Categories Earnings Call Transcripts

Keysight Technologies Inc. (KEYS) Q2 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

KEYS Earnings Call – Final Transcript

Keysight Technologies Inc. (NYSE: KEYS) Q2 2022 earnings call dated May. 17, 2022

Corporate Participants:

Jason Kary — Vice President, Treasurer and Investor Relations

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Mark Wallace — Senior Vice President, Global Sales

Analysts:

David Ridley-Lane — Bank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Matthew Niknam — Deutsche Bank — Analyst

Mark Delaney — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

Samik Chatterjee — J.P. Morgan — Analyst

Meta Marshall — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Chris Snyder — UBS — Analyst

Mehdi Hosseini — Susquehanna — Analyst

Jim Suva — Citi — Analyst

Rob Mason — Robert W. Baird — Analyst

Adam Thalhimer — Thompson Davis — Analyst

Presentation:

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Keysight Technologies Fiscal Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. My name is Thea and I will be your lead operator today. After the presentation, we will conduct a question and answer session. [Operator Instructions] Please note that this call is being recorded today, Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at 1:30 PM Pacific Time.

I would now like to hand the conference over to your host, Jason Kary, Vice President, Treasurer and Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Mr. Kary.

Jason Kary — Vice President, Treasurer and Investor Relations

Thank you and welcome everyone to Keysight’s second quarter earnings conference call for fiscal year 2022. Joining me are Satish Dhanasekaran, President and CEO; and Neil Dougherty, our CFO. In the Q&A session, we will be joined by Mark Wallace, Senior Vice President of Global Sales. You can find the press release and information to supplement today’s discussion on our website at investor.keysight.com. While there, please click on the link for quarterly reports under the Financial Information tab. There you will find an investor presentation along with Keysight’s segment results. Following this conference call, we will post a copy of the prepared remarks to the website.

Today’s comments by Satish and Neil will refer to non-GAAP financial measures. We will also make references to core growth, which excludes the impact of currency movements and acquisitions or divestitures completed within the last 12 months. You will find the most directly comparable GAAP financial metrics and reconciliations on our website. All comparisons are on a year-over-year basis unless otherwise noted.

We will make forward-looking statements about the financial performance of the company on today’s call. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and are only valid as of today. The company assumes no obligation to update them. Please review the Company’s recent SEC filings for a more complete picture of our risks and other factors. Lastly, I would note that management is scheduled to participate in upcoming investor conferences hosted by J.P. Morgan, Baird and UBS.

And now I will turn the call over to Satish.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Jason. And thank you all for joining us. Welcome to the second quarter 2022 earnings call and my first as the CEO of Keysight. I am humbled and honored to be Keysight’s CEO and excited about the future. I would like to thank Ron Nersesian for his visionary leadership of the company, which has provided us a solid foundation to build on. Over the last decade. I’ve had the honor of working closely with Ron and benefited greatly from his experience in many different roles I’ve held since joining the company 16 years ago.

This is a great time to be at Keysight as we remain focused on our core purpose of accelerating innovation to connect and secure the world. Keysight delivered exceptional results in quarter two driven by strong execution and broad-based demand across the business. The team focused on innovating and solving customers’ design and test challenges, while successfully navigating the ongoing supply chain and geopolitical challenges.

I will focus my comments today on three key headlines. First, we delivered record quarter two orders, capitalizing on the robust end market demand for Keysight’s high-value differentiated solutions. Our focus on delivering first-to-market solutions is enabling us to uncover new emerging applications, adding to our momentum. Second, we achieved record revenue, strong operating margin performance resulting in record earnings per share, which grew 27% demonstrating the durability and resilience of our business. Third, we are raising our outlook for the year based on our strong performance in the first half and continued momentum. We now expect to achieve revenue growth approaching 8% and earnings per share growth in the range of 14% to 15% for the fiscal year.

Let’s now take a deeper look at our results for the quarter. Second quarter orders grew 9% to $1.46 billion and outpaced revenue which grew 11% to a new record of $1.35 billion and was $41 million about the high end of our guidance. We achieved gross margins of 65%, operating margin of 29% and record EPS of $1.83, exceeding the high end of our guidance by $0.14. Also with the ongoing equity market volatility, we again capitalized on the opportunity to accelerate share repurchases.

These results are a reflection of our strong portfolio and our global teams application of the Keysight leadership model, which enables us to deliver consistent value to all stakeholders. We delivered these results despite many headwinds including geopolitical challenges, inflationary pressures and continued supply chain disruptions. We continue to advance our software-centric solution strategy as the rapid pace of technology accelerates our customers across end markets are seeking deeper engagements earlier in the design cycle and are adopting our software solutions.

The capabilities of our PathWave software platform facilitate continuous stream of releases that matches the innovation cadence of our customers. This enables us to secure enterprise agreements with market leaders for high value R&D solutions. Orders for software and value-added services like Keysight Care again grew double-digits as we continue to grow recurring revenue this quarter.

Turning to our business segments. Communication Solutions Group delivered record second quarter orders and an all-time record revenue. Within CSG, commercial communications achieved all-time record orders and revenue with double-digit order growth for the third consecutive quarter. Ongoing innovation and investments in our end markets, spanning both the wireless and wireline segments remains strong, driven by adoption of 5G, 400 gig, 800 gig and terabit and optical technologies.

In wireless, the increase in the number of 5G device types continues to drive test and certification requirements. With our leading solutions portfolio, we expect to benefit from the continued investment in the evolution of 5G standards, including standalone 5G Release 16 and beyond. In quarter two, Keysight announced collaborations with leading companies such as NTT DOCOMO, Telefonica and analog devices to enable a wide range of 5G applications including ORAN, which continues to gain momentum.

In wireline, we’re enabling the digital transformation driven by cloud computing and telecom stack virtualization through our end-to-end solutions. We recently launched the industry’s first 800 gig solution to enable data center design workflows for ultra high data rates and energy efficiency. Aerospace defense and government achieved record Q2 revenue, driven by double-digit growth in Americas and strengthened signal monitoring, cyber and space and satellite solutions, as well as 5G and 6G applications.

Complex scenario emulations continue to drive the need for modeling and Digital Twin solutions with increasing software content. Our leading network analyzer platform and phased array test solutions enabled increasingly complex satellite communication design and test requirements, increasing defense budgets in the U.S. and Europe are expected to provide support for higher spend going forward. CSG is well positioned to capitalize on growth by enabling innovation in our end markets through our broad and synergistic portfolio, including wireline, wireless, cyber security, satellite and space solutions.

The Electronics Industrial Solutions Group delivered double-digit order and revenue growth for the seventh consecutive quarter driven by automotive and semiconductor solutions. In automotive, all time record revenue was driven by strong demand for our expanding portfolio of EV and AV applications. Keysight is capitalizing on strategic investments in the automotive and energy space, providing industry for solutions that support new capabilities and use cases such as our recently launched protocol test solution for in-vehicle networking. During the quarter, we secured EV wins with major OEMs across all regions.

In addition, we’re excited by the recognition of our new radar scene emulator solution, including the 2022 Tech.AD Europe award. We saw strong demand for our semiconductor solutions, which delivered double-digit order and revenue growth. Investments in advanced semiconductor technologies, along with capacity expansion for existing nodes remained robust. Over the next three to five years, we see solid customer R&D roadmaps for ICs for a broader set of applications.

As an example, in Q2, we sold our first on wafer silicon photonics parametric test solution to a major semiconductor fab to develop and manufacture next-generation data center transceivers. We believe this trend represents long-term opportunities for Keysight’s R&D solutions portfolio. Our general electronics business achieved all-time record revenue as investments continued in manufacturing and device development for consumer and industrial IoT, digital health and advanced research. We’re seeing active investments globally and fundamental research in terahertz and quantum technologies.

For example, we recently announced a collaboration with National Research Foundation of Singapore’s Quantum Engineering Program to accelerate research and development and education in quantum technologies. The strength of our general electronics business reflects the broad nature of applications for our solutions. Before I wrap. I’d like to acknowledge and thank our more than 14,000 employees worldwide for their commitment to our customers around the globe and for their passion in delivering market-leading solutions.

I am proud to share that Keysight was recently named as one of Fortune 100’s Best Companies to Work For in 2022. This is a recognition of our inclusive and diverse culture, exhibiting value for collaboration, high performance and innovation. Our culture also places high value on corporate social responsibility. We recently released our 2021 CSR Report highlighting our progress in environmental, social and governance efforts worldwide and announcing new goals to track through ’22 and into ’23.

I believe Keysight has a bright future ahead, I look forward to working with the team to execute our strategy and continue to deliver greater value for our customers, shareholders and employees.

With that, I’ll turn the call over to Neil to discuss our financial performance and outlook. Neil?

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thank you. Satish and hello, everyone. Our performance this quarter once again demonstrated the resilience of our business. We delivered on our commitments and exceeded expectations as we powered through multiple challenges and new headwinds in the quarter. In the second quarter of 2022, we delivered revenue of $1.351 billion, which was above the high end of our guidance range and grew 11% or 12% on a core basis. We generated $1.458 billion in orders, up 9% or 11% on a core basis. During the quarter, we suspended our operations in Russia and canceled our entire backlog of Russian orders. Core growth adjusted for Russia was 13%. Demand again outpaced supply and we ended the quarter with over $2.4 billion in backlog.

Turning to our operational results for Q2, we reported gross margin of 65% and operating expenses of $489 million, resulting in an operating margin of 29%. The strength of our results highlights the resiliency of our business and our team’s ability to execute despite significant supply, cost and currency headwinds within the quarter. We achieved net income of $334 million and delivered $1.83 and earnings per share, which was above the high end of our guidance. Our weighted average share count for the quarter was 183 million shares.

Moving to the performance of our segments. Our Communications Solutions Group generated record revenue of $963 million, up 10% or 11% on a core basis. CSG delivered gross margin of 66% and operating margin of 28%. Within CSG, commercial communications generated revenue of $672 million, up 11% with double-digit revenue growth in the Americas, driven by strong demand for 5G device and component development, as well as network test ORAN and terabit R&D. Aerospace, defense and government revenue of $291 million grew 7%.

Our backlog for this end market remain strong and we reported solid growth in the Americas and Europe. The Electronic Industrial Solutions Group generated second quarter revenue of $388 million, up 13% or 15% on a core basis, driven by strong revenue growth in automotive and semiconductor. EISG reported gross margin of 62% and operating margin of 30%.

Moving to the balance sheet and cash flow. We ended the second quarter with $1.9 billion in cash and cash equivalents, generating cash flow from operations of $298 million and free cash flow of $245 million or 18% of revenue. Share repurchases this quarter totaled 1.9 million shares and an average price per share of $153.78 for a total consideration of $289 million. Year-to-date, we have purchased approximately 3 million shares for a total consideration of $495 million.

Now turning to our outlook and guidance. The demand environment remain strong for Keysight Solutions. As in recent quarters, our revenues continue to be constrained by tight supply conditions. However, we have demonstrated our ability to effectively navigate through this environment and we remain confident in our ability to execute and deliver on our commitments. We expect third quarter 2022 revenue to be in the range of $1.330 billion to $1.350 billion and Q3 earnings per share to be in the range of $1.74 to $1.80 based on a weighted-diluted share count of approximately 181 million shares.

We now expect full-year revenue growth to approach 8%, which given the recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar now includes a 2 point year-over-year headwind from currency. We’re also raising our earnings growth expectation to 14% to 15%. Despite quarter-to-quarter dynamics being difficult to predict, we have confidence in our raised expectations for the year. In closing, we have a strong track record of execution. Our backlog is at an all-time high and we are well positioned to capitalize on the growth opportunities across our diverse set of end markets.

With that, I will now turn it back to Jason for the Q&A.

Jason Kary — Vice President, Treasurer and Investor Relations

Thank you, Neil. Thea, will you please give the instructions for the Q&A?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Absolutely. [Operator Instructions] The first question is from the line of David Ridley-Lane with Bank of America. Please go ahead, sir.

David Ridley-Lane — Bank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Good afternoon. Wondering if you have seen the uptick in any supplier D commitments over the last few months. Obviously, China shutdowns have impacted a lot of electronic manufacturing, component suppliers and so forth. Wondering if you have seen any of that show up in your operations?

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, hi, David. Thanks for the question. As you saw from our results this quarter, we had a very strong quarter from a revenue perspective. We’re very pleased with the strong execution progress of the team and the 5 point program we’ve been running around, strengthening our relationships with suppliers, finding alternate sourcing, being nimble in this environment has really paid rich dividends along with some of the other initiatives we have. And while the supply environment remains in our view pretty challenging, but we have found a way to find more upside. I would say that the demand from our customers is robust and our customers want the products, as quickly as we can make them and we’re shipping them as quickly as we can. So the supply situation does remain challenging to the point you made. But we’ve been able to find a way around it. Thank you.

David Ridley-Lane — Bank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Thank you. As a quick follow-up to that. Have your own lead times — the time expected to ship the product, have those actually started to decline or are they stabilizing at elevated levels? Thank you.

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, obviously we saw in the situation where — this is Neil by the way, where demand is outpacing supply and so we have not at this point started to pull lead times back down. I would call our lead times are generally stable. I’d say they’re slightly creeping north at this point with demand continuing to outpace supply. But by and large, on average, we see a lot of stability and lead times currently with a goal to work them down over time as the supply chain situation ultimately starts to loosen.

David Ridley-Lane — Bank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

All right. Thank you very much.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from the line of Matt Niknam with Deutsche Bank. You may proceed.

Matthew Niknam — Deutsche Bank — Analyst

Hey, guys. Thank you for taking the questions. So first on the fiscal 3Q revenue guide. Maybe, Neil, if you could talk about what’s driving the expected sequential decline in revenues and then maybe how you’re thinking about core constant currency trends relative to any FX headwinds that are embedded in next quarter’s guide? And then just secondly on Europe and Asia-Pac, I’m just wondering if you’ve seen any change in customer demand or buying pattern given Russia-Ukraine conflict that may be impacting Europe or even in Asia-Pac, given the sort of the reemergence of lockdowns in China in recent months? Thanks.

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I’ll take the first part of that, the question about the guide. As we’ve already stated, our revenue situation is still highly constrained by the supply environment and we had significant outperformance in Q2. As we navigated the tight supply environment and did better than we expected. And so — but what you can read into that, is that a significant portion of our Q2 outperformance was shipment of orders that we had originally, going into the quarter, had scheduled to be in Q3.

And so that’s great news. And we’re pleased with that. But that — on a quarter-over-quarter basis, that can be a significant impact. I would say that the guidance reflects our best estimate as we see it at this point in time. This quarter-to-quarter perturbations can be very difficult to call in this environment. We certainly have the backlog to do better if depending on how incoming supply works and I think the point that we want everybody to focus on is that we are taking up the full-year guidance significantly from 6% to 7% growth to approaching 8% and that 8% growth as you noted has kind of new and significant FX headwinds.

We saw a very significant strengthening of the dollar within our fiscal second quarter. We now have 2 point year-over-year headwind in the second half that we’re baking into account and on the full-year basis, we have a 1.5 point relative of FX, just rough — from November when we put out the 6% to 7% guide to where we are today saying approaching 8%, there’s a new 1.5% FX headwind baked into that and so, we feel very good about the situation as it as it currently sits and are pleased to be raising estimates for the year.

Mark Wallace — Senior Vice President, Global Sales

And Matt, hi, this is Mark. I’ll address your second question on the kind of customer dynamics in Europe and Asia. So, in Asia-Pac, we had double-digit order growth, again, as well as in China, where as you noted, we had the COVID protocol restrictions and lockdowns and it’s really a continuation of our ability to dynamically pivot and work with customers, while — both in a face-to-face, as well as a virtual remote nature. So, it’s a testament to the broad strength and demand of our business across multiple industries and segments. In Asia, in particular, we saw strong continued demand and growth in automotive and semi, 400 gig, 800 gig terabit all of those things. So, very stable there.

In Europe, we did see an impact, obviously from the Russia cancellations. So, we had double-digit order growth in all regions except for Europe, but again the demand continues. We saw a robust demand for our semiconductor solutions, again, automotive, our commercial comms across the European region. So, the broad interactions and dynamics with our customers so far remain pretty much unchanged.

Matthew Niknam — Deutsche Bank — Analyst

That’s great, thank you both.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

You bet.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from the line of Mark Delaney with Goldman Sachs. You may proceed.

Mark Delaney — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

Yes, good afternoon and thank you very much for taking the questions. And Satish, nice to be speaking to you in your new role. I was hoping to start first on the auto business. You mentioned some strong growth there on your prepared remarks today. Maybe you talk about how big that is now relative to the company overall and give us some of the drivers, like autonomy and electric vehicles. How big do you think the auto business for Keysight could become in the coming years.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thank you. I think the auto business is very exciting for us for more than one reason I would say. First, very strong quarter obviously, building on many quarters where we’ve seen very strong uptick in the business, primarily driven by this decade plus long trends of electrification autonomous driving and we’re actually feeding a number of these engineering labs with our tools and capabilities and solutions designed for this end market. We’re engaging with the OEMs globally. We’ve had some successes as I reported in this quarter.

And we’re also working with the entire ecosystem with the Tier 1, Tier 2 suppliers, the semiconductor houses that feed the auto and the test labs that are just growing across the world. So, it’s a growing ecosystem. We’re expanding our portfolio into EV, particularly around battery test, charging test, in-vehicle network testing as an example and in AVs, we’re very excited by the new solution that we have offered for autonomous drive emulation, which is enabling e-loop [Phonetic] real time synchronized sensor evaluations and this is a build on our 5G platform and capability. So we’re very pleased with the progress we’re making and we know that we have a long runway ahead with automotive.

Mark Delaney — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

That’s very helpful. Thanks. And my follow-up question was on the EPS guidance. If I look at the midpoint of this 3Q guidance and also the mid-point of the full-year EPS guidance, it would imply that fourth quarter EPS, the midpoint would be something like a $1.89 and that would imply that the growth rate would be slowing from mid teens year-on-year through the first three quarters on average to more like mid-single digits in the fourth quarter. So, something you could better contextualize the implied fourth quarter EPS guidance for us and is there anything in terms of supply chain cost or mix that’s perhaps impacting the rate of EPS growth in the fourth quarter. Thanks.

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So I think you need to take a close look at our Q4 performance in FY ’21, which was a bit of an outlier at 31% operating margin, a full almost 4 points higher than the, than the prior — the sequential quarters leading up to that and so I think as you — the other — one of big drivers within the fourth quarter of last year, if you look at it, we had a sequential decrease in R&D investment that was quite substantial going from Q3 to Q4 and that is atypical.

And so we would expect increasing investments on a sequential basis as we move from Q2 to Q3 and then again as we move from Q3 to Q4 as we invest in the future and the future growth of our business. And so again, we remain optimistic about our business and some of these quarter-to-quarter perturbations can be difficult to call. But we are raising our both revenue and EPS guidance for the year quite substantially and are focused on executing.

Mark Delaney — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from the line of Samik Chatterjee of J.P. Morgan. You may proceed.

Samik Chatterjee — J.P. Morgan — Analyst

Satish, congratulations on your first earnings call in the CEO role. I guess, in your prepared remarks, you did mention the higher defense budgets and if I could start with that. I mean, when should we be realistically expecting the higher defense spending budgets to start impacting sort of your order trends? What is the typical sort of time line that you see — have seen in the past in terms of when you start to see the flow-through of that into your order trends? And I have a quick follow-up.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Samik. Of course, aerospace and defense business has been historically, as we have talked about, a GDP-plus business for us. It’s very broad with 50% of the business tied to the U.S. or North America. And we’re excited by the number of new areas that we’re applying our technology to, space and satellite being one of them. And 5G and 6G adoption into this sector is a new opportunity for us. So, independent of the budgets, we’re pleased with the traction we’re making in applying our technology to offer new solutions.

The budget is obviously a huge stability. I think the fact that you have bipartisan support for the defense budget, growth in RDT&E line item for this year and then subsequent growth also projected for 2023, we view as a favorable sign. I think these geopolitical tensions tend to provide more stability, not only in the U.S., but we’re also expecting a similar uptick in Europe, and therefore, technology spend. But as we know, this business is an average over the long term and we have been doing better than GDP, and our intent is to continue to do that and offer new solutions.

With regard to the quote activity, I’ll let Mark make a few comments.

Mark Wallace — Senior Vice President, Global Sales

Yes. Samik, this is Mark. I think just to add to Satish, the budget in the U.S. was approved, it was increased. And as we’ve been watching our customers, both the direct government and the prime contractors, we expect some of that funding to start flowing to new program starts here in our second half. So, we look forward to that. And as you probably know, as many of the programs nowadays are multiyear, this will flow into the fiscal year ’23 and beyond.

And you’ve been following what’s going on in Western Europe as well. We’ve increased spend from the NATO nations. We’ll see how that flows through. We expect that to be favorable as well. And then, I think the last thing I’ll just mention is there are other aspects of this industry segment that are representing new growth opportunities for us around space. Commercial space in particular is a very hot area for us we continue to focus on. And then, the continuing modernization that we’ve been talking about for many quarters or years is a long-term trend that we’re very excited about. We see a strong funnel of opportunities going into the future.

Samik Chatterjee — J.P. Morgan — Analyst

And for my follow-up, I guess this is more for Neil. But Neil, I mean, your 8% revenue growth guide for the year implies about a $150 million sort of half-on-half revenue performance, which is very similar to what we saw last year. I’m just wondering what you’re capturing there in terms of improvements in the sort of supply environment in general versus your own capacity increases. And where could there be sort of more modest or sort of upside potential if supply of components are better? Just trying to understand sort of what’s embedded because it seems very typical of — compared to last year that your guidance is?

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So, in prior quarters, we’ve talked about an expectation of thinking that we would see some material improvement in the supply chain situation in the second half of this year. To this point we have not seen that and in fact I think if you look broader across the tech industry, there’s an argument that things got incrementally worse in Q2 are more challenging, driven by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as the shut — the COVID shutdowns in China even though those COVID shutdown don’t impact us directly.

I think for us, we look at the items that we can control our own capacity both for finished goods, as well as for the sub-components that come out of our fab and technology centers that feed our instrumentation. We look at our relationships with our suppliers. Some of the engineering efforts that we have to quantify or to qualify new parts or secondary sources to open up new sources of supply, those things are paying dividends for us and it contributed to the revenue performance that we’ve been able to able to deliver.

And so — but as we look forward and you ask specifically about the guide for the second half. We are still very much supply chain constrained. And so what that really bakes in is kind of our direct line of sight to delivery of the piece parts that we need to get products out the door and into the hands of our customers, it’s a situation that’s being a very actively managed. But I think we’re doing a good job of getting product into the hands of our customers on a timeline that is acceptable to them.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Samik, this is Satish. Just to add on to what Neil mentioned, we have a very solid backlog position, over $2.4 billion. The demand continues to outpace supply. We know the challenges out there, but we feel very confident, and we’re very prudent in our guide to ensure that we execute flawlessly. And we are continuing to be nimble and agile. And as Neil mentioned and I mentioned earlier, to execute to our commitments, we take it very seriously.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from Meta Marshall with Morgan Stanley. You may proceed.

Meta Marshall — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Perfect. Thanks. A couple of questions for me. One, opex — despite the revenue, the opex kind of came in about as expected. And so, I just wanted to see how you guys are managing, either T&E coming back or just inflationary pressures on opex? And where you’re kind of finding some of those efficiencies. And then, as a follow-up, you guys mentioned the new win in silicon photonics test. Obviously, it seems like a good long-term opportunity. Just time to ramp and whether you’ve already seen interest from other customers as you’ve kind of made progress in that? Thanks.

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I’ll take the first part of that, and then will let Satish or Mark address the silicon photonics part of the question. So, yes, with regard to the opex spending and the return of T&E and facilities costs, we didn’t — honest answer is, we did not see a lot of that in Q2, right? The omicron spike, if you will, was kind of right in the middle of our second quarter, and we did not see any meaningful kind of return to — of travel, entertainment and return to office. We have recently, more at the beginning of Q3, started to bring our employees back to our physical sites in [Technical Issues]. We are starting to see travel and entertainment not return to normal, but starting to re-ramp here, more of a — as more of a third quarter event.

As regard to inflation, we’re seeing cost of inflation in a number of different places across the P&L. And I think our action — our challenges with managing that is to capitalize on the differentiation that exists in our portfolio and look to monetize that where we can and continue to bring differentiated high software content solutions to the marketplace, so that we can continue to manage that. I think if you look at the margin performance of the business, we’re doing a good job to date managing those inflationary increases across the P&L.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Meta, I think if you look at the entire customer base of Keysight, the amount of inputs that we’re getting for strong collaborations is at a record high. Customers’ deeper engagement with us, and they are very often are engaging us much earlier in their design cycle. So, we are very well positioned, given the strength of our relationships to be able to act on some of their inputs, where it matches our strategy and continue to progress it.

If I look at the semiconductor activity all the way from new silicon wafer starts to the cloud, there is a tremendous amount of designs that are occurring both from traditional players moving up the stack and from system players that want to verticalize and own the IP and we are well positioned to be working with all these customers across the wireless, wireline and even the fab to progress some of their strategies and enable them to be successful.

And we’re very pleased. I mean, this silicon photonic solution is very unique, it’s an industry first and we’re very pleased with the design win we’re getting because with each of these wins, it’s a deeper collaboration to understand where the future is going and define it. Silicon photonics is one of the technologies that is seen as a possible solution to the high-throughput demands of a data center and cloud environment. So, it’s another area where Keysight is opening up a new franchise, which will continue to position us for future growth.

Meta Marshall — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Perfect. Congrats, guys. Thanks.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from the line of Chris Snyder with UBS. You may proceed.

Chris Snyder — UBS — Analyst

Thank you. I wanted to ask about the backlog. I think the prepared remarks disclosed it to be $2.4 billion, which is roughly 45% of the current year revenue guide, and obviously, well above where it’s been historically. So, based on the guidance and the commentary around supply chain, it certainly does not sound like this backlog will be released to any capacity this year. So, I guess, my question is, how should we think about the cadence of this backlog release? Any color on the good duration or impact? Like, will we see it come through or will it just be kind of tapered in over many, many quarters? Any color there is helpful.

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. Well, first, you’re absolutely right. We do not expect that we’re going to reduce backlog at all this year. In fact, we would estimate in the current supply environment, which we expect to be challenging through the remainder of our fiscal year that we’re going to continue to add to backlog. I think, how the backlog eventually winds its way from where — from its current elevated levels to a more normalized level is really a function of how the broader supply chain situation resolves itself, right?

And it’s only educated guesses at this point because the honest answer is we don’t know what that’s going to look like. But I’m not expecting that there’s going to be a step-function improvement across the supply chain that allows us to flush backlog over a one- or two-quarter period. I think it’s going to be much more a function of us slowly bringing our quoted lead times on products down and slowly working that — the backlog down to more normalized levels.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

And we also view this as a favorable long-term trend for our business to enter a given quarter and having higher confidence in — with the backlog. And as we think about the growing solutions that we’re engaging with customers — and these are deeper, longer-term relationships and they tend to give us very good visibility into our business. And we’re pretty bullish by the growth prospects across the wireless, the wireline ecosystem, our industrial business. We have multiple vectors of growth around these big mega trends that is driving some of this backlog as well.

Chris Snyder — UBS — Analyst

I appreciate that. So, then, for my next one, maybe I’ll turn back and follow-up on earlier commentary around the auto business. I understand from a high level, the Company is levered into really all the great secular trends in auto, whether it’s battery R&D, charging infrastructure and autonomous. But I guess my question is, what’s the biggest driver of this business? And is there anything we can track or monitor to just benchmark where growth could be here, whether that’s like industry battery R&D spend, EV model proliferation? Just any help on how to think about — like just kind of conceptualize the growth potential?

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I think at the simplistic level, we’re tethered to the R&D spend that’s occurring. And if you look at it, the entire ecosystem is spending to continually innovate on range, autonomous capabilities. And it’s a long-term driver. And if you look at the organic R&D investments being made by automakers, it’s only poised to increase with time. So, I think that would be the closest external dynamic I would point to.

I would also say, if you look back even a few years ago, the number of in-house labs to [Technical Issues] and own generation of R&D from automakers was fairly sketchy, but we’re starting to see more investment there across the world as more and more cars have more of these EV features driven by the bigger ESG goals and environment concerns around the world.

Mark Wallace — Senior Vice President, Global Sales

Hey Chris, this is Mark. I’ll just add one thing to what Satish just said, and that’s — it makes it harder to track for you and for everyone. But there’s so many different elements of what’s happening with this transformation within the whole mobility space, whether it’s the electrification of the drivetrain; the connectivity to the external network or communications within the vehicle, which we just announced some solutions to; to the charging infrastructure, which is being funded heavily by multiple nations as part of this transformation; to the millimeter wave and high-frequency technology around the sensors, it’s just remarkable, the computational capabilities. And that’s why this is such an important space to us is it intersects with all these areas of strength. And we continue to innovate with the industry leaders around all of the global ecosystems, as we said earlier. So, it’s a long, long runway with all kinds of different elements of innovation.

Chris Snyder — UBS — Analyst

I appreciate all that color. Really helpful. Thank you, guys.

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from the line of Mehdi Hosseini with SIG. You may proceed.

Mehdi Hosseini — Susquehanna — Analyst

Thank you. I have two follow-ups. I apologize if some of the questions have already been raised since I joined the call late. One on the pricing dynamic and I’m not asking for any quantitative color, but perhaps maybe you can explain to me on a qualitative basis. You are relatively more vertically integrated and you have relatively more relationship with a strategic mission-critical customers. Are these two — perhaps assuming lower input costs and higher relevancy to these mission-critical application, have they enabled you to extract more economics from your customers? And I have a follow-up.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Mehdi, thank you for that question. Absolutely. I mean, you look at our focus around offering total solutions to customers. This has been our strategy since then and that is really separating ourselves. Our strategy is very clear. We look at some of the most tougher challenges in the industry that we serve and we offer solutions. And by definition, it has higher software content. And over time, we’ve layered in services, which allows us to work with customers through their life cycle needs. All of that is favorable to our ability to continue to grow margins in the business and help offset some of the inflationary pricing pressures that we face.

Mehdi Hosseini — Susquehanna — Analyst

Okay. So, perhaps that’s already reflected in your free cash flow margin that has been double digit. And I’m asking or raising this topic since the stock has been under pressure, and you’ve also been very active in buyback. Is there anything else with capital return that you’re thinking of contemplating that would better reflect a company’s ability to extract more economics and have a rather stable free cash flow? Like, would you favor paying out more cash dividend rather than a buyback? And then, as a quick follow-up, has FX been dialed into your guide?

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Mehdi. I think as you heard, multiple end-market exposures we have. And as you stated, towards many critical — mission-critical applications, we’re really bullish on the long-term opportunity at Keysight to create value. And so, congruent with that, we continue to be committed to this disciplined, balanced approach for capital allocation. First priority is obviously to invest for organic growth and differentiation, and we’re seeing a lot of opportunities as we engage with our customers.

Second, we are disciplined with M&A and — but we’re continuing to look for opportunities. We have a strong funnel, but we remain patient to make sure that it fits our hurdle as we have done in the past. And of course, it has to make sense for our strategy. And lastly, where we see opportunities, like the current situation, we believe that we will be more aggressive and take advantage of the return of capital through share buybacks as we have done this quarter. And we’ll continue to remain on it. We have $600 million of previously authorized share buyback that we can still deploy, and we’ll continue to deploy it as we see opportunities at these levels.

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

And then the second part of your question was have we accounted for FX in the guide. To the extent that FX has moved to date, yes, that’s all baked into our guide. I had mentioned that it’s about a 2 percentage-point headwind on a year-over-year basis in the second half. And relative to when we put out our original full year guide of 6% to 7% growth, there’s an additional 1.5 points of unfavorable currency. So, we’re raising from 6% to 7% although [Technical Issues] 8%, but there’s an additional unfavorable 1.5 points of currency baked into that, again, based on rates as of today.

Mehdi Hosseini — Susquehanna — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from the line of Jim Suva with Citigroup. You may proceed.

Jim Suva — Citi — Analyst

I just have one question and that is, could you let us know little bit about the software and services, specifically with some of these growing at newer end markets like automotive and power? Is the attach rate and opportunity similar with the past? Less or more than what the past is for these newer end markets, again, services and software? Thank you.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Jim. As we stated, as we are starting to go beyond the core products and that engineering teams use, which is lab instruments into more solutions, they have a higher weighted average of software and then greater ability to monetize through services. So, we’re still very early innings in deploying those things. The latest ADE offering that we have, we’re building it on top of our 5G platform, which is rich with software. But also as we expand into the application layer, as we bring more real-world challenges in the auto industry into the lab, we’ll continue to see the opportunity be bigger overtime, and we’re investing to realize that.

Jim Suva — Citi — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from the line of Rob Mason with Baird. You may proceed.

Rob Mason — Robert W. Baird — Analyst

Yes. Good evening. And Satish, I’ll extend my congratulations to your new role as well. My question was around the general electronics business. You did mention all-time record revenue there. And I was curious how the order rate performed in that piece of the business as well. I’m not sure I caught that. And then, just maybe related as well, historically, kind of thought of the general electronics piece of the business is more PMI-sensitive. But, as you were describing that business, there seems like there’s a lot of newer applications there. And I’m just curious if that’s broadened out, how you’re viewing that historical perspective, at least from perhaps a macroeconomic view to that part of the business.

Satish Dhanasekaran — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. It’s a great question. I’ll have Mark answer the first part of it as to how we’re doing with orders. But I’ll say you’re right. I mean, as we have — when we started the company and when we thought about general electronics business had a bigger correlation to manufacturing customer base. And over time, we’ve been adding more R&D applications and focus to the team as it has been able to bring in some newer end-market applications, such as digital health and IoT. And it continues to move up the value chain with our customers. So, over time, we would expect it to continue to be more in that direction.

Another area of focus for that group is also around advanced research. As I noted, we had some announcements with the Singapore — with a university in Singapore around quantum. We also had a major win in terahertz research associated with that business. So, we continue to ensure that we’re seeking more value-added, sustainable, durable opportunities in that business, but that business historically has had a little bit more manufacturing exposure than the rest. So, I’ll just hand over to Mark to speak about…

Mark Wallace — Senior Vice President, Global Sales

Sure. Thanks, Satish. Yes. Rob, we saw some moderating order growth during the quarter, mainly because of some softness in education. With some of the delays to the government spending and some of the other priorities that have come upon the funding, we did see some softness there. But we saw a lot of new customers in growth from R&D solutions for digital healthcare. We’ve added nearly 500 new customers again in the quarter, which helps to diversify our base and represents these broad base of industries across multiple segments and so forth.

We saw a strong demand continue across Asia with several new wins around the R&D solutions. And as Satish just mentioned, there have been some real bright spots around advanced research with our university. So, GDP markets are affected more or less with some of the activities in the geopolitical situation, which I think translates to some of the moderating growth we saw. But all in all, we see a continued demand for some of our advanced R&D solutions.

Rob Mason — Robert W. Baird — Analyst

Sure. That’s great color. Just as a quick follow-up, maybe for Neil. The — is there anything, Neil, that you would call out that we should be monitoring around our margin assumptions as you convert some of the backlog just, again, taking your commentary around rising inflation, just how your — how we should look at the price-cost dynamic within your backlog?

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I mean, the backlog — the biggest issue there is the backlog does create a little bit of a delay between the time at which we might impact a price increase and the time at which that price increase would be recognized in revenue, whereas it seems like on the input cost side, the cost increases are much more real time, particularly if you want to secure delivery of product. And so, that mismatch is something we’re very actively managing, but it can cause some quarter-to-quarter perturbations if the timing gets off. But I think, generally speaking, we’re doing a good job of managing in this inflationary environment and protecting margins.

Rob Mason — Robert W. Baird — Analyst

Excellent. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. The next question is from the line of Adam Thalhimer with Thompson Davis. You may proceed.

Adam Thalhimer — Thompson Davis — Analyst

Good afternoon. Great quarter, guys. Quick one on M&A, we’ve seen — on M&A, have you seen any softening in seller expectations?

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Not a lot yet. Obviously, we’ve seen the market pullbacks, but seller expectations still seem to be kind of linked to prior valuations. So, we’re watching that closely and very actively managing our funnel, staying disciplined with regard to our return hurdles and hoping that we get the opportunity to act on some of these targets. But right now, there does seem to be a little bit of a mismatch there.

Adam Thalhimer — Thompson Davis — Analyst

Got it. And then, sorry, if you’ve fleshed this out, but what was the Russia impact, Neil?

Neil Dougherty — Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

We — it’s about 2 points. So, core order growth within the quarter was 11%, adjusted for Russia, it was 13%. We canceled low $20 million kind of backlog for Russia. It has historically been a 1% business for us.

Adam Thalhimer — Thompson Davis — Analyst

Got it. Thanks, guys.

Operator

There are no additional questions at this time. I will now pass it back to the management team for any closing remarks.

Jason Kary — Vice President, Treasurer and Investor Relations

Well, thank you, Tia, and thank you all for joining us today. We look forward to speaking with many of you at the upcoming conferences, and wish you a great day.

Operator

That concludes today’s conference call. Thank you. You may now disconnect your lines.

Most Popular

Here’s a look at Dollar Tree’s (DLTR) expectations for the remainder of the year

Shares of Dollar Tree Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) were down over 1% on Wednesday, a day after the company reported earnings results for the third quarter of 2022. Revenue and earnings

Target Corporation (TGT): A look at how the retail giant is shaping up against an inflationary backdrop

Shares of Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) were up over 1% on Wednesday. The stock has dropped 30% year-to-date and 35% over the past 12 months. Last week the company reported

Is Zoom Video Communications (ZM) a good investment after Q3 earnings?

Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ: ZM) expanded its customer base at an accelerated pace during the COVID crisis and soon became the preferred video conferencing platform for businesses and millions of

Add Comment
Loading...
Cancel
Viewing Highlight
Loading...
Highlight
Close
Top