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Progress to slash staff, divest non-core products

25 April 2012  |  588 views  |  0 Source: Progress Software

Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS) announced today a new strategic plan designed to enhance growth, profitability and shareholder value.

Under the plan, Progress will become a leading provider of a next-generation, context-aware application development and deployment platform in the Cloud for the Application Platform-as-a-Service (aPaaS) market by investing in its core OpenEdge, DataDirect Connect and Apama Analytics and Decisions products and integrating them into a single, cohesive offering. The strategic plan leverages the Company's inherent DNA and vast experience in application development and deployment established over 30 years.

As part of the plan, Progress will divest multiple product lines that are not core to the new vision and launch immediate operational restructuring initiatives to significantly reduce annual costs. In addition, Progress' Board of Directors has authorized a substantial new share repurchase program.

The new strategic plan is the result of a five-month comprehensive evaluation of the Company's product portfolio, business model, capital allocation strategy, customer base and future opportunities. The evaluation was led by Progress' President and Chief Executive Officer, Jay Bhatt, who joined Progress in December 2011. Upon joining the Company, Bhatt immediately began the planning process with the Board of Directors, management team and external advisors, including J.P. Morgan.

In commenting on the new plan, Bhatt said: "Progress pioneered the creation of application development and deployment infrastructure tools, technology and software. Our new strategic plan is firmly rooted in this foundation and is designed to significantly improve Progress' growth and performance. With our refined focus on providing advanced, leading-edge application development products and services to customers, we are confident that we will enhance value for all shareholders."

Bhatt continued: "Over the past five months, members of my executive management team and I met with customers, partners and shareholders, collaborated with employees and worked with the Board of Directors and our of Directors and our independent advisors to determine the best plan for growth and profitability. Valuable analysis, market feedback and lessons learned from previous product strategies helped inform our view and we fully intend to evolve Progress into a leaner company that will help to lead the computing evolution from on-premise to the Cloud. The Board and I are confident that Progress has the right DNA, scale and experience to make this transformation successful for the benefit of all stakeholders," added Bhatt.

Michael L. Mark, chairman of the Board, commented: "This new strategic plan represents the Board's firm commitment to enhance shareholder value. Over the last year, the Progress Board has taken a number of important steps to transform the Company, including adding two new independent board members and hiring Jay Bhatt, the Company's first external CEO. The Board is unanimous in its support of the new strategic plan and we are confident in Jay's and his team's ability to execute the plan successfully to enhance value for all shareholders."

Focused on Core Capabilities, Growth, Increasing Profitability and Cloud Trends

Under its new plan, Progress will unify the capabilities of OpenEdge, the Progress Arcade portal, DataDirect Connect, Apama Analytics and Decisions, which consists of Complex Event Processing (CEP), Corticon Business Rules Management Solution (BRMS) and the Progress Control Tower, in the Cloud. As a result, Progress is poised to create the industry's most capable and language-agnostic aPaaS offering with multi-tenancy, Big Data connectivity, and real-time analytics in a new generation category that is experiencing explosive growth.

According to a report by a leading independent IT research and advisory company, by 2015 most enterprises will have part of their business software running in the Cloud, and Cloud-based solutions will be growing at a faster rate than on-premise solutions. The same report also noted that less than 15% of Fortune 500 organizations are effectively collecting and analyzing Big Data in real time. Progress' focus on a singular, unified product offering will enable partners and customers to deploy, access and analyze applications on any platform, any device and any Cloud with the industry's fastest time-to-value.

In conjunction with this strategic vision, Progress intends to immediately embark on several initiatives to further strengthen the Company and enhance shareholder value. These initiatives include:

Divest Non-core Product Lines. Progress will divest ten non-core product lines: Actional, Artix, DataXtend, FuseSource, ObjectStore, Orbacus, Orbix, Savvion, Shadow and Sonic. Each of these product lines are strong and viable, however, they no longer fit into the Company's core portfolio. Fiscal 2011 revenue for these products totaled $172 million. The Company expects to complete the divestitures by the middle to end of FY 2013.
Cost Reductions. Progress expects to reduce annual run-rate costs by approximately $55 million gross, expected to be net $40 million after additional investments, by the end of FY 2012. These efforts include: consolidating facilities and implementing a simplified organizational structure. In addition, Progress intends to reduce its global workforce by approximately 10 to15 percent. The Company expects to complete most of these workforce reductions during its second and third fiscal quarters of 2012, depending upon local legal requirements.
Share Repurchase. The Board of Directors has authorized a $350+ million share repurchase program, which will be implemented over FY 2012 and FY 2013. The Company expects to complete approximately $150 million of this share repurchase program by the end of the current fiscal year and at least $200 million in FY 2013. The shares may be repurchased from time to time in open market transactions or privately negotiated transactions at the company's discretion, subject to securities laws, market conditions and other factors.
Invest in Core Products. The Company's operational initiatives include (1) Investing in sales, marketing, and strategic product development for OpenEdge and the Progress Arcade portal in order to leverage the global ecosystem formed around this leading application development and deployment platform; (2) Rejuvenating the market-leading data direct connect database drivers by expanding the product portfolio, investing in new channels, building and establishing a dominant online presence and launching a cloud connect service; and (3) Strengthening the capital market focus around Apama Analytics and Decisions, executing on key use cases to enable application analytics in the cloud, and launching a real time analytics cloud service.

Outlook

Beginning with its fiscal second quarter, the Company intends to separately report on a non-GAAP basis its core and non-core operations. FY 2011 revenue for core products was $361 million, and for non-core products was $172 million. The Company intends to have additional non-GAAP information available for investors outlining operating costs and margins, as well as allocated and unallocated costs in its fiscal second quarter earnings release.

For its core products, the Company expects to achieve a revenue growth rate of 5% in FY 2013 and 7%+ in FY 2014 and beyond and approximately 35% operating margins by FY 2013. Additionally, Progress' participation in the high-growth aPaaS market creates upside potential in FY 2014 and beyond.

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