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AMSC > SEC Filings for AMSC > Form 10-Q on 12-Nov-2013All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for AMERICAN SUPERCONDUCTOR CORP /DE/ | Request a Trial to NEW EDGAR Online Pro

Form 10-Q for AMERICAN SUPERCONDUCTOR CORP /DE/


12-Nov-2013

Quarterly Report


MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF

FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

ITEM 2. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

This Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"). For this purpose, any statements contained herein that relate to future events or conditions, including without limitation, the statements in Part II, "Item 1A. Risk Factors" and in Part I under "Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and located elsewhere herein regarding industry prospects or our prospective results of operations or financial position, may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Without limiting the foregoing, the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements represent management's current expectations and are inherently uncertain. There are a number of important factors that could materially impact the value of our common stock or cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include: We have experienced recurring operating losses and recurring negative cash flows from operations which raise substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern. This substantial doubt has resulted in a qualified opinion from our auditors with an explanatory paragraph regarding our ability to continue as a going concern. We believe this opinion may have an adverse effect on our customer and supplier relationships; our success in addressing the wind energy market is dependent on the manufacturers that license our designs; we may not realize all of the sales expected from our backlog of orders and contracts; our business and operations would be adversely impacted in the event of a failure or security breach of our information technology infrastructure; our success is dependent upon attracting and retaining qualified personnel and our inability to do so could significantly damage our business and prospects; we rely upon third-party suppliers for the components and subassemblies of many of our Wind and Grid products, making us vulnerable to supply shortages and price fluctuations, which could harm our business; many of our revenue opportunities are dependent upon subcontractors and other business collaborators; if we fail to implement our business strategy successfully, our financial performance could be harmed; problems with product quality or product performance may cause us to incur warranty expenses and may damage our market reputation and prevent us from achieving increased sales and market share; new regulations related to conflict-free minerals may force us to incur significant additional expenses; our contracts with the U.S. government are subject to audit, modification or termination by the U.S. government and include certain other provisions in favor of the government; the continued funding of such contracts remains subject to annual congressional appropriation which, if not approved, could reduce our revenue and lower or eliminate our profit; we may acquire additional complementary businesses or technologies, which may require us to incur substantial costs for which we may never realize the anticipated benefits; many of our customers outside of the United States are, either directly or indirectly, related to governmental entities, and we could be adversely affected by violations of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar worldwide anti-bribery laws outside the United States; we have limited experience in marketing and selling our superconductor products and system-level solutions, and our failure to effectively market and sell our products and solutions could lower our revenue and cash flow; we have experienced recurring losses from operations and negative operating cash flow; these factors raise substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern; we have a history of operating losses, and we may incur additional losses in the future; our operating results may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and may fall below expectations in any particular fiscal quarter; we may require additional funding in the future and may be unable to raise capital when needed; our debt obligations include certain covenants and other events of default; should we not comply with the covenants or incur an event of default, we may be required to repay our debt obligations in cash, which could have an adverse effect on our liquidity; if we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls over financial reporting, our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired and may lead investors and other users to lose confidence in our financial data; we may be required to issue performance bonds or provide letters of credit, which restricts our ability to access any cash used as collateral for the bonds or letters of credit; changes in exchange rates could adversely affect our results from operations; growth of the wind energy market depends largely on the availability and size of government subsidies and economic incentives; we depend on sales to customers in China, and global conditions could negatively affect our operating results or limit our ability to expand our operations outside of China; changes in China's political, social, regulatory and economic environment may affect our financial performance; our products face intense competition, which could limit our ability to acquire or retain customers; our international operations are subject to risks that we do not face in the United States, which could have an adverse effect on our operating results; adverse changes in domestic and global economic conditions could adversely affect our operating results; we may be unable to adequately prevent disclosure of trade secrets and other proprietary information; our patents may not provide meaningful protection for our technology, which could result in us losing some or all of our market position; the


commercial uses of superconductor products are limited today, and a widespread commercial market for our products may not develop; there are a number of technological challenges that must be successfully addressed before our superconductor products can gain widespread commercial acceptance, and our inability to address such technological challenges could adversely affect our ability to acquire customers for our products; we have not manufactured our Amperium wire in commercial quantities, and a failure to manufacture our Amperium wire in commercial quantities at acceptable cost and quality levels would substantially limit our future revenue and profit potential; third parties have or may acquire patents that cover the materials, processes and technologies we use or may use in the future to manufacture our Amperium products, and our success depends on our ability to license such patents or other proprietary rights; our technology and products could infringe intellectual property rights of others, which may require costly litigation and, if we are not successful, could cause us to pay substantial damages and disrupt our business; we have filed a demand for arbitration and other lawsuits against our former largest customer, Sinovel, regarding amounts we contend are overdue. We cannot be certain as to the outcome of these proceedings; we have been named as a party to purported stockholder class actions and stockholder derivative complaints, and we may be named in additional litigation, all of which will require significant management time and attention, result in significant legal expenses and may result in an unfavorable outcome, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition; our 7% convertible note contains warrants and provisions that could limit our ability to repay the note in shares of common stock and should the note be repaid in stock, shareholders could experience significant dilution; our common stock has experienced, and may continue to experience, significant market price and volume fluctuations, which may prevent our stockholders from selling our common stock at a profit and could lead to costly litigation against us that could divert our management's attention. These and the important factors discussed under the caption "Risk Factors" in Part 1. Item 1A of our Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by forward-looking statements made herein and presented elsewhere by management from time to time. Any such forward-looking statements represent management's estimates as of the date of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.

American Superconductor®, Amperium®, AMSC®, D-VAR®, PowerModuleTM, PQ-IVR®, SeaTitanTM, Gridtec SolutionsTM, Windtec SolutionsTM and Smarter, Cleaner... Better EnergyTM are trademarks or registered trademarks of American Superconductor Corporation or its subsidiaries. We reserve all of our rights with respect to our trademarks or registered trademarks regardless of whether they are so designated in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q by an ® or TM symbol. All other brand names, product names, trademarks or service marks appearing in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q are the property of their respective holders.

Executive Overview

American Superconductor Corporation was founded on April 9, 1987. We are a leading provider of megawatt-scale solutions that lower the cost of wind power and enhance the performance of the power grid. In the wind power market, we enable manufacturers to field highly competitive wind turbines through our advanced power electronics products, engineering, and support services. In the power grid market, we enable electric utilities and renewable energy project developers to connect, transmit and distribute power through our transmission planning services and power electronics and superconductor-based products. Our wind and power grid products and services provide exceptional reliability, security, efficiency and affordability to our customers.

Our wind and power grid solutions help to improve energy efficiency, alleviate power grid capacity constraints and increase the adoption of renewable energy generation. Demand for our solutions is driven by the growing needs for renewable sources of electricity, such as wind and solar energy, and for modernized smart grids that improve power reliability and quality. Concerns about these factors have led to increased spending by corporations as well as supportive government regulations and initiatives on local, state, national and global levels, including renewable portfolio standards, tax incentives and international treaties.

We manufacture products using two proprietary core technologies: PowerModule™ programmable power electronic converters and our Amperium® HTS (High Temperature Superconductor) wires. These technologies and our system-level solutions are protected by a broad and deep intellectual property portfolio consisting of hundreds of patents and licenses worldwide.


We operate our business under two market-facing business units: Wind and Grid. We believe this market-centric structure enables us to more effectively anticipate and meet the needs of wind turbine manufacturers, power generation project developers and electric utilities.

· Wind. Through our Windtec Solutions, our Wind business segment enables manufacturers to field wind turbines with exceptional power output, reliability and affordability. We supply advanced power electronics and control systems, license our highly engineered wind turbine designs, and provide extensive customer support services to wind turbine manufacturers. Our design portfolio includes a broad range of drive trains and power ratings. We provide a broad range of power electronics and software-based control systems that are highly integrated and redesigned for optimized performance, efficiency, and grid compatibility.

· Grid. Through our Gridtec Solutions, our Grid business segment enables electric utilities and renewable energy project developers to connect, transmit and distribute power with exceptional efficiency, reliability and affordability. We provide transmission planning services that allow us to identify power grid congestion, poor power quality and other risks, which help us determine how our solutions can improve network performance. These services often lead to sales of grid interconnection solutions for wind farms and solar power plants, power quality systems and transmission and distribution cable systems.

Our fiscal year begins on April 1 and ends on March 31. When we refer to a particular fiscal year, we are referring to the fiscal year beginning on April 1 of that same year. For example, fiscal 2013 refers to the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2013. Other fiscal years follow similarly.

On April 4, 2012, we completed a private placement of a $25.0 million senior convertible note (the "Initial Note") with Capital Ventures International ("CVI"), an affiliate of Heights Capital Management. On December 20, 2012, we entered into an Amendment and Exchange Agreement (the "Amendment") with CVI, pursuant to which we exchanged the Initial Note for a new unsecured, senior convertible note (the "Exchanged Note"), which had the same principal amount and accrued interest as the Initial Note at the time of the exchange. On October 9, 2013, we entered into a Second Amendment and Warrant Exchange Agreement (the "Second Amendment") with CVI which (i) waived certain provisions of the Amended Purchase Agreement, (ii) amended certain provisions of the Exchanged Note, and
(iii) exchanged the warrant for a new warrant (the "Exchanged Warrant"), with a reduced exercise price of $2.61 per share of common stock. Other than the reduced exercise price, the Exchanged Warrant has the same terms and conditions as the original warrant. On June 5, 2012, we entered into a $10.0 million Loan and Security Agreement ("Term Loan") with Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. See Liquidity and Capital Resources below for further discussion of these financing arrangements.

We have experienced recurring operating losses and as of September 30, 2013, had an accumulated deficit of $825.3 million. In addition, we have experienced recurring negative operating cash flows, which have resulted in a reduction of our cash balance. These factors raise substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern. Our financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of this uncertainty. At September 30, 2013, we had cash and cash equivalents of $25.9 million. Cash used in operations for the six months ended September 30, 2013 was $14.8 million.

In order for us to continue operations beyond the next twelve months and be able to discharge our liabilities and commitments in the normal course of business, we need to increase sales through executing our strategy to broaden our customer base, enter new markets, and commercialize our superconductor product line. In addition, we may need to further reduce operating expenses in line with business conditions in order to decrease the amount of cash used in operations. We must also seek new financing arrangements, including, but not limited to, new debt and/or equity financing, and continue to work with the holder of our convertible note in order to maintain the ability to make monthly amortization payments on the convertible note in shares of common stock. In addition, we are actively seeking to sell our minority investments in Tres Amigas and Blade Dynamics and have recently engaged a financial advisor to assist with that effort. There can be no assurance that we will be able to raise additional capital or sell one or both of these investments on commercially reasonable terms or at all.

In response to the Sinovel situation discussed below and challenging market conditions, particularly in the wind power market, from April 1, 2011 through the date of this filing, the Company has substantially reduced its global workforce. In addition, we plan to consolidate certain of our office locations. These workforce reductions and planned office consolidations are expected to lower operating costs and enhance liquidity.


Our cash requirements depend on numerous factors, including the ability to pay the principal and interest on the Exchanged Note in stock, successful completion of our product development activities, ability to commercialize our product prototypes, rate of customer and market adoption of our products, collecting receivables according to established terms, and the continued availability of U.S. government funding during the product development phase in our Superconductors business. Significant deviations to our business plan with regard to these factors, which are important drivers to our business, could have a material adverse effect on our operating performance, financial condition, and future business prospects. We expect to pursue the expansion of our operations through internal growth, diversification of our customer base, and potential strategic alliances. See below for a discussion of liquidity and capital resources.

During March 2011, we engaged in discussions with Sinovel regarding the acceptance of its scheduled shipments, outstanding receivables, and the delivery of a custom solution desired by Sinovel for low voltage ride through ("LVRT") that required a modification to our existing LVRT design. The custom design required modified software and additional hardware. Toward the end of March, Sinovel requested that we provide them with the additional hardware without additional cost. On March 31, 2011, we proposed to Sinovel that we would provide the additional hardware without additional cost if Sinovel would accept the scheduled shipments. Sinovel rejected this proposal due to what we were told was excess inventory of our components. Since Sinovel did not give us the requisite notice under our contracts that they intended to delay deliveries, we believe that these actions constitute material breaches of our contracts.

As of the date of this filing, we have not received payment from Sinovel for any outstanding receivables nor have we been notified as to when, if ever, Sinovel will accept contracted shipments that were scheduled for delivery after March 31, 2011. Additionally, based, in part, upon evidence obtained through an internal investigation and a criminal investigation conducted by Austrian authorities regarding the actions of a former employee of our Austrian subsidiary, we believe that Sinovel illegally obtained and used our intellectual property in violation of civil and criminal intellectual property laws. In July 2011, a former employee of our Austrian subsidiary was arrested in Austria on charges of economic espionage and fraudulent manipulation of data. In September 2011, the former employee pled guilty to the charges, and was imprisoned. The evidence presented during the court hearing showed that this former employee was contracted by Sinovel through an intermediary while employed by us and improperly obtained and transferred to Sinovel portions of our wind turbine control software source code developed for Sinovel's 1.5MW wind turbines. On June 27, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice, following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, charged Sinovel and two of its employees with the theft of our proprietary software code and the use of that intellectual property in four 1.5 MW Sinovel turbines that have been installed in the Massachusetts towns of Charlestown, Fairhaven, and Scituate. These parties that have installed Sinovel turbines and their contractors are not implicated in any way. Except for portions of this 1.5MW wind turbine software, we do not believe that the source code for any other turbines, such as the 3MW, 5MW and 6MW wind turbines that were designed by and co-developed with us have been transferred to Sinovel. Moreover, we believe the evidence shows this former employee illegally used source code to develop, for Sinovel, a software modification to circumvent the encryption and remove technical protection measures on the PM3000 power converters in 1.5MW wind turbines in the field. We believe that only the binary code, or upper layer, of the PM3000 software developed to circumvent the encryption and remove technical protection measures was transferred to Sinovel. We do not believe that any PM3000 source code was transferred to Sinovel. These actions potentially enable Sinovel to deploy, independent of us, wind turbine control software, including a low voltage ride through solution, on all of its 1.5MW wind turbines in the field. In addition, by having the wind turbine control source code, Sinovel could potentially modify the source code to allow the use of core electrical components, including power converters, from other manufacturers.

On September 13, 2011, we commenced a series of legal actions in China against Sinovel. We filed a claim for arbitration in Beijing, China to compel Sinovel to pay us for past product shipments and to accept all contracted but not yet delivered core electrical components and spare parts under all existing contracts with us. The arbitration claim was filed with the Beijing Arbitration Commission in accordance with the terms of our supply contracts with Sinovel. We also filed civil and criminal complaints against Sinovel.

We cannot provide any assurance as to the outcome of these legal actions. For more information about these legal proceedings, see Part II, Item 1, "Legal Proceedings."


Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The preparation of the unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements requires that we make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. We base our estimates on historical experience and 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 under different assumptions or conditions. There were no significant changes in the critical accounting policies during the six months ended September 30, 2013 that were disclosed in our Form 10-K for fiscal 2012, which ended on March 31, 2013.

Results of Operations

Three and six months ended September 30, 2013 compared to the three and six months ended September 30, 2012

Revenues

Total revenues increased by 16% and decreased by 5% to $24.2 million and $47.3 million, respectively, for the three and six months ended September 30, 2013, respectively, compared to $20.9 million and $49.6 million for the three and six months ended September 30, 2012, respectively. Our revenues are summarized as follows (in thousands):

                         Three months ended                 Six months ended
                           September 30,                     September 30,
                       2013             2012             2013             2012
           Revenues:
           Wind      $  14,691        $  12,002        $  29,392        $  28,513
           Grid          9.490            8,865           17,875           21,070
           Total     $  24,181        $  20,867        $  47,267        $  49,583

Our Wind business unit accounted for 61% and 62% of total revenues for the three and six months ended September 30, 2013, respectively, compared to 58% for both the three and six months ended September 30, 2012. Revenues in the Wind business unit increased 22% and 3% to $14.7 million and $29.4 million in the three and six months ended September 30, 2013, respectively, from $12.0 million and $28.5 million in the three and six months ended September 30, 2012, respectively. Wind business unit revenues during the three and six months ended September 30, 2013 increased primarily due to higher revenues from customers in both India and China for our electrical control systems, partially offset by lower revenues in Korea.

Our Grid business unit accounted for 39% and 38% of total revenues for the three and six months ended September 30, 2013, respectively, compared to 42% for both the three and six months ended September 30, 2012. Our Grid business unit revenues increased 7% and decreased 15% to $9.5 million and $17.9 million in the three and six months ended September 30, 2013, respectively, from $8.9 million and $21.1 million in the three and six months ended September 30, 2012, respectively. Grid business unit revenues increased in the three months ended September 30, 2013 primarily due to a large Amperium® wire shipment to a customer in Korea, while decreasing for the six months ended September 30, 2013 due primarily to lower D-VAR system revenues as a result of a large project in Australia in the prior year period.

Project HYDRA is a project with Consolidated Edison, Inc. which is being partially funded by the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"). DHS is expected to invest up to a total of $29.0 million in the development of a new HTS power grid technology called Resilient Electric Grid systems. This fault current limiting cable system is designed to utilize customized Amperium® HTS wires, and ancillary controls to deliver more power through the grid while also being able to suppress power surges that can disrupt service. On July 8, 2013, DHS committed the additional $8.6 million in funding on Project HYDRA. DHS has now committed 100% of the total expected funding for this project. Consolidated Edison and Southwire Company are our subcontractors on this project. We recorded $1.0 million and $1.1 million of revenue on this project for the three and six months ended September 30, 2013, respectively, and $0.8 million and $1.1 million for the three and six months ended September 30, 2012, respectively.


The following table sets forth customers who represented 10% or more of our total revenues for the three and six months ended September 30, 2013 and 2012:

                                         Three months ended            Six months ended
                                            September 30,                September 30,
                                         2013            2012          2013          2012
 Beijing JINGCHENG New Energy Co., Ltd       28 %           26 %           31 %         22 %
 INOX Wind Limited                           27 %           19 %           21 %         17 %
 Karara Mining Ltd                          <10 %          <10 %          <10 %         13 %

Cost of Revenues and Gross Margin

Cost of revenues was $22.6 million and $40.6 million for the three and six months ended September 30, 2013, respectively, compared to $20.4 million and $37.3 million for the three and six months ended September 30, 2012, respectively. Gross margin was 6.5% and 14.1% for the three and six months ended September 30, 2013, respectively, compared to 2.3% and 24.8% for the three and six months ended September 30, 2012, respectively. The increase in gross margin for the three months ended September 30, 2013 as compared to the same period in fiscal 2012 was primarily due to increased consumption of previously written off . . .

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