FY6/2023 Full Year Financial Results: Summary of Q&A(1)
August 16, 2023 Macromill, Inc.
- As in the previous fiscal year, Profit is forecast to rise in the second half. Is there any difference in the situation from last year? Do you plan to take any different initiatives?
- Until the first half of the previous fiscal year, we were lacking operational capacity and refrained from active sales activities targeting potential clients. However, we overcame the operational capacity issue in the second half of the previous fiscal year. We are able to receive orders without any particular restraints this fiscal year.
- We resumed and intensified active sales activities targeting potential clients in the second half of the previous fiscal year. The number of client contact points started to increase in Q4 for the first time in a few years. We see signs of positive change.
- Also, we will take steps to increase average sales price per client through enhancing service quality and increase added value.
- On the other hand, in Q4 of the previous fiscal year, we hired new graduates and reinforced personnel in the fields of IT and information security, and Total Employee Expenses have increased YoY. Reflecting this, as in the previous fiscal year, we forecast greater profit in the second half. That is, profit will fall in the first half and rise in the second half.
- But due to the difference in our operational capacity as I explained at the beginning, profit fell in Q1 and Q2 in the previous fiscal year, but profit is expected to fall only in Q1 and rise from Q2 this fiscal year. This is a significant difference between the previous fiscal year and this fiscal year.
- I understand that you are improving sales operations to expand Revenue. What progress have you made in this?
- You said that you resumed active sales activities but were not able to achieve an adequate effect in Q3 of the previous fiscal year partly due to a decline in business sentiment. What is the current situation? What is your outlook?
- Specific measures to improve sales operations include the review and modification of tools and the management of sales staff. These measures have resulted in the steady expansion of points of contact with client companies.
- Consequently, in Q4 there was a YoY increase in the number of client companies and contact points for the first time in a few years as I said earlier. We will continue to focus on outbound sales.
- In addition to increase the number of top management meeting with our clients, we are increasing the number of face-to-face appointments in place of online meetings. In this way, we are enhancing proposal quality.
- Moreover, the announced acquisition of Monitas (☞ Japanese Only)enables the company to access to more consumer panel than anyone else in the industry in Japan, which will be one of the company's strengths.
- We believe that the access to the largest consumer panel will appeal to the client companies that we have had to decline orders from due to the operational capacity issue and that use marketing research relatively less frequently. We anticipate that the appeal of the size of consumer panel will help sell products to these client companies.
1 This material is not a transcript of questions and answers at the results briefing but a concise summary of them including additions and revisions made at our own discretion to facilitate reader understanding.
- In the new Mid-term Business Plan, the plan is to increase the Operating Profit Margin every year, but it is still lower than the pre-Covid 19 level.
- Businesses other than the Focus business (Online Research and Digital Research) have grown, and has the cost structure changed? As a result, will the Operating Profit Margin of the entire company not return to the pre-Covid 19 level?
- Or do you think that you are in a transition period and the Profit Margin will return to the pre-Covid 19 level?
- Overall, the Operating Profit Margin will continue to improve. We aim to raise it to the higher level.
- Looking at each business, at this moment, it is true that the Operating Profit Margin is low in the Future business, including New Businesses, compared with the Focus business (Online Research and Digital Research).
- This is because the Future business is in an investment phase, where we are aiming to expand the scale of the business. We will take steps to expand Revenue in the business and, of course, its contribution to Profits.
- When looked at from a different viewpoint, the New Businesses will create additional demand for Online and Digital Research as they expand. Considering this, we should not focus solely on the Operating Profit Margin in the New Businesses, and we will actively invest in the New Businesses to expand their scale.
- Throughout the Group, we need to continue steadily handling the transformation of the business portfolio that you pointed out and the work-style reformation that started in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019 and continue to invest in human resources for the transformation of the business model. I expect that it will take some time before the profit margin rises to the pre- Covid 19 level.
- In the period of the Mid-term Business Plan, we will control Panel Expenses, Outsourcing Expenses and Total Employee Expenses as we have explained repeatedly, improve operations significantly through the renovation of core research systems, and promote the automation of operations. We will make sure that the Operating Profit Margin exceeds the previous fiscal year's level, which is a minimum, and increase it steadily.
- Did you consider the sale of MetrixLab to Toluna when you were formulating the previous Mid-term Business Plan (from the begging of fiscal year ended June 30, 2022), or did you start to consider the sale after you formulated the previous Mid-term Business Plan?
- We discussed the need to transform the business model in response to the significant change in the industry - the change from the Marketing Research Industry to the Insight Industry - not just in Japan and Asia but also at MetrixLab, which mainly operated in the US and European markets, when we were formulating the previous Mid-term Business Plan.
- Specifically, the scale of the change in the US and European markets is larger and the speed of the change in the markets is faster than in Japan and Asia, and we thought that the transformation of the business model in response to the changes in the US and European markets would require more time, funds and energy.
- However, since management resources are finite, Macromill Group concluded that it will first start the transformation of its business model in Japan and Asia, the businesses which account for most of its Revenue and Profit.
- We were not able to describe how we would carry out the transformation of the business model in the Overseas (ex-Korea) Business (MetrixLab Group) in the previous Mid-term Business Plan. We had to formulate a policy for MetrixLab Group to carry out the transformation itself.
- Therefore, we thought that we should jointly address the global changes in the industry with an external partner instead of continuing to wholly own MetrixLab. We started to look for a partner and decided to sell MetrixLab under that context and/or situation.
- I understand that in the previous Mid-term Business Plan, you planned to post an Operating Profit of about 8.5 billion yen in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024.
- However, in the forecast for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024 that you have just announced, Operating Profit is forecast to be 5.6 billion yen.
- Is the difference due to the sale of MetrixLab? Or is the Japan and Korea Business slower than expected? What are the reasons for the operating profit forecast being lower than the previous target in the Mid-term Business Plan?
- The targets in the previous Mid-term Business Plan included targets for MetrixLab. Thus, the difference is partly due to the sale of MetrixLab. However, the effect of the sale is relatively limited.
- Most of the difference that you have pointed out is attributable to the performance of the Japan and Korea Business.
- The Revenue target in the Japan and Korea Business Segment excluding MetrixLab in the previous Mid-term Business Plan is about the same as results in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2023.
- However, looking at Revenue in the Japan Business, the growth of Revenue in Online Research and Digital Research, which contribute significantly to Profit, was slow, and the weak Revenue was offset by Revenue in New Businesses, where the Profit Margin is relatively low.
- Although Revenue was almost at the same level, the Revenue mix worsened. As a result, Operating Profit was significantly lower than the target in the previous Mid-term Business Plan.
- Considering this situation, we have formulated a new Mid-term Business Plan. In this plan, we will focus on increasing Revenue from Online and Digital Research, where the profit margin is high, and strive to improve consolidated Operating Profit and Operating Profit margin.
- The results presentation says that existing research was replaced by self-service research in Q3 of the previous fiscal year. I do not think that this was explained in the previous earnings announcement on Q3.
- Did you identify this replacement in Q4? Is there some reason why you are announcing the replacement now instead of at the last results presentation?
- If you have any concerns about the risks of the replacement, could you please give us a more detailed explanation?
- In Q4, the JMRA, industry association in Japan issued new report, and we identified new trends in the industry that require our attention. We also interviewed client companies to verify the trends. Based on what we learned, we have concluded that the replacement of existing research by self-service research was part of the reason for weak client demand in March.
- We did aware of the increase of our client companies' need for DIY self-research a while ago. One of the purposes of the acquisition of Monitas, which we have announced, is strengthening the foundation of our business in this area.
- The goal of self-service research is to easily and quickly identify consumer trends. In-depth research is required to solve the issues identified in self-service research.
- Thus, we think that the self-service research and Online Research that we provide are complementary.
- We believe that we can capture the Research demand from client companies in more different ways following the acquisition of Monitas.
- What effect do you expect the acquisition of Monitas to have on the targets in the new Mid-term Business Plan that you have announced?
- The Group's guidance figures for this fiscal year reflect only the minimal contribution on Monitas' Revenue and Profit.
- We are closely examining the synergy that both companies aim to generate, the positive effect on the Revenue and Profit of Macromill's existing businesses and others in terms of their scale and timing. The expected effects are not reflected in the forecast for this fiscal year or the Mid- term Business Plan.
- As I have already explained, following the acquisition we plan to draw attention to the access to more consumer panel than anyone else in Japan as one of our strengths.
- The main business of Monitas is the provision of sample panel. We estimate that in Japan this is a 5.0 to 6.0 billion yen market size.
- It is estimated that Monitas' market share is almost 20%. We will manage the company to achieve approximately 10% growth in Revenue every year.
Macromill Inc. published this content on 05 September 2023 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by, unedited and unaltered, on 05 September 2023 06:15:02 UTC.