VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TELUS International (NYSE and TSX: TIXT), a leading digital customer experience innovator that designs, builds, and delivers next-generation solutions, including AI and content moderation, for global and disruptive brands, today released its results for the fourth quarter and full-year ended December 31, 2023. TELUS Corporation (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is the controlling shareholder of TELUS International. All figures in this news release, and elsewhere in TELUS International disclosures, are in U.S. dollars, unless specified otherwise, and relate only to TELUS International results and measures.
“At the close of 2023, our management team at TELUS International reflected on a challenging year across our industry and the impact it had on our long-term track record of consistently delivering on expectations. Whilst we took meaningful action to improve performance and our results in the second half of the year started to show signs of stabilization, with significantly improved profitability, our industry is not yet back to a normal operating rhythm, as macroeconomic uncertainty remains and our clients proceed cautiously,” said Jeff Puritt, President and CEO of TELUS International. “In addition to streamlining our operations to match near-term client demand and improving efficiencies at all levels of our company, we’ve also made further progress with the integration of WillowTree and our Digital Solutions services to ensure TELUS International is well positioned to combine our scaled design and build capabilities along with our technology-led operations and managed services across all of our service lines, going to market as an AI-fueled customer experience partner of choice.”
Jeff continued, “In the fourth quarter, our global sales team won new business with a North American customer engagement software and analytics company, Western Canada’s premier heavy-duty truck and bus dealership, and a German research institution focused on innovative visual systems, to name a few. We continued to broaden relationships with our existing clients, such as Google, driven by AI-related momentum, and a Canadian multinational banking and financial services corporation. Our parent company and anchor client TELUS Corporation remains a unique long-term tailwind for our business, as demonstrated in 2023 through expanded project mandates, including with TELUS’ Health business unit, which continued to ramp in the fourth quarter.”
Jeff added, “Illuminating our commitment to create value through technology to delight customers with exceptional experiences, in the fourth quarter, TELUS International was recognized as a Leader in the IDC MarketScape, Worldwide Data Labeling Software 2023 Vendor Assessment, on the merits of our data labeling software technologies and capabilities. Additionally, in their recent industry report, the IDC featured TELUS International’s Fuel iX solution, and specifically our GenAI Jumpstart eight-week accelerator program, among the examples of successful implementation of generative AI in customer care business process services. In another accolade, Five9, the partner we chose for our intelligent, cloud-native Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) application platform, recognized TELUS International as the Canadian Partner of the Year and the Global Partner of the Year in 2023, as we work together to reimagine customer experience in the cloud, with agile and scalable solutions like Fuel iX that harness the power of generative AI to deliver end-to-end CX and innovation, while driving better performance and cost efficiencies for our clients.”
Vanessa Kanu, CFO said, “In the fourth quarter of 2023, TELUS International delivered solid revenue growth amidst a challenging operating environment, aided by the continued momentum we are seeing in AI Data Solutions as well as expanded mandates with TELUS Corporation. Importantly, we also exited 2023 with a meaningful improvement in our profitability, driven by our cost efficiency efforts that allowed us to deliver on our commitment to bring margins back to the prior levels we have grown accustomed to.”
Vanessa continued: “In setting our outlook for 2024, we remain conscious of the prolonged decision-making cycles we are seeing from both existing and new clients. Our current view of client demand assumes a continuation of the industry-wide challenging business climate for roughly the first half of the year, while we are hopeful to start seeing broader demand recovery in the latter half of 2024.”
Vanessa concluded, “TELUS International’s balance sheet remains solid, with the business demonstrating its ongoing ability to generate meaningful cash flow that we have used to lower our debt levels, resulting in a further improved leverage position. Our capital allocation priorities remain focused on enabling long-term growth by also reinvesting into our business, through technology and innovation, which we believe will support our long-term success. Meaningful growth opportunities for our business over the long term continue to support our conviction in the strong investment thesis around TELUS International, driven by digital transformation, differentiated premium CX offerings, digital trust & safety, all underpinned by agile and scalable AI capabilities.”
Provided below are financial and operating highlights that include certain non-GAAP financial measures and ratios. Note that beginning in the first quarter of 2024 and in connection with its full-year outlook for 2024 presented further below under “Outlook”, the company will no longer exclude share-based compensation expense and changes in business combination-related provisions, and the tax effects of these items, as applicable, in our presentation of Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Basic and Diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA. See the “Non-GAAP” section of this news release for more information regarding this change, including a presentation of each of these non-GAAP financial measures and ratios for full-year 2023 under the modified presentation.
Q4 2023 vs. Q4 2022 summary
- Revenue of $692 million, up $62 million, an increase of 10% year-over-year on a reported basis and 9% on a constant currency basis1, of which $41 million was from WillowTree. Excluding WillowTree, our revenue was $651 million, an increase of $21 million, or 3%, reflecting growth in services provided to existing large clients, including TELUS Corporation and Google, offsetting lower revenues from one of our largest clients, a leading social media company. Revenue growth included a favourable foreign currency impact of approximately 1%, associated with the weakening U.S. dollar exchange rate against the euro.
- Net income of $38 million and diluted EPS of $0.10, compared with $34 million and $0.13, respectively, in the same quarter of the prior year, with revenue growth outpacing the increase in operating expenses, while higher interest expense and income taxes were offset by impacts from changes in business combination-related provisions related to the revaluation of the provisions for written put options arising from our acquisition of WillowTree. Net income margin, calculated by dividing net income by revenue for the period, was 5.5%, up from 5.4% for the same quarter in the prior year. The decrease in diluted EPS was due to a higher count of weighted average diluted shares outstanding, which incorporated a potential dilutive effect of our provisions for written put options referenced above. Net income and diluted EPS include the impact of changes in business combination-related provisions, share-based compensation, acquisition and integration charges and amortization of purchased intangible assets, among other items. Adjusted Net Income1, which excludes the impact of such items, was $72 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared with $95 million in the same quarter of the prior year, with higher operating expenses, interest expense and tax expense outpacing revenue growth.
- Adjusted EBITDA1 was $164 million, an increase of 4% from $157 million in the same quarter of the prior year, driven by the favourable impact of cost efficiency efforts from earlier in the year and increased volumes in AI Data Solutions, namely with Google, and digital enablement of TELUS. This helped offset reductions in service demand, principally in Europe, wage inflation and accelerated ramp-up costs in the quarter for certain clients. Adjusted EBITDA Margin1 was 23.7% compared with 24.9% in the same quarter of the prior year. Adjusted Diluted EPS1 was $0.26, compared with $0.35 in the same quarter of the prior year.
- Cash provided by operating activities was $142 million and Free Cash Flow1 was $115 million, with a year-over-year growth of 69% and 92%, respectively, due to lower income tax payments and higher net inflows from working capital in the quarter.
- Net Debt to Adjusted EBITDA Leverage Ratio1 as per credit agreement of 2.8x as of December 31, 2023, an improvement from 2.9x as of September 30, 2023, and remaining within our target steady-state range of 2-3x.
- Team member count was 75,347 as of December 31, 2023, an increase of 3% year-over-year. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, the team member count also increased 3%, reflecting project onboarding and training, which offset team member reductions in the fourth quarter as part of cost savings efforts in 2023 to right-size staffing with near-term client demand volumes, particularly in Europe.
2023 vs. 2022 summary
- Revenue of $2,708 million, up $240 million, an increase of 10% year-over-year on a reported basis and 9% on a constant currency basis, of which $186 million was from WillowTree. Excluding WillowTree, our revenue was $2,522 million, an increase of $54 million, or 2%. The increase was due to growth in services provided to existing clients, including TELUS Corporation and Google, as well as new clients, partially offset by lower revenues from one of our largest clients, a leading social media company, as well as a global financial institution client. Revenue growth included a favourable foreign currency impact of less than 1%, associated with the weakening U.S. dollar exchange rate against the euro.
- Net income of $54 million and diluted EPS of $0.18, compared with $183 million and $0.68, respectively, in the prior year. Net income margin was 2.0%, compared with 7.4% in the prior year. Adjusted Net Income, as defined above, was $252 million, compared with $332 million in the prior year, primarily due the increase in operating expenses and interest expense outpacing revenue growth, which were partially offset by lower income taxes.
- Adjusted EBITDA was $583 million, compared with $607 million in the prior year, primarily due to the increase in salaries and benefits outpacing revenue growth, resulting from lower utilization of team members in certain regions, and changes in our revenue mix. Adjusted EBITDA Margin was 21.5%, compared with 24.6% in the prior year, impacted by cost imbalances arising from reductions in service demand, principally in Europe and from some of our larger technology clients, which were partially offset by cost efficiency efforts initiated in the second quarter of 2023 and realized during the year. Adjusted Diluted EPS was $0.91, compared with $1.23 in the prior year.
- Cash provided by operating activities was $498 million and Free Cash Flow was $405 million, with a year-over-year growth of 14% and 22%, respectively, primarily due to higher net inflows from working capital, which included higher cash receipts from TELUS Corporation, and lower income tax and share-based compensation payments. These increases were partially offset by lower operating profits and cash expenditures for transaction costs associated with our acquisition of WillowTree.
A discussion of our results of operations is included in our 2023 Management’s Discussion and Analysis dated February 9, 2024 and filed on SEDAR+ and “Item 5: Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” in our Annual Report on Form 20-F, dated February 9, 2024 and filed on EDGAR. Such materials and additional information are also provided at telusinternational.com/investors.
As described above, beginning in the first quarter of 2024, we will no longer exclude share-based compensation expense and changes in business combination-related provisions, and the tax effects of these items, as applicable, in our presentation of Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Basic and Diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA. We believe this presentation is more indicative of underlying business performance, and better aligns the presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures and ratios with comparable measures and ratios of TELUS Corporation, our parent company. See the “Non-GAAP” and “Non-GAAP reconciliations” sections of this news release for more information regarding this change, including a presentation of each of these non-GAAP financial measures and ratios for full-year 2023 under the modified presentation.
Management has released the following full-year outlook ranges for 2024 (Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Diluted EPS are calculated under the modified presentation described above):
- Revenue in the range of $2,790 to $2,850 million, representing growth of 3% to 5%
- Adjusted EBITDA in the range of $623 to $643 million, representing growth of 7% to 10%, and Adjusted EBITDA Margin in the range of 22.3% to 22.6%
- Adjusted Diluted EPS in the range of $0.93 to $0.98, representing growth of 7% to 13%
TELUS International announces transition of Chief Financial Officer and appointment of successor
TELUS International Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Vanessa Kanu, has decided to leave the company effective March 31, 2024. Vanessa has held the role since September 2020, and during that period of time was a pivotal member of the leadership team through a period of global expansion and growth, guiding TELUS International’s strategic acquisitions, supporting the company’s expansion into Africa, and most notably providing financial leadership through the company’s initial public offering in February 2021. Vanessa quickly and adeptly built a strong foundation for TELUS International as a public issuer, and will remain at the company until the end of March to ensure an orderly transition to her successor, Gopi Chande, FCPA, FCA, Senior Vice-president (SVP) Finance and Treasurer at TELUS, who will assume the role of CFO at TELUS International on March 4, 2024.
Over the past 14 years, Gopi has proven herself a trusted leader, advisor and advocate at TELUS. In her most recent role as Senior Vice-president and Treasurer, she successfully managed a comprehensive portfolio covering treasury, corporate development, investor relations, pensions and sustainability. During her tenure, Gopi has overseen substantial financial initiatives, including over $2 billion in bond raises, $1 billion in M&A transactions, and the evolution of a pioneering Sustainable Finance Framework. Throughout her career, Gopi has excelled in driving growth, diversification and transformation and has guided TELUS through strategic financial decisions, such as the formative rollout of its multi-billion dollar TELUS PureFibre network, as well as the transformation of the company’s end-to-end customer solutions through the growth of the TELUS Digital platform. Gopi also brings a strong understanding and wealth of experience in international business to TELUS International. Prior to TELUS, Gopi developed 10 years’ experience with KPMG, working in Vancouver, Budapest and the Silicon Valley, and was the Controller at multinational tech startup, E2open, for two years. Gopi is a Board Member of the Telecommunication Workers Pension Plan, Concert Properties, and the BC Women’s Health Foundation. Gopi earned her CPA, CA (Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Accountant) designation with Gold Medal distinction, and recently was elected to Fellowship (FCPA). She also holds a CPA (Illinois) designation.
“I look forward to welcoming Gopi to my leadership team. Her transparent and personable approach has fostered a highly engaged team, and her adept financial acumen has led her to build strong connections with the TELUS Executive Leadership Team, Board of Directors and investment community,” said Jeff Puritt. “Gopi brings a wealth of experience to TELUS International as we continue to drive growth and diversification, and we expect a smooth transition to ensure our team and company’s continued focus on profitable growth and industry leading free cash flow yield in 2024 and beyond.”
The organizational change announced today reflects the implementation of a robust, collaborative and ongoing succession planning program between TELUS International and TELUS for their Executive Leadership Teams and Finance organizations.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to sincerely thank Vanessa for her many, many contributions to our company, including her strong and capable guidance through our IPO journey, her learned counsel as we navigated a global pandemic and other challenging macroeconomic conditions, and her unwavering dedication to our team members throughout her tenure; we wish her well in her future endeavors and she will be missed here at TELUS International,” concluded Jeff Puritt.
Q4 2023 investor call
TELUS International will host a conference call today, February 9, 2024 at 10:30 a.m. (ET) / 7:30 a.m. (PT), where management will review the fourth quarter and full-year results, followed by a question and answer session with pre-qualified analysts. A webcast of the conference call will be streamed live on the TELUS International Investor Relations website at: https://www.telusinternational.com/investors/news-events and a replay will also be available on the website following the conference call.
This news release includes non-GAAP financial information, with reconciliation to GAAP measures presented at the end of this news release. We report certain non-GAAP measures used in the management analysis of our performance, but these do not have standardized meanings under International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IFRS-IASB). These non-GAAP financial measures and non-GAAP ratios may not be comparable to GAAP measures or ratios and may not be comparable to similarly titled non-GAAP financial measures or non-GAAP ratios reported by other companies, including those within our industry and TELUS Corporation, our controlling shareholder.
Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income, Free Cash Flow and revenue on a constant currency basis are non-GAAP financial measures, while Adjusted EBITDA Margin, Adjusted Diluted EPS, revenue growth on a constant currency basis and Net Debt to Adjusted EBITDA Leverage Ratio are non-GAAP ratios.
Beginning in the first quarter of 2024, we will no longer exclude share-based compensation expense and changes in business combination-related provisions, and the tax effects of these items, as applicable, in our presentation of Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Basic and Diluted EPS, and Adjusted EBITDA. We believe this presentation is more indicative of underlying business performance, and better aligns the presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures and ratios with comparable measures and ratios of TELUS Corporation, our parent company.
Adjusted EBITDA is commonly used by our industry peers and provides a measure for investors to compare and evaluate our relative operating performance. We use it to assess our ability to service existing and new debt facilities, and to fund accretive growth opportunities and acquisition targets. In addition, certain financial debt covenants associated with our credit facility, including Net Debt to Adjusted EBITDA Leverage Ratio, are based on Adjusted EBITDA, which requires us to monitor this non-GAAP financial measure in connection with our financial covenants. Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered an alternative to net income in measuring our financial performance, and it should not be used as a replacement measure of current and future operating cash flows. However, we believe a financial measure that presents net income adjusted for these items provides a more consistent measure for management to evaluate period-over-period performance and would enable an investor to better evaluate our underlying business trends, our operational performance and overall business strategy.
We exclude items from Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA, including changes in business combination-related provisions, acquisition, integration and other, share-based compensation, foreign exchange gains or losses and, additionally, with respect to Adjusted Net Income, the interest accretion on written put options entered into in connection with our acquisition of WillowTree, real estate rationalization-related impairments, amortization of purchased intangible assets, and the related tax effect of these adjustments. Full reconciliations of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Net Income to the comparable GAAP measures are included at the end of this news release.
We calculate Free Cash Flow by deducting capital expenditures from our cash provided by operating activities, as we believe capital expenditures are a necessary ongoing cost to maintain our existing productive capital assets and support our organic business operations. We use Free Cash Flow to evaluate the cash flows generated from our ongoing business operations that can be used to meet our financial obligations, service debt facilities, reinvest in our business, and to fund, in part, potential future acquisitions.
Adjusted EBITDA Margin is calculated by dividing Adjusted EBITDA by consolidated revenue. We regularly monitor Adjusted EBITDA Margin to evaluate our operating performance compared to established budgets, operational goals and the performance of industry peers.
Adjusted Diluted EPS is used by management to assess the profitability of our business operations on a per share basis. We regularly monitor Adjusted Diluted EPS as it provides a more consistent measure for management and investors to evaluate our period-over-period operating performance, to better understand our ability to manage operating costs and to generate profits. Adjusted Diluted EPS is calculated by dividing Adjusted Net Income by the weighted average number of diluted equity shares outstanding during the period, excluding the potential dilutive effect of the written put options related to the acquisition of WillowTree.
Revenue on a constant currency basis is used by management to assess revenue, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, excluding the effect of foreign currency fluctuations. Revenue on a constant currency basis is calculated as current period revenue translated using average foreign exchange rates in the comparable prior period.
Revenue growth on a constant currency basis is used by management to assess the growth of revenue, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, excluding the effect of foreign currency fluctuations. Revenue growth on a constant currency basis is calculated as current period revenue growth translated using average foreign exchange rates in the comparable prior period.
Net Debt to Adjusted EBITDA Leverage Ratio as per credit agreement is calculated based on Net Debt and Adjusted EBITDA, both as per credit agreement. We seek to maintain a Net Debt to Adjusted EBITDA Leverage Ratio in the range of 2-3x.
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