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Press release from CNW Group

Aecon reports full year 2013 results - Increases dividend

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Aecon reports full year 2013 results - Increases dividend

16:30 EDT Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TORONTO, March 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Aecon Group Inc. (TSX: ARE) today reported results for the fourth quarter and full year 2013, including higher Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $184.0 million for 2013 as compared to $171.9 million in 2012, and Adjusted EBITDA of $79.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to $77.9 million in the comparable period of 2012. Aecon's Board of Directors approved an increase in the annual dividend to $0.36 per share from $0.32 per share.

"Aecon's 2013 results represented another year of solid progress. Our focus remains on margin growth, operational execution, and financial performance," said John M. Beck, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "With our balanced and diversified strategy within three core target markets - infrastructure, energy and mining - and the robust pipeline of bidding opportunities on the horizon, we will maintain a disciplined bidding approach and seek out projects with a margin profile that will contribute towards meeting our Adjusted EBITDA margin target of nine per cent in 2015."

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Revenue grew by $182 million, or 6 per cent, to $3,069 million for 2013 as compared to $2,887 million in 2012.

  • Adjusted EBITDAfor 2013 increased to $184.0 million on revenue of $3,069 million as compared to $171.9 million on revenue of $2,887 million for 2012.

  • Adjusted EBITDA was $79.1 million (margin of 8.7 per cent) on revenue of $906.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2013 as compared to $77.9 million (margin of 8.4 per cent) on revenue of $932.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2012.

  • Backlog was $1.8 billion at December 31, 2013. Included in year-end backlog is a $100 million contract to construct Union Gas' new compressor facility at its Parkway West site near Milton, Ontario.  Work commenced in the first quarter of 2014 and is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2015.

  • Subsequent to year end, the following Aecon-led projects were announced:
  • An award of the John Hart Generating Station civil construction contract in British Columbia, with approximately $225 million in revenue expected to Aecon's account; and
  • A recommendation as the preferred proponent for the Region of Waterloo Stage 1 Light Rail Transit Project for which Aecon's portion of the construction contract is expected to be approximately $250 million, subject to closing.

  • Annual dividend is increased to $0.36 per share ($0.09 per quarter) from $0.32 per share ($0.08 per quarter).

  • Positive outlook heading into 2014, with opportunities to grow backlog and continue progress towards the Company's nine per cent EBITDA margin target in 2015.

(1) See the Consolidated Financial Highlights section for the definition of Adjusted EBITDA. While the definition of EBITDA is unchanged from the previous year, in accordance with the requirements of CSA Staff Notice 52-306 (Revised) - Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Additional GAAP Measures, the Company has renamed the defined term from "EBITDA" to "Adjusted EBITDA".

CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS(1)

                       
    Three months
ended
    Year ended
$ millions (except per share amounts)   December 31     December 31
    2013     2012(2)     2013     2012(2)
                       
Revenue $ 906.2   $ 932.1   $ 3,068.6   $ 2,887.1
Gross profit   94.6     93.3     270.5     278.9
Marketing, general and administrative expenses   (34.3)     (38.6)     (148.0)     (157.7)
Income from projects accounted for using the equity method   11.3     34.3     37.9     55.7
Other income (expense)   (0.7)     0.4         1.1
Depreciation and amortization   (16.3)     (17.8)     (63.0)     (60.6)
Operating profit (3)   54.6     71.6     97.3     117.3
Financing expense, net   (10.6)     (5.1)     (38.3)     (27.2)
Fair value gain (loss) on convertible debentures   (7.3)     3.9     (9.8)     4.3
Profit before income taxes   36.7     70.4     49.2     94.4
Income tax expense   (8.4)     (14.1)     (8.6)     (16.8)
Profit $ 28.3   $ 56.3   $ 40.6   $ 77.6
                       
Profit $ 28.3   $ 56.3   $ 40.6   $ 77.6
Exclude:                      
Fair value (gain) loss on convertible debentures   7.3     (3.9)     9.8     (4.3)
Income tax on fair value (gain) loss   (1.9)     1.0     (2.6)     1.1
Adjusted profit (4) $ 33.6   $ 53.4   $ 47.8   $ 74.4
                       
Gross profit margin   10.4%     10.0%     8.8%     9.7%
MG&A as a percent of revenue   3.8%     4.1%     4.8%     5.5%
Adjusted EBITDA(5)   79.1     77.9     184.0     171.9
Adjusted EBITDA margin   8.7%     8.4%     6.0%     6.0%
Operating margin   6.0%     7.7%     3.2%     4.1%
Earnings per share - basic $ 0.54   $ 1.06   $ 0.77   $ 1.46
Earnings per share - diluted $ 0.48   $ 0.71   $ 0.72   $ 1.18
                       
Adjusted earnings per share - basic (6) $ 0.64   $ 1.01   $ 0.91   $ 1.41
Adjusted earnings per share - diluted (6) $ 0.50   $ 0.71   $ 0.84   $ 1.18
                       
Backlog             $ 1,773   $ 2,428
                       

(1)      This press release presents certain non-GAAP and additional 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 in the consolidated financial statements. Further details on non-GAAP and additional GAAP measures are included in the Company's Management's Discussion and Analysis and available through the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval at www.sedar.com.
(2)      Certain 2012 amounts in this press release have been restated due to the adoption of IFRS 11, "Joint Arrangements" and IAS 19 (2011), "Employee Benefits". See Note 4 "New Accounting Standards" in the December 31, 2013 Consolidated Financial Statements for further details.
(3)      "Operating profit (loss)" represents the profit (loss) from operations, before net financing expense, income taxes and non-controlling interests.
(4)      "Adjusted profit (loss)" represents the profit (loss) adjusted to exclude the after-tax fair value gain (loss) on the embedded derivative portion of convertible debentures.
(5)      "Adjusted EBITDA" represents operating profit (loss) adjusted to exclude depreciation and amortization, the gain (loss) on sales of assets and investments, and net income (loss) from projects accounted for using the equity method, but including "JV EBITDA" from projects accounted for using the equity method.
(6)      "Adjusted earnings (loss) per share" represents earnings (loss) per share calculated using adjusted profit (loss).
   

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL RESULTS

"Aecon has emerged as the premier construction and infrastructure development company for large, complex, multi-disciplinary projects - the result of our drive to diligently work in leading joint ventures, on sophisticated multi-year projects," said Teri McKibbon, President and Chief Operating Officer. "The Eglinton Crosstown LRT tunnel project, John Hart Generating Station civil construction contract, and most recently the recommendation of Aecon's joint venture for the Waterloo Region LRT project are strong indications of what we can expect as we move forward in 2014."

Revenue of $3,069 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 increased by $182 million compared to $2,887 million in 2012. The 6 per cent increase in revenue resulted primarily from a $377 million increase in the Energy segment.

Adjusted EBITDA increased to $184.0 million (margin of 6.0 per cent) for the year ended 2013, versus $171.9 million (margin of 6.0 per cent) for the year ended 2012. (The year-over-year increase occurred notwithstanding a specific project provision that affected the Infrastructure and Energy segments in 2013.)

Operating profit decreased to $97 million for the year ended December 31, 2013, from $117 million in 2012, in part from the specific project provision in the Infrastructure and Energy segments noted above, as well as from lower operating profit in the Concessions segment following the impact in 2012 from both the release of project contingencies and a reduction of income taxes related to the Quito airport project that did not repeat in 2013.

Backlog was $1,773 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $2,428 million at the end of 2012. New contract awards of $2,413 million were booked in 2013 compared to $2,985 million in 2012.

Not included in backlog, but important to Aecon's prospects due to the increasingly significant volume involved, is the expected recurring 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. This recurring revenue currently represents approximately 25 per cent of overall revenue.

REPORTING SEGMENTS

Aecon reports its financial performance on the basis of four segments: Infrastructure, Energy, Mining, and Concessions.

INFRASTRUCTURE SEGMENT

The Infrastructure segment includes all aspects of the construction of both public and private infrastructure, primarily in Canada, and on a selected basis, internationally. The Infrastructure segment focuses primarily on the transportation, heavy civil and social infrastructure markets.

Financial Highlights

                       
    Three months ended     Year ended
$ millions   December 31     December 31
    2013     2012     2013     2012
                       
Revenue $ 277.9   $ 341.6   $ 1,000.0   $ 1,195.0
Gross profit $ 13.9   $ 11.4   $ 35.4   $ 62.7
Adjusted EBITDA $ 4.6   $ 3.1   $ (1.2)   $ 21.2
Operating profit (loss) $ 0.2   $ (0.9)   $ (18.2)   $ 5.7
                       
Adjusted EBITDA margin   1.7%     0.9%     (0.1)%     1.8%
Operating margin   0.1%     (0.3)%     (1.8)%     0.5%
Backlog             $ 820   $ 1,120
                       
                       

For the year ended December 31, 2013, revenue in the Infrastructure segment of $1 billion decreased by $195 million over the prior year. Most of the decrease occurred in heavy civil operations following the completion of several large projects in the latter part of 2012, including the Quito airport project and the Autoroute 30 project in Quebec. In addition, revenue also decreased in social infrastructure operations, primarily in the buildings business in Quebec and Ontario as Aecon continues to re-focus its operations in this sector, as well as in its mechanical operations in Western Canada. These decreases were partly offset by an increase in revenue in the transportation operations due to a higher volume of road building work in Ontario.

For the fourth quarter, operating profit was $0.2 million compared to an operating loss of $0.9 million in the comparable period of 2012. The operating loss in the Infrastructure segment for 2013 was $18.2 million compared to an operating profit of $5.7 million in 2012. A year-over-year decrease in transportation operations occurred primarily as a result of the segment's 50 per cent share of the previously noted project loss in 2013. There was also a reduction in operating profit from social infrastructure operations related to the mechanical business in Western Canada as a result of lower volume of work and lower margin compared with 2012. A decline in heavy civil operations was mostly volume driven.

Infrastructure backlog at December 31, 2013 was $820 million, which is $300 million lower than the same time last year with most of the decrease occurring in social infrastructure and transportation operations, due to lower contract awards in comparison to the prior year. New contract awards totaled $700 million in 2013 compared to $986 million in the prior year. The year-end backlog does not include the two projects announced subsequent to year end and discussed above totaling nearly $500 million.

ENERGY SEGMENT

The Energy segment encompasses a full suite of service offerings to the energy market including industrial construction and manufacturing activities such as in-plant construction, site construction and module assembly. The Energy segment focuses primarily on the following sectors: oil and gas, power generation, pipelines, utilities, and energy support services.

Financial Highlights

                       
    Three months ended     Year ended
$ millions   December 31     December 31
    2013     2012     2013     2012
                       
Revenue $ 466.4   $ 368.3   $ 1,396.4   $ 1,018.9
Gross profit $ 64.6   $ 52.0   $ 153.1   $ 123.6
Adjusted EBITDA $ 53.3   $ 35.7   $ 97.4   $ 63.2
Operating profit $ 49.6   $ 32.1   $ 84.1   $ 50.4
                       
Adjusted EBITDA margin   11.4%     9.7%     7.0%     6.2%
Operating margin   10.6%     8.7%     6.0%     4.9%
Backlog             $ 876   $ 997
                       
                       

The Energy segment reported revenue of $1,396 million for the year 2013, an increase of $377 million, or 37 per cent, compared to revenue of $1,019 million in the previous year. Substantially all of the increase was a result of higher volume in utilities operations, primarily from pipeline work in Western Canada and from gas distribution work in Ontario.

Operating profit for the Energy segment of $84.1 million for the year increased by $33.7 million compared to 2012 with improvements in both utilities and industrial operations. The increase in operating profit from utilities operations of $12 million is primarily attributable to higher volume and the increase in industrial operations of $22 million is due to higher volume and margin from fabrication projects in Atlantic Canada and IST, as well as from higher volume in Central Canada, primarily from power generation projects. These increases were partly offset by lower operating profit from industrial operations in Western Canada due to lower volume and the segment's 50 per cent share of the previously noted project loss in 2013.

Energy segment backlog at December 31, 2013 of $876 million was $121 million lower than the end of last year primarily due to lower backlog in utilities operations as a result of significant work off on pipeline projects in Western Canada throughout 2013. This reduction in backlog was partially offset by new contract awards for site construction projects in the resources sector in Western Canada. New contract awards of $1,275 million in 2013 were $322 million lower than in 2012. Most of the decrease in new awards occurred in utilities operations in Western Canada which obtained significant multi-year pipeline project awards in the previous year.

MINING SEGMENT

The Mining segment offers turn-key services consolidating Aecon's mining capabilities and services across Canada, including both mine site installations and contract mining. This segment offers construction services that span the scope of a project's life cycle: from overburden removal and resource extraction, to processing, and then to environmental reclamation.

Financial Highlights

                       
    Three months ended     Year ended
$ millions   December 31     December 31
    2013     2012     2013     2012
                       
Revenue $ 169.4   $ 223.9   $ 705.8   $ 676.7
Gross profit $ 20.5   $ 34.3   $ 86.7   $ 97.5
Adjusted EBITDA $ 22.3   $ 32.0   $ 74.5   $ 85.8
Operating profit $ 14.8   $ 23.7   $ 48.0   $ 61.3
                       
Adjusted EBITDA margin   13.2%     14.3%     10.6%     12.7%
Operating margin   8.7%     10.6%     6.8%     9.1%
Backlog             $ 77   $ 311
                       
     

For the year ended December 31, 2013, the Mining segment increased revenue by $29 million to $706 million compared to revenue of $677 million in the previous year. The majority of the increase was due to higher volume of site installation work in the commodity mining sector and from contract mining projects in the oilsands. Partially offsetting these increases was lower volume of civil construction projects related to mining, primarily in Western Canada due to the completion of significant projects in 2012.

In the Mining segment, operating profit of $48 million for the year, decreased by $13.3 million compared to last year. The decrease was mainly due to lower operating profit from civil construction projects due to lower volume as well as lower margin in contract mining operations in Western Canada. Contract mining was impacted by adverse weather conditions, a significant change in mix versus the prior year, and other productivity factors in 2013, resulting in challenging site conditions, lower utilization of larger equipment and reduced project efficiencies. Partially offsetting these decreases were volume driven improvements from site installation work in the commodity mining sector.

Backlog in the Mining segment at December 31, 2013 of $77 million was $234 million lower than last year as a result of the completion of work on a number of significant projects throughout 2013.  New contract awards of $472 million in 2013 were $106 million higher than in 2012.

CONCESSIONS SEGMENT

The Concessions segment includes the development, financing, construction and operation of infrastructure projects by way of build-operate-transfer, build-own-operate-transfer and other public-private partnership contract structures.

Financial Highlights

                       
    Three months ended     Year ended
$ millions   December 31     December 31
    2013     2012     2013     2012
                       
Revenue $ 1.0   $ 1.1   $ 3.0   $ 2.9
Gross profit $ (4.4)   $ (4.4)   $ (4.7)   $ (4.9)
Income from projects accounted for using the equity method $ 5.0   $ 28.9   $ 23.6   $ 41.8
Adjusted EBITDA $ 7.5   $ 12.3   $ 39.8   $ 28.1
Operating profit $ 0.2   $ 23.7   $ 16.6   $ 33.2
                       
   

For the year ended December 31, 2013, operating profit of $16.6 million was $16.6 million lower than the same period last year. Included in the 2012 results was an $11 million benefit from the reduction of previously accrued income taxes, as well as the release of $7.4 million in contingencies and other items, related to the Quito airport project. After accounting for the impact of these 2012 specific items, the remaining year-over-year increase in Concessions operating profit resulted from higher revenue in Quiport JV following the transition of operations from the old Quito airport to the new Quito airport in February 2013 and year-over-year passenger growth.

DIVIDEND INCREASE

"The Board decided to increase the annual dividend on the basis of Aecon's continued financial progress and positive outlook," said John M. Beck.

The annual dividend will be paid to all shareholders of Aecon Common shares and will increase to $0.36 per share (from $0.32 per share) to be paid in four quarterly payments of $0.09 per share (from $0.08 per share). The first increased quarterly payment will be paid on April 1, 2014 to shareholders of record on March 21, 2014.

CONSOLIDATED RESULTS

The consolidated results for the three months and years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012 are available at the end of this news release.

Balance Sheet Highlights

         
    Dec. 31   Dec. 31
 $ thousands (unaudited)   2013   2012
         
Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash $ 244,536 $ 66,977
Other current assets   885,052   996,836
Property, plant and equipment   512,257   508,553
Other long-term assets   351,741   291,247
Total Assets $ 1,993,586 $ 1,863,613
         
Current liabilities $ 940,356 $ 834,849
Long-term debt   123,128   146,048
Convertible debentures - long term portion   248,817   253,189
Other long-term liabilities   94,677   86,369
Equity   586,608   543,158
Total Liabilities and Equity $ 1,993,586 $ 1,863,613
         
   

CONFERENCE CALL

A conference call has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 10 a.m. (ET) to discuss Aecon's 2013 year-end financial results. Participants should dial 416-981-9033 or 1-800-941-7616 at least 10 minutes prior to the conference time. A replay will be available after 12 p.m. at 1-800-558-5253 or 416-626-4100 until midnight on March 19, 2014. The reservation number is 21707142.

ABOUT AECON

Aecon 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 INFORMATION

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 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 ended For the Year ended
    December 31 December 31 December 31 December 31
    2013 2012 2013 2012
                   
Revenue $ 906,213 $ 932,139 $ 3,068,608 $ 2,887,106
Direct costs and expenses   (811,655)   (838,883)   (2,798,134)   (2,608,184)
Gross profit   94,558   93,256   270,474   278,922
                   
Marketing, general and administrative expenses   (34,286)   (38,591)   (148,004)   (157,707)
Depreciation and amortization   (16,273)   (17,763)   (63,024)   (60,640)
Income from projects accounted for using the equity method   11,270   34,302   37,852   55,680
Other income (loss)   (680)   416   (42)   1,079
Operating profit   54,589   71,620   97,256   117,334
                   
Finance income   226   486   1,953   2,104
Finance costs   (10,780)   (5,615)   (40,289)   (29,257)
Fair value gain (loss) on convertible debentures   (7,340)   3,944   (9,750)   4,260
Profit before income taxes   36,695   70,435   49,170   94,441
Income tax expense   (8,442)   (14,095)   (8,572)   (16,845)
Profit for the period $ 28,253 $ 56,340 $ 40,598 $ 77,596
                   
                   
Basic earnings per share $ 0.54 $ 1.06 $ 0.77 $ 1.46
Diluted earnings per share $ 0.48 $ 0.71 $ 0.72 $ 1.18

 

SOURCE Aecon Group Inc.

For further information:

Vince Borg
Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Aecon Group Inc.
416-297-2615
vborg@aecon.com

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