids, as young as 6, which was up sequentially across all markets. For Q4, total Clear Aligner teen cases were down sequentially due primarily to the impact of COVID in China as well as seasonally fewer team starts in North America as compared to Q3. According to the December gauge report, which tracks approximately 1,000 orthos in the United States and Canada, new patient exams for teens slowed in Q4, while new patient exams for adults improved slightly.
A smaller pool of potential teen patients may put pressure on traditional orthos and cause them to go between clear aligners and wires and brackets, especially those practices that have failed to understand the significant benefits of adopting more efficient digital workflows, believing metal braces are more profitable. In EMEA, Q4 was a record quarter for teen case starts. On a year-over-year basis, Q4 teen case starts were relatively unchanged. For Q4, Invisalign First increased year-over-year and was strong across all regions. Invisalign First Clear Aligner treatment is designed for predictive results and a positive experience while addressing the unique needs of growing children from as young as 6 to treat Phase I. For the full year, Invisalign Clear aligner shipments for teens and young kids was approximately 733,000 cases, our teen case mix overall was a record 31% of Invisalign cases shipped for the year.
Finally, in Q4, the total number of doctors shipped was 82, 900 doctors, a slight decrease due primarily to the impact of COVID in China and off our Q3 '22 high point, which included a major DSO onboarding in North America. For the full year 2023, we also shipped to the highest cumulative number of Invisalign trained doctors over 124,000 doctors, reinforcing our commitment to doctor-directed care for Clear Aligner treatment to achieve the safest and best possible clinical treatment outcomes for patients. With that, I'll now turn the call over to John.
John Morici: Thanks, Joe. Before I go through the details of our Q4 results, I want to comment on 2 items in our fourth quarter financial results. Restructuring and other charges, during Q4 2022, we incurred a total of $14.3 million of restructuring and other charges, of which $2.9 million was included in the cost of net revenues and $11.5 million included in operating expenses. Restructuring and other charges included $8.7 million of severance-related costs and $5.6 million of certain lease terminations and asset impairments, primarily related to rightsizing operations in Russia in light of business needs. Second, non-GAAP tax rate. In Q4 2022, we changed to a long-term projected tax rate for our non-GAAP provision for income taxes.
Photo by Atikah Akhtar on Unsplash
Our previous methodology for calculating our non-GAAP effective tax rates included certain nonrecurring and period-specific items. That produced fluctuating effective tax rates that management does not believe are reflective of the company's long-term effective tax rate. We have recast non-GAAP results for our provision for income taxes. Effective tax rate, net income and diluted net income per share for each reporting period in 2022 to reflect this change. We did not make any changes to the results reported for 2021 as reflecting the change in our methodology for the computation of the non-GAAP effective tax rate was immaterial to our 2021 results. Refer to the section in our Q4 press release titled Recast financial measures for prior periods in 2022 for a tax rate change under unaudited GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation for further information.
Now for our Q4 financial results. Total revenues for the fourth quarter were $901.5 million, up 1.3% from the prior quarter and down 12.6% from the corresponding quarter a year ago. On a constant currency basis, Q4 2022 revenues were impacted by unfavorable foreign exchange of approximately $16 million or approximately 1.7% sequentially and approximately $67.6 million year-over-year or approximately 7%. For Clear Aligners, Q4 revenues of $731.7 million were flat sequentially, primarily from lower ASPs, mostly offset by higher volumes. On a year-over-year basis, Q4 Clear Aligner revenues were down 10.3% and primarily due to lower volumes and lower ASPs, partially offset by higher non-case revenues. For Q4, Invisalign ASPs for comprehensive treatment were flat sequentially and decreased year-over-year.
On a sequential basis, ASPs reflect the unfavorable impact from foreign exchange, partially offset by higher additional aligners and product mix shift. On a year-over-year basis, the decline in comprehensive ASPs reflect the significant impact of unfavorable foreign exchange, product mix shift and higher discounts partially offset by higher additional aligners and per order processing fees. For Q4, Invisalign ASPs for noncomprehensive treatment decreased sequentially and year-over-year. On a sequential basis, the decline in ASPs reflect product mix shift, unfavorable impact from foreign exchange and higher discounts, partially offset by higher additional aligners. On a year-over-year basis, the decline in ASPs reflect the significant impact of unfavorable foreign exchange, product mix shift and higher discounts, partially offset by higher additional aligners and per order processing fees.
As we mentioned last quarter, as our revenues from subscriptions, retainers and other ancillary products continue to grow and expand globally, some of the historical metrics that focus only on case shipments do not account for our overall growth. In our earnings release and financial slides, you will see that we've added our total Clear Aligner revenue per case shipment, which is more indicative of our overall growth strategy. Clear Aligner's deferred revenues on the balance sheet increased $56.4 million or 4.8% sequentially and $171.9 million or up 16.2% year-over-year and will be recognized as the additional aligners are shipped. Q4 2022 Systems and Services revenues of $169.9 million were up 7.8% sequentially, primarily due to higher scanner volume, services and exocad revenues, partially offset by lower ASPs and were down 21.3% year-over-year primarily due to lower scanner volume and ASPs, partially offset by higher services revenue from our larger installed base of scanners and increased nonsystem revenues related to our certified preowned and leasing and rental programs.
Q4 2022 Systems and Services revenue were unfavorably impacted by foreign exchange of approximately $2.7 million or approximately 1.5% sequentially. On a year-over-year basis, System and Services revenue were unfavorably impacted by foreign exchange of approximately $11.2 million or approximately 6.2%. The Systems and Services deferred revenues on the balance sheet was up $9 million or 3.4% sequentially and up $42.9 million or 18.7% year-over-year, primarily due to the increase in scanner sales and the deferral of service revenues included with the scanner purchase, which will be recognized ratably over the service period. Moving on to gross margin. Fourth quarter overall gross margin was 68.5%, down 1 point sequentially and down 3.7 points year-over-year.
Overall, gross margin was unfavorably impacted by foreign exchange on our revenues by approximately 0.6 points sequentially and 2.2 points on a year-over-year basis. Clear Aligner gross margin for the fourth quarter was 70.8%, down 0.1 point sequentially due to lower ASPs and higher warranty and restructuring costs, partially offset by improved manufacturing absorption and lower training costs. Clear Aligner gross margin for the fourth quarter was down 3.4 points year-over-year, primarily due to lower ASPs, increased manufacturing spend as we continue to ramp up operations at our new manufacturing facility in Poland and a higher mix of additional aligner volume. Systems and Services gross margin for the fourth quarter was 58.8%, down 4.6 points sequentially due to lower ASPs and higher inventory costs and manufacturing inefficiencies, partially offset by higher services revenues and lower freight costs.
Systems and Services gross margin for the fourth quarter was down 5.9 points year-over-year for the reasons stated previously. Q4 operating expenses were $505 million, up sequentially 6.2% and down 3.6% year-over-year. On a sequential basis, operating expenses were up $29.5 million, mainly due to restructuring and other charges and our continued investment in sales and R&D activities, along with higher consulting expenses. Year-over-year, operating expenses decreased by $18.6 million primarily due to controlled spend on advertising and marketing as part of our efforts to proactively manage costs as well as lower incentive compensation, partially offset by restructuring and other charges. On a non-GAAP basis, excluding stock-based compensation, restructuring and other charges and amortization of acquired intangibles related to certain acquisitions, operating expenses were up were $459.7 million, up 3.7% sequentially and down 7% year-over-year.
Our fourth quarter operating income of $112.7 million resulted in an operating margin of 12.5%, down 3.6 points sequentially and down 8.9 points year-over-year. Operating margin was unfavorably impacted by 0.9 points sequentially, primarily due to foreign exchange and lower gross margin. The year-over-year decrease in operating margin is primarily attributed to lower gross margin, investments in our go-to-market teams and technology as well as unfavorable impact from foreign exchange by approximately 4.2 points. On a non-GAAP basis, which excludes stock-based compensation, restructuring and other charges and amortization of intangibles related to certain acquisitions. Operating margin for the fourth quarter was 18.3%, down 1.9 points sequentially and down 6.4 points year-over-year.
Interest and other income expense net for the fourth quarter was income of $2.7 million compared to a loss of $21 million in the third quarter and a loss of $0.9 million in Q4 of 2021, primarily due to net foreign exchange gains from the strengthening of certain foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar. The GAAP effective tax rate in the fourth quarter was 63.8% compared to 40.7% in the third quarter and 13.2% in the fourth quarter of the prior year. The fourth quarter GAAP effective tax rate was higher than the third quarter effective tax rate primarily due to decreased earnings in low tax jurisdictions as -- and an increase in the amount of U.S. minimum tax on foreign earnings. Our non-GAAP effective tax rate was 20% in the fourth quarter and reflects the change in our methodology that was discussed earlier.
Our non-GAAP effective tax rate was 11.5% in the fourth quarter of the prior year in 2021, which does not reflect the change in our methodology. Fourth quarter net income per diluted share was $0.54, down sequentially $0.39 and down $1.86 compared to the prior year. Our earnings per share was unfavorably impacted by $0.04 on a sequential basis and $0.22 on a year-over-year basis due to foreign exchange. On a non-GAAP basis, net income per diluted share was $1.73 for the fourth quarter, up $0.10 sequentially and down $1.10 year-over-year. Note that the prior year 2021 non-GAAP net income per diluted share or prior year 2021 EPS does not reflect the Q4 2022 change in our methodology for the computation of the non-GAAP effective tax rate. Moving on to the balance sheet.
As of December 31, 2022, cash and cash equivalents and short-term and long-term marketable securities were $1 billion, down sequentially $99.5 million and down $255.1 million year-over-year. Of our $1 billion balance $387.9 million was held in the U.S. and $653.7 million was held by our international entities. In October 2022, we purchased approximately 848,000 shares of our common stock at an average price of $188.62 per share through a $200 million accelerated share repurchase under our May 2021, $1 billion stock repurchase program. We have $250 million remaining available for repurchase under this program, and we plan to repurchase this remaining amount starting in Q1 2023 through either -- either or a combination of open market repurchases or an accelerated stock repurchase agreement, completing the repurchases in Q2 of 2023.
Q4 accounts receivable balance was $859.7 million, flat sequentially. Our overall days sales outstanding was 85 days, down 1 day sequentially and up approximately 7 days as compared to Q4 last year. Cash flow from operations for the fourth quarter was $144.7 million, Capital expenditures for the fourth quarter were $53.2 million, primarily related to our continued investment to increase aligner manufacturing capacity and facilities. Free cash flow, defined as cash flow from operations less capital expenditures, amounted to $91.5 million. We exited fiscal 2022 with a strong balance sheet, including $1 billion in cash and investments, a healthy cash flow position and no long-term debt. As we announced with our earnings, Align's Board of Directors has authorized a new $1 billion stock repurchase program to succeed the current $1 billion program.
This new $1 billion program reflects the strength of our balance sheet and our cash flow generation as well as management and our board's continued confidence in our ability to capitalize on large market opportunities in our target markets and trajectory for growth while concurrently returning capital to our shareholders. Now turning to our outlook. As Joe mentioned earlier, we are pleased with our Q4 results and what appears to be a more stable environment in North America and EMEA. We are cautiously optimistic for continued stability and improving trends as we move through the year. However, the macroeconomic environment remains fragile. And given continued global challenges in the and uncertainty, we are not providing full year revenue guidance.
We would like to see improvements in the operating environment and consumer demand signals, including stability in China before revisiting our approach. At the same time, we are confident in our large, untapped market opportunity for digital orthodontics and restorative dentistry and our ability to make progress towards our strategic initiatives. We intend to focus on the things we can control and influence, which includes strategic investments in sales, marketing, technology and innovation. For full year 2023, assuming no additional material disruptions or circumstances beyond our control, we anticipate our 2023 non-GAAP operating margin to be slightly above 20%. With this backdrop for Q1 2023, we anticipate Clear Aligner volumes to be down sequentially, primarily due to weakness in China from COVID, partially offset by some stability from our Americas and EMEA regions.
We anticipate Clear Aligner ASPs to be up from Q4 2022, primarily due to higher pricing and non-favorable and favorable foreign exchange rates. We anticipate iTero scanner and services revenue to be down sequentially as the business follows a more typical capital equipment cycle. Taken in total, we expect Q1 2023 revenues to be about flat to Q4 of 2022. We expect our Q1 2023 non-GAAP operating margin to be consistent with our Q4 2022 non-GAAP operating margin as we continue to make investments in R&D and other go-to-market activities. For 2023, we expect our investments in capital expenditures to exceed $200 million. Capital expenditures primarily relate to building construction and improvements as well as additional manufacturing capacity to support our international expansion.
With that, I'll turn it back over to Joe for final comments. Joe?
Joseph Hogan: Thanks, John. In closing, we're pleased with our fourth quarter results and the improved trends in sequential growth we saw in the Americas and EMEA regions and parts of APAC that reflect a more stable environment for doctors and their patients. While still very early and many uncertainties remain, we're hopeful that we'll see continued stability across the business and regions, especially in China. As we continue to work through these challenges, we're confident in our ability to focus on our customers and deliver key technology and innovation that furthers our leadership position in digital orthodontics and restorative dentistry. We are balancing investments to deliver shareholder value through transformative digital orthodontic solutions unique to Align.
Align is a purpose-driven business, and we are committed to helping doctors transform smiles and change lives of millions of people around the world. Over the last year, we have flooded our customer base with a lot of new technology that represents one of the largest new product cycles in our history. But there is still a great deal of room for innovation. In the next 1 to 3 years, you should expect to see new platforms from us that will continue to revolutionize doctors' practices and patients' expectations for doctor-led treatment. And scanning, making it simpler and faster. In software, saving both doctors and patients more time with improved clinical outcomes. In direct 3D printing, an evolution in both product and material science. These 3 platforms will give doctors tools only dreamt of before with a singular focus to make the Invisalign system the standard of orthodontic and restorative care, and we couldn't be more excited about it.
Thank you for your time today. We look forward to updating you on our next earnings call. Now I'll turn the call back over to the operator for questions. Operator?
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