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Flex Ltd (FLEX) Q4 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

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Flex Ltd  (NASDAQ: FLEX)
Q4 2019 Earnings Call
April 30, 2019, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Flex Fourth Quarter Fiscal Year 2019 Earnings Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded and all lines have been placed on mute to present any background noise. After the speakers remarks there will be a question-and-answer session. At this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Kevin Kessel, Flex's Vice President of Investor Relations. Sir, you may begin.

Kevin Kessel -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Thank you, and thank you for joining Flex's fourth quarter fiscal year-end 2019 conference call. Slides for today's discussion are available on the Investor Relations section of our flex.com website.Joining me on today's call with some introductory remarks will be our Chief Executive Officer, Revathi Advaithi; and our Chief Financial Officer, Chris Collier.

Today's call has being webcast and recorded and contains forward-looking statements which are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results could materially different.Such information is subject to change and we undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements. For a discussion of the risks and uncertainties, see our most recent filings with the SEC, including our current annual and quarterly reports.

If this call references non-GAAP financial measures for the current period, they can be found in our appendix slides; otherwise they are located on the Investor Relations section of our website, along with the required reconciliations.Now I would like to turn the call over to our CEO, Revathi Advaithi. Revathi?

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Kevin. Thanks everyone for joining us, I'm excited to join all of you today on my first earnings call. Let me start off by saying that I joined Flex toward the manufacturing platform and my passion for manufacturing. The last couple of months has validated that we need to get back to basics and focus on our core.

This will help us fundamentally improve our execution in a sustainable way leading to improve margins and free cash flow. It has been a busy couple of months since I started. I've been travelling around the globe meeting and talking to our customers and employees. This has helped formulate my thoughts and our objectives as we move forward. I would like to talk about two things that are important to our future.

The first is our culture and the second our short and medium term goals. Let me start with culture, what I've learned about Flex and our employees is that we're extremely passionate about what they do. Our customers have shared with me that the Flex culture is uniquely customer focus and we work hard to meet their most important needs. The other part of the culture that excites me is the speed and agility of this organization.

The teams are entrepreneurial and open to change. But I've also seen a true process and product innovation across our very diverse portfolio. Our teams have welcomed me with great excitement and ready and enthusiastic about our future journey together. I wanted to take a minute and thank my Flex collogues around the globe for the warm reception. In the short to medium term, I see a tremendous opportunity for Flex, our core business is down but there are many opportunities to improve. My initial view is that we have to focus on discipline, sustainable execution on our core business processes.

I see lots of room to improve our productivity and fixed cost in our factories and to drive basic cost of discipline around managing our working capital. What we will do differently is laser focus on the core business and drive operational excellence to consistently improve margins. On the growth front, we continue to see the potential in technologies like industrial IOT, connected medical devices, autonomous vehicle, 5G network and data center infrastructure that has a wide range of our global customer base and leverage our expertise in manufacturing and supply chain solutions.

Our breadth of global and regional manufacturing also uniquely positions Flex as one of the key market leaders. Now growth is important, but we will be selective in where we grow and will rigorously assess its fits to our core portfolio. In the past couple of months we have become more discipline and focusing on growth areas that will drive margin improvement, and clearly display value for us and our customers. Now, as we look at our business segments, we have the advantage of a diversified set of capabilities across many verticals and a great customer base. However, we must be more selective and disciplined about how we harness these growth opportunities and improve the quality of services. PEC remains our largest business unit servicing our core technology customers.

We continue to evolve the portfolio toward emerging market trends like cloud and data center solutions and the fourth coming 5G rollout, and drive improve margins to product innovations. Our focus on this segment will be to drive sustainable growth. HRS is critical to changing our mix, we will continue to invest in this business and benefit from the longer more stable product life cycles. Innovation on process or product remains critical to how we grow this business and the potential for this business really excites me. Our investment in HRS are paying off and we're seeing strong bookings in this business. Now similar to HRS, IEI has more complex configurations that allow us to take advantage of higher design content.

As most of you know, I understand this business segment well, and I'm committed to finding the right areas for growth. I believe there's structurally positioned profitable growth in this segment. CTG clearly has created the greatest volatility for our overall business. We're absolutely committed to actively managing the mix of business in CTG and being very selective with customers and product categories. We will reposition our portfolio and eliminate nonperforming customers. It is our intent to operate this business with appropriate risk adjusted returns.

Overall, we're taking a long-term due toward value creation, and will be focused on executing the business model to support sustainable organic growth, while providing return of capital to shareholders. So the mantra in the short-term will be, reestablishing disciplines sustainable execution around a few key priorities that will consistently improve margins and generate free cash flow. I will talk a little bit more about this later, but first let me briefly review the results for the year. Since this quarter marks the end of fiscal 2019, I would like to reflect on the company's overall annual performance.

During fiscal 2019 we grew revenues $865 million or 3% to $26.3 billion, Increased adjusted operating income dollars by $86 million or 11% to $872 million, expanded adjusted operating margin to 3.3% from 3.1% and had a 4.6% increase in adjusted EPS to $1.14 to $1.09. Last year was highly volatile, as we went through several organizational changes and business changes, and we fully acknowledge that we must not only continue to improve results, but also be more consistent in the way we communicate.

That said, we have positive updates in our results in action today. Capitalizing on prior year investments, we achieved strong bookings in both of our higher margin business groups HRS and IEI totaling a combined $4.9 billion. We revamped our go-to-market strategy and PEC and experienced strength in both cloud data center and telecom, driven by both 4G and 5G, which helped return it to growth. We began the process of rationalizing our CTG business, including stabilizing operations in India and exiting our footwear business in Mexico. We also streamlined our investment portfolio. And we returned to strong free cash flow generation in the second half of the fiscal year. Going forward, here are four things that you can expect from us.

Firstly, we will drive disciplined sustainable execution around customer performance, improving margins and generating free cash flow. Secondly, we will manage our mix by investing in our higher margin segments, while being selective in the markets and product categories we focus on. Thirdly, we will pursue sketch to scale opportunities which we define as design led engagements that leads to full manufacturing and supply chain relationships. And lastly, create value for shareholders for return to a return to strong free cash flow generation, with discipline capital allocation. Now I'd like to turn it over to Chris to expand on the fourth quarter financials. And then I'll come back with some concluding commentary before the Q&A. Chris?

Christopher Collier -- Chief Fxecutive Officer

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you Chris. Bob it will you provided Q1 guidance today. And at this point it's too soon for me to commit to a detailed fiscal 2020 guidance. There are a few things that I'd like to reinforce about my 20 20 views and expectations frankly through my reviews of my executive team. I'm comfortable with the fiscal 2020 consensus adjusted EPW range that spans from a buck twenty to buck thirty and currently sits at a dollar twenty five our teams are focused on meeting and exceeding those levels next we have structured and committed to returning to consistent free cash flow generation and get back to our historical levels that will result in a vastly improved free cash flow conversion. Lastly it is my intent to establish a consistent and sustainable track record and you can have confidence in.

To summarize briefly we have a heightened awareness that we have more to do with improve the consistency of our performance and realize the full potential of our business and drive attractive shareholder returns in the future. As I said before my preliminary view is that we have lots of room to improve productivity reducing costs and working capital while enhancing the customer experience. They're already pursuing in a highly prioritized fashion. The short and medium term actions that will drive this improvement. The team is ready and energized to do so.

And so am I. With that I'd like to have life line at this time.

Operator

Good afternoon and welcome to the Flex Fourth quarter fiscal year 2019 Earnings Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded and all lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers remarks there will be a question and answer session at this time for opening remarks and introductions. I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Kevin Kessel as Vice President of Investor Relations. Sir you may begin.

Kevin Kessel -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Thank you and thank you for joining us this fourth quarter fiscal year and 2019 fiscal slides for today's discussion are available on the Investor Relations section of our website at flex.com. Joining me on today's call with some introductory remarks will be our chief executive officer ramsey advising and our Chief Financial Officer Chris Collier. This call is being webcast recorded it contains forward looking statements which are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties and actual results could materially differ.

This information is subject to change and we undertake no obligation to update these forward looking statements or discussion of the risks and uncertainties see our most recent filings with the FCC including our current annual and quarterly reports. If this call references nongovernmental matters for the current period they can be found in our country but otherwise they are located on the Investor Relations section of our website along with the required reconciliations.

Now I would like to talk to turn the call over to our CEO Revathi Advaithi. Revathi?.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you Kevin. Thanks everyone for joining us. I'm excited to join all of you today on my first earnings call. Let me start off by saying that I joined by the many manufacturing platform and my passion for manufacturing. The last couple of months have validated for me that we need to get back to basics and focus on our core. This will help us fundamentally improve our execution in a sustainable way leading to improved margins and free cash flow. It has been a busy couple of months since I started I've been traveling around the globe meeting and talking to our customers and employees this has helped formulate my thoughts and our objectives as we move forward.

I'd like to talk about two things that are important to our future. The first is our culture and the second are short and medium term goals. Let me start with culture but I've learned about flex in our employees is that we are extremely passionate about what we do. Our customers have shared with me that the Flex culture is uniquely customer focused and they work hard to meet their most important. The other part of the culture that excites me is the speed and agility of this organization. The teams are entrepreneurial and open to change but I've also seen is to process and product innovation across a very diverse portfolio. Our team the bulk of me with great excitement are ready and enthusiastic about our future journey together.I want to take a minute and thank my colleagues around the globe for the warm reception. In the short to medium term I see a tremendous opportunity for our core business is sound. There are many opportunities to improve my initial view is that we have to focus on discipline sustainable execution on our core business processes I see lots of room to improve our productivity and costs in our factories and to drive basic process discipline or on managing our working capital what we will do differently is laser focus on the core business and drive operational excellence to consistently improve margins.

On the growth front we have seen we continue to see the potential and technologies like industrial I.T. connected medical devices autonomous vehicles 5G networks and data center infrastructure attach a wide range of our global customer base and leverage our expertise in manufacturing and supply chain solutions our breadth of global and regional manufacturing. Also uniquely positioned flex as one of the key market leaders our growth is important but we will be selective in where we grow and grow rigorously assessed expense to our core portfolio.

In the past couple months have become more disciplined and focusing on growth areas that will drive margin improvement and clearly display value for us and our customers. Now as we look at our business segments we have the advantage of a diversified set of capabilities across many where it goes and a great customer base however we must be more selective and disciplined by how we harness these growth opportunities and improve the quality of our business BP remains our largest business unit servicing our core technology customers. We continue to evolve the portfolio toward emerging market trends like cloud and data center solutions and the forthcoming 5 0 love and drive improved margins to product innovation our focus in this segment will be to drive sustainable growth each arrest is critical to changing our mix.

We will continue to invest in this business and benefit from the longer more stable product lifecycle innovation process or product remains critical to how we grow the business and the potential for this business really excites me. Our investments in H.R. are paying off and we're seeing strong bookings in the military to. I have more complex configurations that allow us to take advantage of higher design concepts as most of you know I understand that the segment well and I'm committed to finding the right areas for growth I believe are structurally positioned profitable growth in this segment.

BCG clearly has created the greatest volatility for our overall business. We're absolutely committed to actively managing the mix of business and CPG and being very selective with customers and product categories. We will reposition our portfolio and eliminate non-performing customers. It is our intent to operate this business at the appropriate risk adjusted return overall.

We're taking a long term view toward value creation and we'll be focused on executing the business model to support sustainable organic growth while providing return of capital to shareholders. So the mantra in the short term will be be establishing discipline sustainable execution around a few key priorities. I would consistently improve margins and generate free cash flow.

I will talk a little bit more about this later but first let me briefly review the results for the year. This quarter marks the end of fiscal 2019. I would like to reflect on the company's overall annual performance during 2019. We grew revenues 865 million or three percent to twenty six point three billion increase adjusting adjusted operating income dollars by 86 million or 7 percent to 8 972 million expanded adjusted operating margin to three point three percent from two point percent and had a four point six percent increase in adjusted EPA to buck 14 from top line.

Last year was highly volatile as we went through several organizational changes and business changes and we fully acknowledge that we must not only continue to improve results but also be more consistent in the way we communicate. That said we have positive updates in our results of actions today capitalizing on prior investments. We achieve strong bookings in both of our higher margin business groups each year and I am a combined 4.5 billion revamp our go to market strategy and see see and experience strength in both cloud datacenter and telecom driven by both 4G and 5G which help our target to grow. We began the process of rationalizing our CPG business including stabilizing operations in India and exiting our footwear business in Mexico.

We also streamlined our investment portfolio and we returned to of strong free cash flow generation in the second half of the fiscal year going forward. Here are four things that you can expect from us firstly that will drive discipline sustainable execution or customer performance improving margins and generating free cash flow. Secondly we will manage our mix by investing in our higher margin segments but being selective in the markets and product categories we focus on. Thirdly we will pursue sketch to scale opportunities which we define as design led engagement that leads to full manufacturing and supply chain relationships and lastly create value for shareholders. So a return to strong free cash flow generation the disciplined capital allocation.

Now I'd like to turn it over to Chris to expand on the fourth quarter financials and then I'll come back with some concluding commentary. Before the Q&A

Christopher Collier -- Chief Fxecutive Officer

Good. Thank you everybody. Please turn to Slide 3 for our Q4 income statement summary. Our fourth quarter revenue was six point two billion down 3 percent versus a year ago and toward the lower end of our guidance range. All four of our business groups were within their revenue guidance ranges albeit some on the lower end our Q4 adjusted operating income was 204 million which was within our guidance range and up 2 percent year over year our adjusted net income was one hundred forty one million resulting in adjusted earnings per diluted share of 27 cents which was within our guidance range of 25 to 28 cents fourth quarter Gap net loss of sixty four million lower than our adjusted net income due to adjustments for stock based compensation intangible and realisation in several of non-recurring charges toward toward 6 million or thirty nine cents per share.

This resulted in a fourth quarter Gap CBS loss of 12 cents. We streamlined our investment portfolio which resulted in a non-cash impairment charge of one hundred nineteen million. We also continue to continue to take targeted actions to optimize our business most notably within our Kijiji business where we have been rationalizing and pruning underperforming accounts as well as eliminating certain non core activities as we reposition it to align with go forward company strategies. This resulted in restructuring and impairment charges 37 million of which 19 million were non-cash in nature.

Now please turn to slide for your quarterly financial highlights year over year. Our adjusted gross profit decreased to four hundred eight million while our adjusted gross margin declined 10 basis points to six point six percent. The gross margin pressure is reflective of various business mix shifts which were most notable inside H.R. us due to lower automotive revenue. Additionally we experienced some transitory operational inefficiencies as we round new programs within our CCI business operating with a stronger cost discipline has been a big focus. The past two quarters and the results can be seen in our fourth quarter adjusted EPS units but much declined by 11 percent year over year to 204 million.

We remain focused on driving further productivity improvements and refining our cost structure while balancing investments into our design and engineering capability with the objective of delivering sustainable operating earnings leverage. Our quarterly adjusted operating income came in at 204 million which is up 2 percent from the prior year and reflects a year over year margin expansion of 20 basis points to three point three percent. Let's turn to Slide 5 for our fourth quarter business group performance I'll begin with our most profitable business high reliability solutions or eight year US which is comprised of automotive and Health Solutions. Consistent with our guidance.

Draws revenue was one point two billion down 4 percent year over year each year US adjusted operating margin was seven point seven percent versus seven point eight percent in Q4 of the prior year our automotive business continues to be impacted by market softness most notably in China which has directly impacted our largest automotive customers resulting in Q4 revenues declining 12 percent from last year compared to 2019 automotive revenues declined 5 percent to 2.8 billion despite the macro headwinds we have faced in 2019. We remain pleased with our global scale diversified products and services and domain expertise all of which led us to securing a single largest design contract for a level four autonomous computing module.

This past year which also included the associated manufacturing contract we believe we are well-positioned on the secular trend of electrification increasing connectivity and autonomous features and with our recent bookings in North America Europe and Asia. We are confident that customers recognize the value we bring across design and manufacturing in these growth areas. Fiscal 2019 marked the year we began to show meaningful growth in health solutions its Q4 revenue was up 10 percent and has consistently grown revenue year over year every quarter in fiscal 2019 and ended the year at a record two billion dollars.

We have benefited from our prior year investments in design engineering and automation that led to new customers and programs in drug delivery diagnostics and medical devices as we captured record level bookings in this business which positions as well as we move forward next. Revenue from our industrial and emerging industries where I business was one point five billion dollars down 8 percent year over year and was at the lower end of our expectations for flat to down high single digits the Q4 revenue decline was driven by anticipated weakness in both semiconductor capital equipment which was significantly down and energy I have structurally positioned for growth as it continues to capture strong bookings from some of the world's largest diversified industrial companies despite the lowered revenue I grew its adjusted operating profits by 8 percent to 73 million and it is just an operating margin with a strong four point eight percent up substantially from four point one percent to four of the prior year.

I continued to benefit from solid execution on various consensus is that it is ramping in greater levels of design led engagements for communications and enterprise compute or CPC revenue was 2 billion up 6 percent year over year making this the third consecutive quarter of year over year revenue growth however this performance fell on the lower end of expectations of 5 to 15 percent year over year revenue growth teens whose adjusted operating margin was also below our expectations coming in at two point two percent down 20 basis points from the prior year our Q4 revenue growth was driven from our increased participation in both Hyperscale and edge computing programs in the 4G and 4G network infrastructure build out however the experienced weaker than forecasted demand from so several of our customers in networking which pushed us to the lower end of our expectations.

In our Consumer Technologies Group or CPG business revenue was one point five billion down 7 percent year over year and within our expectation for the group to be flat to down high single digits she did use adjusted operating margin was one point six percent we continue to reposition as he DG portfolio in rationalize and prune underperforming accounts as we continue to manage the mix of this business. We will continue to be more selective with our CPG customers and product categories. In addition as we continue our near-term portfolio rationalization during fiscal 2020 we expect CTG profitability to remain under pressure turning to Slide 6.

Let us review our cash flow generation fiscal 2019 so completely different cash execution between the first half and the second half of the year as we highlighted back in our Q2 earnings. We had expected a solid return to positive adjusted operating cash flow and free cash flow generation in the back half of this fiscal year as our earnings improved in capital intensity losses this quarter.

We generated 246 million in adjusted cash flow from operations in 120 million in free cash flow this brought our second half free cash flow generation to be four hundred ninety three million higher than the first half. This resulted in a second half free cash flow conversion 77 percent are Q4 free cash flow conversion was a 5 percent which is which is improving and is returning toward historical levels our capital expenditures totaled one hundred twenty six million for the quarter we continued to invest in the CapEx necessary to support the underlying higher margin long term programs in our iron naturist businesses our fiscal 2019 net cap ex total six or thirty one million and reflected sizable investments into the regional buildout of our India capability and capacity as we look forward to 2020. We expect that our CapEx little more closely aligned with our annual depreciation levels thereby providing improvement to our free cash flow.

It is our goal to consistently be generating positive adjusted operating cash flow and free cash flow as we move forward we remain committed to returning greater than 50 percent of our free cash flow to shareholders. The share repurchases during our fourth quarter we repurchased roughly six point six million shares sixty five million dollars turn down the slide. Having to review our balance capital structure we continue to operate with a balanced capital structure with staggered debt maturities and with a well relatively low average cost of debt we ended the year with one point seven billion of cash and access to liquidity that supports our long term business growth objectives.

Please turn to Slide 8 for our first quarter fiscal 2020 guidance revenue was expected to be in the range of six point one to six point five billion dollars based on the following business group year over year revenue expectations preacher US revenues expected to be flat to up most single digits as we anticipate the auto demand environment to remain muted and we continue to see solid demand growth and our Health Solutions business we expect I'd like to be up mid to high single digits as we see several new programs ramping in home in line like idols and we can continue to do great. I think we've met and I think he got out there now hopefully with CPC rep revenues. I'd like to be seen I got admitting group digits with the same name right now.

A of you even an illusion of guidance and then you're moving ahead toward what do you like. She said I gotta make a nut out from Humana road inventory TGT. We think that revenue is down over 15 to 25 percent. We want why do you a lot of our Consumer Reports right rest of the nation and a lot of demand for their new consumer customers.

Our just operating income is expected to be in the range of one hundred ninety five to 225 million interest and other expenses are estimated to be approximate 50 to 55 million we expect our tax rate in the first quarter to remain in the mid range of 10 to 15 percent adjusted EBITDA guidance is for a range of 25 cents to 29 cents per share based on a weighted average shares outstanding of five hundred seventy million. Yes CPS is expected to be in the range of 18 to 22 cents after reflecting the impacts of stock based compensation expense and intangible organization. We remain focused on improving the way we operate a well-balanced and diversified portfolio businesses and continue to do more to compel discipline and consistent execution to drive greater productivity margin leverage and free cash flow in our business results.

Let me turn it back over to Revathi some closing comments before we open the call Q&A.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Chris. While we are only providing Q1 guidance today and at this point, it's too soon for me to commit to a detailed fiscal 2020 guidance there are a few things that I'd like to reinforce about my 2020 views and expectations. Firstly, through my reviews with my executive team, I'm comfortable with a fiscal 2020 consensus adjusted EPS range that stands from a $1.20 to $1.30 and currently sits at $1.25. Our teams are focused on meeting and or exceeding those levels.

Next, we have structured and committed to returning to consistent, free cash flow generation and get back to our historical levels that will result in a vastly improved free cash flow conversion. Lastly, it is my intent to establish a consistent and sustainable track record that you can have confidence in.

To summarize briefly, we have a heightened awareness that we have more to do to improve the consistency of our performance and realize the full potential of our business and drive attractive shareholder returns in the future. As I said before, my preliminary view is that we have lots of room to improve productivity against fixed costs and working capital, while enhancing the customer experience. We're already pursuing in a highly prioritized fashion, the short and medium term actions that will drive this improvement. The team is ready and energized to do so and so am I.

With that, I'd like to have the operator to open the line for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

(Operator Instructions) And your first question comes from the line of Mark Delaney from Goldman Sachs. Your line is open.

Mark Delaney -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Yes, good afternoon. Thanks for taking the question. And, Revathi, thanks so much for all the detailed thoughts about your plans and initial impressions of Flex. I was hoping to start there if I could and appreciated the comment about a goal of improving margins and having a more sustainable mix of business going forward. One of the things you mentioned to try and achieve that is being a bit more selective on the types of programs that the Flex is taking on.

And I know there have been some efforts there to be a bit more disciplined in improvement programs. As you're evaluating the business, it sounds like there may be more there still to come, in particular in CTG but maybe other areas as well. And so am I understanding that correctly? And if so, any more details on the potential size of those programs that may be proven as you think about improving the mix of business? Thanks.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Mark, thank you for that question. I'd say that that's a decision that we're making on an ongoing basis and even in the last couple of months that they've been very consistent and how we look at growth opportunities and how we're evaluating them. I can't pie this for you at this time, but our plan for CTG is profitable growth. And we are only focused on programs that drive it in that direction.

And that means that we walk away from certain growth opportunities that don't fit the profile of business that we were looking for, then we are ready and accepting to do that.So it's hard for me to size this at this point in time, but as we're evaluating the portfolio, we're looking at the parts of the business that make sense to grow. And the others that we think doesn't fit as part of our ongoing portfolio. And frankly where we can't create value for customers and for ourselves and that's the way we are evaluating it.

So I don't want to size it at this point in time and give you a number, but the very disciplined process of evaluating every growth opportunity and that's what we're doing.

Mark Delaney -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

That's helpful. And follow up is along the same lines of margins and Revathi both you and Chris, in your remarks as well you talked about being very focused on margins and costs. And as you're evaluating what that may mean, are you contemplating additional potential SG&A cuts or is this more about how you're running the factory network? Any more details on that would be helpful. Thank you.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Mark I'd say that is important for us to improve our gross margins. We have to do that in how we run our factories and managing our mix fundamentally the sustainability of the business is built on driving that. So that is important to us. That being said, Chris has said in the past that we have taken a pretty significant cost program on SG&A improvements and have implemented that in the last half of the year. Our plan is to continue to manage SG&A consistent with the revenue levels of the business. And we're driving to that. So that is the more longer term sustainable way to think about this. Chris anything to add?

Christopher Collier -- Chief Fxecutive Officer

No, I think you hit it correctly, I mean, we have to get to real distinct action in terms of our cost structure we are operating. We now brought that back down into the 3%, 3.2% of revenue. And we're going to be laser focused on sustaining that to drive meaningful leverage as revenues increase.

Operator

And your next question comes from the line of Paul Coster from JP Morgan. Your line is open.

Paul Chung -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Hi, Thank. This is Paul Chung on for Coster. Thanks for taking my question. So first up on HRS, can you just talk about the trends you're seeing there that can kind of get that will start revenue growth there. We know auto has been weak as you mentioned kind of dragging on overall growth, but just want to get a sense to see where you see opportunities whether it be reaching the particular verticals? And are you kind reallocating resources and capacity there? It is your highest margin segment?

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes, so thanks for that question Paul. I think, HRS, as I said in my opening remarks, both medical and auto in those businesses are very important to us growing and growing costs I believe. And those segments are fundamentally important. I also said in my opening comments that if you look at both businesses put together and we've had a very strong bookings year for those businesses in 2019.That being said, the underlying thesis was that automotive had a slower for markets than we expected going into the year and we saw the effect of that.

However, we have managed the overall portfolio extremely strongly even with that, with very healthy margin position. Health solutions is very well positioned, taking advantage of all the macro trends. We have good process, innovation and design innovation that's driving that growth.So if you look at our overall outlook that we've given for Q1 on flat to low-single digit growth for that business, it is built with some softness in auto and healthy growth in our health solutions business.

But we see that the bookings profile in automotive helped versus the second half of the year in terms of growing above market. So that's kind of how the profile of that is fills out, but it is a strong portfolio for us and various technology and like growth opportunities in that business and I'm really excited to see us spend more capital and manage that business with a stronger growth outlook moving forward.

Paul Chung -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Got you. And then my follow-up on CTG. So, when to kind of expect some operating margins to kind of hit same target levels, before Nike you were at around 2.8%. And now, with Nike in the rearview what other kind of variables are causing CTG margins to kind of remain below 2%? How do we turn that corner? I know you are calling the portfolio, but just any other color? Thanks.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

So Paul, I'd say our work on CTG is not done. I think, Chris said that in his comments and I said that in mine is that we have to continue to manage the portfolio of that business. We have to reposition non-performing customers, we have to manage the product portfolio. And then we have to also manage what we have seen historically, which is the volatility of the business.

So the work there is really not done and Chris made that in his comments before that.We will continue to see some movements in the revenue and margins of that business and then how we have taken into account in our 2020 outlook. But it is our expectation and my expectation this team is laser focused on basically managing margins for that business.

And continuing to improve that and get it into the range that we have talked about last year. It's not going to all happen in a few months, but we're definitely driving to that. And it's my expectation that we'll get that back to the range level that we have committed to in 2020 and that's what we're trying to do. Chris, anything else on CTG?

Christopher Collier -- Chief Fxecutive Officer

No, I think you covered it very well. I think you just said we've been actively rationalizing the portfolio over the last say six months. It's been a focus, we incredibly discipline and selective on where we're going to be year marking capacity and capital flows. And as you look to the Q1 in our guidance, it was reflective of both impact from the portfolio rationalization that's still under way. As well as we have some certain softness that we are seeing in some of the consumer customers.

Paul Chung -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

And your next question comes from the line of Steven Fox from Cross Research. Your line is open.

Steven Fox -- Cross Research -- Analyst

Good afternoon. Two questions if I could please. Revathi, I appreciated all the comments in terms of your early impressions on where you would like to emphasize improvements in Flex. One of the areas that I was curious if I can get your view on is ramping new programs. The industry in Flex in particular has had sort of ups and downs with ramping new programs to expectations. Is there anything that you bring to the process that you think could change in that to make the business more predictable? And then I had a follow up question.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

I'd say Steven, I think, I repeated the word disciplined execution many, many times through my whole commentary, because my view -- we have all ramped many program in various businesses being and being in the manufacturing business requires us to do that well. So it is all about planning and driving process improvement in the beginning of it and having really laser focus on making sure that there is consistency between the customer expectation and our expectation.So for me the predictability issue in ramp really goes down to core planning and our teams will be laser focus on disciplined execution.

The processes will be clean, we will make sure that we are well organized and we execute well and that's what it comes down to, is that it has to have an incredible planning to make these ramps successful. And I don't think there is anything more than that and that's what Flex has to do and do it consistently. So when I talk about disciplined execution around key processes, ramping up, ramping down is an important part of that overall business process that I am talking about and we will make sure that we're really organized around that, Steven, that's what we'll have to do to make sure that this is successful going forward.

Steven Fox -- Cross Research -- Analyst

Great, I appreciate those comments, it's helpful. And then just understanding that you're not providing formal guidance for the full year, can you sort of give us some positive offsets if you're sort of reiterating or signing off (inaudible) now given that auto is weaker semi cap equipment is weaker, traditional networking is weaker and your pruning some consumer areas. So what would be the positives to offset those weaknesses in order to maintain sort of census numbers? Thanks.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

I think (Technical Difficulty). So if you look at our overall portfolio we said even starting with auto where overall market could be softer we expect that we would have a stronger second half based on our bookings profile, we expect health solutions is going to have a strong year on the basis of the market being strong, but also the projects that we have won in our booking portfolio. We expect industrial to be strong in the year and that continues to trend and growing well in that portfolio and managing it well. And then, overall, you see also that has come back to growth and that's going to continue even through 2020. So if you offset I would say overall to the general thesis of optimizing CTG and auto being in a little bit of a slow period that there are quite a few growth offsets for that.

Steven Fox -- Cross Research -- Analyst

Great, that's all very helpful. Thank you very much.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Steven.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Adam Tindle from Raymond James. Your line is now open.

Adam Tindle -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Okay, thanks and good afternoon. I just wanted to maybe start to clarify, I think you had previously thought that CTG would get back to the 2% to 4% operating margin range for fiscal 2020. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I hear that in the prepared remarks that will remain pressured so we should not expect it to get to that range and if you could just touch on what changed?

Christopher Collier -- Chief Fxecutive Officer

The prepared remarks highlighted that while we're continuous going through the repositioning the portfolio it would remain under pressure. The comment you're referring to is from our last call where we actually said that we anticipate in 2020 to be emerging to the targeted range. So it is our commitment to continue to take action into that business, being very thoughtful in how we are selecting partners and repositioning. And it's our intent as we work to through this year to move that back into that target margin range.

I would say that what we're trying to do is lay forward the plan here and let us move forward throughout the year and show the evidence of improvement, we're just not going to get out in front right now and define a period of time in which we're going to be entering that target margin range.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

And Adam simply said it's seeing the volatility in it and what we're saying at this final time is that it will have some margin volatility as we manage the mix to the customers' portfolio, but it is our goal and our objective to get it in the target margin range in 2020. But as you predict the quarters it may have some ups and down, but that's our intent.

Adam Tindle -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Okay. And maybe just as a follow up Revathi, I mean, you've got a fresh set of eyes here and chance to reevaluate just maybe if you could touch on the pros and cons to remaining in CEC and CTG businesses versus seeking strategic alternatives and using that double down on HRS and IEI or adding a third leg to that HRS and IEI stool? I'm sure you considered a lot of different things, if you could just give us a view into that thought process? Thanks.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Adam, thank you for that. I will just tell you that it's just too early for me to reflect on that right now. My real focus is basically to drive this business in a way that we can fundamentally improve and shift the margins from where we are right now. And we have to be laser focused on that. And as we do that, and do that, well, will that results in some mix change and some portfolio movement absolutely.

But Adam, I'm sure you appreciate the fact that it's really too early for me to make any major portfolio comments at this point in time, around CEC or CTG. But as I said, both of those businesses they we will operate with tremendous focus on improving margins that we definitely are committed to doing. And that's what the business teams are focused on.

And we'll look at my view on portfolio is we'll evaluate all our portfolio with certain set of financial constraints built in as we move forward and you'll see which ones meet or don't meet that criteria. But really too early for me to comment on that.

Adam Tindle -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Fair enough, congrats on the opportunity.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Adam.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Matt Sheerin from Stifel. Your line is open.

Matthew Sheerin -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

Yes, and thanks for taking the question. A question regarding the CEC segment, where you talked about some areas of weakness, networking, offset by strength in 4G, 5G and cloud. Could you drill down a little bit more in that segment specifically on the networking weakness that you saw. Is that from multiple customers, is that more on the enterprise side and is there signs of inventory build or other issues there or is that underlying demand?

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

So Matt, I have Doug sitting here with me and I'm going to have him comment on that, and Chris feel free to jump into.

Douglas Britt -- President, Integrated Solutions

Yes, great.. As we shared toward the tail end of our quarter, we experienced some softness specific to our networking business that's the enterprise network. And then as the 4G and 5G, essentially what we're doing is we're building up the infrastructure, the wireless portion of that business is rolling into the next fiscal year. And in terms of the cloud, we've been experiencing nice growth. But in terms of the forecast, it was really the networking data com enterprise toward the tail end of the quarter, that fell.

Matthew Sheerin -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

Okay, that's

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

For the range as you saw.

Matthew Sheerin -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

Got it. And the margins there were just below the target. I mean, you've been managing that portfolio pretty well, as you get into and I know the other as you talked about, I guess transitioning some programs and some costs, what are the expectations to get the margins back into that range the 2.5% to 3.5% range for the fiscal year?

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes, absolutely Matt for sure our focus on CEC is also to get it back into the target margin range. We have to go and we have to go profitably, we don't do one or the other. And the expectation for CEC is the same thing is that we focus on making sure that we're getting paid for the product innovation that this business is driving and that we continue to go in the right segment and get it back in the target margin range in 2020.

Matthew Sheerin -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

Okay. And just a quick question if I can, just regarding the working capital and the inventory, inventories were up modestly year-on-year. I know you're focusing on free cash flow and it looks like the component environment is certainly a lot more efficient than it was. We're not hearing about a lot of supply constraints yet. So could you talk about the opportunity to reduce inventory and working capital going forward?

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. So I'll take it first Matt, and then hand it over to Chris for any other comments also. I'd say there's tremendous room in terms of improving working capital in this business. Again, if you think about business processes and managing everything from an SNOP (ph) or sales inventory operation planning process to demand planning process to inventory that's in our manufacturing facilities, in our warehouse when we ship out. There's just fundamental things that we can do to run this business differently that's going to be about improving our business processes.

And my initial view on this is that there's no room to make this better than where we are today. And do it in a sustainable way, not in a volatile way and we've already launched opportunities to go capture that. And there definitely is improvement. And you can see that the team already started on some of that in the second half. And you can see that our overall inventory levels continue to decline to Q3 and Q4.

So that is the focus and based on my initial assessment, I will say there's lots of room in terms of making working capital improvement.

Matthew Sheerin -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

I don't know anything there to ask.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Great. Thanks, Matt.

Operator

And your next question comes from the line of Jim Suva from Citi. Your line is open.

Timothy Young -- Citi -- Analyst

Hi, this is Tim Young, calling on behalf of Jim Suva. Thanks for taking the question and thanks for the color so far. Your CTG guidance implies a steeper year-over-year decline for June quarter. You mentioned you will continue to be more selective in CTG business. So I wonder does that mean double-digit year-over-year declines how we should think about that for full year revenue level for CTG segment. And then I have a follow up.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes, I'll start by saying we're very proactively managing this business Tim and we've been very open and forthright about that in my opening comments and in Chris's opening comments. And we expect some results from that in how we're managing the business. So we are seeing some part of that business is because of us managing customers and removing customers from our portfolio and some part of the Q1 impact is due to market. So there is a little bit of a mix in there that you see for Q1.

Going through the year, I do think that that growth will be volatile and you will see some ups and downs to the overall year. I think too early to comment on where full year ends up. I don't expect it to be in the double digit decline as like we have in Q1. I think it will flatten out just because of comps, so they are a whole lot better in the second half of the year. But my expectation is that level out some through the year.

Timothy Young -- Citi -- Analyst

Thank you. And then can you comment on your regional demand and visibility specifically in Europe and Asia? Thanks.

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

I didn't understand the question, can you repeat the question?

Timothy Young -- Citi -- Analyst

Your demand visibilities in different regions, specifically in Europe and Asia.

Christopher Collier -- Chief Fxecutive Officer

Yes, I don't think that there's anything particular noteworthiness with regards to demand visibility in any region that's a different today than it was three months ago when we talked to you.

Timothy Young -- Citi -- Analyst

Got it, thanks.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Christian Schwab from Craig-Hallum Capital. Your line is open.

Christian Schwab -- Craig-Hallum Capital -- Analyst

Great, thanks for taking my questions. Congratulations on the new job, as well as the comfort in 2020. I want to make sure I understand what I'm hearing correctly. And it seems to me that improving operations in a contract manufacturing company, with somebody from a manufacturing background is it necessarily rocket science also it is hard. But it's usually typically a focus on lots of little things.

In essence, tuning everything out versus disrupting everything improving new product development, faster time to market for new products, which increases customer satisfaction, increasing yields, improve supply chain, organizational footprint where the skill set and the best yields are, maybe not the cheapest labor, et cetera, et cetera. Is that what you guys kind of see as the biggest opportunity is just kind of tuning everything up over the course of 2020?

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Christian, you should come work for us. Jokes aside I'd say that it is not just tuning, I mean, tuning happens on an ongoing basis. The way I work at what I see is that that we find 5 to 10 major things that we can drive either operating margin or cash flow improvement in the business. And those will have some consistent themes and factors across our factories and across our portfolio, and you really have to drive those. And in an organization like Flex, what I see is that there is tremendous room for that because there's a lot of entrepreneurship in terms of how factories operate and how businesses operate.

But at the same time, we just have room to drive some rigor and business process discipline around the few key priority and we have decided what those are. And we're working on rolling those out through the organization. So it's not just taking hundreds and hundreds of little projects and kind of add those up. And that's not the way I think about it. I think about trying to find 5 to 10 key priorities and really driving that across the organization horizontally and vertically and that's what we're attempting to do. And I feel pretty confident that those are all big opportunities for both margin and cash flow improvement.

Christian Schwab -- Craig-Hallum Capital -- Analyst

And then -- thank you for that. Along those lines, what is a timeframe that you think is reasonable for you to believe whether you were successful or the team was successful in implementing all of those 5 to 10 changes to improve margins is kind of more of an inflection point of change in the operating structure of the company something that that we could see as soon as fiscal year 2021. Is it something that just kind of happen slowly, or is there some of those that have successful will kind of ladder step for the company?

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Christian, for me how I think about this is that we have to show sustainable margin improvement that will then drive sustainable cash flow improvement, right. So, I don't think there is an end goal here that you can declare a victory at a certain point in time because most organizations like us will drive strong consistent year-over-year productivity margin improvement and cash flow improvement.

So too early for me to tell as to what 2021 looks like or anything like that, but my expectation is that there's enough opportunities in this business that should start seeing consistent margin improvement in 2020, and be able to hold that true, consistently over a longer cycle. I don't want to call an end game here, because it's too early to do that.

But I see that many organizations have done this and done this well. And my expectation is you'll start seeing the results of this in 2020, both margin and cash flow. And then we'll continue to drive that moving forward. So not calling an inflection point, I think that's too early to do. And I expect this to sustain over a long period of time.

Christian Schwab -- Craig-Hallum Capital -- Analyst

Great, thank you. No other questions.

Operator

There are no further questions at this time. I will turn the call back over to Kevin Kessel for some closing remarks.

Kevin Kessel -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Thank you again to everybody who joined us. We know it's a very busy day of earnings. So we really appreciate your interest and participation on the call. We will be seeing I'm sure many of you over the next few months at some of the upcoming conferences. This concludes the call. Thank you.

Operator

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

Duration: 54 minutes

Call participants:

Kevin Kessel -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Revathi Advaithi -- Chief Executive Officer

Christopher Collier -- Chief Fxecutive Officer

Mark Delaney -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Paul Chung -- JPMorgan -- Analyst

Steven Fox -- Cross Research -- Analyst

Adam Tindle -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Matthew Sheerin -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

Douglas Britt -- President, Integrated Solutions

Timothy Young -- Citi -- Analyst

Christian Schwab -- Craig-Hallum Capital -- Analyst

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