Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Matrix Service (MTRX) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

By Motley Fool Transcribing - Sep 12, 2018 at 11:26AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

MTRX earnings call for the period ending June 30, 2018.

Logo of jester cap with thought bubble with words 'Fool Transcripts' below it

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Matrix Service (MTRX 4.71%)
Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call
Sep. 11, 2018 10:30 a.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Matrix Service Company conference call to discuss results for the fourth quarter fiscal 2018. [Operator instructions] As a reminder, this call may be recorded. I would now like to introduce your host for today's conference, Kellie Smythe, senior director of investor relations. Ma'am, you may begin.

Kellie Smythe -- Senior Director of Investor Relations

Good morning, and welcome to Matrix Service Company's fourth-quarter earnings call. Participants on today's call will include John Hewitt, president and chief executive officer, and Kevin Cavanah, vice president and chief financial officer. The presentation materials we will be using during the webcast today can also be found on the Investor Relations section of the Matrix Service Company website. Before we begin, please let me remind you that on today's call, the company may make various remarks about future expectations, plans and prospects for Matrix Service Company that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Actual results may differ --differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those discussed in our annual report on Form 10-K for our fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, and in subsequent filings made by the company with the SEC. To the extent the company utilizes non-GAAP measures, reconciliations will be provided in various press releases and on the company's website. I will now turn the call over to John Hewitt, president and CEO of the Matrix Service Company.

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Kelly. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. Today, as you know, is September 11. It was on this day 17 years ago when incomprehensible and senseless acts of terrorism targeted the World Trade Center and Washington, D.C.

Two thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven people died because of those acts and thousands more were injured, among them, not only those who were put directly in harm's way but also the first responders who rushed toward danger to save others. As we begin our call today, I'd like for us to take time to remember them. For these people, their right to a safe environment was taken away. As we take time to remember them, I also ask that each of us contemplate the fact that, except for extraordinary events like 9/11, through our own behaviors and actions, we have the ability and the obligation to protect ourselves and those around us from harm.

Each of us has the right to go home safely at the end of each day. So as you go about your daily life, please choose to own safety for yourself as well as those around you. You can make a difference in the lives of others. For our Matrix employees who are listening, I want to thank you for another year of record safety performance.

By putting safety first, our company finished the fiscal year with a total recordable incident rate of 0.49. Turning now to our performance and outlook. On past calls, we have talked about the cyclical nature of some of the end markets we serve and the fact that industrial contractors like Matrix traditionally lag behind changes in commodity pricing, macroeconomic developments and client sentiment, both good and bad. Accordingly, we are historically the last to be impacted or to recover from these cycles.

This has certainly been the case with the projected downturn in capital spending following the collapse in oil prices in 2014, and the slow has been recovered -- recovery that began in 2016 but which has only now beginning to yield higher investment by our customer base. Fortunately, we entered this period with a record backlog, which helped us bridge a portion of the gap this end market had created. However, for the last 18 months, we've had to balance our cost structure and strategic plans against a very competitive environment with limited capital work and a higher percentage of lower-margin maintenance work, all the while positioning ourselves for the wave of expected projects created by the upturn in our end markets. In calendar 2017, our customers finally began to experience real recovery as a result of continued improvement in commodity pricing, the fastest growth in global GDP in six years and a more business-friendly regulatory and legislative environment.

While some portions of our business began to recover in early fiscal 2018, such as our iron and steel business, the majority did not begin to feel improved bidding award cycles, pricing, and volumes until late fiscal 2018. Delayed timing of awards and starts, as well as depressed volumes in electrical infrastructure and storage solutions, led to lower overall revenue volume for the year and associated under-recovered construction overhead costs. This was the key driver in our operating results for fiscal 2018. We also recognized an asset impairment in our electrical infrastructure segment because of a directional change in strategy and competitive market pressures in our core high-voltage business.

Kevin will review this in more detail later in the call. That said, on stronger market conditions, today, we are seeing a much-improved backlog position and an expectation that the strong award cycle exhibited in Q3, and now Q4, will continue and resulting revenue volumes will improve as we move through fiscal 2019. Despite the challenges and disappointments over the past 18 months, I want to highlight that we achieved significant accomplishments that position us for success as we move forward. Specifically, we maintained a relentless focus on safety and, for the second consecutive year, achieved a total recordable incident rate of 0.49, thus assuring our position as a highly qualified contractor to our clients.

We continue to execute against our strategic plan with a goal of achieving $2 billion in revenue by 2022 and, in accordance with that plan, continue to leverage the strength and diversification of our business model to pursue work across our operating segments and enter international markets. For example, in Mexico, we are partnering with GDI, an in-country leader in pipeline infrastructure, on the EPC of IEnova's new marine liquids terminal at the Port of Veracruz. We continue to focus on taking cost out of the business without sacrificing the resources and the capacity needed for the work we knew was coming. For example, we limited capital expenditures and focused on other cost control measures throughout the business, including the rate of SG&A growth, streamlining of construction overhead, consolidation of office locations and divestiture of non-core assets.

We strategically and proactively repositioned our service offering in electrical infrastructure segment to limit risk and position the company to improve volumes in that segment. We have moved away from large-scale power generation projects to smaller packaged-type work, which is beginning to gain traction. Our organic focus to expand high-voltage electrical beyond our dominant Northeast and Mid-Atlantic market territory into the Midwest and elsewhere has kicked off with the completion of two key client master service agreements. We successfully managed the large power generation project to a positive and mutually acceptable completion while maintaining the relationship with our client.

We completed the integration of the engineering business we acquired in late 2016, which tripled our engineering staff, added technical depth, expanded our capacity in terminals and added new skill sets in marine structures, gas processing, sulfur, and material handling. This strategic addition has provided key resources and strength for our ability to greatly expand our backlog, most noticeably in the project awards you are now seeing in our storage solutions segment. As always, we took a conservative approach to managing our balance sheet and, in fiscal 2018, paid off nearly $45 million in borrowings largely related to our engineering acquisition. As such, we began fiscal 2019 with zero debt and liquidity sufficient to support the business growth we are expecting.

There are examples of great project performance outcomes in some of our legacy backlog, which helped offset the challenging market environment in which we were navigating. We made a strategic shift in our service offering in California to support the changing business conditions our energy clients face as a result of the passage of state Senate Bill 54, a shift that is already creating strong growth opportunities for the company. By focusing on our employees, Matrix was once again certified as a great place to work. We work hard to become an employer of choice with a work environment that is inclusive and diverse and a place where the best and the brightest work, live our values and share a strong positive culture.

And finally, we completed a board refreshment process that has brought more diversity and new perspectives with an enhanced expertise in end markets we serve, the EPC business, corporate governance, and finance. There's no question that we are emerging from the protracted downturn in capital projects and depressed maintenance spending across the end markets that we serve. Following the improved trend of project awards, including third-quarter awards of $435 million, we booked $598 million in awards in our fourth quarter. We ended the fiscal year with project awards of $1.63 billion, an increase of 54% over fiscal 2017, and entered fiscal 2019 with a much healthier backlog than we have experienced in some time, $1.22 billion at June 30, 2018, up 79% in the year and the highest backlog in nearly three years.

As we look forward, we expect continued strength in project awards across all of our operating segments. In storage solutions, you can expect project awards to include storage and terminal work for crude, refined products, natural gas, and gas liquids. In oil, gas, and chemical, we are seeing a return to higher-margin turnaround, maintenance, and repair work inside refineries across North America. We're also seeing expanded opportunities in upstream gas processing and compression created for us by our strategic engineering expansion.

And in our industrial segment, we continue to see an uptick in capital projects in iron and steel, where we have a preeminent brand position. For example, in addition to work previously awarded in fiscal 2018, long-standing customers like U.S. Steel have publicly committed to spending at least $750 million to upgrade their Gary Works facility as part of a $2 billion companywide asset revitalization program. Given our extensive expertise in serving the integrated producers and our long-standing relationship with U.S.

Steel, we expect to earn our fair share of that work. Beyond our work across U.S. Steel's facilities, we support all the integrated producers as they start up and revitalize their facilities. In our electrical segment, we saw an improved book-to-bill of 1.6 in the quarter, which represents a higher-quality and more diverse backlog.

Over the long term, we expect improvement in this segment. However, the timing of such may come at a slower pace as our geographic expansion gains traction and other market forces improve. In short, we are very pleased with our position moving into fiscal 2019 and the steady ongoing pace of high-quality awards we expect to receive as we move through the year. Based on our outlook, we expect significant improved operating performance, and accordingly, the company's fiscal 2019 revenue guidance is $1.25 billion to $1.35 billion, with earnings of $0.85 to $1.15 per share.

In closing, as we put what has been a long, painful down cycle behind us, I want to thank our customers for your continued trust in our ability to meet and exceed your expectations and also thank our shareholders and employees for your resilience and resolve as we weather this storm together. I'll now turn the call over to Kevin to discuss fourth-quarter and full-year results.

Kevin Cavanah -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, John. The first item I'd like to discuss is the $18 million impairment we record in the quarter. The impairment primarily relates to goodwill in the electiral infrastructure segment and was triggered by the following factors. First, our decision to shift our strategy waveform full EPC power generation projects to smaller individual packages the better fit our risk profile; and secondly, the recent trend of increased competition and sluggish maintenance and capital spending by some key clients in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic high-voltage markets.

While these factors resulted in a non-cash impairment charge, we remain committed to the electrical infrastructure segment based upon the long-term market opportunities we see as well as our strategy to expand our geographic footprint in high-voltage work. As a result of this impairment, we are reporting a $0.55 loss per share for the quarter and a $0.43 loss per share for the fiscal year. In order to understand the true operating results for our business, the impairment must be excluded. Therefore, the adjusted earnings per share were $0.03 for the quarter and $0.15 for the full fiscal year.

As I go through the remainder of my comments, I will utilize these adjusted EPS amounts. As you look at the fourth-quarter results, the significant takeaways on our performance are as follows. First, our fourth-quarter revenue of $293 million improved significantly from the third-quarter revenue of $246 million. Growth in the industrial, storage solutions, and oil, gas, and chemical segments drove this $47 million increase, which was 19% over the third quarter.

Second, our earnings returned to profitability as a result of the increased revenue in the fourth quarter. Our adjusted EPS increased to $0.03, as compared to the $0.19 loss per share reported in the third quarter. The improvements of both revenue and EPS were consistent with our expectations and the updated guidance we provided last quarter. Last quarter, we also communicated our expectation of continued backlog growth in the fourth quarter.

As John noted, we are pleased with the quarterly project awards of $598 million. This is the highest level of project awards in 13 quarters and the second highest in our company's history. This brings our full-year project awards to over $1.6 billion, which is also our second highest level in company history. These project awards resulted in a quarterly backlog book-to-bill of 2.0 and a full-year book-to-bill of 1.5.

We end the year with backlog of over $1.2 billion, which is up 79% from the beginning of the year. This bodes well for much improved operating performance in fiscal 2019. Now I'll discuss specific results for the fourth quarter as compared to the same period last year. Consolidated revenue for the quarter was $293 million, compared to $292 million last year.

While total revenue was up slightly year over year, the mix in the quarter shifted across the segments. Our storage solutions and industrial segments saw significant improvement this quarter. This strength was offset by lower year-over-year revenue in the electrical segment. To reiterate an important point we made to you recently, we believe the lowest quarters of revenue are behind us and expect revenue in future quarters to reflect the strong increase in backlog and the improved end markets in which we serve.

We expect revenue at the start of the year to modestly increase as the projects reflected in our growing backlog ramp up. We expect that ramp-up to complete as we reach the middle of the fiscal year. The company recorded consolidated gross profit of $21.5 million during the quarter, compared to $23.1 million during the fourth quarter the prior year. Our overall gross margin for the quarter was 7.3%, compared to 7.9% in the prior year.

Gross margins in the current period were lower than our normal expectations due to the lack of favorable project closeouts and as we continue to complete lower-margin work that was signed prior to the recent improvement in the markets we serve. We expect better gross margins as we move through fiscal 2019 on higher revenue volumes, improved margin profile of our backlog and resulting improvement in construction overhead utilization. Consolidated SG&A during the period was $20.6 million, compared to $19.6 million one year ago. The increase was due to a higher level of project pursuit costs.

Our effective tax rate in the quarter was negatively impacted as a significant portion of the impairment was not deductible for tax purposes. As a reminder, we expect our effective tax rate to be approximately 27% moving forward. Now let me talk briefly about fourth-quarter segment performance. Storage Solutions produced consolidated revenue of $96 million, compared to $80 million in the prior year.

The increase was driven by recovering levels of capital spending, which has resulted in a modest improvement in recovery of construction overhead cost. Gross margins in the quarter were 9.1%, as compared to 8.4% in the prior year. The margin opportunity, the work performed and the absence of positive project closeouts in the quarter prevented us from achieving our normal expected gross margins of 11% to 13%. The pace and size of new project awards bodes well for future revenue volume and margins in the segment.

In our electrical infrastructure segment, revenue of $53 million is well below the prior-year level of $100 million. The lower revenue was driven by two separate factors: first, the expected decline in revenue from EPC power generation; and secondly, a lower volume of high-voltage revenue due to market conditions and the limited ERPs in which we operate. Primarily for these reasons, gross margins in the quarter were 5.2%, as compared to 8% last year. Going into fiscal 2019, we expect improvement in this segment.

However, the timing of the core market recovery and the expected benefit of our geographic expansion could be slower to materialize. Based on the current market environment, our margin expectations for this segment are now 9% to 12%. In the oil gas and chemical segment, revenue was $80 million, compared to $83 million one year ago. The slight decrease was a result of lower capital work, partially offset by higher volumes of maintenance and turnaround work.

The majority of this segment is operating within our long-term margin expectations of 10% to 12%. However, the actual consolidated gross margins of 7.3% as compared to 7.1% in the prior year reflect some legacy lower-margin work. The industrial segment delivered yet another solid quarter. Revenue of $64 million was significantly higher than the prior-year figure of $29 million, driven by the significant rebound in orders from our iron and steel customers that began in early fiscal 2018.

Gross margins of 6.4% were near the bottom of our expected range of 7% to 10%. Margins were 8.7% in the prior year. I will now briefly touch on full-year results. For the year, we produced revenue of $1.092 billion and adjusted earnings per share of $0.15.

These amounts were within our previous guidance for revenue of $1.075 billion to $1.1 billion and EPS of $0.15 to $0.20. Moving to our balance sheet. As of June 30, 2018, our cash balance stood at $64.1 million. We were able to increase cash by $20.3 million during the year.

We produced $74.7 million from operations, which was largely offset by $44.9 million of debt repayments and capex spend, which was limited to 0.8% of revenue. We began fiscal 2019 with 0 debt and liquidity of $137.2 million. Finally, I'd like to talk about guidance. As John said earlier, the past couple of years have been challenging, but we entered fiscal 2019 with improved markets and a strong backlog.

Operating volumes will grow as activities on the significant project awards the last two quarters ramp up. The revenue volume should show modest improvement in the first quarter and then grow from there. For the full year, we expect to produce revenue of between $1.25 billion and $1.35 billion and earnings per share of $0.85 to $1.15. We will now open the call up for questions.

Questions and Answers:


Thank you. [Operator instructions] Your first question comes from Tahira Afzal with KeyBanc. Your line is open.

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hi, John and Kevin.

Kevin Cavanah -- Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, Tahira.

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

I guess first question for me is, as I look at your revenue guidance, it seems to imply a slow burn rate, much lower than what we even saw last year. Could you put that into perspective? You clearly have some large projects, so they have maybe a slow burn rate. But should I assume there's a bit of conservatism on how these projects move forward? Any color on servicing for your large orders would be helpful.

Kevin Cavanah -- Chief Financial Officer

So I think there's really three factors that you need to think about when you're looking at the backlog growth and the burn rate. So first of all, these projects that we booked this last six months are longer-term projects. Many of them are two-plus years, and so a little bit different from the smaller projects we booked the past couple of years that burn off within, normally, 12 months. So it will burn off slower there.

And secondly, we've got projects that we've already started on, but the first phase is our engineering. It's not related to field for three to six months on these projects, so as a result, the ramp up will be slower than we -- you might normally expect. And so when we look at the -- finally, when we look at the backlog, as I said, I think we expect modest improvement in the first quarter, and then it's going to -- by the second, third quarter, you will see the ramp up. So that's our expectation.

And as we've set that expectation, we've tried to consider the risks related to project slippage that's impacted us in this last, say, couple of years, and we think we've factored that into our expectations.

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks, Kevin. And if I look at the backlog you're taking in, there's so many factors, obviously, that determine, really, the margins embedded in that backlog. But any directional sense versus where you ended this year in terms of gross margins?

Kevin Cavanah -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So I think the backlog we've added, we call it quality backlog. These are good projects that bear margins for us. And so -- and obviously, storage solutions has led the way in the growth.

And we think that those are going to produce fair margins and in our expected range of 11% to 13%. When you think about margins as you go through the year, I think you'll see a progression. We're still working off some lower-margin work that we signed before the markets improved. You saw that in the fourth quarter.

Some of that is still in the first quarter. But as we move through the year, we'll get closer to the -- should get closer to the margin expectation we've set.

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

Got it. OK, Kevin. And I've got lots of questions but I'll just hop back in the line.


Thank you. Your next question comes from John Franzreb with Sidoti & Company. Your line is open.

John Franzreb -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

Yeah. Let's stick with the gross margin profile. Now that you did the writedown in electrical, are your expectations on what the gross margins outlook for that business changed at all?

Kevin Cavanah -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So I think we previously had a publicized range of 11%, 13% for that segment. We ticked that down last quarter to 10%, 12%. We've seen some weakness in the segment, but we didn't really think it was as bad as what it's actually been.

So we've kind of widened it to 9% to 12% this time as we set the guidance for this year. Obviously, we performed lower than that in the fourth quarter. But I think we're seeing an improvement in the markets in which we serve, and so we believe we're going to be moving back up into that range as we move through fiscal '19.

John Franzreb -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

OK. And the last time the storage backlog was this strong was a few years back, when you had Dakota Access in the mix. Could you talk a little bit about the projects that are in the storage mix? It doesn't sound like you have significantly large jobs that are swinging like Dakota did. But can you talk a little bit about, a, what that mix looks like; and b, how long have those projects been on the books? And where are they letting from? Are these new projects or the stuff that was deferred?

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So we've got a -- which is good. We got a mix of projects everywhere from full EPC crude storage terminals to individual crude and refined product tank awards as well as specialty vessels and spheres and tanks for natural gas liquids. And so it's really -- and it's just a good mix of work and geographically is fairly diverse between Oklahoma and Texas. And we have work up in the Colorado area and California, and we have work down in Florida that we're doing.

So it's a pretty good mix of work that we're seeing throughout the business. And so we have projects -- some projects that are in the $200 million to $300 million range and projects that are bound in the sort of typical tank market in the $5 million to $15 million. So we really like what we're seeing. And we continue to see a very strong pipeline in storage in general across all the energy medias and across a lot of different geographies.

One of the big drivers we see, though, is the exporting of crude and refined products and gas and gas liquids that a lot of these projects are associated with in some form or fashion.

John Franzreb -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

OK. And last question, and I'll get back in the queue. Just on that order pipeline you referred to, John, last quarter, you kind of said that you fully expected Q4 to be similar order intake as Q3. I don't know.

I might have missed it, but what kind of color do you think about the order pipeline in Q1 versus Q4? Should we expect a step-down, as a meaningful step-down? Do we expect something similar? Can you kind of give us color on what the order intake will look like going forward in the near term?

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we think the -- we think through the course of the year, our book-to-bill will be in excess of 1 through the course of the year. Some quarters should be a little stronger than others. What we're seeing right now from a storage perspective is near-term projects are probably more along the lines of crude-related type work. And we would expect toward the back end of this fiscal year to start to see a split probably more LNG and gas-related projects into our backlog.

So again, we'll get into a situation, I think, on our order pipeline or project pipeline where we're going to be able to be a little more choosy on the projects that we're going to put a full-court press on. And I think the projects, what we're going to be able to start to overlay from a timing perspective on the projects that we have, will be nice follow-on projects. As the ones -- as some projects finish out, we'll be able to move into some -- into other opportunities.

John Franzreb -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

Great. That's good to hear. Thanks for the color. I'll get back in the queue.

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.


Thank you. [Operator instructions] You have a follow-up question from the line of Tahira Afzal with KeyBanc. Your line is open.

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hey, John and Kevin. So you opened up the Pandora's box by bringing up LNG, so here I go. I mean, Magnolia don't know for sure when it's happening, but it seems like Golden Pass, there could be two outcomes, one that might favor you, so any comments there. And then with Venture Global, it seems that project is one where KBR is in poor position.

KBR does not have storage solution. Any thoughts on that from you as well?

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

These large-scale LNG export terminals, we're supporting those projects from a bidding perspective, our near-term focus is more on the small- and medium-scale projects that are providing ship bunkering for LNG or providing export for small-scale export maybe into the Caribbean projects that are providing LNG into -- for power -- for power stations in the sort of mid-continent. So we're not really -- we're not completely counting, I would say, this fiscal year on some big awards in LNG exports. I think they're coming. They are out there.

We're, right now, more focused on these smaller, mid-scale kind of terminals, so similar to the one. We're building a project right now in Arizona, which is going very well. It's about 30%, 40% complete for Southwest Gas. And so that's -- again, that job is -- that project is really about the clients storing gas at low-demand periods and have the gas available during high-demand periods just to put gas into their pipeline to serve their client base.

So we're seeing probably a lot more near-term opportunities around those kinds of projects.

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

Got it, OK. And with the small- and medium-scale LNG and bunkering, does that involve orders guide to IMO 2020, John?

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I don't know specifically. I would say some of that -- I mean, there's -- we're seeing projects in Florida that are related to cruise ships. They're doing fuel switching. Some of the new cruise ships have been reported that there's a build of new ships.

They're going to be powered will LNG. And so some of that is driving some of the projects that we are looking at in some of those -- some of those markets.

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

Got it, OK. So yeah, it seems there's a whole lot of different opportunities. If you look at your prospect pipeline and divide it up into what you're most excited about over the next 12 months, what could that be?

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I think probably storage is -- all things storage is probably No.1. I think our -- we're seeing a lot of strength in our refinery maintenance and turnaround business. We're expecting that to continue throughout this fiscal year. We're -- we think we're in a really good position to really start to take advantage of the upstream gas compression and processing markets and with our new engineering capabilities.

And I think the electrical business, while we've had a little bumpy ride there, but as Kevin said, we're starting to see some strength return in our core markets in the Northeast. And we're starting to see some real attraction to our services and to clients in the Midwest, where we've, as we noted, we've signed some contract or choice MSA arrangements with few of the big public utilities. So we've seen a lot of opportunity there. In Industrial, frankly, there -- it's continuing to be very strong, and our brand position there in the iron and steel business has really got us in a great spot.

But the No. 1 thing, I think, we're going to see for us is in all things storage.

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

Got it, OK. OK, that's good to know. And I guess last question for me as a follow-up. If you look at the guidance you've given on the EPS side, what would place it up in lower end versus high end? Is it more execution and timing of what's already in backlog? Or are we still dependent on what -- on new orders coming through?

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I think it's more execution and starts. So while the majority of the projects that we have put in backlog are all rolling and we're not having permitting issues or there's no financial close issues with those projects, but just you get through this engineering process, clients still have the opportunity to make some changes. During that engineering process, they may be looking for different alternatives in their facilities. And so that could potentially slow when we actually start construction.

It gets slow when we start to buy the more expensive engineered pieces of equipment. And so that can slow down our revenue ramp-up, which is really good to drive our revenues up to higher levels. New awards -- we think new awards are going to -- are important to our completion to hit these revenues this year, but they're not as significant an issue as they were in fiscal 2018.

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

Got it. OK. OK. Thank you, guys.

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.


Thank you. And you have a follow-up question from the line of John Franzreb with Sidoti & Company. Your line is open.

John Franzreb -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

Yes. You got a clean balance sheet. Can you talk a little bit about your thoughts on capital structure and also on M&A and the opportunity pipeline out there?

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. On M&A, we're -- we are, right now, at least for the first part of the -- first half of the year, we're going to be pretty focused on operations and performance and getting these projects kicked off and making sure those things are happening, that we're delivering to the bottom line what we forecast we can deliver. And I think we'll probably get a little more serious about M&A opportunities as we move into the back half of the year, kind of where our heads are right now. There's a lot of opportunities -- we have a lot of opportunities out there.

As we said in the past, one of our focus areas will be electrical infrastructure segment to probably accelerate our expansion and -- but we'll also look for other contractors that are -- will help us deepen our bench and provide potentially more technical resources as we expand our engineering capability.

John Franzreb -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

OK. That's it for me. Thank you, guys.

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, John.


Thank you. And I'm showing no further questions at this time. I'd like to turn the call back over to John Hewitt, president and CEO, for closing remarks.

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, everybody, for being on the call today, and we look forward to seeing you on our next earnings call. Thank you.


[Operator signoff]

Duration: 39 minutes

Call Participants:

Kellie Smythe -- Senior Director of Investor Relations

John Hewitt -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Kevin Cavanah -- Chief Financial Officer

Tahira Afzal -- KeyBanc Capital Markets -- Analyst

John Franzreb -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

More MTRX analysis

This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.

10 stocks we like better than Matrix Service
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has quadrupled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the 10 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Matrix Service wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

Click here to learn about these picks!

*Stock Advisor returns as of August 6, 2018

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Matrix Service Company Stock Quote
Matrix Service Company
$5.78 (4.71%) $0.26

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.