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Edited Transcript of UFI earnings conference call or presentation 29-Oct-19 12:30pm GMT

Q1 2020 Unifi Inc Earnings Call

Greensboro Nov 1, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Unifi Inc earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 12:30:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* A.J. Eaker

Unifi, Inc. - VP of Finance and IR

* Albert P. Carey

Unifi, Inc. - Executive Chairman

* Craig A. Creaturo

Unifi, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO

* Thomas H. Caudle

Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Christopher Paul McGinnis

Sidoti & Company, LLC - Special Situations Equity Analyst

* Daniel Joseph Moore

CJS Securities, Inc. - Director of Research

* Marco Andres Rodriguez

Stonegate Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research & Senior Research Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the First Quarter 2020 Unifi, Inc. Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Please be advised that today's conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, A.J. Eaker, Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

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A.J. Eaker, Unifi, Inc. - VP of Finance and IR [2]

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Thank you, operator. And good morning, everyone. On the call today is Al Carey, Executive Chairman; Tom Caudle, President and Chief Operating Officer; and Craig Creaturo, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. During this call, management will be referencing a webcast presentation that can be found at unifi.com and by clicking the first quarter conference call link. Management advises you that certain statements included in today's call will be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Management cautions that these statements are based on current expectations, estimates and/or projections about the markets in which Unifi operates. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed, forecast or implied by these statements. You are directed to the disclosures filed with the SEC on Unifi's Forms 10-Q and 10-K regarding various factors that may impact these results. Also, please be advised that certain non-GAAP financial measures, such as adjusted EBITDA, adjusted working capital and net debt may be discussed on this call, and non-GAAP reconciliations can be found in the schedules to the webcast presentation.

I will now turn the call over to Al Carey.

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Albert P. Carey, Unifi, Inc. - Executive Chairman [3]

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Thanks, A.J., and good morning, everyone. I want to thank you for joining us today. Our first quarter results delivered on our expectations and they are a positive sign that we're focusing on the right things to move our business forward and to begin to capture the underlying sales and profit opportunities.

The significant year-over-year improvements we achieved continue to validate that we're focusing on our core competencies. We're revitalizing the Americas and better aligning our cost structure, and we're pleased to see that Unifi is making progress to fulfill its vision as one of the world's leading innovators in recycled and synthetic yarns. We believe the recent trade developments, including antidumping and countervailing duties, are set to reshape our industry and provide meaningful opportunities over the next few quarters. The timing of the final determinations of dumping, subsidization and injury is unchanged and is expected to be by the end of calendar 2019. So we'll provide you with updates when appropriate.

Lastly, we're excited to welcome Craig Creaturo, our new Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. His skill set and his experience complement the team's operational and strategic focus. And with the addition of Craig, we feel that we have a very well-rounded group of senior leaders that will best position our company for future growth.

Now I'll turn the call over to Tom for a high-level discussion of the company's performance during the first quarter. Tom?

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Thomas H. Caudle, Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director [4]

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Thank you, Al, and good morning, everyone. As Al said, the first quarter came in as expected, exhibiting significant improvement in sales volume and underlying profitability despite one less week of sales for domestic operations. We look forward to carrying this momentum into the remainder of the fiscal years. Other positives during the quarter included a continuation of strong performance from PVA portfolio, specifically REPREVE branded products, our cost containment initiatives and a more favorable raw material cost environment in the U.S. While we believe the current business environment in the Americas is still challenging and evolving, we foresee improvement and hope to build incremental momentum as the year unfolds.

Continuing the trend from last quarter, our PVA sales now account for 54% of consolidated sales. This significant growth is a testament to our innovative product offering on both our REPREVE and PROFIBER platforms. Notably, our operating income saw improvement as a leaner cost structure allowed our top line growth to better flow through to the bottom line. This helped to fuel strong operating cash flows, which afford us the ability to best manage our capital priorities.

I'm also pleased to see a significant improvement in our tax rate, as expected, with improved domestic performance. As we navigate this fiscal year and beyond, we will continue to invest in optimal areas of our business to ensure our competitive position is maintained.

Moving onto our commercial and branding initiatives, Kate Hudson's sustainable fashion brand, Happy x Nature, was released in New York and company retail stores as well as online. Kate Hudson has been promoting the line on social media and on national talk shows, highlighting that REPREVE is made from recycled plastic bottles.

Second, we work closely with the Pac-12, Nike and Stanford University to develop a 30-second commercial airing nationally on Pac-12 network, website and social media channels.

The commercial highlights have REPREVE, Nike and Stanford partnered to facilitate this circular economy, recycling plastic bottles into yarn REPREVE, producing recycled performance apparel Nike and retailing of the recycled merchandise, Stanford Bookstore.

Lastly, we had another great showing at the Intertextile event in Shanghai, exhibiting several exciting variations of REPREVE and we remain busy with over 200 customer meetings during the event.

Turning to a walk-through of our segment performance over the first quarter, I'd like to remind everyone of the update we made last quarter to our operating segment as a result of growth of our international operations. The reporting segments are Polyester, Nylon, Brazil and Asia. PVA sales, notably in Asia, were again a bright spot as our portfolio of REPREVE-branded products continue to resonate with the world's leading companies.

First, Asia benefited from a doubling of volume and the near doubling of its revenue dollars, driven by across-the-board portfolio growth with significant sales of both chip and staple fiber. However, Brazil's economic and competitive environment led to softness in sales and profitability this quarter.

Polyester saw a lower sales driven by softness in certain markets, such as industrial and automotive. Looking to the rest of the fiscal year, we still believe the historic levels of imports experienced in prior quarters, will subside with the playing field normalizing after the final trade determinations.

Nylon experienced a challenging quarter as revenues were negatively affected from the program that was lost in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. Our sales teams are working on backfilling that lost volume to return the segment to more normalized levels, and we hope new innovations like our REPREVE Nylon will help solidify the segment's future.

Overall, we are pleased that the first quarter benefited from a more positive raw material environment in the U.S. and hope to see a neutral or positively positive trend throughout the fiscal year.

Looking outside of our core operations, our equity affiliates saw lower operating profitability during the quarter. However, we were very encouraged that Parkdale provided Unifi a distribution of $10.4 million. As we stated in the past, part goes to an investment that has benefited us historically, as evidenced by the cash distribution this quarter. This cash was applied to our debt, providing a meaningful reduction in net debt levels to the end of the quarter. We remain steadfast in our strategic decision of partnering with Parkdale.

Before we move onto the financial review, I'd also like to welcome Craig to the team here at Unifi. We were thorough and patient during our search for a new CFO and we are pleased to bring Craig on board. We are very excited to work with him and leverage his 15-plus years of experience as an executive leader for finance and accounting teams at businesses with complex manufacturing and global operations. We see Craig as a great addition to the strong culture and team here at Unifi.

I will now pass the call to Craig.

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Craig A. Creaturo, Unifi, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [5]

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Thank you, Tom, and good morning, everyone. As Tom noted, revenue and profitability results met our expectations, as strong cash flow performance generated significant momentum to begin the fiscal year. I'll review the key drivers of our performance in my discussion today. And I would like to begin with a short overview of the quarter.

Overall, for Q1 fiscal 2020, our cost reduction efforts flowed through as a comparable benefit to SG&A. While the pressure on gross profit and the performance shortfall from Parkdale resulted in pretax income of $4.4 million, $200,000 less than the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Then a significant improvement in our effective tax rate decreasing from 61% to 16%, allowed for a doubling of net income and EPS from Q1 fiscal 2019 to Q1 fiscal 2020.

Moving to Slide 3 of the webcast presentation. You can see sales and gross profit highlights by segment. As a reminder, our segment gross profit includes the effect of certain technology-related expenses charged by the Polyester segment to the Asia segment. Such amounts are recorded as a benefit to cost of sales for the Polyester segment and a charge to cost of sales for the Asia segment, thereby impacting gross profit for each segment. Fiscal 2019 segment results have been revised to reflect comparability for this change, as presented on this Slide 3, and the full fiscal year 2019 segment results by quarter are shown on Slide 11. Consolidated net sales decreased 0.9%, with significant volume growth in Asia that nearly overcame one less week of sales for domestic operations. For Polyester segment sales, which declined 11.4%, the volume decline of 9.6% exhibits one less week of sales, plus lower demand from customers in the industrial and automotive market segments. Nylon sales decreased 27.7% as a result of one less week of sales, combined with a larger customer transitioning certain programs overseas. In Brazil, sales volumes were 3.7% lower despite competitive and economic pressures, while declining raw material cost drove down pricing. Sales results for the Asia segment continued their strong performance as volumes increased 116.7%, despite uncertainty in global trade and international competition. Sales of REPREVE products led the way in Asia as we continue to attract quality brand programs and maintain a leading position in the recycled market. The PVA portfolio remains a growth engine as our Asia strategy continues to be validated.

Moving onto gross profit. At the bottom half of Slide 3, consolidated gross profit decreased from $20.0 million to $17.4 million, while the associated margin declined from 11.0% to 9.7%. Overall, the decline is primarily attributable to competitive pricing pressures that were most pronounced in Brazil and Asia, along with a higher proportion of sales in Asia. The decrease was partially offset by a more favorable raw material cost environment in the U.S. Looking at this from a segment perspective, Polyester primarily benefited from a more favorable raw material cost environment, increasing gross margin by 100 basis points from 7.8% to 8.8%. Nylon primarily experienced weaker fixed cost absorption due to lower revenues as its margin rate declined from 7.7% to 5.8%.

Brazil faced competitive and economic pressures, along with higher raw material costs and inventory during a declining cost environment, generating a gross margin decline from 23.8% to 17.2%.

Lastly, Asia sales mix included significant chip and staple fiber sales, which currently carry a lower margin profile as these products are used to seed new programs and initiate further customer development. As a result, Asia gross margin declined from 13.9% to 9.3%.

On Slide 4, we present an overview of gross margin. Here, we present the changes that stem from each of our 4 reportable segments, Polyester, Nylon, Brazil and Asia. We can see that the Polyester segment performance, benefited by raw material cost relief, helped to lift consolidated gross margin, while the competitive and sales mix pressures in Brazil and Asia challenged the overall gross margin profile. These segment dynamics combined to generate a decline in overall gross margin of a 130 basis points, resulting in weaker gross profit versus the prior year first quarter.

Moving on to Slide 5, we present equity affiliates. Pretax earnings decreased approximately $1.1 million from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020. Parkdale's results primarily reflected lower operating leverage during a period of elevated costs. Equity affiliate distributions in the quarter totaled $10.4 million, all provided by Parkdale, as Tom mentioned earlier.

Slide 6 covers balance sheet and liquidity highlights. At September 29, 2019, working capital was approximately $194 million and adjusted working capital was approximately $174 million. Adjusted working capital as a percentage of sales was 24%, within our range of expectations and was an improvement from both June 30, 2019 and September 30, 2018. We ended the period at $122 million in debt, while net debt was approximately $88 million, a 17% reduction from June 30, 2019. Revolver availability increased to $62.8 million and total liquidity increased to $96.9 million. At September 29, 2019, our weighted average interest rate was 3.5%.

Before opening up for questions, Slide 7 details our guidance that was contained in today's earnings release, which is a reaffirmation of our original guidance published in August 2019.

With that, we will now open up 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 the line of Chris McGinnis with Sidoti & Company.

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Christopher Paul McGinnis, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Special Situations Equity Analyst [2]

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Nice quarter. Can you maybe just start off with the growth in Asia? Can you talk -- is that new relationships are being built or expansion of existing relationships and maybe a makeup of -- is it straight REPREVE? Or is it -- maybe have some other offerings along with the REPREVE that may be higher margin?

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Thomas H. Caudle, Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director [3]

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Chris, this is Tom. As we've told before, a large portion of Asia's business is REPREVE. We continue to seek out new supply chain partners and new mill partners as well as new customers for new applications of REPREVE in the region. And we -- the team over there has done a really stellar job during this quarter, expanding our offering of chip, flake and film, and we're very pleased with the results.

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Christopher Paul McGinnis, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Special Situations Equity Analyst [4]

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All right. And then maybe just to touch on the -- did you say that you haven't seen a positive impact from the kind of antidumping tariffs at this point? And when would you expect to see some positive changes from the -- possibly coming to the next year?

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Thomas H. Caudle, Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director [5]

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We have experienced by inquiries, but the impact so far through the first quarter has been minimal. And that was kind of the way we built our strategy. Going forward, we felt like the first half would be weaker, and we'd start to see more impact in the second half.

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Christopher Paul McGinnis, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Special Situations Equity Analyst [6]

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Okay. And then just 2 quick ones. Just on the SG&A levels in Q1. Is that a sustainable level? Or is there -- can you comment a little bit about -- I mean any changes going forward for the remainder of the year?

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Craig A. Creaturo, Unifi, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [7]

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Yes, Chris, this is Craig. Yes, I think the SG&A levels, we're happy with where that came in for the quarter, definitely reflecting actions the company took to get us to that point, to get a cost structure that's better matched to our revenue profile and our business objectives. We are still thinking that we will be around the $51 million or so run rate for the full fiscal year. We will see some further investments in SG&A as the quarters go on, but that guidance was -- that was included in the guidance that we published today.

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Christopher Paul McGinnis, Sidoti & Company, LLC - Special Situations Equity Analyst [8]

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Great. And then just a quick one on PAL and that the size of that distribution you received on the dividend. Do you think that's a stainable level? And if I remember right, that's the first time in a while that you've received something that large from PAL, if I'm correct.

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Craig A. Creaturo, Unifi, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [9]

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Yes, that was -- it was a great distribution. You're correct that, that has been a while since we saw something of that magnitude. We have definitely put it to good use. It was definitely a big factor for us, reducing both debt and net debt for this quarter. So we're very thankful for that. That we have not exhausted the future dividends that could come to us from Parkdale, but we are glad that, that one did come in and glad it came in during the just completed quarter.

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Operator [10]

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Our next question comes from the line of Daniel Moore with CJS Securities.

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Daniel Joseph Moore, CJS Securities, Inc. - Director of Research [11]

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I wanted to follow-up on the first one. In terms of Asia obviously exceptional growth there. Can you give us a little more color, Tom, on what's changing, if anything? Is the verification story really -- starting to really gain hold in terms of traction? Are you perhaps also being a little bit more aggressive on price? Any more color on the growth there will be great.

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Thomas H. Caudle, Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director [12]

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Well, I think certainly, the notoriety of REPREVE continues to be relevant with brands and retailers. As the lower end of the market with chip and staple fiber is outpacing filament as far as growth, although, we are growing filament at a much lower rate than staple fiber and chip. But it's a -- and we are seeking out new opportunities as well. And people are -- even our REPREVE chip is higher grade than most people need for recycled applications, and I've mentioned before on the last call as well, we're seeking out other mill or supply chain partners. And over time, we expect to see some improvement in our margin, even on the lower end.

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Albert P. Carey, Unifi, Inc. - Executive Chairman [13]

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Dan, this is Al. One thing I have noticed is many of the companies that we work with, either retail or brands, are now getting closer to those commitments that they've made on environmental sustainability. So you see some of these big retailers, by 2023 or 2025, have commitments on the percentage of their apparel that's going to be in recycled materials. There's no doubt that, that's stepping up and many of them are supplied from Asia. And we have a relatively small share of the business over there, so we will be aggressive in going after the business. And at some point, our innovation, our future innovation will help us make that up in margin.

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Thomas H. Caudle, Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director [14]

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And also, there's another thing to keep in mind, we are asset light in Asia. So any sale and any volume that we can move at positive margin is a benefit to our results.

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Daniel Joseph Moore, CJS Securities, Inc. - Director of Research [15]

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Understood. Indeed. Taking a step back, overall revenue down slightly. Obviously, you had the one fewer week. But despite 16% volume growth. So in terms of pricing, is it possible to rank order or to give color in terms of the impact of mix versus any competitive pressure versus just pass through of raw material prices? Is it really just lower raw materials, number one? And then maybe mix? Just color on that would be great.

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Craig A. Creaturo, Unifi, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [16]

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Yes, Dan, this is Craig. I think -- I think you're on kind of the general right track there. There were definitely some, in our prepared comments, I think we tried to point out what was impacted, specifically both Polyester and Nylon were impacted by that one week less sales, and that's a pretty big impact. If you do the math, I mean, roughly, we're saying it's about 7% or 8% of a difference because of that one less week. So that was pretty significant for those 2 units. And then I think the other units, what we pointed to was really just some competitive pricing pressures that we've seen, specifically in Brazil. And then as Tom mentioned, and now amplified, we are being aggressive in Asia and we have a lot of runway to take share there. And -- so that's an area that we've decided to be a bit aggressive on pricing. So I think it's really all those factors together. It's probably a little bit of a different story at each -- within each segment, but I think those are the main components that you're looking for.

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Albert P. Carey, Unifi, Inc. - Executive Chairman [17]

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And Dan, just a little more color on that. So I look at it in 3 -- 4 different geographies. That's the way I feel like we need to look at the businesses is in geographies. Otherwise, it gets very complicated to explain. Brazil had raw material increases that caused us to have to be competitive. And I think that $2.3 million of our $2.6 million miss on gross profit is all Brazil. Then you look at, I could call it, Central America and Asia, where our business is very strong and we have a low share, but we're gaining share. So we're willing to spend a couple of share points to go get that business. And then in the U.S., we actually picked up some business from the antidumping, a small amount of it, but we were offset by a fairly high-margin product in North America that is in the category of automotive and industrial. And as we talk to our customers, they're experiencing tough sales in this first part of the year and they're explaining it by the uncertainty that's going on with the China-U. S. trade negotiations and hope to see that improve in the next couple of months.

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Daniel Joseph Moore, CJS Securities, Inc. - Director of Research [18]

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Very helpful. And lastly, I know it's a challenging question, but within the PVA portfolio, you've got a lot of moving parts, including the mix shift to chip and staple fiber. Is there an inflection point, be the year or 2 out when you would expect to see margins for PVA start to improve again? Just kind of, again, gross margins within PVA? Or is that just difficult to say at this point?

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Thomas H. Caudle, Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director [19]

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Yes. We believe the driver for margins in our PVA and REPREVE portfolio is all about innovation. That's just innovation that we currently have in the pipeline and future innovations. And in some instances, these things take 12 to 18 months to come to fruition and get an actual program up and running and get it to retail.

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Albert P. Carey, Unifi, Inc. - Executive Chairman [20]

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I'd say our forecast for margin for the balance of the year is positive -- just positive going from here.

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Operator [21]

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Our next question comes from the line of Marco Rodriguez with Stonegate Capital Markets.

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Marco Andres Rodriguez, Stonegate Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research & Senior Research Analyst [22]

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I was going to kind of follow up here on the Asia line of questioning, specific to the margin and mix. Just wondering if maybe you can provide a little bit more color in terms of what has been driving the mix shift more towards the chip and filament versus your higher margined PVA product?

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Thomas H. Caudle, Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director [23]

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Marco, this is Tom. One thing to keep in mind that the staple category is much, much larger than the filament category. So -- and it was one that we were not in 2 or 3 years ago, that we've developed in Asia, and it's just -- there are just so many opportunities on the staple fiber side. And also, chip, I mean, more and more people are wanting the chip to be able to spend REPREVE and sell product under the REPREVE brand. Those are the primary reasons.

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Marco Andres Rodriguez, Stonegate Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research & Senior Research Analyst [24]

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And can you then maybe talk a little bit more in terms of -- you have some comments that innovation that's coming down the pipe or that you've already started to put into your products on the chip and the staple fiber side that should help margins progress, I guess, higher. Can you maybe talk a little bit about how that sort of impacts and, I guess, what a 12- to 18-month time frame from today would be sort of a time frame where we might be able to expect, at least stabilize, if not increasing gross margins for Asia?

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Thomas H. Caudle, Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director [25]

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Well, I think it goes back to the partner, innovate and build strategy. We are working on the supply chain outside of China for a better cost position on raw materials. We're working on innovation with the brands and retailers on things that potentially will come to market here in the next 12 months to 18 months and then just building stronger relationships and expanding on -- with new customers and working with customers that we haven't in the past. So we think a culmination of all that is going to lead us to better margins and better results in our Asia operation.

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Albert P. Carey, Unifi, Inc. - Executive Chairman [26]

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And I'd add that we're very close with the new supply chain partner in Asia, which is going to be very positive for our business, supply as well as cost. And I'd also say some of the -- when we met last time, I'm not -- no, maybe you weren't here for the meeting, Marco, but it was -- this new REPREVE cationic and then some automotive applications for REPREVE have great potential, and it's more for the second half of this year than it is in the first half.

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Marco Andres Rodriguez, Stonegate Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research & Senior Research Analyst [27]

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Understood. And then switching gears here on the expense side on the SG&A, a couple of comments that you guys made in terms of some additional investments in the latter part of the year. If you can maybe talk a little bit about what those efforts are timing-wise? And then also, just real quick on the current quarter SG&A. Were there any sort of timing issues or maybe some expenses didn't get spent in that quarter?

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Craig A. Creaturo, Unifi, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [28]

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Yes. I think for the balance of the year, I do think that we will see the SG&A continue to move up slightly, again, all within the context of having a full year SG&A that's around that $51 million or so. There will be some further investments in certain areas. I think a couple that come in mind would be in the marketing areas and some other areas that we have some programs that we feel are very targeted and very worthwhile to give us both short-term benefit and also long-term benefit. So we'll see some additional spending in that area. And there wasn't really nothing that unusual during the current quarter that needed to be called out separately or that we held back unnecessarily on. So it was a pretty typical quarter from that perspective.

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Albert P. Carey, Unifi, Inc. - Executive Chairman [29]

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Yes. We feel confident in that $50 million, $51 million, and we won't let it get higher than that. I would say that there's a couple of marketing opportunities, you got to look at them. But we're also doing a very good job this last quarter, and we'll continue on inventory management, reducing cost, watching every penny we spend, so that we have resources to spend in the future.

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Marco Andres Rodriguez, Stonegate Capital Markets, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research & Senior Research Analyst [30]

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Got it. And last quick question, if I may. You made a comment earlier in your prepared remarks about -- on the U.S. side at least, looking for anticipating improvements as the year sort of unfolds from the domestic market. And I know, you've called out that auto industrials have been weak and impacted your poly side. Is the commentary from the autos and industrials, where you said that you thought that maybe the tariff impacts would kind of abate here in the next couple of quarters, the main driver there? Or are there other things that you're sort of seeing there that is giving you confidence in the U.S. market?

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Thomas H. Caudle, Unifi, Inc. - President, COO & Director [31]

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No, I think there are 2 separate issues. I think there's definitely uncertainty in the marketplace because of the tariffs and that have affected the industrials and automotive. And hopefully, they will subside. But certainly, in the Americas, specifically in Central America, they are -- there's investment going on today, people are expanding our capacity, we're regaining market share down there and we are very excited about what's going on in Central America. And we feel like once the tariff situation is abated that we will see gradual improvement here in the U.S. as well.

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Albert P. Carey, Unifi, Inc. - Executive Chairman [32]

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For a little more on that, we've visited with customers. I don't want to mention who they are, but they're in the auto-industrial segment. And often, they don't know what's causing the depressed volume in this first quarter. And then when you probe a little further, it seems that there is uncertainty in the market. They can't pinpoint it, but it is in automotive and in industrial. There doesn't appear to be any systemic reason for their decline. So we think when -- and they believe that if there's some more certainty in the trade, they'll see their business come back. Also, we found out from a few customers that their sales were up at retail. These were retailers, and their inventories were significantly down. And these are in retailers, and I know of at least 3 or 4 big ones that are having the same success on reducing their inventory and keeping their comps up. That is definitely having some impact on this. So we don't have an exact projection on this. I -- my belief is from being in retail for a fair amount, I think this will have a -- we'll see it come around, hopefully, this quarter. If not this quarter, in the second half of the year.

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Operator [33]

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And there are no further questions in the queue at this time.

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Craig A. Creaturo, Unifi, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [34]

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Okay. Thank you, Sarah. If there are no further questions, we'd like to thank everyone for participating today. Our next earnings release for the second fiscal quarter ending December 29, 2019, is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, January 29, 2020, with a conference call to follow that same day at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Thank you for joining today's call.

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Operator [35]

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Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference call. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect.