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Press release from CNW Group

Aecon reports third quarter 2012 results and record backlog

Monday, November 05, 2012

Aecon reports third quarter 2012 results and record backlog17:31 EST Monday, November 05, 2012TORONTO, Nov. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Aecon Group Inc. (TSX: ARE) today reported results for the third quarter of 2012 that showed margin trends continued to be positive while revenue was in line with the same period a year ago. EBITDA increased by 19 per cent in the third quarter and by 39 per cent year to date (excluding the impact of operations from the Cross Israel Highway prior to sale in 2011 and the gain on sale from selling the interest in those operations and other assets).  Aecon's backlog for the nine months of 2012 rose to a record $2.8 billion compared to the $2.2 billion in the 2011 period - an increase of 25 per cent."We are making steady progress in financial performance as a result of leveraging scope and scale with a focus on execution.  Aecon's EBITDA has improved significantly over 2011 and we remain steadfast in continuing the overall trend of improving margins and earnings going into 2013," said John M. Beck, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  "We are very pleased to announce a record backlog of $2.8 billion - a solid demonstration of the significant demand for our services despite the economic climate."HIGHLIGHTSDue to higher margins, gross profit for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, increased by $9.1 million to $105.4 million, and $43.3 million to $204.7 million, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2011.Revenue for the third quarter was in line with last year, and for the nine months ended September 30, 2012, was lower by $108 million, or 5 per cent compared to the same period in 2011.  The combination of strong growth in Aecon Mining operations and the ramp-up of new Industrial projects in the third quarter was offset by lower revenue in Social Infrastructure due to the planned refocusing and redefined mandate of buildings operations and lower volume in Transportation.  Lower revenue from Concessions was recorded due to the sale of the operator of Cross Israel Highway in the third quarter of 2011.Adjusted EBITDA (excluding gains on sale of assets and investments) for Q3 2012 was $68.7 million (adjusted margin of 8.2 per cent) versus $60.2 million for Q3 2011 (adjusted margin of 7.2 per cent).  For the nine months, adjusted EBITDA was $94.5 million (adjusted margin of 4.7 per cent) versus $74.6 million (adjusted margin of 3.5 per cent).Adjusted profit attributable to shareholders of $34.6 million ($0.50 per diluted share) for Q3 2012 was recorded compared to $40.5 million ($0.49 per diluted share) in Q3 2011.Record backlog of $2.8 billion at September 30, 2012 versus $2.2 billion at September 30, 2011 - a 25 per cent increase - was driven by $938 million in new contract awards in the third quarter of 2012 as compared to $869 million in 2011. For the first nine months of 2012, new awards rose to $2.4 billion as compared to $1.9 billion in the same period of 2011 - an increase of 27%.Subsequent to quarter end, Aecon announced that it achieved substantial completion on the construction of the Quito International Airport project as scheduled.On October 18, 2012, for the sixth consecutive year Aecon was named to the Top 50 Best Employers in Canada in the Maclean's magazine/Aon Hewitt national survey; Aecon was also ranked in Canada's Top 100 Employers by The Globe and Mail.Our positive outlook is affirmed, based on record backlog.CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS                   Three months ended  Nine months ended $ millions (except per share amounts)(1) September 30  September 30   2012   2011   2012   2011               Revenue$834.3  $835.4  $1,998.1  $2,105.8  Gross profit  105.4   96.3   204.7   161.4  Marketing, general and administrative expenses (39.4)  (37.0)  (118.7)  (97.2) Income from construction projects accounted for using the equity method 3.0   2.4   8.7   10.3  Foreign exchange gains (losses) (0.3)  (1.5)  (0.2)  0.1  Gain on sale of assets and investments 0.3   14.3   0.8   14.9  EBITDA(2) 69.0   74.5   95.3   89.5  Depreciation and amortization (15.5)  (16.0)  (45.8)  (45.8) Operating profit(3) 53.5   58.5   49.5   43.7  Financing expense, net (6.1)  (8.1)  (22.0)  (21.4) Fair value gain on convertible debentures 1.7   1.7   0.3   4.5  Profit before income taxes  49.0   52.0   27.8   26.8  Income tax expense (12.8)  (8.9)  (5.4)  (1.6) Profit attributable to non-controlling interests (0.3)  (1.5)  (0.8)  (4.3) Profit attributable to shareholders$35.9  $41.7  $21.6  $20.9               Adjusted profit attributable to shareholders(4)$34.6  $40.5  $21.4  $17.7               Adjusted EBITDA(5)$68.7  $60.2  $94.5  $74.6                            Gross profit margin 12.6%  11.5%  10.2%  7.7% MG&A as a percent of revenue 4.7%  4.4%  5.9%  4.6% EBITDA margin 8.3%  8.9%  4.8%  4.2% Adjusted EBITDA margin 8.2%  7.2%  4.7%  3.5% Operating margin 6.4%  7.0%  2.5%  2.1% Earnings per share - basic$0.68  $0.76  $0.41  $0.38  Earnings per share - diluted$0.50  $0.49  $0.39  $0.36               Adjusted earnings per share- basic(6)$0.66  $0.74  $0.40  $0.32  Adjusted earnings per share- diluted(6)$0.50  $0.49  $0.38  $0.32               Backlog       $2,777  $2,215               (1)     This press release presents certain non-GAAP (GAAP refers to Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) financial measures to assist readers in understanding the Company's performance.  Non-GAAP financial measures are measures that either exclude or include amounts that are not excluded or included in the most directly comparable measures calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP. Further details on Non-GAAP measures are included in the Company's third quarter Management's Discussion And Analysis and available through the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval at www.sedar.com. (2)     "EBITDA" represents earnings or losses before net financing expense, the fair value gain (loss) on convertible debentures, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, and non-controlling interests. (3) "Operating profit (loss)" represents the profit (loss) from operations before net financing expense, income taxes and non-controlling interests. (4)"Adjusted profit (loss) attributable to shareholders" represents the profit (loss) attributable to shareholders adjusted to exclude the after-tax fair value gain (loss) on the embedded derivative portion of Aecon's convertible debentures. (5) "Adjusted EBITDA" represents EBIDTA adjusted to exclude the gain (loss) on sales of assets and investments. (6)     "Adjusted earnings (loss) per share" represents earnings (loss) per share calculated using adjusted profit (loss) attributable to shareholders.Backlog reached $2.8 billion at September 30, 2012, with $938 million in new contract awards booked in the third quarter compared to $2.2 billion and $869 million booked in the third quarter of 2011. For the first nine months of 2012, new contract awards rose to $2.4 billion compared to $1.9 billion in the same period of 2011 - an increase of $512 million or 27 per cent.Not included in backlog, but important to Aecon's prospects due to the significant volume involved, is the expected revenue 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. In 2011, this additional work represented approximately 20 per cent of overall revenue.OPERATING AND FINANCIAL RESULTS"We are pleased with the operational performance and the headway that all of our business units are making in execution, operational efficiencies and improvements, and in working collaboratively for the benefit of our diverse client base," said Teri McKibbon, Chief Operating Officer.  "In particular, our Utilities and Mining businesses have continued to grow, Heavy Civil has a solid pipeline of opportunities, and the pace of work in the Industrial segment continues to pick up."Aecon reports its results in three operating segments: Infrastructure, Industrial and Concessions.INFRASTRUCTURE SEGMENTThe 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 and pipeline construction, buildings construction and mining operations.Financial Highlights               Three months ended  Nine months ended $ millions(1) September 30  September 30   2012   2011   2012   2011               Revenue$558.2  $587.4  $1,295.7  $1,351.6  Gross profit$65.8  $68.4  $106.2  $77.6  EBITDA$51.2  $56.7  $60.7  $52.0  Adjusted EBITDA$50.9  $54.0  $60.0  $48.4  Operating profit$40.5  $45.0  $28.5  $19.3               EBITDA margin 9.2%  9.7%  4.7%  3.8% Adjusted EBITDA margin 9.1%  9.2%  4.6%  3.6% Operating margin 7.3%  7.7%  2.2%  1.4% Backlog      $1,959  $1,689               (1)Commencing in 2012, the Infrastructure segment includes Lockerbie & Hole Contracting (previously included in the Industrial segment), building on our 'One Aecon' business strategy where Aecon expects to realize synergies between Lockerbie & Hole Contracting and Aecon Buildings in the social infrastructure sector.  Third quarter 2012 revenue in the Infrastructure segment decreased by $29 million, or 5 per cent, over the same period last year primarily due to three factors: 1) the mandate of our buildings operations has been refocused and redefined; 2) several large mechanical operations projects in Western Canada have been wound down this year; and 3) the municipal transportation market in Ontario and Alberta has been softer in the third quarter of 2012 versus the same period a year ago.  The impact of these factors was partially offset by strong growth in volume in both Heavy Civil and Mining operations.For the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2012, the operating profit (loss) in the Infrastructure segment increased/(decreased) over the same period last year as follows:           Three months ended  Nine months ended $ millions  September 30  September 30         Transportation$(6.6) $(12.8) Heavy Civil (1.9)  (4.9) Utilities 0.9   (2.8) Mining       Ongoing operations 2.4   25.5   Gain on sale of equipment (2.9)  (3.2) Social Infrastructure 3.5   7.4         Increase (decrease) in Infrastructure operating profit$(4.5) $9.2  For the third quarter of 2012, operating profit in Social Infrastructure reflects an improvement in buildings operations compared to the third quarter of 2011 when margin reductions on several large projects were recorded.  The improvement in Utilities primarily reflects higher current period volumes whereas in Mining, higher volumes and improved margins were achieved due to better equipment availability and mix of work.  The decline in operating profit in Transportation reflects lower current period volumes, and in Heavy Civil, lower project margins and higher bid costs.Infrastructure backlog at September 30, 2012 rose to $1,959 million - an increase of $270 million or 16 percent - as compared to $1,689 million in 2011. New contract awards totaled $756 million in the third quarter of 2012 and $1,739 million year to date, compared to $358 million and $1,011 million, respectively, in the prior year.INDUSTRIAL SEGMENTIndustrial operations include all of Aecon's industrial manufacturing and construction activities including in-plant construction, fabrication of specialty pipe, assembly of custom module units and the design and manufacture of once-through heat recovery steam generators.Financial Highlights                          Three months ended  Nine months ended $ millions September 30  September 30   2012   2011   2012   2011               Revenue$266.5  $226.4  $674.6  $688.0  Gross profit$32.9  $18.3  $79.8  $58.1  EBITDA$18.8  $2.7  $39.6  $20.8  Adjusted EBITDA$18.8  $2.7  $39.6  $21.0  Operating profit $16.9  $0.8  $34.0  $14.5               EBITDA margin 7.0%  1.2%  5.9%  3.0% Adjusted EBITDA margin 7.0%  1.2%  5.9%  3.1% Operating margin  6.3%  0.4%  5.0%  2.1% Backlog       $818  $526                          In the Industrial segment, third quarter 2012 revenue rose by $40 million, or 18 per cent, compared to 2011, primarily as a result of increased module assembly, pipe fabrication and site construction work in Western Canada and from higher volumes in the commodities mining sector.For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, the operating profit in the Industrial segment increased over the same period last year as follows:         Three months ended  Nine months ended $ millions  September 30  September 30               Heavy Industrial (Construction and Fabrication)$17.0  $24.0  IST (0.9)  (4.5) Increase in Industrial operating profit$16.1  $19.5  Most of the period-over-period increase in operating profit, for both the third quarter and year to date 2012, from Heavy Industrial operations resulted from higher volumes in the commodity mining sector and from improved margins in Western Canada.Industrial backlog at September 30, 2012 of $818 million was $292 million higher - an increase of 56 per cent - than the same time last year. New contract awards amounted to $172 million in the third quarter of 2012 which were lower than in the third quarter of 2011.CONCESSIONS SEGMENTThe Concessions segment includes the development, operation and financing of infrastructure projects by way of public-private partnership, build-own-operate-transfer or other alternative financing contract structures.Financial Highlights               Three months ended  Nine months ended $ millions September 30  September 30   2012   2011   2012   2011               Revenue$11.2  $21.9  $31.6  $70.6  Gross profit$6.7  $9.6  $18.7  $25.5  EBITDA$5.8  $20.6  $15.7  $34.3  Adjusted EBITDA$5.8  $9.1  $15.7  $22.7  Operating profit $4.7  $19.7  $12.8  $31.7               EBITDA margin 51.6%  94.1%  49.8%  48.5% Adjusted EBITDA margin 51.6%  41.4%  49.8%  32.2% Operating margin  42.1%  89.8%  40.5%  44.9%              For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, the operating profit in the Concessions segment decreased over the same periods last year as follows:                      Three months ended  Nine months ended $ millions   September 30   September 30         Quito Airport Concessionaire$(0.6) $(0.3) Cross Israel Highway Operator (sold in Q3, 2011) and other (2.9)  (7.1) Gain on sale of investment in operator of CIH in 2011 (11.5)  (11.5) Decrease in Concessions operating profit$(15.0) $(18.9) The majority of the decrease in revenue and operating profit in the Concessions segment during the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2012 is a result of the sale in the third quarter of 2011 of Aecon's interest in the operator of the Cross Israel Highway.The operating profit from the Quito airport concessionaire includes the results from operating the existing Quito airport while the new Quito airport is being constructed.  Subsequent to the end of the third quarter, Aecon announced that it achieved substantial completion on the construction of the Quito International Airport project as scheduled - a significant milestone on a complex greenfield project. The Company built the airport as part of a 50/50 joint venture with Andrade Gutierrez Constructores S.A., a construction company based in Brazil.  Work on the engineer/procure/construct contract involved all of the critical infrastructure required to make the airport operational, including the passenger terminal, runways, taxiways, control tower and ancillary buildings such as cargo and catering, ground service facilities, as well as the supply and integration of the IT, navigation and security systems.  In addition to having been granted the Substantial Completion Certificate, the airport has received the Certificate to Operate from the Ecuadorian Civil Aviation Authority.DIVIDEND PAYMENTAs previously disclosed, the annual dividend for 2012 was increased from 20 cents per share to 28 cents per share, paid on a quarterly basis.  The third quarterly dividend payment of $0.07 was paid on October 1, 2012 to shareholders of record on September 21, 2012.CONSOLIDATED RESULTSThe consolidated results for the three and nine months ended September 30 of 2012 and 2011 are available at the end of this news release.BALANCE SHEET HIGHLIGHTS      September 30 December 31  $ thousands (unaudited) 2012  2011      Cash, restricted cash and marketable securities$135,861 $222,015 Other current assets 958,201  842,234 Property, plant and equipment 500,968  482,148 Other long-term assets 475,677  437,698 Total Assets$2,070,707 $1,984,095      Current liabilities$881,098 $791,836 Non-recourse project debt 151,331  137,078 Long-term debt 141,002  142,581 Convertible debentures 255,620  251,429 Other long-term liabilities 149,351  171,294      Equity 492,305  489,877 Total Liabilities and Equity$2,070,707 $1,984,095 CONFERENCE CALLA conference call has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. (ET) to discuss Aecon's 2012 third quarter financial results. Participants should dial 416-641-6202 or 1-800-381-7839 at least 10 minutes prior to the conference time. A replay will be available after 12:30 p.m. at 1-800-558-5253 or 416-626-4100 until midnight on November 13, 2012. The reservation number is 21608116.ABOUT AECONAecon Group Inc. is a Canadian leader in construction and infrastructure development providing integrated turnkey services to private and public sector clients.  Aecon is pleased to be consistently recognized as one of the Best Employers in Canada.STATEMENT ON FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATIONThe 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 events beyond Aecon's control, there are factors which could cause actual or future results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or inferred herein including, but not limited to: interest and foreign exchange rates, global equity and capital markets, business competition and operational and reputational risks, including Large Project Risk and Contractual Factors.  Readers are referred to the specific risk factors relating to and affecting Aecon's business and operations as filed by Aecon pursuant to applicable securities laws.  Forward-looking statements may include, without limitation, statements regarding the operations, business, financial condition, expected financial results, performance, prospects, ongoing objectives, strategies and outlook for Aecon.  Forward-looking statements, may in some cases be identified by words such as "will," "plans," "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "intends," "should" or the negative of these terms, or similar expressions.  Except as required by applicable securities laws, forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and Aecon undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME          (in thousands of Canadian dollars, except per share amounts) (unaudited)                      For the three months endedFor the nine months ended  September 30September 30September 30September 30  2012 2011 2012 2011           Revenue$834,274 $835,371 $1,998,095 $2,105,827 Direct costs and expenses (728,874) (739,076) (1,793,445) (1,944,438)Gross profit 105,400  96,295  204,650  161,389           Marketing, general and administrative expenses (39,439) (36,986) (118,734) (97,214)Depreciation and amortization (15,531) (16,044) (45,790) (45,776)Income from construction projects accounted for using the equity method 3,033  2,406  8,683  10,316 Other income 7  12,811  665  14,970 Operating profit 53,470  58,482  49,474  43,685           Finance income 250  838  1,640  5,144 Finance costs (6,337) (8,964) (23,677) (26,565)Fair value gain on convertible debentures 1,666  1,665  316  4,544 Profit before income taxes 49,049  52,021  27,753  26,808 Income tax expense (12,841) (8,869) (5,365) (1,620)Profit for the period$36,208 $43,152 $22,388 $25,188 Attributable to:         Shareholders$35,905 $41,659 $21,554 $20,854  Non-controlling interests 303  1,493  834  4,334   $36,208 $43,152 $22,388 $25,188                     Basic earnings per share$0.68 $0.76 $0.41 $0.38 Diluted earnings per share$0.50 $0.49 $0.39 $0.36  SOURCE: Aecon Group Inc.For further information: Vince Borg Senior Advisor, Corporate Affairs Aecon Group Inc. 416-297-2615 vborg@aecon.com