Discussion of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Mentor Graphics management evaluates and makes operating decisions using various performance measures. In addition to our GAAP results, we also consider adjusted gross margin, operating margin, net income (loss), and earnings (loss) per share, which we refer to as non-GAAP gross margin, operating margin, net income (loss), and earnings (loss) per share, respectively. These non-GAAP measures are derived from the revenues of our product, maintenance, and services business operations and the costs directly related to the generation of those revenues, such as cost of revenue, research and development, sales and marketing, and general and administrative expenses, that management considers in evaluating our ongoing core operating performance. These non-GAAP measures exclude amortization of intangible assets, special charges, equity plan-related compensation expenses and charges, interest expense attributable to net retirement premiums or discounts on the early retirement of debt and associated debt issuance costs, interest expense associated with the amortization of debt discount on convertible debt, impairment of long-lived assets, impairment of cost method investments, and the equity in income or losses of unconsolidated entities, which management does not consider reflective of our core operating business.
Identified intangible assets consist primarily of purchased technology, backlog, trade names, customer relationships, and employment agreements. Special charges primarily consist of costs incurred for employee terminations due to a reduction of personnel resources driven by modifications of business strategy or business emphasis. Special charges may also include expenses incurred related to potential acquisitions, abandonment of in-process research and development acquired in an acquisition, excess facility costs, asset-related charges, post-acquisition rebalance costs and restructuring costs, including severance and benefits. Equity plan-related compensation expenses represent the fair value of all share-based payments to employees, including grants of employee stock options. For purposes of comparability across other periods and against other companies in our industry, non-GAAP net income (loss) is adjusted by the amount of additional tax expense or benefit that we would accrue using a normalized effective tax rate applied to the non-GAAP results.
Management excludes from our non-GAAP measures certain recurring items to facilitate its review of the comparability of our core operating performance on a period-to-period basis because such items are not related to our ongoing core operating performance as viewed by management. Management considers our core operating performance to be that which can be affected by our managers in any particular period through their management of the resources that affect our underlying revenue and profit generating operations during that period. Management uses this view of our operating performance for purposes of comparison with our business plan and individual operating budgets and allocation of resources. Additionally, when evaluating potential acquisitions, management excludes the items described above from its consideration of target performance and valuation. More specifically, management adjusts for the excluded items for the following reasons:
- Amortization charges for our intangible assets are excluded as they are inconsistent in amount and frequency and are significantly impacted by the timing and magnitude of our acquisition transactions. We therefore consider our operating results without these charges when evaluating our core performance. Generally, the most significant impact to inter-period comparability of our net income (loss) is in the first twelve months following an acquisition.
- Special charges are incurred based on the particular facts and circumstances of acquisition and restructuring decisions and can vary in size and frequency. These charges are excluded as they are not ordinarily included in our annual operating plan and related budget due to the unpredictability of economic trends and the rapidly changing technology and competitive environment in our industry. We therefore exclude them when evaluating our managers' performance internally.
- We view equity plan-related compensation as a key element of our employee retention and long-term incentives, not as an expense that we use in evaluating core operations in any given period. Management also believes this information is useful to investors to compare our performance to the performance of other companies in our industry who present non-GAAP results adjusted to exclude stock compensation expense.
- Interest expense attributable to net retirement premiums or discounts on the early retirement of debt, the write-off of associated debt issuance costs and the amortization of the debt discount on convertible debt are excluded. Management does not consider these charges as a part of our core operating performance. The early retirement of debt and the associated debt issuance costs are not included in our annual operating plan and related budget due to unpredictability of market conditions which could facilitate an early retirement of debt. We do not consider the amortization of the debt discount on convertible debt to be a direct cost of operations. We also believe this presentation is more useful to investors in comparing our performance to the performance of other companies in our industry who present non-GAAP results adjusted to exclude such items.
- Impairment of cost method investments can occur when the fair value of the investment is less than its cost. This can occur when there is a significant deterioration in the investee’s earnings performance, significant adverse changes in the general market conditions of the industry in which the investee operates, or indications that the investee may no longer be able to conduct business. These charges are inconsistent in amount and frequency. We therefore consider our operating results without these charges when evaluating our core performance.
- Equity in earnings or losses of unconsolidated subsidiaries, with the exception of our investment in Frontline P.C.B. Solutions Limited Partnership (Frontline), represents the net income (losses) in an investment accounted for under the equity method. The amounts represent our equity in the net income (losses) of a common stock investment. The carrying amount of our investment is adjusted for our share of earnings or losses of the investee. The amounts are excluded as we do not control the results of operations for these investments, we do not participate in regular and periodic operating activities and management does not consider these businesses a part of our core operating performance.
- In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Valor on March 18, 2010, we also acquired Valor’s 50% interest in a joint venture, Frontline P.C.B. Solutions Limited Partnership (“Frontline”). We report our equity in the earnings or losses of Frontline within operating income. We actively participate in regular and periodic activities such as budgeting, business planning, marketing and direction of research and development projects. Accordingly, we do not exclude our share of Frontline’s earnings or losses from our non-GAAP results as management considers the joint venture to be core to our operating performance.
- Income tax expense (benefit) is adjusted by the amount of additional tax expense or benefit that we would accrue if we used non-GAAP results instead of GAAP results in the calculation of our tax liability, taking into consideration our long-term tax structure. We use a normalized effective tax rate of 17%, which reflects the weighted average tax rate applicable under the various jurisdictions in which we operate. This non-GAAP tax rate eliminates the effects of non-recurring and period specific items which are often attributable to acquisition decisions and can vary in size and frequency and considers our US loss carryforwards that have not been previously benefited. This rate is subject to change over time for various reasons, including changes in the geographic business mix and changes in statutory tax rates. Our GAAP tax rate for the nine months ended October 31, 2010 is (12)%, after the consideration of period specific items. Without period specific items of ($2.3) million, our GAAP tax rate is (24)%. Our full fiscal year 2011 GAAP tax rate, inclusive of period specific items, is projected to be 26%. The GAAP tax rate considers certain mandatory and other non-scalable tax costs which may adversely or beneficially affect our tax rate depending upon our level of profitability in various jurisdictions.