To supplement its consolidated financial results presented in accordance with GAAP, Atmel uses non-GAAP financial measures, including non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP net income per diluted share, which are adjusted from the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures to exclude certain items, as shown above and described below. Management believes that these non-GAAP financial measures reflect an additional and useful way of viewing aspects of Atmel's operations that, when viewed in conjunction with Atmel's GAAP results, provide a more comprehensive understanding of the various factors and trends affecting Atmel's business and operations.
Atmel uses each of these non-GAAP financial measures for internal purposes and believes that these non-GAAP measures provide meaningful supplemental information regarding operational and financial performance. Management uses these non-GAAP measures for strategic and business decision making, internal budgeting, forecasting and resource allocation processes. Atmel may, in the future, determine to present non-GAAP financial measures other than those presented in this release, which it believes may be useful to investors. Any such determinations will be made with the intention of providing the most useful information to investors and will reflect information used by the company's management in assessing its business, which may change from time to time.
Atmel believes that providing these non-GAAP financial measures, in addition to the GAAP financial results, is useful to investors because the non-GAAP financial measures allow investors to see Atmel's results "through the eyes" of management as these non-GAAP financial measures reflect Atmel's internal measurement processes. Management believes that these non-GAAP financial measures enable investors to better assess changes in each key element of Atmel's operating results across different reporting periods on a consistent basis. Thus, management believes that each of these non-GAAP financial measures provides investors with another method for assessing Atmel's operating results in a manner that is focused on the performance of its ongoing operations. In addition, these non-GAAP financial measures may facilitate comparisons to Atmel's historical operating results and to competitors' operating results.
There are limitations in using non-GAAP financial measures because they are not prepared in accordance with GAAP and may be different from non-GAAP financial measures used by other companies. In addition, non-GAAP financial measures may be limited in value because they exclude certain items that may have a material impact upon Atmel's reported financial results. Management compensates for these limitations by providing investors with reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. The presentation of non-GAAP financial information is not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for or superior to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. The non-GAAP financial measures supplement, and should be viewed in conjunction with, GAAP financial measures. Investors should review the reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures to their most directly comparable GAAP financial measures as provided above.
As presented in the "Reconciliation of GAAP Financial Measures to Non-GAAP Financial Measures" tables above, each of the non-GAAP financial measures excludes one or more of the following items:
- Stock-based compensation expense.
Stock-based compensation expense relates primarily to equity awards such as stock options and restricted stock units. This includes stock-based compensation expense related to performance-based restricted stock units for which Atmel recognizes stock-based compensation expense to the extent management believes it probable that Atmel will achieve the performance criteria which occurs before these awards actually vest. If the performance goals are unlikely to be met, no compensation expense is recognized and any previously recognized compensation expense is reversed. Stock-based compensation is a non-cash expense that varies in amount from period to period and is dependent on market forces that are often beyond Atmel's control. As a result, management excludes this item from Atmel's internal operating forecasts and models. Management believes that non-GAAP measures adjusted for stock-based compensation provide investors with a basis to measure Atmel's core performance against the performance of other companies without the variability created by stock-based compensation as a result of the variety of equity awards used by other companies and the varying methodologies and assumptions used.
- Acquisition-related charges.
Acquisition-related charges include: (1) amortization of intangibles, which include acquired intangibles such as customer relationships, backlog, core developed technology, trade names and non-compete agreements and (2) contingent compensation expense, which include compensation resulting from the employment retention of certain key employees established in accordance with the terms of the acquisitions. In most cases, these acquisition-related charges are not factored into management's evaluation of potential acquisitions or Atmel's performance after completion of acquisitions, because they are not related to Atmel's core operating performance. In addition, the frequency and amount of such charges can vary significantly based on the size and timing of acquisitions and the maturities of the businesses being acquired. Excluding acquisition-related charges from non-GAAP measures provides investors with a basis to compare Atmel against the performance of other companies without the variability caused by purchase accounting.
- Restructuring charges.
Restructuring charges primarily relate to expenses necessary to make infrastructure-related changes to Atmel's operating costs. Restructuring charges are excluded from non-GAAP financial measures because they are not considered core operating activities. Although Atmel has engaged in various restructuring activities in recent years, each has been a discrete event based on a unique set of business objectives. Atmel believes that it is appropriate to exclude restructuring charges from Atmel's non-GAAP financial measures, as it enhances the ability of investors to compare Atmel's period-over-period operating results from continuing operations.
- Credit from reserved grant income.
Atmel recognized a credit from reserved grant income as a result of a ministerial decision executed by the Greek government providing for a partial refund of an outstanding state grant previously made. Based on the execution of this ministerial decision and the subsequent publication of that decision, management determined that it would not be required to repay the full amount of the outstanding grant. Atmel believes that it is appropriate to exclude credit from reserved grant income from Atmel's non-GAAP financial measures, as it enhances the ability of investors to compare Atmel's period-over-period operating results from continuing operations.
- Gain on sale of assets.
Atmel recognizes gains resulting from the sale of certain non-strategic assets that no longer align with Atmel's long-term operating plan. Atmel excludes these items from its non-GAAP financial measures primarily because these gains are individually discrete events and generally not reflective of the ongoing operating performance of Atmel's business and can distort period-over-period comparisons.
- Non-GAAP tax adjustment.
In conjunction with the implementation of Atmel's global structure changes which took effect January 1, 2011, the company changed its methodology for reporting non-GAAP taxes. Beginning in the first quarter of 2011, Atmel's non-GAAP tax amounts approximate operating cash tax expense, similar to the liability reported on Atmel's tax returns. This approach is designed to enhance the ability of investors to understand the company's tax expense on its current operations, provide improved modeling accuracy, and substantially reduce fluctuations caused by GAAP adjustments which may not reflect actual cash tax expense.
Atmel forecasts its annual cash tax liability and allocates the tax to each quarter in proportion to earnings for that period.