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Edited Transcript of KTCC.OQ earnings conference call or presentation 27-Oct-20 9:00pm GMT

·30 min read

Q1 2021 Key Tronic Corp Earnings Call SPOKANE Dec 2, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Key Tronic Corp earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 9:00:00pm GMT TEXT version of Transcript ================================================================================ Corporate Participants ================================================================================ * Brett R. Larsen Key Tronic Corporation - Executive VP of Administration, CFO & Treasurer * Craig D. Gates Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director ================================================================================ Conference Call Participants ================================================================================ * George Melas-Kyriazi MKH Management Company, LLC - President * William J. Dezellem Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer ================================================================================ Presentation -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Q1 Fiscal 2021 Key Tronic Corporation Conference Call. This conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to hand things over to Mr. Brett Larsen. Please go ahead, sir. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brett R. Larsen, Key Tronic Corporation - Executive VP of Administration, CFO & Treasurer [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Good afternoon, everyone. I am Brett Larsen, Chief Financial Officer of Key Tronic. I'd like to thank everyone for joining us today for our investor conference call. Joining me here in our Spokane Valley headquarters is Craig Gates, our President and Chief Executive Officer. As always, I would like to remind you that during the course of this call, we might make projections or other forward-looking statements regarding future events or the company's future financial performance. Please remember that such statements are only predictions. Actual events or results may differ materially. For more information, you may review the risk factors outlined in the documents the company has filed with the SEC, specifically our latest 10-K, quarterly 10-Qs and 8-Ks. Please note, on this call, we will discuss historical financial and other statistical information regarding our business and operations. Some of this information is included in today's press release, and a recorded version of this call will be available on our website. Today, we released our results for the quarter ended September 26, 2020. For the first quarter of fiscal 2021, we reported total revenue of $123.2 million, up 17% from $105.3 million in the same period of fiscal year 2020. The increase in revenue was due to successful ramp of new customer programs and increased demand from existing customers. However, partially offsetting the increase in revenue during the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, our revenue was constrained by labor shortages at our facilities in Juarez due to COVID-19 pandemic and the cost of public health measures implemented as a result of the pandemic. During the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, we incurred additional costs caused by the COVID crisis totaling approximately $1.4 million or $0.10 per share. These expenses are related to increased compensation in our Juarez facility in order to attract and retain employees, we need to manage our growth as well as preventative measures and equipment for employees at all of our facilities in the U.S., Mexico, China and Vietnam. The pandemic's adverse impact on revenue expenses also reduced our margins and earnings. For the first quarter of fiscal 2021, gross margin was 8.1% and operating margin was 2.3% compared to gross margin of 8.8% and an operating margin of 2.4% in the same period of fiscal 2020. For the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, net income was $1.7 million or $0.16 per share compared to $1.6 million or $0.14 per share for the same period of fiscal year 2020. Turning to the balance sheet. We continue to maintain a strong financial position. As a result of labor shortages in our Juarez facility causing production delays in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 and the continued ramp in transfers of new program -- new programs. Our inventory increased 4% from the prior quarter. In future quarters, we expect to see our net inventory turns increased to be more in line with expected revenue. At the end of the first quarter, trade receivables were up $5.4 million from the prior quarter, reflecting the increased revenue levels and the timing of shipments late in the quarter. Overall, our DSO has increased to be about 64 days. Overall, we had a healthy balance sheet with total working capital of 140 -- $154 million in a current ratio of 2.5:1. Nevertheless, we thought it was prudent to preserve cash where possible should the pandemic again disrupt operations for an extended period. In this light, we increased our total credit facility up to $98 million to manage pandemic risk and give us more flexibility to ramp up production in the coming months. Total capital expenditures in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 were approximately $3.2 million, and we expect CapEx to be about $8.5 million for the full fiscal year. While we are keeping a careful eye on expenditures during fiscal 2021, we plan to continue to invest in our production facilities, SMT equipment and sheet metal and plastic molding capabilities as well as in efficiency improvements in our facilities as we prepare for growth. For the second quarter of fiscal year 2021, we currently expect to report revenue of approximately $125 million to $135 million and earnings of approximately $0.15 to $0.25 per diluted share. That said, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding these current estimates. We're working closely with our customers, key suppliers and employees to minimize the effects of delays attributable to the continued global pandemic. While our facilities in the U.S., Mexico, China and Vietnam are currently operating and rigorously following current health guidelines, uncertainty and as a possibility of future temporary closures, customer fluctuations and demand and costs and future supply chain disruptions during the rapidly changing COVID-19 environment could significantly impact operations in coming periods. Due to the heightened risk associated with this pandemic, we may issue updated guidance during the upcoming quarter. In summary, while the COVID-19 crisis continues to cause disruptions during the first quarter and remains a risk in future periods, we are encouraged by our continued growth as we move into the second quarter of fiscal 2021 and by our prospects for future growth. The overall financial health of the company is strong, and we believe that we are increasingly well positioned to win new EMS programs and continue to profitably expand our business over the longer term. That's it for me. Craig? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Thanks, Brett. We're pleased with the successful launch of new programs, rebounding customer demand and our strong revenue growth in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. While some of our customers continue to reduce demand due to the pandemic and the related economic slowdown, several customers significantly increased demand in the first quarter of fiscal 2021, including programs for health care, industrial controls and telecommunications. During the quarter, we also won new programs involving audio and video editing systems, indoor air quality systems, utility meters, warehouse management and automation technologies. In spite of the trade disputes between the U.S. and China and the worldwide supply uncertainty for electronic components, our China facilities are fully operational again, and we saw increased demand from some China-based customers. Uncertainty over trade tensions between the U.S. and China, combined with the disruptions caused by the pandemic, have further intensified a growing consensus among many of our customers and potential customers as they see more clearly that the total costs and risks of over reliance on manufacturing in China are actually higher than for a more balanced mix of China and localized supply chains. Shortened supply chains, supported by localized vertical integration, are becoming more widely understood and highly desirable. Moreover, our customers and potential customers increasingly want their IP maintained in the U.S. where there is more enforceable ownership. And we've discussed before, Key Tronic is ideally situated to benefit from these global trends of moving away from overreliance on China manufacturing. We continue to invest in our Mexico and U.S. facilities. Furthermore, our new facility in Vietnam continues to ramp up with new business and new customers. These new customers are putting their business in our Vietnam facility without the normal prerequisite facility audits, which further demonstrates the demand for supply alternatives to China. A growing number of existing and new customers are transitioning from China facilities to our expanding facilities in Mexico, Vietnam and the United States, facilitated by our centralized command control, we can drastically reduce the time and risk associated with such a transfer. At the very least, diversifying the geographies of our customers' manufacturing sources allow some flexibility to respond to the rapidly changing political and health landscape. Moving into the second quarter of fiscal 2021, the COVID-19 crisis continues to present macroeconomic uncertainty and multiple business challenges, but we continue to see the favorable trend of contract manufacturing returning to North America. Potential customers who were concerned during the trade disputes last year have been further pushed in our direction by delays and uncertainties related to the virus. At the same time, we remain focused on protecting the health of all of our employees by adhering to current health guidelines as well as increasing retention of available employees. As Brett noted, we are incurring increased expenses related to pandemic, including increased waged bonuses at the Juarez facility in order to attract and retain the employees that we need to meet our growing demand, as well as preventative measures and equipment for employees at all of our facilities in the U.S., Mexico, China, and Vietnam. While our supply chain remains vulnerable to temporary disruptions caused by a flare up of the virus and associated lockdowns and regulations, we've previously been able to work around temporary disruptions or closures. We've also managed transportation complexities and disruptions to our supply chain via alternative sourcing, airfreight, product redesigns and alternate component qualifications. We're closely monitoring inventories, and we'll continue to use safety stock as much as possible to ensure minimal interruptions. Nevertheless, while we've been able to find solutions for most of the COVID-related challenges to date, clearly, none of us are out of the woods with respect to the global pandemic. In closing, I want to once again thank our great employees for their dedication during these challenging times and for adhering to our strict guidelines for social distancing, wearing of masks and other recommended precautions during the pandemic. Because of their courage, hard work and strategic foresight, we expect continued revenue and earnings growth in the second quarter, and we continue to invest in new capacity to prepare for long-term growth. Let me assure you that we will continue to make protecting the health of our employees our highest priority. I also want to wish you and your families good health and safe passage during the pandemic. This concludes the formal portion of our presentation. Brett and I will now be pleased to answer your questions. ================================================================================ Questions and Answers -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [1] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Operator Instructions) We'll go to Bill Dezellem with Tieton Capital Management. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [2] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Let me start with my normal question. What is the size of each of the 5 new program wins that you had in the quarter? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [3] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- $6 million, $6 million, $7 million, $10 million and $11 million. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [4] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- $6 million , $6 million, $10 million and $7 million, $10 million and $11 million? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [5] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- $6 million, $6 million, $7 million, $10 million and $11 million. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [6] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Excellent. So all of them between $5 million and $11 million. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [7] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [8] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great. And would you talk about each of these 5 in terms of new customer versus an existing customer adding a new program? And any unique insights that any of these particular wins yield? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [9] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sure. Let me get back on that page. All right. So in order that I read them, audio and video editing is new; indoor air quality systems is a recently new customer but a program win; utility meters is a customer that left us about 2 years ago and has returned; warehouse management is an existing customer with a new program; and automation technologies are an existing customer with a new program. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [10] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And besides the insights to the returning customer, what other interesting insightful aspects are there to any of these to help us understand you all better? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [11] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So the customer left us for a much larger manufacturer and experienced the normal problems with that. And that is a mismatch of their program size versus their chosen contract manufacturer. In many cases, the very large contract manufacturers, do a great job of marketing to a smaller customer, but once the business relationship begins, things don't work out the way they were intended to work out, and we end up with the business back. This is pretty common for us. It's not all that common that we lose the customer, but it is common that we win a customer who's been unhappy with the relationship with a much bigger contract manufacturer than us. The other 3 or 4, the new customer is a pretty normal situation coming back from China. The second one is a COVID-driven demand that caused a pretty small customer with some pretty cool technology to see significant increase in demand. And we may be obvious -- we were the obvious choice for them to expand. So that's about it from insightful reasons as why we have these new customers and programs. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [12] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great. And then in the press release and your opening remarks, you did reference the increased demand from existing customers in health care, industrial controls and telecom. Would you talk about that increase demand for each of those? And again, insightful perspective, please? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [13] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, these are all examples of demands that have increased -- customers that have experienced increased demand due to sometimes not expected second or thorough effects of the COVID crisis. So on one side of the equation, we have the gaming customers dropping dramatically. On the other side of the equation, we have these customers increasing in the demand, and it's strictly due to what people need and want during the COVID crisis. So on the whole, I'd say that while we are profiting -- so I guess that makes us a COVID profiteer from some of these customers. On the other side, we're being harmed in a big way. I'd say the net effect of COVID is probably neutral on Key Tronic. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [14] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And are you able to discuss any of the specific products, maybe without customer names, but the products that you are seeing this increased level of demand for? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [15] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think not. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [16] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All right. I'll move on then. Also your labor constraints, would you please talk through those in terms of what you experienced in the quarter and maybe even more importantly, the view on favor going forward, particularly given that you are talking about an increase in the business, which I suspect means an increase in employees? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [17] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. The labor situation at the end of our fourth quarter and the beginning of the first quarter had started to improve. Previous to that, we had, had over 550 people that were not allowed to come to work due to pre-existing conditions in Juarez. And so we had a 550-person hole to fill, and that was at our steady-state revenue. And then when you look at trying to add $10 million or $20 million on top of that of revenue, we were probably in about a 700- or 800-person shortfall of people out of a 3,300-person set of facility in Juarez. So we were quite a way behind the eight ball. And then as we got through the quarter, the availability of employees became somewhat better, and we implemented some bonuses and other pay structures that have helped with the retention of the new employees that we hired, and things improved pretty nicely by the end of the quarter. Unfortunately, in the last month, as I'm sure you know, COVID cases around the world, including El Paso and Juarez, have spiked again. So we are unsure as to what's going to happen in the next couple of months or next quarter in terms of our availability and cost of employees, mainly in Juarez. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [18] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (Operator Instructions) And we'll go back to you, Mr. Dezellem. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [19] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All right. So you did reference new capacity expansion. Would you please talk about that? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [20] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sure. We have some new customers that are -- that have products that require different vertical integration technologies than what we currently have in the factory. So we're investing in those technologies. And there are other spots and pinch points in our capacity that are requiring a purchase of an SMT machine there or a stamping machine there. So those are the type of investments that we're speaking of. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brett R. Larsen, Key Tronic Corporation - Executive VP of Administration, CFO & Treasurer [21] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And Bill, during the quarter, we also did lease another facility down in Juarez. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [22] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great. So there has been some speculation about your new $100 million customer. What additional insights would you share there with us about that customer? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [23] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't think I want to share any insights on that customer. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [24] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And how about their ramp? How is that progressing here in this quarter versus Q4 and then in Q2? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [25] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The ramp for that customer started in our Corinth, Mississippi facility because of the various pieces of timing that had to happen and concern about COVID cases that were happening at the beginning of Q4. As we've headed down in the past, the ramp in Mississippi was very successful. It's been limited only by the availability of components, and now we're in the midst of ramping the small introductory volumes from Mississippi into large ongoing volumes in Juarez, Mexico. So far, that ramp is going well. We haven't hit any unexpected technical issues. And again, the constraint is on some key components that are on high worldwide demand. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [26] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And given that, that's -- it sounds like those components are not specific to this product. And if that's the case, how do you navigate that to meet the level of demand that the customer is experiencing? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [27] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, the degree to which we can navigate that is mainly governed by long lead parts that we're buying ahead of demand, our customers signing up long-term agreements with suppliers of these components and continued working kind of above the call of duty effort from our procurement group. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [28] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And Brett, you mentioned the new facility that you leased. Is there any relationship between this new customer ramping in Juarez and that new facility? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brett R. Larsen, Key Tronic Corporation - Executive VP of Administration, CFO & Treasurer [29] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, sure is. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [30] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- All right. And then -- so I guess that's -- I'm going to stay on that for a moment. So that would be an indication to us that you are anticipating -- continue to anticipate that customer to be at a very high revenue run rate as the ramp continues? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brett R. Larsen, Key Tronic Corporation - Executive VP of Administration, CFO & Treasurer [31] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [32] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Can -- I guess as a side, do you have other prospective customers that could be up at that type of a level that you were looking at? Or do they all tend to be more in the $6 million to $11 million as you referenced for your wins this quarter? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [33] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There are a number of very big accounts too that I'd say are high probability of wins, both that are in the $100 million range. But as my dear departed father used to say, "There's many a slip between cup and lip." So we'll see where that goes, but there -- it's not just a $5 million to $10 million funnel. There are a number of really big possibilities in there. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [34] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And are some of those possibilities greater than the $100 million size of this customer? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [35] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sure. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [36] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, congratulations. Do you have any comments on timing and when those may turn into wins for you? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [37] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, it's pretty likely that the answers are pretty short term on those. So we're hopeful by the end of this quarter, we'll know what we're doing. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [38] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Look forward to hearing more. Are those ones that you would press release in the middle of the quarter or that we would anticipate talking about in January if you were successful? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [39] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We would like to press release them, but that depends entirely upon our customers' willingness to get their name out there in conjunction with contract manufacturing. So I can't answer what we would do if we won this because it depends on our customer's decision. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [40] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Right. Okay. And then let's jump to the guidance for a moment. The low end of the EPS guidance is down from what, I think, $0.01, down from what you reported this quarter. And yet the low end of the revenue guidance is higher than what you reported this quarter. Would you talk through what looks to be a bit of a gap there? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [41] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. We're mainly trying to couch our expenses in case COVID gets worse. There is some increase in costs due to the ramp, but mainly, we're trying to couch, is it $0.5 million? Or $2.5 million due to trying to get employees in on whatever happens in Juarez. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [42] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So if your COVID costs do not increase as a percentage of revenue, then we would see earnings growing commensurate with the revenue growth. You're just making the conservative build in, if you will, that there will be some extra costs just in case? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [43] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We're just trying to be realistic about what could happen and take a guess. That's why the range is getting bigger because the uncertainties are getting bigger. We have -- this is probably the third quarter in my life that we've had much more demand than we can build. So our forecasts are now being driven more by our ability to build than they are by our customers' wishes to buy. And that's a new place where, I think, for a lot of contract manufacturers to be. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [44] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And what is the limitation? Is it labor primarily? Or does it tend to be more on the component side or something else I'm not thinking of? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [45] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, there's 3 major spots that are pinch points for us. The first, I'd say, these are in no order of issue size. So the first one is obviously labor. The second one is parts, components. And the third is tooling. So in cases where our customers are suddenly experiencing demand that's 100% or 200% of their original intended demand and they have tools, plastic molds that we use to make the parts -- and those plastic molds take anywhere between 12 and 16 weeks to get up and running. And our customers themselves are tormented by the question of should they double their capital investment in tooling or is COVID-driven demand going to once again decrease, those 3 things are all limiting our ability to hit what our customers wish we could build. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [46] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, and you just segued nicely into a question that's been going through my head here, which is to what degree is this demand temporary versus somewhat more of a new normal? And then secondarily, your guidance on the revenue front is, what, $125 million to $135 million. If you could meet what your customers want you to produce, what would that number -- what would that number be? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [47] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If we could meet everything our customers wanted us to produce, it would be around $145 million or a little bit above that. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [48] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Did you say 1 4 5? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [49] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, I did. Yes, Yes. So what was the other part of the question? I forgot it already. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [50] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Transient demand versus more permanent demand? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [51] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, yes. I forgot it because I answered that already. That's what I was trying to talk about when I said, are we a COVID profiteer or are we a COVID sufferer? As a company, I'd say it's about a net neutral. That's what I was trying to say before, if the upsides we've seen from existing customers have more or less been offset by the downside we've seen from existing customers. And the strictly COVID-driven demand is not that big compared to the demand that comes from the rebalancing supply lines and minimizing risk. And so you have to parse your question even further because there's short-term COVID demand, which I would classify as a customer who -- somebody who wants 10,000 of something he only thought he needed 5,000 of before. And there's long-term COVID consequences which are customers who are suddenly going, "Oh my God, I've got my entire supply chain concentrated in one place. And as a disaster like COVID or a trade war comes along, I'm completely vulnerable. I need to make a switch." So it's up to you, Bill, to decide how you want to classify that. Is that a sea change due to the political landscape? Or is that a sea change that's due to COVID and will be reversed or what? But that's the best I can answer your question. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [52] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- No, that's fair. And Brett, just so you don't feel left out, the tax rate guidance is being increased to 25% versus your normal guidance of 20%. And this last quarter, I think, was actually closer to 19%. Why are you expecting that tax rate to go up? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brett R. Larsen, Key Tronic Corporation - Executive VP of Administration, CFO & Treasurer [53] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Bill, I think that's predominantly just our expected growth. We're showing an expected growth in revenue this quarter. With that increased profit, unfortunately, the R&D tax credits that offset our domestic taxes aren't nearly as much as a percentage of total tax. So it's just an increased expected profit before tax during the fiscal year. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [54] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And Brett, if you end up at the low end of the earnings guidance because your COVID costs are higher, does that imply a lower tax rate, but if you end up with earnings up in that $0.25 range, that at that point, you would have a higher tax rate? Is that correct? Or am I not thinking about that sliding scale correctly? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brett R. Larsen, Key Tronic Corporation - Executive VP of Administration, CFO & Treasurer [55] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- No, that's correct. And you have to -- your effective tax rate is based off of what you expect for the full year. So if we had expected a large bump in COVID for just 1 quarter, it may not significantly change that effective tax rate. But if we expect that to be the final 3 quarters of the year, then yes, it would. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [56] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So I'm trying to gain some insights here as to how you all have been thinking about the business. So because you guided the first quarter tax rate at 20%, but now you're increasing that guidance to 25%. Does that infer that you all are looking at the full year as -- that you will have a higher level of income this -- for the full year now than what you thought you were going to have when you started the first quarter? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [57] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You still there, Bill? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brett R. Larsen, Key Tronic Corporation - Executive VP of Administration, CFO & Treasurer [58] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Are we still on? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [59] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't know. (technical difficulty) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- William J. Dezellem, Tieton Capital Management, LLC - President, CIO & Chief Compliance Officer [60] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. I'm here, Craig. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [61] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Okay, good. You dropped off for a minute there. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brett R. Larsen, Key Tronic Corporation - Executive VP of Administration, CFO & Treasurer [62] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, Bill, one can surmise that we're expecting revenue growth. And with that, you expect the profits. Now to be able to pinpoint the exact amount for the year, I don't think we feel comfortable in stating that we're going to be significantly higher, but it's all estimates. (technical difficulty) Management. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- George Melas-Kyriazi, MKH Management Company, LLC - President [63] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Just a few follow-ups on Bill's wonderful questions. The additional cost of $1.4 million this quarter, how do you think about that over the long term? Is that something that you think will be permanent? Or some of it might go away in a post-COVID world? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [64] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think (technical difficulty) the vast majority of it is labor costs related to wages and hiring costs and training costs. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- George Melas-Kyriazi, MKH Management Company, LLC - President [65] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. And is that fair to say that most of that goes into cost of goods sold, so it impacts the gross margin? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [66] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, that is correct. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- George Melas-Kyriazi, MKH Management Company, LLC - President [67] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. And then if I look at the P&L, the product development costs or R&D and engineering had the step function increase in the June quarter. I think it went from $1.6 million, $1.7 million to sort of the low 2s right now. Is that a reflection of the bidding activity and the work that you're doing that with existing customers and prospective customers to get new business? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [68] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The R&D costs are pretty hard to correlate to the time frame quarter or 2 quarters out because many times, it's funded by our customers but sometimes it's not. Sometimes we're doing things on the come because we think if we design something that is revolutionary or cool for a prospective customer, that will act as a spur to get them to change to us. Other times, almost the entire department is involved in design that's being funded by current customers. So I don't think we should be trying to use that in any kind of a barometer for future business size. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- George Melas-Kyriazi, MKH Management Company, LLC - President [69] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. That number that you have right there now, $2.2 million, does that mean that something that you pay and some of it you would get reimbursed later through product sales? Or... -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [70] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes, so that is not a net number. So if we're getting reimbursed by a customer for an engineering contract, that will actually go up into revenue. So that is both internal and external costs. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- George Melas-Kyriazi, MKH Management Company, LLC - President [71] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Got it. Okay, great. And then a follow-up on -- Craig, you said that there were potentially some very substantial customers and that you might even hear before the end of this quarter on some potential wins. It seems like these customers have moved through the pipeline relatively fast. Or is that correct? Or maybe have you been working on them for a long time and didn't tell us about it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [72] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That's what's wrong with every question you guys ask us, the answer is both. So one of them, we've been working on for over a year. One of them came knocking in our door about a month ago. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- George Melas-Kyriazi, MKH Management Company, LLC - President [73] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yes. Okay. So the one that came knocking at your door a month ago, it could happen that fast. It could happen in just a few months? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [74] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The award could happen in just a few months. The actual ramp will take quite some time, but the award could happen in just a few months. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [75] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And at this time, there are no further questions. I'll hand the conference back to our speakers for any additional or closing remarks. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Craig D. Gates, Key Tronic Corporation - President, CEO & Director [76] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Okay. Well, once again, thank you to everyone for participating in today's call. I wish all of you and your families a safe and healthy next -- look forward to talking to you again next quarter. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Operator [77] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That does conclude today's conference. Thank you all for your participation today. You may now disconnect.