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Press release from CNW Group

Aecon reports year end results for 2010

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Aecon reports year end results for 201018:31 EST Tuesday, March 08, 2011Revenues increase to $2.75 billionOperating income and EBITDA growth in the Infrastructure and Concessions segments are offset by declines in the Industrial segmentNet income declines to $27.3 million or $0.50 per share ($0.49 per diluted share)Backlog reaches a year end record $2.45 billionOutlook remains positive overallTORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ - Aecon Group Inc. (TSX: ARE) today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2010.Revenue, Operating Results and Net Income  Three Months Ended December 31        Year Ended          December 31 $ millions, except per share amounts 2010 2009   2010 2009             Revenues$838$600  $2,746$2,261 Gross profit 19.8 71.5   160.6 243.7 EBITDA 30.1 40.0   102.2 124.7 Depreciation and  amortization (12.3) (10.9)   (40.3) (48.4) Operating profit 17.8 29.1   61.9 76.2 Interest expense, net (9.0) (4.0)   (26.1) (6.1) Earnings Before Taxes 8.8 25.1   35.8 70.1 Income taxes 1.7 (8.4)   (3.7) (22.3) Net income for the period 8.9 15.4   27.3 44.4 Earnings per share (Basic)Earnings per share (Diluted) 0.160.16 0.280.26   0.500.49 0.820.80 Backlog - December 31$2,447$2,183      Aecon's revenues reached a record $2.75 billion in 2010, a 21% increase over 2009, with revenue growth reported in the Infrastructure, Buildings and Industrial segments, offsetting a small decline in the Concessions segment.   Gross profit (representing revenues less direct costs and expenses) fell to $160.6 million, as gross margins as a percentage of revenues slipped to 5.8% from 10.8% a year earlier. Most of the decline was in the Industrial segment, and was due in large part to a $55 million loss disclosed early last month on Suncor's Firebag III Central Plant Facilities project. EBITDA (representing income from operations before net interest expense, income taxes, depreciation, amortization and non-controlling interests) declined by 18% to $102.2 million, as lower gross profits were partially offset by a gain of $14 million related to the acquisition of the assets of Cow Harbour, and a gain of $36 million on the sale of Aecon's interest in the Cross Israel Highway concession.Depreciation and amortization expense decreased by $8.1 million to $40.3 million in 2010 due primarily to lower amortization charges on concession rights relating to the Quito airport project. Operating profit (representing income from operations before net interest expense, income taxes and non-controlling interests) was $61.9 million, compared to $76.2 million last year.Earnings before taxes (income before income taxes and non-controlling interests) in 2010 were $35.8 million, down from the $70.1 million recorded in 2009. Pre-tax earnings were impacted by increased interest costs, largely related to convertible debentures issued in 2009 and 2010, and by interest on non-recourse debt related to three 'build finance' projects in Ontario.Net income in 2010 was $27.3 million ($0.49 per diluted share), down from $44.4 million ($0.80 per diluted share) in 2009. Net income in the fourth quarter was $8.9 million ($0.16 per diluted share) compared with $15.4 million ($0.26 per diluted share) in the fourth quarter of 2009.Outlook, Backlog and New Business Awards"Aecon has established itself as a leader in some of the strongest growth sectors of the Canadian construction industry," said John M. Beck, Chairman and CEO, Aecon Group Inc. "I believe this strong position, along with Aecon's record year-end backlog, the ongoing strength and durability of Canada's infrastructure markets, and the bright future ahead for Canada's resources and power markets, combine to signal strong financial performance in 2011 and even more so in 2012.""2010 was a challenging year," Mr. Beck said, "but with the Buildings division now combined within the Infrastructure division, and the one-time impact of a project loss in the Industrial segment fully behind us, we have turned the page.  With the benefit of lessons learned, I believe Aecon's outlook for 2011 and 2012 is very strong."Backlog at December 31, 2010 was $2.45 billion, a 12% increase over a year ago, as a doubling of backlog in the Infrastructure segment offset declines in the Buildings and Industrial segments. Notably, 40% of Aecon's 2010 year-end backlog is set to be performed in 2012, 2013 and beyond, providing management with increased medium-term visibility. New contract awards reached a record $3.0 billion in 2010, compared with $2.6 billion in 2009. Not included in backlog but important to Aecon's prospects due to the significant volumes involved, are the expected revenues from Aecon's growing alliances and supplier-of-choice arrangements where the amount and/or value of work to be carried out is not specified.Fourth Quarter Business HighlightsIn October 2010, Maclean's magazine and Hewitt Associates recognized Aecon as one of the Best Employers in Canada.  It was the fourth consecutive year Aecon received the honour.In November 2010, a group led by Aecon was awarded a $279 million contract by the Toronto Transit Commission to complete the first leg of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension.  The contract was the first major award won by the newly combined Infrastructure and Buildings divisions.In December 2010, Aecon signed a new three and a half-year $300 million credit facility, replacing its $100 million facility that was due to expire in 2011. Also in December 2010, Aecon completed the sale of its 25% interest in the Cross Israel Highway concessionaire, Derech Eretz Highways (1997) Ltd.  The $82.3 million sale generated cash proceeds to Aecon of approximately $69 million and an after tax gain of approximately $30 million.Segmented Results Aecon reports its results in four segments: Infrastructure, Buildings, Industrial and Concessions.Infrastructure The Infrastructure segment includes all aspects of civil construction from highways, bridges and tunnels to airports, marine facilities, transit and power projects as well as utilities construction and mining services.Financial Highlights (1)(2)($ millions)     Three Months       Ended December 31    Year EndedDecember 31   2010 2009    2010 2009  Revenues$387$251   $1,095$937  EBITDA 31.3 40.4    79.2 69.5  Segment operating profit  24.3 37.7    61.1 51.8  Operating Profit Margin 6.3% 15.0%    5.6% 5.5%  Backlog - December 31$1,146$546         (1) Segment operating profit or loss represents the profit or loss from operations, before net interest expense, income taxes, non-controlling interests, and corporate allocations of overhead costs and capital charges.(2) Operating profit margin is calculated as segment operating profit (loss) as a percentage of revenues.In 2010, revenues in the Infrastructure segment reached a record $1.1 billion, a 17% increase over 2009, as revenue increases from civil, materials, utilities and mining operations offset a decrease in international operations.  The mining revenue reflects the ramp-up of Aecon Mining following the purchase in August 2010 of Cow Harbour's assets. Segment operating profit of $61.1 million in 2010 represents an 18% improvement over 2009, with increases in civil and materials operations, and a gain of $14 million related to the Cow Harbour acquisition, offsetting decreases in international and utilities operations.  Civil operations benefitted from higher volumes and stronger profit margins from Ontario and Quebec, including from the commencement of profit recognition on Quebec's Autoroute 30, which reached 20% completion during 2010.  Backlog at December 31, 2010 was $1.1 billion, a $600 million increase over last year, reflecting several large awards made in 2010 including the Lower Mattagami Hydroelectric Complex in Ontario, the Autoroute 30 project in Quebec, and the Waneta Dam project in B.C.  New contract awards nearly doubled from $862 million last year to $1.7 billion in 2010.     BuildingsThe Buildings segment includes all aspects of Aecon's commercial, institutional and multi-unit residential buildings construction and renovation activities.Financial Highlights($ millions)Three MonthsEnded December 31      Year Ended     December 31   2010 2009    2010 2009  Revenues$136$134   $539$478  EBITDA (0.3) (16.2)    (11.7) (14.8)  Segment operating profit (loss) (0.4) (16.4)    (12.5) (15.5)  Operating Profit Margin (0.3)%     (12.2)%    (2.3)% (3.2)%  Backlog - December 31$635$737         The Buildings segment recorded revenues of $539 million in 2010, representing a 13% increase over the previous year.  The increase resulted primarily from growth in Ontario, Quebec and Aecon's 49% interest in Scott Management Limited.  These increases were partly offset by a revenue decrease in Seattle due to completion of a large multi-year project in the first quarter of 2010. The Buildings segment incurred an operating loss of $12.5 million in 2010 compared to a loss of $15.5 million in 2009.  Most of the operating loss in 2010 arose in Ontario operations where the impact of higher revenues was offset by further losses on two large projects which had also negatively impacted results in 2009. In September, Aecon announced a realignment of its internal management structure such that the Buildings division now forms part of Aecon's Infrastructure Group.  This realignment will more fully capitalize on the combined strengths and potential synergies of the two organizations.Backlog of $635 million at the end of 2010 represents a $102 million decline from 2009, with most of the decrease occurring in the segment's Ontario operations.  New contract awards in 2010 totalled $437 million, and included the TTC subway expansion noted above.  This compares with awards of $681 million in 2009. IndustrialIndustrial operations include all of Aecon's industrial manufacturing and construction activities from in-plant construction to the fabrication of specialty pipe and the design and manufacture of Once Through Steam Generators.Financial Highlights($ millions)Three MonthsEnded December 31  Year Ended December 31   2010 2009    2010 2009 Revenues$310$191   $1,044$748 EBITDA (38.1) 10.8    (4.8) 62.8 Segment operating profit (loss) (41.8) 7.3    (17.5) 50.5 Operating Profit Margin (13.5)% 3.8%    (1.7)% 6.7% Backlog - December 31$666$900       2010 Revenues of $1.0 billion in the Industrial segment were 40% higher than in 2009.  Increases in site construction work in the heavy industrial unit in Western Canada, and from the segment's mechanical unit, contributed the majority of the year-over-year revenue increase.  The increase also reflects the acquisition of Lockerbie & Hole in April 2009, which contributed a full year's revenue in 2010 compared to nine month's revenue in 2009.  Partly offsetting these increases were revenue decreases in Ontario and, to a lesser extent, in Eastern Canada. A segment operating loss of $17.5 million in 2010 compares to a profit of $50.5 million in the prior year.  The decline in operating results reflects the generally lower profit margins achieved in recent quarters due to weaker market conditions for industrial services across Canada, as well as the previously noted loss of $55 million on the Firebag III project. Backlog of $666 million at December 31, 2010 was $234 million lower than last year, primarily due to lower backlog in Western Canada.  Overall, new contract awards of $810 million in the segment were $152 million lower than in the previous year.  A majority of the year-over-year decrease in new awards occurred in Western Canada operations.ConcessionsThe Concessions segment includes the development, operation, construction and financing of infrastructure projects by way of public-private partnership or other alternative financing contract structures. This segment focuses primarily on the operations, management, maintenance and enhancement of investments in transportation infrastructure concessions. Financial Highlights($ millions)  Three Months   Ended December 31   Year Ended December 31   2010 2009    2010 2009 Revenues$25$28   $91$107 EBITDA 42.8 10.1    63.8 29.8 Segment operating profit 42.5 6.5    58.7 14.0 Operating Profit Margin 171.4% 23.0%    64.3% 13.1% Revenues of $91 million in the Concessions segment were $16 million lower than in 2009.  The decrease stemmed mostly from Aecon's interest in the operator of the Cross Israel Highway, which recorded construction-related revenue in 2009 from a highway expansion project that was not repeated in 2010.Segment operating profit of $58.7 million in 2010 compared to a profit of $14.0 million in 2009.  The increased profit was due in large part to a $36 million pre-tax gain that resulted from the sale of Aecon's 25% interest in the Cross Israel Highway concessionaire, Derech Eretz Highways (1997) Ltd.  Higher operating profits from the operation of the existing Quito airport while the new airport is being constructed, also contributed to the higher operating profits in 2010. Aecon does not include in its reported backlog potential revenues from operations management contracts and concession agreements. As such, while Aecon expects future revenues from its concession assets, no concession backlog is reported at December 31.Balance Sheet Highlights (thousands of dollars) Dec. 31, 2010 Dec. 31, 2009     Cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, marketable securities and term deposits$308,653 $414,447Other current assets 1,014,088  714,164Property, plant and equipment 423,737  200,883Other long-term assets 344,360  359,844Total Assets$                 2,090,838$1,689,338     Current liabilities$1,032,987 $843,826Non-recourse project debt 130,600  70,000Other long-term debt 115,511  63,037Convertible debentures 245,004  158,614Other long-term liabilities 90,778  91,540     Equity 475,958  462,321Total Liabilities and Equity$2,090,838 $1,689,338Conference CallA conference call has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. ET to discuss Aecon's 2010 year-end financial results. Participants should dial 416-620-5683 or 1-800-268-2160 at least 10 minutes prior to the conference time of 10:30 a.m. A replay will be available after 12:30 p.m. at 1-800-558-5253 or 416-626-4100 until midnight, March 16, 2011. The pass code is 21513691.About AeconAecon Group Inc. is Canada's largest publicly traded construction and infrastructure development company. Aecon and its subsidiaries provide services to private and public sector clients throughout Canada and on a selected basis internationally. Aecon is pleased to be recognized as one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada as published by Maclean's Magazine.The information in this press release includes certain forward-looking statements. These "forward-looking" statements are based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data and operating plans but are subject to risks and uncertainties.  In addition to general global events outside Aecon's control, there are factors which could cause actual results, performance or achievements to vary from those expressed or inferred herein including risks associated with an investment in the common shares of Aecon and the risks related to Aecon's business, including Large Project Risk and Contractual Factors. Risk factors are discussed in greater detail in the section on "Risk Factors" in the Management's Discussion and Analysis filed on March 8, 2011 and available at www.sedar.com.  Forward-looking statements include information concerning possible or assumed future results of operations or financial position of Aecon, as well as statements preceded by, followed by, or that include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "intends," "should" or similar expressions.  Important factors, in addition to those discussed in this document, could affect the future results of Aecon and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements.Consolidated Statements of Income for the three months ended December 31, 2010 and 2009(in thousands of dollars, except share and per share amounts)  2010 2009     Revenues$838,338$599,770     Direct costs and expenses (818,521) (528,312)       19,817 71,458     Marketing, general and administrative expenses  (29,730) (30,564)     Gain from business combination (146) -     Foreign exchange gains (losses) 435 (1,379)     Income from construction projects accounted for using the equity method 1,518 419     Gain on sale of assetsand investments 38,176 85     Depreciation and amortization (12,286) (10,898)     Interestexpense (12,164)    (8,797)     Interest income 3,147 4,802       (11,050) (46,332)     Income before income taxes and non-controlling interests 8,767 25,126     Income tax (expense) recovery    Current (342) (9,433)Future 2,043 1,036       1,701 (8,397)     Net income for the period 10,468 16,729     Net income attributable to non-controlling interests (1,569) (1,284)     Net income attributable to the Company$8,899 $15,445     Earnings per share    Basic$0.16$0.28Diluted$0.16$0.26     Weighted average number of shares outstanding    Basic 54,899,878 55,100,140Diluted 82,558,022 69,877,526          Consolidated Statements of Income for the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009 (in thousands of dollars, except share and per share amounts)  2010 2009     Revenues$2,746,243$2,260,986     Direct costs and expenses (2,585,663) (2,017,306)       160,580 243,680     Marketing, general and administrative expenses  (118,206) (115,509)     Gain from business combination 13,838 -     Foreign exchange gains (losses) 410 (4,104)     Income from construction projects accounted for using the equity method 405 419     Gain on sale of assetsand investments 45,167 182     Depreciation and amortization (40,320) (48,431)     Interestexpense (37,359) (17,809)     Interest income 11,298 11,705       (124,767) (173,547)     Income before income taxes and non-controlling interests 35,813 70,133Income tax (expense) recovery    Current 46 (28,607)Future (3,730) 6,301       (3,684) (22,306)     Net income for the year 32,129 47,827     Net income attributable to non-controlling interests (4,821) (3,441)     Net income attributable to the Company$27,308$44,386     Earnings per share    Basic$0.50$0.82Diluted$0.49$0.80     Weighted average number of shares outstanding    Basic 54,758,958 53,861,298Diluted 73,964,062 58,510,761For further information:  Mitch Patten, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Aecon Group Inc. 416-297-2615 aecon@aecon.com  www.aecon.com