TransDigm Group Incorporated (NYSE:TDG) Q1 2023 Earnings Call Transcript

·14 min read

TransDigm Group Incorporated (NYSE:TDG) Q1 2023 Earnings Call Transcript February 7, 2023

Operator: Thank you for standing by, and welcome to the TransDigm Group's 2023 First Quarter Results Call. . I would now like to hand the call over to Jaimie Stemen, Director of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Jaimie Stemen: Thank you, and welcome to TransDigm's Fiscal 2023 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. Presenting on the call this morning are TransDigm's President and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Stein; Chief Operating Officer, Jorge Valladares; and Chief Financial Officer, Mike Lisman. Please visit our website at to obtain a supplemental slide deck and call replay information. Before we begin, the company would like to remind you that statements made during this call, which are not historical in fact, are forward-looking statements. For further information about important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, please refer to the company's latest filings with the SEC available through the Investors section of our website or at

The company would also like to advise you that during the course of the call, we will be referring to EBITDA, specifically EBITDA as defined, adjusted net income and adjusted earnings per share, all of which are non-GAAP financial measures. Please see the tables and related footnotes in the earnings call for a presentation of the most directly comparable GAAP measures and applicable reconciliations. I will now turn the call over to Kevin.

Kevin Stein: Good morning. Thanks for calling in today. First, I'll start off with the usual quick overview of our strategy, a few comments about the quarter and discuss our fiscal '23 outlook. Then Jorge and Mike will give additional color on the quarter. To reiterate, we are unique in the industry in both the consistency of our strategy in good times and bad as well as our steady focus on intrinsic shareholder value creation through all phases of the aerospace cycle. To summarize, here are some of the reasons why we believe this. About 90% of our net sales are generated by unique proprietary products. Most of our EBITDA comes from aftermarket revenues, which generally have significantly higher margins and over any extended period have typically provided relative stability in the downturns.

We follow a consistent long-term strategy specifically. We own and operate proprietary aerospace businesses with significant aftermarket content. We utilize a simple, well-proven, value-based operating methodology. We have a decentralized organizational structure and a unique compensation system closely aligned with shareholders. We acquire businesses that fit this strategy and where we see a clear path to PE-like returns. And lastly, our capital structure and allocations are a key part of our value creation methodology. Our long-standing goal is to give our shareholders private equity-like returns with the liquidity of a public market. To do this, we stay focused on both the details of value creation as well as careful allocation of our capital.

As you saw from our earnings release, we had a good start to fiscal '23 and increased our guidance for the year. We continue to see recovery in the commercial aerospace market. Our Q1 results show positive growth in comparison to the same prior year period. We are encouraged by the progression of the commercial aerospace market recovery to date, and trends in the commercial aerospace market remain favorable as demand for travel remains robust. International air traffic is closing in on the domestic travel recovery and China reopened its air travel in January with the lifting of its pandemic restrictions. However, there is still progress to be made for the industry as our results to continue to be adversely affected in comparison to pre-pandemic levels since the demand for air travel is still depressed.

In our business, we saw another quarter of very healthy growth in our total commercial revenues and bookings. Bookings also outpaced revenues in all 3 of our major market channels, commercial OEM, commercial aftermarket and defense. We also attained an EBITDA as defined margin of 50% in the quarter. Contributing to the strong margin is the continued recovery in our commercial aftermarket revenues, along with diligent focus on our operating strategy. Additionally, we had strong operating cash flow generation in Q1 of almost $380 million and ended the quarter with close to $3.3 billion of cash. We expect to steadily generate significant additional cash throughout the remainder of 2023. Next, an update on our capital allocation activities and priorities.

The capital allocation priorities at TransDigm are unchanged. Our first priority is to reinvest in our businesses; second, to do accretive M&A; and third, return capital to our shareholders via share buybacks or dividends. A fourth option paying down debt seems unlikely at this time, though we do still take this into consideration. We are continually evaluating all of our capital allocation options. As mentioned earlier, we ended the quarter with a sizable cash balance of close to $3.3 billion, which leaves us with significant liquidity and financial flexibility to meet any likely range of capital requirements or other opportunities in the readily foreseeable future. Regarding the current M&A pipeline, we are actively looking for M&A opportunities that fit our model.

Acquisition opportunity activity continues and we have a decent pipeline of possibilities as usual, mostly in the small and midsize range. I cannot predict or comment on possible closings, but we remain confident that there is a long runway for acquisitions that fit our portfolio. Both the M&A and capital markets are always difficult to predict, but especially so in these times. Now moving to our outlook for fiscal 2023. As noted in our earnings release, we are increasing our full fiscal year '23 sales and EBITDA as defined guidance, both by $65 million to reflect our strong first quarter results and current expectations for the remainder of the year. The guidance assumes the continued recovery in our primary commercial end markets through fiscal '23 and no additional acquisitions or divestitures.

Our current year guidance is as follows and can also be found on Slide 6 in the presentation. The midpoint of our revenue guidance is now $6.155 billion or up approximately 13%. In regards to the market channel growth rate assumptions that this revenue guidance is based on, for the commercial aftermarket, we are updating the full year growth rate assumptions as a result of our strong first quarter results and current expectations for the remainder of the year. We now expect commercial aftermarket revenue growth in the high teens percentage range, which is an increase from our previous guidance of mid-teens percentage range. At this time, we are not updating the full year market channel growth rate assumptions for commercial OEM and defense as underlying market fundamentals have not meaningfully changed.

Commercial OEM and defense revenue guidance is still based on our previously issued market channel growth rate assumptions where we expect commercial OEM revenue growth in the mid-teens percentage range and defense revenue growth in the low to mid-single-digit percentage range. The midpoint of our EBITDA as defined guidance is now $3.11 billion or up approximately 18% with an expected margin of around 50.5%. This guidance includes about 50 basis points of margin dilution from our recent DART Aerospace acquisition. We anticipate EBITDA margins will continue to move up throughout the remainder of the year. The midpoint of our adjusted EPS is increasing primarily due to the higher EBITDA as defined guidance and is now anticipated to be $22.17 or up approximately 29%.

Airspace, airplane, flight
Airspace, airplane, flight

Photo by Sean Nufer on Unsplash

Mike will discuss in more detail shortly some other fiscal '23 financial assumptions and updates. As our fiscal '23 progresses, should the favorable trends in the commercial aerospace market recovery continue, including the expansion of flight activity in China, we could see further upward revisions to our guidance. We believe we are well positioned for the remainder of fiscal 2023. We'll continue to closely watch how the aerospace and capital markets continue to develop and react accordingly. On the organization side, I wanted to announce the retirement of Halle Martin, our General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary. Halle has been an integral part of our team since 2012 and long before as outside counsel. Jes Warren has been promoted from her position as Associate General Counsel to fill this critical role as part of our robust succession planning process.

Thank you, Halle, for all of your great counsel and dedication to TransDigm. Let me conclude by stating that I'm very pleased with the company's performance this quarter and throughout the recovery of the commercial aerospace industry. We remain focused on our value drivers, cost structure and operational excellence. Let me hand it over to Jorge to review our current -- our recent performance and a few other items.

Jorge Valladares: Thanks, Kevin, and good morning, everyone. I'll start with our typical review of results by key market category. For the balance of the call, I'll provide commentary on a pro forma basis compared to the prior year period in 2022. That is, assuming we own the same mix of businesses in both periods. The market discussion includes the May 2022 acquisition of DART Aerospace in both periods. DART has been included in this market analysis discussion since the third quarter of fiscal '22. In the commercial market, which typically makes up close to 65% of our revenue, we'll split our discussion into OEM and aftermarket. Our total commercial OEM revenue increased approximately 20% in Q1 compared with the prior year period.

Bookings in the quarter were strong compared to the same prior year period and solidly outpaced sales. Sequentially, the bookings improved almost 15% compared to Q4. We continue to be encouraged by build rates steadily progressing at the commercial OEMs and the strong demand for new aircraft. However, ongoing labor instability and supply chain challenges across the broader aerospace sector present risks to achieving OEM production rates. Now moving on to our commercial aftermarket business discussion. Total commercial aftermarket revenue increased by approximately 31% in Q1 when compared with the prior year period. Growth in commercial aftermarket revenue was primarily driven by continued strength in our passenger submarket, which is our largest submarket, although all of our commercial aftermarket submarkets were up significantly compared to prior year Q1.

Sequentially, total commercial aftermarket revenues grew by approximately 7% and bookings grew more than 25%. Commercial aftermarket bookings were robust this quarter compared to the same prior year period and Q1 bookings significantly outpaced sales. Turning to broader market dynamics. Global revenue passenger miles remained lower than pre-pandemic levels, but have continued to steadily trend upwards over the past few months. Airline passenger demand remained strong throughout the fall and holiday season. IATA currently forecast calendar year '23 air traffic will be within about 15% of pre-pandemic. The recovery in domestic travel continues to be stronger than international travel, although international traffic is catching up. In the most recently reported IATA traffic data for December, global domestic air traffic was only down 20% compared to pre-pandemic.

For the U.S., domestic travel in December was within 10% of pre-pandemic levels. Domestic travel in China continued to lag other major air traffic regions and was down about 55% compared to pre-pandemic. However, the lifting of COVID restrictions and the reopening of China to international travelers bodes well for air traffic growth. Roughly a year ago, international travel globally was depressed about 60%, but in the most recently reported IATA traffic data for December, international travel was only down about 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels. International traffic in North America and Europe were within 5% and 15% of pre-pandemic, respectively. Asia Pacific International travel was still down about 50%, but should improve subsequent to the January reopening of China.

Global air cargo demand has continued to pull back over the past few months. As of IATA's most recent data, December was another month in which air cargo volumes showed year-over-year decline and were below pre-pandemic levels. The recent easing of pandemic-related restrictions in China could be favorable for air cargo in '23, but it's too early to determine. Business jet utilization has come down from pandemic highs and has continued to temper over the past handful of months. However, activity is still above pre-pandemic levels and business jet OEMs and operators forecast strong demand in the near term. Time will tell how this plays out as there is softening optimism for the business jet market due to the uncertainty within the current macro and financial environment.

Shifting to our defense market, which traditionally is at or below 35% of our total revenue, the defense market revenue, which includes both OEM and aftermarket revenues, grew by approximately 3% in Q1 when compared with the prior year period. Defense bookings are up significantly this quarter compared to the same prior year period and Q1 bookings strongly outpaced sales, which bodes well for future defense order activity. Impacting our defense market revenues are the ongoing delays in the U.S. government defense spend outlays. While these delays appear to be slowly improving, they do remain longer than historical average levels. Our teams are steadily making progress with the supply chain, but continue to face challenges. The lack of electronic component availability continues to be the primary focus for our teams.

As Kevin mentioned earlier, we continue to expect low to mid-single-digit percent range growth this year for our defense market revenues. Lastly, I'd like to wrap up by stating how pleased I am by our operational performance in this first quarter of fiscal '23. We remain focused on our value drivers in meeting increased customer demand for our products. With that, I'd like to turn it over to our Chief Financial Officer, Mike Lisman.

Michael Lisman: Good morning, everyone. I'm going to quickly hit on a few additional financial matters for the quarter and then expectations for the full fiscal year. First, on organic growth and liquidity. In the first quarter, our organic growth rate was 15%, driven by the continued rebound in our commercial OEM and aftermarket end markets. On cash and liquidity, free cash flow which we traditionally define as EBITDA, less cash interest payments, CapEx and cash taxes was roughly $400 million for the quarter. We ended the quarter with approximately $3.3 billion of cash on the balance sheet, and our net debt-to-EBITDA ratio was exactly 6x, down from 6.4x at the end of last quarter. On a net debt-to-EBITDA basis, this puts us right at the 5-year pre-COVID average level.

Additionally, our cash interest coverage ratios, such as EBITDA to interest expense are currently in line with where we've historically operated the business. We feel comfortable here given the benefit of our interest rate hedges and fixed rate debt instruments that were entered into in a lower interest rate environment. As always, we continue to watch the rising interest rate environment in the current state of the debt markets very closely. During the first quarter, we completed an extension of our nearest maturity term loan pushing the maturity date from mid-2024 out into 2027. Pro forma for this refinancing, our nearest term maturity is now 2025. As a result of this refi, our interest expense estimate for FY '23 ticked up very slightly, as you can see in today's updated interest expense guidance.

Over 75% of our total $20 billion gross debt balance is at a fixed rate through a combination of fixed rate notes and interest rate caps and swaps through 2025. This provides us adequate cushion against any rise in rates at least in the immediate term. Going forward, we expect to continue both proactively and prudently managing our debt maturity stacks. Practically for us, this means pushing out any near-term maturities well in advance of the final maturity date and then also utilizing hedging instruments where we can in order to lock in the cash interest costs. As we sit here today from an overall cash liquidity and balance sheet standpoint, we think we remain in good position with adequate flexibility to pursue M&A or return cash to our shareholders via share buybacks or dividends during fiscal '23.

With that, I'll turn it back to the operator to kick off the Q&A.

See also 20 Best For-Profit Colleges in the US and 25 Most Viewed YouTube Videos of All Time.

To continue reading the Q&A session, please click here.