Monday, November 7, 2016

Cognizant Technology Reports Q3 Earnings

I've been waiting to hear from Cognizant Technology Solutions(CTSH) as it's been a very tumultuous quarter for them as they disclosed improprieties.

For their third quarter the company reported EPS of $0.73(up 12.3%) on revenues of $3.45 billion which was up 8.4% from a year ago, and 2.5% sequentially. Cash flow was strong in the quarter, and operating margins came in at 16.8% and net income margins were 12.8%. Those are solid results. Also remember the company has $1.5 billion in cash, and $3.3 billion in short term investments which is mostly comprised of bonds(USD based) maturing in 2 years or less. Make no mistake they have a strong balance sheet, and strong industry trends behind them which show no sign of slowing down.  Overall strong results. 

But that's not what I think has the stock up over 4% today. 
Here is what the company said in it's 10-Q about it's improper payments situation they exposed in September. The last part is what I think has investors cheering. 

Note 2 — Internal Investigation and Related Matters

On September 30, 2016, we disclosed that we are conducting an internal investigation into whether certain payments relating to Company-owned facilities in India were made improperly and in possible violation of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and other applicable laws. In September 2016, we voluntarily notified the U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ, and Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, and are cooperating fully with both agencies. The investigation is being conducted under the oversight of the Audit Committee, with the assistance of outside counsel. To date, the investigation has identified a total of approximately $5.0 million in payments that may have been improper. During the three months ended September 30, 2016, we recorded an out-of-period correction related to $3.1 million of such payments that were previously capitalized that should have been expensed. The remaining $1.9 million of such payments remains under investigation. The recorded correction resulted in an increase of selling, general and administrative expenses of $3.1 million, a reduction in depreciation and amortization expense of $0.4 million, and a reduction in property and equipment, net of $2.7 million. These prior period corrections and the $1.9 million in payments under investigation were not material to any previously issued annual or any interim financial statements and are not expected to be material to the financial results for the year ending December 31, 2016.

During the closing process for the third quarter of 2016, based on the results of the internal investigation to date, we concluded that as of December 31, 2015 and in subsequent interim periods, we did not maintain an effective control environment. Specifically, we did not maintain an effective tone at the top as certain members of senior management may have participated in or failed to take action to prevent the making of potentially improper payments by either overriding or failing to enforce the controls established by the Company relating to real estate and procurement principally in connection with permits for certain facilities in India. Such actions would be inconsistent with the standards and tone at the top to which our Board of Directors and senior management are committed and would be in violation of the Company’s written code of conduct and procedures established in part to detect and prevent improper payments. Based on the results of the investigation to date, the members of senior management who may have participated in or failed to take action to prevent the making of the identified potentially improper payments are no longer with the Company or in a senior management position.

As a result of the foregoing, we have determined that a material weakness existed as of December 31, 2015, and continues to exist in subsequent interim periods, in our internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we have updated the previous conclusion included in Item 9A of our Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 25, 2016 with respect to our disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting to conclude that our disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015 were ineffective. Also, we have updated the previous conclusions included in Item 4 of our Forms 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 6, 2016 and August 5, 2016 with respect to our disclosure controls and procedures to conclude that our disclosure controls and procedures as of March 31, 2016 and June 30, 2016, respectively, were ineffective.

We have concluded that we have a material weakness as of September 30, 2016. However, based on the results of the investigation to date, no material adjustments, restatements or other revisions to our previously issued financial statements are required.(emphasis added)

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