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Edited Transcript of TGLS earnings conference call or presentation 9-Aug-19 2:00pm GMT

Q2 2019 Tecnoglass Inc Earnings Call

Bogota Aug 26, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Tecnoglass Inc earnings conference call or presentation Friday, August 9, 2019 at 2:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Christian T. Daes

Tecnoglass Inc. - COO & Director

* José Manuel Daes

Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director

* Santiago Giraldo

Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alexander John Rygiel

B. Riley FBR, Inc., Research Division - Analyst

* Joshua Kenneth Wilson

Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate

* Julio Alberto Romero

Sidoti & Company, LLC - Equity Analyst

* Miguel Ospina

Compass Group S.A. Comisionista De Bolsa - Senior Investment Analyst

* Timothy Ronald Wojs

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

* Zane Adam Karimi

D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Research Associate

* Rodny Nacier

ICR, LLC - SVP

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Greetings. Welcome to the Tecnoglass Incorporated Second Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Please note this conference is being recorded. I will now turn the conference over to your host, Rodny Nacier, Investor Relations. Mr. Nacier, you may begin.

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Rodny Nacier, ICR, LLC - SVP [2]

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Thank you for joining us for Tecnoglass' Second Quarter 2019 Conference Call. A copy of the slide presentation to accompany this call may be obtained on the Investors section of the Tecnoglass website. Our speakers for today's call are Chief Executive Officer, José Manuel Daes; Chief Operating Officer, Chris Daes; and Chief Financial Officer, Santiago Giraldo.

I'd like to remind everyone that matters discussed on this call, except for historical information, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding future financial performance, future growth and future acquisitions. These statements are based on Tecnoglass' current expectations or beliefs and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may vary in a material nature from those expressed or implied by the statements herein due to changes in economic, business, competitive and/or regulatory factors and other risks and uncertainties affecting the operation of Tecnoglass' business.

These risks, uncertainties and contingencies are indicated from time to time in Tecnoglass' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The information discussed during the call is presented in light of such risks. Further, investors should keep in mind that Tecnoglass' financial results in any particular period may not be indicative of future results. Tecnoglass is under no obligation to and expressly disclaims any obligation to update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.

I will now turn the call over to José Manuel, beginning on Slide #4.

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [3]

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Thank you, Rodny, and thank you, everyone, for participating on today's call. We closed out the first half of 2019 with record levels of gross profit, adjusted EBITDA and backlog.

Second quarter total revenues increased 28% to $113.9 million, marking our ninth straight quarter of record revenues. This success was largely driven by continued rapid expansion in residential and overall market share gains. The U.S. continues to represent a larger mix of our business, increasing to 87% over second quarter revenues, this compared to 79% a year ago. Furthermore, we generated cash flow from operations of $14 million in the second quarter, reflecting increased profitability and enhanced working capital management. On this positive momentum, we increased adjusted EBITDA by 41% to $25.8 million. This adjusted EBITDA growth resulted from our continued successful U.S. market penetration and better product mix.

The strength of our low-cost, efficient and vertically integrated operations was evident. This continues to provide a sustainable platform to drive industry-leading margins. In addition, in May 2019, we completed our previously announced float glass joint venture with Saint-Gobain. This was a very positive step for our company. We expect the JV to continue to enhance our vertical integration strategy, secure our float glass supply and generate significant synergies over the coming years.

The joint venture has already contributed to our results. It added about $1 million to our adjusted EBITDA in 2 months of operations during the quarter. This is an encouraging step. Our joint venture is well timed, and we are rapidly expanding backlog in sales. In response to a strong demand, we were also pleased to complete the expansion of our aluminum extrusion facilities in July. This modern state-of-the-art facility will help us to more efficiently serve the incremental aluminum demand throughout our markets. We are now in a better situation to advance our competitive position in the U.S.

Our additional high-return investments to automate key operations on several of our glass and aluminum facilities remain on track to be completed by year-end. We expect these capacity upgrades to increase the efficiency of our operations and better position us to generate attractive returns as we execute against our backlog of projects.

Overall, we are very pleased with our positive momentum, combined with our growing backlog, which provides us with a strong multiyear visibility. We are confident in the strength of our business and expect to continue gaining share in U.S. commercial and residential construction activity. We are energized by our year-to-year -- -to-date progress, which supports our increased full year outlook for revenue and adjusted EBITDA.

I will now turn the call over to Chris to provide additional details on our backlog.

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Christian T. Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - COO & Director [4]

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Thank you, José Manuel. Moving to our backlog on Slide 6. We ended the quarter with an attractively positioned backlog across a growing number of U.S. markets. Our second quarter backlog grew an impressive 6% year-over-year to a record level of $525 million. This reinforced the strength of our strategy, product diversity and broadening customer relationships. Each completed project elevates our reputation for excellence, and our business is benefiting as a result. The second quarter backlog level represented more than 1.3x our last twelve months' revenue, which is very encouraging. The U.S. market continues to represent an increasing portion of our business, comprising approximately 84% of our backlog. This compares to 79% in the second quarter of 2018.

We continue to experience favorable residential and commercial construction conditions in the U.S. Our experienced sales team recently added several project wins to our portfolio in the states of New York, Texas and Washington. This reflects our ongoing efforts to diversify our geographic presence and product mix in very good markets, with solid economic fundamentals throughout the U.S.

Additionally, our alliance with Schüco is allowing us to further accelerate growth in key U.S. markets. We were recently awarded several exciting projects with Schüco product lines in the northeast, which are reflected in backlog. Our strategic footprint penetration into the residential market and structural competitive advantages continue to support our ability to capitalize on strong bidding activity. As a result, our revenues are reflecting record levels of invoicing and industry-leading margins. Additionally, the continued outperformance in our key operating metrics is underpinned by our focus on innovation throughout our high-return projects, talent sales teams and strategic partnerships and improved productivity.

Our performance in the residential market in the U.S. continued to surpass our expectations and support our upwardly revised growth outlook for 2019. As a reminder, many of our single-family projects are typically shorter-cycle and underrepresented in backlog.

In conclusion, we are very pleased with our results to date in 2019. We continue to target new customer relationships and leverage our widening U.S. footprint. We are actively enhancing the quality of our projects to expand our business in a disciplined manner. Due to our strong pipeline of business, we look forward to several additional catalysts from our disclosed partnerships and high-return investments. This should support our ability to continue growing our business while providing excellent service and high-quality architectural glass products to our customers.

I will now turn the call over to Santiago to discuss our financial results and markets.

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [5]

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Thank you, Christian. Beginning with our financial highlights on Slide #8. In the second quarter, we substantially improved our results across nearly all metrics, including sales, adjusted EBITDA, margins and adjusted net income. We accomplished this while continuing to rapidly penetrate the U.S. market, especially in residential, where our sales more than doubled compared to the prior year quarter.

We spent $10.1 million on CapEx in the second quarter, most of it geared towards opportunistic high-return investments and efficiency initiatives. Our operating cash flow performance in the quarter of $14 million reflects our efforts to improve our management of working capital in a higher mix of residential revenues, which typically carry a shorter collection cycle. We ended the quarter with a strong cash position of $48 million and a net leverage ratio of 2.4x, down from 2.8x last year. This balance sheet strength supports our growth initiatives and operational enhancements as we move forward.

Looking at the drivers of revenue on Slide #9. We reported our ninth straight quarter of record revenues, which were up 28% to $113.9 million for the second quarter. Continued outperformance in the U.S. drove the strength in second quarter sales, with the U.S. increasing by 42.2% year-over-year to $99.3 million. The U.S. primarily reflected stronger residential invoicing, healthy commercial construction activity, market share gains and some price and mix improvement. Solid U.S. momentum is more than offsetting the softer demand environment in our LATAM regions. In fact, with the significant shift in our business to the U.S. during the 5 past years, the United States actually represents a higher percentage of Tecnoglass revenue mix as compared to the percentage mix of revenue generated in the United States by most of our U.S.-based building product peers.

On a trailing 12-month basis as of the second quarter of 2019, the U.S. represented approximately 85% of Tecnoglass total revenues. This compares to an average of 79% for the U.S.-based building products peer group. This is an impressive accomplishment for Tecnoglass and further establishes as the premier U.S.-listed building products company.

Looking at the drivers of adjusted EBITDA on Slide #10. Adjusted EBITDA increased 41.1% to a record $25.8 million from the prior year quarter. This produced an adjusted EBITDA margin of 22.6%. Gross profit increased 57.6% to a record $38.8 million in the second quarter, representing a 34.1% gross margin. This compared to a gross margin of 27.7% in the prior year quarter. Our improvement in gross margin primarily reflected greater operating efficiencies and a favorable mix of higher-margin products across our footprint. Excluding nonrecurring costs of approximately $3.6 million in the prior year quarter, gross margin improved approximately 240 basis points year-over-year. As part of our structural competitive advantages, raw material cost increases and labor constraints affecting some of our U.S.-based peers have still not had a material impact on our manufacturing costs.

We were especially pleased to improve our operating expenses as a percentage revenue by 100 basis points year-over-year to 18.1% in the second quarter. This reflected higher revenues, tight cost controls and strong operating leverage on personnel and professional fees. Excluding onetime items, operating expenses would have been 70.8% as a percentage of total revenues compared to 18.9% in the prior year quarter.

Looking at our continued expansion into residential market on Slide #12. As a note, we refer to U.S. single-family residential as a residential business. We classify all other sales, including medium- and high-rise condos as commercial. In 2017, we entered the U.S. single-family market and have rapidly scaled that business. This expansion has far exceeded our initial expectations, representing 16% of our U.S. revenues in the last 12 months as of the second quarter of 2019. This is up from 3% of U.S. revenues just 2 years ago. Second quarter residential sales more than doubled from prior year quarter. New product introductions, expanded customer relationships and our proven ability to execute with a quality-first approach have led to continued share gains in this segment of our business.

In the U.S., we still only represent a fraction of the approximately $30 billion architectural glass and aluminum industry, with an estimated 2/3 of the market opportunity in the residential end segment. We believe that our collective efforts in the residential segment, along with our more established commercial reputation, will allow us to continue to grow faster than the national average. With this in mind, we see significant upside in our business to capture a rising share of residential and overall market share in the U.S.

Moving to our high-return investments on Slide #13. In May, we were excited to complete our float glass joint venture with Saint-Gobain, which reinforces our vertically integrated strategy. The JV is strategic from an operational standpoint and will drive significant synergies over time. The JV secures float glass supply and improves purchasing economics while elevating our global profile with customers, suppliers, architects and other industry participants.

In terms of financial contribution, the JV sells float glass to Tecnoglass and third parties, which allow us to report our pro rata share of profits in net income and adjusted EBITDA. During the second quarter, the JV added approximately $1 million to adjusted EBITDA, representing about 2 months of activity from the early May close of the transaction to the end of the second quarter. Beyond the existing JV operation, we continue to expect to start the construction of a second state-of-the-art plant nearby our headquarters in Barranquilla by the end of 2019. Separately, in July of 2019, we brought online our expanded aluminum production capacity. This is expected to increase our aluminum production capacity by 25% within certain new lines in response to strong customer demand for aluminum products.

Our other investments in automation are our glass and aluminum facilities, remain on track to be completed by the end of 2019. As of June 30, 2019, we have deployed approximately 60% out of the total anticipated capital investments of approximately $20 million for the capacity automation on expansion. We intend to fund the remaining portion with cash on hand or existing debt capital resources.

Moving to our 2019 outlook on Slide #15. We continue to expect strong top and bottom line growth in full year 2019. Based on solid execution year-to-date, better end market visibility and continued confidence in the execution of our strategy, we are raising our outlook for full year 2019 revenues to grow to a range of $415 million to $430 million. We anticipate the majority of revenue growth to come from the U.S., helped partially by innovative new products, project types, geographic expansion and single-family residential. As explained on prior calls, the implied year-over-year percentage growth in the first half is higher compared to the back half year-over-year growth based on the anticipated timing of invoicing in 2019 compared to 2018.

Q1 2019 revenue was abnormally high, and that quarter is typically our seasonally smallest quarter. So the first half had easier comps. Based on our increased sales outlook and anticipated mix of revenues, we're raising our full year adjusted EBITDA outlook to be in the range of $90 million to $98 million. This outlook assumes favorable operating leverage on higher revenues and a higher mix of sales from manufacturing operations. Additionally, the outlook incorporates our unchanged share of adjusted EBITDA from the Saint-Gobain joint venture, which began contributing to our results in the second quarter of 2019 as contemplated in our original outlook. Furthermore, we expect lower SG&A as a percentage of sales based on incremental revenues and leverage attained with ongoing cost control efforts.

In closing, we are well situated to achieve another strong year of growth and improvement in our business. Our high-return investments, vertically integrated low-cost operations, new partnerships and our proven ability to execute in the U.S. all give us confidence in our ability to meet our revised growth objectives while maintaining our industry-leading margins.

We thank you for your continued support of Tecnoglass. We will be happy to answer your questions. Operator, please open the line for questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Tim Wojs, Baird.

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Timothy Ronald Wojs, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [2]

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So maybe just starting on residential. Could you maybe just talk us through the drivers of the strengths that you've seen year-to-date? Because I know you were maybe a little bit more kind of cautiously optimistic on that business entering the year. So I guess kind of where we were 6 months ago versus where we are today, what's been the upside driver to that business relative to your expectations?

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [3]

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Hi, Tim. José Daes here. Well, we are new in the market. We've been in the residential only for the last 3 years. And our product has had a really good acceptance. When people use our product compared to the competition, they love it. We have a great reputation in high-rises. And a lot of homeowners have embraced the product, the quality, the smoothness, the quality of the glass, and that's why we're growing like crazy. But that doesn't mean that we can keep growing 150%. When you have nothing, could you grow really fast? Then we're going to keep growing, but obviously, we hope at that pace, but I don't think so. It's going to be maybe 20%, 30% a year.

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Timothy Ronald Wojs, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [4]

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Okay. Is it new? Are you signing more distributors and you're seeing kind of an expanded distribution? Or is it really the sell-through through your current distribution is really what's driving it?

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [5]

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It is both. We are expanding distribution and also, we are -- the actual distributors that we have are growing themselves because we are on time, we're delivering a great product. And like I told you, I mean, a homeowner buys up the product and the neighbor comes in, sees the product, loves it and then they buy and word of mouth, and the acceptance of the product is really great. We have a -- I believe we have the best product in the market for the money.

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Timothy Ronald Wojs, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [6]

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Okay. And then, Santiago, I mean, relative to the kind of Q2 run rate in residential, is there anything to be mindful of in the back half of the year, why that current run rate wouldn't continue into the second half?

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [7]

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Well, as you know, Tim, that's more of a spot type of business. We like to remain cautious, as José Manuel just said in here. Q2 was a very strong quarter revenue-wise. We hope that tendency continues, but even at that, we're projecting for the full year a growth rate of 30% to 40%. So if it does continue at this rate, that will be upside to the results that we're not baking into our projections and in our updated guidance right now.

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Timothy Ronald Wojs, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [8]

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Okay. So you do expect maybe a little less contribution in the back half of the year, and if it continues, there could be some upside opportunity. Okay. And then, I guess, just when we think about the nonresidential backlog in the U.S. part of the business, where, I guess, are you seeing the incremental strength there? Because you've actually seen that business accelerate in terms of backlog growth over the last 3 or 4 quarters now. And so is it more the outside of Florida is accelerating, or you're actually seeing Florida start to pick up in the backlog as well?

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [9]

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Well, most of the growth is coming from outside of Florida. Florida keeps being the majority of our backlog, but every time, it's less and less. Before, it used to be 100%. And I believe now it is maybe 60%. We're growing in Texas, Boston, New York, Maryland. Even in the West Coast, we have a few jobs in California.

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Timothy Ronald Wojs, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Senior Research Analyst [10]

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Okay. Okay. And then I'll sneak one last one. And just, Santiago, on free cash flow, any change to kind of how your prior free cash flow kind of guidance or cadence was talked to? I think it was supposed to be slightly positive for free cash flow this year. Any improvement there, just given the EBITDA raise?

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [11]

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Well, yes. We're -- if you look at what happened in Q2, we focused on working capital management, and we're very successful at managing inventory and getting better terms with our suppliers. Obviously, AR continues to be a use of cash when you're growing higher than 25% year-over-year. But if we can continue the trend, we would expect to certainly provide free cash flow for the full year. We don't give public guidance on operating cash flow or free cash flow, but based on what we were able to accomplish as of Q2, we would hope the tendency continues for the rest of the year.

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Operator [12]

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Our next question is from Alex Rygiel, B. Riley FBR & Co.

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Alexander John Rygiel, B. Riley FBR, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [13]

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A couple of quick questions. I know you've kind of referenced the fact that Tecnoglass isn't seeing a raw material price inflation like some of the U.S. peers. But are you seeing any of it, or do you see any on the horizon that we should make a note of?

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [14]

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We're not counting on that. The main inputs are obviously aluminum and glass. We're not seeing any hike on prices. And what we are kind of seeing in the foreseeable future is that we're going to be able to keep them stable. And remember that we enter into long-term invoicing, in long-term contracts, so we already have a matching on the input and how we quote to the clients. So not for the foreseeable future.

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Alexander John Rygiel, B. Riley FBR, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [15]

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Excellent. And then I know, a couple of quarters ago, you had some inflation in transportation costs that was going through SG&A. Any update on that in the second quarter here and how we should think about it in the second half of the year?

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [16]

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Yes, that's actually -- that was actually a tailwind this quarter, and we gained some operating leverage there. And there were some things from the logistical perspective that we were able to accomplish in shipping directly to some ports in the northeast as opposed to shipping through Miami and then trucking to other places. So that's actually helping out, and we hope to continue the trend. We haven't seen any material increase on marine transportation. So that's helping out.

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Alexander John Rygiel, B. Riley FBR, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [17]

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And last question. Given the success of the residential business, can you sort of update us on the breadth of your product line in that category and how it's changed over the last year and your interest in accelerating that growth through M&A?

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [18]

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Yes. Well, we designed 2 new lines last year. One is the Elite and the other one is the Prestige. And we designed the lines from what we saw the market needed because our previous line lagged a few things that the market was asking for. And they have had a great reception. Like I said before, everybody loves it. We see a lot of growth in that line because after our client tries it, I mean, he feels -- he falls in love with it and it's easier to install. It is a better-looking product, better performance. And we see a lower growth in that area in the future. I mean we don't have the same rates as before, but it's going to keep growing.

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Operator [19]

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Our next question is from Josh Wilson, Raymond James.

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Joshua Kenneth Wilson, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate [20]

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And congratulations on the quarter. There's been several moving parts and you cite several tailwinds to gross margin year-on-year. Could you give us some quantification as to what the benefits and maybe any headwinds were to gross margin year-on-year?

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [21]

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Yes. We had certain things here that helped out. We were able to gain operating leverage based on the amount of sales that we were able to invoice in the quarter and the mix of sales that were accomplished on the manufacturing versus installation side. But mainly, we were able to sell as much with the same kind of headcount. We were able to reduce installation costs. If you recall, Q2 of 2018, we had one-offs related to installation costs on GM&P that we were able to streamline. And the other piece there would be energy costs. We're basically doing more business with the same energy costs. So all of those contributed to the operating leverage as far as gross profit goes. There weren't really any headwinds to talk -- to speak of in the quarter.

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Joshua Kenneth Wilson, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate [22]

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And as we look into the back half of the year, any differences between the quarters that we should watch out for?

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [23]

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No. I mean if you look back, aside from the pull-forward that we had in the Q2, which kind of changes the mix of business, if you look back at the 2 or 3 previous quarters before that, we're kind of running in the mid-30s. And that would be the expectation going forward.

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Joshua Kenneth Wilson, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate [24]

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Okay. Very good. And anything we need to be aware of in the cadence of the sales you're assuming?

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [25]

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Well, like we said on the call, the first half of the year was going to see higher growth year-over-year based on the timing of invoicing. And remember that, typically, the Q1 is normally the lowest one of the year, but this year was abnormally high for us. So we had always acknowledged that the first half of the year was going to have a higher growth year-over-year, with the second half probably showing still 7% or so growth at the midpoint. So still very, very strong growth rate for the rest of the year.

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Joshua Kenneth Wilson, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate [26]

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But what I'm getting at, there's no lumpiness between 3Q and 4Q?

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [27]

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No. Not necessarily, not if it's onetime.

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Joshua Kenneth Wilson, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Senior Research Associate [28]

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If I could sneak one last one in, what are your updated expectations and guidance for the Latin American sales?

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [29]

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We're basically counting on the growth coming from the U.S. Colombia remains kind of muted. Everything from a macro perspective is set in place. Interest rates continue to be low. We just need construction activity to pick up and rebound. So if that takes place in the second half of the year, that will be an upside to results. But otherwise, the growth is going to come from the U.S. as it has been the case for the last few quarters.

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Operator [30]

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Our next question comes from Julio Romero, Sidoti & Company.

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Julio Alberto Romero, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Equity Analyst [31]

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I wanted to piggyback on that last question about Colombia. I understand that your outlook for the year kind of embeds a muted outlook for Colombia through this year. How are you thinking about that business for maybe the next year and beyond? I know, last quarter, you gave us an update that some projects that were previously put a hold were being kind of reevaluated, and you had seen some stabilization now that the election had passed. So if you could speak to that, it would be good.

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [32]

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Julio, even though the election is gone, there's been a lot of turmoil in -- politics-wise in Colombia internally. And the project seems to be currently lame and construction is lying in a great performance. We hope next year to be a little better than this year, but not so much. We're not counting on a lot. I hope, I hope we rebound, and we do better than expected. But I don't see Colombia being a driver for a lot of growth for next year.

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [33]

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Just to add to that, Julio, I would imagine that the U.S. becomes more than 90% of our business by year-end. And that's really been part of the strategy, to continue penetrating the U.S. market. So we'll serve Colombia and LATAM as it may be fit, but the driver of growth is going to be the U.S.

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Julio Alberto Romero, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Equity Analyst [34]

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Okay. That's helpful. And you had mentioned that raw material costs that are affecting some of your peers in the U.S. are still not necessarily having an impact on costs and necessarily encouraging. How about on the demand side? I mean we're hearing rising costs or delaying projects and causing some hesitancy kind of across the construction spectrum. So are you seeing that at all in some of your customers? And could you speak to that, if you could?

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [35]

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No, we're not seeing that at all. On the contrary, we're seeing a strong rebound in Florida, especially Tampa, West Palm Beach. I mean it's unbelievable, the amount of -- especially, for example, in the hotel sector in Orlando, even in Miami, there are like 10,000 rooms being built -- is going to be built for next year that we are negotiating in the projects. We hope to increase the backlog, if we close at least half of those projects.

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Julio Alberto Romero, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Equity Analyst [36]

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Got it. Maybe my follow-up to that is just are these rising material costs that are causing hesitancy to others, causing maybe an uptick in inquiries on your side? Have you even seen that at all?

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [37]

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No. Not at all.

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Operator [38]

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Our next question is from Zane Karimi, D.A. Davidson.

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Zane Adam Karimi, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Research Associate [39]

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This is Zane on for Brent. Congrats on the quarter. So first off, on the backlog increase. I know you kind of touched to it a little earlier, but what segments of the U.S. market are you seeing the most improvement, low and mid-rise? And then on top of that, with regards to weather through the south, southeast as well as northeast, could you quantify any sort of impact you saw there?

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [40]

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We aren't growing a lot in the northeast because remember that we're -- no, I mean, we've been doing business outside of Florida for maybe the last 3 or 4 years. And from the day that you get a job until you finish it, it takes at least 2 to 2.5 years. So now that the customers have seen that we perform and that we are on time and the quality of the product, then we're getting new, repeated more jobs. For example, the other day, we were in Chicago and we did a hotel -- we did a great job in that hotel. And we went to a customer, and the customer said, "I want the windows the same that are in the hotel x." And we said, "Well, those are our windows. We did that hotel." And the train just passes like a couple of meters by it and you don't hear any noise. The windows are great, the quality of the glass. So we are growing there because of our performance, and that's why we believe we're going to keep growing outside of Florida, more than in Florida because in Florida, when you have a lot, I mean, there's not that much room to grow.

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [41]

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Just to summarize and add to that -- to your question. The northeast is the area of greater growth beyond what I was talking about, Chicago, Texas and the West Coast.

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Zane Adam Karimi, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Research Associate [42]

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And then kind of thinking about any sort of -- the aluminum capacity, in particular, and when do you expect more meaningful contributions from the expansion, or how long until you get to a full production capacity there?

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Christian T. Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - COO & Director [43]

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Well, finally, I got to answer a question. Thank you. We are fully operational today. We have a new line in place, that is actually as of the 1st of August, it's in full production, and also a new paint line. So we expect to see a hit on EBITDA right away because aluminum is an incremental business. We have plenty of orders for the new line and also the glass sorting system and everything that we're doing on that side, and the aluminum sorting system is coming along. We expect to be also on time by late September, beginning of October, running. And that will bring a lot of efficiencies. And actually, we are, I mean, doing everything that it takes to be a more profitable company even if we stay with the same sales. If we are able to increase sales like we are doing, thanks to the good job of my brother, we are going to be able to see a lot more benefit for the company in the near future.

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Operator [44]

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Our next question comes from Miguel Ospina, Compass Group.

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Miguel Ospina, Compass Group S.A. Comisionista De Bolsa - Senior Investment Analyst [45]

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I would like to know your outlook for free cash flow generation and what are you going to do to improve it. Just because when I see EBITDA, it grows a lot, but free cash flow continues to be very low. So for example, as you have generated close to $50 million in EBITDA, but free cash flow has been only being close to $5 million.

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Santiago Giraldo, Tecnoglass Inc. - CFO & Head of IR [46]

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Thanks, Miguel. We do not provide guidance on free cash flow, but I'll answer your question. If you look at the growth year-over-year, it used to be above 25%. And when you're growing 25%, your working capital demands are substantial. So when you look at EBITDA, obviously, working capital is not included in there. However, if you look at what we did in Q2, we were able to greatly improve inventory management and get better terms from suppliers. So we're getting there, but growing 25% is not an easy proposition. The other thing is that when you're investing in CapEx to grow your operations and become more profitable, you're not going to see that realized right away but once the investments that you make start getting realized. So that's some color. We hope to continue basically the working capital management as efficiently as we were able to do it in Q2 and increasing profitability, which will drive cash flow in time. And if at some point, the growth tapers, then you don't have as much of a use on AR as we have in the past.

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Miguel Ospina, Compass Group S.A. Comisionista De Bolsa - Senior Investment Analyst [47]

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But would you say that CapEx could be lower next year? Does it make sense? Or it could be similar to 2019?

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Christian T. Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - COO & Director [48]

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No, no, no. It will be significantly lower or less. We'll find new opportunities. But if you ask me today, it will be probably 1/4 of what it was this year. So we certainly don't expect to be even close to half of what we did this year. So we'll -- definitely, it will be lower.

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Operator [49]

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We have reached the end of the question-and-answer session, and I will now turn the call back over to José Manuel Daes, Chief Executive Officer, for closing remarks.

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José Manuel Daes, Tecnoglass Inc. - CEO & Director [50]

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Thank you, everyone, for participating in today's call. We hope to keep working for our shareholders and keeping the good news coming. Thank you.

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Operator [51]

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This concludes today's conference. You may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation.