AUTOSTORE: ROCKET RESULTS!
AutoStore (website) announced their 4th quarter results on Feb 17th, 2021 and what a rocket it was with c.80% year on year revenue increase to $327.6m in FY21.
Whilst this was super impressive, it should be contextualised with a close to flat development between 2019 and 2020, much due to pandemic disruption.
Karl Lier (LinkedIn), CEO & President at AutoStore
Markets appeared to like what AutoStore reported and the share (Euronext link) quickly gained a cautious 2.25% on the day having touched a high of NOK31.
Order bookings in the quarter was $198.4m, up 125.9% on 4Q20 and the company increased its forecast for FY22 to $550-600m based on the current order backlog combined with a price increase of 7.5% announced in 2H21 that will mainly affect revenue towards the end of 2022.
Some of the increased order bookings in the quarter may have been due to the price increase and a few customers may have attempted to escape this by placing orders before the end of 2021.
FAST CUBE STORAGE...
One of the more curious things of the presentation was that Karl Lier, the CEO & President, immediately referred to AutoStore as a pioneer of "Fast Cubic Storage" in the first few sentences of the presentation
- Some observers refer to the problem of the "bottom bin" in AutoStore's solution and the use of "FAST" in the sentence appeared to be an acknowledgement that AutoStore are trying to combat this apparent issue
Red Line, R+ robot
AutoStore released the R+ robot in 2021 to fit a larger tote box that was previously only available with Black Line. This appeared to be a response to a demand for larger totes from customers... and this was pretty much the only mention of Black Line in the presentation.
Mats Hovland Vikse, CRO. Screenshot from the AutoStore presentation.
The Future is apparently MFCs & Asia
With regards to future growth opportunities, AutoStore appeared to have their roadmap focused on MFCs (Micro Fulfilment Centres) and the Asian market.
It should be note that Asia actually contracted in revenue for AutoStore in 2021, even though they have appointed several additional resellers in the region, such as Softbank Logistics and Samsung.
Bent Skisaker, CFO, Screenshot from AutoStore webinar
Revenue by region
EMEA remains key to AutoStore's growth story whilst Asia declined in the year.
Screenshot from AutoStore webinar
Legal Issues: Litigation update
AutoStore offered an update on their litigation with Ocado and appeared relatively positive (as one would have expected).
Screenshot from AutoStore webinar
Rocketing revenue is symptomatic of the whole sector and AutoStore reached a scale where they are an easy decision to make.
For example, STIQ recently spoke to a system designer at a 3PL that had decided to buy 10's of solutions from AutoStore. When you get this type of orders, perhaps your future looks quite good.
However, STIQ's view of AutoStore remains that they have a job on their hands to innovate new solutions and compete in the higher throughput segment with shuttle solutions. Red Line is a highly cost effective solution that has a position in the market.
AutoStore may also have opened up the gates for copies from the Far East by having their strongest patents invalidated in the US as part of the Ocado litigation. However, success in Asia has somewhat evaded AutoStore and there may be a reason for this. The drive to hire more business developers in the region may improve this.
AutoStore 3m share price, Euronext Screenshot 23 Feb 2022, (link)
In the end, the share price moved slightly upwards, but remained well below the listing price. For the latest on AutoStore's share price click here (Euronext)
AutoStore is covered in the following #free STIQ reports: