Tennant Company (NYSE:TNC) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

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Tennant Company (NYSE:TNC) Q4 2022 Earnings Call Transcript February 25, 2023

Operator: Good morning. My name is Devon and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to Tennant Company's 2022 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Earnings Conference Call. This call is being recorded. There will be a Q&A session at the end of the call. Thank you for participating in Tennant Company's 2022 fourth quarter and full year earnings conference call. Beginning today's call is Mr. Lorenzo Bassi, Vice President of Finance for Tennant Company. Mr. Bassi, you may begin.

Lorenzo Bassi: Good morning, everyone and welcome to Tennant Company's fourth quarter and full year 2022 earnings conference call. I am Lorenzo Bassi, Vice President of Finance. Joining me on the call today are Dave Huml, Tennant's President and CEO; and Fay West, Senior Vice President and CFO. Today, we will provide you with an update on our 2022 fourth quarter and full year performance as well as guidance for 2023. Dave will discuss our operations and enterprise strategy, and Fay will cover our financials. After our prepared remarks, we will open the call to questions. Please note the slide presentation accompanies this conference call and is available on our Investor Relations website at investors.tennantco.com. Before we begin, please be advised that our remarks this morning and our answers to questions may contain forward-looking statements regarding the company's expectations of future performance.

Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, and our actual results may differ materially from those contained in the statements. These risks and uncertainties are described in today's news release and the documents we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We encourage you to review those documents, particularly our safe harbor statement, for a description of the risks and uncertainties that may affect our results. Additionally, on this conference call, we will discuss non-GAAP measures that include or exclude certain items. Our 2022 fourth quarter and full year earnings release includes the comparable GAAP measures and a reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to our GAAP results. Our earnings release was issued this morning via Business Wire and is also posted on our Investor Relations website at investors.tennantco.com.

I will now turn the call over to Dave.

Dave Huml: Thanks, Lorenzo and thanks to everyone joining the call today. I am pleased with the strong performance the team delivered in the final quarter of the year. With revenues of $291 million, Q4 was our highest revenue quarter since the fourth quarter of 2019. Order demand in the fourth quarter of 2022 exceeded the average of the three preceding quarters by over 10%. Demand was especially strong in North America, where orders were 22% higher than the average of the first three quarters. Fourth quarter adjusted EBITDA of nearly $42 million improved significantly over the prior year's Q4 of $28.4 million. We executed targeted actions and initiatives throughout 2022 to address inflation, parts shortages and labor availability.

These actions are starting to yield results and drove our strong performance in Q4. Pricing actions and cost-out initiatives continue to read through and covered inflation on a dollar-for-dollar basis in both Q4 and the full year. Production output increased sequentially from third quarter. And while we are pleased with this increase, production is not yet at the level needed to materially decrease our backlog. The situation is showing signs of stabilizing, but is not yet on a clear path to full recovery. Moving on to our full year 2022 performance. We delivered adjusted EBITDA of $133.7 million on net sales of $1.092 billion, which was within our revised guidance range. Organic net sales grew 4.2%, but results were adversely impacted by foreign currency effects, which decreased net sales by approximately $43 million.

Based primarily on strong pricing realization, organic net sales grew in all regions, except APAC, where local COVID-related shutdowns continued to impact demand. Our service business and parts and consumables sales were very resilient in 2022, which provided Tennant with a hedge against equipment production constraints. Despite the positive impacts of cost-out initiatives, prudent cost management and pricing realization, our full year adjusted EBITDA was unfavorably impacted by $12 million due to foreign currency effects. Looking back on 2022, driving short-term improvements was top of mind for our entire organization as we worked to increase production, combat inflation and offset the impact of macroeconomic factors. Throughout 2022, we enhanced many of our supply chain processes, developed new skills and strengthened our supplier relationships.

On previous calls, we have discussed various actions and creative solutions our team has employed to secure critical parts and increased production. These actions include working closely with our suppliers to increase predictability, expanding dual sourcing supply options and continuing spot buy activity, designing products that reduce our reliance on constrained parts and supplementing Tier 1 supplier efforts and directly procuring difficult-to-source Tier 2 subcomponent parts. These actions will continue to provide benefits into 2023 and beyond. To combat historically unprecedented inflation, we aggressively managed costs and took meaningful price actions. Our price realization was strong in 2022, which demonstrates the power of our brand and our leadership position in key markets.

Our customers' preference for Tennant products helped to drive record backlog of over $325 million. Going forward, our focus remains on reducing backlog and satisfying customers. We have confidence that we can convert our backlog to revenue over the next 2 years and believe our backlog provides us with a level of insulation from future demand fluctuations. Our fourth quarter performance provides positive momentum as we start 2023. While we face uncertainty about global macroeconomic challenges, we are cautiously optimistic and fully committed to delivering improved results by focusing on the recovery of backlog, launching innovative and new products, driving price realization and providing our customers with world-class service. For full year 2023, we anticipate organic sales growth between 3% and 7% and adjusted EBITDA between $140 million and $160 million.

Fay will go through 2023 guidance in more detail later on the call. I will now highlight some of the key initiatives we launched in 2022 that will benefit us going forward as well as support our long-term growth strategy. In an effort to stabilize our supply chain, increase predictability and unlock production, we made several investments in our procurement areas, including expanding our internal resources and partnering with third-party experts that not only help triage current issues, but also improved our internal processes to address supplier constraints. Additionally, we made incremental investments in IT infrastructure that enhanced our material planning. We continue our localization efforts, specifically in EMEA to streamline value chains, further enable dual-sourcing opportunities and reduced transportation challenges.

As we have discussed in the past, our first capital allocation priority is to invest in our revenue-generating assets, and we invested over $13 million in our plant operations. These investments include automation to improve assembly productivity, line capacity to increase production output, preparing for recovery and in-sourcing parts for improved availability, cost and quality. Looking at new product launches. In 2022, we accelerated the strategy of leveraging our IPC and Gaomei mid-tier product platforms by introducing Tennant branded versions. These product launches allowed us to fill customer demand, gain share in less intense applications and compete profitably for price-driven customers. We exceeded our 2022 targets for these products and grew overall category margins with this tiered offering strategy in North America.

With positive early returns in 2022, we will continue with this strategy in 2023. We also introduced additional Tennant branded extensions of our successful IMOP product, the IMOP Light and IMOP XL. These highly maneuverable compact and handheld scrubbers allow our customers to achieve superior cleaning performance versus Mop and Bucket and other small space cleaning machines. Our full range of IMOP products feature rugged construction to survive daily professional use and offer intuitive, simple operation to enable even new operators to successfully clean. These IMOP products are part of our growing portfolio of small space cleaning solutions that are gaining share in this attractive adjacent market with both new and existing customers. When it comes to our customers, their voice remains paramount in guiding our new product innovation efforts.

Flooring, Cleaning, Hygiene
Flooring, Cleaning, Hygiene

Photo by Oliver Hale on Unsplash

We have focused our R&D efforts on six innovation vectors, robotics, electrification, data, sensing, customer experience, and core products. Through these vectors, we are not only focusing on solving our customers' most pressing problems, but also addressing broader market opportunities, ensuring expansion and advancing our sustainability objectives. Let me cover some business highlights in two of these innovation vectors, robotics and electrification. Lack of labor availability, wage inflation and turnover are among our customers' biggest business challenges. Our AMR robotic cleaning machines reduced customer reliance on human labor, freeing up scarce resources to perform higher-value cleaning tasks. We are continuing to expand our global sales and service capability to reach more customers with a compelling AMR value proposition.

With our three product AMR portfolio, we have a viable robotic cleaning solution for customers in each of our core vertical markets. We have generated over $170 million in customer orders since 2019 and deployed over 6,000 AMR units to more than 200 unique customers in more than 20 countries worldwide. Second, electrification, which can simply be defined as replacing internal combustion engine machines with emission-free power, sustainability goals and emissions regulations are driving a need for greener equipment. The work we are doing to electrify our industrial machines aligns with our customer needs as they increase their focus on emissions-free cleaning and seek out a lower cost, more efficient solution. Electrification also contributes to our sustainability goals.

Tennant continues to lead through our sustainability and ESG efforts, and we recently received recognition from Newsweek for being one of America's most responsible companies, our third time receiving this honor. To continue our GHG reduction and climate leadership, we are committing to become net zero by 2040 and have submitted goals to SBTI for approval. Lastly, you are all familiar with our enterprise strategy, which is based on three pillars: to win where we have competitive advantage, reduce complexity and build scalable processes and innovate for profitable growth. Despite all the potential for distraction in 2022, the team remained focused on our enterprise strategy. As it relates to winning where we have a competitive advantage, our work is largely complete, and we've instilled new disciplines into how we're managing the business going forward.

We invested significant time in an 80-20 approach to rationalize our portfolio. Since 2020, we have intentionally exited non-core product lines and businesses accounting for more than $50 million in annual revenue. Turning to the second pillar, reduce complexity and build scalable processes. As we have grown our business inorganically, we introduced multiple ERP systems. These 8 disparate systems introduced a level of complexity into our organization as processes are not entirely standardized. This year, we plan on evaluating the benefits, costs and risk of implementing a consolidated ERP globally. We realized that an ERP implementation would be a significant undertaking, but could also unlock significant value. We have not included any costs or capital in the current guidance for 2023 and anticipate that we will have our analysis completed in Q3 and we will update you accordingly.

Overall, the implementation of our enterprise strategy is a continuous process particularly with respect to the third pillar, innovate for profitable growth. To supplement our R&D efforts, we recognize that we have the unique opportunity to be even more intentional on inorganic growth. Our IPC and Gaomei acquisitions demonstrated our ability to successfully grow through acquisitions close to our core. In 2023, we will conduct a strategic review to determine the most attractive adjacencies to focus our investments for inorganic growth. Before turning it over to Fay to review 2022 financial results and 2023 guidance, I wanted to acknowledge the resourcefulness and perseverance our team displayed to deliver organic sales growth in 2022. I am very proud of the team's efforts, and we are well positioned for future success.

With that, I will turn the call over to Fay for a discussion of our financials.

Fay West: Thank you, Dave and hello everyone. Fourth quarter GAAP net income was $23.8 million compared to $7.9 million in the prior year period. Adjusted net income was $27.2 million in 2022 compared to $13.5 million in the prior year period. And adjusted EPS for the fourth quarter was $1.46 per diluted share compared to $0.71 per diluted share in the prior year period. The increase year-over-year was primarily due to favorable gross profit and lower income tax expense. Partially offsetting this increase was higher interest expense and the impact of foreign currency. Gross margins improved year-over-year as higher selling prices and an increase in volumes offset inflation headwinds. Income tax expense was lower in the current period due to a non-cash tax benefit on undistributed foreign earnings.

Interest expense was higher year-over-year due to rising interest rates and slightly higher debt levels. Our average interest rate, net of hedging for 2022 was 2.93% compared to 2.85% in the prior year. Foreign currency adversely impacted adjusted EPS by $0.14 per diluted share. Full year GAAP net income was $66.3 million compared to $64.9 million in the prior year period. Adjusted net income was $76.5 million in 2022 compared to $83.3 million in the prior year period. Adjusted EPS for the full year was $4.10 per diluted share compared to $4.39 per diluted share in the prior year period. The year-over-year decrease was primarily due to lower gross margins due to the broad effect of inflation on materials, labor and freight costs and higher income tax expense, partially offset by a decline in selling and administrative expense as the company continues to actively manage costs.

Foreign currency adversely impacted adjusted EPS by $0.37 per diluted share. For the fourth quarter of 2022, Tennant reported net sales of $291 million, a 5.3% increase compared to the prior year. Comparisons between periods were significantly impacted by foreign currency fluctuations, which drove a 4.4% decrease in net sales. On a constant currency basis, organic sales increased 9.7%. Tenant group its sales into 3 geographies: the Americas, which includes North America and Latin America; EMEA, which includes Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Asia-Pacific, which includes China, Japan, Australia and other Asian markets. Americas' net sales increased 16% from the prior year period. The increase was due to the impact of higher selling prices as well as volume increases in the region.

EMEA net sales decreased 10% from the prior year period but increased 2.3% on a constant currency basis. Foreign exchange continued to be a significant headwind, resulting in a year-over-year impact of a negative 12.3%, offset by organic sales growth of 2.3%, driven by higher selling prices. APAC net sales decreased 14.2% from the prior year period, primarily driven by organic sales decrease of 7.5%, mainly due to volume declines in China, stemming from the COVID-19 government actions. Foreign exchange continued to be a headwind, resulting in a year-over-year impact of negative 6.7%. We successfully executed several meaningful price increases during 2022 that have favorably impacted net sales. The realization of these price increases was somewhat tempered throughout the year due to our elevated backlog, but we started to see increased contribution in Q4.

Geopolitical factors have moderated demand patterns, specifically in EMEA and APAC. Moving to adjusted EBITDA. Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter was $41.7 million or 14.3% of sales compared to $28.4 million or 10.3% of sales in 2021. The increase in adjusted EBITDA was due to higher gross margins, partially offset by foreign exchange translation, which impacted adjusted EBITDA by approximately $4 million. For the 12 months ended 2022, Tennant reported net sales of $1.092 billion, a 0.1% increase compared to the prior year. Comparisons between periods were significantly impacted by foreign currency fluctuation, which drove a 4% decrease in net sales. On a constant currency basis, organic sales increased 4.2%. Organic sales in the Americas increased 7.4% versus the prior year.

The increase in the Americas was primarily due to higher selling prices in all categories across the region and volume increases in Latin America. Organic sales grew 2.5% in EMEA, primarily driven by higher selling prices in equipment and parts and consumables across the region, partially offset by volume declines due to supply chain constraints and softening demand in the region. Organic sales declined 11.4% in APAC, primarily due to volume declines in China as government shutdowns related to COVID-19 unfavorably impacted demand. This was partly offset by volume growth in the Australian market. Adjusted EBITDA for the full year was $133.7 million or 12.2% of sales compared to $140.2 million or 12.9% of sales in 2021. The decrease in adjusted EBITDA was due to lower gross margins and unfavorable foreign exchange translation of approximately $12 million, offset by lower S&A, which decreased approximately 5% year-over-year.

Turning to cash flow and capital deployment. For full year 2022, net cash used in operating activities was $25.1 million compared to net cash provided by operating activities of $69.4 million in the prior year. The increase in cash used was attributable to investments in inventory required to support an anticipated ramp in production, higher accounts receivables due to increased sales to customers with extended payment terms and the timing of a large volume of sales in the back half of the quarter as well as increased cash payments for employee compensation and benefits and income taxes. The company continues to deploy cash flow toward operational capital needs and to return capital to shareholders in line with its capital allocation priorities.

Capital expenditures of $25 million were in line with our overall guidance. Liquidity remains strong at approximately $319 million with a cash balance of $77.4 million and was $242.2 million of unused borrowing capacity on our revolving credit facility. Our net leverage remains within our guided range of 1.67x adjusted EBITDA, which is in the lower range of our stated goal of 1.5x to 2.5x. Turning to guidance. Our full year 2023 guidance reflects what continues to be an uncertain business environment. We believe inflation will persist, though we expect that it will moderate in the latter part of the year. We are closely monitoring inflation and will take additional pricing actions as necessary. We also continue to take cost out actions to help offset inflation and anticipate that carryover from 2022 actions, coupled with additional 2023 projects will contribute to an increase in margins.

Labor while largely solved in our plants remains a challenge in our service organization. Although we believe that labor constraints will persist more broadly and specifically for our customers, we view this as an opportunity to drive incremental growth in AMR in 2023. Foreign exchange was a significant headwind for Tennant in 2022. And while it remains largely unpredictable, we believe it will not have a material impact on 2023 results. As we look across our global markets, global GDP has slowed. We expect the Russia-Ukraine conflict to continue to impact the European economy and reflected the impacts on costs accordingly in our 2023 plan. In APAC, China's economy is expected to grow in the low single digits, and we are optimistic that the reopening of the Chinese market after the elimination of the zero COVID policy will drive incremental demand in 2023.

Increasing output is a top priority, and we remain committed to investing in the recovery efforts that are critical to reducing our backlog and returning to competitive lead times. Our fourth quarter performance provides momentum and cautious optimism as we enter 2023, but we anticipate that supply chain issues, specifically parts availability will continue to hamper our efforts to significantly increase output. We anticipate that backlog will decrease in 2023, but will remain at elevated levels as we exit the year. As we work through our backlog, we expect to see accelerated margin recovery in the latter part of 2023. In terms of profitability, we believe price realization, strategic cost reduction initiatives and strong cost control measures will drive adjusted EBITDA improvement throughout the year.

We believe this coupled with changes in working capital will drive positive operating cash flow in 2023. For 2023, Tennant provides the following guidance: net sales of $1.115 billion to $1.155 billion, reflecting organic sales growth of 3% to 7%. Full year reported GAAP earnings in the range of $3.10 to $3.90 per diluted share; adjusted EPS of $3.70 to $4.50 per diluted share, which excludes certain non-operational items and amortization expense, adjusted EBITDA of $140 million to $160 million; capital expenditures of $20 million to $25 million and an adjusted effective tax rate of 20% to 25%, which excludes the amortization expense adjustment.

Dave Huml: Thank you, Fay. With that, we will open the call to questions. Operator, please go ahead.

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