Fourth-Quarter Financial Highlights
- Net sales of $1,467 million; year-over-year increase of 12.2%
- Net income of $191 million and net income per diluted share of $3.55, year-over-year decreases of 4.0% and 4.1%, respectively
- Non-GAAP diluted EPS increased 1.8% year-over-year to $4.54
- Adjusted EBITDA increased 3.6% year-over-year to $319 million
Lincolnshire, Ill., February 10, 2022 — Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), an innovator at the edge of the enterprise with solutions and partners that enable businesses to gain a performance edge, today announced results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2021.
"Our team delivered solid fourth quarter results, closing out a record year of sales and profitability. Performance was at the high end of our guidance, despite an exceptionally challenging supply chain environment, including premium freight costs that were higher than our expectations,” said Anders Gustafsson, Chief Executive Officer of Zebra Technologies. “While the supply chain constrains us from fully satisfying customer demand, we enter the year with a strong order backlog and a robust pipeline of business, positioning us well for profitable growth in 2022. The continued opportunities in our vibrant core and expansion markets advance our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision and enable us to increase our long-term organic sales growth expectations."
Net sales were $1,467 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to $1,308 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Net sales in the Enterprise Visibility & Mobility ("EVM") segment were $1,023 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with $888 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Asset Intelligence & Tracking ("AIT") segment net sales were $444 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to $425 million in the prior year period. Consolidated organic net sales for the fourth quarter increased 10.0%. Fourth-quarter year-over-year organic net sales increased by 13.2% in the EVM segment and increased by 3.1% in the AIT segment.
Fourth-quarter 2021 gross profit was $669 million compared to $618 million in the prior year period. Gross margin decreased to 45.6% for the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to 47.2% in the prior year period. This decrease was primarily due to higher premium freight costs as well as lower recoveries of Chinese import tariffs compared to the prior year, partially offset by higher service and software margin. Adjusted gross margin was 45.7% in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to 47.8% in the prior year period.
Operating expenses increased in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $446 million from $387 million in the prior year period primarily due to recently acquired businesses and higher employee incentive-based compensation expense associated with improved financial performance. Adjusted operating expenses increased in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $370 million from $336 million in the prior year period.
Net income for the fourth quarter of 2021 was $191 million, or $3.55 per diluted share, compared to net income of $199 million, or $3.70 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2020. Non-GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of 2021 increased to $245 million, or $4.54 per diluted share, compared to $240 million, or $4.46 per diluted share, for the prior year period.
Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2021 increased to $319 million, or 21.7% of adjusted net sales, compared to $308 million, or 23.5% of adjusted net sales, for the fourth quarter of 2020 due to lower operating expense as a percentage of net sales, partially offset by lower gross margin.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
As of December 31, 2021, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $332 million and total debt of $996 million.
For the full year 2021, the company generated $1,069 million of operating cash flow and incurred capital expenditures of $59 million, resulting in free cash flow of $1,010 million.
In 2021, the company acquired antuit.ai, Fetch Robotics, and Adaptive Vision for $452 million in cash and made $34 million in venture investments. For the full year 2021, the company had $257 million of net debt repayments and made cash interest payments of $32 million. Additionally, the company made $57 million of share repurchases in 2021 under its existing share repurchase authorization.
First Quarter 2022
The company expects adjusted net sales to increase 1% to 3% compared to the first quarter of 2021. This expectation includes an approximately 1 percentage point additive impact from acquisitions and foreign currency translation.
Adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to be approximately 20% , which includes approximately $60 million of premium freight expense. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share are expected to be in the range of $3.70 to $4.00. This assumes an adjusted effective tax rate of approximately 18%.
Full Year 2022
The Company expects adjusted net sales to increase 3% to 7% from 2021, which assumes a net neutral impact from acquisitions and foreign currency translation.
Adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to be between 23% and 24%, which includes a range of $140 to $160 million of premium freight expense.
Free cash flow is expected to be at least $900 million.
The Company is raising its annualized Organic Net Sales Growth outlook to 5% to 7%, from 4% to 5%.
The company does not provide a reconciliation for non-GAAP estimates on a forward-looking basis where it is unable to provide a meaningful or accurate calculation or estimation of reconciling items and the information is not available without unreasonable effort. This is due to the inherent difficulty of forecasting the timing or amount of the most directly comparable forward-looking GAAP financial measure as discussed under the "Forward-Looking Statements" caption below. This would include items that have not yet occurred, are out of the company’s control and/or cannot be reasonably predicted, and that would impact diluted net earnings per share. For the same reasons, the company is unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information. Forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures provided without the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures may vary materially from the corresponding GAAP financial measures.
Conference Call Notification
Investors are invited to listen to a live webcast of Zebra’s conference call regarding the company’s financial results. The conference call will be held today, Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7:30 a.m. Central Time (8:30 a.m. Eastern Time). To view the webcast, visit the investor relations section of the company’s website at investors.zebra.com.
Zebra (NASDAQ: ZBRA) empowers organizations to thrive in the on-demand economy by making every front-line worker and asset at the edge visible, connected and fully optimized. With an ecosystem of more than 10,000 partners across more than 100 countries, Zebra serves customers of all sizes – including 94% of the Fortune 100 – with an award-winning portfolio of hardware, software, services and solutions that digitize and automate workflows. Supply chains are more dynamic, customers and patients are better served, and workers are more engaged when they utilize Zebra innovations that help them sense, analyze and act in real time. In 2021, Zebra expanded its industrial automation portfolio with its Fetch Robotics acquisition and increased its machine vision and AI software capabilities with the acquisitions of Adaptive Vision and antuit.ai. Zebra is #25 on Newsweek's inaugural list of America's Most Loved Workplaces and on Forbes' list of America's best employers for the fifth year. Learn more at www.zebra.com or sign up for news alerts. Follow Zebra's Your Edge blog, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Story Hub: Zebra Perspectives.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, the statements regarding the company’s outlook. Actual results may differ from those expressed or implied in the company’s forward-looking statements. These statements represent estimates only as of the date they were made. Zebra undertakes no obligation, other than as may be required by law, to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or any other reason after the date of this release.
These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, forecasts and assumptions and are subject to the risks and uncertainties inherent in Zebra’s industry, market conditions, general domestic and international economic conditions, and other factors. These factors include customer acceptance of Zebra’s offerings and competitors' offerings and the potential effects of emerging technologies and changes in customer requirements. The effect of global market conditions,and the availability of credit and capital markets volatility may have adverse effects on Zebra, its suppliers and its customers. In addition, natural disasters, man-made disasters, public health issues (including pandemics), and cybersecurity incidents may have negative effects on our business and results of operations. Our ability to purchase sufficient materials, parts, and components as well as our ability to provide services and software to meet customer demand could negatively impact our results of operations and customer relationships. Profits and profitability may be affected by Zebra’s ability to control manufacturing and operating costs. Because of its debt, interest rates and financial market conditions may also have an impact on results. Foreign exchange rates, customs duties and trade policies may have an effect on financial results because of the large percentage of our international sales. The impacts of changes in foreign and domestic governmental policies, regulations, or laws, as well as the outcome of litigation or tax matters in which Zebra may be involved are other factors. The success of integrating acquisitions could also affect profitability, reported results and the company’s competitive position in its industry. These and other factors could have an adverse effect on Zebra’s sales, gross profit margins and results of operations and increase the volatility of our financial results. When used in this release and documents referenced, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “outlook,” and “expect” and similar expressions, as they relate to the company or its management, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying these statements. Descriptions of the risks, uncertainties and other factors that could affect the company’s future operations and results can be found in Zebra’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company’s most recent Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.
Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information
This press release contains certain Non-GAAP financial measures, consisting of “adjusted net sales,” “adjusted gross profit,” “EBITDA,” “Adjusted EBITDA,” “Non-GAAP net income,” “Non-GAAP earnings per share,” “free cash flow,” “organic net sales growth,” and “adjusted operating expenses.” Management presents these measures to focus on the on-going operations and believes it is useful to investors because they enable them to perform meaningful comparisons of past and present operating results. The company believes it is useful to present non-GAAP financial measures, which exclude certain significant items, as a means to understand the performance of its ongoing operations and how management views the business. Please see the “Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Financial Measures” tables and accompanying disclosures at the end of this press release for more detailed information regarding non-GAAP financial measures herein, including the items reflected in adjusted net earnings calculations. These measures, however, should not be construed as an alternative to any other measure of performance determined in accordance with GAAP.
The company does not provide a reconciliation for non-GAAP estimates on a forward-looking basis (including the information under “Outlook” above) where it is unable to provide a meaningful or accurate calculation or estimation of reconciling items and the information is not available without unreasonable effort. This is due to the inherent difficulty of forecasting the timing or amount of various items that have not yet occurred, are out of the company’s control and/or cannot be reasonably predicted, and that would impact diluted net earnings per share, the most directly comparable forward-looking GAAP financial measure. For the same reasons, the company is unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information. Forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures provided without the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures may vary materially from the corresponding GAAP financial measures.
As a global company, Zebra's operating results reported in U.S. dollars are affected by foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations because the underlying foreign currencies in which the company transacts change in value over time compared to the U.S. dollar; accordingly, the company presents certain organic growth financial information, which includes impacts of foreign currency translation, to provide a framework to assess how the company’s businesses performed excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Foreign currency impact represents the difference in results that are attributable to fluctuations in the currency exchange rates used to convert the results for businesses where the functional currency is not the U.S. dollar. This impact is calculated by translating current period results at the currency exchange rates used in the comparable period in the prior year, rather than the exchange rates in effect during the current period. In addition, the company excludes the impact of its foreign currency hedging program in the prior year periods. The company believes these measures should be considered a supplement to and not in lieu of the company’s performance measures calculated in accordance with GAAP.
Michael Steele, CFA, IRC
Vice President, Investor Relations
Phone: + 1 847 793 6707
Therese Van Ryne
Director, Global Public Relations
Phone: + 1 847 370 2317