Form 10-K COMTECH TELECOMMUNICATIO For: Jul 31

September 27, 2017 4:10 PM


UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
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Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2017
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Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

Commission File Number:    0-7928
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(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware
 
11-2139466
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation /organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
68 South Service Road, Suite 230,
Melville, NY
 
 
11747
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)

(631) 962-7000
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $.10 per share
 
NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
Series A Junior Participating Cumulative
 
 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
(Title of class)

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
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Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 of Section 15(d) of the Act.
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Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
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Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data file required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
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Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.   checkboxa15.jpg

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
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Accelerated filer
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Emerging growth company
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Non-accelerated filer
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Smaller reporting company
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If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. blankboxa12.jpg
Indicate by check mark whether registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
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The aggregate market value of the registrant’s voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing sales price as quoted on the NASDAQ Global Market on January 31, 2017 was approximately $247,917,000.

The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding on September 22, 2017 was 23,585,941.


DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE.


Certain portions of the document listed below have been incorporated by reference into the indicated Part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K:


Proxy Statement for 2017 Annual Meeting of Stockholders - Part III





INDEX
PART I
ITEM 1.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ITEM 1A.
 
 
 
ITEM 1B.
 
 
 
ITEM 2.
 
 
 
ITEM 3.
 
 
 
ITEM 4.
 
 
 
PART II
 
 
 
ITEM 5.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ITEM 6.
 
 
 

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ITEM 7.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ITEM 7A.
 
 
 
ITEM 8.
 
 
 
ITEM 9.
 
 
 
ITEM 9A.
 
 
 
ITEM 9B.
 
 
 
PART III
 
 
 
ITEM 10.
 
 
 
ITEM 11.
 
 
 
ITEM 12.
 
 
 
ITEM 13.
 
 
 
ITEM 14.
 
 
 
PART IV
 
 
 
ITEM 15.
 
 
 
 
 
 


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Note:  As used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the terms "Comtech," "we," "us," "our" and "our Company" mean Comtech Telecommunications Corp. and its subsidiaries.

Note About Forward-Looking Statements
This Form 10-K contains "forward-looking statements" including statements concerning the future of our industry, product development, business strategy, continued acceptance of our products, market growth, and dependence on significant customers. These statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "could," "would," "expect," "plan," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential," "continue," the negative of these terms, or other similar words or comparable terminology. All statements in this report, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking information. When considering forward-looking statements, you should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements included in this Form 10-K. However, the risks described in this Form 10-K are not the only risks that we face. Additional risks and uncertainties, not currently known to us or that do not currently appear to be material, may also materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and/or operating results in the future. We describe risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially in "Risk Factors" (Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K), "Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk" (Part II, Item 7A of this Form 10-K), and "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" (Part II, Item 7 of this Form 10-K). We undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events, or otherwise.


PART I
ITEM 1.  BUSINESS

We are a leading provider of advanced communications solutions for both commercial and government customers worldwide. Our solutions fulfill our customers’ needs for secure wireless communications in some of the most demanding environments, including those where traditional communications are unavailable or cost-prohibitive, and in mission-critical scenarios where performance is crucial.

As more fully described throughout this Form 10-K, fiscal 2017 turned out to be a successful year for Comtech. We have largely completed the integration of our February 23, 2016 acquisition of TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. ("TCS"), the largest acquisition in our history. The TCS acquisition was transformative for our business and a significant step in our strategy of entering complementary markets and expanding our domestic and international commercial offerings.

Our fiscal 2017 results include a full twelve months of TCS operations and we reported consolidated net sales of $550.4 million, consolidated net income of $15.8 million and Adjusted EBITDA (a Non-GAAP financial measure) of $70.7 million. For a definition and explanation of Adjusted EBITDA, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Comparison of Fiscal 2017 and 2016 - Adjusted EBITDA.” We generated significant cash flows from operations and significantly reduced our long-term indebtedness.

We enter fiscal 2018 with a solid backlog and a pipeline of opportunities that give us reason to be excited about our future prospects. Our Business Outlook for Fiscal 2018 is discussed further in "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Business Outlook for Fiscal 2018."

Our Internet website is www.comtechtel.com and we make available on our website: our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including annual reports, quarterly reports, current reports and any amendments to those filings. The reference to our website address does not constitute incorporation by reference of the information contained therein into this Form 10-K. We also use our website to disseminate other material information to our investors (on the Home Page and in the "Investor Relations" section). Among other things, we post on our website our press releases and information about our public conference calls (including the scheduled dates, times and the methods by which investors and others can listen to those calls), and we make available for replay webcasts of those calls and other presentations.

We also use social media channels to communicate with customers and the public about our Company, our products, services and other issues, and we use social media and the Internet to communicate with investors, including information about our stockholder meetings. Information and updates about our Annual Meetings will continue to be posted on our website at www.comtechtel.com in the "Investor Relations" section.


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Any materials filed with the SEC may be read and copied by the public at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.

We are incorporated in the state of Delaware and were founded in 1967.

Corporate Strategies

We intend to manage our business with the following principal corporate strategies:

Seek leadership positions in markets where we can provide differentiated products and technology solutions;

Identify and participate in emerging technologies that enhance or expand our product portfolio;

Maximize responsiveness to our customers, including offering more integrated systems and solutions;

Expand and further penetrate our diversified and balanced customer base; and

Pursue acquisitions of complementary businesses and technologies.

Competitive Strengths

The successful execution of our principal corporate strategies is based on our competitive strengths, including the following:

(1)
We Have Significant Exposure to Large, Growing End Markets

We believe Comtech is well positioned to capitalize on some of the most significant emerging technology trends occurring worldwide and that customers around the world will increasingly turn to us to fulfill their needs for secure wireless communications in some of the most demanding environments, including those where traditional communications are unavailable or cost-prohibitive, and in mission-critical scenarios where performance is crucial. These important emerging technology trends include growth in global wireless penetration and mobile data consumption, proliferation of mobile applications requiring trusted location data, the need for public safety agencies to seamlessly connect individuals with first responders, widespread deployment of in-flight connectivity solutions by airlines worldwide, and the rapidly expanding breadth of High Definition ("HD") and 4K broadcasting content.

(2)
We Believe We Are a Market Leader in the End-Markets That We Serve

Commercial Solutions Segment
Communication Technologies - We believe we are the leading provider of Single Carrier per Channel ("SCPC") satellite earth station modems. Many of our key satellite earth station products incorporate Turbo Product Code ("TPC") forward error correction technology and our licensed DoubleTalk® Carrier-in-Carrier® bandwidth compression technology which enables our customers to optimize their satellite networks by either reducing their satellite transponder lease costs or increasing data throughput. We believe we are a leader in the traveling wave tube amplifiers ("TWTA") market and we differentiate our product offerings by our ability to develop the most efficient size, weight and power profile. Our TWTA products are vital to satellite communication applications such as traditional broadcast, direct-to-home ("DTH") broadcast and satellite newsgathering. We provide solid-state amplifiers that are also used to amplify signals carrying voice, video or data for air-to-satellite-to-ground communications. For example, our amplifiers, when incorporated into an aircraft satellite communication system, can provide passengers with email, Internet access and video conferencing. Certain of our high-powered amplifiers are AS-900 (an airborne quality standard ) certified. We believe we are a leader in providing amplifiers for the growing in-flight connectivity market.



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Safety and Security Technologies - We believe that we are a leader in public safety communication technologies used for delivery of 911 calls. We believe we have significant market share in the routing of U.S. wireless 911 calls, Voice over Internet Protocol ("VoIP") 911 calls and Text to 911 deployments. We believe we are one of two companies fulfilling the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") requirements for Enhanced 911 ("E911") call-routing to public safety answering points ("PSAPs") for wireless and VoIP network operators. E911 refers to 911 calls for both wireline and wireless telephones that are enhanced to provide location information of the caller. We are focusing our marketing and research and development efforts to meet system standards for next generation 911 ("NG911"), which refers to an Internet Protocol ("IP") based system that allows digital information (e.g., voice, photos, videos, text messages) to flow seamlessly from the public, through the 911 network, and on to emergency responders.

Enterprise Technologies - Our Short-Messaging Service ("SMS") Center software has been used by wireless carrier subscribers to send and receive text or data messages to and from wireless devices for almost two decades. We provide ongoing operational support for our installed base of systems, including administration of system components, system optimization and configuration management. Our systems include our Location Trust Score technology, a unique process we developed to reliably identify a mobile location by generating a "Location Trust Score." Additionally, we offer Location Studio TM, a complete end-to-end location-based services platform for mobile carriers, application developers and enterprises. The platform consists of multiple modular technology suites that provide a rich set of functionalities, including indoor and outdoor positioning, geolocation, mapping, search, routing, navigation, real-time message updates, and analytics. This platform includes Look4TM geo-services which enable customers to build their own applications powered by our location-based technology and a cloud-based positioning engine. We believe the positioning of Location StudioTM is unique in the industry and is an appealing alternative to free consumer-based mapping services which are subject to change by the supplier and which may not meet an enterprise’s privacy and security requirements.

Government Solutions Segment
Command and Control Technologies - We are a key supplier to the U.S. Army for mission critical command and control technology solutions and field support services. We are a prime contractor under several indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (“IDIQ”) defense contract vehicles, including the: (i) Army’s Global Tactical Advanced Communications Systems ("GTACS") contract, (ii) Defense Information Systems Agency’s Custom SATCOM Solutions ("CS2") contract and (iii) “Complex Commercial SATCOM Solutions” (“CS3”) contract from the General Services Administration. We also provide the U.S. Department of Defense ("DoD") personnel with curriculum development and training services to support cybersecurity workforce development. We currently provide sustainment services to the U.S. Army’s AN/TSC-198 family of communication systems that are commonly referred to as “SNAP” (“Secret Internet Protocol Router (“SIPR”) and Non-secure Internet Protocol Router (“NIPR”) Access Point) Very Small Aperture Terminals (“VSATs”). Additionally, we have provided and expect to continue to provide Blue Force Tracking-1 sustainment services to the U.S. Army well into the future.

Troposcatter Technologies - We have designed, manufactured and sold over-the-horizon microwave products and systems for approximately forty years and believe we are the leading supplier in this specialized product market. We believe we offer the only available adaptive troposcatter modem operating at 50 Mbps. Our Modular Tactical Transmission System ("MTTS") systems provide a high capacity, beyond-line-of-sight modular communications system designed for easy and rapid deployment. Our MTTS systems also offer seamless compatibility and interoperability with legacy-fielded troposcatter systems currently used by the U.S. military, including all versions of the AN/TRC-170.

RF Power & Switching Technologies - We are one of the largest independent suppliers of broadband, high-power, high-performance RF microwave amplifiers, which reproduce signals with high power and are extremely complex and critical to the performance of the systems into which they are incorporated. Many of these amplifiers are produced in-house by large companies; however, our expertise has created a cost-effective and technologically superior alternative to in-house sourcing. Some of the companies who have outsourced amplifier production to us include Rockwell Collins, Inc., Thales Group, European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company ("EADS"), Telephonics Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, BAE Systems PLC and Raytheon Company. Our amplifiers are also used in oncology treatment systems that allow physicians to give cancer patients higher doses of radiation that are more closely focused on cancerous tissue, thereby minimizing damage to healthy tissue.

(3)
We Believe We Provide Industry Leading Innovation, Capabilities and Solutions

We have established a leading position of technology innovation in our fields through internal and customer-funded research and development activities, which have yielded significant advances. Examples of our industry-leading innovation include:


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Our HEIGHTS Networking Platform - In fiscal 2017, we announced the general availability of our HeightsTM Dynamic Network Access Technology ("HEIGHTS"), a potentially revolutionary technology designed to deliver the highest Internet Protocol bits per Hertz in its class, as well as robust reliability. HEIGHTS is an advanced networking platform that combines our most efficient waveforms, compression engines and the ability to provide dynamic bandwidth and power management to meet the demands of customers operating on traditional fixed satellite service systems ("FSS") while providing advantages for customers who plan to transition to high throughput satellite ("HTS") systems in the future. Our HEIGHTS networking platform, a successor to our advanced VSAT series of products, is ideally suited for cellular backhaul, universal service obligation networks and other applications that require high performance in a hub-spoke environment.

Our New Line of SLM-5650B Satellite Modems - During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare System Command, in support of the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence, publicly announced its intention to sole-source a five year, IDIQ contract to procure our SLM-5650B satellite modems and upgrade kits. There are over eight-hundred older generation modems currently utilized by multiple Navy programs and our new modems and related upgrade kits will meet critical Navy requirements. We believe no other competitor responded to the Navy’s Request for Proposal (“RFP”) and that we are the only company in the world that is able to meet the Navy’s requirements.

Our Gallium Nitride Based Amplifiers - These amplifiers, which incorporate Gallium Nitride ("GaN") technololgy, offer an efficient size, weight and power profile affording customers more power with higher efficiency. With continued technology evolution in the GaN semiconductor marketplace, we have successfully developed solid-state products with our GaN semiconductor partners that are achieving power levels of traditional tube amplifier products. We believe this will create opportunities to replace difficult to utilize amplifiers which use antiquated technology and are more expensive to operate. In the first quarter of fiscal 2017, we introduced a new series of high-power GaN SSPAs which we believe are more compact and significantly more efficient than other SSPAs on the market, making them ideal for transportable and mobile applications where power draw matters. These new SSPAs include: our new XTLIN-200K SSPA which covers 13.75 to 14.5 GHz Ku-band with a minimum of 200W of linear power; our new XTLIN-100K SSPA which also covers 13.75 to 14.5 GHz Ku-band but with a minimum of 100W of linear power and which allows easy conversion from X-band to Ku-band; and our new XTLIN-200X SSPA which can be used for tactical X-band and which offers a minimum of 200W of linear power. We believe these new product introductions will meet the needs of our customers for many years ahead.

Our New Trusted Technology Location Solutions - In order to determine a cellular phone user’s location, many companies utilize technology that combines wireless network-derived location data with data from the phone’s on-board global positioning system receiver. In April 2016, we were issued a U.S. patent for our Location Trust Score technology. This patent grants us important intellectual property protection and licensing opportunities for a unique process that identifies the reliability of a stated mobile location by generating a "Location Trust Score." We believe this technology is a major breakthrough in providing secure, accurate and reliable information and a powerful tool for identifying fraud, preventing "false positive" denials of service, and confirming location compliance for regulated industries.

(4)
We Have a Diverse Global Customer Base

We have established longstanding relationships with hundreds of customers worldwide. Our customers include leading system and network suppliers in the global satellite, defense, broadcast and aerospace industries, as well as the U.S. federal government, U.S. state and local governments, and foreign governments.

Our satellite earth station products and our high-power amplifiers are used by hundreds of international customers including mobile cellular network providers and governments around the world. We also have ongoing relationships with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and other government agencies. Our global commercial and government customers are increasingly seeking integrated solutions to meet their operational needs. We believe that our customers recognize our ability to develop improved technologies and to meet stringent program requirements.

We have long standing relationships with U.S.-based telecommunications companies, including Verizon Wireless and AT&T, through various divisions, directly and through channels.

We believe the TCS acquisition has further strengthened our relationship with the U.S. government, given its prime position on key contracts. Prior to the acquisition, Comtech and TCS had worked together for a number of years to offer the U.S. military a troposcatter system in a transportable flyaway configuration (known as the AN/TCS-198(V3) or SNAP-3T) which is capable of providing seamless compatibility and interoperability with legacy-fielded over-the-horizon microwave systems. Over time, we hope to utilize these prime contracts to facilitate procurement by the U.S. government for our satellite earth station and over-the-horizon microwave equipment and systems, given the ever increasing amount of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (also known as "C4ISR") information that is being generated.

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Our Two Business Segments

We manage our business through two reportable operating segments: Commercial Solutions and Government Solutions. Our corporate senior management team supports the business segments by, among other things, actively seeking to exploit potential synergies that exist between the segments, including in areas such as manufacturing, technology, sales, marketing and customer support.

In fiscal 2017, our Commercial Solutions segment contributed 60.1% of our consolidated net sales and our Government Solutions segment contributed 39.9% of our consolidated net sales. Additional financial information about our business segments, including net sales, operating income, Adjusted EBITDA (a Non-GAAP financial measure), total assets, and our operations outside the United States, is provided in "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (13) Segment Information" included in "Part II - Item 8. - Financial Statements and Supplementary Data."

Commercial Solutions Segment

Overview

Our Commercial Solutions segment serves commercial customers and smaller government customers, such as state and local governments, that require advanced communication technologies to meet their needs. This segment also serves certain large government customers (including the U.S. government) that have requirements for off-the-shelf commercial equipment. We believe this segment is a leading provider of satellite communications (such as satellite earth station modems and TWTAs), public safety systems (such as NG911 technologies) and enterprise application technologies (such as messaging and trusted location-based technologies).

Key Markets and Technology Solutions
Communication Technologies

We offer communication technologies with particular expertise in the satellite communications industry, which is undergoing a period of significant growth and rapid technological change. Our Commercial Solutions segment manufactures most of the satellite-based communication equipment we sell to our customers including equipment sold by our Government Solutions segment.

We believe that the overall satellite ground station equipment industry will grow over the next few years. This growth is expected to occur as a result of wide-sweeping deployment and upgrades of ground-based systems, including satellite earth stations, as well as integration of high-performance amplifiers used for high-performance systems and applications necessary to meet emerging demand for high-performance applications of satellite communications technologies, such as satellite-based wireless backhaul, direct to home ("DTH"), high definition ("HD") and 4K broadcasting, and in-flight connectivity.

We believe that Comtech is well positioned to capitalize on this industry growth and change through sales of our market leading, high performance communication technologies and products, including our SCPC satellite modems, solid-state amplifiers and our HEIGHTS networking platform. Examples of end-market applications that are driving demand for our satellite-based communication technologies include:

Satellite-Based Cellular Backhaul. Demand for satellite-based cellular backhaul services is anticipated to grow rapidly as a result of the increased penetration of smart cellular phones and network upgrades to 3G and 4G in developing regions of the world. As mobile data penetration expands and mobile data consumption increases, wireless carriers must invest in their mobile network infrastructure. In developing regions of the world and in remote areas where terrestrial network infrastructure is lacking, wireless network operators often backhaul, or transport, their wireless data traffic using satellite-based networking technologies. Comtech is well positioned to serve the high-performance, high availability needs of satellite-based cellular backhaul through sales of our leading SCPC modems and solid-state amplifiers.

New High Throughput Satellites. There are literally more than 100 new High Throughput Satellite ("HTS") payloads expected to launch over the next decade which we believe is expected to lead to increasingly complex satellite networks. As service providers work to offer connectivity to these high-speed, high-bandwidth satellites and expand their networks to handle the demand for new HTS applications, we believe they will require new installations and upgrades of equipment.


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High Definition and Ultra-High Definition Broadcasting. In recent years, consumers have purchased millions of High Definition televisions and Ultra-High Definition or "4K" televisions. We believe this will require a significant amount of satellite bandwidth, which is expected to require satellite service providers to upgrade equipment and find new ways to manage the cost and transmission efficiency of their networks. We believe that these requirements will drive increased demand for new SCPC-based modems, our Ka-frequency based 500 Watt TWTA, our HEIGHTS products and our SuperPowerTM TWTAs, which can double TWTA output power and provide direct replacement for bandwidth deficient KPAs.

In-Flight Connectivity. Consumer demand for anytime, anywhere connectivity is rapidly rising. As a result, airlines worldwide are deploying in-flight connectivity and entertainment systems. The deployment of in-flight connectivity and entertainment systems by airlines around the world is creating opportunities for us to serve as a key supplier of amplifier components used for in-flight Ku-band connectivity systems. As airlines move to offer higher speed satellite-based connectivity, we believe this market will experience solid demand over the next few years.

Safety and Security Technologies

We offer safety and security technology solutions that enable 911 call routing via cellular, over the Internet using VoIP, and across next generation technology. When someone places an emergency call using one of these technologies, our software, which is utilized by certain telecommunication carriers, can identify the call as an emergency call, accesses the user’s location information from the wireless network and route the call to the assigned public safety jurisdiction.

We intend to continue to invest in and upgrade our 911 capabilities as we believe this market will grow from current levels. We believe our existing customer base has a need for NG911 systems, including 911 text messaging services, advanced data, real-time photos, and other types of information sharing over IP networks. We believe the Commerce Department’s FirstNet system, a nationwide LTE broadband network for over five million first responders, which encompasses police departments, fire departments, the National Guard, and other emergency service providers using the 700MHz spectrum will facilitate sales of our NG911 systems. Additionally, over time, we believe we can provide systems integration, satellite and location infrastructure terminals, and linkage to NG911 Emergency Services IP Networks ("ESInet"). Although the sales cycle is lengthy and difficult to predict, we believe the market for NG911 products will grow from current levels. As a result, we have implemented and will continue to implement pilot programs of our market leading U.S. solutions in foreign countries. Our NG911 solutions have been deployed since 2006 and are utilized by literally millions of people in more than 30 states. Key E911 capability upgrades include: Text-to-911, indoor location accuracy and multimedia messaging.

Enterprise & Trusted Location Technologies

We offer enterprise application technologies including location-based technology such as Trusted LocationTM, Look4TM, Indoor Location, text messaging platforms, and VirtuMedix®. These technologies are included in some of our Safety and Security Technologies solutions as well.

Leveraging our leading location-based technology expertise, we have developed a wide range of commercial solutions to help address mapping, routing, and geolocation to help reduce cybercrime and fraud, as well as enhance public safety. Our Trusted LocationTM product is a software-based scoring system that allows providers to accurately determine mobile location and identify fraudulent behavior (e.g., location spoofing) and other security risks, including risks arising from mobile-based financial transactions. Our Look4TM application allows customers to build their own applications that include our location-based technology. Look4TM allows enterprise customers to offer their end-customers functionality such as maps, search, geocoding, routing and navigation using their brand. We believe that enterprise customers are increasingly looking for an alternative to free mapping services that are subject to change by the provider and may not meet the enterprise’s privacy and security requirements. Our Indoor Location solution enables the determination of a cell phone user’s geospatial position in environments where traditional Global Positioning System (“GPS”), global navigation satellite systems and cellular technologies do not work well (such as office buildings). The FCC has mandated that emergency services must incorporate this technology (and we believe other markets will follow) which utilizes more precise location information in mobile applications as well as in driverless cars and C4ISR systems. We provide services to support these applications, and our platform is used to provide "Connected Car" connectivity. Our text messaging platforms are used by wireless carriers to provide SMS to their end-customers and are also used to communicate with 911 PSAPs through major network operators. For our installed base of systems, we provide ongoing operational support, including administration of system components, system optimization, and configuration management. Maintenance services include tracking customer support issues, trouble shooting, and developing and installing maintenance releases. The VirtuMedix® product is a new secure digital health platform that we have developed and is accessible from any device, connecting patients and providers to enable virtual healthcare. Changes in health regulations and reimbursement models have created a new market opportunity. To date, sales of this product have been nominal.

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Government Solutions Segment

Overview

Our Government Solutions segment serves large government end-users (including those of foreign countries) that require mission-critical technologies and systems. We believe this segment is a leading provider of command and control applications (such as the design, installation and operation of data networks that integrate computing and communications, including both satellite and terrestrial links), ongoing network operation and management support services (including telecom expense management, project management and fielding and maintenance solutions related to satellite ground terminals), troposcatter communications (such as digital troposcatter multiplexers, digital over-the-horizon modems, troposcatter systems, and frequency converter systems) and RF power and switching technologies (such as solid-state high-power broadband amplifiers, enhanced position location reporting system (commonly known as "EPLRS") amplifier assemblies, identification friend or foe ("IFF") amplifiers, and amplifiers used in the counteraction of improvised explosive devices).

Key Markets and Technology Solutions
Our Government Solutions segment offers integrated satellite equipment and designs, installs and operates data networks that integrate computing and communications (including both satellite and terrestrial links) and field support. In addition, our Government Solutions segment provides ongoing network operation and management support services including project management and fielding and maintenance solutions related to satellite ground terminals and related systems.
Command & Control (C4ISR) Technologies
With persistent threats from state and non-state actors, governments seek to mitigate these threats using information to increase decision-makers’ situational awareness. This information is collected through various surveillance platforms, such as radars and unmanned aerial vehicles ("UAVs"), and transferred and processed through secure communications networks.
We offer solutions to help close the security gap in an era of information-based, network-centric warfare. U.S. and foreign governments use our over-the-horizon microwave systems to, among other things, transmit radar tracking and air defense information and to connect remote border locations. We also offer satellite transceivers used by militaries to track and communicate with friendly forces, and we offer cybersecurity training. Our amplifiers support high capacity U.S. military satellite systems and our narrow-band solid state amplifier products are a key component in communications systems used to support U.S. special operations forces. In addition, advanced UAVs use our integrated solid state products as part of their data link systems. U.S. and foreign military customers use our solid state amplifiers in a variety of electronic warfare systems such as jamming, broadcasting and deception in addition to simulation, communication, radar, counter measure and IFF systems.
Governments around the world have historically allocated large portions of their defense budgets to platform-based programs - for example, the development, acquisition, operation and maintenance of aircrafts and ships. However, with increasing security threats and increasingly constrained budgets, the new capital allocation mentality in the defense industry is that incremental investment in old platform programs is seen as starving funding from data-centric investments which do more to close the security gap. Increasing focus by government agencies on the protection of their online assets has brought the importance of cybersecurity and associated solutions to the forefront. As such, we have developed a number of cybersecurity training solutions to meet the U.S. government’s surging demand for qualified personnel. We are proficient in the recruitment and development of cyber professionals and offer our Art of Exploitation training program. This training program covers a clear set of leading methodologies to produce a certified cyber professional.
Troposcatter Technologies
Over-the-horizon microwave systems, sometimes referred to as troposcatter systems, are extremely reliable and secure. Over-the-horizon microwave communication is a cost-effective, secure alternative to satellite communication as it does not require the leasing of expensive satellite transponder space with its attendant recurring costs. Traditional end-users of our troposcatter equipment have included the U.S. government and foreign governments that utilize our systems to, among other things, transmit radar tracking, run C4ISR applications, and connect remote border locations. Additionally, energy companies use our systems to enable communication links for offshore oil rigs and other remote locations, as well as for exploration activities. Our over-the-horizon microwave systems, which include our patented forward error correction technology, can transmit video and other broadband applications at throughputs of up to 50 megabits per second ("Mbps").

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We believe the market for troposcatter technologies is poised for growth. We believe many emerging and developing countries will be required to further develop and upgrade their commercial and defense communications systems, and many of these countries lack the financial resources to install extensive land-based networks, particularly where they have large geographic areas or unfriendly terrain that make the installation of land-based networks more costly. We believe our over-the-horizon microwave technologies often provide affordable and effective solutions to meet the requirements for communications services in these countries and that long-term demand will increase.
Our MTTS, the first truly modular, rapidly deployable transit case-based troposcatter system, which has recently been purchased by the U.S. Army, has been incorporated into the SNAP family of products used by the U.S. military and called the Tactical Transportable TROPO ("SNAP 3T") or AN/TRC 198(V3). Numerous SNAP 3T terminals have been deployed by the U.S. Army in recent years and we believe that the U.S. Army intends to deploy a significant number of units in the future. We are currently developing next generation troposcatter modems that will provide significant reductions in size, power and weight as compared to currently available models. We believe these next generation modems will facilitate further market expansion over the next several years.
RF Power and Switching Technologies
Our high-power solid-state amplifiers and related technologies are utilized in several critical applications including: electronic warfare, communications, radar, IFF and medical applications. We believe the demand for our RF power and switching technologies is growing.
In the electronic warfare marketplace, we support legacy systems and are participating in the ongoing migration to platforms that require smaller and lighter amplifiers. We expect the U.S. DoD to fund initial proof of concept systems and fund production of small airborne platforms to meet the need for improved data link systems with manned and unmanned platforms. Our solutions increase the flexibility of systems by providing wider bandwidth capabilities to address communication needs.
We also believe that the desire for increased situational awareness of the airspace may create opportunities for our radar and IFF products, which are used by government customers around the world. Our high power and highly reliable GaN amplifier technology is increasingly being used both to update existing radar systems for improved sensitivity and range as well as for new radar installations. In addition to technologies that enhance performance of primary radars, we also supply solutions for IFF systems that provide positive identification of radar targets. Governing bodies are requiring the implementation of spectrum friendly systems which, in turn, is driving market need for new hardware for our advanced performance systems.
The medical industry is also making use of our technologies in oncology and hypothermic cancer treatment systems. These systems improve treatment precision, reduce marginal costs and allow for higher insurance reimbursement rates. These increased reimbursement levels are strong incentives to upgrade facilities with the latest available technologies.
Over time, as a result of the TCS acquisition, we expect to be able to compete for a larger number of government contracts due to our increased scale, prime contracting experience, key past performance qualifications and broader technology resources. Furthermore, TCS has historically procured certain modems and amplifiers used in its equipment from third parties. We are currently in the process of having our equipment certified for inclusion on these programs, which will allow us to displace existing third party providers and control and enhance overall system performance.

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Summary of Key Products, Systems and Services by Business Segment

The diagram below illustrates how our advanced technology solutions are organized by our two reportable operating segments:
 
Commercial Solutions Segment Technologies
 
Government Solutions Segment Technologies
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Communication Technologies
 
Safety and Security Technologies
 
Enterprise Technologies
 
Command and Control Technologies
 
Troposcatter Technologies
 
RF Power and Switching Technologies
Satellite Earth Station Products
Ground-based equipment such as single channel per carrier modems and solid-state amplifiers that facilitate the transmission of voice, video and data over satellite links
Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers
High power narrow-band amplifiers used to amplify signals from satellite earth stations

 
Safety and Security
Wireless/
VoIP 911 service for network operators

NextGen 911

ESInet (Emergency Services IP Network)

 
Application Solutions
Software and equipment for Iocation-based and messaging infrastructure

Managed “cIoud-services”

Trusted LocationTM

Indoor Location

 
C4ISR
Tactical communications, managed networks, logistics, end-to-end integration

Cyber Intelligence Solutions
Cybersecurity training

Computer network operations

Mobile Data Communications
Secure, satellite-based mobile communications and tracking systems

 
Over-the-Horizon Microwave Systems
Equipment and systems that can transmit digitized voice, video and data over unfriendly or inaccessible terrain over distances from 20 to 200 miles using the troposphere



 
Solid State Power Amplifiers
Solid state high power broadband amplifiers designed for radar, electronic warfare, jamming, medical and aviation applications


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commercial Solutions Segment Representative Customers
 
Government Solutions Segment Representative Customers
Satellite systems integrators, wireless and other communication service providers, broadcasters.

Domestic and international defense customers, as well as U.S. and foreign governments, prime contractors and system suppliers such as Harris Corporation, General Dynamics Corporation, L-3 Communications, Raytheon Company and ViaSat Inc.

Satellite broadcasters, such as The DIRECTV Group and EchoStar Corporation.

End-customers also include AT&T Inc., BT Group plc., China Mobile Limited, Century Link, Comcast Corporation, Intelsat, Ltd., Globecomm Systems, Inc., Nokia Corporation, O3b Networks, Qualcomm Incorporated, Sprint Corporation and Verizon Communications, Inc.
 
U.S. Army logistics community, the U.S. Army war-fighter community, foreign governments, the U.S. Navy, prime contractors to the U.S. Armed Forces and NATO.

Domestic and international defense customers, prime contractors and system suppliers such as Raytheon Company, Exelis Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Telephonics, Inc. and Thales Group.

Medical equipment companies, such as Varian Medical Systems, Inc., and aviation industry system integrators such as Rockwell Collins, Inc.

U.S. government customers in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and Latin America and related prime contractors and systems integrators.

Oil companies such as Shell Oil Company and Petronas.

 



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Acquisitions

In the past, we have acquired businesses and enabling technologies. We have followed a disciplined approach in identifying, executing and capitalizing on these acquisitions. 

On February 23, 2016, we acquired TCS, a leading provider of commercial solutions (such as public safety systems and enterprise application technologies) and government solutions (such as command and control (C4ISR) applications). The TCS acquisition has an aggregate purchase price for accounting purposes of $340.4 million (also referred to as the transaction equity value) and an enterprise value of $423.6 million. The TCS acquisition was the largest acquisition in our history and resulted in Comtech entering complementary markets and expanding our domestic and international commercial offerings. TCS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Comtech. Our financial results for fiscal 2017 include a full year of TCS operations and for fiscal 2016 include approximately five months of TCS operations. See "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" for further discussion. Because our historical results prior to February 23, 2016 do not include TCS, you should not rely on period-to-period comparisons as an indicator of our future performance as these comparisons may not be meaningful.

Sales, Marketing and Customer Support

Sales and marketing strategies vary with particular markets served and include direct sales through sales, marketing and engineering personnel, indirect sales through independent representatives, value-added resellers, and sales through a combination of the foregoing. We devote resources to evaluating and responding to requests for proposals by governmental agencies around the world and, as needed, we employ the use of specialized consultants to develop our proposals and bids.

We intend to continue to expand international marketing efforts by engaging additional independent sales representatives, distributors and value-added resellers and by establishing additional foreign sales offices.

In addition, we also leverage our relationships with larger companies to market our commercial systems. These indirect sales relationships include AT&T, CenturyLink, and Nokia Corporation. We have Cisco certifications which enhance our ability to co-sell with Cisco’s sales force.

We are pre-qualified as an approved vendor for certain government contracts, and some of our products and services are available to government customers via the General Services Administration’s Information Technology Schedule 70, GTACS, CS2, CS3 and the Space and Naval Warfare Foreign Military Sales contract vehicles. We collaborate in sales efforts under various arrangements with integrators. Our marketing efforts also include advertising, public relations, speaking engagements and attending and sponsoring industry conferences.

Our management, technical and marketing personnel establish and maintain relationships with customers. Our sales strategies include a commitment to providing ongoing customer support for our systems and equipment. This support involves providing direct access to engineering staff or trained technical representatives to resolve technical or operational issues.

Our products and services in many of our product lines have long sales cycles. Once a product is designed into a system, customers may be reluctant to change the incumbent supplier due to the extensive qualification process and potential redesign required in using alternative sources. In addition, in recent years, we have found that overall sales cycles for each of our product lines have significantly increased.

Sales by geography and customer type, as a percentage of consolidated net sales, are as follows:
 
 
Fiscal Years Ended July 31,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
 
Commercial Solutions
 
Government Solutions
 
Consolidated
U.S. government
 
15.1
%
 
25.0
%
 
29.3
%
 
59.2
%
 
65.0
%
 
33.2
%
 
32.7
%
 
40.8
%
 
30.6
%
Domestic
 
54.4
%
 
40.6
%
 
15.9
%
 
15.5
%
 
11.6
%
 
7.9
%
 
38.9
%
 
29.2
%
 
13.2
%
Total U.S.
 
69.5
%
 
65.6
%
 
45.2
%
 
74.7
%
 
76.6
%
 
41.1
%
 
71.6
%
 
70.0
%
 
43.8
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
International
 
30.5
%
 
34.4
%
 
54.8
%
 
25.3
%
 
23.4
%
 
58.9
%
 
28.4
%
 
30.0
%
 
56.2
%
Total
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%


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Sales to U.S. government customers include sales to the DoD, intelligence and civilian agencies such as Homeland Security and the General Services Administration, as well as sales directly to or through prime contractors.

Domestic sales include sales to U.S state and local governments.

International sales for fiscal 2017, 2016 and 2015 (which include sales to U.S. domestic companies for inclusion in products that will be sold to international customers) were $156.5 million, $123.5 million and $172.7 million, respectively. When we sell internationally, we denominate virtually all of our contracts in U.S. dollars. Some of our sales to international customers are paid for by letters of credit or on an open account. From time to time, some of our international customers may require us to provide performance guarantees.

For fiscal 2017 and 2016, except for the U.S. government, no other customer or individual country (including sales to U.S. domestic companies for inclusion in products that will be sold to a foreign country) represented more than 10% of consolidated net sales. Sales to a U.S. prime contractor customer represented 13.5% of consolidated net sales for fiscal 2015. Almost all of those sales relate to our North African country end-customer.

As a result of the TCS acquisition, we believe that domestic net sales as a percentage of our consolidated net sales in future periods will be significantly higher than it was in periods prior to the TCS acquisition, due to the inclusion in consolidated net sales of safety and security technology solutions (such as 911 call routing) which are primarily sold to U.S. domestic customers.

Backlog

Our backlog as of July 31, 2017 was $446.2 million (of which $289.0 million was attributed to the Commercial Solutions segment and $157.2 million was attributed to the Government Solutions segment). We expect that a significant portion of the backlog as of July 31, 2017 will be recognized as sales during fiscal 2018.

At July 31, 2017, 22.7% of our backlog consisted of U.S. government contracts, subcontracts and government funded programs, 16.3% consisted of orders for use by international customers (including sales to U.S. domestic companies for inclusion in products that will be sold to international customers) and 61.0% consisted of orders for use by U.S. commercial customers.

Our backlog consists of orders (sometimes referred to herein as bookings) that we believe to be firm; however, almost all of the contracts in our backlog (including firm orders previously received from the U.S. government) are subject to modification, cancellation at the convenience of the customer or for default in the event that we are unable to perform under the contract. Backlog that is derived from U.S. government orders relates to U.S. government contracts that have been awarded, signed and funded. Backlog for our U.S. government customers also includes amounts appropriated by Congress and allotted to the contract by the procuring government agency. Our backlog does not include the value of options that may be exercised in the future on multi-year contracts, nor does it include the value of additional purchase orders that we may receive under indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity ("IDIQ") contracts or basic ordering agreements.

In some cases, such as contracts received from large U.S. based telecommunication companies, our backlog is computed by multiplying the most recent month’s contract or revenue by the months remaining under the existing long-term agreements, which we consider to be the best available information for anticipating revenue under those agreements.

A significant portion of the backlog from our U.S. commercial customers relates to large, multi-year contracts to provide state and local governments (and their agencies) with safety and security solutions. Although the contracts themselves represent legal, binding obligations of these governments, funding is often subject to the approval of budgets (for example, on an annual or bi-annual basis). Although funding for these multi-year contracts are dependent on future budgets being approved, we include the full estimated value of these large, multi-year contracts in our backlog given the critical nature of the services being provided and the positive historical experience of our state and local government customers passing their respective budgets.

There can be no assurance that our backlog will result in actual revenue in any particular period, or at all, or that any contract included in backlog will be profitable. There is a higher degree of risk in this regard with respect to unfunded backlog. The actual receipt and timing of any revenue is subject to various contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. The actual recognition of revenue on contracts included in backlog may never occur or may change because a program schedule could change, the program could be canceled, a contract could be reduced, modified or terminated early, funding may not be included in future budgets, or an option that we had assumed would be exercised is not exercised.


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Variations in backlog from time to time are attributable, in part, to changes in sales mix, the timing of contract proposals, and the timing of contract awards and delivery schedules on specific contracts. A large majority of the solutions in our communication technologies product line operate under short lead times. Our Government Solutions segment backlog is highly influenced by the nature and timing of orders received from the U.S. government, which is subject to unpredictable funding, deployment and technology decisions. As a result, we believe our backlog and orders, at any point in time, are not necessarily indicative of the total sales anticipated for any particular future period.

Manufacturing and Service

Our manufacturing operations consist principally of the assembly and testing of electronic products that we design and build from purchased fabricated parts, printed circuits and electronic components. We consider our facilities to be well maintained and adequate for current and planned production requirements. All of our manufacturing facilities, including those that serve the military market, must comply with stringent customer specifications. We employ formal quality management programs and other training programs, including the International Standard Organization’s quality procedure registration programs.

We operate a high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Tempe, Arizona. This manufacturing center is operated by our Commercial Solutions segment and can be utilized, in part, by our Government Solutions segment and by third-party commercial customers, including prime contractors to the U.S. government, who can outsource a portion of their product manufacturing to us. Increased usage of our high-volume technology manufacturing center allows us to secure volume discounts on key components, better control the quality of our manufacturing process and maximize the utilization of our manufacturing capacity.

Our ability to deliver products to customers on a timely basis is dependent, in part, upon the availability and timely delivery by subcontractors and suppliers (including, at times, the U.S. government) of the components and subsystems that we use in manufacturing our products. Electronic components and raw materials used in our products are generally obtained from independent suppliers. Some components are standard items and are available from a number of suppliers. Others are manufactured to our specifications by subcontractors. Although we obtain certain components and subsystems from a single source or a limited number of sources, we believe that most components and equipment are available from multiple sources. Certain U.S. government contracts may require us to incorporate government furnished parts into our products. Delays in receipt of such parts can adversely impact the timing of our performance on the related contracts.

Research and Development

We have established a leading technology position in our fields through internal and customer-funded research and development activities.

Internal research and development expenses are reported as research and development expenses for financial reporting purposes and were $54.3 million, $42.2 million and $35.9 million in fiscal 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, representing 9.9%, 10.3% and 11.7% of total consolidated net sales, respectively, for these periods. Customer-funded research and development activities relate to the adaptation of our basic technology to specialized customer requirements which is recoverable under contracts and is reflected in net sales with the related costs included in cost of sales. Certain of our government customers contract with us from time to time to conduct research on telecommunications software, equipment and systems. During fiscal 2017, 2016 and 2015, we were reimbursed by customers for such activities in the amounts of $27.1 million, $17.4 million and $9.2 million, respectively.

Intellectual Property

We rely upon trade secrets, technical know-how, continuing technological innovation and, with respect to certain technologies, patents to develop and maintain our competitive position. The products we sell require significant engineering design and manufacturing expertise. For these technological capabilities that are not protected by patents or licenses, we generally rely on the expertise of our employees and our learned experiences in both the design and manufacture of our products and the delivery of our services.

Some of our key Commercial Solutions segment technology is protected by patents that are significant to protecting our proprietary technology. We have been issued several U.S. patents relating to forward error correction technology that is utilized in our TPC-enabled satellite modems. Due to our market leadership position, we do not expect that upon expiration of these patents, our future results will be negatively impacted. Our DoubleTalk® Carrier-in-Carrier® bandwidth compression technology is licensed by us from a third party.


12




In connection with the TCS acquisition, we acquired a portfolio of several hundred patents worldwide relating to wireless location-based services, text messaging, GPS ephemeris data, emergency public safety data routing, electronic commerce, and other areas. Our patent portfolio allows us to build meaningful partnerships with other companies through direct licensing, cross licensing, and other forms of agreements. Our commitment to protecting our intellectual property ensures continued differentiation and freedom to operate in the industry. We do not believe that any single patent or group of patents, patent application or patent license agreement is material to the Company’s operations.

We have filed additional patent applications for certain apparatus and processes we believe we have invented covering key features of the location services, wireless text alerts, SMS Center, mobile-originated data and E911 network software. There is no assurance that our patent applications will result in a patent being issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or other patent offices, nor is there any guarantee that any issued patent will be valid and enforceable. Additionally, foreign patent rights may or may not be available or pursued in any technology area for which U.S. patent applications have been filed.

Almost all of the products and services we sell to the U.S. government include technology and other technical know-how that we have internally developed. In past instances where we have provided government-purpose rights, to our knowledge, the U.S. government has not exercised any of these rights. To the extent that we have provided or will provide government-purpose rights in the future, we believe that given the rapidly changing nature of our technology, our future success will depend primarily on the technical competence and creative skill of our personnel, rather than any contractual protection.

Competition

Our businesses are highly competitive and are characterized by rapid technological change. Some of our competitors are substantially larger, have significantly greater financial, marketing, research and development, technological and operating resources and broader product lines than we have. Other companies are developing new technologies and the shift towards open standards such as IP-based satellite networks will likely result in increased competition. A significant technological breakthrough by others, including new companies, our existing competitors and our customers, could have a material adverse effect on our business. Our growth and financial condition depends on, among other things, our ability to keep pace with such changes and developments and to respond to the increasing variety of electronic equipment users and transmission technologies.

Some large defense-based companies, such as Northrop Grumman Corporation, have subsidiaries or divisions that compete against us in one or more business segments. In addition, new and potential competitors are always emerging. Certain of our customers, such as prime contractors who currently outsource their engineering and manufacturing requirements to us, have technological capabilities in our product areas and could choose to replace our products with products they develop. In some cases, we partner or team with companies (both large and mid-tier) to compete against other teams for large defense programs. In some cases, these same companies may be among our competitors.

Listed below, in alphabetical order, are some of our competitors in each of our two business segments:

Commercial Solutions - Airbus DS Communications, Advantech Wireless Inc., CalAmp Corp., COM Dev International Ltd. (a subsidiary of Honeywell, Inc.), Comverse Technology Inc. (a subsidiary of Mavenir Systems, Inc.), CPI International, Inc., Datum Systems, Inc., 8x8 Inc., Motorola Solutions, Inc., Ericsson LM Telephone Co., Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd., Google Inc., Harris Corporation, iDirect, Inc., Intermap Technologies Corp., Iridium Communications Inc., KVH Industries Inc., Mavenir Systems, Inc. (formerly Xura, Inc.), Newtec, Nokia Networks, NovelSat, Orbcomm, Inc., Paradise Datacom LLC (a subsidiary of Teledyne Corporation), Solacom Technologies Inc., Telenav, Inc., ViaSat, Inc. and West Corporation.

Government Solutions - Aethercomm, Inc., CACI International Inc., CalAmp Corp., Computer Sciences Corporation, DB Control Corp. (a subsidiary of HEICO Corp.), E2V Technologies Ltd., Empower RF Systems, Inc., General Dynamics Corporation, Harris Corporation, L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., Mercury Systems, Inc., NeuStar, Inc., The KEYW Holding Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Orbital ATK, Inc., Teledyne Technologies, Ultra Electronics Herley Industries (a division of Ultra Electronics Holdings PLC) and ViaSat, Inc.

We believe that competition in all of our markets is based primarily on technology innovation, product performance, reputation, delivery times, customer support and price. Due to our proprietary know-how, we believe we have the ability to develop, produce and deliver products and services on a cost-effective basis faster than many of our competitors.


13




Employees

At July 31, 2017, we had 1,813 employees (including temporary employees and contractors), 1,075 of whom were engaged in production and production support, 386 in research and development and other engineering support, and 352 in marketing and administrative functions. None of our U.S. based employees are represented by a labor union. We believe that our employee relations are good.

U.S. Government Contracts and Security Clearances

The U.S. government operates on an October-to-September fiscal year. Generally, in February of each year, the President of the United States presents to the U.S. Congress ("Congress") the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year and from February through September of each year, the appropriations and authorization committees of Congress review the President’s budget proposals and establish the funding levels for the upcoming fiscal year. Once these levels are enacted into law, the Executive Office of the President administers the funds to the agencies. Thereafter, we can receive orders pursuant to sole-source or competitively awarded contracts, which we describe below.

The U.S. government may be unable to complete its budget process before the end of any given government fiscal year and when the fiscal budget is not approved in a timely manner, the U.S. government is required either to shut down or be funded pursuant to a so-called "continuing resolution" that authorizes agencies of the U.S. government to continue operations but does not authorize new spending initiatives, either of which could result in reduced or delayed orders or payments for products and services we provide.

Sole-source contracts are generally awarded to a single contractor without a formal competition when a single contractor is deemed to have an expertise or technology superior to that of competing contractors or when there is an urgent need by the U.S. government that cannot wait for a full competitive process. Potential suppliers compete informally through research and development and marketing efforts. Competitively-bid contracts are awarded based on a formal proposal evaluation established by the procuring agency and interested contractors prepare bids. Competitively-bid contracts are awarded after a formal bid and proposal competition among suppliers.

The U.S. government has a stated policy direction to reduce the number of sole-source contract awards across all procuring agencies. In addition, the U.S. government is increasing the use of multiple-award IDIQ contracts to increase its procurement options. IDIQ contracts allow the U.S. government to select a group of eligible contractors for the same program. When the government awards IDIQ contracts to multiple bidders under the same program, a company that has already competed to be selected as a participant in the program must subsequently compete for individual delivery orders. As a result of this U.S. government shift toward multiple award IDIQ contracts, we expect to face greater competition for future U.S. government contracts and, at the same time, greater opportunities for us to participate in program areas that we do not currently participate in.

As a U.S. government contractor and subcontractor, we are subject to a variety of rules and regulations, such as the Federal Acquisition Regulations ("FAR"). Individual agencies can also have acquisition regulations. For example, the Department of Defense implements the FAR through the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation supplement (commonly known as "DFARs"). For all Federal government entities, the FAR regulates the phases of any product or service acquisition, including: acquisition planning, competition requirements, contractor qualifications, protection of source selection and vendor information, and acquisition procedures. In addition, the FAR addresses the allowability of supplier costs, while Cost Accounting Standards address how those costs can be allocated to contracts. The FAR also subjects suppliers to audits and other government reviews. These reviews cover issues such as cost, performance and accounting practices relating to our contracts. The government may challenge a supplier's costs and fees. Suppliers are also required to comply with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual which relates to requirements regarding classified materials and programs. Suppliers who do not comply with these various regulations may lose and/or become ineligible for facility security clearances and/or participation in classified programs.

Under firm fixed-price contracts, we perform for an agreed-upon price and we can derive benefits from cost savings, but bear the risk of cost overruns. Our cost-reimbursable type contracts typically provide for reimbursement of allowable costs incurred plus a negotiated fee. Cost-plus-incentive-fee orders typically provide for sharing with the U.S. government savings accrued from orders performed for less than the target costs and costs incurred in excess of targets up to a negotiated ceiling price (which is higher than the target cost), and for the supplier to carry the entire burden of costs exceeding the negotiated ceiling price.

In fiscal 2017, $180.0 million or 32.7% of our consolidated net sales were to the U.S. government (including sales to prime contractors to the U.S. government). Of this amount, firm fixed-price and cost-reimbursable type contracts (including fixed-fee, incentive-fee and time and material type contracts) accounted for approximately $135.4 million and $44.6 million, respectively.


14




Regulatory Matters

In addition to the rules and regulations that pertain to us as a U.S. government contractor and subcontractor, we are also subject to a variety of local, state and federal governmental regulations.

Our products that are incorporated into wireless communications systems must comply with various government regulations, including those of the FCC. Our manufacturing facilities, which may store, handle, emit, generate and dispose of hazardous substances that are used in the manufacture of our products, are subject to a variety of local, state and federal regulations, including those issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. Our products are also subject to European Union directives related to the recycling of electrical and electronic equipment.

Our international sales are subject to U.S. and foreign regulations such as the Arms Export Control Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act ("IEEPA"), the International Traffic in Arms Regulations ("ITAR"), the Export Administration Regulations ("EAR") and the trade sanctions laws and regulations administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"). If we are unable to receive appropriate export authorizations in the future, we may be prohibited from selling our products and services internationally, which may limit our sales and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. We must comply with all applicable export control laws and regulations of the U.S. and other countries. Certain of our products and systems may require licenses from U.S. government agencies for export from the U.S., and some of our products are not permitted to be exported. In addition, in certain cases, U.S. export controls also severely limit unlicensed technical discussions, such as discussions with any persons who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. As a result, in cases where we may need an export license, our ability to compete against a non-U.S. domiciled foreign company that may not be subject to the same U.S. laws may be materially adversely affected. In addition, we are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") and other local laws that generally bar bribes or unreasonable gifts to foreign governments or officials. Violations of these laws or regulations could result in significant sanctions, including disgorgement of profits, fines, and criminal sanctions against us, our officers, our directors, or our employees, more onerous compliance requirements, more extensive debarments from export privileges or loss of authorizations needed to conduct aspects of our international business. A violation of any of the regulations enumerated above could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, changes in regulatory requirements which could further restrict our ability to deliver services to our international customers, including the addition of a country to the list of sanctioned countries under the IEEPA or similar legislation could negatively impact our business.

In the past, we have self-reported violations of ITAR to the U.S. Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls ("DDTC") and had an ITAR compliance audit performed by an independent auditor at the request of the DDTC. Although the audit found no violations of ITAR, we committed to the DDTC that we would enhance and maintain certain policies and procedures and we have established a company-wide Office of Trade Compliance.

In October 2014, we self-disclosed to OFAC that we learned during a routine assessment of the adequacy of our export control compliance procedures that we had inadvertently neglected to obtain an OFAC license for a shipment of modems to a Canadian customer who, we learned after the transaction had begun, intended to incorporate our modems in a communication system the ultimate end user of which was the Sudan Civil Aviation Authority.  OFAC regulations prohibit U.S. persons from doing business directly or indirectly in Sudan and from facilitating transactions by non-U.S. persons which would be illegal if done by a U.S. person.  In late 2015, OFAC issued an administrative subpoena to us seeking further information about the previous voluntarily disclosed transaction and any other transactions involving Sudan. We responded to the subpoena, including alerting OFAC to Comtech’s repair of three modems for a customer in Lebanon after which time the modems were rerouted to Sudan without Comtech’s knowledge. OFAC has not responded to our submission of further information and we cannot predict when the agency will complete its review and determine whether any violations occurred. See "Risk Factors - Risks Related to our Business-Our international sales and operations are subject to risks of conducting business in foreign countries, including applicable laws relating to trade, export controls and foreign corrupt practices, the violation of which could adversely affect our operations. We cannot be certain that we will be able to obtain necessary export licenses, and such failure would materially adversely affect our operations."


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Our financial reporting, corporate governance, public disclosure and compliance practices are governed by laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, and rules and regulations issued by the SEC. The SEC has adopted rules which require, among other things, public companies to conduct certain inquiries to determine whether or not Conflict Minerals (as that term is defined in the SEC rules) that are necessary to the functionality of their manufactured products or their product's production processes originated in a Covered Country (as that term is defined in the SEC rules) and ultimately file a report with the SEC. Conflict Minerals are widely used in many industries, including the telecommunications industry and almost all of our products include component parts purchased from third party suppliers and we must rely heavily on information received from suppliers to determine the origin of those materials. We have implemented a due diligence program consistent with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines to collect information concerning the country of origin of Conflict Minerals and in that regard, have adopted a policy that requires our suppliers (both public and private) to commit to a code of conduct relating to the responsible sourcing of minerals and to establish a policy to reasonably assure that the products they manufacture do not contain Conflict Minerals that originated in a Covered Country. Efforts to comply with this SEC rule have resulted in additional costs to us and, we believe, to our suppliers. As such, the availability of raw materials used in our operations could be negatively impacted and/or raw material prices could increase. Further, if we are unable to certify that our products are conflict free, we may face challenges with our customers, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage and could harm our reputation.

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ITEM 1A.  RISK FACTORS
Forward-Looking Statements

The following describes major risks to our business and should be considered carefully. Any of these factors could significantly and negatively affect our business, prospects, financial condition, or operating results, which could cause the trading prices of our equity securities to decline. The risks described below are not the only risks we may face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us, or risks that we currently consider immaterial, could also negatively affect us.

Risks Related to our Business

Our fiscal 2018 business outlook is difficult to forecast and operating results are subject to significant fluctuations and are likely to be volatile.

Our new orders (sometimes referred to herein as bookings), net sales and operating results may vary significantly from period to period due to a number of factors including: sales mix; fluctuating market demand; price competition; new product introductions by our competitors; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; unexpected changes in the timing of delivery of components or subsystems; the financial performance of acquisitions; new accounting standards relating to acquisitions, revenue recognition and leasing; political instability; regulatory developments; changes in income tax rates or tax credits; the price and expected volatility of our stock (which will impact, among other items, the amount of stock-based compensation expense we may record); and general global economic conditions.

We have experienced, and will experience in the future, significant fluctuations in new orders, net sales and operating results from period to period. A large portion of our Commercial Solutions segment net sales are derived from products such as satellite earth station equipment and certain traveling wave tube amplifier products that generally have short lead times. As a result, bookings and backlog related to these products are extremely sensitive to short-term fluctuations in customer demand.

A large portion of our Government Solutions segment net sales are derived in part from large U.S. Government programs or large foreign government opportunities that are subject to lengthy sales cycles and are therefore difficult to predict.

In fiscal 2016, we completed our acquisition of TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. ("TCS"), the largest acquisition in our history. Fiscal 2016 included five months of TCS operations. Fiscal 2017 included the operations of TCS for a twelve-month period. As such, fiscal 2018 is expected to be the first comparative twelve month fiscal period including TCS operations. Although the integration of TCS into our business is largely complete, our ability to accurately forecast future performance will continue to be dependent upon our ability to fully familiarize ourselves with the variability of the business and environment in which TCS operates. Although we expect to continue to realize strategic, operational and financial benefits as a result of the TCS acquisition, we cannot be certain whether, and to what extent, such benefits will be achieved in the future. In particular, the ongoing success of the TCS acquisition will depend on maintaining the efficiencies and cost savings we have achieved to date, and no assurances can be given that we will be able to continue to do so.

Our ongoing tactical shift in our Government Solutions segment toward pursuing contracts with higher margins may not prove successful.

We continue to execute on our shift in efforts in our Government Solutions segment away from bidding on large commodity service contracts and toward pursuing contracts for our niche products with higher margins. Although we are beginning to see the benefits of this strategy, in the short-term, this strategy has resulted, and may continue to result, in lower net sales and operating income, in dollars, in our Government Solutions segment. Although we believe this tactical shift will ultimately yield higher operating income, in dollars, as well as higher operating income as a percentage of net sales, we may not be able to successfully execute this strategy, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.


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If global economic business and political conditions deteriorate as compared to the current environment, it could have a material adverse impact on our business outlook and our business, operating results and financial condition.

For the past several years, many of the end-markets for our products and services have been significantly impacted by adverse global economic conditions. For example, many of our international end-customers are located in emerging and developing countries that continue to undergo sweeping economic and political changes. Many governments around the world have also cut their spending budgets and are under pressure to further reduce them. In recent years, global oil and natural gas prices plunged, significantly impairing the ability of our customers in the oil and gas producing regions of the world to invest in telecommunications products and infrastructure. Additionally, the relative strength of the U.S. dollar against many international currencies, as compared to several years ago, has negatively impacted the purchasing power for many of our international end-customers because virtually all of our sales are denominated in U.S. dollars. We generate significant sales from Brazil, Russia, India and China as well as other emerging and developing countries.

The business environment in the past several years resulted in the suppression of end-market demand for many of our satellite earth station products. Although economic conditions have improved, we continue to believe that nearly all of our customers are challenged by capital and operating budget constraints and a difficult credit environment. The impact, severity and duration of these conditions are impossible to predict with precision. Many of our international customers (including our Middle Eastern and African customers) rely on European bank financing to procure funding for large systems, many of which include our equipment. We believe that European financing has been and continues to be difficult to obtain. Volatility of interest rates may cause our customers to be reluctant to spend funds required to purchase our equipment or projects could be postponed or canceled.

In 2016, the U.K. held a referendum in which voters approved an exit from the European Union, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” As a result of the referendum, it is expected that the British government will negotiate the terms of the U.K.’s future relationships with European Union member states. Adverse consequences concerning Brexit or the European Union could include deterioration in global economic conditions, instability in global financial markets, political uncertainty, volatility in currency exchange rates, or adverse changes in the cross-border agreements currently in place, any of which could have an adverse impact on our financial results in the future.

In the past, our overall business has not been immune from adverse economic conditions. Although business conditions in fiscal 2017 improved as compared to prior years and were relatively stable during fiscal 2017, if political conditions around the world become unstable or additional economic sanctions are imposed on some of our end-customers, it could adversely impact our sales. If business conditions become adverse, our business could be impacted in a number of ways, including:

Difficulty in forecasting our results of operations - It is difficult to accurately forecast our results of operations during adverse conditions as we cannot predict the severity or the duration of such conditions or the impact it could have on our current and prospective customers. If our current or prospective customers materially postpone, reduce or even forgo purchases of our products and services to a greater extent than we anticipate, our business outlook will prove to be inaccurate.

Additional reductions in telecommunications equipment and systems spending may occur - Our businesses have been negatively affected by uncertain economic environments in the overall market and, more specifically, in the telecommunications sector. Our customers have reduced their budgets for spending on telecommunications equipment and systems and in some cases postponed or reduced the purchase of our products and systems. In the future, our customers may reduce their spending on telecommunications equipment and systems which would negatively impact both of our operating segments. If this occurs, it would adversely affect our business outlook, net sales, profitability and the recoverability of our assets, including intangible assets such as goodwill.

Our customers may not be able to obtain financing - Although many of our products are relatively inexpensive when compared to the total systems or networks that they are incorporated into, our sales are affected by our customers' ability to obtain the financing they may require to build out their total systems or networks and fund ongoing operations. Many of our emerging market customers obtain financing for network build-outs from European commercial banks and/or governments. Our customers' inability to obtain sufficient financing would adversely affect our net sales. In addition, if the current economic environment and lack of financing results in insolvencies for our customers, it would adversely impact the recoverability of our accounts receivable which would, in turn, adversely impact our results of operations.


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Although the integration of the fiscal 2016 TCS acquisition into our business is largely complete, we may not realize the anticipated benefits from the TCS acquisition, the acquisition may ultimately not be successful and ongoing activity may continue to divert our resources and management attention.

The acquisition of TCS continues to have a number of unique risks, including:

We may not be able to continue to manage organizational changes associated with the TCS acquisition - As of February 1, 2016, in connection with the acquisition of TCS, we reorganized our business into two reportable operating segments: Commercial Solutions and Government Solutions. Although this integration is largely complete, we may further change our business and organizational structure and streamline and further consolidate certain business processes to achieve greater operating efficiencies. The acquisition of TCS has significantly expanded the types of products and services that we sell, expanded the businesses in which we engage, and increased the number of facilities we operate, thereby presenting us with significant challenges in managing the substantial increase in scale of our business. These challenges include the integration of a large number of systems, both operational and administrative. We may not be able to successfully manage these organizational changes and the unanticipated disruption to our business that might result from these changes could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. In addition, the diversion of our management’s attention to these matters and away from other business concerns could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

We may experience a loss or adverse effect on customer relationships - The acquisition of TCS may adversely affect the relationships that the combined company has with its customers, service providers and employees. As a result of the acquisition, we may experience a loss of, or changes to, TCS’s relationships with its customers or Comtech’s legacy customers, which could negatively impact our business outlook. Our future growth depends in part on expanding relationships with key distribution channels for TCS products such as Next Generation 911 solutions. If we are unable to capitalize on those relationships or if we lose existing relationships, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

The loss of key personnel or our inability to attract and retain personnel could adversely affect our future business, operations and financial results.

Our future success will depend in large part on our ability to hire and retain a sufficient number of qualified personnel, particularly in sales and marketing and research and development. If we are unable to do so, our business could be harmed.

We have incurred indebtedness under a Secured Credit Facility, and may not be able to service that debt in the future.

In connection with the acquisition of TCS, we entered into a Secured Credit Facility, as amended June 6, 2017, which provides for borrowing availability of up to $400.0 million. As of July 31, 2017, we had approximately $196.5 million of borrowings under the Secured Credit Facility, as amended, of which $139.1 million is from an original $250.0 million Term Loan A and $57.4 million of drawings under a $150.0 million revolving credit line.

The Secured Credit Facility, as amended, requires quarterly payments and repayment in full by February 23, 2021. If we do not have sufficient funds to repay our debt when due, it may be necessary to refinance our debt through additional debt or equity financings. If, at the time of any refinancing, prevailing interest rates or other factors result in higher interest rates on such refinancing, increases in interest expense could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

If we are unable to meet future debt service obligations or refinance our debt on acceptable terms, we may be forced to dispose of assets on disadvantageous terms, potentially resulting in losses, as we have pledged substantially all of our assets to the lenders as security for our payment obligations.


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Our Secured Credit Facility, as amended June 6, 2017, contains various covenants that impose restrictions on us that may limit our ability to plan for or respond to changes in our business and, as a result, may reduce our profitability.

Our Secured Credit Facility, as amended, contains various affirmative and negative covenants that may restrict our ability to, among other things, permit liens on our property, change the nature of our business, transact business with affiliates and/or merge or consolidate with any other person or sell or convey certain of our assets to any one person.

As of July 31, 2017, our Leverage Ratio (as defined in the Secured Credit Facility, as amended) was 2.84x TTM Consolidated EBITDA (as defined in the Secured Credit Facility, as amended) compared to the maximum allowable Leverage Ratio of 3.75x TTM Consolidated EBITDA. In fiscal 2018, the maximum allowable Leverage Ratio will decrease each quarter until reaching 3.00x TTM Consolidated EBITDA in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, with no further reductions thereafter. Our Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio (as defined in the Secured Credit Facility, as amended) as of July 31, 2017 was 1.95x compared to the minimum required Fixed Charge Coverage Ratio of 1.25x, which will not change for the remaining term of the Secured Credit Facility, as amended. Given our expected future business performance, we anticipate maintaining compliance with the terms and financial covenants in our Secured Credit Facility, as amended, for the foreseeable future. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to meet such covenants. Our ability to comply with these provisions may be affected by events beyond our control. Failure to comply with these covenants could result in an event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could accelerate our repayment obligations. Our substantial debt obligations could impede, restrict or delay the implementation of our business strategy or prevent us from entering into transactions that would otherwise benefit our business. For example:

we may be required to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flows from operations to payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flows for other purposes, including business development efforts, capital expenditures, dividends or strategic acquisitions;

if we are not able to generate sufficient cash flows to meet our substantial debt service obligations or to fund our other liquidity needs, we may have to take actions such as selling assets or raising additional equity or reducing or delaying capital expenditures, strategic acquisitions, investments and joint ventures, or restructuring our debt;

we may not be able to fund future working capital, capital investments and other business activities;

we may not be able to pay dividends or make certain other distributions;

we may become more vulnerable in the event of a downturn in our business or a worsening of general economic or industry-specific conditions; and

our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and industry may be limited, thereby placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less indebtedness.

Future acquisitions of companies and investments could prove difficult to integrate, disrupt our business, dilute stockholder value or adversely affect operating results or the market price of our common stock.

We expect to continue to consider future acquisitions and investments as part of our growth plans. Future acquisitions or investments may result in the use of significant amounts of cash, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, incurrence of large amounts of debt, increases to amortization expense and future write-offs of intangibles acquired. Acquisitions and investments involve risks that include failing to:

properly evaluate the technology;

accurately forecast the financial impact of the transaction, including accounting charges and transaction expenses;

integrate the technologies, products and services, research and development, sales and marketing, support and other operations;

integrate and retain key management personnel and other key employees;

retain and cross-sell to acquired customers; and

combine potentially different corporate cultures.

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Acquisitions and investments could also:

divert management’s attention away from the operation of our businesses;

result in significant goodwill and intangibles write-offs in the event an acquisition or investment does not meet expectations; and

increase expenses, including expenses of managing the growth of such acquired businesses.

There can be no assurance that any future acquisition or investment will be successful within the anticipated time frame, or at all, will be as valuable as the amount we eventually pay to acquire it, and will not adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, if we consummate future acquisitions using our equity securities or securities convertible into our equity securities, existing stockholders may be diluted, which could have a material adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.

Our business is highly dependent on the budgetary decisions of our government customers, including the U.S. government (including prime contractors to the U.S. government), and changes in the U.S. government’s fiscal policies or budgetary priorities may have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

During our fiscal years ended July 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, sales to the U.S. government (including sales to prime contractors to the U.S. government) were $180.0 million, $167.5 million and $94.0 million or 32.7%, 40.8% and 30.6% of our consolidated net sales, respectively. In addition, a large portion of our existing backlog consists of orders related to U.S. government contracts and our business outlook for fiscal 2018 and beyond depends, in part, on new orders from the U.S. government, which is currently under extreme budgetary pressures.

We rely on particular levels of U.S. government spending on our communication solutions, and our receipt of future orders depends in large part on continued funding by the U.S. government for the programs in which we participate. These spending levels are not generally correlated with any specific economic cycle, but rather follow the cycle of general public policy and political support for this type of spending. Government contracts are conditioned upon the continuing availability of congressional appropriations and Congress’s failure to appropriate funds, or Congress’s actions to reduce or delay spending on, or reprioritize its spending away from, U.S. government programs which we participate in, could negatively affect our results of operations. Because many of the items we sell to the U.S. government are included in large programs realized over a period of several years, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine specific amounts that are or will be appropriated for our products and services. As such, our assessments relating to the impact of changes in U.S. government spending may prove to be incorrect.

The federal debt limit continues to be actively debated as plans for long-term national fiscal policy are discussed. The outcome of these debates, including sequestration or mandated reductions which are currently in effect, could have a significant impact on defense spending broadly and programs we support in particular. The failure of Congress to approve future budgets and/or increase the debt ceiling of the U.S. on a timely basis could delay or result in the loss of contracts for the procurement of our products and services and we may be asked or required to continue to perform for some period of time on certain of our U.S. government contracts, even if the U.S. government is unable to make timely payments. A decrease in Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security expenditures, the elimination or curtailment of a material program in which we are involved, or changes in payment patterns of our customers as a result of changes in U.S. government spending could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. Considerable uncertainty exists regarding how budget reductions will be applied and what challenges the reductions will present.

Ultimately the U.S. government may be unable to timely complete its budget process or fully agree upon spending priorities. If the U.S. government budget process results in a prolonged shutdown or prolonged operation under a continuing resolution, we may experience delayed orders, delayed payments and declines in net sales, profitability and cash flows. We may experience related supply chain delays, disruptions or other problems associated with financial constraints faced by our suppliers and subcontractors. All of the aforementioned conditions and factors could, in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. Additionally, cost cutting, efficiency initiatives, reprioritization, other affordability analyses, and changes in budgetary priorities by our governmental customers, including the U.S. government, could adversely impact both of our operating segments. We are unable to predict the impact these or similar events could have on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.


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Our contracts with the U.S. government are subject to unique business, commercial and government audit risks.

We depend on the U.S. government for a significant portion of our revenues. Our contracts with the U.S. government are subject to unique business and commercial risks, including:

unexpected contract or project terminations or suspensions;

unpredictable order placements, reductions, delays or cancellations;

higher than expected final costs, particularly relating to software and hardware development, for work performed under contracts where we commit to specified deliveries for a fixed-price; and

unpredictable cash collections of unbilled receivables that may be subject to acceptance of contract deliverables by the customer and contract close out procedures, including government audit and approval of final indirect rates.

Although we take steps to mitigate our risk with respect to contracts with the U.S. government, we may not be able to do so in every instance for any of the following reasons, among others:

Our U.S. government contracts can easily be terminated by the U.S. government - Our U.S. government contracts can be terminated by the U.S. government for its convenience or upon an event of default by us. Termination for convenience provisions provide us with little to no recourse: our potential recovery of costs incurred or costs committed, potential settlement expenses and hypothetical profit on work completed prior to termination.

Our U.S. government contracts are subject to funding by the U.S. Congress - U.S. government contracts are conditioned upon the continuing approval by Congress of the necessary funding. Congress usually appropriates funds for a given program on a fiscal year basis even though contract performance may take more than one year. Consequently, at the beginning of a major program, the contract may not be fully funded, and additional monies are normally committed to the contract only if, and when, appropriations are made by Congress for future fiscal years. Delays or changes in funding can impact the timing of awards or lead to changes in program content. We obtain certain of our U.S. government contracts through a competitive bidding process. There can be no assurance that we will win additional contracts or that actual contracts that are awarded will ultimately be profitable.

We can be disqualified as a supplier to the U.S. government - As a supplier to the U.S. government, we must comply with numerous regulations, including those governing security, contracting practices and classified information. Failure to comply with these regulations and practices could result in fines being imposed against us or our suspension for a period of time from eligibility for bidding on, or for award of, new government contracts. If we are disqualified as a supplier to government agencies, we would lose most, if not all, of our U.S. government customers and revenues from sales of our products would decline significantly.

In addition, all of our U.S. government contracts can be audited by the Defense Contract Audit Agency ("DCAA") and other U.S. government agencies and we can be subject to penalties arising from post-award contract audits (sometimes referred to as a Truth in Negotiations Act or "TINA" audit) or cost audits in which the value of our contracts may be reduced. If costs are found to be improperly allocated to a specific contract, those costs will not be reimbursed, and any such costs already reimbursed would be required to be refunded. Although we record contract revenues based upon costs we expect to realize upon final audit, we cannot predict the outcome of any such future audits and adjustments and we may be required to materially reduce our revenues or profits upon completion and final negotiation of audits. Negative audit findings could also result in termination of a contract, forfeiture of profits, suspension of payments, fines and suspension or debarment from U.S. government contracting or subcontracting for a period of time.


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Our dependence on sales to international customers exposes us to unique business, commercial and export compliance audit risks.

Sales for use by international customers (including sales to U.S. companies for inclusion in products that will be sold to international customers) represented approximately 28.4%, 30.0% and 56.2% of our consolidated net sales for the fiscal years ended July 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, and we expect that international sales will continue to be a significant portion of our consolidated net sales for the foreseeable future. These sales expose us to certain risks, including barriers to trade, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates (which may make our products less price-competitive), political and economic instability, exposure to public health epidemics, availability of suitable export financing, tariff regulations, and other U.S. and foreign regulations that may apply to the export of our products. Although we take steps to mitigate our risk with respect to international sales, we may not be able to do so in every instance for any of the following reasons, among others:

We may not be able to continue to structure our international contracts to reduce risk - We attempt to reduce the risk of doing business in foreign countries by seeking subcontracts with large systems suppliers, contracts denominated in U.S. dollars, advance or milestone payments and irrevocable letters of credit in our favor. However, we may not be able to reduce the economic risk of doing business in foreign countries in all instances. In such cases, billed and unbilled receivables relating to international sales are subject to increased collectability risk and may result in significant write-offs, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. In addition, foreign defense contracts generally contain provisions relating to termination at the convenience of the government.

We rely on a limited number of international sales agents - In some countries, we rely upon one or a small number of sales agents, exposing us to risks relating to our contracts with, and related performance of, those agents. We attempt to reduce our risk with respect to sales agents by establishing additional foreign sales offices where it is practical and by engaging, where practicable, more than one independent sales representative in a territory. It is our policy to require all sales agents to operate in compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations. Violations of any of these laws, rules or regulations, and other business practices that are regarded as unethical, could interrupt the sales of our products and services, result in the cancellation of orders or the termination of customer relationships, and could damage our reputation, any of which developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

We currently price virtually all of our products in U.S. dollars - Today, virtually all of our sales are denominated in U.S. dollars. Over the last few years, the U.S. dollar has strengthened significantly against many international currencies. As such, many of our international customers experienced a drop in their purchasing power as it relates to their ability to purchase our products. To date, we have not materially changed our selling prices and have experienced lower sales volumes. Although monetary conditions in fiscal 2017 improved as compared to recent years, it is possible, that the U.S. dollar will strengthen from current levels against many international currencies. If this occurs, our customers may reduce their spending or postpone purchases of our products and services to a greater extent than we currently anticipate which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

We must comply with all applicable export control laws and regulations of the U.S. and other countries - Certain of our products and systems may require licenses from U.S. government agencies for export from the U.S., and some of our products are not permitted to be exported. In addition, in certain cases, U.S. export controls also severely limit unlicensed technical discussions, such as discussions with any persons who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. As a result, in cases where we may need a license, our ability to compete against a non-U.S. domiciled foreign company that may not be subject to the same U.S. laws may be materially adversely affected. U.S. laws and regulations applicable to us include the Arms Export Control Act, the IEEPA, the ITAR, the EAR and the trade sanctions laws and regulations administered by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control ("OFAC").


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We must comply with the FCPA and similar laws elsewhere - We are subject to the FCPA and other foreign laws prohibiting corrupt payments to government officials, which generally bar bribes or unreasonable gifts to foreign governments or officials. Violations of these laws or regulations could result in significant sanctions, including disgorgement of profits, fines, criminal sanctions against us, our officers, our directors, or our employees, more onerous compliance requirements, more extensive debarments from export privileges or loss of authorizations needed to conduct aspects of our international business. A violation of any of the regulations enumerated above could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Although we have implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that our employees, contractors, agents, or subsidiaries will not violate our policies. Additionally, changes in regulatory requirements which could restrict our ability to deliver services to our international customers, including the addition of a country to the list of sanctioned countries under the IEEPA or similar legislation could negatively impact our business. For the fiscal years ended July 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, we have conducted virtually no business with states designated as sponsors of terrorism.

We must maintain a company-wide Office of Trade Compliance - In the past, we have self-reported violations of ITAR to the DDTC and had an ITAR compliance audit performed by an independent auditor at the request of the DDTC. Although the audit found no violations of ITAR, we committed to the DDTC that we would enhance and maintain certain policies and procedures and we have established a company-wide Office of Trade Compliance. In October 2014, we self-disclosed to OFAC that we learned during a routine assessment of the adequacy of our export control compliance procedures that we had inadvertently neglected to obtain an OFAC license for a shipment of modems to a Canadian customer who, we learned after the transaction had begun, intended to incorporate our modems in a communication system the ultimate end user of which was the Sudan Civil Aviation Authority.  OFAC regulations prohibit U.S. persons from doing business directly or indirectly in Sudan and from facilitating transactions by non-U.S. persons which would be illegal if done by a U.S. person.  In late 2015, OFAC issued an administrative subpoena to us seeking further information about the previous voluntarily disclosed transaction and any other transactions involving Sudan. We have responded to the subpoena, including alerting OFAC to Comtech’s repair of three modems for a customer in Lebanon after which time the modems were rerouted to Sudan without Comtech’s knowledge. OFAC has not responded to our submission of further information and we cannot predict when the agency will complete its review and determine whether any violations occurred. While OFAC could decide not to impose penalties and only issue a no action or cautionary letter, we could face civil and criminal penalties and may suffer reputational harm if we are found to have violated U.S. sanctions laws. Even though we take precautions to prevent transactions with U.S. sanction targets, any such measures, or any new measures we may implement in the future, may be ineffective. As a result, there is risk that in the future we could provide our products to or permit our products to be downloaded or accessed by such targets despite these precautions. This could result in negative consequences to us, including government investigations, penalties and reputational harm.  

We may be subject to future export compliance audits - We continue to implement policies and procedures to ensure that we comply with all applicable export control laws and regulations. In the future, we may be subjected to compliance audits in the future that may uncover improper or illegal activities that would subject us to material remediation costs, civil and criminal fines and/or penalties and/or an injunction. In addition, we could suffer serious reputational harm if allegations of impropriety were made against us. Each of these outcomes could, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. The absence of comparable restrictions on competitors in other countries may adversely affect our competitive position. In addition, in order to ship our products into and implement our services in some countries, the products must satisfy the technical requirements of that particular country. If we were unable to comply with such requirements with respect to a significant quantity of our products, our sales in those countries could be restricted, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

Our investments in recorded goodwill and other intangible assets could be impaired as a result of future business conditions, a deterioration of the global economy or if we change our reporting unit structure.

As of July 31, 2017, goodwill recorded on our Consolidated Balance Sheet aggregated $290.6 million. Additionally, as of July 31, 2017, net intangibles recorded on our Consolidated Balance Sheet aggregated $261.9 million.

For purposes of reviewing impairment and the recoverability of goodwill and other intangible assets, our Government Solutions and Commercial Solutions segment each constitute a reporting unit and we must make various assumptions in determining their estimated fair values. Reporting units are defined by how our President and Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") manages the business, which includes resource allocation decisions. We may, in the future, change our management approach which in turn may change the way we define our reporting units, as such term is defined by Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 350 "Intangibles - Goodwill and Other." A change to our management approach may require us to perform an interim goodwill impairment test and possibly record impairment charges in a future period.

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In accordance with FASB ASC 350, we perform a goodwill impairment analysis at least annually (in the first fiscal quarter of each fiscal year), unless indicators of impairment exist in interim periods. If we fail the quantitative assessment of goodwill impairment ("quantitative assessment"), pursuant to our adoption of FASB ASU No. 2017-04 in fiscal 2017, we would be required to recognize an impairment loss equal to the amount that a reporting unit's carrying value exceeded its fair value; however, any loss recognized should not exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit.

On August 1, 2017 (the first day of our fiscal 2018), we performed our annual quantitative assessment and estimated the fair value of each of our reporting units using a combination of the income and market approaches. Based on our quantitative evaluation, we determined that our Commercial Solutions and Government Solutions reporting units had estimated fair values in excess of their carrying values of at least 17.8% and 52.9%, respectively, and concluded that our goodwill was not impaired and that neither of our two reporting units was at risk of failing the quantitative assessment. It is possible that, during fiscal 2018 or beyond, business conditions (both in the U.S. and internationally) could deteriorate from the current state, our current or prospective customers could materially postpone, reduce or even forgo purchases of our products and services to a greater extent than we currently anticipate or our common stock price could decline. A significant decline in our customers' spending that is greater than we anticipate or a shift in funding priorities may also have a negative effect on future orders, sales, income and cash flows and we might be required to perform an interim quantitative assessment during fiscal 2018 or beyond. If assumed net sales and cash flow projections are not achieved in future periods or our common stock price significantly declines from current levels, our Commercial Solutions or Government Solutions reporting units could be at risk of failing the quantitative assessment and goodwill and intangibles assigned to the respective reporting units could be impaired.

In any event, we are required to perform the next annual goodwill impairment analysis on August 1, 2018 (the start of our fiscal 2019). If our assumptions and related estimates change in the future, or if we change our reporting unit structure or other events and circumstances change (e.g., a sustained decrease in the price of our common stock (considered on both absolute terms and relative to peers)), we may be required to record impairment charges when we perform these tests, or in other future periods.

In addition to our impairment analysis of goodwill, we also review net intangibles with finite lives when an event occurs indicating the potential for impairment. We believe that the carrying values of our net intangibles were recoverable as of July 31, 2017. Any impairment charges that we may record in the future could be material to our results of operation and financial condition.

We could be negatively impacted by a systems failure or security breach through cyber-attack, cyber intrusion or otherwise, by other significant disruption of our IT networks or those we operate for certain customers, or third party data center facilities, servers and related systems.

Similar to all companies in our industry, we are under constant risk of security breaches and other significant attacks on and disruptions of our IT networks and related systems, including third party data center facilities, whether through actual breaches, cyber-attacks or cyber intrusions via the Internet, malware, computer viruses, attachments to e-mails, persons inside our organization or persons with access to systems inside our organization. Actual security breaches or disruption, particularly through cyber-attack or cyber intrusion, including by computer hackers, foreign governments and cyber terrorists, have increased in recent years and have become more complex. Our IT network and systems, as well as third party data center facilities, have been and, we believe, continue to be under constant attack. We face an added risk of a security breach or other significant disruption to certain of our equipment used on some of our customer’s IT networks and related systems which may involve managing and protecting information relating to national security and other sensitive government functions. We may incur significant costs to prevent and respond to actual breaches, cyber-attacks and other systems disruptions.


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As a communications company, and particularly as a government contractor and a provider of 911 systems, we face a heightened risk of a security breach or disruption from actual breaches, cyber-attacks and other threats to gain unauthorized access to our and our customers' proprietary or classified information on our IT networks, third party data center facilities and related systems and to certain of our equipment used on some of our customer’s IT networks and related systems. These types of information and IT networks and related systems are critical to the operation of our business and essential to our ability to perform day-to-day operations, and, in some cases, are critical to the operations of certain of our customers. Although we make significant efforts to maintain the security and integrity of these types of information and IT networks and related systems, and we have implemented various measures to manage the risk of a security breach or disruption, there can be no assurance that our security efforts and measures will be effective or that actual security breaches or disruptions will not be successful or damaging. Even the most well protected information, networks, data centers, systems and facilities remain potentially vulnerable because security breaches, particularly cyber-attacks and intrusions, or disruptions have occurred and will occur again in the future. Techniques used in such breaches and cyber-attacks are constantly evolving and generally are not recognized until launched against a target, and in some cases are designed not to be detected and, in fact, may not be detected. In some cases, the resources of foreign governments may be behind such attacks. Accordingly, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate security barriers or other preventative measures, and thus it is virtually impossible for us to entirely mitigate this risk.

A security breach or other significant disruption involving these types of information and IT networks and related systems could:
    
Disrupt the proper functioning of these networks, data center facilities and systems and therefore our operations and/or those of certain of our customers;

Result in the unauthorized access to, and destruction, loss, theft, misappropriation or release of, proprietary, confidential, sensitive or otherwise valuable information of ours or our customers, including trade secrets, which others could use to compete against us or for disruptive, destructive or otherwise harmful purposes and outcomes;

Compromise national security and other sensitive government functions;

Require significant management attention and resources to remedy the damages that result; and

Damage our reputation with our customers (particularly agencies of the U.S. government) and the public generally.

In addition, the cost of continually defending against cyber-attacks and actual breaches has increased in recent years and future costs and any or all of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

The measures we have implemented to secure information we collect and store or enable access to may be breached, which could cause us to breach agreements with our partners and expose us to potential investigation and penalties by authorities and potential claims for contract breach, product liability damages, credits, penalties or termination by persons whose information was disclosed.

We take reasonable steps to protect the security, integrity and confidentiality of the information we collect and store and to prevent unauthorized access to third party data to which we enable access through our products, but there is no guarantee that inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure will not occur or that third parties will not gain unauthorized access despite our efforts. If such unauthorized disclosure or access does occur, we may be required to notify persons whose information was disclosed or accessed under existing and proposed laws. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and are often not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate preventative measures. We also may be subject to claims of breach of contract for such disclosure, investigation and penalties by regulatory authorities and potential claims by persons whose information was disclosed. If there is a security breach or if there is an inappropriate disclosure of any of these types of information, we could be exposed to investigations, litigation, fines and penalties. Remediation of and liability for loss or misappropriation of end user or employee personal information could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. Even if we were not held liable for such event, a security breach or inappropriate disclosure of personal, private or confidential information could harm our reputation and our relationships with current and potential customers and end users. Even the perception of a security risk could inhibit market acceptance of our products and services. We may be required to invest additional resources to protect against damages caused by any actual or perceived disruptions of our services. We may also be required to provide information about the location of an end user’s mobile device to government authorities, which could result in public perception that we are providing the government with intelligence information and deter some end users from using our services. Any of these developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.


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Our U.S. Federal, state and foreign tax returns are subject to audit and a resulting tax assessment or settlement could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. Significant judgment is required in determining the provision for income taxes.

The final determination of tax examinations and any related litigation could be materially different than what is reflected in historical income tax provisions and accruals. Our federal income tax returns for fiscal 2015 and 2016 remain subject to potential future Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") audits. In addition, TCS's federal income tax returns for calendar years 2013 through 2015 and the tax period from January 1, 2016 to February 23, 2016 are subject to potential future IRS audits. In addition to income tax audits, TCS is subject to ongoing state and local tax audits by the Washington State Department of Revenue and the City of Seattle. Although adjustments relating to past audits of our federal tax returns (including the recent audit of fiscal 2014) were immaterial, a resulting tax assessment or settlement for other periods or other jurisdictions that may be selected for future audit could have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated results of operation and financial condition.

We have significant operations in Arizona, Florida, California, Washington State, New York and other locations which could be materially and adversely impacted in the event of a terrorist attack and government responses thereto or significant disruptions (including natural disasters) to our business.

Terrorist attacks, the U.S. and other governments' responses thereto, and threats of war could materially adversely impact our business, results of operation and financial condition. For example, our 911, hosted location-based services and satellite teleport services operations depend on our ability to maintain our computer and equipment and systems in effective working order, and to protect our systems against damage from fire, natural disaster, power loss, telecommunications failure, sabotage, unauthorized access to our system or similar events. Although all of our mission-critical systems and equipment are designed with built-in redundancy and security, any unanticipated interruption or delay in our operations or breach of security could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. Our property and business interruption insurance may not be adequate to compensate us for any losses that may occur in the event of a terrorist attack, threat, system failure or a breach of security. Insurance may not be available to us at all or, if available, may not be available to us on commercially reasonable terms.

We operate a high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Tempe, Arizona. We expect intercompany manufacturing to increase from current levels in future periods and we intend to maximize the use of our high-volume technology manufacturing center by continuing to seek contracts with third parties to outsource a portion of their manufacturing to us. A terrorist attack or similar future event may disrupt our operations or those of our customers or suppliers and may affect the availability of materials needed to manufacture our products or the means to transport those materials to manufacturing facilities and finished products to customers. If a natural disaster or other business interruption occurred with respect to our high-volume technology manufacturing center, we do not have immediate access to other manufacturing facilities and, as a result, our business, results of operation and financial condition would be materially adversely affected.

We design and manufacture our over-the-horizon microwave equipment and systems in Florida, where major hurricanes have occurred in the past, and traveling wave tube amplifiers in Santa Clara, California, an area close to major earthquake fault lines, and also manufacture amplifiers in Melville, New York, an area subject to hurricanes. Additionally, certain of our Commercial Solutions segment activities are conducted in Washington State which is also near a fault line. Our operations in these and other locations (such as in our high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Tempe, Arizona), could be subject to natural disasters or other significant disruptions, including hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, fires, water shortages, other extreme weather conditions, medical epidemics, acts of terrorism, power shortages and blackouts, telecommunications failures, and other natural and man-made disasters or disruptions.

We cannot be sure that our systems will operate appropriately if we experience hardware or software failure, intentional disruptions of service by third parties, an act of God or an act of war. A failure in our systems could cause delays in transmitting data, and as a result we may lose customers or face litigation that could involve material costs and distract management from operating our business.

In the event of any such disaster or other disruption, we could experience disruptions or interruptions to our operations or the operations of our suppliers, distributors, resellers or customers; destruction of facilities; and/or loss of life, all of which could materially increase our costs and expenses and materially adversely affect our business, results of operation and financial condition.


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We may be subject to environmental liabilities.

We engage in manufacturing and are subject to a variety of local, state and federal laws and regulations relating to the storage, discharge, handling, emission, generation, manufacture and disposal of toxic or other hazardous substances used to manufacture our products. We are also subject to the Restriction of Hazardous Substance ("RoHS") directive which restricts the use of lead, mercury and other substances in electrical and electronic products. The failure to comply with current or future environmental requirements could result in the imposition of substantial fines, suspension of production, alteration of our manufacturing processes or cessation of operations that could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. In addition, the handling, treatment or disposal of hazardous substances by us or our predecessors may have resulted, or could in the future result, in contamination requiring investigation or remediation, or lead to other liabilities, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

The success of our business is dependent on compliance with FCC rules and regulations and similar foreign laws and regulations.

Many of our products are incorporated into wireless communications systems that must comply with various U.S. government regulations, including those of the FCC, as well as similar international laws and regulations. As a result, our business faces increased risks including the following:

We must obtain various licenses from the FCC - We operate FCC licensed teleports that are subject to the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, or the FCC Act, and the rules and regulations of the FCC. We cannot guarantee that the FCC will grant renewals when our existing licenses expire, nor are we assured that the FCC will not adopt new or modified technical requirements that will require us to incur expenditures to modify or upgrade our equipment as a condition of retaining our licenses. We may, in the future, be required to seek FCC or other government approval if foreign ownership of our stock exceeds certain specified criteria. Failure to comply with these policies could result in an order to divest the offending foreign ownership, fines, denial of license renewal and/or license revocation proceedings against the licensee by the FCC, or denial of certain contracts from other U.S. government agencies.

We are dependent on the allocation and availability of frequency spectrum - Adverse regulatory changes related to the allocation and availability of frequency spectrum and in the military standards and specifications that define the current satellite networking environment, could materially harm our business by: (i) restricting development efforts by us and our customers, (ii) making our current products less attractive or obsolete, or (iii) increasing the opportunity for additional competition. The increasing demand for wireless communications has exerted pressure on regulatory bodies worldwide to adopt new standards and reassign bandwidth for these products and services. The reduced number of available frequencies for other products and services and the time delays inherent in the government approval process of new products and services have caused, and may continue to cause, our customers to cancel, postpone or reschedule their installation of communications systems including their satellite, over-the-horizon microwave, or terrestrial line-of-sight microwave communication systems. This, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our sales of products to our customers. Changes in, or our failure to comply with, applicable laws and regulations could materially adversely harm our business, results of operation, and financial condition.

Our future growth is dependent, in part, on developing NG911 compliant products - The FCC requires that certain location information be provided to network operators for public safety answering points when a subscriber makes a 911 call. Technical failures, greater regulation by federal, state or foreign governments or regulatory authorities, time delays or the significant costs associated with developing or installing improved location technology could slow down or stop the deployment of our mobile location products. If deployment of improved location technology is delayed, stopped or never occurs, market acceptance of our products and services may be materially adversely affected. Because we rely on some third-party location technology instead of developing all of the technology ourselves, we have little or no influence over its improvement. The technology employed with NG911 services generally anticipates a migration to internet-protocol (“IP”) based communication. Since many companies are proficient in IP-based communication protocols, the barriers to entry to providing NG911 products and services are lower than exist for the traditional switch-based protocols. If we are unable to develop unique and proprietary solutions that are superior to and more cost effective than other market offers, our 911 business could get replaced by new market entrants, resulting in a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

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Under the FCC’s mandate, our 911 business is dependent on state and local governments - Under the FCC’s mandate, wireless carriers are required to provide 911 services only if state and local governments request the service. As part of a state or local government’s decision to request 911, they have the authority to develop cost recovery mechanisms. However, cost recovery is no longer a condition to wireless carriers’ obligation to deploy the service. If state and local governments do not widely request that 911 services be provided or we become subject to significant pressures from wireless carriers with respect to pricing of 911 services, our 911 business would be harmed and future growth of our business would be reduced.

Regulation of the mobile industry and VoIP is evolving, and unfavorable changes or our failure to comply with existing and potential new legislation or regulations could harm our business and operating results.

As the mobile industry continues to evolve, we believe greater regulation by federal, state or foreign governments or regulatory authorities is likely and we face certain risks including:

We must adhere to existing and potentially new privacy rules related to mobile-location based services - We believe increased regulation is likely in the area of data privacy, and laws and regulations applying to the solicitation, collection, processing or use of personal or consumer information could affect our customers’ ability to use and share data, potentially reducing our ability to utilize this information for the purpose of continued improvement of the overall mobile subscriber experience. In order for mobile location products and services to function properly, wireless carriers must locate their subscribers and store information on each subscriber’s location. Although data regarding the location of the wireless user resides only on the wireless carrier’s systems, users may not feel comfortable with the idea that the wireless carrier knows and can track their location. Carriers will need to obtain subscribers’ permission to gather and use the subscribers’ personal information, or they may not be able to provide customized mobile location services which those subscribers might otherwise desire. If subscribers view mobile location services as an annoyance or a threat to their privacy, that could reduce demand for our products and services and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

We may face increased compliance costs in connection with health and safety requirements for mobile devices - If wireless handsets pose health and safety risks, we may be subject to new regulations and demand for our products and services may decrease. Media reports have suggested that certain radio frequency emissions from wireless handsets may be linked to various health concerns, including cancer, and may interfere with various electronic medical devices, including hearing aids and pacemakers. Concerns over radio frequency emissions may have the effect of discouraging the use of wireless handsets, which would decrease demand for our services. In recent years, the FCC and foreign regulatory agencies have updated the guidelines and methods they use for evaluating radio frequency emissions from radio equipment, including wireless handsets. In addition, interest groups have requested that the FCC investigate claims that wireless technologies pose health concerns and cause interference with airbags, hearing aids and other medical devices. There also are some safety risks associated with the use of wireless handsets while driving. Concerns over these safety risks and the effect of any legislation that may be adopted in response to these risks could limit our ability to market and sell our products and services.

The regulatory environment for VoIP services is developing - The FCC has determined that VoIP services are not subject to the same regulatory scheme as traditional wireline and wireless telephone services. If the regulatory environment for VoIP services evolves in a manner other than the way we anticipate, our 911 business would be significantly harmed and future growth of our business would be significantly reduced. For example, the regulatory scheme for wireless and wireline service providers requires those carriers to allow service providers such as us to have access to certain databases that make the delivery of a 911 call possible. No such requirements exist for VoIP service providers, so carriers could prevent us from continuing to provide VoIP 911 service by denying us access to the required databases.


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All of our business activities are subject to rapid technological change, new entrants, the introduction of other distribution models and long development and testing periods each of which may harm our competitive position, render our product or service offerings obsolete and require us to continuously develop technology and/or obtain licensed technology in order to compete successfully.

We are engaged in business activities characterized by rapid technological change, evolving industry standards, frequent new product announcements and enhancements, and changing customer demands. The introduction of products and services on future industry standards embodying new technologies such as multi-frequency time-division multiple access ("MF-TDMA") based technologies could render any of our products and services obsolete or non-competitive. The successful execution of our business strategy is contingent upon wireless network operators launching and maintaining mobile location services, our ability to maintain a technically skilled development and engineering team, our ability to create new network software products and adapt our existing products to rapidly changing technologies, industry standards and customer needs. As a result of the complexities inherent in our product offerings, new technologies may require long development and testing periods. Additionally, new products may not achieve market acceptance or our competitors could develop alternative technologies that gain broader market acceptance than our products. If we are unable to develop and introduce technologically advanced products that respond to evolving industry standards and customer needs, or if we are unable to complete the development and introduction of these products on a timely and cost effective basis, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition or could result in our technology becoming obsolete.

New entrants seeking to gain market share by introducing new technology and new products may make it more difficult for us to sell our products and services and could create increased pricing pressure, reduced profit margins, increased sales and marketing expenses, or the loss of market share or expected market share, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.  For example, many companies are developing new technologies and the shift towards open standards such as IP-based satellite networks will likely result in increased competition and some of our products may become commoditized. Our DoubleTalk® Carrier-in-Carrier® bandwidth compression technology is licensed by us from a third party that maintains patents associated with the technology. Other competitors have developed similar technologies and some may have also licensed parts or all of this compression technology.

Our Commercial Solutions segment provides various technologies that are utilized on mobile phones. Applications from competitors for location-based or text-based messaging platforms may be preloaded on mobile devices by original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, or offered by OEMs directly. Increased competition from providers of location-based services which do not rely on a wireless carrier may result in fewer wireless carrier subscribers electing to purchase their wireless carrier’s branded location-based services, which could harm our business and revenue. In addition, these location-based or text-based services may be offered for free or on a onetime fee basis, which could force us to reduce monthly subscription fees or migrate to a onetime fee model to remain competitive. We may also lose end users or face erosion in our average revenue per user if these competitors deliver their products without charge to the consumer by generating revenue from advertising or as part of other applications or services.

Our expected growth and our financial position depends on, among other things, our ability to keep pace with such changes and developments and to respond to the increasing variety of electronic equipment users and transmission technologies. We may not have the financial or technological resources to keep pace with such changes and developments or be successful in our research and development and we may not be able to identify and respond to technological improvements made by our competitors in a timely or cost-effective fashion. Any delays could result in increased costs of development or redirect resources from other projects. In addition, we cannot provide assurances that the markets for our products, systems, services or technologies will develop as we currently anticipate. The failure of our products, systems, services or technologies to gain market acceptance could significantly reduce our net sales and harm our business.


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Our business is highly competitive, we are reliant upon the success of our partners, and some of our competitors have significantly greater resources than we do, which could result in a loss of customers, market share and/or market acceptance.

Our business is highly competitive. We will continue to invest in research and development for the introduction of new and enhanced products and services designed to improve capacity, data processing rates and features. We must also continue to develop new features and to improve functionality of our software. Research and development in our industry is complex, expensive and uncertain. We believe that we must continue to dedicate a significant amount of resources to research and development efforts to maintain our competitive position. If we continue to expend a significant amount of resources on research and development, but our efforts do not lead to the successful introduction of product and service enhancements that are competitive in the marketplace, our business, results of operation and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

Several of our potential competitors are substantially larger than we are and have greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. In particular, larger competitors have certain advantages over us which could cause us to lose customers and impede our ability to attract new customers, including: larger bases of financial, technical, marketing, personnel and other resources; more established relationships with wireless carriers and government customers; more funds to deploy products and services; and the ability to lower prices (or not charge any price) of competitive products and services because they are selling larger volumes. Furthermore, we cannot be sure that our competitors will not develop competing products, systems, services or technologies that gain market acceptance in advance of our products, systems, services or technologies, or that our competitors will not develop new products, systems, services or technologies that cause our existing products, systems, services or technologies to become non-competitive or obsolete, which could adversely affect our results of operations.

Our Commercial Solutions segment provides Safety and Security Technologies to various state and local municipalities and to a large extent, we are reliant on the success of our wireless partners and distributors to meet our growth objectives. In some cases, our wireless partners may have different objectives or our distributors may not be successful. For example, in February 2016, AT&T, one of our largest partners publicly announced a new nationwide service that is focused on the adoption of NG911 services and that such new service will be deployed in collaboration with a competitor. In fiscal 2018, we were informed by two of our large distributors that they did not win two large programs which included our NG911 solutions and that AT&T was awarded both programs. Going forward, we intend to continue to work with our partners and expand our direct and indirect sales and distribution channel in this area. If we are not successful in doing so, we may not be able to achieve our long-term business goals.

Contract cost growth on our fixed price contracts, including most of our government contracts, cost reimbursable type contracts and other contracts that cannot be justified as an increase in contract value due from customers exposes us to reduced profitability and the potential loss of future business and other risks.

A substantial portion of our products and services are sold under fixed-price contracts. Fixed-price contracts inherently have more risk than flexibly priced contracts. This means that we bear the risk of unanticipated technological, manufacturing, supply or other problems, price increases or other increases in the cost of performance. Future events could result in either upward or downward adjustments to those estimates which could negatively impact our profitability. Operating margin is materially adversely affected when contract costs that cannot be billed to the customer are incurred. This cost growth can occur if initial estimates used for calculating the contract price were incorrect, or if estimates to complete increase. To a lesser extent, we provide products and services under cost reimbursable type contracts which carry the entire burden of costs exceeding a negotiated contract ceiling price.

The cost estimation process requires significant judgment and expertise. Reasons for cost growth may include unavailability and productivity of labor, the nature and complexity of the work to be performed, the effect of change orders, the availability of materials, the effect of any delays in performance, availability and timing of funding from the customer, natural disasters, and the inability to recover any claims included in the estimates to complete. A significant change in an estimate on one or more programs could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.


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Ongoing compliance with the provisions of securities laws, related regulations and financial reporting standards could unexpectedly materially increase our costs and compliance related expenses.

Because we are a publicly traded company, we are required to comply with provisions of securities laws, related regulations and financial reporting standards. Because securities laws, related regulations and financial reporting standards pertaining to our business are relatively complex, our business faces increased risks including the following:

If we identify a material weakness in the future, our costs may unexpectedly increase - Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related SEC rules, we are required to furnish a report of management’s assessment of the effectiveness of our internal controls as part of our Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our independent registered public accountants are required to attest to and provide a separate opinion. To issue our report, we document our internal control design and the testing processes that support our evaluation and conclusion, and then we test and evaluate the results. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be able to remediate material weaknesses, if any, that may be identified in future periods, or maintain all of the controls necessary for continued compliance. There likewise can be no assurance that we will be able to retain sufficient skilled finance and accounting personnel, especially in light of the increased demand for such personnel among publicly traded companies.

We acquired TCS on February 23, 2016 and have integrated TCS into our existing internal controls over financial reporting. We continue to make changes and related enhancements to the TCS controls as part of our evaluation of the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting. Although we do not expect to experience significant changes in internal control over financial reporting, we may identify significant deficiencies or material weaknesses and incur additional costs in the future.

Stock-based compensation accounting standards could negatively impact our stock - Since our inception, we have used stock-based awards as a fundamental component of our employee compensation packages. We believe that stock-based awards directly motivate our employees to maximize long-term stockholder value and, through the use of long-term vesting, encourage employees to remain with us. We apply the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 718, "Compensation - Stock Compensation," which requires us to record compensation expense in our statement of operations for employee and director stock-based awards using a fair value method. In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, we adopted FASB ASU No. 2016-09 which modified certain aspects of ASC 718, including the requirement to recognize excess tax benefits and shortfalls in the income statement. The ongoing application of this standard will have a significant effect on our reported earnings, and could adversely impact our ability to provide accurate guidance on our future reported financial results due to the variability of the factors used to estimate the value of stock-based awards (including long-term performance shares which are subject to the achievement of three-year goals which are based on several performance metrics). The ongoing application of this standard could impact the future value of our common stock and may result in greater stock price volatility. To the extent that this accounting standard makes it less attractive to grant stock-based awards to employees, we may incur increased compensation costs, change our equity compensation strategy or find it difficult to attract, retain and motivate employees, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

We must adopt new complex revenue recognition rules - The accounting rules and regulations that we must comply with are complex. Accounting rules and regulations are continually changing in ways that could materially impact our financial statements. The FASB has recently issued new guidance for revenue recognition. The new guidance replaces the prior revenue recognition guidance in its entirety. We have not yet selected a transition method and continue to evaluate the impact that this guidance will have on our business, results of operation and financial condition. This evaluation and the implementation must be completed by August 1, 2018 (our first quarter of fiscal 2019). Due to the complexity of the new standard and our organizational structure, we may not be able to complete such timely. Regardless of the transition method, the application of this new guidance may result in certain adjustments to our financial statements, which could have a material adverse effect on our net income. Because of the uncertainty of the estimates, judgments and assumptions associated with our accounting policies, we cannot provide any assurances that we will not make subsequent significant adjustments to our consolidated financial statements.


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Changes in securities laws, regulations and financial reporting standards are increasing our costs - The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 required changes in some of our corporate governance, public disclosure and compliance practices. These changes have resulted in increased costs. The SEC has promulgated and proposed new rules on a variety of subjects including the requirement to use the interactive data format eXtensible Business Reporting Language (commonly referred to as "XBRL") in our financial statements, which we began including in our quarterly reports filed with the SEC in the first quarter of fiscal 2011, and the possibility that we would be required to adopt International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). In April 2016, as part of its Disclosure Effectiveness Initiative, the SEC published a concept release which considers various business and financial disclosures that public companies make in investor reports and seeks the public’s input on ways to further improve that disclosure. The issues raised by the SEC in the concept release have the potential to dramatically change the way in which companies prepare and deliver disclosure to investors and the burdens of preparing that disclosure. In August 2012, the SEC adopted new rules establishing additional disclosure, supply chain verification and reporting requirements regarding a public company's use of Conflict Minerals procured from Covered Countries (as both of those terms are defined by the SEC). These SEC rules and reporting requirements have resulted in us incurring additional costs to document and perform supplier due diligence. As these rules impact our suppliers, the availability of raw materials used in our operations could be negatively impacted and/or raw material prices could increase. Further, if we are unable to certify that our products are conflict free, we may face challenges with our customers, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage and could harm our reputation.

Our costs to comply with the aforementioned and other regulations continue to increase and we may have to add additional accounting staff, engage consultants or change our internal practices, standards and policies which could significantly increase our costs to comply with ongoing or future requirements. In addition, the NASDAQ Stock Market LLC ("NASDAQ") routinely changes its requirements for companies, such as us, that are listed on NASDAQ. These changes (and potential future changes) have increased and may increase our legal and financial compliance costs, including making it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance or maintain our current liability coverage. We believe that these new and proposed laws and regulations could make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our Board of Directors, particularly to serve on our Audit Committee, and qualified executive officers.

Our backlog is subject to customer cancellation or modification and such cancellation could result in a decline in sales and increased provisions for excess and obsolete inventory.

We currently have a backlog of orders, mostly under contracts that our customers may modify or terminate. Almost all of the contracts in our backlog (including firm orders previously received from the U.S. government) are subject to cancellation at the convenience of the customer or for default in the event that we are unable to perform under the contract. A portion of our backlog is determined based on contracts received from our customers (such as the U.S. government and large telephone companies) and in certain cases, is computed by multiplying the most recent month’s contract or revenue by the months remaining under the existing long-term agreements, which we consider to be the best available information for anticipating revenue under those agreements. There can be no assurance that our backlog will result in actual revenue in any particular period, or at all, or that any contract included in backlog will be profitable. There is a higher degree of risk in this regard with respect to unfunded backlog. The actual receipt and timing of any revenue is subject to various contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. The actual receipt of revenue on contracts included in backlog may never occur or may change because a program schedule could change, the program could be canceled, a contract could be reduced, modified or terminated early, or an option that we had assumed would be exercised not being exercised.

A significant portion of the backlog from our U.S. commercial customers relates to large, multi-year contracts to provide state and local governments (and their agencies) with safety and security solutions. Although the contracts themselves represent legal, binding obligations of these governments, funding is often subject to the approval of budgets (for example, on an annual or bi-annual basis). Although funding for these multi-year contracts are dependent on future budgets being approved, we include the full estimated value of these large, multi-year contracts in our backlog given the critical nature of the services being provided and the positive historical experience of our state and local government customers passing their respective budgets.

We record a provision for excess and obsolete inventory based on historical and future usage trends and other factors, including the consideration of the amount of backlog we have on hand at any particular point in time. If orders in our backlog are canceled or modified, our estimates of future product demand may prove to be inaccurate, in which case we may have understated the provision required for excess and obsolete inventory. In the future, if we determine that our inventory is overvalued, we will be required to recognize such costs in our financial statements at the time of such determination. Any such charges could be materially adverse to our results of operations and financial condition.


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We face a number of risks relating to the expected growth of our business. Our business and operating results may be negatively impacted if we are unable to manage this growth.

These risks include:

The loss of key technical or management personnel could adversely affect our business - Our future success depends on the continued contributions of key technical management personnel. Many of our key technical management personnel would be difficult to replace, and are not subject to employment or non-competition agreements. We currently have research and development employees in areas that are located a great distance away from our U.S. headquarters. Managing remote product development operations is difficult and we may not be able to manage the employees in these remote centers successfully. Our expected growth and future success will depend, in large part, upon our ability to attract and retain highly qualified engineering, sales and marketing personnel. Competition for such personnel from other companies, academic institutions, government entities and other organizations is intense. Although we believe that we have been successful to date in recruiting and retaining key personnel, we may not be successful in attracting and retaining the personnel we will need to grow and operate profitably. Also, the management skills that have been appropriate for us in the past may not continue to be appropriate if we grow and diversify.

We may not be able to improve our processes and systems to keep pace with anticipated growth - The future growth of our business may place significant demands on our managerial, operational and financial resources. In order to manage that growth, we must be prepared to improve and expand our management, operational and financial systems and controls. We also need to continue to recruit and retain personnel and train and manage our employee base. We must carefully manage research and development capabilities and production and inventory levels to meet product demand, new product introductions and product and technology transitions. If we are not able to timely and effectively manage our growth and maintain the quality standards required by our existing and potential customers, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

Our markets are highly competitive and there can be no assurance that we can continue our success - The markets for our products are highly competitive. There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to compete successfully or that our competitors will not develop new technologies and products that are more effective than our own. We expect the Department of Defense’s increased use of commercial off-the-shelf products and components in military equipment will encourage new competitors to enter the market. Also, although the implementation of advanced telecommunications services is in its early stages in many developing countries, we believe competition will continue to intensify as businesses and foreign governments realize the market potential of telecommunications services. Many of our competitors have financial, technical, marketing, sales and distribution resources greater than ours.

We may not be able to obtain sufficient components to meet expected demand - Our dependence on component availability, government furnished equipment, subcontractors and key suppliers, including the core manufacturing expertise of our high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Tempe, Arizona, exposes us to risk. Although we obtain certain components and subsystems from a single source or a limited number of sources, we believe that most components and subsystems are available from alternative suppliers and subcontractors. A significant interruption in the delivery of such items, however, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. In addition, if our high-volume technology manufacturing center located in Tempe, Arizona is unable to produce sufficient product or maintain quality, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

Our ability to maintain affordable credit insurance may become more difficult - In the normal course of our business, we purchase credit insurance to mitigate some of our domestic and international credit risk. Although credit insurance remains generally available, upon renewal, it may become more expensive to obtain or may not be available for existing or new customers in certain international markets and it might require higher deductibles than in the past. If we acquire a company with a different customer base, we may not be able to obtain credit insurance for those sales. As such, there can be no assurance that, in the future, we will be able to obtain credit insurance on a basis consistent with our past practices.


34



We rely upon various third party companies and their technology to provide services to our customers and if we are unable to obtain such services at reasonable prices, or at all, our gross margins and our ability to provide the services of our wireless applications business could be materially adversely affected.

Risks from our reliance with these third parties include:

The loss of mapping and third party content - The wireless data services provided to our customers are dependent on real-time, continuous feeds from map data, points of interest data, traffic information, gas prices, theater, event and weather information from vendors and others. Any disruption of this third-party content from our satellite feeds or backup landline feeds or other disruption could result in delays in our subscribers’ ability to receive information. We obtain this data that we sell to our customers from companies owned by current and potential competitors, who may act in a manner that is not in our best interest. If our suppliers of this data or content were to enter into exclusive relationships with other providers of location-based services or were to discontinue providing such information and we were unable to replace them cost effectively, or at all, our ability to provide the services of our wireless applications business would be materially adversely affected. Our gross margins may also be materially adversely affected if the cost of third party data and content increases substantially.

Third party data centers or third party networks may fail - Many products and services of our advanced communication solutions, in particular our public safety and enterprise technology solutions, are provided through a combination of our servers, which we house at third party data centers, and the networks of our wireless carrier partners. As such, our business relies to a significant degree on the efficient and uninterrupted operation of the third-party data centers we use. Our hosted data centers are currently located in third party facilities located in the Irvine and San Francisco, California areas, and we may use others as required. We also use third party data center facilities in the Phoenix, Arizona area to provide for disaster recovery. Network failures, disruptions or capacity constraints in our third-party data center facilities or in our servers maintained at their location could affect the performance of the products and services of our wireless applications and 911 business and harm our reputation and our revenue. The ability of our subscribers to receive critical location and business information requires timely and uninterrupted connections with our wireless network carriers. Any disruption from our satellite feeds or backup landline feeds could also result in delays in our subscribers’ ability to receive information.

We must integrate our technologies and routinely upgrade them - We may not be able to upgrade our location-based services platform to support certain advanced features and functionality without obtaining technology licenses from third parties. Obtaining these licenses may be costly and may delay the introduction of such features and functionality, and these licenses may not be available on commercially favorable terms, or at all. Problems and delays in development or delivery as a result of issues with respect to design, technology, licensing and patent rights, labor, learning curve assumptions, or materials and components could prevent us from achieving contractual obligations. In addition, our products cannot be tested and proven in all situations and are otherwise subject to unforeseen problems. The inability to offer advanced features or functionality, or a delay in our ability to upgrade our location-based services platform, may materially adversely affect demand for our products and services and, consequently, have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

We rely upon “open-source” software - We have incorporated some types of open-source software into our products, allowing us to enhance certain solutions without incurring substantial additional research and development costs. Thus far, we have encountered no unanticipated material problems arising from our use of open-source software. However, as the use of open-source software becomes more widespread, certain open-source technology could become competitive with our proprietary technology, which could cause sales of our products to decline or force us to reduce the fees we charge for our products, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

Indemnification provisions in our contracts could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated results of operations, financial position, or cash flows.

In the ordinary course of business, we include indemnification provisions in certain of our customer contracts. Pursuant to these agreements, we have agreed to indemnify, hold harmless and reimburse the indemnified party for losses suffered or incurred by the indemnified party, including but not limited to losses related to third-party intellectual property claims. Some customers seek indemnification under their contractual arrangements with the Company for claims and other costs associated with defending lawsuits alleging infringement of patents through their use of our products and services, and the use of our products and services in combination with products and services of other vendors.


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In some cases, we have agreed to assume the defense of the case. In others, the Company will negotiate with these customers in good faith because the Company believes its technology does not infringe the cited patents and due to specific clauses within the customer contractual arrangements that may or may not give rise to an indemnification obligation. It is not possible to determine the maximum potential amount the Company may spend under these agreements due to the unique facts and circumstances involved in each particular agreement.

For example, we have accrued certain costs related to Vehicle IP, LLC ("Vehicle IP") which filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (the "District Court"). TCS is defending our customer. Substantive settlement conversations have occurred but, to date, the parties have been unable to reach a settlement. For additional information, see "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (14)(b) Commitments and Contingencies - Legal Proceedings, Other Matters and Final Settlements" included in "Part II - Item 8.- Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

The Company's assessments related to indemnification provisions are based on estimates and assumptions that have been deemed reasonable by management, but that may prove to be incomplete or inaccurate, and unanticipated events and circumstances may occur that might cause the Company to change those estimates and assumptions. Therefore, it is possible that an unfavorable resolution of one or more of these matters could have a material adverse effect on the Company's consolidated financial statements in a future fiscal period.

We are, from time to time, and could become a party to additional litigation or subject to claims, including product liability claims, relating to our software, government investigations and other proceedings that could cause us to incur unanticipated expenses and otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

We are, from time to time, involved in commercial disputes and civil litigation relating to our businesses. Our agreements with customers may require us to indemnify such customers. Direct claims against us or claims against our customers may relate to defects in or non-conformance of our products, or our own acts of negligence and non-performance. Occasionally, we are called upon also to provide information in connection with litigation involving other parties or government investigations. Product liability and other forms of insurance are expensive and may not be available in the future. We cannot be sure that we will be able to maintain or obtain insurance coverage at acceptable costs or in sufficient amounts or that our insurer will not disclaim coverage as to a future claim. In many cases, we are unable to obtain insurance and are self-insured. Any such claim could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.    

Because our software may contain defects or errors, and our hardware products may incorporate defective components, our sales could decrease if these defects or errors adversely affect our reputation or delay shipments of our products.     

Products as complex as ours are likely to contain undetected errors or defects, especially when first introduced or when new versions are released. Our products may not be error or defect free after delivery to customers, which could damage our reputation, cause revenue losses, result in the rejection of our products or services, divert development resources and increase service and warranty costs, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

Software products, such as our 911 call handling software solutions, must meet the stringent technical requirements of our customers and we must satisfy our warranty obligations to our customers. Our 911 call handling software product is a small product line, developed by TCS more than ten years ago and older versions of this software remain deployed by certain end-customers. In August 2016, AT&T, a distributor of this small TCS product line informed us that they do not believe we met certain contractual specifications related to performance and usability and has requested a refund of certain payments made by them. Our Consolidated Balance Sheet as of July 31, 2017 includes an estimate of our warranty liability associated with this issue which was determined based on a review of contractual obligations, settlement discussions with AT&T and estimates of costs to enhance the software. We believe our customer support plan, which includes an intention to continue to support end-customers in exchange for an annual customer support fee, has mitigated the negative reputational impact of this issue. In fiscal 2017, we generated approximately $5.5 million of such fees, of which a significant portion was derived from our relationship with AT&T. Sales in fiscal 2018 for this product line are expected to be similar to what we achieved in fiscal 2017. Although we expect to resolve this issue amicably with AT&T, we may not be able to do so.

Our hardware products are also subject to warranty obligations and integrate a wide variety of components from different vendors. We must quickly develop new products and product enhancements to keep pace with the rapidly changing software and telecommunications markets in which we operate.

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Protection of our intellectual property is limited and pursuing infringers of our patents and other intellectual property rights can be costly.

Our businesses rely, in large part, upon our proprietary scientific and engineering know-how and production techniques. We rely on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark, service mark, trade secret and unfair competition laws, restrictions in licensing agreements, confidentiality provisions and various other contractual provisions to protect our intellectual property and related proprietary rights, but these legal means provide only limited protection. Although a number of patents have been issued to us and we have obtained a number of other patents as a result of our acquisitions, we cannot assure you that our issued patents will be upheld if challenged by another party. Additionally, with respect to any patent applications which we have filed, we cannot assure you that any patents will be issued as a result of these applications.

The departure of any of our key management and technical personnel, the breach of their confidentiality and non-disclosure obligations to us or the failure to achieve our intellectual property objectives could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. Our ability to compete successfully and achieve future revenue growth will depend, in part, on our ability to protect our proprietary technology and operate without infringing upon the rights of others. We may fail to do so. In addition, the laws of certain countries in which our products are or may be sold may not protect our products or intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S.

Our ability to protect our intellectual property rights is also subject to the terms of future government contracts. We cannot assure you that the federal government will not demand greater intellectual property rights or restrict our ability to disseminate intellectual property. We are also a member of standards-setting organizations and have agreed to license some of our intellectual property to other members on fair and reasonable terms to the extent that the license is required to develop non-infringing products.

Pursuing infringers of our proprietary rights could result in significant litigation costs, and any failure to pursue infringers could result in our competitors utilizing our technology and offering similar products, potentially resulting in loss of a competitive advantage and decreased revenues. Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, existing patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws afford only limited protection. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries do not protect our proprietary rights to the same extent as do the laws of the U.S. Protecting our know-how is difficult especially after our employees or those of our third-party contract service providers end their employment or engagement. Attempts may be made to copy or reverse-engineer aspects of our products or to obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary. Accordingly, we may not be able to prevent the misappropriation of our technology or prevent others from developing similar technology. Furthermore, policing the unauthorized use of our products is difficult and expensive. Litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce our intellectual property rights or to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others. The costs and diversion of resources could significantly harm our business. If we fail to protect our intellectual property, we may not receive any return on the resources expended to create the intellectual property or generate any competitive advantage based on it.

Third parties may claim we are infringing their intellectual property rights and we could be prevented from selling our products, or suffer significant litigation expense, even if these claims have no merit.

Our competitive position is driven in part by our intellectual property and other proprietary rights. Third parties, however, may claim that we, our products, operations or any products or technology we obtain from other parties are infringing their intellectual property rights, and we may be unaware of intellectual property rights of others that may cover some of our assets, technology and products. From time to time we receive letters from third parties who allege we are infringing their intellectual property and ask us to license such intellectual property. We review the merits of each such letter and respond as we deem appropriate.

From time to time our customers are parties to allegations of intellectual property infringement claims based on our customers’ incorporation and use of our products and services, which may lead to demands from our customers for us to indemnify them for costs in defending those allegations. Any litigation regarding patents, trademarks, copyrights or intellectual property rights, even those without merit, and the related indemnification demands of our customers, can be costly and time consuming, and divert our management and key personnel from operating our business. The complexity of the technology involved and inherent uncertainty and cost of intellectual property litigation increases our risks. If any third party has a meritorious or successful claim that we are infringing its intellectual property rights, we may be forced to change our products or enter into licensing arrangements with third parties, which may be costly or impractical. This also may require us to stop selling our products as currently engineered, which could harm our competitive position. We also may be subject to significant damages or injunctions that prevent the further development and sale of certain of our products or services and may result in a material loss of revenue.


37



From time to time, there have been claims challenging the ownership of open source software against companies that incorporate open source software into their products. As a result, we could be subject to suits by parties claiming ownership of what we believe to be open source software. Some open source licenses contain requirements that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works under the terms of a particular open source license or other license granting third parties certain rights of further use. If we combine our proprietary software products with open source software in a certain manner, we could under certain of the open source licenses, be required to release our proprietary source code. Open source license terms may be ambiguous and many of the risks associated with usage of open source cannot be eliminated, and could if not properly addressed, negatively affect our business. If we were found to have inappropriately used open source software, we may be required to release our proprietary source code, re-engineer our products and client applications, discontinue the sale of our products or services in the event re-engineering cannot be accomplished on a timely basis or take other remedial action that may divert resources away from our development efforts, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operation, and financial condition.

If our wireless carrier partners change the pricing and other terms by which they offer our products to their end-customers or do not continue to provide our services at all, our business, results of operation, and financial condition could be materially adversely affected. Additionally, potential future business combinations among wireless network operators could result in a loss of revenue for our business.
    
We generate a significant portion of our revenue from customers that are wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon. In addition, a portion of our revenue is derived from subscription fees that we receive from our wireless carrier partners for end users who subscribe to our service on a standalone basis or in a bundle with other services. To date, a relatively small number of end users have subscribed for our services in connection with their wireless plans compared to the total number of mobile phone users. Our future growth depends heavily on achieving significantly increased subscriber adoption of the wireless communication solutions we sell either through standalone subscriptions to our solutions or as part of bundles from our existing wireless carrier partners. Our success also depends on achieving widespread deployment of our solutions by attracting and retaining additional wireless carrier partners. Future revenue will depend on the pricing and quality of those services and subscriber demand for those services, which may vary by market, and the level of subscriber turnover experienced by our wireless carrier partners. If subscriber turnover increases more than we anticipate, our financial results could be materially adversely affected.

Poor performance in or disruptions of the services including in our advanced communication solutions could harm our reputation, delay market acceptance of our services and subject us to liabilities (including breach of contract claims brought by our customers and third-party damages claims brought by end-users). Our wireless carrier agreements and certain customers require us to meet specific requirements including operational uptime requirements or be subject to penalties.

If we are unable to meet contractual requirements with our wireless carrier partners, such as AT&T, they could terminate our agreements or we may be required to refund a portion of monthly subscriptions fees they have paid us.

Although we have a long history of providing services to many of our wireless carrier partners, from time to time, we routinely perform services without a multi-period contract while we negotiate new and extended contract terms and pricing. These negotiations are complex and may take long periods of time. Ultimately, if we are not successful in obtaining multi-period contract terms, or even a new contract, our revenues could be suddenly and materially reduced.

Competitors offer technology that has functionality similar to ours for free, under different business models. Competition from these free offerings may reduce our revenue and harm our business. If our wireless carrier partners can offer these location-based services to their subscribers for free, they may elect to cease their relationships with us, alter or reduce the manner or extent to which they market or offer our services or require us to substantially reduce our subscription fees or pursue other business strategies that may not prove successful for us and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition.

The telecommunications industry generally is currently undergoing a consolidation phase. Many of our customers, specifically wireless carrier customers of our Commercial Solutions segment, have or may become the target of acquisitions. If the number of our customers is significantly reduced as a result of this consolidation trend, or if the resulting companies do not utilize our product offerings, our business, results of operation and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.


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Risks Related to our Common Stock

Our stock price is volatile.

The stock market in general and the stock prices of technology-based companies, in particular, experience extreme volatility that often is unrelated to the operating performance of any specific public company. The market price of our common stock has fluctuated significantly in the past and is likely to fluctuate significantly in the future as well. Factors that could have a significant impact on the market price of our stock include, among others:

our ability to successfully integrate TCS and manage our combined company;
strategic transactions, such as acquisitions and divestures;
issuance of potentially dilutive equity or equity-type securities;
issuance of debt;
future announcements concerning us or our competitors;
receipt or non-receipt of substantial orders for products and services;
quality deficiencies in services or products;
results of technological innovations;
new commercial products;
changes in recommendations of securities analysts;
government regulations;
changes in the status or outcome of government audits;
proprietary rights or product or patent litigation;
changes in U.S. government policies;
changes in economic conditions generally, particularly in the telecommunications sector;
changes in securities market conditions, generally;
changes in the status of litigation and legal matters (including changes in the status of export matters);
cyber-attacks;
energy blackouts;
acts of terrorism or war;
inflation or deflation; and
rumors or allegations regarding our financial disclosures or practices.

Shortfalls in our sales or earnings in any given period relative to the levels expected by securities analysts could immediately, significantly and adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.

Future issuances of our shares of common stock could dilute a stockholder's ownership interest in Comtech and reduce the market price of our shares of common stock.

In the future we may issue additional securities to raise capital. We may also acquire interests in other companies by using a combination of cash and our common stock or just our common stock. We may also issue securities convertible into our common stock. Any of these events may dilute a stockholder's ownership interest in Comtech and have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.

Provisions in our corporate documents and Delaware law could delay or prevent a change in control of Comtech.

We have taken a number of actions that could have the effect of discouraging, delaying or preventing a merger or acquisition involving Comtech that our stockholders may consider favorable.

For example, we have a classified board and the employment contract with our President and CEO, and agreements with other of our executive officers, provide for substantial payments in certain circumstances or in the event of a change of control of Comtech. In the future, we may adopt a stockholder rights plan which could cause substantial dilution to a stockholder, and substantially increase the cost paid by a stockholder who attempts to acquire us on terms not approved by our Board of Directors.

In addition, we are subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, an anti-takeover law. In general, this statute provides that, except in certain limited circumstances, a corporation shall not engage in any "business combination" with an "interested stockholder" for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder, unless the business combination is approved in a prescribed manner.


39



A "business combination" includes mergers, asset sales and other transactions resulting in a financial benefit to the interested stockholder. Subject to certain exceptions, for purposes of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, an "interested stockholder" is a person who, together with affiliates, owns, or within three years did own, 15% or more of the corporation's voting stock. This provision could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control of Comtech.

A disruption in our dividend program could negatively impact our stock price.

We have paid quarterly dividends every quarter since September 2010.

Our ability to continue to pay quarterly dividends will depend on our ability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations in the future and maintain compliance with our Secured Credit Facility, as amended. This ability may be subject to certain economic, financial, competitive and other factors that are beyond our control. Future dividends remain subject to compliance with financial covenants under the Company's Secured Credit Facility, as amended, as well as Board approval. Our Board of Directors may, at its discretion, decrease the targeted annual dividend amount or entirely discontinue the payment of dividends at any time.

Additionally, our ability to declare and pay dividends and make other distributions with respect to our capital stock may also be restricted by the terms of our Secured Credit Facility, as amended, and may be restricted by the terms of financing arrangements that we enter into in the future.

ITEM 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.


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ITEM 2.  PROPERTIES

Historically, we have not owned any material properties or facilities and have relied upon a strategy of leasing. The following table lists our primary leased facilities at July 31, 2017:
Location
 
 
 
Property Type
 
Square Footage
 
Lease Expiration
Commercial Solutions Segment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tempe, Arizona
 
(A)
 
Manufacturing and Engineering
 
161,000

 
February 2021
Phoenix, Arizona
 
(B)
 
General office (currently vacated)
 
75,000

 
October 2018
Seattle, Washington
 
(C)
 
Network Operations, R&D, Engineering and Sales
 
57,000

 
December 2022
Santa Clara, California
 
(D)
 
Manufacturing and Engineering
 
47,000

 
April 2019
Various facilities
 
(E)
 
Engineering and General Office
 
35,000

 
Various
Aliso Viejo, California
 
(F)
 
R&D and Engineering
 
29,000

 
December 2017
Greenwood Village, Colorado
 
(F)
 
Network Operations
 
17,000

 
July 2020
Moscow, Idaho
 
(G)
 
Support, Engineering and Sales
 
13,000

 
February 2020
Annapolis, Maryland
 
(F)
 
Support, Engineering and Sales
 
12,000

 
July 2019
Fremont, California
 
(G)
 
Support, Engineering and Sales
 
10,000

 
April 2020
Germantown, Maryland
 
(H)
 
Engineering and General Office
 
6,000

 
May 2025
 
 
 
 
 
 
462,000

 
 
Government Solutions Segment
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Orlando, Florida
 
(I)
 
Manufacturing and Engineering
 
99,000

 
April 2026
Tampa, Florida
 
(F)
 
Manufacturing
 
46,000

 
April 2022
Melville, New York
 
(J)
 
Manufacturing and Engineering
 
45,000

 
December 2021
Torrance, California
 
(F)
 
Support, Engineering and Sales
 
35,000

 
January 2018
Germantown, Maryland
 
(H)
 
Engineering and General Office
 
26,000

 
May 2025
Various facilities
 
(K)
 
Support, Engineering and Sales
 
14,000

 
Various
Richardson, Texas
 
(F)
 
R&D and Engineering
 
13,000

 
July 2020
Annapolis, Maryland
 
(F)
 
Support, Engineering and Sales
 
12,000

 
July 2019
Manassas, Virginia
 
(F)
 
Support, Engineering and Sales
 
11,000

 
November 2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
301,000

 
 
Corporate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Annapolis, Maryland
 
(F)
 
General Office and common areas
 
19,000

 
July 2019
Melville, New York
 
(L)
 
Corporate headquarters and general office
 
9,600

 
August 2027
 
 
 
 
 
 
28,600

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total Square Footage
 
 
 
 
 
791,600

 
 


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(A)
Although primarily used for our satellite earth station product lines, which are part of the Commercial Solutions segment, both of our business segments utilize, from time to time, our high-volume technology manufacturing facilities located in Tempe, Arizona. These manufacturing facilities utilize state-of-the-art design and production techniques, including analog, digital and RF microwave production, hardware assembly and full service engineering. Our leases for these facilities expire from fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2021. We have the option to extend the lease terms for up to an additional five-year period.

(B)
As a result of the August 1, 2008 Radyne acquisition, we also assumed a lease of building space in Phoenix, Arizona that was previously used for manufacturing. In connection with our fiscal 2009 Radyne acquisition restructuring plan, we vacated and subleased this space through October 2015. We are currently seeking to sublease this space.

(C)
Our office in Seattle, Washington is used primarily for servicing and hosting our wireless and VoIP E9-1-1 public safety support services.

(D)
Our Commercial Solutions segment manufactures our traveling wave tube amplifiers in a leased manufacturing facility located in Santa Clara, California. Our Commercial Solutions segment also operates a small office in the United Kingdom with a lease that expires in October 2021.

(E)
Our Commercial Solutions segment also leases an additional twelve facilities, three of which are located in the U.S. The U.S. facilities aggregate 7,000 square feet and are primarily utilized for engineering and general office use. Our Commercial Solutions segment also operates nine small offices in Brazil, Canada, China, India, Singapore, Australia and the United Kingdom, all of which aggregate 28,000 square feet and are primarily utilized for customer support, engineering and sales.

(F)
We have leases for facilities in Annapolis, Maryland, Aliso Viejo, California, and Greenwood Village, Colorado used primarily for the design and development of our software based systems and applications and network operations. Major manufacturing and engineering facilities for our Government Solutions segment are in Tampa, Florida, Torrance, California, Richardson, Texas and Manassas, Virginia. We are currently finalizing plans to move our Aliso Viejo, California and Torrance, California office facilities to new facilities when the current leases expire. In addition, we are in the process of closing our Manassas, Virginia facility.

(G)
Our offices in Moscow, Idaho and Fremont, California are primarily used for research and development, engineering and sales of our satellite earth station products.

(H)
Our Government Solutions segment leases a 32,000 square foot facility located in Germantown, Maryland which is primarily used for BFT-1 sustainment activities, engineering and general office use. Our Government Solutions segment occupies 26,000 feet of the facility with the remainder utilized by our Commercial Solutions segment.

(I)
Our Government Solutions segment manufactures our over-the-horizon microwave systems in a leased facility in Orlando, Florida. This business also leases a small office in North Africa.

(J)
Our Government Solutions segment manufactures our solid-state, high-power, broadband amplifiers in a 45,000 square foot engineering and manufacturing facility on more than two acres of land in Melville, New York and an 8,000 square foot facility in Topsfield, Massachusetts. We lease the New York facility from a partnership controlled by our President and CEO. The lease provides for our use of the premises as they exist through December 2021 with an option to renew for an additional ten-year period. We have a right of first refusal in the event of a sale of the facility. Our Massachusetts lease is currently on a month-to-month basis.

(K)
Our Government Solutions segment also leases an additional four facilities located in the U.S. that are primarily used for engineering, sales and software development. Our leases for these facilities expire from fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2021.

(L)
Our corporate headquarters are located in an office building complex in Melville, New York. The lease provides for our use of the premises through August 2027.

The terms for all of our leased facilities are generally for multi-year periods and we believe that we will be able to renew these leases or find comparable facilities elsewhere.


42




ITEM 3.  LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

Information regarding legal proceedings is incorporated herein by reference to the "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements – Note (14)(b) Commitments and Contingencies – Legal Proceedings, Other Matters and Final Settlements" included in "Part II - Item 8.- Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


ITEM 4.  MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

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PART II

ITEM 5.  MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Stock Performance Graph and Cumulative Total Return

The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock with the cumulative total return on the S&P’s 500 Index and the NASDAQ Telecommunications Index for each of the last five fiscal years ended July 31, assuming an investment of $100 at the beginning of such period and the reinvestment of any dividends. The comparisons in the graphs below are based upon historical data and are not indicative of, nor intended to forecast, future performance of our common stock.

graph201701.jpg
Our common stock trades on the NASDAQ Stock Market LLC ("NASDAQ") under the symbol "CMTL."


44




The following table shows the quarterly range of the high and low sale prices for our common stock as reported by the NASDAQ. Such prices do not include retail markups, markdowns or commissions.

 
 
Common Stock
 
 
High
 
Low
Fiscal Year Ended July 31, 2016
 
 
 
 
First Quarter
 
$
29.31

 
20.30

Second Quarter
 
25.85

 
17.27

Third Quarter
 
25.09

 
18.01

Fourth Quarter
 
24.93

 
11.24

 
 
 
 
 
Fiscal Year Ended July 31, 2017
 
 

 
 

First Quarter
 
$
13.84

 
9.84

Second Quarter
 
12.81

 
9.52

Third Quarter
 
15.25

 
10.53

Fourth Quarter
 
19.80

 
13.75


Dividends

Since September 2010, we have paid quarterly dividends. On October 6, 2016, our Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.30 per common share, which was paid on November 22, 2016. On December 7, 2016, March 8, 2017 and June 7, 2017, our Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per common share, which were paid on February 17, 2017, May 19, 2017 and August 18, 2017, respectively.

On September 27, 2017, our Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per common share, payable on November 17, 2017 to stockholders of record at the close of business on October 18, 2017.

The Board of Directors is currently targeting fiscal 2018 quarterly dividend payments of $0.10 per common share. Future dividends remain subject to compliance with financial covenants under our Secured Credit Facility, as amended, as well as Board approval.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None.


Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

We did not repurchase any of our equity securities during the fiscal year ended July 31, 2017.

As of July 31, 2017 and September 26, 2017, we were authorized to repurchase up to an additional $8.7 million of our common stock, pursuant to a $100.0 million stock repurchase program that was authorized by our Board of Directors. The $100.0 million stock repurchase program has no time restrictions and repurchases may be made in open-market or privately negotiated transactions and may be made pursuant to SEC Rule 10b5-1 trading plans.

Approximate Number of Equity Security Holders

As of September 22, 2017, there were approximately 819 holders of our common stock. Such number of record owners was determined from our stockholder records and does not include beneficial owners whose shares of our common stock are held in the name of various security holders, dealers and clearing agencies.


45




ITEM 6.  SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA
 
The following table shows selected historical consolidated financial data for our Company.
 
Detailed historical financial information is included in the audited consolidated financial statements for fiscal 2017, 2016 and 2015.
 
 
 
Fiscal Years Ended July 31,
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Consolidated Statement of Operations Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net sales
 
$
550,368

 
411,004

 
307,289

 
347,150

 
319,797

Cost of sales
 
332,183

 
239,767

 
168,405

 
195,712

 
178,967

Gross profit
 
218,185

 
171,237

 
138,884

 
151,438

 
140,830

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Expenses:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Selling, general and administrative
 
116,080

 
94,932

 
62,680

 
67,147

 
63,265

Research and development
 
54,260

 
42,190

 
35,916

 
34,108

 
36,748

Amortization of intangibles
 
22,823

 
13,415

 
6,211

 
6,285

 
6,328

Settlement of intellectual property litigation
 
(12,020
)
 

 

 

 

Acquisition plan expenses
 

 
21,276

 

 

 

 
 
181,143

 
171,813

 
104,807

 
107,540

 
106,341

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Operating income (loss)
 
37,042

 
(576
)
 
34,077

 
43,898

 
34,489

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other expenses (income):
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Interest expense
 
11,629

 
7,750

 
479

 
6,304

 
8,163

Interest income and other
 
(68
)
 
(134
)
 
(405
)
 
(913
)
 
(1,167
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income (loss) before provision for (benefit from) income taxes
 
25,481

 
(8,192
)
 
34,003

 
38,507

 
27,493

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Provision for (benefit from) income taxes
 
9,654

 
(454
)
 
10,758

 
13,356

 
9,685

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss)
 
$
15,827

 
(7,738
)
 
23,245

 
25,151

 
17,808

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss) per share:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Basic
 
$
0.68

 
(0.46
)
 
1.43

 
1.58

 
1.05

Diluted
 
$
0.67

 
(0.46
)
 
1.42

 
1.37

 
0.97

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding – basic
 
23,433

 
16,972

 
16,203

 
15,943

 
16,963

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average number of common and common equivalent shares outstanding – diluted
 
23,489

 
16,972

 
16,418

 
20,906

 
23,064

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dividends declared per issued and outstanding common share as of the applicable dividend record date
 
$
0.60

 
1.20

 
1.20

 
1.175

 
1.10


46




 
 
Fiscal Years Ended July 31,
(In thousands)
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Other Consolidated Operating Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Backlog at period-end
 
$
446,230

 
484,005

 
117,744

 
133,412

 
189,742

New orders
 
512,593

 
451,278

 
291,621

 
290,820

 
355,600

Research and development expenditures - internal and customer funded
 
81,310

 
59,622

 
45,144

 
47,211

 
41,920

Adjusted EBITDA
 
70,705

 
48,062

 
51,761

 
61,336

 
52,242

 
 
 
As of July 31,
(In thousands)
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total assets
 
$
832,063

 
921,196

 
473,877

 
473,852

 
681,815

Working capital
 
96,833

 
119,493

 
236,419

 
224,656

 
220,560

Debt, including capital leases
 
195,802

 
258,649

 

 

 

Convertible senior notes
 

 

 

 

 
200,000

Other long-term obligations
 
2,655

 
4,105

 
3,633

 
4,364

 
3,958

Stockholders’ equity
 
480,150

 
470,401

 
401,409

 
396,925

 
404,062


Non-GAAP Financial Data

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains a Non-GAAP financial metric titled Adjusted EBITDA for the Company, which represents earnings before income taxes, interest (income) and other expense, interest expense, amortization of stock-based compensation, amortization of intangibles, depreciation expense, settlement of intellectual property litigation, acquisition plan expenses, restructuring (benefits) charges related to the wind-down of the microsatellite product line and strategic alternatives analysis expenses. In future periods, we expect to incur expenses similar to the aforementioned items and investors should not infer from our presentation of Adjusted EBITDA that these costs are unusual, infrequent or non-recurring. These items, while periodically affecting our results, may vary significantly from period to period and may have a disproportionate effect in a given period, thereby affecting the comparability of results. Adjusted EBITDA is a Non-GAAP financial measure used by management in assessing Comtech’s operating results. Although closely aligned, Comtech's definition of Adjusted EBITDA is different than the Consolidated EBITDA (as such term is defined in our Secured Credit Facility, as amended) utilized for financial covenant calculations and also may differ from the definition of EBITDA or Adjusted EBITDA used by other companies, including TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. ("TCS"), prior to our acquisition and, therefore, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies. Our Adjusted EBITDA is also a measure frequently requested by Comtech’s investors and analysts.

Non-GAAP financial measures have limitations as an analytical tool as they exclude the financial impact of transactions necessary to conduct Comtech’s business, such as the granting of equity compensation awards, and are not intended to be an alternative to financial measures prepared in accordance with GAAP. Adjusted EBITDA should only be considered as a supplement, and not a substitute, to GAAP metrics such as net income. These measures are adjusted as described in the reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP in the below table, but these adjustments should not be construed as an inference that all of these adjustments or costs are unusual, infrequent or non-recurring.



47




The following is a reconciliation of net income (loss), the most comparable GAAP measure, to Adjusted EBITDA:

 
 
Fiscal Years Ended July 31,
(In thousands)
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Adjusted EBITDA:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss)
 
$
15,827

 
(7,738
)
 
23,245

 
25,151

 
17,808

Income taxes
 
9,654

 
(454
)
 
10,758

 
13,356

 
9,685

Interest (income) and other expense
 
(68
)
 
(134
)
 
(405
)
 
(913
)
 
(1,167
)
Interest expense
 
11,629

 
7,750

 
479

 
6,304

 
8,163

Amortization of stock-based compensation
 
8,506

 
4,117

 
4,363

 
4,263

 
3,130

Amortization of intangibles
 
22,823

 
13,415

 
6,211

 
6,285

 
6,328

Depreciation
 
14,354

 
9,830

 
6,525

 
6,721

 
7,837

Settlement of intellectual property litigation
 
(12,020
)
 

 

 

 

Acquisition plan expenses
 

 
21,276

 

 

 

Restructuring (benefits) charges related to the wind-down of microsatellite product line
 

 

 

 
(56
)
 
458

Strategic alternatives analysis
 

 

 
585

 
225

 

Adjusted EBITDA
 
$
70,705

 
48,062

 
51,761

 
61,336

 
52,242


Our historical results prior to February 23, 2016 do not include TCS; as such, you should not rely on period-to-period comparisons as an indicator of future performance as these comparisons may not be meaningful.

ITEM 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF
FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Overview

We are a leading provider of advanced communications solutions for both commercial and government customers worldwide. Our solutions fulfill our customers' needs for secure wireless communications in some of the most demanding environments, including those where traditional communications are unavailable or cost-prohibitive, and in mission-critical and other scenarios where performance is crucial.

On February 23, 2016 (the first month of our third quarter of fiscal 2016), we acquired TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. ("TCS"), a leading provider of commercial solutions (such as public safety systems and enterprise application technologies), and government solutions (such as command and control (also known as Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance ("C4ISR"))) applications. The TCS acquisition was a significant step in our strategy of entering complementary markets and expanding our domestic and international commercial offerings. The integration of TCS was largely completed during fiscal 2017.

We manage our business through two reportable operating segments:

Commercial Solutions - serves commercial customers and smaller governments, such as state and local governments, that require advanced communication technologies to meet their needs. This segment also serves certain large government customers (including the U.S. government) that have requirements for off-the-shelf commercial equipment. We believe this segment is a leading provider of satellite communications (such as satellite earth station modems and traveling wave tube amplifiers ("TWTA")), public safety systems (such as next generation 911 ("NG911") technologies) and enterprise application technologies (such as a messaging and trusted location-based technologies).


48




Government Solutions - serves large government end-users (including those of foreign countries) that require mission critical technologies and systems. We believe this segment is a leading provider of command and control applications (such as the design, installation and operation of data networks that integrate computing and communications (including both satellite and terrestrial links), ongoing network operation and management support services including telecom expense management, project management and fielding and maintenance solutions related to satellite ground terminals), troposcatter communications (such as digital troposcatter multiplexers, digital over-the-horizon modems, troposcatter systems, and frequency converter systems) and RF power and switching technologies (such as solid state high-power broadband amplifiers, enhanced position location reporting system (or commonly known as "EPLRS") amplifier assemblies, identification friend or foe amplifiers, and amplifiers used in the counteraction of improvised explosive devices).

Our Quarterly Financial Information
Quarterly and period-to-period sales and operating results may be significantly affected by either short-term or long-term contracts with our customers. In addition, our gross profit is affected by a variety of factors, including the mix of products, systems and services sold, production efficiencies, estimates of warranty expense, price competition and general economic conditions. Our gross profit may also be affected by the impact of any cumulative adjustments to contracts that are accounted for under the percentage-of-completion method.

Our contracts with the U.S. government can be terminated for convenience by it at any time and orders are subject to unpredictable funding, deployment and technology decisions by the U.S. government. Some of these contracts are indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity ("IDIQ") contracts and, as such, the U.S. government is not obligated to purchase any equipment or services under these contracts. We have, in the past, experienced and we continue to expect significant fluctuations in sales and operating results from quarter-to-quarter and period-to-period. As such, comparisons between periods and our current results may not be indicative of a trend or future performance.

Our historical results prior to February 23, 2016 do not include TCS. Given the integration of TCS into our business and the joint marketing of our products, historical sales patterns and mix trends are not relevant. As a result, period-to-period comparisons of sales, margins, operating income and Adjusted EBITDA contributions between TCS and Comtech legacy products will not be meaningful and you should not rely on period-to-period comparisons as an indicator of future performance.

Critical Accounting Policies

We consider certain accounting policies to be critical due to the estimation process involved in each.

Revenue Recognition.  We earn revenue from the sale of advanced communication solutions to customers around the world. Sales of advanced communication solutions can consist of any one or a combination of items required by our customer including hardware, technology platforms and related support. A large portion of our revenue from advanced communication solutions is derived from contracts relating to the design, development or manufacture of complex electronic equipment to a buyer’s specification or to provide services relating to the performance of such contracts and is recognized in accordance with FASB ASC 605-35. For these contracts, we primarily apply the percentage-of-completion accounting method and generally recognize revenue based on the relationship of total costs incurred to total projected costs, or, alternatively, based on output measures, such as units delivered or produced. Profits expected to be realized on such contracts are based on total estimated sales for the contract compared to total estimated costs, including warranty costs, at completion of the contract.

Direct costs which include materials, labor and overhead are charged to work-in-progress (including our contracts-in-progress) inventory or cost of sales. Indirect costs relating to long-term contracts, which include expenses such as general and administrative, are charged to expense as incurred and are not included in our work-in-process (including our contracts-in-progress) inventory or cost of sales. Total estimates are reviewed and revised periodically throughout the lives of the contracts, and adjustments to profits resulting from such revisions are made cumulative to the date of the change. Estimated losses on long-term contracts are recorded in the period in which the losses become evident. Long-term U.S. government cost-reimbursable type contracts are also specifically covered by FASB ASC 605-35.

We have been engaged in the production and delivery of goods and services on a continual basis under contractual arrangements for many years. Historically, we have demonstrated an ability to accurately estimate total revenues and total expenses relating to our long-term contracts. However, there exist inherent risks and uncertainties in estimating revenues, expenses and progress toward completion, particularly on larger or longer-term contracts. If we do not accurately estimate the total sales, related costs and progress towards completion on such contracts, the estimated gross margins may be significantly impacted or losses may need to be recognized in future periods. Any such resulting changes in margins or contract losses could be material to our results of operations and financial condition.

49





In addition, most government contracts have termination for convenience clauses that provide the customer with the right to terminate the contract at any time. Such terminations could impact the assumptions regarding total contract revenues and expenses utilized in recognizing profit under the percentage-of-completion method of accounting. Changes to these assumptions could materially impact our results of operations and financial condition. Historically, we have not experienced material terminations of our long-term contracts. We also address customer acceptance provisions in assessing our ability to perform our contractual obligations under long-term contracts. Our inability to perform on our long-term contracts could materially impact our results of operations and financial condition. Historically, we have been able to perform on our long-term contracts.

We also derive a portion of our revenues for advanced communication solutions from contracts and purchase orders where revenue is recorded on delivery of products or performance of services. Such revenues are recognized in accordance with the authoritative guidance contained in FASB ASC 605-25 "Revenue Recognition - Multiple Deliverable Revenue Arrangements" ("FASB ASC 605-25") and, as applicable, FASB ASC 605-20 "Revenue Recognition - Services" ("FASB ASC 605-20") and Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2009-14 (FASB ASC Topic 985) "Certain Revenue Arrangements That Include Software Elements." Revenue recognition for multiple-element arrangements requires judgment to determine if multiple elements exist, whether elements can be accounted for as separate units of accounting, and if so, the fair value for each of the elements. In summary, we recognize revenue for each separate unit of accounting when the applicable revenue recognition criteria for each element have been met. We allocate revenue to each separate unit of accounting in a multi-element arrangement based on the relative fair value of each element, using vendor-specific objective evidence ("VSOE") of their fair values, if available. VSOE is generally determined based on the price charged when an element is sold separately. In the absence of VSOE of fair value, the fee is allocated among each element based on third-party evidence ("TPE") of fair value, which is determined based on competitor pricing for similar deliverables when sold separately. When we are unable to establish fair value using VSOE or TPE, we use estimated selling price ("ESP") to allocate value to each element. The objective of ESP is to determine the price at which we would transact a sale if the product or service were sold separately. We determine ESP for deliverables by considering multiple factors including, but not limited to, prices we charge for similar offerings, market conditions, competitive landscape, and pricing practices. For multiple element arrangements that contain only software and software-related elements, we allocate the fees to each element based on the VSOE of fair value of each element. Due to the nature of some of the agreements it may be difficult to establish VSOE of separate elements of an agreement; in these circumstances the appropriate recognition of revenue may require the use of judgment based on the particular facts and circumstances.

As discussed further in "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (1)(c) Summary of Significant Accounting and Reporting Policies - Revenue Recognition" included in "Part II - Item 8 - Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," we are required to adopt FASB ASU No. 2014-09 in our first quarter of fiscal 2019. This ASU sets forth new revenue recognition guidance and will require us to conform our policies, procedures and disclosures to those required by the new standard.

Impairment of Goodwill and Other Intangible AssetsAs of July 31, 2017, goodwill recorded on our Consolidated Balance Sheet aggregated $290.6 million (of which $231.4 million relates to our Commercial Solutions segment and $59.2 million relates to our Government Solutions segment). Additionally, as of July 31, 2017, net intangibles recorded on our Consolidated Balance Sheet aggregated $261.9 million (of which $216.7 million relates to our Commercial Solutions segment and $45.2 million relates to our Government Solutions segment). Each of our two operating segments constitutes a reporting unit and we must make various assumptions in determining their estimated fair values.

In accordance with FASB ASC 350 “Intangibles - Goodwill and Other,” we perform a goodwill impairment analysis at least annually (in the first quarter of each fiscal year), unless indicators of impairment exist in interim periods. If we fail the quantitative assessment of goodwill impairment ("quantitative assessment"), pursuant to our adoption of FASB ASU No. 2017-04 in fiscal 2017, we would be required to recognize an impairment loss equal to the amount that a reporting unit's carrying value exceeded its fair value; however, any loss recognized should not exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit.

On August 1, 2017 (the first day of our fiscal 2018), we performed our annual quantitative assessment using market participant assumptions to determine if the fair value of each of our reporting units with goodwill exceeded its carrying value. In making this assessment, we considered, among other things, expectations of projected net sales and cash flows, assumptions impacting the weighted average cost of capital, trends in trading multiples of comparable companies, changes in our stock price and changes in the carrying values of our reporting units with goodwill. We also considered overall business conditions.


50




In performing the quantitative assessment, we estimated the fair value of each of our reporting units using a combination of the income and market approaches. The income approach, also known as the discounted cash flow ("DCF") method, utilizes the present value of cash flows to estimate fair value. The future cash flows for our reporting units were projected based on our estimates, at that time, of future revenues, operating income and other factors (such as working capital and capital expenditures). For purposes of conducting our impairment analysis, we assumed revenue growth rates and cash flow projections that are below our actual long-term expectations. The discount rates used in our DCF method were based on a weighted-average cost of capital ("WACC") determined from relevant market comparisons, adjusted upward for specific reporting unit risks (primarily the uncertainty of achieving projected operating cash flows). A terminal value growth rate was applied to the final year of the projected period and reflected our estimate of stable, perpetual growth. We then calculated a present value of the respective cash flows for each reporting unit to arrive at an estimate of fair value under the income approach. Under the market approach, we estimated a fair value based on comparable companies' market multiples of revenues and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and factored in a control premium. Finally, we compared our estimates of fair values to our August 1, 2017 total public market capitalization and assessed implied control premiums based on our common stock price of $18.47 as of August 1, 2017.

Based on our August 1, 2017 quantitative evaluation, we determined that our Commercial Solutions and Government Solutions reporting units had estimated fair values in excess of their carrying values of at least 17.8% and 52.9%, respectively, and concluded that our goodwill was not impaired and that neither of our two reporting units was at risk of failing the quantitative assessment. In order to sensitize our goodwill impairment test, we also performed a second analysis using only the income approach and concluded that neither reporting units' goodwill was impaired or at risk of failing the quantitative assessment. It is possible that, during fiscal 2018 or beyond, business conditions (both in the U.S. and internationally) could deteriorate from the current state, our current or prospective customers could materially postpone, reduce or even forgo purchases of our products and services to a greater extent than we currently anticipate or our common stock price could decline. A significant decline in our customers' spending that is greater than we anticipate or a shift in funding priorities may also have a negative effect on future orders, sales, income and cash flows and we might be required to perform an interim quantitative assessment during fiscal 2018 or beyond. If assumed net sales and cash flow projections are not achieved in future periods or our common stock price significantly declines from current levels, our Commercial Solutions and Government Solutions reporting units could be at risk of failing the quantitative assessment and goodwill and intangibles assigned to the respective reporting units could be impaired. In any event, we are required to perform the next annual goodwill impairment analysis on August 1, 2018 (the start of our fiscal 2019). If our assumptions and related estimates change in the future, or if we change our reporting unit structure or other events and circumstances change (e.g., a sustained decrease in the price of our common stock (considered on both absolute terms and relative to peers)), we may be required to record impairment charges when we perform these tests, or in other future periods. In addition to our impairment analysis of goodwill, we also review net intangible assets with finite lives when an event occurs indicating the potential for impairment. We believe that the carrying values of our net intangible assets were recoverable as of July 31, 2017. Any impairment charges that we may record in the future could be material to our results of operation and financial condition.

Provision for Warranty Obligations.  We provide warranty coverage for most of our products, including products under long-term contracts, for a period of at least one year from the date of shipment. We record a liability for estimated warranty expense based on historical claims, product failure rates and other factors. Costs associated with some of our warranties that are provided under long-term contracts are incorporated into our estimates of total contract costs. There exist inherent risks and uncertainties in estimating warranty expenses, particularly on larger or longer-term contracts. If we do not accurately estimate our warranty costs, any changes to our original estimates could be material to our results of operations and financial condition.

There exist inherent risks and uncertainties in estimating warranty expenses, particularly on larger or longer-term contracts. In August 2016, AT&T, a distributor of a small TCS product line that we refer to as our 911 call handling software solution, informed us that they do not believe TCS met certain contractual specifications related to performance and usability and had requested a refund of certain payments made by them as well as provide them with software changes at no additional cost. TCS has also sold this software to other customers. Our Consolidated Balance Sheet as of July 31, 2017 includes accrued costs of $5.5 million related to this contingent liability, net of charges incurred to date. This amount reflects a consideration of contractual obligations as well as an estimate of future costs to resolve this matter with AT&T.

Accounting for Income Taxes.  Our deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on temporary differences between financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities, and applying enacted tax rates expected to be in effect for the year in which the differences are expected to reverse. Our provision for income taxes is based on domestic (including federal and state) and international statutory income tax rates in the tax jurisdictions where we operate, permanent differences between financial reporting and tax reporting and available credits and incentives. We recognize interest and penalties related to uncertain tax positions in income tax expense. The U.S. federal government is our most significant income tax jurisdiction.


51




Significant judgment is required in determining income tax provisions and tax positions. We may be challenged upon review by the applicable taxing authority and positions taken by us may not be sustained. We recognize all or a portion of the benefit of income tax positions only when we have made a determination that it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained upon examination, based upon the technical merits of the position and other factors. For tax positions that are determined as more likely than not to be sustained upon examination, the tax benefit recognized is the largest amount of benefit that is greater than 50% likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement. The development of valuation allowances for deferred tax assets and reserves for income tax positions requires consideration of timing and judgments about future taxable income, tax issues and potential outcomes, and are subjective critical estimates. A portion of our deferred tax assets consist of federal net operating losses and federal research and experimentation tax credit carryforwards, most of which was acquired in connection with our acquisition of TCS. No valuation allowance has been established on these deferred tax assets based on our evaluation that our ability to realize such assets has met the criteria of “more likely than not.” We continuously evaluate additional facts representing positive and negative evidence in determining our ability to realize these deferred tax assets. In certain circumstances, the ultimate outcome of exposures and risks involves significant uncertainties. If actual outcomes differ materially from these estimates, they could have a material impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

Our federal income tax returns for fiscal 2015 and 2016 are subject to potential future Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") audits. None of our state income tax returns prior to fiscal 2013 are subject to audit. TCS's federal income tax returns for calendar years 2013 through 2015 and the tax period from January 1, 2016 to February 23, 2016 are subject to potential future IRS audits. None of TCS's state income tax returns prior to calendar year 2012 are subject to audit. Future tax assessments or settlements could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated results of operations and financial condition.

Research and Development Costs. We generally expense all research and development costs. Research and development expenses include payroll, employee benefits, stock-based compensation expense, and other personnel-related expenses associated with product development. Research and development expenses also include third-party development and programming costs. Costs incurred internally in researching and developing software to be sold are charged to expense until technological feasibility has been established for the software. Judgment is required in determining when technological feasibility of a product is established. Technological feasibility for our advanced communication software solutions is generally reached after all high-risk development issues have been resolved through coding and testing. Generally, this occurs shortly before the products are released to customers and when we are able to validate the marketability of such product. Once technological feasibility is established, all software costs are capitalized until the product is available for general release to customers. To date, we have not capitalized any of our internally developed software costs.

Provisions for Excess and Obsolete Inventory.  We record a provision for excess and obsolete inventory based on historical and future usage trends. Other factors may also influence our provision, including decisions to exit a product line, technological change and new product development. These factors could result in a change in the amount of excess and obsolete inventory on hand. Additionally, our estimates of future product demand may prove to be inaccurate, in which case we may have understated or overstated the provision required for excess and obsolete inventory. In the future, if we determine that our inventory was overvalued, we would be required to recognize such costs in our financial statements at the time of such determination. Any such charge could be material to our results of operations and financial condition.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts.  We perform credit evaluations of our customers and adjust credit limits based upon customer payment history and current creditworthiness, as determined by our review of our customers’ current credit information. Generally, we will require cash in advance or payment secured by irrevocable letters of credit before an order is accepted from an international customer that we do not do business with regularly. In addition, we seek to obtain insurance for certain domestic and international customers.

We monitor collections and payments from our customers and maintain an allowance for doubtful accounts based upon our historical experience and any specific customer collection issues that we have identified. In light of ongoing tight credit market conditions, we continue to see requests from our customers for higher credit limits and longer payment terms. Because of our strong cash position and the nominal amount of interest we are earning on our cash and cash equivalents, we have, on a limited basis, approved certain customer requests.

We continue to monitor our accounts receivable credit portfolio. Our overall credit losses have historically been within our expectations of the allowances established; however, we cannot guarantee that we will continue to experience the same credit loss rates that we have in the past. Measurement of credit losses requires consideration of historical loss experience, including the need to adjust for changing business conditions, and judgments about the probable effects of relevant observable data, including present economic conditions such as delinquency rates and the financial health of specific customers. Changes to the estimated allowance for doubtful accounts could be material to our results of operations and financial condition.


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Results of Operations

The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, certain income and expense items expressed as a percentage of our consolidated net sales:
 
 
Fiscal Years Ended July 31,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Gross margin
 
39.6
 %
 
41.7
 %
 
45.2
%
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
21.1
 %
 
23.1
 %
 
20.4
%
Research and development expenses
 
9.9
 %
 
10.3
 %
 
11.7
%
Settlement of intellectual property litigation
 
(2.2
)%
 
 %
 
%
Acquisition plan expenses
 
 %
 
5.2
 %
 
%
Amortization of intangibles
 
4.1
 %
 
3.3
 %
 
2.0
%
Operating income (loss)
 
6.7
 %
 
(0.1
)%
 
11.1
%
Interest expense (income) and other, net
 
2.1
 %
 
1.9
 %
 
%
Income (loss) before provision for income taxes
 
4.6
 %
 
(2.0
)%
 
11.1
%
Net income (loss)
 
2.9
 %
 
(1.9
)%
 
7.5
%
Adjusted EBITDA (a Non-GAAP measure)
 
12.8
 %
 
11.7
 %
 
16.8
%

For a definition and explanation of Adjusted EBITDA, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Comparison of Fiscal 2017 and 2016 - Adjusted EBITDA.

Business Outlook for Fiscal 2018

Our fiscal 2017 was a successful year. Fiscal 2017 financial results reflect the integration of the TCS business into our operations and were capped by strong fourth quarter net sales and sequentially higher Adjusted EBITDA. During fiscal 2017, we achieved annual:

Net sales of $550.4 million;
Operating income of $37.0 million;
Net income of $15.8 million;
Cash flows from operating activities of $66.7 million; and
Adjusted EBITDA (a Non-GAAP financial measure discussed below) of $70.7 million.

Our fiscal 2017 Adjusted EBITDA reflects $6.7 million of benefit associated with a fee paid by the U.S. Army to use our BFT-1 intellectual property. Effective April 1, 2017, the U.S. Army retains a limited non-exclusive right to use this intellectual property for no additional payment. Without this fee, Adjusted EBITDA in fiscal 2017 would have been $64.0 million. For a definition and explanation of Adjusted EBITDA, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Comparison of Fiscal 2017 and 2016 - Adjusted EBITDA.

As of July 31, 2017, our cash and cash equivalents were $41.8 million and our total debt outstanding was $200.6 million (excluding deferred financing costs). Given our strong fiscal 2017 operating cash flows, we have successfully reduced the level of our total indebtedness since the beginning of our fiscal year by $63.7 million. Since the February 23, 2016 acquisition of TCS, we have reduced our total indebtedness by $160.3 million.

We enter fiscal 2018 with solid backlog and a pipeline of opportunities. During fiscal 2017, we achieved a consolidated book-to-bill ratio (a measure defined as bookings divided by net sales) of 0.93 and finished the year with consolidated backlog of $446.2 million. Looking forward, we anticipate that our strong growth prospects will drive an increase in net sales as compared to fiscal 2017. In addition, despite the absence of $6.7 million of BFT-1 intellectual property license fee in fiscal 2018, we are targeting Adjusted EBITDA in a range comparable to the $70.7 million we achieved in fiscal 2017. If market conditions continue to strengthen, enabling us to achieve all of our fiscal 2018 business goals, it is possible that Adjusted EBITDA in fiscal 2018 could exceed the $70.7 million achieved in fiscal 2017. We expect that fiscal 2018 Adjusted EBITDA, as a percentage of consolidated net sales, will be comparable to the 12.8% we achieved in fiscal 2017.


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Our optimism for fiscal 2018 is driven by recent momentum on many fronts, including the following:

Our Commercial Solutions segment is expected to benefit from increased fiscal 2018 sales of satellite earth station products (which include satellite modems and solid-state power amplifiers ("SSPAs")). We experienced satellite earth station revenue growth to international customers in fiscal 2017, and our international markets continue to show signs of strengthening. In addition, we expect to benefit from recent new product introductions. For instance, during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, we announced the general availability of our HeightsTM Dynamic Network Access Technology ("HEIGHTS"), a potentially revolutionary technology designed to deliver the highest Internet Protocol bits per Hertz in its class, as well as robust reliability. HEIGHTS has and will continue to be a cornerstone of our future research and development efforts. To-date, we have announced several important customer wins for this product line and our pipeline of opportunities is growing. As such, we anticipate that fiscal 2018 will be the break-out year for sales of our HEIGHTS products. We also expect incremental fiscal 2018 revenue contributions from our recently introduced series of compact high-power GaN SSPAs, which are ideal for transportable and mobile applications as well as tactical communications. Additionally, sales of our SSPAs used in airborne, in-flight connectivity applications are expected to remain strong.

Sales of our satellite earth station products and technologies in our Commercial Solutions segment are also expected to benefit from increased sales to the U.S. government. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare System Command, in support of the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computer and Intelligence, publicly announced its intention to sole-source a five year, indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity ("IDIQ") contract to procure our SLM-5650B satellite modems and upgrade kits. There are over eight-hundred older generation modems currently utilized by multiple Navy programs and our new modems and related upgrade kits will meet critical Navy requirements. We believe no other competitor responded to the Navy’s Request for Proposal ("RFP") and we are expecting to receive a contract award in fiscal 2018, with related shipments occurring in the latter part of the second half of fiscal 2018.

We continue to invest in and upgrade our Commercial Solutions segment’s enterprise technology solutions (such as our location and messaging platforms) and safety and security technology solutions (such as our wireless and next generation 911 ("NG911") platforms). These technologies have been deployed around the U.S., are used by wireless carriers to provide Short-Message-Service ("SMS") texts to end-customers and are also used to communicate with 911 public safety answering points ("PSAPs"). We are currently pursuing a number of large multi-year, multi-million dollar NG911 and enterprise and trusted location-based technology solutions opportunities. Although the size and timing of these contract awards are difficult to predict, we are confident that fiscal 2018 will benefit from one or more NG911 awards.

We believe we are seeing benefits of our tactical shift in strategy in our Government Solutions segment away from bidding on large commodity service contracts and toward pursuing contracts for our niche solutions with higher margins. Our field-proven technologies and support services are ideally suited to meet the U.S. DoD’s C4ISR needs and we are actively pursuing many opportunities. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, we achieved a quarterly book-to-bill ratio of 1.26 and booked a number of important orders, including: (i) a $14.5 million contract modification from the Defense Information Systems Agency ("DISA") which exercised an option under an existing contract that enables us to continue to provide Ku satellite bandwidth and support services for the U.S. Marine Corps' ("USMC") Tactical Satellite Communications Network; (ii) an $8.6 million contract modification to provide enhanced communications infrastructure for U.S. forces in the Central Command Area of Responsibility; (iii) $6.9 million in orders for our cyber-training solutions; and (iv) $4.1 million in orders for high-power amplifiers and control components from multiple domestic original equipment manufacturers. Fiscal 2018 is expected to reflect sales and operating income contributions from these orders. In addition to these funded orders, we were named a final awardee on a ten-year, $2.5 billion IDIQ contract commonly referred to as “Complex Commercial SATCOM Solutions” (or “CS3”) from the General Services Administration, which allows U.S. federal agencies to purchase end-to-end, turnkey solutions which incorporate commercial satellite solutions. Over time, we would expect to secure new orders from the CS3 contract.


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Our Government Solutions segment’s strategy to focus efforts on supporting the U.S. Army on a possible next generation Blue Force Tracking ("BFT") program appears to be gaining ground. During the third quarter of fiscal 2017, we received a new $42.7 million five-year contract to provide the U.S. Army with continued BFT-1 sustainment support, for which we have received $7.7 million of funding to-date. We were also awarded a sole-source firm-fixed price IDIQ contract to provide BFT-1 aviation transceivers to the Defense Logistics Agency ("DLA") and have received $4.2 million of funded orders to-date. We believe that the U.S. Army has a requirement for a next generation system (referred to commonly as "BFT-3") and, based on our recent interactions with the U.S. Army, we are becoming increasingly optimistic that we will be able to participate in future BFT program awards.

Our Government Solutions segment has also responded to a large multi-million dollar competitive solicitation from the U.S. Army to provide sustainment services to its AN/TSC-198 family of communication systems that are commonly referred to as “SNAP” (“Secret Internet Protocol Router (“SIPR”) and Non-secure Internet Protocol Router (“NIPR”) Access Point) Very Small Aperture Terminals (“VSATs”). We are the incumbent on this program. The U.S. Army is expected to announce the winner of this solicitation shortly. We believe this decision will largely be based on lowest price and believe we have appropriately and responsibly bid on this program. As such, we are optimistic that the U.S. Army will select us to continue to perform this important work. Sales in fiscal 2017 for this program were $32.4 million and, as of July 31, 2017, we had $26.0 million in our backlog related to this contract, for which we expect to perform work on during fiscal 2018.

Our Government Solutions segment is also preparing to respond to an expected large multi-year RFP for the supply of new troposcatter communications equipment to replace hundreds of the U.S. DoD’s AN/TRC-170 terminals. A draft RFP has been circulated to prospective vendors and we believe a final proposal will be issued sometime in fiscal 2018. Although an award of this program would likely not affect fiscal 2018 revenue, we would expect it to make significant contributions to revenue in subsequent years.

Based on the anticipated timing of shipments and performance related to orders currently in our backlog and the timing of expected new orders, net sales and Adjusted EBITDA for our first and second quarters of fiscal 2018 are expected to be lower than the comparable operating quarters in fiscal 2017. Given the straight-line amortization expense associated with intangible assets with finite lives, we expect to report an operating loss in both the first and second quarters of fiscal 2018, with each of the third and fourth fiscal 2018 quarters achieving operating profits. Our fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 is expected to be the peak quarter for both net sales and Adjusted EBITDA.

In view of the positive signs we are seeing and broad opportunities for future growth across all of our businesses, on September 27, 2017, our Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per common share, payable on November 17, 2017 to stockholders of record at the close of business on October 18, 2017. Future dividends remain subject to compliance with financial covenants under our Secured Credit Facility, as amended, as well as Board approval.

Our Business Outlook for Fiscal 2018 depends, in large part, on the receipt of and performance on orders from our customers, and could be adversely impacted if business conditions deteriorate or our current or prospective customers materially postpone, reduce or even forgo purchases of our products and services.

Our historical results prior to February 23, 2016 do not include TCS. Given the integration of TCS into our business and the joint marketing of our products, historical sales patterns and mix trends are not relevant. As a result, period-to-period comparisons of sales, margins, operating income and Adjusted EBITDA contributions between TCS and Comtech legacy products will not be meaningful and you should not rely on period-to-period comparisons as an indicator of future performance.

Additional information related to our Business Outlook for Fiscal 2018 is included in the below section entitled “Comparison of Fiscal 2017 and 2016.

Comparison of Fiscal 2017 and 2016

Net Sales. Consolidated net sales were $550.4 million and $411.0 million for fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively, representing an increase of $139.4 million, or 33.9%. As TCS was acquired on February 23, 2016, fiscal 2017 includes a full year of TCS operations as compared to fiscal 2016 which only included approximately five months. The year-over-year increase in net sales was driven by incremental sales of $147.1 million from TCS products lines. Net sales by operating segment are discussed below.


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Commercial Solutions
Net sales in our Commercial Solutions segment were $330.9 million for fiscal 2017, as compared to $249.0 million for fiscal 2016, an increase of $81.9 million, or 32.9%. The year-over-year increase in net sales reflects incremental sales of $82.3 million from TCS product lines (which include enterprise technology solutions such as our location and messaging platforms and safety and security technology solutions such as our wireless and next generation 911 ("NG911") platforms). Our Commercial Solutions segment represented 60.1% of consolidated net sales for fiscal 2017 as compared to 60.6% for fiscal 2016.

Our book-to-bill ratio (a measure defined as bookings divided by net sales) in this segment for fiscal 2017 was 0.89. We believe that improving market conditions observed in recent months and the receipt of several large anticipated orders will result in a book-to-bill ratio over 1.00 in this segment for fiscal 2018.

Net sales of our satellite earth station products in fiscal 2017 were lower than fiscal 2016. Although market conditions in fiscal 2017 for our international satellite earth station customers improved and related sales to these customers increased, sales and bookings from our U.S. government customers in fiscal 2017 were significantly lower as compared to fiscal 2016. We attribute this decline to delays in awarding and/or funding certain programs and a lull in ordering that resulted from political and budget uncertainty. During the second half of fiscal 2017, we saw a noticeable improvement in sales to U.S. government customers and we believe that this trend is continuing into fiscal 2018. In particular, we anticipate second half revenue and operating income contributions from an expected sole-source IDIQ contract award from the Navy for our SLM-5650B satellite modems and upgrade kits. We expect that fiscal 2018 net sales will also benefit from recent new product introductions such as our HEIGHTS networking platform. On the basis of opportunities in our pipeline and feedback received from current and prospective customers, we believe fiscal 2018 will be a break-out year for HEIGHTS.

Net sales in fiscal 2017 of both enterprise technology solutions and safety and security technology solutions were higher than fiscal 2016, primarily due to the contribution of twelve months of TCS operations as compared to only five months in fiscal 2016. Overall market conditions for these products remain favorable. We are currently bidding on a number of large opportunities and although the extent and timing of these contract awards are difficult to predict, we expect that fiscal 2018 will benefit from one or more of these opportunities. Sales of these solutions in fiscal 2018 are expected to be higher than in fiscal 2017.
 
Overall, we expect fiscal 2018 net sales in our Commercial Solutions segment to be higher than fiscal 2017. Bookings, sales and profitability in our Commercial Solutions segment can fluctuate from period-to-period due to many factors, including changes in the general business environment. As such, period-to-period comparisons of our results may not be indicative of a trend or future performance.

Government Solutions
Net sales in our Government Solutions segment were $219.5 million for fiscal 2017 as compared to $162.0 million for fiscal 2016, an increase of $57.5 million or 35.5%. The year-over-year increase in net sales primarily reflects incremental sales of $64.8 million from TCS product lines (which include our advanced communication solutions such as field support, space components and cyber-training). Our Government Solutions segment represented 39.9% of consolidated net sales for fiscal 2017, as compared to 39.4% for fiscal 2016.

Our book-to-bill ratio (a measure defined as bookings divided by net sales) in this segment for fiscal 2017 was approximately 1.00. We are seeing tangible benefits of our tactical shift in strategy away from bidding on large commodity service contracts and toward pursuing contracts for our niche solutions with higher margins. Although the timing of large contract awards makes it difficult to predict our book-to-bill ratio in any given period, we are targeting a book-to-bill ratio slightly over 1.00 in this segment for fiscal 2018.

Net sales of legacy Comtech products (which include over-the-horizon microwave system products, high-power broadband amplifiers and BFT-1 sustainment support services) were, in the aggregate, lower in fiscal 2017 than in fiscal 2016, primarily as a result of lower BFT-1 related sales. Net sales for fiscal 2017 and 2016 include $6.7 million and $10.0 million, respectively, of sales related to a BFT-1 intellectual property license contract which expired on March 31, 2017. Going forward, the U.S. Army does not have an obligation to pay us additional BFT-1 intellectual property license fees.


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Consistent with our tactical shift in strategy in our Government Solutions segment away from bidding on large commodity service contracts and toward pursuing contracts for our niche solutions with higher margins, as well as the absence of $6.7 million of BFT-1 intellectual property license fees, fiscal 2018 net sales in our Government Solutions segment are expected to be lower than in fiscal 2017. In future years, we would expect revenue to increase from such levels. Recent contract awards that will contribute to fiscal 2018 net sales include: (i) a $23.8 million order from an international space agency; (ii) a $14.5 million contract to continue to provide Ku satellite bandwidth and support services for the USMC's Tactical Satellite Communications Network; (iii) an $8.6 million contract modification to provide enhanced communications infrastructure for U.S. forces in the Central Command Area of Responsibility; (iv) initial funding of $7.7 million for BFT-1 sustainment support and a related order of $4.2 million for BFT-1 aviation transceivers; (v) $6.9 million in orders for our cyber-training solutions; and (vi) $4.1 million in orders for high-power amplifiers and control components from multiple domestic original equipment manufacturers. In addition, our pipeline of opportunities heading into fiscal 2018 includes pending proposals on several large multi-year contracts, including a potential renewal of existing sustainment and retrofit services related to the U.S. Army’s AN/TSC-198 family of communication systems that are commonly referred to as “SNAP.” In addition to the aforementioned programs, we expect to win various new programs that will provide revenue and operating income contributions in fiscal 2018 and beyond.

Bookings, sales and profitability in our Government Solutions segment can fluctuate dramatically from period-to-period due to many factors, including unpredictable funding, deployment and technology decisions by our U.S. and international government customers. As such, period-to-period comparisons of our results may not be indicative of a trend or future performance.

Geography and Customer Type
Sales by geography and customer type, as a percentage of related sales, for the fiscal years ended July 31, 2017 and 2016 are as follows:

 
 
Fiscal Years Ended July 31,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2017
 
2016
 
2017
 
2016
 
 
Commercial Solutions
 
Government Solutions
 
Consolidated
U.S. government
 
15.1
%
 
25.0
%
 
59.2
%
 
65.0
%
 
32.7
%
 
40.8
%
Domestic
 
54.4
%
 
40.6
%
 
15.5
%
 
11.6
%
 
38.9
%
 
29.2
%
Total U.S.
 
69.5
%
 
65.6
%
 
74.7
%
 
76.6
%
 
71.6
%
 
70.0
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
International
 
30.5
%
 
34.4
%
 
25.3
%
 
23.4
%
 
28.4
%
 
30.0
%
Total
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%

Sales to U.S. government customers include sales to the U.S. DoD, intelligence and civilian agencies, as well as sales directly to or through prime contractors. Domestic sales include sales to U.S. state and local governments. International sales include sales to U.S. companies for inclusion in products that are sold to international customers.

As a result of the TCS acquisition, we believe that domestic net sales, as a percentage of our consolidated net sales, will continue to be higher than in periods prior to the TCS acquisition, due to the inclusion in consolidated net sales of safety and security technology solutions (such as 911 call routing) which are primarily sold to U.S. customers.

Gross Profit. Gross profit was $218.2 million and $171.2 million for fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively, representing an increase of $47.0 million. This increase in gross profit dollars was driven by higher consolidated net sales as discussed above. Gross profit, as a percentage of consolidated net sales decreased from 41.7% for fiscal 2016 to 39.6% for fiscal 2017. This decrease is attributable to overall product mix changes resulting primarily from the TCS acquisition, in particular, the inclusion of net sales related to TCS government solutions, which have historically had lower gross margins than Comtech’s legacy products. Gross profit, as a percentage of related segment net sales is further discussed below.

Our Commercial Solutions segment's gross profit, as a percentage of related segment net sales, for fiscal 2017 was higher than in fiscal 2016. This increase was primarily driven by the inclusion of net sales related to TCS commercial solutions during fiscal 2017, which had higher gross margins than Comtech's legacy products. Gross margin, as a percentage of related net sales for Comtech’s legacy products, also increased primarily due to overall mix changes. We expect our gross profit, as a percentage of related segment net sales, for fiscal 2018, to be comparable to the percentage achieved in fiscal 2017.


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Our Government Solutions segment's gross profit, as a percentage of related segment net sales, for fiscal 2017 was significantly lower than in fiscal 2016. This decrease was primarily driven by the inclusion of net sales related to TCS government solutions during fiscal 2017, which have significantly lower gross margins than Comtech's legacy products. Gross profit in this segment, for fiscal 2017 and 2016 includes $6.7 million and $10.0 million, respectively, related to a prior BFT-1 intellectual property license contract which expired on March 31, 2017. Going forward, the U.S. Army does not have an obligation to pay us additional BFT-1 intellectual property license fees. Given the absence of BFT-1 intellectual property license fees in fiscal 2018, we expect our gross profit, as a percentage of related segment net sales, to be lower than the percentage achieved in fiscal 2017. Over-time, we believe the implementation of our strategy of shifting our Government Solutions segment away from bidding on large commodity service contracts and toward pursuing contracts for our niche solutions will result in higher gross margins in this segment.

Included in consolidated cost of sales for fiscal 2017 and 2016 are provisions for excess and obsolete inventory of $2.9 million and $2.8 million, respectively. As discussed in "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Critical Accounting Policies - Provisions for Excess and Obsolete Inventory," we regularly review our inventory and record a provision for excess and obsolete inventory based on historical and projected usage assumptions.

Because our consolidated gross profit, as a percentage of consolidated net sales, depends on the volume of sales, sales mix and related gross profit for each individual segment, it is inherently difficult to forecast. Nevertheless, based on expected bookings and expected timing of our performance on orders and the absence of the BFT-1 intellectual property license fees, we currently expect our consolidated gross profit, as a percentage of consolidated net sales, for fiscal 2018 to be slightly lower than the percentage we achieved in fiscal 2017.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses. Selling, general and administrative expenses were $116.1 million and $94.9 million for fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively, representing an increase of $21.2 million. The increase in spending is primarily attributable to incremental expenses associated with the increased size of our business as a result of the TCS acquisition which was partially offset by $5.5 million of favorable adjustments related to a recovery of legal expenses from a third party and adjustments related to reserves associated with the TCS acquisition that were no longer required. As a percentage of consolidated net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses were 21.1% and 23.1% for fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively. This decrease in percentage is primarily due to higher consolidated net sales during fiscal 2017, the aforementioned $5.5 million of favorable adjustments, and the benefit of cost reduction actions previously initiated.

Amortization of stock-based compensation expense recorded as selling, general and administrative expenses was $7.1 million in fiscal 2017 as compared to $3.4 million in fiscal 2016. This increase is primarily related to the type and timing of stock-based awards. In fiscal 2017, we paid certain annual incentive compensation awards in the form of share units whereas in fiscal 2016, such annual incentives were paid in cash. The benefit of this change resulted in lower overall company-wide compensation expense of approximately $1.3 million in fiscal 2017.

Based on our current spending plans, we expect fiscal 2018 selling, general and administrative expenses, as a percentage of consolidated net sales, to be comparable to fiscal 2017.
   
Research and Development Expenses. Research and development expenses were $54.3 million and $42.2 million for fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively, representing an increase of $12.1 million, or 28.7%. The increase in spending is primarily attributable to incremental expenses associated with the TCS product lines. As a percentage of consolidated net sales, research and development expenses were 9.9% and 10.3% for fiscal 2017 and 2016.

For fiscal 2017 and 2016, research and development expenses of $44.7 million and $33.8 million, respectively, related to our Commercial Solutions segment, and $8.9 million and $8.0 million, respectively, related to our Government Solutions segment. The remaining research and development expenses of $0.7 million and $0.4 million in fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively, related to the amortization of stock-based compensation expense.

Whenever possible, we seek customer funding for research and development to adapt our products to specialized customer requirements. During fiscal 2017 and 2016, customers reimbursed us $27.1 million and $17.4 million, respectively, which is not reflected in the reported research and development expenses, but is included in net sales with the related costs included in cost of sales.

Based on our current spending plans, we expect fiscal 2018 research and development expenses, as a percentage of consolidated net sales, to be comparable to fiscal 2017.


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Amortization of Intangibles. Amortization relating to intangible assets with finite lives was $22.8 million (of which $17.7 million was for the Commercial Solutions segment and $5.1 million was for the Government Solutions segment) for fiscal 2017 and $13.4 million (of which $10.6 million was for the Commercial Solutions segment and $2.8 million was for the Government Solutions segment) for fiscal 2016. The significant increase in amortization of intangibles is a result of our acquisition of TCS on February 23, 2016. As certain intangibles became fully amortized in fiscal 2017, we anticipate amortization of intangibles in fiscal 2018, in dollars, to be lower than in fiscal 2017.

Settlement of Intellectual Property Litigation. As discussed further in "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (14)(b) Commitments and Contingencies - Legal Proceedings, Other Matters and Final Settlements" included in "Part II - Item 8 - Financial Statements and Supplementary Data," during fiscal 2017, we recorded favorable adjustments to operating income of $12.0 million, net of estimated legal fees, to reflect lower losses than originally estimated for TCS intellectual property matters which were settled during fiscal 2017. There were no comparable adjustments in fiscal 2016.

Acquisition Plan Expenses. Acquisition plan expenses during fiscal 2016 were $21.3 million and primarily consist of transaction costs related to our acquisition of TCS on February 23, 2016, as discussed further in "Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements - Note (2) Acquisition" included in "Part II - Item 8 - Financial Statements and Supplementary Data." There were no comparable expenses during fiscal 2017.

Operating Income (Loss). Operating income for fiscal 2017 was $37.0 million as compared to a loss of $0.6 million for fiscal 2016. Operating income by reportable segment is shown in the table below:
 
 
Fiscal Years Ended July 31,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2017
 
2016
 
2017
 
2016
 
2017
 
2016
($ in millions)
 
Commercial Solutions
 
Government Solutions