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New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. (NYSE:EDU) Q1 2024 Earnings Call Transcript

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New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. (NYSE:EDU) Q1 2024 Earnings Call Transcript

New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. (NYSE:EDU) Q1 2024 Earnings Call Transcript October 25, 2023

Operator: Good evening and thank you for standing by for New Oriental’s fiscal year 2024 First Quarter Results Earnings Conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen only mode. After management’s prepared remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. I would now like to turn over to your host today, Ms. Sisi Zhao.

Sisi Zhao: Hello, everyone, and welcome to new Oriental’s first fiscal quarter 2024 earnings conference call. Our financial results for the period were released earlier today and are available on the company’s website as well as on newswire services. Today, Stephen Yang, Executive President and Chief Financial Officer, and I will share Oriental’s latest earnings results and business updates in detail with you. After that, Stephen and I will be available to answer your questions. Before we continue, please note that the discussion today will contain forward-looking statements made under the safe harbor provisions of the US Private securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties.

As such, our results may be materially different from the view expressed today. A number of potential risks and uncertainties are outlined in our public filings with the SEC. Oriental’s does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements except as required under applicable law. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. In addition, a webcast of this conference call will be available on New Oriental’s Investor Relations website at investor neorental.org. I will now first turn the call over to Mr. Yang. Stephen, please go ahead.

Stephen Yang: Thank you, Sisi. Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us on the call. It’s our great pleasure to announce the New Oriental has painted an encouraging start of fiscal year 2024 by delivering a set of robust financial results this quarter, with top line performance beating the high end of our expectations. Following a tireless year of trial and development, our multipronged business lines have pivoted towards a stable recovery and anchored fruitful yields. Many benefiting from the strong post-COVID recovery of demand conception and traveling, while our new business have begun making meaningful contributions to the company’s revenue, thereby invigorates growth and margin expansion. Our bottom line performance has also achieved a promising growth.

Our operating margin and non-GAAP operating margin reaching 18.6{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} and 22.3{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} respectively for this quarter, depicting a solid resilience across our business lines. Thanks to our ongoing efforts in brushing up on operational efficiency and cost control/ The delegated blend of our restructured business model, better utilized resources and streamlined cost structure have sharpened our capability to yield better than expected margins in this fiscal quarter. As well as enlivens our exploration and ingenious ventures, coupled with the company’s sustainable profitability resilient business lines and emerging new initiatives, we have firm conviction in maintaining a healthy growth of our market share and creating sustainable value for our customers and shareholders in the long term.

Now, I would like to spend some time to talk about the quarter’s performance across our remaining business lines and new initiatives to you in detail. Our key remaining business secured a promising trend coupled with a positive momentum in our new initiatives breaking down. The Overseas Test Prep Business recorded a revenue increase of 52{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} in dollar terms, or 62{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} in RMB terms year over year for the fiscal quarter of 2024. The Overseas Study Consulting Business recorded the revenue increase about 27{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} in dollar terms were 35{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} in our RMB terms year over year for this quarter. The Adults University Students business recorded the revenue increase of 26{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} in dollar terms, or 34{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} increase in RMB terms year over year for this quarter. As mentioned in the past quarters, we have quarter as mentioned, in the past quarters, we have launched several new initiatives which mostly revolve around facilitating students all around development.

I’m pleased to share that these initiatives have continued to exceed our expectations by yielding consistent growth and meaningful profit to the company. Firstly, the non-dynamic children [ph] business which we have offered in around 60 existing cities focus on cultivating students innovative ability and comprehensive quality. We’re happy to see increased penetration in those markets we have tapped into, especially in higher tier cities. With a total approximately 438,000 student enrollment recorded in this fiscal quarter, the top ten cities in China contribute over 60{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} of the revenue of this business. Secondly, the Intelligent Learning System and Device Business, a service designed to provide tailored digital learning experience for students, has been adopted around 60 cities.

We’re thrilled to see improved customer retention and scalability of this new business. With approximately 181,000 active paid users reported in this quarter. The revenue contribution of this initiative from the top ten cities in China is around 60{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823}. Our Smart Education business, educational materials and digitalized smart study solutions have continued to contribute material result to the overall advancement of the company. In summary, our new education business initiatives recorded the revenue increase of 103{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} in dollar terms or 117{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} increase in RMB terms year over year for the first quarter of 2024. In addition, beginning in this fiscal year, we’re pleased to announce a newly integrated business line which will be comprised all of our tourism related business targeting diverse age groups.

This includes our well grounded Study Tour and Research Camp Business for students of K-12 and University Ages, as well as our newly established tourism business that mainly serve middle aged and senior audience. Upon consolidation, this tourism related business line will utilize new rental strengths of knowledge sharing star teachers and reputable branding to visualize our capability in serving customers for eight group. It’s our great pleasure to share the performance of new business line in detail. Our Study Tour and Research Camp Business an initiative that aims to offering students of K-12 and university ages the opportunity to utilize their free time to broaden the scope knowledge and cultivate subject interest has achieved encouraging growth in this summer.

Thanks to the strong post COVID recovery of demand, resumed consumption and traveling. We have conducted Study Tour and Research Camp in over 50 cities across the country, with the top ten cities in China offering over 55{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} of the revenue share of this new initiative. We fondly expect the new business to contribute minimum revenue in this fiscal year. In addition to success of our Study Tour and Research Camp offerings, we also began venturing into the tourism business to expand our reach to all age groups, including the middle aged and elderly individuals. During this fiscal quarter, we piloted a number of top quality tourism offerings in featured provinces, including Zhugejiang, Su, Chuan, Shanghi, Gansu and Hunan, and we’re sincerely grateful for the increasing traction that these noble adventures have gained, as we are still at a very preliminary stage of planning, testifying, and evaluating the visibility of this business in selected districts.

New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. (NYSE:EDU) Q1 2024 Earnings Call Transcript

School children in a classroom using digital learning services to access educational content. Editorial photo for a financial news article. 8k. –ar 16:9

We will keep you posted should there be timely updates on this new vote. With regard to our OMO system, we have persist in revamping our platform and leveraged our educational infrastructure and technology edge on remaining key business and new business with a vision to provide advanced, diversified education service to customers of all ages. During this reporting period, a total of all ages during this reporting period, a total of $45.6 million has been invested in our OMO teaching platform, which equips us with the flexibility to maintain top notch service to students during the pandemic. During this reporting period, East Buy has embraced a multiplatform strategy through an official debut on new platforms including Taobao and its own app, in order to enlarge its customer base and amplify its brand influence.

East Buy consistently adhered to developing its private label products that are healthy, tasty, high quality, with good value. For money, and has attained instrumental breakthroughs with streams of new products roll out each month from groceries to daily necessities Easter Buys live streaming ecommerce has not only helped customers reap good bargains, but also helped farmers, producers and local enterprise sell their products through strategic marketing strategies. In addition, the brand continued to join hands with local government to promote unique agriculture products from region to region, nurturing public appreciation towards diverse cultures through inventive content. It also pioneered a new mode of live streaming that incorporated with the product traceability, by which our lead teams would unearth the regions of our private label products, factories and ochre [ph] Our live streams have thereby offered assurance to the customers through guaranteeing products authenticity and visibility.

With regard to the company’s latest financial position, I’m confident to share with you that the company is in a healthy financial status with cash and cash equivalent term deposit and short term investment totaling approximately $4.6 billion, $4.6 billion. On July 26, 2022, the company’s board of directors authorized the share repurchase of up to $500 million [ph] of the company ADS were common shares during the period from July 28 2022 through May 31, 2023. The Company’s Board of Directors further authorized the Company to extend its share repurchase program launched in July 2022 by 12 months through May 31, 2024. As of October 24, 2023, the Company repurchased aggregate of approximately 6 million ADS for approximately $193.3 million from the open market under this program.

Now I will turn the call over to Sisi to share with you about the key financials. Sisi, please go ahead.

Sisi Zhao: Now, I’d like to walk you through the other key financial details for this quarter. Operating cost and expenses for the quarter were $894.9 million, representing a 34.2{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} increase year over year. Non GAAP operating cost expenses for the quarter, which exclude share based compensation expenses were $855.3 million, representing a 32{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} increase year over year. The increase was primarily due to the cost expenses related to the substantial growth in East Buy, a private label products and live streaming ecommerce business. Cost of revenue increased by 41.4{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} year over year to $441.2 million. Selling and marketing expenses increased by 37.9{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} year over year to $136.1 million. G&A expenses for the quarter increased by 24{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} year over year to $317.6 million.

Non GAAP G&A expenses, which exclude share based compensation expenses were $290.3 million, representing a 22.3{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} increase year over year. Total share based compensation expenses, which were allocated to related operating cost expenses increased by 108{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} to $39.6 million in the first quarter of 2024. Operating income was $205.1 million, representing a 163{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} increase year over year. Non GAAP income from operations for the quarter was $244.8 million, representing a 152.2{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} increase year over year. Net income attributable to New Oriental for the quarter worth $165.4 million rental for the quarter worth $165.4 million, representing a 150.6{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} increase year over year. Basic and diluted net income per ADS attributable to New Oriental were $0.99, respectively.

Net non GAAP net income attributable to New Oriental for the quarter was $189.3 million, representing a 126.2{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} increase year over year. Non GAAP basic and diluted net income per ADS attributable to New Oriental were $1.59 [ph] and $1.13 [ph] respectively. Net cash flow generated from operation for the first fiscal quarter of 2024 was approximately $335.8 million and capital expenditure for the quarter were $132.5 million. Turning to the balance sheet, end of October 31, 2023, New Oriental had cash and cash equivalents of $1,748.9 million. In addition, the company had $1,399.4 million in term deposit and $1,423.9 million in short term investments. New Oriental’s deferred revenue balance at the end of the first of fiscal quarter of 2024 was $1,401.4 million, an increase of 38.4{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} as compared to $1,012.5 million at the end of the first fiscal quarter of last fiscal year.

Now hand over to Stephen to go through our outlook and guidance.

Stephen Yang: We’re confident embarking a healthy journey of sustainable growth for the rest of this fiscal year. Building on the combination of our brand advantage, rooted history, influential teaching, content and resources, and solid foundation.0 We’re also committed to work diligently adhering to the latest guidance from the Chinese authorities on enhancing the nation’s education level to strengthen its leading position to further unveil our potential in all business lines and creative endeavors. With regards to the learning center and classroom space, we plan to increase our capacity by about 15{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} to 20{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823}, by which a reasonable amount of new learning centers is expected to be opened. While classroom areas of some existing learning centers will be expanded in a few major cities, most of the new openings will be launched in the cities with better top line bottom line performance.

We will keep monitoring the pace and scale of the new openings according to the local operation and financial results in this fiscal year. Despite the historical seasonality of some new rentals major businesses which will usually result in a slower period for every second quarter, we remain confident in sustaining a healthy growth across all business lines. In summary, we expect total net revenue in the second quarter of fiscal year 2024 to be in the range of $785.0 million to $804.2 million, representing year over year increase in the range of 23{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823} to 26{76cecface0748ddeecd9e742a6b04748a479068b020f881d389c6d6775b6c823}. To conclude, we’re confident in achieving satisfactory operating profit level and improving our profitability in the rest of fiscal year 2024. As always, new rental plays great determination to cultivate new endeavors and are bolstered our existing capabilities simultaneously will devote reasonable resources on research and application of new technologies such as AI and Chat GPT into our educational and product offerings with a vision to uplift our strengths and pursue the growth and operational efficiency in future.

We will also continue to seek guidance from and cooperate with government authorities in align with these efforts to comply with the relevant policies, regulations and measures, as well as to further adjust our business operations as required. I must say that these expectations and forecast reflect our considerations of the latest regulatory measure as well as current and preliminary view measure as well as current and preliminary view which is subject to change. This is the end of our fiscal year 2024 Q1 Summary. At this point, I’d like to open the floor for questions. Operator, please open the call for these. Thank you.

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