KULR TECHNOLOGY GROUP’S FIRST QUARTER 2024 EARNINGS CALL

May 15, 2024 4:30 PM ET

Company Participants:

Stuart Smith – IR

Michael Mo – CEO

Shawn Canter – CFO


Stuart:

All right. Thank you for joining us today for the KULR Technology Group first quarter 2024 earnings call. I will be joined on the call today by the CEO of KULR Technology Group, Michael Mo, and the Chief Financial Officer for the company, Sean Canter. But before we begin the call, please listen closely to the following statements. This call does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of offers to buy any securities of any entity. This call contains certain forward-looking statements based on the company’s current expectations, forecasts, and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements made on this call are based on information available to the company as of the date hereof.

The company’s actual results may differ materially from those stated or implied in such forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties associated with their business, which include risk factors disclosed in KULR Technology Group’s Form 10-K filed with the Securities Exchange Commission on April 12th, 2024. As may be amended or supplanted by other report the company files with the Securities Exchange Commission from time to time. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding their expectations, beliefs, intentions, or strategy regarding the future and can be identified by forward-looking words such as anticipate, believe, could, estimate, expect, intend, may, should, and would, or similar words.

All forecasts that are provided by management on this call are based on information available at this time, and management expects that internal projection and expectations may change over time. In addition, the forecasts are entirely on management’s best estimate of KULR Technology Group’s future financial performance given their current contracts, current backlog of opportunities, and conversations with new and existing customers about their products and services. KULR Technology Group assumes no obligation to update the information included on this call, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. I will now turn the call over to the Chief Executive Officer of KULR Technology Group, Michael Mo. Michael, the call is yours.

Michael Mo:

Thank you, Stuart. This is Michael Mo. Thanks to everybody for joining us today. I’d like to go over some of the financial and operational highlights with you today. I will discuss how we achieved over 760% year-over-year growth in our KULR ONE design solution business, which is our engineering services business in Q1 of 2024 compared to Q1 of 2023, and how this tremendous growth in service business drives the growth in our overall product sales business, especially in the KULR ONE space and the KULR ONE guardian product lines. While we’re experiencing this big growth, we have reduced our cash use in operating and investment activities by 23% and total operating expenses by 25% year-over-year for the first quarter in 2024 compared to 2023. I will also give an update on our new KULR Texas facility and how we’re strategically positioning it to be the center of excellence for battery design and testing, and also foster innovations together with our customers.

The market is changing very quickly. Our customers are very demanding. They want the best, and they wanted it yesterday. With the ever-changing regulations around safety of lithium battery usage, customers demand fast turnaround time in addition to their requirements on quality, performance, and customization to fit perfectly to their applications. At KULR, we’re winning customer engagements by offering a one-stop shop solution to all their battery needs. We start with a holistic design methodology to come up with a modular design that is easy to customize for our customer’s needs. Our dedicated and experienced engineering team is very focused on safety, and we can turn around very quickly with our in-house testing, machine shop, tooling, and manufacturing capabilities. This has enabled us to achieve over 760% year-over-year growth in our KULR ONE design solutions business. Furthermore, through our KULR ONE design solutions process, we’re collecting valuable data through the cell screening, to testing, to design, and ultimately accelerating the customer’s certification process with a treasure trove of data.

This data is becoming the glue and the fuel to our business. Let’s use FTRC testing as an example on how it’s driving new and recurring revenue. We recently announced that we have successfully completed large format FTRC test for 200-amp power high-energy battery cells for automotive OEM customer. It’s the first in the industry and the only one because KULR has an exclusive license with NASA on this technology. We’re able to provide our customers with battery cell data that are not available anywhere else, and this data is critically foundational to build truly safe battery packs for certification, which makes our service very sticky with our customers. Automotive customers, like customers in electric aviation, energy storage, and industrial markets are constantly evaluating new generation of battery cells with calorimetry data. Therefore, are unique and exclusive position in the battery cell testing market is bringing us new and recurring businesses in the global cell testing market estimated to reach over $7 billion by 2030. To drive our ecosystem further, we’re working with battery cell companies to test and qualify their new battery cells with data.

Like our partnership with Amprius, which we announced recently for their silicon and all cylindrical cells, we see tremendous demand for FTRC testing business because it’s providing our customers with critical data that they cannot get anywhere else. We’re building a couple of new testing lines in our new Texas facility, which will be fully operational in Q3 of this year, and we’re expecting our testing service alone to be over $1 million a quarter revenue for us by the end of this year. We’re also developing AI-based data collection and report generation tools to streamline the testing and the data analysis operations. That will further drive our battery design and product sales business. In Q1, we saw the number of product sale customers grew from 13 in 2023 to 25 in 2024. We had one large customer in Q1 of ’23 that did not place order with us in Q1 of ’24.

Due to the sticky nature of our products that are certified into that customer’s products, management expects that customer to continue purchasing from KULR in this year and beyond. Excluding that one large customer, our product sales revenue grew over 400% in Q1 of ’24 year-over-year. We expect our KULR ONE space battery to be a key driver for our growth going forward. The space economy is going to be over $1.8 trillion by 2035, according to McKinsey. This is driven by the commoditization of commercialized space industry. The space battery market is estimated to grow to 6.35 billion by 2030, and we expect our KULR ONE space platform to play an important role in this market. Some of the key players that drive this tremendous growth in the space economy include rapidly growing private companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, continued growth of traditional government from contractors like Boeing and Northrop Grumman, and also new up and coming companies like Voyager Space, Axiom, Vast, and many of these are already KULR customers.

What all of these companies look for in their energy storage system is high-performance, space-qualified, and competitively priced battery solutions with the highest level of safety that meets NASA safety standards, especially the NASA JSC-20793 specification that’s mandated to be part of a crew space mission. That’s exactly what KULR ONE space architecture offers. A pre-qualified design architecture that can be customized, be space-fly-ready, and certified for NASA JSC-20793 specifications in record time. We’re offering a solution that can dramatically improve time to market and offer cost savings to our customers.

Michael Mo:

Another successful example of providing fast time-to-market engineering service and paved the way for high potential future product sales is our KULR ONE Guardian platform. We started this platform with our contract with Army DEVCOM for the next-generation aviation battery in Q2 of 2023. That contract has since been expanded to over 1.8 million, and we’re scheduled to deliver our prototype batteries to them in August of this year.

Data has shown that a new battery will be a game-changer for Army in terms of safety and energy capacity. Now we’re expanding our KULR One Guardian product portfolio to a standard size 2590 battery, swappable UPS battery, and additional custom batteries for our DoD customers based on the same scalable architecture. What sets Quota One platform apart from the competition is data, safety, and speed. Our customers demand their batteries to have the superior thermal performance and safety with the highest energy power.

The Quota One architecture is flexible. It can be quickly customized to meet regulatory requirements across a wide spectrum of applications. Our end-to-end one-stop shop solution is what the customers are looking for. Our SafeCASE product is another example of a data-driven solution winning the marketplace. We have performed exhaustive thermal runaway tests on batteries of all sizes and chemistry in our SafeCASE product line.

The comprehensive test results are presented to US Department of Transportation and also logistic partners like UPS to receive special permits to ship batteries for recycling and other applications. We’ve also presented these tests and data to fire departments across the country, including San Diego and New York. They’re very excited about our SafeCASE and how it can help them fight battery fires. We continue to grow our SafeCASE customer base across multiple industries and markets.

Customers are excited about the SafeCASE because real-life test data has shown that it has the highest energy capacity to handle in the industry. Expanded technology is the most effective to mitigate battery thermal runaway and it’s been used on International Space Station since 2019. And it’s reusable, which makes it much more sustainable and a cost-effective solution compared to our competition. The KULR online marketplace represents a pivotal expansion in KULR sales strategy by offering direct order facility that complements our traditional distribution channels.

This direct-to-business and consumer channel is going to help us scale up our product sales more quickly. Currently, the marketplace offers our SafeCASE and SAFE [inaudible 00:11:48] products. We’ve already received orders from fire department and Department of Energy branches throughout the website. We plan to expand our online offerings to include internal short-circuit devices, trigger cells, rad-tolerant BMS, KULR ONE battery packs, and also rapid engineering design services in the near future.

KULR has spent the last few years creating a portfolio of service and solutions that allow the company to support every aspect of battery lifecycle. We have now consolidated the infrastructure to execute our KULR ONE design solution services under one roof, all in-house in our new Center of Excellence of Battery Design and Testing in Webster, Texas. This facility is approximately 2.1 miles from NASA Johnson Space Center, and it’s next to companies like Axiom Space, Leidos, Blue Origin, among many others.

It’s an ideal location to provide rapid turnaround, real-time VIP-style battery design, testing, and production services to the surrounding ecosystem of aerospace companies. We signed a lease in February of this year, and we are in the midst of finishing up the facility improvements, moving in, and also execute our daily operation at the same time. So a big shout-out to my Texas team. Our success story with the NASA RFI program is a perfect example to highlight how our KULR Texas facility is providing a rapid turnaround solution to our customers.

Within six hours of engagement, the KULR team was able to provide NASA’s RFI team with a solution which successfully passed their testing requirements and get the CubeSat battery space-ready. With a KULR ONE design, solution, and infrastructure in place, we can provide in-house and custom battery design, testing services, analysis and modeling services, abuse testing, [inaudible 00:13:48]-level categorization and cycling, fabrication, and also production services all in one shop, all under one roof.

In addition to customer support, KULR Texas is our R&D center to advance our next generation modular KULR ONE architecture. It’s also our customer innovation center where customers will come in and develop exciting new products next to our engineers under one roof. So I’m super excited about this new facility and how it will drive the future of KULR and, frankly, our industry together with our customers. Next, Shawn Canter will provide financial highlights. Shawn?

Shawn Canter:

Thanks, Mike. KULR’s financial position is the strongest it’s been in over a year. Today KULR has over $3 million in the bank and the prepaid advance note has been fully repaid. You can see the financial results from our first quarter 2024 and our Form 10-Q, which is now online. I’ll touch on a few highlights. Total revenue in the first quarter of 2024 was 1.8 million. Product revenue was approximately 615,000, down from about 1.6 million.

As Mike mentioned, this decrease was substantially due to delayed orders from a customer who placed a large order in the first quarter of 2023 and didn’t order in the first quarter of 2024. Further emphasizing Mike’s earlier point, due to the sticky nature of our products, as certified into our customer’s products, management expects this customer to continue purchasing from KULR this year and going forward. Due to the nature of our customer base and the end markets we serve, quarter-over-quarter comparisons may not always capture the larger trend in the business. As KULR grows and continues to expand its customer base, any one customer’s purchase order timing is likely to have less of an effect on interim, annual, and longer trends.

Additionally, some unanticipated delays at government agencies in issuing particular licenses for our SafeCASE products impacted revenue in the first quarter. These licenses have been issued to KULR, and KULR’s sales team is now in market with these products. KULR services revenue was up 769% in the first quarter over the same quarter last year. As we have previously discussed, service revenue may be seen as a predictor of future product revenue.

Gross margin for the first quarter was 29% versus 37% in the same period last year. The decrease primarily stemmed from expenses related to a major project without corresponding revenue in the same period. While the first quarter gross margin related to this particular project was a drag on the overall gross margin for the quarter, the overall gross margin for this project is estimated to be approximately 50%.

Overall, management anticipates gross margins returning to historical trends in the upper 30s to low 40s. Switching to customers. The total number of revenue-generating customers in the first quarter of 2024 numbered 34 versus only 15 in the first quarter of 2023, a 127% increase. Q1 2024 versus Q1 2023, revenue-generating customers from products grew 92% and, from services, 180%.

Touching on expenses, operating expenses went down in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year by about 25%. In the first quarter of 2024 KULR not only reduced its operating expenses, the company continued to reduce its cash consumption. Net cash used in operating activities decreased 18% in the first quarter of 2024 over the same period last year and net cash used in

Shawn Canter:

Operating plus investing activities decreased 23% first quarter, 2024 over the same quarter in 2023. And finally, earnings per share improved by 33% in the first quarter, 2024 compared to Q1 last year. Back to you, Stuart.

Stuart:

Okay, thank you for that, Shawn. Now we are going to transition into our question-and-answer phase of the call. I want to thank everyone who sent in their questions. We did have a deadline, so unfortunately if you submitted your questions after 12 PM Eastern yesterday, more than likely we were not able to include them, but we did try to grab as many as we could.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the first question. Here we go. Can we expect major partners to come in and put this company on the map?

Michael Mo:

Yes, sir. I’ll take that. I actually think that we are already on the map with a lot of customers. Many of them are very large name brand, tier-one customers, and partners. Some of them we can publicly talk about, but some of them were under NDA. We can’t really talk about it. But what you mean by putting KULR on the map is from a name brand recognition perspective. Let’s say for example when our safe case is going to be used by, let’s say for example, apple in their retail store for the Apple Care product where people can put their iPhone iPads in there for recycling or like the Amazon Prime shipment for batteries or safe cases in their trucks, or every fire department in the country is going to use our safe case to solve the battery problems. These things will take time, but they could happen over time. But most of our products, they are built into the customers and products so they’re not so visible from a brand name recognition perspective to the average consumer.

Stuart:

All right. Great. Could you provide any insights or updates regarding the status of the partnerships with Space X, Blue Origin, Archer Aviation, BETA Technologies, and Wisk Aero as mentioned by Mr. Mo earlier this year, understanding the constraints of confidentiality I should say, and strategic timing? Any additional information would be greatly appreciated by shareholders like myself who are keen to see KULR’s continued growth and collaboration within the aerospace industry.

Michael Mo:

Well stored in my prepared remarks, I talked about how the KULR Texas facility is very close to all these space industry giants and also the new upcoming private space companies. And so we’re serving many of them already with our engineering service. For the eVTOL customers that the question addressed, they’re a little bit more spread out geographically and we’re working with many of them because often care about the same things, battery data, high-energy, high-power battery cells, and the safest battery possible to pass FAA certification. So our products and services are ideally suited for those industries.

Stuart:

Which leading electrical vehicle and leading electrical vehicle is in “manufacturer did KULR make a deal with a couple of weeks ago?” If you can’t answer, why is it kept secret?

Michael Mo:

Well, we have announced a number of PRs about working with automotive OEMs over the last few months. For example, our safe case used by a leading automotive OEM, FTRC test for world’s largest automotive OEM as well as EV truck and SUV OEM, we can’t disclose the name because we’re under NDA with these large customers. So you may ask, maybe this question is that if you can’t say the name and the dollar man, why put out a PR? The answer is simple. We use PR as a very cost-effective way to do product marketing. It costs us a couple hundred bucks to put on the global news wire and it gets thousands of views from both the news wire distribution, also our social media channels, which have thousands of following throughout multiple channels. And sometimes we get picked up by trade media as a story.

And so we found these PRs to be a great way to get new customers. You’d be surprised how many times we put a PR, the story is written and we got inbound attractive for customers and partners. And then in addition to get these new customers who also keep our shareholders informed on our progress. So we found this to be super cost-effective. And by the way, these large customers, well, the larger the customer, the least likely, they’ll allow us to disclose your name and then when we put it out there, and then we also attract other large customers in the market to contact us. And so that’s a great way in a very cost-effective way for us to do product marketing.

Stuart:

You recently announced that you’re moving to a larger facility that’s three times bigger than your previous Texas location. Is the previous location being decommissioned, do you still plan on keeping the California facility or is that being consolidated into a single location down in Texas? Will there be a need for another facility?

Michael Mo:

Yes. We have decommissioned the previous locations in Texas and we have consolidated all under one roof in the new Webster facility. We still have our San Diego location that’s doing a lot of our thermal work. Some of our corporate organization is running out of there and also a battery cell screening line is still in San Diego. So those are the two facilities and we don’t have a need for another facility right now.

Stuart:

Can you break down KULR ONE, the number of contracts and stages that they are in? We know that most revenue comes in later stages, but it’s unclear how many clients are in the pipeline and at what stage they might be in.

Michael Mo:

Yeah, we haven’t broken down the different customers and stages in the kind of detail that the question is asking for, but we do look at engineering service, customer growth, and revenue growth as an indication of future product sales growth. So we’re focused on customers that have big product sales, upside potentials, recurring revenue potentials, and also diversify our product portfolio or our product in our customer portfolio to reduce our risk on customer concentration.

So when you look at our QM performance, we grew our service revenue both in customer size and also in revenue numbers and our new customers for product sales in both the size and the revenue numbers. So I think our strategy is working and we need to continue to execute on those.

Stuart:

You’ve recently unauthorized a reverse split, but you haven’t announced anything yet. With the recent stock price improvement, do you feel like a reverse split is still needed?

Shawn Canter:

Thanks, Stuart, it’s Shawn. Maybe I’ll take that one. Good question. We recently announced that the New York Stock Exchange informed us that we have regained compliance with regards to the level of our share price. As a result, we’re under no obligation to do a reverse split, and I guess I’ll leave it with we have and we’ll continue to work towards our shareholders’ best interests. Thanks.

Stuart:

Okay. What part of the business are they most excited about, they being you internally at KULR regarding growth and potential?

Michael Mo:

Yeah, I’m very excited about … Actually, the overall strategy is working in the different parts of technology portfolio is driving each other for growth. Obviously, the FTRC test is growing leaps and bounds, and that’s driving customer engagements in battery design contracts with larger customers. And that’s driving product sale business for us in both number of customers and revenue growth. Underlying it all is the data that we generate throughout the process, and that is the glue and the fuel to the flywheel of our business. Everybody talk about proprietary data now and how it can be used for AI applications. So we are building up our treasure trove of proprietary data and we will explore that further with potential AI opportunities in the near future.

Stuart:

With KULR being the only company bringing FTRC to the table, would it be safe to say that all independent companies

Stuart:

… Such as Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Venturi AstroLabs that are working on NASA projects are in turn on the books as unnamed KULR clients for at minimum battery testing purposes?

Michael Mo:

Well, yes, we have the exclusive license on the large format FTRC test, which that most of the EV energy storage and industrial applications companies that are using this large format. And also we have made significant improvements on the FTRC device in general. And more importantly is the algorithm of the data collection and the analysis based on the original NASA software.

Will Walker, our CTO is the I inventor of the FTRC technology. So, I think it’s safe to say the KULR will be the leading position to service all these space-related customers for our FTRC setup. In addition, for these customers to meet the NASA battery pack safety standard, you need your battery cell to be screened by the working construction 37, which we have the only automated cell screening line in the world to perform that at scale and also reliably providing the cell screening data. And also then you need to build a battery pack to meet the JSC-20793 specification, which can be served by our KULR ONE space architecture like I talked about in the presentation. So, this is where we can start engagement with a customer with the FTRC cell testing and then we can end up with a customer by building them a total solution using our KULR ONE space battery platform with screen cells. This will save customer money and time and it’s a win-win partnership for both of us.

Stuart:

All right, does the company believe its competitive advantage is strengthening? If so, what key factors contribute to this?

Michael Mo:

I believe it’s definitely strengthening. The key contributing factors are data, safety, and the speed. I think I repeat again, we are providing our customers with battery cell performance and safety data that they can’t get anywhere else consistently in a broad base type of data, proprietary data. And we’re a safety-focused organization, so our team is really focused on doing that and all the design decisions are made around thermal performance and safety. That is a critical decision factor for our customers. And now we have the one-stop shop total solution package all under one roof in our Texas facility and they can get their battery design tested, and certified in record time. I definitely believe our competitive advantage is strengthening.

Stuart:

Great. All right, next question. How is the company ensuring timely order deliveries amidst increased volumes to prevent backlog issues affecting revenue recognition?

Shawn Canter:

Stuart, it’s Shawn. I think maybe that was a good one for me to take. With respect to revenue recognition, we follow the established accounting rules. Having increasing customer demand is certainly a nice problem to have. Meeting customer timing requests is always critical and something we’re very focused on. We’re always trying to gain additional efficiencies to do more with the resources we have. For example, responding to growing customer demand as a result of being booked out for almost the next couple quarters, we’re bringing on two additional FTRC testing machines online. We’re also evaluating different programs, for example, where we would offer premium subscriptions or subscription type programs for customers who have particularly time-sensitive requirements. Thanks.

Stuart:

So, what’s the company’s future patent application strategy? Any specific areas or technologies targeted for patent protection?

Michael Mo:

Yeah, Stuart, so our patent strategy has been very consistent from day one is that we look to pan core technology and its applications around that core technology. So for example, our TRS technology, the pan is on how to build it, the internal configurations of it, and variations of that, and how it’s used in a system. So, I think that creates the defensive mode around our technology and around our patents. So, as we build out the different pieces of our KULR ONE platform, we’ll continue to pan new innovations in materials, in configurations of these materials and also how these new pieces are used in the application of these technologies. That’s our patent strategy.

Stuart:

Well, how does this quarter differ from the previous one in terms of strategic changes and performance goals?

Michael Mo:

Then again, our strategy has been fairly consistent throughout. So, what might be a little bit different this quarter compared to the previous quarters is that we see the acceleration of growth in our KULR ONE design solutions business in both the number of customers and also revenue growth. So, we are seeing the flywheel of testing services contracts translating to design contracts, and then the driving new product sales revenue and so forth. So, that we’re going to continue to monitor the new customer numbers, focus on customers that have large contracts, recurring revenue, and large product sales opportunities going forward.

Stuart:

Regarding the online store, any plans to expand its availability internationally?

Michael Mo:

Yeah, we just launched our online store, I think within a month. Frankly, we’re just getting our feet wet and see how we can serve the fire departments, hazmat groups, and other government agencies directly and also directly to consumer as well. So, there’s plenty of business for us when we become successful doing that. Then, we’ll be looking at international opportunities online. Now, if there are companies interested in doing distribution for us internationally and they see local opportunities, yes, definitely please contact me or our sales at kulrtechnology.com. We can definitely have a conversation about how to work together and serve these international markets.

Stuart:

Very good. Final question here, any plans for future share offerings or sales, especially regarding the debt cancellation with Yorkville? How does this impact the company’s financial strategy?

Shawn Canter:

Stuart, it’s Shawn again. I’ll take that one. KULR has a standing company policy of not talking about potential or future strategic activities. I can say that management thinks the repayment of the Yorkville prepaid advance note strengthened our balance sheet substantially. Regarding our strategy, I’m not sure anything has really changed. The principles we’re focused on are keep working to meet the growing customer demands in a growing market and that should address revenue trajectory, keep a watchful eye out to thoughtfully reduce costs, and gain efficiencies where we can. Don’t be wasteful, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish, and always be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. They will present themselves. It’s just hard to predict exactly when, so we need to be ready. Strengthening our balance sheet, for example, moves us in that direction, and I’d like to think makes KULR more attractive for opportunities to present themselves more often to us. Thanks.

Stuart:

All right, as mentioned, that was our final question and that does conclude the call today. I will now turn the call back over to our operator Thomas to finish up the call. Thank you.

This concludes our call for today. Thank you.

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