Coda Octopus Group, Inc.

Q3 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk06: Good morning and welcome to CODA Octopus Group third quarter fiscal year 2023 earnings conference call. My name is Sherry and I will be your operator today. Before this call, CODA Octopus issued its financial results for the fiscal third quarter ended July 31st, 2023, including a press release, a copy of which will be furnished in a report filed with the SEC and will be available in the investor relations section of the company's website. Joining us on today's call from CODA Octopus are its chair and CEO, Anne-Marie Gell, its acting CFO, Gail Jarden, and following remarks, we will open the call for questions. Before we begin, Jackie Kershner from Gateway Group will make a brief introductory statement. Ms. Kershner, please proceed.
spk05: Thank you. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to COTA Octopus's third quarter fiscal year 2023 earnings conference call. Before management begins their formal remarks, we would like to remind everyone that some statements we're making today may be considered forward-looking statements under securities law and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. As a result, we caution you that there are a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. For more detailed risks, uncertainties, and assumptions relating to our forward-looking statements, please see the disclosures in our earnings release and public filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We disclaim any obligation or undertaking to update forward-looking statements to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the date the forward-looking statements are made, except as required by law. We refer you to our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for detailed disclosures and descriptions of our business, as well as uncertainties in other variable circumstances, including, but not limited to, risks and uncertainties identified in our Form 10-K and Forms 10-Q for the first, second, and third quarters of this fiscal year. You may get COTA Octopus's Securities and Exchange Commission filings free by visiting the SEC website at I would also like to remind everyone that this call is being recorded and will be made available for replay via a link in the investor relations section of Coda Octopus's website. Now, I will turn the call over to the company's chair and CEO, Anne-Marie Gale. Anne-Marie?
spk03: Thanks, Jackie, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us for our third quarter 2023 earnings course. As a management, we have established over many years a good track record of running a profitable and sound business. In addition to remaining profitable in the third quarter, we have been profitable for 45 of the last 50 quarters and every year for the last 12 years. We have also spent the last four years on the development of our new generation of underwater products and solutions, including our Ecoscoop type, and our Diver Augmented Vision Display System , which underpin our growth strategy. We believe that the company has almost unrivaled potential with a unique product set at a time when the market will expand. Against these impressive metrics, management's core focus continues to be on organically growing the company. Despite disappointing results due to low order take in the third quarter, we remain optimistic about our business and the pipeline of opportunities we're pursuing and the strong momentum we're having in our core target market, the defense space. In addition, we have maintained a strong balance sheet and do not envisage the requirement for new capital to fund our growth plans. Our marine technology business has two business models. These are outright sale of our technology and rental and associated services. The main reasons we have not met our third quarter financial goals are firstly, although our marine technology business continues to increase its quality of pipeline of opportunities, order conversions have slowed principally outright sales from Asia and in Europe for rentals and associated services due to a fall in the number of offshore wind projects. Secondly, our UK services business has also experienced significant delays in receiving orders because the priorities of its defense customers have temporarily shifted to land-based defense applications to support the requirements in Ukraine. This has affected naval requirement parties, the areas where we provide our solutions. Turning to the company's outlook for Q4, although we continue to be profitable at the end of this third quarter, we are behind on our full year 2023 business plan financial goals. As a reminder, we have been working to a revenue plan of 26 million overall for fiscal 2023. Due to the delays we have experienced year to date in converting opportunities into firm orders, we are reforecasting fiscal 2023 and now believe our results will be more in line with our financial year 2022 results. We continue to be later focused on our core strategy to grow the business, and as a management, we remain completely committed to this. As we focus on growing the business, we continue to believe we have significant opportunities around our Ecoscope type and DAVD solutions, including spin-off products such as the DAVD digital audio standalone product, I'd now like to summarize our third quarter results. In the third quarter, our marine technology business order take was down significantly. This is due to two reasons. First, we have seen a slowdown in new European offshore wind projects being initiated. This has impacted on our rental and associated rental services revenues. It is widely reported, including on Bloomsburg, that the cost of these fixed-price offshore wind projects has soared 40% compounded by higher interest rates, thus requiring renegotiations. Ørsted, Vattenfall, and Siemens, the big players in the wind market, have all reported significant revenue decreases in this sector. Our Ecoscope cable monitoring and lanes solution is used in this market. Second, we also saw reduced order take in key geographies, Japan, China, and South Korea. In these geographies, our technology is used primarily in underwater construction and offshore wind applications. Though we have continued to increase our pipeline of opportunities and believe that our inquiries and quotation levels are good, we have experienced significant delays in converting these into orders for the business. As a result of these factors, revenue fell in the marine technology business and was 2.9 million in the third quarter compared to 4 million in the previous third quarter 2022. Despite the decrease in revenue in the third quarter, we do not believe that this is due to anything systemic or a loss of our market position in the areas in which we excel. We believe it reflects the slowdown in offshore wind in the European market, the delays in European offshore service providers entering the US offshore wind market, as reported by the likes of Orsted, and delays in converting opportunities emanating from Asia into firm orders. We believe that in the fourth quarter of 2023, we will see some of these opportunities materializing into orders. Within our current business strategy, the two pillars of growth for our company are our Ecoscope Pipe Real-time 3D Imaging Sonar and our recently launched Diver Augmented Vision Display System, DAVD, which is in adoption by the US Navy. I will therefore focus the rest of my remarks on these two pillars. Firstly, turning to the Ecoscope and progress in this area in the third quarter. The underwater imaging sonar market is growing largely due to the new generation of underwater vehicles focused on bringing new capabilities to the subsea and underwater markets. Recently, it was announced that the U.S. Navy has now standardized the Vidiary Defender as its preferred solution in the small underwater vehicles category. In general, the new generation of underwater vehicles presents new capabilities, which in turn is fueling the demand for more capable sensors such as ours. One of the key emerging requirements for the defense market for this class of vehicle is real-time 3D spatial perception and scene awareness technology. And in keeping with the U.S. Navy selection of the video ray defender, we were selected for and executed trials on this platform with Naval Information Warfare Center, NIWIC, in our third quarter. It continues to be our strategy to work on further increasing the number of new defense underwater vehicle programs in which the ECHOSCOPE technology is embedded, and trials like these are a key precursor to such success. In the third quarter, as part of a second phase defense Navy program, we completed and delivered for customer evaluation a full survey-grade diver handheld solution which embeds our Ecoscope pipe imaging sonar and the DAVD for the Navy and which will be used for high-resolution real-time 3D mapping and inspection in ship hull applications. Also in the third quarter, a coordinated trial was planned and executed at the San Diego Naval Information Warfare Center, NIWIC facility, to support the need for real-time 3D inspection and critical mapping from a small man-portable remotely operated vehicle, ROV. The trials flawlessly and successfully showcased the ECOSCOPE's capability to perform real-time 3D inspection target identification, and high resolution mapping, as well as uniquely allowing the ROV pilots to fly the ROV in zero visibility conditions using the live real-time 3D display from the X-scope pipe. In addition to the NiWave vehicles team, other US and UK Navy attendees were able to witness the demonstration. Evaluation of the trial results is ongoing with different related departments. We also received in the third quarter very favorable mission results from three of our defense customers who have selected integrated and recently demonstrated our Ecoscope technology on their subsea vehicles. These programs vary from small vehicles to larger vehicles, all greatly benefiting from the real-time 3D volumetric data unique to our patented Ecoscope technology. Notable also, as these defense customers have success with the technology on one of their programs, they take the same solution into other programs. For example, one defense customer has expanded the use of our technology on four different vehicle programs. We continue to believe that there is significant momentum around our Ecoscope-based solutions. Secondly, Now turning to our progress on the DAVD in the third quarter. As a reminder, the TAVR DAVD system has now moved from the Navy's R&D phase to their field adoption phase. As part of the continued fleet field rollout in the third quarter, we performed two crucial training events, SWOMIC, in San Diego received their initial DABD training as a new user group to the DABD family. SWAMIC is responsible for all ship maintenance and diver salvage in the busy San Diego area, and they have already been able to utilize the DABD system on a live mission. Additionally, UCT in Port Hueneme received additional DAVD units. In the third quarter, we trained the Navy's newly appointed field DAVD super user who has been brought on board to work with the Navy DAVD program managers specifically to ensure the operational success of the newly fielded DAVD system. On an ongoing basis, we will support joint field missions as part of the field DAVD super users onboarding process. During the quarter, we also supported U.S. Navy dive inspection and salvage operations in Maui in response to the recent devastating wildfires where the DAVD Ecoscope Inspector System was used for real-time 3D mapping and monitoring the underwater environment. In the third quarter, we continued to make progress on the two variants of the DAVD system, tethered and untethered. By way of progress on adoption, a major European offshore provider has completed its findings on the DABD Tethered System Trial, which they performed in our second quarter. Quoting directly from their report, they concluded that, beginning of the quotation, the advantage of the DABD alone compass, depth, taking snapshots, and presenting graphical information for diver and supervisor, all combined with a 3D live sonar video stream is clear and increases safety and efficiency. The 3D sonar fits well within our scope of work, and our survey division is aware of it. we think that the combination of DAVD and 3D sonar has potential within our organization. End of quotation. This provider is one of the bid for global dredging companies that together control 80% of the global dredging capacity and has confirmed their intention to adopt the DAVD and we are working on a model for initial adoption. We also have made progress with the DAVD on tethered variants. DAVD on tethered prototype systems were delivered to our project sponsor earlier this year as part of their evaluation program. We have made further progress in this quarter and have been awarded initial further funding of approximately $750,000 out of a total contract value of 1.8 million. The scope of delivery for this funding is supplying each evaluation system and performing further customization work. This is significant because for the first time, another foreign Navy has co-opted into the U.S. Navy DABD program. We're still optimistic that this variant will move forward to field operation in financial year 2024, subject to successful completion of the evaluation stages and we continue to focus on completing the funded customization work package. Turning now to trials and adoption discussion. We have good quality discussions ongoing with a second major European offshore provider where we have completed customization work necessary for their specific helmet and rebreather system and we planned some field work with this customer later this year with a DAVD system. We also provided in the second quarter commercial terms to a major Japanese offshore construction company who is an established user of our Ecoscope. We have since made further progress and have been invited to conduct a pre-adoption DABD training with this customer later this month. Also in this month, we will also be demonstrating the DABD to several interested Japanese customers in both the defense and the commercial sectors at the same time. We're also excited about the second phase trials with the Spanish Navy later this month in Alicante, Spain, which forms part of our continued DAVD world engagement program. They are interested in both the tethered and untethered variants. We continue to believe that the likely inflection point for the DAVD is in financial year 2024 where we hope to have acquisition budget lines established with a broader customer base including foreign navies and commercial offshore service providers. To restate, despite challenges with order take during the quarter, We have good traction and momentum behind our solutions and believe we have achieved key milestone targets around these. As we work towards closing fiscal 2023, we remain confident about our longer-term goals to grow the business and we believe we are well positioned for this. Now turning to our marine engineering business, This business supplies subassemblies into broader mission-critical programs under contract with prime defense contractors. This gives them the opportunity to have repeat orders for these subassemblies through the life of the program. We continue to reiterate this segment is important for our group as we have a strong pedigree in defense engineering with stellar relationships with prime defense contractors spanning decades. These are important relationships for our group strategy. There is also a strong crossover of engineering skills, which is vital for us to maintain our competitive lead in real-time 3D imaging sonar and our diving technology. Year-to-date, the UK part of our services business has experienced significant delays in receiving orders. This is largely due to their defense customers' priorities having switched temporarily onto land-based applications related to Ukraine, which has temporarily put naval-based requirements on hold. This delay has affected order take and has also contributed to our business being off-plan. Approximately $2.5 million worth of orders anticipated in the first quarter of our 2023 financial year have not yet been released for the reasons outlined earlier. We will continue to work towards restoring the services business to its $10 million revenue profile over the next two years. Finally, before we discuss our third quarter financial performance in greater detail, I wanted to briefly mention our most recent leadership appointment. Last week, we announced the appointment of John Price as our new permanent chief financial officer, effective on November 27th of this year. John is joining Codo with more than 28 years of experience working in financial roles, having served as the CFO of Nasdaq-listed Assure Holdings Corporation since 2021. John brings a seasoned background in corporate finance and accounting, along with key public company and technology industry experience, We look forward to welcoming John to the company later this year, and we would like to thank Gail Jardine for her work as Acting CFO in the interim. Let us now turn the call over to Gail to walk you through our financials before I provide my closing remarks. Gail?
spk04: Thank you, Anne-Marie, and good morning, everyone. Let me take you through our fiscal third quarter financial results. Starting with revenue. In the third quarter of 2023, we recorded total revenue of $4.9 million, compared to $6.3 million in the third quarter last year, a reduction of 22%. The marine technology business generated revenue of $2.9 million, compared to $4 million a 28.5% decrease from the prior year quarter. As reported earlier by Anne-Marie, this decline in our consolidated revenue was a result of weak demand from strategic markets and geographies, such as Asia for outright sale and Europe for rentals, particularly in the offshore renewable sector. Our UK services arm was also affected by delays in receiving key orders due to its customers' focus being on land-based defence applications to support the Ukraine efforts and not the naval-based applications that apply to our business. Moving on to gross profit and margin. In the third quarter of 2023, we generated gross profit of $3.4 million compared to $4.6 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2022. Gross margin in the third quarter of 2023 was 68.8%. versus 72.8% in the 2022 third quarter. In our marine technology business or products business, gross margin fell to 82.1% in the third quarter of 2023, compared to 86.7% in 2022 third quarter period, reflecting changes in the mix of sales and higher commission costs in the period. Our marine engineering business gross margin increased to 50% this quarter versus 48.2% in the 2022 third quarter. Now moving to our operating expenses. Total operating expenses for the third quarter of 2023 fell slightly to $2.50 million compared to $2.54 million in the third quarter of 2022. driven by a slight reduction in both selling general and administrative expenses and research and development expenses. ST&A remains below our targeted internal budget, largely because of reductions in staff headcount and targeted new hired positions remaining unfilled. Our selling general and administrative costs in third quarter 2023 totalled $1.9 million and remained in line with the previous 22 third quarter. As a percentage of revenue, our selling general and administrative costs for third quarter 2023 was 39.6% of total revenue, compared to 31.3% in the third quarter of fiscal 2022. Looking forward on our cost structure, given the significant process we've made in R&D in the last four years, we remain focused on aligning a significant portion of our resources and strategy from research and development to global business development, brand building, and investor relations. We expect SG&A to increase on a full year basis as we hire new staff and expand our management team. We believe we've developed world-class products and solutions that provide market-leading positions for Coda and that we can make meaningful progress in our markets through these investments to create shareholder value. Operating income in the third quarter of 2023 was $0.9 million compared to $2 million in the third quarter of 2022. Operating margin was 17.6% compared to 32.3% in the third quarter of 2022, driven by the change in revenues as explained previously. Net income before taxes in the third quarter of 2023 was $1.1 million compared to $2 million in the third quarter of 2022. Net income after taxes in our third quarter 2023 was $1 million, or $0.09 per deleted share, compared to $1.8 million, or $0.16 per deleted share, in the same quarter last year. Moving now to our balance sheet. As of July 31, 2023, we had $24.9 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand and no debt. This represents an increase of $1.4 million in cash in the third quarter and an increase of $2 million in the nine-month period year-to-date of 2023. That completes my financial summary. Now I will turn the call back over to Anne-Marie for closing remarks.
spk03: Thank you, Gail. As stated previously, although in the third quarter we are behind in our business plan, We continue to be profitable and our focus on executing our existing plan and growth strategy. We have significant momentum around our growth pillars. And again, our focus is converting these into tangible near-term opportunities for the business. Management will continue its efforts to explore the rental and lease model for the DAVD system with the objective of galvanizing market adoption. We also have a near-term growth catalyst from the digital audio communication module, which has progressed in this quarter. If we're successful with this module, it will provide the company with diversification of revenue, which counterbalances the longest sales cycles of both the Exascope and the DAVD and potentially adds a good stream of additional revenues for the company. We have a demonstrated track record of consistent profitability and we have a solid on leverage balance sheet with cash on hand and no debt, which gives us confidence in our outlook for CODA. Furthermore, with our solid balance sheet, we do not envisage needing additional capital for the growth targets we have set out for the next two years. To conclude, Our management remains committed to executing the company's growth strategy and delivering value for our shareholders. We're now happy to take your questions. Operator?
spk06: Thank you. If you would like to ask a question, please press star 1 on your telephone keypad. A confirmation tone will indicate your line is in the question queue. You may press star two if you would like to remove your question from the queue. And for participants using speaker equipment, it may be necessary to pick up your handset before pressing the star keys. Our first question is from Brian Kinslinger with Alliance Global Partners. Please proceed.
spk07: Hi, Anne-Marie. Thanks for taking my questions. First, looking at the 10Q, you've been clear the revenue from Asia has been pressured for two consecutive quarters. and you highlighted the slower conversion of proposals to orders. Do you expect these trends to continue, given the challenging economy in Asia, or are there signs that this slower conversion is temporary?
spk03: Well, you know, we've got a really strong customer base in those geographies. Well, everything that we see, these are delays, and the opportunities for the business have not gone away. So we remain confident and we still see at the beginning of our Q4 revalidation requests coming in. So I certainly believe that in Q4 we'll get some of those orders and certainly in Q1 we would expect some of these orders to also come through. So overall, I think these are more delayed than they've gone away, Brian.
spk07: Great. And then on the DAB, the tethered side, sounds like you've got a lot of training. Is that ramped in command centers? And then you highlighted at the end the interest in Japan and Europe. And then you mentioned an inflection point in fiscal 24. First, is that beginning of the year? Do you think that's more towards the end of the year? And help us understand what that means in terms of a revenue range. Is it going to be much more significant, do you think? I'm just trying to understand what that inflection point really means.
spk03: Well, look, I mean, this year we set out to do something like, um, a 2 million of DVD revenues. And I think that we have met that actually, and we've exceeded that a little bit. Um, what I see, um, as, as you've rightly said, the tethered version is now fielded. This is now an item that's open for purchase, um, by any command in the U S. So, um, that's very good news for the business. In addition to that, what we're seeing is that, as I mentioned, is that we've got one European major, European offshore service provider, having conducted rigorous trials, have confirmed that this could be game-changing for their organization and their intention to adopt the DAPD. We also have pre-adoption discussions in Japan, and later this month, we will be running training with a major Japanese customer that we think will adopt the DAVD in this calendar year. So I think we have a swirl or swell of good activities around the DAVD, and we do expect that that will be a significant part of our revenues in 2024. On the tethered version, though, I would expect that to be more the back end of 2024 because as I pointed out earlier, I think that program has moved forward. I'm very, very excited about that because for the first time, Brian, we have a foreign Navy jointly funding the program and having their own requirements in the U.S. work package. And we've always said that one of the parts to adoption will be the U.S. Navy itself working with foreign navies on adoption. And we're seeing that coming through. So I am really, really excited about the progress. I mean, in this quarter, we were funded to the tune of $750,000 of a $1.8 million contract. And part of that is for eight evaluation systems. And The other part is for some customization work for the Navy. So I'm really excited about the DAVD, the prospects for the business for the DAVD. And I think we're making really, really good progress because a number of things happened in this quarter. As I said, we've got a European, a major European offshore service provider being happy about the trials. We also are doing pre-trial training in Japan, also at the same time demonstrating the capability to a wide breadth of Japanese customers. And so I feel really, really excited about where we are with the DABD. And I do believe that the biggest opportunity we have for the DABD, as I've always said, it's going to be the untethered version. And therefore, What we're seeing now with that variant is that it's moving into its second evaluation phase, which is that they've bought evaluation systems and we're doing some customization work for them.
spk07: And quickly, a follow-up on that. How long do you think evaluating those eight units takes? Is that a couple of months? Is that a couple of quarters? How do you think about that?
spk03: This is why I said that I really think that we will – really start seeing the impact of revenue in impact because they've started acquiring systems, I feel that's going to be more in the back end of 2024. Got it. Okay.
spk07: And then in terms of your revenue goals, you highlighted obviously this year you're behind plan. First, you're I'm curious, do you think you're one year behind plan given all these catalysts? Are you a little bit more than that given the market conditions? And then secondly, your full year outlook suggests the fourth quarter is much stronger than the third quarter. Is that because of these orders starting to convert, or is it more what you highlighted, the digital audio module is going to offset the weakness that you're seeing right now?
spk03: No, it's really, Brian, some of the delays. We expect orders from... Asia to start coming in in the fourth quarter. As I said, we're seeing some activities on revalidation of our proposals. So that's all looking robust for the fourth quarter. Look, I do believe that in the fourth quarter our results overall in 2023 will be more in line with our 2022 results. And whilst we might not have grown in the way that we've set out to grow our growth strategy still intact i think that um you know despite challenging market conditions the business still demonstrates that it can be not only profitable but i think that earnings will still be quite strong for the business and i think that looking at the pipeline of opportunities that we see for the business i have still feel excited about the opportunities, particularly for really where we're going to make a difference in terms of our growth strategy. Brian, let me be clear. It's the number of, on the Ecoscope side, it's the number of underwater vehicles that the technology is embedded into, and that's the defense side. So to some extent, the budget there is a different budget from the commercial market where that's susceptible to the broader macroeconomic conditions. So really, our goal is to grow the opportunities in the defense market where we can see repeat revenues. And we're certainly seeing a swell. around our technology in the defense space, absolutely. There's quite a lot of traction and momentum. We've got good quality business development activities around the XSCOPE. And a lot of these activities, Brian, just to say, are closed-door events or invitations that we have received to come and demonstrate the technology on these new platforms. The technology is becoming well-known in the defense space, and we're having success there. So I think that's what's going to make a difference to our revenue in 2024. And therefore, this is really why I am still quite confident about our growth strategy and our plans to grow the business. And that's really our focus. Of course, I do it I can't predict precisely what the market conditions will be, but what I'm telling you right now is that I'm excited about the business, the quality of activities that we're engaged in. They're very, very promising. The results we're having, very, very promising. So I'm excited about next year.
spk07: Thanks. Just one point of clarification, and then that's all I've got. I just want to make sure I understand. We're halfway through the October quarter. Are you saying the conversions have started to already happen, or you expect they're going to happen in the next six to seven weeks?
spk03: No, as I said, just to be clear, so what we did in year-to-date as a business, we've done something like 15 million. For the rest of the year, I think that we're going to be doing something like $5.5 million. So more in line. Overall, our results look more to be in line with $21 million for 2023. So that's what we can see today for our last quarter.
spk07: Okay. Thank you.
spk06: As a reminder, there's Star 1 on your telephone keypad if you would like to ask a question. Our next question is from Walter Ramsley with Walrus Partners. Please proceed.
spk01: Oh, thank you. Got a couple of questions. Is the company investigating any strategic alternatives?
spk03: Strategic alternatives? Hi, Walter. What do you mean by strategic alternatives?
spk01: Well, I guess not. Okay. The fourth quarter coming up, do you have any intention or have you begun to consider any way establishing reserves or doing any write-offs? The inventories are up to like $11 million now. So anything that could happen there?
spk03: No, not at all. I mean, as you know, I mean, a lot of our inventory, the makeup of our inventory, Walter, has to do with our Ecoscope technology, our DAVD technology. So we don't see the use and also our particular design for those systems. I don't see the use case for writing off inventory at all. None of the inventory we carry as such is obsolete inventory. So We don't have any plans to make any reserve at all because we think our inventory is current.
spk01: Okay. And just one last thing, if you could possibly elaborate, if you know the answer anyhow. It just seems preposterous to somebody on the outside that the U.S. Navy would allow its R&D operation to be hijacked.
spk03: uh by the army you know to work on land-based systems uh can you explain what's going on there well well no i think that um it's just where they are i mean things where the fighting force i think is right now i mean they're looking for aircraft you know land-based um defense to you know, not naval defense in Ukraine. So I think really that's pretty much what the situation is. You know, they're not doing removing mines at this stage, as you would have read in the news. They're pretty much now fighting using land-based defense systems. And this is the problem for our business, that priorities, they've not gone away. They've just shifted for the time being.
spk01: Well, okay, I'll accept that, I guess, but it still sounds a little crazy. And I guess one more, you know, excluding the military, you know, you did obviously point out offshore wind is a big problem and everybody knows that. But as far as a lot of the other vertical markets the company, you know, used to focus on at any rate, I mean, are they all under pressure as well, or is this – due to the interest rates, you think, or is it just the offshore wind?
spk03: Well, it's not really just the offshore wind, but if you look at the breakdown of our results, what I can see to you year to date, I can see equipment sales have gone up by 3.9%, for example. reinforcement of the growth pillars that we have. That's all the ADD and the X group solution. Where we've seen pressure or softening, rentals, which are down by 36.9%, software sale, which goes with our hardware, up by 13.4%, and again, services, which are part of our rental package and some customization work, down by 36.9% so really the softening that we're seeing or weakening in the market is around offshore winds and I think a large part of the problem Walter is about some of the big European offshore developers they've been delayed in entering the US market and they're the ones with the expertise and I think
spk01: um you know at some point these delays i mean the wind is i mean i live in cape cod so i know all about the offshore wind situation but i was thinking more about the oil and gas mapping salvage dredging bridge inspection port security all that stuff is that down also what what what what what
spk03: Well, as I said, what we see in the numbers, which really is really about services softening, I'm not seeing equipment sale year to date have gone up. So, you know, I think for applications such as construction in Japan might slow a little bit, but I think these are more projects being postponed than going away. Oil and gas, I mean, this year, you know, we were up I mean, we did in the previous year 1.3% of our marine technology business was in oil and gas. This year it's 4.5%. So, you know, it's a mixed picture, but I think the overriding weakening has been around offshore renewables and some sort of strategic geographies like Asia, you know, we've experienced a slow rate of conversion. But what I can see, I don't necessarily see our inquiries level tapering off. We're quoting a good level in those markets. They're just slow in converting into firm orders.
spk01: Okay. That's very helpful, Anne-Marie. Thanks for answering the questions. No problem, Walter.
spk06: Our next question is from William Burmer with Vanquish Capital Partners. Please proceed.
spk02: Good morning, Anne-Marie. Good morning, Bill. So my question tails with Walter's. Would you mind providing us your initiative on the U.S. commercial market, given the infrastructure bill, which targets bridge work, including Oil and gas offshore now that the commodities are approaching $90 a barrel domestically here. Surely, I would assume that your products there are needed.
spk03: Well, they might be needed, Walter. Sorry, Bill. But as I said, we're responding to good level of inquiries globally in the US also, but it just takes time to convert some of these. I feel optimistic about the technology in the spaces that you have highlighted, and we have business development activities globally, but it does take time to convert opportunities into orders, especially When you're talking about, you know, a piece of equipment being $250,000, it's not a sale we make overnight.
spk02: So, you know, that's really, yes. I think the question I was asking was, you know, on the corporate level, do you have specific targeted sales personnel going after the U.S. market, which at this time, is far advancing, especially in the capital initiatives on the oil and gas and offshore markets here versus Europe.
spk03: We're always looking for good people, Bill, to join our team. We continue to build our team. Sales and marketing is a big, big part of our effort, but we have to find the right team to put in place. I mean, recently, we've just expanded our management team We've just formed a new digitalization team that we've hired three people into the digitalization team for Code Octopus, and we continue to look for the right business development people to join our business, but it has to be the right people. So we do have sales people, and we are looking to expand the team, but we do have to find the right people to bring on board And that's been smooth this year.
spk02: Well, I thank you for that. And I'm looking forward to seeing some growth. Thank you.
spk06: Thank you, Bill. Thank you. Thank you. This will conclude the question and answer session. I would like to turn the call back over to Anne-Marie for some closing remarks.
spk03: Thank you for joining our call today and for your interest in our company. Have a great rest of your day.
spk06: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, everybody, for joining us today for CODA Octopus' conference call. You may now disconnect.

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