Embattled TransPerfect Posts Record Revenues of USD 282m for the First Half 2017

New York-based language service provider (LSP) TransPerfect posted a strong set of numbers for the first half of 2017 despite the ongoing legal battle between Co-CEOs Liz Elting and Phil Shawe. According to an internal email sent by Shawe to all TransPerfect employees, which Slator obtained, TransPerfect raked in USD 282.9m in the first six months of 2017, up 9.7% compared to the same period in 2016.

Growth seems to be accelerating. With revenues of USD 55.0m, June 2017 was the company’s second biggest month in history, trailing only December 2016 (USD 55.7m). Measured on a quarterly basis, the numbers look good, too. Revenues for the second quarter of 2017 came in at USD 148.9m, just shy of the USD 152.3m all-time high recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016.

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The second half of the year has historically been stronger for TransPerfect. With USD 283m revenue already in hand, the company has the potential to break through the USD 600m mark for the full year 2017.

While the internal memo did not discuss earnings, TransPerfect has traditionally generated EBITDA margins in the mid-teens and low twenties (21% in 2010, 16% in 2011, 18% in 2012, and 16% in 2013, according to court filings). Even assuming a mild deceleration in profitability as the company continues to grow, TransPerfect looks likely to generate between USD 80m and USD 100m in EBITDA for the full year 2017.

Profitability is, of course, a key metric to determine TransPerfect’s valuation in a potential sale, and that level of profitability could help lift the company’s valuation towards USD 800m to USD 1bn.

Stormy Seas

Amidst the fierce boardroom fight, the numbers are a welcome respite for Shawe, who commended his staff for “powering through sunny days, stormy seas, intense competition and whatever else stands in our path!”

Shawe’s legal battle for the future of the company he co-founded continue to sail on rough waters. On June 30, 2017, New York Supreme Court Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich dismissed three lawsuits related to the forced sale of TransPerfect and filed by Shawe and his mother Shirley Shawe (a 1% shareholder in the company).

Kornreich called the lawsuits, which are part of a number of derivative lawsuits filed by Shawe against Elting and her advisors, an attempt to re-litigate matters already decided by the court in Delaware.

Report Back in 30 Days

Despite these challenges, it’s not all bad news for Shawe. In late June 2017, a Delaware state Senate committee cleared the way for the so called “TransPerfect Bill” to be voted on by the full legislature. The bill would require the Court of Chancery to wait three years before it can order a company sold. As the bill would not be applied retroactively, its impact on the future of the TransPerfect case is likely to be limited.

Another potentially positive development for Shawe is the ongoing mediation effort. On June 2, 2017, the judge at the center of the case, Delaware Chancery Court Chancellor Andre Bouchard, ordered Shawe and Elting into mediation. “I want a report back in 30 days if there’s been success. If there hasn’t, I’ll rule on the motions and we’ll go from there,” Bouchard said at the time.

The 30 days have passed and there has been no word about the outcome, which may indicate the two parties continue to talk. When asked about the mediation, Shawe declined to comment.

Florian Faes

Co-Founder of Slator. Linguist, business developer, and mountain runner. Based in the Shire, aka Zurich, Switzerland.