Zebra Technologies Announces First-Quarter 2018 Results

First-Quarter Financial Highlights

  • Strong net sales of $977 million; year-over-year growth of 13%
  • Net income of $109 million and net income per diluted share of $2.01
  • Non-GAAP diluted EPS increased 87% year-over-year to $2.56
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 37% year-over-year to $204 million; and adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 370 basis points year-over-year to 20.9%
  • $116 million of cash from operations and $98 million of free cash flow; $95 million reduction of total debt


Lincolnshire, Ill., May 8, 2018 — Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), the market leader in rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners and barcode printers enhanced with software and services to enable real-time enterprise visibility, today announced results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018.

“Our first quarter results were driven by strong broad-based market demand for our solutions and excellent operational execution by our team. We delivered net sales, EBITDA margin, and earnings per share above the respective guidance ranges. We also continued to aggressively retire debt, reducing our net leverage ratio to 2.8x,” said Anders Gustafsson, chief executive officer of Zebra Technologies. “Given our sales and margin outperformance, we are raising our full-year outlook for sales growth, EBITDA margin, and free cash flow. We continue to be laser focused on providing innovative solutions that give our customers a performance edge on the front lines of their business operations.”

Reported (GAAP) results

Net sales were $977 million in the first quarter of 2018 compared to $865 million in the first quarter of 2017. Net sales in the Enterprise Visibility & Mobility ("EVM") segment were $625 million in the first quarter of 2018 compared with $544 million in the first quarter of 2017. Asset Intelligence & Tracking ("AIT") segment net sales were $352 million in the first quarter of 2018 compared to $322 million in the prior year period. First-quarter 2018 gross profit was $465 million compared to $401 million in the comparable prior year period. Net income for the first quarter of 2018 was $109 million, or $2.01 per diluted share, compared to net income of $8 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2017.

As of January 1, 2018, the company adopted revenue standard ASC 606. Revenue would have been $1 million higher for the three-month period ended March 31, 2018 had the Company continued to follow our accounting policies under the previous revenue recognition guidance.

Download PDF with consolidated balance sheet, cash flow and income statements


Adjusted (Non-GAAP) results

Consolidated adjusted net sales were $977 million in the first quarter of 2018 compared to $866 million in the prior year period, an increase of 12.8%. Consolidated organic net sales growth for the first quarter was 9.8% reflecting growth across all regions, most notably EMEA and North America.  First-quarter year-over-year organic net sales growth was 11.7% in the EVM segment and 6.4% in the AIT segment.

Consolidated adjusted gross margin for the first quarter of 2018 was 47.7%, compared to 46.4% in the prior year period. This increase was due to favorable business mix and the favorable impact of currency changes, primarily in the EMEA region. Adjusted operating expenses increased in the first quarter of 2018 to $282 million from $272 million in the prior year period primarily due to growth in the business and increased incentive compensation expense related to improved operating results.

Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of 2018 increased to $204 million, or 20.9% of adjusted net sales, compared to $149 million, or 17.2% of adjusted net sales, for the first quarter of 2017 primarily due to higher sales and gross profit margin.

Non-GAAP net income for the first quarter of 2018 was $138 million, or $2.56 per diluted share, compared with $72 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2017. Lower interest costs and a lower tax rate also drove year-over-year improvement.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

As of March 31, 2018, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $64 million and total debt of $2,133 million. 

Free cash flow in the first quarter of 2018 was $98 million, consisting of $116 million of cash flow from operations and capital expenditures of $18 million. In the first quarter, the company made $95 million in long-term debt payments and $26 million in scheduled cash interest payments.


Second Quarter 2018

The company entered the second quarter of 2018 with a strong order backlog and expects second-quarter 2018 net sales to increase approximately 9% to 12% from the second quarter of 2017. This expectation includes an approximately 3 percentage point positive impact from foreign currency translation. 

Adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to be in the range of 18.5% to 19.0% for the second quarter 2018, favorable to the prior year period. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share are expected to be in the range of $2.10 to $2.30. This assumes an effective tax rate of approximately 16% to 17%. 

Full Year 2018

The company now expects full year 2018 net sales growth to increase approximately 6% to 9%, which is favorable to our prior outlook and includes an anticipated 2 percentage point positive impact from foreign currency translation.

Adjusted EBITDA margin is now expected to be approximately 20% for the full year 2018, which is favorable to our prior outlook and an improvement compared to the full year 2017.

For the full year 2018, the company expects free cash flow to exceed $500 million, which is favorable to our prior outlook, and to reduce financial leverage. 

Conference Call Notification

Investors are invited to listen to a live webcast of Zebra’s conference call regarding the company’s financial results for the first quarter of 2018. The conference call will be held today, Tuesday, May 8, at 7:30 a.m. Central Time (8:30 a.m. Eastern Time). To view the webcast, visit the investor relations section of the company’s website at investors.zebra.com.

About Zebra

With the unparalleled operational visibility Zebra (NASDAQ: ZBRA) provides, enterprises become as smart and connected as the world we live in. Real-time information – gleaned from visionary solutions including hardware, software and services – gives organizations the competitive edge they need to simplify operations, know more about their businesses and customers, and empower their mobile workers to succeed in today’s data-centric world. For more information, visit www.zebra.com or sign up for our news alerts. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, the statements regarding the company’s outlook. Actual results may differ from those expressed or implied in the company’s forward-looking statements. These statements represent estimates only as of the date they were made. Zebra undertakes no obligation, other than as may be required by law, to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or any other reason after the date of this release.

These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, forecasts and assumptions and are subject to the risks and uncertainties inherent in Zebra’s industry, market conditions, general domestic and international economic conditions, and other factors. These factors include customer acceptance of Zebra’s hardware and software products and competitors’ product offerings, and the potential effects of technological changes. The continued uncertainty over future global economic conditions, the availability of credit and capital markets volatility may have adverse effects on Zebra, its suppliers and its customers. In addition, a disruption in our ability to obtain products from vendors as a result of supply chain constraints, natural disasters or other circumstances could restrict sales and negatively affect customer relationships. Profits and profitability will be affected by Zebra’s ability to control manufacturing and operating costs. Because of its debt, interest rates and financial market conditions will also have an impact on results. Foreign exchange rates will have an effect on financial results because of the large percentage of our international sales. The outcome of litigation in which Zebra may be involved is another factor. The success of integrating acquisitions could also affect profitability, reported results and the company’s competitive position in its industry. These and other factors could have an adverse effect on Zebra’s sales, gross profit margins and results of operations and increase the volatility of our financial results. When used in this release and documents referenced, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “outlook,” and “expect” and similar expressions, as they relate to the company or its management, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying these statements. Descriptions of the risks, uncertainties and other factors that could affect the company’s future operations and results can be found in Zebra’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company’s most recent Form 10-K.

Information regarding the impact of the TCJA consists of preliminary estimates, based on current calculations, interpretations, assumptions and expectations.  These estimates may change materially as we learn additional information about and obtain additional guidance on the TCJA.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information

This press release contains certain Non-GAAP financial measures, consisting of “adjusted net sales,” “adjusted gross profit,” “EBITDA,” “Adjusted EBITDA,” “Non-GAAP net income,” “Non-GAAP earnings per share,” “free cash flow,” “organic net sales growth,” and “adjusted operating expenses.” Management presents these measures to focus on the on-going operations and believes it is useful to investors because they enable them to perform meaningful comparisons of past and present operating results. The company believes it is useful to present Non-GAAP financial measures, which exclude certain significant items, as a means to understand the performance of its ongoing operations and how management views the business. Please see the “Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Financial Measures” tables and accompanying disclosures at the end of this press release for more detailed information regarding non-GAAP financial measures herein, including the items reflected in adjusted net earnings calculations. These measures, however, should not be construed as an alternative to any other measure of performance determined in accordance with GAAP.

The company does not provide a reconciliation for non-GAAP estimates on a forward-looking basis (including the information under “Outlook” above) where it is unable to provide a meaningful or accurate calculation or estimation of reconciling items and the information is not available without unreasonable effort. This is due to the inherent difficulty of forecasting the timing or amount of various items that have not yet occurred, are out of the company’s control and/or cannot be reasonably predicted, and that would impact diluted net earnings per share, the most directly comparable forward-looking GAAP financial measure. For the same reasons, the company is unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information. Forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures provided without the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures may vary materially from the corresponding GAAP financial measures.

As a global company, Zebra's operating results reported in U.S. dollars are affected by foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations because the underlying foreign currencies in which the company transacts change in value over time compared to the U.S. dollar; accordingly, the company presents certain organic growth financial information, which includes impacts of foreign currency translation, to provide a framework to assess how the company’s businesses performed excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Foreign currency impact represents the difference in results that are attributable to fluctuations in the currency exchange rates used to convert the results for businesses where the functional currency is not the U.S. dollar. This impact is calculated by translating, for certain currencies, current period results at the currency exchange rates used in the comparable period in the prior year, rather than the exchange rates in effect during the current period. In addition, the company excludes the impact of its foreign currency hedging program in both the current year and prior year periods. The company believes these measures should be considered a supplement to and not in lieu of the company’s performance measures calculated in accordance with GAAP.


Michael Steele, CFA, IRC
Vice President, Investor Relations
Phone: + 1 847 793 6707

Therese Van Ryne
Director, Global Public Relations
Phone: + 1 847 370 2317