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Edited Transcript of AIMC earnings conference call or presentation 26-Apr-19 2:00pm GMT

Q1 2019 Altra Industrial Motion Corp Earnings Call

BRAINTREE Apr 29, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Altra Industrial Motion Corp earnings conference call or presentation Friday, April 26, 2019 at 2:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Carl R. Christenson

Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO

* Christian Storch

Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Jeffrey David Hammond

KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst

* Michael Patrick Halloran

Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Associate Director of Research & Senior Research Analyst

* Robert Scott Graham

BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst

* Ryan Flaim

Sharon Merrill Associates, Inc. - VP

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good morning, my name is Scott, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Altra Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Thank you.

Ms. Ryan Flaim from Sharon Merrill Associates. You may begin your call.

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Ryan Flaim, Sharon Merrill Associates, Inc. - VP [2]

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Thank you, and good morning, everyone, and welcome to the call. To help you follow management's discussion on this call, they will be referencing slides that are posted to the altramotion.com website under Events & Presentations in the Investor Relations section.

Please turn to Slide 3. During the call, management will be making forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain, and investors must recognize that events could differ significantly from management's expectations. Please refer to the risks, uncertainties and other factors described in the company's quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and annual report on Form 10-K, and in the company's other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required by applicable law, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. does not intend to update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

On today's call, management will refer to non-GAAP diluted earnings per share, non-GAAP income from operations, non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP operating income margin, non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA, non-GAAP operating working capital, non-GAAP net debt and non-GAAP free cash flow. These metrics exclude certain items discussed in our slide presentation and in our press release under the heading Discussion of Non-GAAP Financial Measures, and any other items that management believes should be excluded when reviewing continuing operations. The reconciliations of Altra's non-GAAP measures to the comparable GAAP measures are available in the financial tables of the Q1 2019 financial results press release on Altra's website.

Please turn to Slide 4. With me today are Chief Executive Officer, Carl Christenson; and Chief Financial Officer, Christian Storch.

I'll now turn the call over to Carl.

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Carl R. Christenson, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO [3]

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Thank you, Ryan, and good morning, everyone. Please turn to Slide 5. We began the year with a strong first quarter that reflects the financial and strategic benefits of the A&S business combination and the new $1.9-billion Altra. First quarter revenues grew to $482.8 million, more than double the prior year quarter due to the addition of the A&S business. Excluding the effects of foreign exchange, net sales for the legacy Altra business were up 1.2%. Net sales for the recently acquired A&S business increased 2%. It is important to note that the A&S business growth is compared with management's estimates of unaudited A&S financial results from the same quarter of 2018.

GAAP net income was $35.2 million or $0.55 per share compared with $0.31 for the year ago quarter. Non-GAAP EPS in Q1 2019 was $0.80 per share or an $0.08 increase over the prior year quarter. The addition of the A&S business has continued to have a favorable effect on our earnings. GAAP gross profit margin was 36.2%, a 530 basis point improvement compared with the year ago quarter. Non-GAAP operating income margin grew by 630 basis points to 18.2%, and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA was $105 million with a non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA margin of 21.7%, a 640 basis point improvement from Q1 '18.

With the tactical integration of the A&S business complete, we were able to drive indirect and direct cost improvements through supply chain management. Combined with our success of leveraging pricing actions, these benefits are offsetting input cost increases related primarily to commodity inflation, freight logistics, and tariffs.

During the quarter, we continued to deliver on our strategic priority to expediently delever the balance sheet. We paid down $15 million of debt in the quarter and exited Q1 with 3.9x net debt to non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA leverage. As a reminder, we typically use the most cash in Q1 and expect to ramp up our pay down of debt in the last 3 quarters to reach our goal of paying down a total of $130 million in 2019.

With that as an introduction, please turn to Slide 6, and I'll provide you with an update on the integration of the Automation & Specialty platform business.

The integration of A&S in Altra continues to advance exceptionally well. The tactical stage of the integration is now behind us, and we have shifted our focus to advancing our strategic initiatives and driving the synergies.

During the quarter, we made excellent progress with our cross-selling activities. We launched our sales collaboration program to align incentives and training, and our lead-sharing activities are exceeding our expectations.

We moved production out of a facility in China that was shared with another Fortive business and relocated to a dedicated facility on time and on budget. In addition, we announced the closure of a significant facility in the U.S. We will be relocating that production to 3 other existing U.S. facilities, which will better align production and reduce overhead costs.

We also made meaningful progress with our supply chain optimization efforts. We have begun to capture indirect spending savings and are starting to make progress on certain categories of direct spend. We remain very pleased with how well our 2 cultures have come together. Across the organization, we are working to align our performance drivers with our core values and guiding principles. This includes implementing associate development activities and integrating our world-class business systems across the company.

The addition of A&S has meaningfully enhanced Altra's ability to drive growth and value creation for our shareholders, customers and employees. We're extremely pleased with our progress integrating the business and are confident that we remain on track to deliver $10 million to $12 million of synergies in 2019 and a total of $52 million of synergies by the end of year 4 and achieve our target leverage metric of less than 3x net debt to adjusted EBITDA by the end of 2020.

Please turn to Slide 7 to review our end markets. Compared with the same quarter of last year, we saw a double-digit growth in both oil and gas and the renewable segments of our energy market. This was primarily the result of favorable comps as we saw a sequential decline in sales from a very strong fourth quarter. The original equipment market for oil and gas has improved, while the aftermarket business has -- was relatively soft. The wind energy business continues at a healthy level, while our power generation business improved from a relatively low level.

The transportation market was up single digits in the first quarter. We expect the U.S. truck market to perform well through most of 2019. However, we anticipate that demand could soften as we exit the year. Demand in China held steady through Q1, and new projects and customers in the pipeline remain strong.

Demand in factory Automation & Specialty machinery was down double digits in Q1, primarily due to tough year-over-year comps, continued weakness in the semiconductor, electronics and robotics markets as well as overall weakness in China. On the positive side, there are signs that demand will begin to improve in the second half of the year. Looking ahead, we remain optimistic about Altra's opportunities in these exciting markets.

The medical equipment market remained strong through Q1, up single digits, with growth driven by strength from surgical power tools, surgical robotics, diagnostics and oncology.

The metals and mining markets were strong in Q1, supported by good demand in mining, which was up double digits. Metals dropped slightly in Q1. However, we have begun to see strong inquiry activity and have booked new OEM projects. In addition, we started to see CapEx spending in both segments begin to pick up.

Defense was very strong in Q1 with double-digit growth. And finally, our core distribution business was down single digits in Q1. We continue to expect distribution sales growth at a lower rate in 2019 due to tougher comparables.

Overall, while growth moderated in several markets as we expected going into the year, we remain excited about our new growth markets, and we are encouraged by the ongoing strength in several of our historic markets. Additionally, we are optimistic that the sentiment for the overall macro environment is more positive, including an improved outlook in China and Germany, which are key geographies for Altra. In fact, it was recently reported that in March 2019, the ifo Business Climate Index for Germany rose 0.9 points from a month earlier to 99.6, the first increase in German business outlook in 7 months.

We expect our pricing actions to continue to offset cost increases, and we'll monitor potential secondary impacts from the tariffs and other factors that could have a negative impact on the global economy.

In addition, foreign exchange is expected to continue to be a headwind in Q2 and then begin to ease in Q3.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Christian for a review of our financial results. And I'll come back to provide you with an update on our strategic priorities going forward. Christian?

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Christian Storch, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO [4]

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Thank you, Carl, and good morning, everyone. We will start reviewing our first quarter financial results where we once again delivered best-in-class performance metrics in the industrial manufacturing industry. Excluding acquisition-related and restructuring-related expenses, we delivered gross margins of 36.2%, non-GAAP operating income margins of 18.2% and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA margin of 21.7% in the first quarter. As a reminder, we are reporting results in 2 segments, the Automation & Specialty segment and the Power Transmission Technologies segment, representing the legacy Altra businesses.

Before I review the details of our first quarter financial results, I would like to note that results for the first quarter of 2019 include the recently acquired A&S businesses. Unless otherwise noted, results for Q1 2018 do not include pro forma A&S results.

Please turn to Slide 8. As Carl noted, first quarter sales of $482.8 million were more than double the prior year period. Organic growth was 1.6%, as the legacy Altra businesses improved 1.2% organically and the A&S businesses grew 2%. Foreign exchange rates had a negative effect of 320 basis points. On an unaudited pro forma basis, sales grew 1.9% in North America, declined 5% in Europe and declined 5.6% in Asia and the rest of the world. Excluding the impact of foreign exchange, sales in Europe grew approximately 3%.

Pricing power continues to be a contributor to our top line growth rate delivering 80 basis points as we continued with our strategic pricing efforts. Results came in at the high end of our expectations. Non-GAAP EPS of $0.80 a share was up 11.1% when compared to $0.72 per share in the year ago quarter. The provision for income taxes in the first quarter of 2019 reflects an estimated annual tax rate of 23.9%. This rate excludes a discrete tax benefit of $575,000 for the vesting of stock-based compensation awards with associated tax deductions in excess of cumulative U.S. GAAP compensation expense. This full year tax rate is lower than initially estimated as our tax planning efforts are starting to pay off. Non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA was $105 million for the first quarter or 21.7% of net sales.

Please turn to Slide 9. In terms of cash, our top priority continues to be paying down debt and to delevering the balance sheet following the A&S combination. Operating and free cash flows were significantly higher than in the prior year's first quarter due to the contribution of the A&S businesses. Operating cash flow of $39.3 million and free cash flow of $25.3 million allowed us to pay down $15 million of debt in the first quarter, which is seasonally our lowest free cash flow quarter. We exited the quarter with a leverage of 3.9x net debt to adjusted EBITDA, and we expect to significantly accelerate the debt pay down in the coming quarters. Capital investments totaled $14 million for the quarter, and depreciation and amortization was $32.1 million.

Please turn to Slide 10 for a review of our outlook for 2019. Today, we are reiterating our top line and profitability guidance for the full year 2019. Please see a GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation table on Slide 14 of the presentation.

We expect annual sales growth for the new Altra to be between 1.5% and 3% to a range of $1.92 billion to $1.95 billion compared with unaudited pro forma sales for 2018 at current exchange rates, where we face a meaningful headwind through the first half of 2019, which will ease in the third quarter and subside in the fourth quarter. As previously indicated, following the A&S combination, we began to exclude acquisition-related amortization net of tax from non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP EPS. We expect non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA in the range of $415 million to $430 million and free cash flow conversion well above 100% of net income. We expect to pay down a total of $130 million of debt in 2019, to exit '19 with a net debt to non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA leverage of approximately 3.5x. We expect net income in the range of $136.1 million to $141 million and non-GAAP net income in the range of $195.4 million to $205.8 million. GAAP diluted EPS is expected in the range of $2.10 to $2.18, and non-GAAP diluted EPS in the range of $3.02 to $3.18.

We expect depreciation and amortization in the range of $130 million to $140 million, and capital expenditures in the range of $60 million to $65 million.

We expect our normalized tax rate for the full year to be in the range of 24% to 25.8%, a reduction from our previous guidance of 25% to 26.5%.

While we are reiterating our guidance to date, it is important to note that hitting the high end of the profitability range is dependent on improved market conditions in the second half of the year for some of our softer end markets we serve. Also, we expect the second quarter performance to be generally in line with our first quarter performance.

With that, I will turn the discussion back to Carl.

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Carl R. Christenson, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO [5]

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Thank you, Christian. Please turn to Slide 11, and I'll review our 3 strategic priorities going forward as the new Altra. The first priority is to flawlessly execute on the integration of the A&S business in order to deliver on our $52 million synergy target. We've already made excellent progress. The cultural merger of the 2 businesses is well underway, our sales team collaborations are ahead of expectations, and we are excited by early supply chain optimization wins. In addition, we've begun to implement best practices across the organization from a world-class business system to deliver improved organic growth and cost savings.

Second, it is a strategic priority to expediently delever to our target range of 2 to 3x net debt to adjusted EBITDA and strengthen the balance sheet. Since Q4 2018, we have paid down $35 million of debt and believe we are well positioned to continue to do so by leveraging our enhanced financial scale and excellent free cash flow.

And third is our focus on accelerating top line growth. By leveraging our proven business system tools, strategically infusing capital and capitalizing on technology sharing, we are fueling many exciting new business and new product opportunities. We will be showcasing several of these new technologies at our upcoming Investor Day that we are hosting on May 14 in New York City.

And as we have noted in the past, once the net debt to adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio has returned to our targeted range of 2 to 3x, we will begin to build the expanded pipeline of M&A opportunities so that we are prepared to support long-term growth.

In conclusion, this is a very exciting time for Altra. As a $1.9-billion premier industrial company, we are solidly positioned with an expanded portfolio of technologies, increased exposure to end markets with attractive secular trends, a proven world-class business system and strong free cash flow generation. While demand in some end markets has moderated as expected, we remain encouraged by the ongoing strength in several markets we serve as well as the improving overall macro sentiment.

We look forward to keep keeping our shareholders updated as we journey forward as a premier global technology leader in our industry.

With that, I'd like to turn it back to the operator to open the call to your questions. Scott?

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Jeff Hammond with KeyBanc.

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Jeffrey David Hammond, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst [2]

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Really helpful color on the combined entity, appreciate that. Just on the Germany-China comment. You mentioned some macro indicators. But can you just talk about, in the areas where you're seeing weakness in those markets, what you're seeing and hearing from your customers, as you move into 2Q and as you think about visibility into the second half?

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Carl R. Christenson, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO [3]

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Yes. I think most people believe that the weakness in the robotics and high-tech industries, electronic assembly equipment, et cetera, is a short-term blip. So at least that's what we're hearing, is that they expect the second half of the year to start to pick up. And I think, as you look at some of the outside indicators that might indicate that, the semicon stocks have been performing very well. So that gives us some confidence that those comments might be true. And obviously, we won't know until we start to see bookings pick up in that area.

Then I think, the other area, Jeff, that's maybe global would be oil and gas, where we're seeing some weakness in aftermarkets [and recounts] down, et cetera. It's kind of a mix of 2 worlds where we've seen nice incoming orders that we hadn't seen for a few years on some new rigs and on some high-horsepower rigs, but the aftermarket business has been particularly weak. So we hope that, that aftermarket with the price of oil being up picks up later in the year also.

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Jeffrey David Hammond, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst [4]

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Okay. Good color. Just on the legacy Altra business. The margin improvement was pretty notable on muted sales growth. Can you just talk about what was driving that? And if you're capturing any kind of early benefits from best practices you're gleaning from A&S?

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Christian Storch, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO [5]

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Yes. So I think, that was the plan that the A&S business system will help to drive performance on the PTT side. And I think, the synergies -- when we looked at the synergies, a lot of the synergies accrued to the Altra side, mainly on the procurement side that we see some nice benefits coming through on the Altra side. And the other part is that we continue with the strategic pricing program on the PTT or legacy Altra side as well. And if you look at inside of the 3 businesses that make up legacy Altra, we always pointed out in the past that our CCB business is the one that's benefiting from recovery in mining and oil and gas. And therefore, we've seen some nice margin improvements in that piece of our business.

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Operator [6]

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Your next question comes from the line of Scott Graham with BMO Capital Markets.

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Robert Scott Graham, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [7]

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So I wanted to maybe just kind of frame your answer to the previous question. You said to get sort of to the high end of things you need to see improvements in a couple of markets. I think what you just said, I think those are the markets, essentially factory automation, specialty machinery and oil and gas aftermarket. Are those the markets you need to see better more levity in the second half?

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Carl R. Christenson, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO [8]

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Yes. We also need to see that the Class A truck market hangs in there for the balance of the year, and it doesn't fall off a cliff like at the end of the third quarter, for instance. We need to see continued strength in the wind market that we've seen in the first -- that we predict for the first half of the year. And hopefully, a modest recovery in the robotics and semi-markets. I think that's an important part of what we need to see in order to hit the high end.

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Christian Storch, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO [9]

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And the other one, Scott, would be Turf and Garden. And I think that's been out there publicly quite a bit that the Turf and Garden and ag somewhat due to weather has been slow start this year. So hopefully, grass starts to grow.

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Robert Scott Graham, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [10]

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Okay. I guess, that's a lot of markets that need to improve to get to the high end. What's kind of -- because you beat, I think, expectations of most of us in the quarter...

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Carl R. Christenson, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO [11]

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I don't think we beat them all.

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Robert Scott Graham, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [12]

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When you say hit the high end, are you talking about organic sales? Are you talking about operating margin? Are you just essentially talking about earnings?

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Christian Storch, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO [13]

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I was actually talking about earnings and high end of the range of our EBITDA projections of $430 million. And that requires that we see some top line in the second half. And yes, it's a lot of markets. But please recognize that we are serving a lot of markets and therefore, while there is a number of markets that are doing very well, there are some markets, like semiconductor, that in the first half are really suffering and hurting the performance.

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Robert Scott Graham, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [14]

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Okay. Fair enough. I want to maybe just get back to the price cost thing. Carl, you commented -- I thought you commented on that, price plus supply chain is -- will exceed your natural cost inflation -- I'm sorry, freight commodities and tariffs. When you take price and supply chain, it will be more than that. And then I thought I heard you say that you expect to offset things with price. Am I understanding you correctly on those 2 comments? Those are -- that -- the consistency there? Again, I just wanted to make sure I got it right.

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Carl R. Christenson, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO [15]

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Yes. We have. Yes. No, that's correct. And we have had a significant effort to make sure that we've been raising prices through last year and the beginning of this year. And I think we're starting to see that flow through and indicates that we are offsetting those cost increases.

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Robert Scott Graham, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [16]

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Got you. Last question. So a lot of the planning and strategic activities behind the integration of the 2 entities is now -- a lot of that is done. So if we were to not see the improvements in the markets you're thinking of here, can we pull forward some of the synergies to backstop that in EBITDA?

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Carl R. Christenson, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO [17]

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Yes. I think if we -- I think you've seen us in the past, where we've had downturns in the economy, we've done everything we can to manage the margins and to protect the margins. So absolutely. If we don't -- there is levers that we can pull and actions we can take to make sure we protect the markets as best as possible.

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Robert Scott Graham, BMO Capital Markets Equity Research - Analyst [18]

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But you're not pulling those levers now, you might, however, after the second quarter, if you don't see that those improvements emerging. Would that be a fair statement?

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Carl R. Christenson, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO [19]

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That's a fair statement. Sure. We'd be irresponsible not to.

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Operator [20]

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(Operator Instructions) Your next question comes from the line of Michael Halloran with Baird.

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Michael Patrick Halloran, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Associate Director of Research & Senior Research Analyst [21]

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So just let's talk a little bit about the cadence through the year from an EBITDA perspective. I think in the prepared remarks, you said 2Q looks roughly similar to the first quarter. Normally, I think sequentially it's up slightly into the second quarter. Kind of implies relative stability with EBITDA front-half versus back-half, normally back-half little lower than front-half. So maybe just talk about that cadence through the year and if the more even spread between EBITDA is just tying the synergies, timing of end markets and how you're thinking about that cadence as we move forward.

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Christian Storch, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO [22]

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Yes. So what's really hurting us particularly in the first half is FX. If you look at the impact that FX had on the first quarter EBITDA, it's around $3 million. If you take that times 2, you're talking about a headwind of $6 million in EBITDA. We hope that, that will disappear in the second half and will give us some tailwind in the second half. That's one big driver. And then we do believe that we will see similar seasonality as the legacy Altra business has experienced in the past. We are roughly 50.5% of the revenues in the first half of the year and the balance in the second half of the year. And that profitability in the second half is slightly below the first half of the year. And somewhere it will be true typically for EBITDA. We'll see how FX plays out and what we can do to improve the EBITDA in the second half.

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Michael Patrick Halloran, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Associate Director of Research & Senior Research Analyst [23]

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And then timing of the synergy run rate? Is that more back-half weighted or is that pretty evenly spread?

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Christian Storch, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO [24]

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It's -- we think in the first quarter, we realized somewhere between $2 million and $2.5 million of synergies, and we think that will ramp up in the second half.

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Michael Patrick Halloran, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Associate Director of Research & Senior Research Analyst [25]

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Makes sense. And then on the corporate line, Christian. What should we use as a run rate for the corporate line from here?

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Christian Storch, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO [26]

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So we -- our policy is to allocate most of the corporate expenses out to the segments and the underlying business units. I think, first quarter is a good indication of what that run rate should be for the balance of the year.

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Operator [27]

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Your next question comes from the line of Jeff Hammond with KeyBanc.

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Jeffrey David Hammond, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst [28]

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Just back on the cadence. I know seasonally typically the second half is a little lighter. But just as you think about those $10 million to $12 million of synergies. Do those kind of build through the year or you have an opportunity to even that out?

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Christian Storch, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO [29]

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We're going to have some ability to even that out. It will, I don't think, completely eliminate that seasonality, but it will soften it.

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Jeffrey David Hammond, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - MD & Equity Research Analyst [30]

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Okay. And then I think you said last quarter, PTT, you kind of see growth in that 1.5% range and A&S towards the 3%. Has anything changed within your thinking there, just given the moving pieces in end markets?

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Christian Storch, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - VP & CFO [31]

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The growth rate of A&S side in the first quarter has really been tempered by the developments in the semiconductor industry, mainly impacting our Kollmorgen business. Some of those trends, as Carl mentioned in his remarks, we expect that those will reverse in the second half. But that has tempered the growth rate for that segment. On the PTT side, the legacy Altra side, I think the main impact on that lower growth rate of 1.2% was Turf and Garden, was the ag market. The seasonality of the Turf and Garden was weather. We hope that we can recover some of that in the second quarter. But those have been some very soft spots in the first quarter.

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Operator [32]

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There are no further questions at this time. I will turn the call back over to CEO, Carl Christenson.

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Carl R. Christenson, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. - Chairman & CEO [33]

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Thank you all for joining us today. We look forward to seeing many of you at Altra's 2019 Investor Day on May 14 in New York City. For those of you interested in joining us or participating in the webcast, please visit our website for more details. Have a great day.

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Operator [34]

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This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.