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Highpower International Reports Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Financial Results

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Highpower International Reports Unaudited Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Financial Results

PR Newswire

SAN DIEGO and SHENZHEN, China, April 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Highpower International, Inc. (NASDAQ:HPJ) ("Highpower" or the "Company"), a developer, manufacturer, and marketer of lithium ion and nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) rechargeable batteries, battery management systems, and a provider of battery recycling, today announced its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2017.

Fourth Quarter 2017 Highlights (all results compared to prior year period)

  • Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased by 47.0% to $79.2 million from $53.9 million.
  • Gross profit for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased by 8.4% to $11.8 million from $10.9 million.  
  • EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased by 136.5% to $9.0 million from $3.8 million.
  • Net income attributable to the Company for the fourth quarter of 2017 was $4.8 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, as compared to $1.8 million, or $0.12 per diluted share. 

Full Year 2017 Highlights (all results compared to prior year period)

  • Net sales increased 40.4% to $244.2 million from $173.9 million. Excluding the impact of Ganzhou Highpower Technology Co., Ltd. ("GZ Highpower"), net sales increased 27.2% to $215.9 million from $169.7 million.
  • Lithium Business net sales increased 44.2% to $161.7 million from $112.1 million.
  • Gross margin was 19.4% compared to 21.9%. Excluding GZ Highpower, gross margin was 20.4% compared to 22.7%.
  • EBITDA was $27.8 million, a 99.8% increase from $13.9 million. Excluding GZ Highpower, EBITDA was $25.8 million compared to $15.0 million.
  • Net income attributable to the Company increased 174.2% to $16.8 million, or $1.09 per diluted share, compared to $6.1 million, or $0.40 per diluted share. Excluding GZ Highpower, net income increased 116.8% to $15.7 million compared to $7.3 million.

Recent Event

  • On December 15, 2017, the Company announced the investment of $14.3 million in its majority-owned subsidiary GZ Highpower from Xiamen Tungsten Co., Ltd. ("Xiamen Tungsten") and Mr. Ou, the General Manager of GZ Highpower, for a total of $12.1 million and $2.2 million, respectively. This transaction closed on December 21, 2017, and the Company's ownership of GZ Highpower decreased to 31.3%. Due to the loss of controlling power in GZ Highpower, the Company deconsolidated GZ Highpower accordingly. Key financial items excluding GZ Highpower are presented on an annual basis for comparison purposes.

Mr. George Pan, Chairman and CEO of Highpower International, commented, "We are pleased to report top-line performance that beat our guidance for both the fourth quarter and full year 2017. In addition, our bottom line, including EBITDA, grew significantly for both the fourth quarter and full year, thanks to continued progress in our efforts to strengthen our product offering, improve our production capacity and efficiency, and maintain an efficient supply chain."

Mr. Pan continued, "We are living in a digital age where power is central to the functioning of our homes and jobs. We have seen an unprecedented expansion in the number of electrical products available to customers in recent years, not only among public consumers, but also among companies and governments worldwide, resulting in a surge in global energy demand and solutions. Due to this high demand, we expect continued high prices for raw materials such as cobalt in 2018, and we will endeavor to combat its effect on margins by improving production efficiency, maintaining proper inventory buildup, and hedging. We will continue to invest more on R&D, further improve the product safety and reliability, which are essential and critical to end users, especially in the age of artificial intelligence. With such improvement, we will further strengthen our core competitiveness which will partially offset the negative impact from raw material price increasing."

"To drive our growth in the year ahead, we will continue to focus on our core lithium ion battery products. We are setting up a new production workshop in our Huizhou facility, which is expected to reach a target daily production volume of 100,000 pieces by the second quarter of 2018. In addition, a new building in Huizhou facility will be completed by May 2019 to further expand our production capacity to fulfill increasing international brand customer demand."

"With our top-tier customer base and strong branding, we are optimistic about our growth in 2018 and beyond. At Highpower, we remain committed to providing clean, safe, and efficient power solutions to meet society's needs," Mr. Pan concluded.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Financial Results

Net Sales

Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased by 47.0% to $79.2 million from $53.9 million in the prior year period, primarily attributable to growth in revenue from the Lithium segment. This was driven by continued increasing demand for consumer electronics, including portable power stations, smart wearable devices, smart phones, and notebooks.

Net sales increased 40.4% to $244.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 as compared to $173.9 million in 2016. The increase was driven by growth in the Lithium segment as well as growth in the GZ Highpower business. Excluding GZ Highpower, net sales increased 27.2% to $215.9 million from $169.7 million.

Gross Profit

Gross profit for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased by 8.4% to $11.8 million from $10.9 million in the prior year period. Gross margin for the fourth quarter of 2017 decreased to 14.9% from 20.2% in the prior year period due to continued high raw material prices and the expiration during the third quarter of some actions taken to offset the price fluctuations. There was also a substantial increase in the new materials business segment, which has a lower gross profit margin. 

Gross profit for the year increased 24.4% to $47.4 million from $38.1 million in prior year period. Gross margin was 19.4% and 21.9% for full-year 2017 and 2016, respectively. The decrease in margin was primarily due to high raw material prices. Excluding GZ Highpower, gross profit for 2017 increased 14.5% to $44.0 million from $38.5 million and gross margin was 20.4% compared to 22.7%.

Operating Expenses

  • Research and development (R&D) expenses for the fourth quarter of 2017 were $3.1 million as compared to $2.6 million in the prior year period. As a percentage of net sales, R&D expenses declined to 3.9% from 4.7% in the prior year period. The Company will continue to invest in R&D activities in the future.
    Research and development expenses were $9.5 million, or 3.9% of net sales, for 2017 as compared to $9.2 million, or 5.3% of net sales, in 2016.
  • Selling and distribution expenses for the fourth quarter of 2017 were $2.3 million compared to $1.9 million in 2016. As a percentage of net sales, selling and distribution expenses decreased to 2.9% from 3.6% in the prior year period, primarily attributable to the Company's customer base optimization efforts.
    Selling and distribution expenses were $7.5 million, or 3.1% of net sales, for 2017 as compared with $6.9 million, or 4.0% of net sales, in 2016.
  • General and administrative expenses for the fourth quarter of 2017 were $5.4 million as compared to $5.9 million in the prior year period. As a percentage of net sales, general and administrative expenses decreased to 6.8% from 11.0% in the prior year period.
    General and administrative expenses were $15.4 million, or 6.3% of net sales, in 2017 as compared with $18.2 million, or 10.4% of net sales, in the prior year.

Net Income

Net income attributable to the Company for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased to $4.8 million from $1.8 million in the prior year period. Net income attributable to the Company per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased to $0.31 from $0.12 in the prior year period.

For the quarters ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, the Company's weighted average diluted shares outstanding used in computing diluted shares was and 15,648,888 and 15,159,563, respectively.

Net income attributable to the Company for the full year 2017 increased to $16.8 million from $6.1 million in the prior year period. Net income attributable to the Company per diluted share for the full year increased to $1.09 from $0.40 in the prior year period. Excluding GZ Highpower, net income for the full year of 2017 and 2016 was $15.7 million and $7.3 million, respectively.

For the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, the Company's weighted average diluted shares outstanding used in computing diluted share was 15,435,371 and 15,113,914, respectively.

EBITDA

EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased by 136.5% to $9.0 million from $3.8 million in the prior year period. EBITDA for the full year of 2017 increased by 99.8% to $27.8 million from $13.9 million in the prior year period. Excluding GZ Highpower, EBITDA was $25.8 million for the full year compared to $15.0 million in 2016.

A table reconciling EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, to the appropriate GAAP measure is included with the Company's financial information below.

Revenue Breakdown by Geography:


For the years ended December 31,


2017


2016


$


$

Net sales




China mainland

139,096,630


101,459,371

Asia, others

81,060,414


43,764,963

Europe

18,684,852


17,958,060

North America

4,769,797


9,371,838

South America

269,596


759,472

Africa

143,475


284,692

Others

141,548


252,717


244,166,312


173,851,113

Balance Sheet Highlights


December 31,

($ in millions, except per share data)

2017


2016


$


$

Cash

14.5


9.3

Total Current Assets

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