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Aecon reports 2019 results including record revenue and Adjusted EBITDA

Quarterly dividend increased to 16 cents per share from 14.5 cents per share

TORONTO , March 3, 2020 /CNW/ - Aecon Group Inc. (ARE.TO) today reported results for the fourth quarter and full year 2019, concluding a year that saw revenue and Adjusted EBITDA reach record levels while maintaining near-record backlog of $6.8 billion as at December 31, 2019 . Aecon's Board of Directors approved an increase to the quarterly dividend to 16 cents per share from 14.5 cents per share previously.

Aecon Group Inc. (CNW Group/Aecon Group Inc.)

"Aecon's 2019 results demonstrate continued growth and margin improvement across our diversified portfolio of projects," said Jean-Louis Servranckx , President and Chief Executive Officer, Aecon Group Inc. "Our financial success is underpinned by our focus on strong execution and being the preferred contractor for our clients across our key markets, as well as the first-choice employer in our industry. This focus will serve us well during this ongoing period of unprecedented demand for infrastructure development across Canada ."

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Record annual revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 of $3,460 million was $194 million , or 6 per cent, higher compared to 2018. On a like-for-like basis, excluding the contract mining business sold in November 2018 , growth in revenue was $403 million , or 13 per cent, compared to 2018.

  • Record annual Adjusted EBITDA of $221.9 million (margin of 6.4 per cent) improved by $14.9 million compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $207.0 million (margin of 6.3 per cent) in 2018. On a like-for-like basis, excluding contract mining in 2018 and a one-time executive transition charge in 2019, Adjusted EBITDA of $228.9 million (margin of 6.6 per cent) in 2019 compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $185.7 million (margin of 6.1 per cent) in 2018.

  • Operating profit of $107.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 increased by $17.9 million compared to operating profit of $89.4 million in 2018. On a like-for-like basis, operating profit of $114.3 million in 2019 increased by $14.0 million compared to $100.3 million in 2018.

  • Reported backlog as at December 31, 2019 was $6.8 billion , in line with record year-end backlog at the end of 2018.

  • Quarterly dividend is increased to 16 cents per share from 14.5 cents per share previously, with this being the eighth increase in the last nine years.

  • Aecon was awarded three significant contracts in the fourth quarter with an aggregate value of $690 million . Aecon's share of the three projects is valued at $420 million :

  • Subsequent to quarter-end:


CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS(1)
























Three months ended



Year ended

$ millions (except per share amounts)


December 31



December 31


2019


2018


2019


2018













Revenue

$

917.3


$

948.5


$

3,460.4


$

3,266.3

Gross profit


103.9



105.6



367.6



357.1

Marketing, general and administrative
expense


(52.6)



(44.3)



(183.4)



(178.5)

Income from projects accounted for using
the equity method


3.5



6.2



12.5



13.2

Other income


1.3



0.4



4.7



1.5

Depreciation and amortization


(24.9)



(25.3)



(94.1)



(103.8)

Operating profit(2)


31.1



42.6



107.3



89.4

Financing expense, net


(5.8)



(6.9)



(20.5)



(22.4)

Profit before income taxes


25.3



35.7



86.8



67.0

Income tax expense


(5.1)



(7.9)



(13.9)



(8.0)

Profit

$

20.2


$

27.9


$

72.9


$

59.0













Gross profit margin


11.3%



11.1%



10.6%



10.9%

MG&A as a percent of revenue


5.7%



4.7%



5.3%



5.5%

Adjusted EBITDA(3)


61.7



72.4



221.9



207.0

Adjusted EBITDA margin


6.7%



7.6%



6.4%



6.3%

Operating margin


3.4%



4.5%



3.1%



2.7%

Earnings per share - basic

$

0.33


$

0.46


$

1.20


$

0.99

Earnings per share - diluted

$

0.31


$

0.41


$

1.12


$

0.94













Backlog







$

6,790


$

6,821















(1)

This press release presents certain non-GAAP and additional GAAP (GAAP refers to Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) financial measures to assist readers in understanding the Company's performance. Non-GAAP financial measures are measures that either exclude or include amounts that are not excluded or included in the most directly comparable measures calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP in the consolidated financial statements. Further details on non-GAAP and additional GAAP measures are included in the Company's Management's Discussion and Analysis and available through the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval at www.sedar.com.

(2)

"Operating profit (loss)" represents the profit (loss) from operations, before net financing expense, income taxes and non-controlling interests. 

(3)

"Adjusted EBITDA" represents operating profit (loss) adjusted to exclude depreciation and amortization, the gain (loss) on sales of assets and investments, and net income (loss) from projects accounted for using the equity method, but including "Equity Project EBITDA" from projects accounted for using the equity method.

 

The sale of Aecon's contract mining business in November 2018 and the one-time charge related to executive transition impacted Aecon's operating results for 2019 when compared to 2018. A summary of these impacts is included below:










$ millions


Three months ended
December 31

Twelve months ended
December 31




2019

2018

Change

2019

2018

Change











Revenue as reported

$

917.3

948.5

(31.2)

3,460.4

3,266.3

194.1


Exclude: Contract Mining revenue


-

41.1

(41.1)

-

208.5

(208.5)


Revenue excluding Contract Mining

$

917.3

907.4

9.9

3,460.4

3,057.8

402.6











Adjusted EBITDA as reported

$

61.7

72.4

(10.7)

221.9

207.0

14.9


Exclude: Contract Mining Adjusted EBITDA


-

5.0

(5.0)

-

21.3

(21.3)


Exclude: One-time executive transition charge


(7.0)

-

(7.0)

(7.0)

-

(7.0)


Adjusted EBITDA excluding Contract Mining
and one-time executive transition charge

$

68.7

67.4

1.3

228.9

185.7

43.2











Operating profit as reported

$

31.1

42.6

(11.5)

107.3

89.4

17.9


Exclude: Contract Mining operating loss


-

(3.0)

3.0

-

(10.9)

10.9


Exclude: One-time executive transition charge


(7.0)

-

(7.0)

(7.0)

-

(7.0)


Operating profit excluding Contract Mining
and one-time executive transition charge

$

38.1

45.6

(7.5)

114.3

100.3

14.0











Adjusted EBITDA margin as reported


6.7%

7.6%

(0.9)%

6.4%

6.3%

0.1%


Adjusted EBITDA margin excluding Contract Mining and
one-time executive transition charge


7.5%

7.4%

0.1%

6.6%

6.1%

0.5%











Operating profit margin as reported


3.4%

4.5%

(1.1)%

3.1%

2.7%

0.4%


Operating profit margin excluding Contract Mining and
one-time executive transition charge


4.2%

5.0%

(0.8)%

3.3%

3.3%

- %











 

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL RESULTS

Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2019 of $3,460 million was $194 million , or 6%, higher compared to 2018. This revenue increase occurred in the Construction segment ( $206 million ) driven by higher revenue in civil operations and urban transportation systems ( $426 million ) and nuclear operations ( $144 million ). These increases were partially offset by lower revenue in utilities ( $110 million ) and conventional industrial operations ( $254 million ). The decline in revenue in conventional industrial operations was primarily caused by the sale of Aecon's contract mining business in November 2018 . Revenue was lower in the Concessions segment ( $5 million ) and inter-segment revenue eliminations increased by $7 million primarily due to revenue between the Concessions and Construction segments related to the Bermuda International Airport Redevelopment Project.

Operating profit of $107.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 increased by $17.9 million compared to operating profit of $89.4 million in 2018. The largest driver of this increase was higher gross profit of $10.5 million . In the Construction segment, gross profit was negatively impacted year-over-year by the sale of contract mining in November 2018 which reported gross profit of $27.3 million in 2018. In the balance of the Construction segment, gross profit increased by $41.7 million primarily from increased volume and gross profit margin in civil operations and urban transportation systems. In the Concessions segment, gross profit decreased by $4.9 million , primarily due to lower management and development fees for Canadian concessions compared to 2018.

Marketing, general and administrative expense ("MG&A") increased in 2019 by $4.9 million compared to 2018. This increase was the result of a charge of $7.0 million recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019 in connection with the transition of John M. Beck from Executive Chairman to the role of non-executive Chairman. Partially offsetting this increase was the impact of expenses incurred in 2018 as a result of the subsequently discontinued sale process and proposed arrangement with CCCC International Holdings Limited ( $4.1 million ). MG&A as a percentage of revenue decreased from 5.5% in 2018 to 5.3% in 2019, which reflects the impact of higher revenue in 2019.

Reported backlog as at December 31, 2019 of $6,790 million compares to backlog of $6,821 million as at December 31, 2018 . New contract awards of $3,429 million were booked in 2019 compared to $5,840 million in 2018.

REPORTING SEGMENTS

Aecon reports its financial performance on the basis of two segments: Construction and Concessions.

CONSTRUCTION SEGMENT

The Construction segment includes all aspects of the construction of both public and private infrastructure, primarily in Canada , and on a selected basis, internationally and focuses primarily on the following market sectors:

  • Civil Infrastructure;
  • Urban Transportation Systems;
  • Nuclear Power Infrastructure;
  • Utility Infrastructure; and
  • Conventional Industrial Infrastructure.


Financial Highlights


















Three months ended



Year ended



$ millions


December 31



December 31





2019



2018



2019



2018

















Revenue

$

901.6


$

924.8


$

3,386.8


$

3,180.9



Gross profit

$

92.7


$

88.5


$

314.8


$

300.4



Adjusted EBITDA

$

60.5


$

53.9


$

185.4


$

168.3



Operating profit

$

43.5


$

35.6


$

126.0


$

93.0

















Gross profit margin


10.3%



9.6%



9.3%



9.4%



Adjusted EBITDA margin


6.7%



5.8%



5.5%



5.3%



Operating margin


4.8%



3.9%



3.7%



2.9%



Backlog







$

6,735


$

6,784






























 

For the year ended December 31, 2019 , revenue in the Construction segment of $3,387 million was $206 million , or 6%, higher than in 2018. Construction segment revenue was higher in civil operations and urban transportation systems by $426 million driven by increases in major projects and transportation operations in both eastern and western Canada . Revenue was also higher from nuclear operations by $144 million related to refurbishment work in Ontario . These increases were partially offset by lower volume in conventional industrial ( $254 million ) primarily due to a decrease of $209 million following the sale of the contract mining business in November 2018 , and utilities operations ( $110 million ) due to decreased activity on mainline pipeline projects in western Canada .

Operating profit in the Construction segment of $126.0 million in 2019 increased by $33.0 million compared to 2018. Part of the operating profit improvement was due to the sale of contract mining in November 2018 , as that business contributed an operating loss of $10.9 million in 2018. An improvement in operating profit from the balance of the Construction segment of $22.1 million in 2019 was primarily due to a combination of higher revenue and improved gross profit margin from civil operations and urban transportation systems.

Construction backlog as at December 31 , 2019 was $6,735 million , which was $49 million lower than the same time last year. Backlog decreased year-over-year in civil operations and urban transportation systems ( $759 million ), while backlog was higher in nuclear operations ( $197 million ), utilities operations ( $388 million ) and conventional industrial ( $125 million ). New contract awards in 2019 totalled $3,337 million compared to $5,777 million in 2018. The decrease in new awards in 2019 is due mainly to the number of large project awards in 2018, primarily the Site C Generating Station and Spillways Civil Works, the Réseau express métropolitain Montreal Light Rail Transit ("LRT"), the Finch West LRT, and the Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

CONCESSIONS SEGMENT

Activities within the Concessions segment include the development, financing, build and operation of construction projects by way of public-private partnership contract structures, as well as integrating the services of all project participants, and harnessing the strengths and capabilities of Aecon. The Concessions segment focuses primarily on providing the following services:

  • Development of domestic and international Public-Private Partnership ("P3") projects;
  • Private finance solutions;
  • Developing effective strategic partnerships;
  • Leading and/or actively participating in development teams; and
  • Operations and maintenance.

 

Financial Highlights













Three months ended


Year ended

$ millions

December 31


December 31


2019


2018


2019


2018













Revenue

$

38.5


$

68.6


$

218.2


$

223.4

Gross profit

$

11.3


$

17.5


$

52.8


$

57.7

Income from projects accounted for
using the equity method

$

3.1


$

5.3


$

10.8


$

10.1

Adjusted EBITDA

$

19.8


$

27.5


$

83.0


$

79.7

Operating profit

$

6.8


$

16.6


$

29.2


$

38.0

Backlog







$

55



37













 

Aecon holds a 100% interest in Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited ("Skyport"), the concessionaire responsible for the Bermuda airport's operations, maintenance and commercial functions, and the entity that will manage and coordinate the overall delivery of the Bermuda International Airport Redevelopment Project over a 30-year concession term. Aecon's participation in Skyport is consolidated and, as such, is accounted for in the consolidated financial statements by reflecting, line by line, the assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses of Skyport. However, Aecon's concession participation in the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, Finch West LRT, Gordie Howe International Bridge, and Waterloo LRT projects are joint ventures that are accounted for using the equity method.

For the year ended December 31, 2019 , revenue in the Concessions segment of $218 million was $5 million lower than in 2018, driven by lower management and development fees recognized in 2019 compared to 2018 ( $6 million ). Development fees received in 2018 were higher due to the commencement of the Finch West LRT and Gordie Howe International Bridge concessions in 2018. Partially offsetting this decrease was higher revenue from the Bermuda International Airport Redevelopment Project ( $1 million ). Included in Concessions' revenue for 2019 was $136 million of construction revenue that was eliminated on consolidation as inter-segment revenue (compared to $134 million in 2018).

Operating profit of $29.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 , decreased by $8 .8 million compared to 2018 primarily due to the above noted lower management and development fees for Canadian concessions. In addition, operating profit related to the Bermuda International Airport Redevelopment Project was lower due to higher amortization expense in 2019.

Except for "O&M" activities under contract for the next five years and that can be readily quantified, Aecon does not include in its reported backlog expected revenue from concession agreements. As such, while Aecon expects future revenue from its concession assets, no concession backlog, other than from such O&M activities for the next five years, is reported.

DIVIDEND

Aecon's Board of Directors approved an increase to the quarterly dividend to 16 cents per share from 14.5 cents per share previously. The first increased dividend will be paid on April 2, 2020 to shareholders of record on March 23, 2020 .

OUTLOOK

The overall outlook for 2020 remains strong as Aecon's current backlog and recurring revenue contracts, robust pipeline of future opportunities, and ongoing concessions are expected to lead to another year of revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth in 2020.   

CONSOLIDATED RESULTS

The consolidated results for the three months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 are available at the end of this news release.

BALANCE SHEET



December 31


December 31

$ thousands (unaudited)


2019


2018






Cash and cash equivalents and restricted
cash

$

758,859

$

824,345

Other current assets


1,370,545


1,322,468

Property, plant and equipment


351,404


266,199

Other long-term assets


633,830


519,680

Total Assets

$

3,114,638

$

2,932,692






Current portion of long-term debt - recourse

$

60,071

$

32,505

Other current liabilities


1,297,772


1,231,405

Long-term debt - recourse

145,682

69,707

Long-term project debt - non-recourse

365,894

383,746

Long-term portion of convertible debentures


164,351


159,775

Other long-term liabilities


222,872


230,492






Equity


857,996


825,062

Total Liabilities and Equity

$

3,114,638

$

2,932,692

 

CONFERENCE CALL

A conference call and live webcast has been scheduled for 10 a.m. (Eastern Time) on Wednesday , March 4, 2020. Participants should dial 647-689-5656 or 1-877-823-8624 at least 10 minutes prior to the conference time. The reservation number is 8869207. An accompanying presentation of the fourth quarter and year-end 2019 financial results will be available after market close on March 3, 2020 at www.aecon.com/Investing.  

A live webcast of the conference call will also be available at www.aecon.com/InvestorCalendar. Participants should join the webcast at least 15 minutes prior to the conference time to register and install any necessary software. For those unable to attend the call, a replay will be available after 3 p.m. on March 4, 2020 at 1-800-585-8367 or 416-621-4642 until midnight on March 18, 2020 . A replay of the webcast will also be available within 24 hours following the call.

AECON 2020 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

Aecon's Annual General Meeting will be held on June 2, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario . Additional details will be set out in the Notice of Meeting and Record Date to be filed on SEDAR.

ABOUT AECON

As a Canadian leader in construction and infrastructure development with global expertise, Aecon Group Inc. (TSX: ARE) strives to be the number one Canadian infrastructure company. Aecon safely, profitably and sustainably delivers integrated solutions to private and public-sector clients through its Construction segment in the Civil, Urban Transportation, Nuclear, Utility and Conventional Industrial sectors, and provides project development, financing, investment and management services through its Concessions segment. Join our online community on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram @AeconGroup.

STATEMENT ON FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

The information in this press release includes certain forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data and operating plans but are subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements may include, without limitation, statements regarding the operations, business, financial condition, expected financial results, performance, prospects, ongoing objectives, strategies and outlook for Aecon. Forward-looking statements, may in some cases be identified by words such as "will," "plans," "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "intends," "should" or the negative of these terms, or similar expressions. In addition to events beyond Aecon's control, there are factors which could cause actual or future results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or inferred herein including, but not limited to: the timing of projects, unanticipated costs and expenses, the failure to recognize and adequately respond to climate change concerns or public and governmental expectations on climate matters, general market and industry conditions and operational and reputational risks, including large project risk and contractual factors. Readers are referred to the specific risk factors relating to and affecting Aecon's business and operations as filed by Aecon pursuant to applicable securities laws. Except as required by applicable securities laws, forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and Aecon undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME

FOR THE THREE MONTHS AND YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019 AND 2018
(in thousands of Canadian dollars, except per share amounts) (unaudited)













For the three months ended

For the year ended


December 31


December 31

December 31


December31


2019


2018

2019


2018























Revenue

$

917,332


$

948,514

$

3,460,418


$

3,266,291

Direct costs and expenses


(813,448)



(842,914)


(3,092,814)



(2,909,171)

Gross profit


103,884



105,600


367,604



357,120












Marketing, general and administrative
expense


(52,585)



(44,348)


(183,434)



(178,522)

Depreciation and amortization


(24,946)



(25,250)


(94,127)



(103,832)

Income from projects accounted for
using the equity method


3,507



6,207


12,491



13,150

Other income


1,274



430


4,737



1,506

Operating profit


31,134



42,639


107,271



89,422












Finance income


564



204


2,060



1,256

Finance costs


(6,388)



(7,110)


(22,557)



(23,651)

Profit before income taxes


25,310



35,733


86,774



67,027

Income tax expense


(5,110)



(7,868)


(13,921)



(8,013)

Profit for the period

$

20,200


$

27,865

$

72,853


$

59,014























Basic earnings per share

$

0.33


$

0.46

$

1.20


$

0.99

Diluted earnings per share

$

0.31


$

0.41

$

1.12


$

0.94

 

SOURCE Aecon Group Inc.


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