The Eastern Company (NASDAQ:EML) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript
The Eastern Company (NASDAQ:EML) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript March 15, 2023
Operator: Greetings, and welcome to The Eastern Company's Fourth Quarter Fiscal Year 2022 Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode, and a question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. It is now my pleasure to turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Ernie Hawkins. Please go ahead.
Ernie Hawkins: Good morning, and thank you to everyone for joining us. Speaking today will be Eastern's President and CEO, Mark Hernandez; and our CFO, Nicholas Vlahos. After that, we'll open the call for questions. Please note that some of the information you will hear during our discussion today will consist of forward-looking statements about the company's future financial performance and business prospects, including, without limitation, statements regarding revenue, gross margin, operating expenses and other income and expenses, taxes and business outlook. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or trends to differ significantly from those projected in these forward-looking statements.
We undertake no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the call. For more information regarding these risks and uncertainties please refer to risk factors discussed in our Form 10-K for the fiscal year filed with the SEC on March 14, 2023, and our other filings with the SEC. In addition, during today's call, we will discuss non-GAAP financial measures that we believe are useful as supplemental measures of The Eastern's performance. These non-GAAP measures should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for or in isolation from, GAAP results. A reconciliation of each of the non-GAAP measures discussed during today's call to the most directly comparable GAAP measures can be found in the earnings press release available on our website at www.easterncompany.com, under the Investor Information tab.
With that, I'll turn the call over to Mark for opening remarks.
Mark Hernandez: Thanks, Ernie, and good morning to those who have joined us on the phone and those participating via the web. We released Eastern's fourth quarter and full year 2022 numbers in our Form 10-K yesterday afternoon. Before I get into the financial figures, I would like to introduce myself to our shareholders and investor community. I have been in commercial vehicle industry for 29 years, mostly manufacturing trucks under the Freightliner international brands as well as managing supply chain operations in those brands. I am well positioned to understand the dynamics of the companies that make up The Eastern Company, especially after serving as an Independent Director on the Board. After a thorough analysis of working capital, return on invested capital, onshoring and other key ratios, The Eastern Company is positioned for solid operating results and future growth.
Of course, our greatest asset is our people, and they are the team that will deliver the results. So that is one of my key areas of focus along with solid operating performance. Prior to Nick's review of the detailed results, I would like to take a few minutes to reflect on the year. 2022 represented a year of continued transformation and focus on our operations for long-term growth and shareholder value creation. Each of our businesses experienced varying degrees of instability due to freight bottlenecks and cost fluctuations for freight and raw materials. Our team continued to execute in a very challenging market environment. All of our businesses experienced supply chain disruptions and increase in freight and raw material costs. We were able to partly offset these costs through timely price increases and cost recovery actions.
We also reduced late deliveries through active sourcing and supply chain management and ended 2022 with working capital as a percentage of sales of 26.1% compared to 27.2% at the end of 2021. We were also able to divest our last remaining non-core business, Argo EMS, and will allow us to focus on our core capabilities and offerings. In all, I believe our execution in 2022 underscores the quality of the leadership team we have built. Nick will now take you through a more detailed commentary on the fourth quarter and full year results.
Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo
Nicholas Vlahos: Thank you, Mark, and good morning to everyone who is on the call today. For the fourth quarter of 2022, net sales from continuing operations increased 16% to $69.1 million from $59.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. Sales increased primarily due to higher demand for truck accessories, distribution products and automotive returnable packaging and improved pricing. Sales volumes of existing products increased 10.5%. Prices and new products contributed 5.3% in sales growth in the fourth quarter of 2022 when compared to sales in the fourth quarter of 2021. New products included various truck mirrors, latches and accessories. For the full year 2022, net sales from continuing operations increased 13% to $279.3 million from $246.5 million in 2021.
Gross margin as a percentage of sales for the fourth quarter of 2022 was 17% compared to 20% in the prior-year fourth quarter. The decrease reflects the combination of higher material, freight cost and other inventory write-offs. Gross margin for the year as a percentage of sales was 21% in 2022 compared to 23% in 2021. Product development expenses in the fourth quarter of 2022 were $1.1 million, were flat when compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. As a percentage of net sales, product development expenses were 1.5% compared to 1.7% in the fourth quarter of 2021. These expenses are primarily related to our investment in new products at Eberhard and Velvac. Selling and administrative expenses in the fourth quarter of 2022 increased 1.1% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.
The increase was primarily the result of increased payroll and payroll-related expenses, increased travel and other selling expenses. Restructuring expenses of $0.7 million were recognized in the fourth quarter of 2022 due to warehouse consolidation in Eberhard. Net income from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of 2022 decreased to $0.2 million or $0.03 per diluted share from $3.9 million or $0.62 per diluted share in 2021. For the fourth quarter of 2022, net income was negatively impacted by restructuring costs of $0.5 million net of tax related to a warehouse consolidation into Eberhard. For the full year 2022, net income decreased 32% to $11.1 million or $1.77 per share from $16.2 million or $2.58 per diluted share. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of 2022 were $3.3 million compared to $5.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the full year decreased 9% to $24.3 million from $26.7 million in 2021. Finally, a quick summary of cash flow and balance sheet highlights. For 2022, net cash provided by operating activities was $7.3 million compared to $7.8 million net cash used in operating activities in 2021. In 2022, we contributed $0.2 million to our defined benefit retirement plans. During 2022, cash used to support additional working capital requirements was $5.2 million, which was primarily due to management's focus on ensuring availability of inventory to meet customer demands during current supply chain constraints. In 2021, cash used to support additional working capital requirements was $22.9 million. Total capital expenditures for 2022 were $3.4 million, and we expect capital expenditures in fiscal 2023 of approximately $6.9 million.
In 2022, the company made total debt payments of $17.5 million, of which $10 million was a repayment of the $10 million drawn under the revolving credit facility during 2022. As of December 31, we had cash and cash equivalents of $10.2 million. Our net leverage ratio at the end of 2022 was 2.27, down from 2.46 at the end of fiscal 2021. With that, I'll turn the call over to Ernie for questions.
Ernie Hawkins: Thanks, Nick. Operator, I'd like to open the line for questions. I see that we have some questions from the webcast. We'll address those questions first. And then turn to questions on the line.
See also 10 Cheap Pot Stocks To Buy and Jim Cramer's Recession-Proof Stocks.
To continue reading the Q&A session, please click here.