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Standex International Corp  (NYSE:SXI)
Q3 2019 Earnings Call
April 30, 2019, 8:30 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by, and welcome to Standex International's Third Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants have been placed in a listen-only mode and the floor will be open for your questions following the presentation. (Operator Instructions).

It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to Gary Farber with Affinity Growth Advisors to begin.

Gary Farber -- Investor Relations

Thank you operator and good morning. Please note that the presentation accompanying management's remarks can be found on Standex's Investor Relations website, www.standex.com. Please refer to Standex's Safe Harbor statement on Slide 2.

Matters that Standex management will discuss on today's conference call include predictions, estimates, expectations and other forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. You should refer to Standex's most recent SEC filings and public announcements for a detailed list of risk factors.

In addition, I would like to remind you that today's discussion will include references to the non-GAAP measures of EBITDA, which is earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization; adjusted EBITDA, which is EBITDA excluding restructuring, purchase accounting, acquisition-related expenses and one-time items, EBITDA margin and adjusted EBITDA margin.

We will also refer to other non-GAAP measures including adjusted net income, adjusted income from operations, adjusted net income from continuing operations, adjusted earnings per share, adjusted operating margin, free operating cash flow and pro forma net debt to EBITDA. These non-GAAP financial measures are intended to serve as a complement to results provided in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.

Standex believes that such information provides an additional measurement and consistent historical comparison of the company's performance.

On the call today is Standex's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, David Dunbar; and Chief Financial Officer, Tom DeByle.

Please turn to Slide 3, and I will turn the call over to David now.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Gary. We began working with Affinity this quarter. We look forward to good working relationship. Let me start with an overview of our fiscal third quarter results and progress in executing our long-term strategy, focused on driving higher growth, profitability and return on investment.

Despite growth at several of our business units and significant strategic accomplishments, we faced several headwinds this quarter, which we currently anticipate will continue into the fourth quarter. I will provide greater detail in my discussion of the individual segments performance later in the call. Even with the challenges in the quarter, we had several significant accomplishments at our business segments that the company will continue to leverage and benefit, as we enter fiscal year 2020.

We continue to see strength in Engineering Technologies, Hydraulics and Scientific businesses. At the Engineering segment, our increased focus and investment in the aviation end-market is delivering strong results. We began nearly three years ago with the launch of a new plant outside Milwaukee to support our aviation customers. Sales in Q3 exceeded $4 million this quarter, as production ramps up on the A320 program.

Standex also continues to make progress on our growth laneways. At the Engraving segment, new offerings generated an approximately 39% year-over-year increase to $9.9 million. The GS Engineering acquisition announced last night builds out one of those laneways, soft surface tools. We also began production at our new electronics facility in India this quarter, which will further strengthen our global engineering and manufacturing footprint as well as add to our India sales presence.

And on April 1st, we successfully completed the divestiture of our Cooking Solutions Group for $105 million in line with our original communicated timeline and price range. Our focus on improved cash management resulted in increased cash flows of $9.5 million in the quarter. The proceeds from the Cooking divestiture combined with positive free cash flow trends in the quarter further strengthened our balance sheet and financial flexibility to pursue a strong set of organic and inorganic growth opportunities. However, as I stated earlier, these successes are tempered by macro-economic headwinds at several of our businesses, as well as the impact from the timing of automotive related rollouts in the Engraving segment, all of which are expected to continue for the fourth quarter of 2019. As a result, our performance for the third quarter was disappointing to us and we've quickly begun implementing several initiatives to restructure where appropriate. We've taken actions in both Electronics and Engraving segments that we expect to complete by the second quarter of 2020 and generate $3.8 million in annual savings.

Turning to Slide 4. While total revenue increased by 0.8%, our adjusted EPS decreased by 35.6% year-on-year. Tom will go through the quarterly financial results in greater detail later in the call.

Let's move to slide five so that we can provide additional insight on our acquisition of GS Engineering company which we were very excited to announce last night. GS is a privately held company based in Maumee, Ohio with two talented founding partners, Grigoriy Grinberg and Matthew Shade, who will join Standex and lead the business. They have built the company into a leading provider of cutting-edge proprietary technology for the production of In Mold Grained tools.

We expect the acquisition for which we paid $30 million to be immediately accretive to our earnings per share excluding any adjustments for purchase accounting. To promote successful roll out of this technology throughout our global platform, we have included in the underlying agreement an earn out opportunity for the founders based on aggressive growth targets.

Moving to Slide 6. The acquisition of GS provides several benefits. First, it is an excellent strategic fit with our Engraving group and provides us a comprehensive offering in the soft surface tool market that we can expand globally. From a technology standpoint, the Company's proprietary process for In Mold Graining Shell's results in shells that can be produced more quickly than those of other industry providers. Additionally, the ability of GS to produce master molds moves an important capability in-house for Standex, something we have previously sourced externally, which will improve our cost position. GS is also favourably aligned with several key industry trends. There's been a shift in the auto industry toward increased focus on the interior comfort of vehicles with skin materials offering superior aesthetic and tactile properties. From an environmental and fuel economy perspective, soft skin materials and components are favorably positioned and GS helps us become a leading player in regard to these market trends. Finally, soft surface tooling and the In Mold Graining sub-segment of soft surface tooling are growing markets. The soft surface market is estimated to have an approximately $200 million global addressable market projected to grow at an estimated 11% CAGR over the next five years, the fastest growing segment in the automotive texture markets that we serve with In Mold Graining, a sub-segment estimated to be increasing at 16% annually. So the strategic fit combined with the potential growth of this market makes this a very attractive acquisition for Standex.

Now let's review the segments beginning with Engraving on Slide 7. Sales increased 10% year-over-year, driven in large part by our Tenibac acquisition and growth in the Asia-Pacific region partially offset by FX. Our growth laneways in Engraving continue to be successful and grew a 39% year-on-year in the third quarter with new technology sales from nickel shell, laser and tool finishing. However, profitability at the operating level decreased 37.7% with an operating margin of 12.1%. Our profitability was impacted by lower volume in more profitable programs which resulted in significant deleverage in North America. Uncertainty in Europe and tariffs in China also impacted volume and profitability. We've immediately acted to strengthen our management structure and operations on several fronts. We will spend $3.6 million for restructuring activities which should be completed by the second quarter of fiscal 2020. We expect this will generate $2.7 million in cost savings on an annual basis upon completion. We are also converting two North American facilities into centre of excellence focused on specific technologies which will strengthen our operating leverage for the scheduled ramp and customer automotive product launches in fiscal year 2020. This consolidation is expected to generate an additional $1 million in savings. Additionally, on a global basis, we will be converting several smaller production sites into sales offices at certain locations that are no longer strategic to supporting OEM tool makers. We expect Engraving fourth quarter results will increase sequentially, benefiting from our laneway initiatives but will be impacted by the timing of North American automotive programs which are scheduled to rebound strongly in the first and second quarters of 2020.

Slide 8 Electronics. Revenue decreased 2% and operating income declined 16% year-over-year. The sales decline primarily resulted from lower global automotive component demand. We expect fourth quarter revenue to be at a similar level to third quarter. Our profitability in third quarter was impacted by the lower sales, as well as material inflation. We were able to offset some of this impact through price increases and operating efficiency initiatives and are confident we can recover the balance over the next few quarters. Additionally, in our past couple of calls we have discussed the significant increase in the cost of Rhodium. We now have developed innovative process improvements to reduce our usage of Rhodium permanently improve the cost position of our high quality and market leading reed switches. Looking ahead, besides cost improvement projects under way in Europe and Asia, we have a very strong funnel of new business opportunities and growth laneways in automotive, industrial, and telecom. We also began a limited production in our new facility in India in Q3 and expect it to ramp up in Q4, which will provide us global engineering and manufacturing capability, as well as the opportunity to further increase sales locally.

Turning to Slide 9. Engineering Technologies. We successfully leveraged the demand with revenues increasing 17% and operating income more than doubling. Strength in our end markets included Energy, Defense, and Aviation. Backlog to be delivered in under one year grew 15% and orders rose 54% versus the year ago quarter.

As I noted at the beginning of the call, we've made significant investments to support platforms such as Aviation, and are pleased with the results as these platforms ramp up to full production volume. Aviation, Space, and Defense will remain strong in the fourth quarter and we expect to benefit from the continued A320 ramp.

Turn to hydraulics on Slide 10. The 70% increase in sales is from continued strong demand in North American refuse construction in infrastructure and markets with refuse sales increasing 62% year-on-year, in large part from roll-offs and pack eject cylinder applications. Third quarter operating margin of 14.8% increased, compared to 13.3% a year ago, and 14% in the second quarter of 2019. We expect Hydraulics to experience a strong fourth quarter as backlog remains solid and we see continued demand from construction and infrastructure and markets.

Now let's move to Slide 11. Food Service Equipment group. Revenue declined to 9.9% year-over-year in the quarter. Scientific sales continued to be strong and grew 13% benefiting from increases in upright refrigeration, under-counters and Cryo tanks. However, this was offset by the 17% decline in Refrigeration due to weakness in retail and dealer network sales combined with weather related delays. Operating income decreased 35.8% due to lower volume and a higher mix of low margin dealer business. Looking ahead, we expect a sequential seasonal revenue increase in Food Service for Q4, but the weakness in Refrigeration will continue. Besides implementing productivity measures, we're actively pursuing several revenue growth opportunities. In Scientific, we have seen favorable customer reaction to our new offerings including the Black Diamond and White Diamond Nor-Lake Scientific Cabinet line launched in December 2018, which contains several innovative look and control features. The Procon Pump business continues to see strength for this Nitro Coffee and eSyruPro Pump products. We also have several large opportunities in Refrigeration and are actively working to bring them in. Our Federal Display Merchandising business is introducing several new products to enhance revenue growth. Together with operational improvements, we anticipate a recovery in profits for this business during the second half of calendar year 2019. With that, I will turn the call over to Tom to discuss the financial results in more detail. Tom.

Tom DeByle -- Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer

Thank you David. Turning to slide 12 which details our revenue by segment. On a consolidated basis, total revenue increased 0.8% for the fiscal third quarter versus the prior year Engraving, Engineering Technologies, and Hydraulics all grew double-digit, with Engineering Technologies and Hydraulics, both posting over 17% organic growth. However, given some of the headwinds previously discussed in David's commentary, organic growth was essentially flat. Recent acquisitions, Agile and Tenibac, in total added 4% to growth while the impact of foreign exchange had a negative 2.3% impact.

Please turn to Slide 13 which includes our third quarter results on a GAAP and adjusted basis. Gross margin was 31.9% compared to 34.4% in the prior year, driven by material inflation, wage increases and weather-related plant shutdowns. Operating margins decreased in the current quarter by 200 basis points on a GAAP basis and 250 basis points on a non-GAAP basis, reflecting the lower gross margins. Earnings per share was $0.58 on a GAAP basis and $0.65 on an adjusted basis. Our earnings per share was also impacted by increased interest expense associated with borrowings related to recent acquisitions and a higher tax rate due to the mix of income from the U.S. and abroad. Our pro forma tax rate in the quarter was 30.8% compared to 26.1% in the third quarter of 2018.

Let's go to Slide 14 which provides a bridge between reported GAAP EPS and adjusted EPS. Tax effected special items in the quarter were restructuring charges of $0.4 million and acquisition-related expenses of $0.6 million. ,Compared to prior year, we incurred $0.7 million less in restructuring and acquisition-related expenses.

Slide 15 shows our cash flow for the quarter and year-to-date. We generated free cash flow of $9.5 million in the third quarter of 2019 compared to a negative free cash flow of $3.5 million in the third quarter of 2018. The increase in cash flow was partially a result of improved working capital management as we continued to drive our cash collection efforts as well as the success of our supply chain management initiatives. Year-to-date, the company had generated $7.2 million in free cash flow compared to $6.7 million for the nine months ended fiscal 2018.

Turning to Slide 16. Networking capital at the end of the fiscal third quarter was $157.8 million compared to $154.7 million at the end of the third quarter in the prior year, an increase of $3 million. Excluding acquisitions in the current year, working capital was $151.5 million, a decrease of $3.2 million. Improvements in working capital were driven from focused accounts receivable collection efforts and better inventory management.

Slide 17 summarizes our capital spending, depreciation and amortization trends. Capital expenditures were approximately $3.8 million compared to $5.4 million in the third quarter of 2018. We are anticipating heavier capital spending in the fourth quarter due to a number of initiatives. Engraving will spend CapEx during the quarter to optimize our Michigan sites, install new laser machines around the world and add additional capacity in tool finishing. We are spending this CapEx in order to prepare for the higher automotive rollouts in Q1 and Q2 of fiscal '20. Electronics will also have higher capital spending in Q4 because they will move into the new Cincinnati facility and expand the KT (ph) relay line. Finally, Engineering Technologies will be installing a new larger capacity heat treat furnace to take on the volume increases in (ph) as the A320 and A350 programs ramp. The company has spent approximately $18 million year-to-date and remains on track with previous guidance to spend between $35 million and $36 million in fiscal 2019.

Slide 18 illustrates our capitalization on a pro forma basis. We received the Cooking Solution proceeds on April 1st and paid down long-term debt. After the payment, our pro forma net debt decreased to $91 million compared with $197.8 million at December 31st, 2018. Year-to-date, Standex has repatriated $43.2 million in cash and expect to repatriate $50 million in total by the end of the fiscal year from foreign subsidiaries. As a result, our leverage statistics are strong. The pro forma net debt to EBITDA ratio is 1.1 times compared to 2 times at 12/31/18. This places us in a very favorable position to pursue our growth initiatives and balance capital allocation. With that, I'll turn the call back to David.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you Tom. Our formal remarks conclude on Slide 19 . Let me start by saying that, while we expect that the fourth quarter will be sequentially stronger due primarily to seasonality, we will still face some of the same macro-economic headwinds and customer program timing impact issues as we did in the third quarter, particularly in the automotive end market. As a result, the fourth quarter results will be below the fiscal quarter of 2018. However, we will continue to implement our productivity initiatives and cost reduction efforts which position us well heading into fiscal 2020, particularly as we expect a significant rebound in automotive programs beginning in the first quarter.

By the end of the second quarter fiscal 2020, We expect to be generating $3.8 million in cost savings on an annualized basis due to these actions. We'll continue to evaluate other measures as necessary. In addition, as the most recent quarters' accomplishments indicate, we continue to aggressively focus on higher growth and return opportunities and are well capitalized to execute. We have a very robust funnel of new growth laneways and an active pipeline of inorganic opportunitie will further strengthen our customer value proposition and results.

With that we will open the call up to questions. Operator.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you.

(Operator Instruction). Our first question comes from the line of Chris Moore of CJS securities.

Chris Moore -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Hey, Good morning guys.

Unidentified Speaker --

Good Morning, Chris.

Chris Moore -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Good morning. Yeah, just start -- maybe big picture. Now that CSG has been sold, can you give, maybe, kind of a reasonable expectation for annual organic growth over the next three to five years, You know, given the current mix of businesses?

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

You always have to go by -- kind of build it up from the bottom up, If you look at the bigger businesses that are growing now, Engraving, through the cycle over time, has grown 6% to 7%, you know, it's subject to project timing, but you know through the cycles, that's been pretty consistent. The Electronics Business has grown just above GDP consistently. Now, this quarter 30% of Electronics sales went to auto and that's down about 17%. So, if you take that out, the rest of the business is growing. So you kind of streamline that out. ETG as the Airbus A320 ramps, now it's at 40 units a month, that'll go to 50 next year, and their plan is to go to 60. So, we expect continued growth in ETG.

Hydraulics, has been growing, kind of with construction in North America also call that GDP. And in the food business, the biggest change here maybe, Cooking had a faster growth profile in refrigeration. And our refrigeration business, as we have talked over the last few quarters ,is going through kind of a readjustment in the market. The low rent cabinet business is becoming less attractive, we are focusing more or on walk-ins or differentiated cabinets. So you know we're not expecting much growth there. It's more an improved mix. That's a pretty big business, So if you assume refrigeration is relatively steady, then the rest of the businesses in food service are going to grow at GDP with Scientific growing couple of points faster than GDP. So I know that's a lot of data points for you but that's the raw material.

Chris Moore -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Got it. OK. That helps. So Electronics is expected to, you know, kind of sales remain at similar levels set through this calendar year. But, you know, can we talk a little bit more about the longer term opportunity there? I know you said, you know, kind of GDP organically but from an M&A standpoint, are there opportunities out there, you know, kind of, where the focus might be, Is auto gonna be more or less of a, you know, kind of, focus on that side?

Unidentified Speaker --

Yeah, so great question. We like this business a lot. It's differentiated business, has a good position in these markets. I mentioned briefly the opportunities -- the new business opportunities the Electronics business is pursuing, the funnel of opportunities is as big as it has ever been, both in total quantity -- but also the number of individual opportunities that are above $1 million dollars a year which is a very big opportunity for us. And there are some auto opportunities in there but more than -- it's less than 30%, so the mix of the future business will be less auto. And your question about acquisitions, we have a very active funnel. There are a few opportunities that are actionable in the short term and based on the markets we play in, are relatively fragmented. And we're confident that there will continue to be an attractive set of acquisition opportunities there. In terms of long term growth, we still think this electronics business is well-positioned to grow faster than GDP. The impact on auto right now is big, you know, that alone accounts for about five points of decline for the business. So as auto stabilizes you'll see that the rest of the business is growing with a good profile

Chris Moore -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Got it. That's very helpful. Let me jump back in line. I appreciate it guys.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Chris McGinnis of Sidoti & Company.

Chris McGinnis -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

Good morning. Thanks for taking my questions. Just maybe dig in a little bit more on the Engraving and just the businesses or the assets that you are shutting down, what were they serving and how much will that help drive and have improvement in that margin profile, you know, and where do you think that margin profile ultimately sits? Thanks.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Quick answer, the last point, we still think it's a 20 percent even business through the cycle it's proven at. So the first part of the question on the sites that were closing. We've got 45 sites around the world and the evolution of global tool making has made some of these, you know, less attractive than they were 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago. So, there are a handful of sites that we plan to close the operation to convert them to sales offices. (ph) we've announced already are -- to give you a good example there, Sweden and Australia. Australia used to be a good tool market. There used to be manufacturing there, auto manufacturing. Nobody's making cars in Australia anymore but Ford has a design centre. So we've closed that, we're focusing on sales and support of the Design Centre. Same thing with Sweden where it used to be more tool makers, supported Volvo. That tool work is done elsewhere but there's design work done in Sweden. So there's another handful of sites like that and we're constantly evaluating what does the local market look like side by side and where do we need to be present to support the global OEMs. So in in the text I mentioned that when we get through the closure of the operations that we've already identified, the annual value will be $2.7 million in margin improvement.

Chris McGinnis -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

Okay. I appreciate that. And then, maybe just on the food side. Can you maybe break out how much of the business is Refrigeration versus the Scientific at this point and you know any ability to drive better margins in that business or what's the hold back on, you know, if you could improve it? Thanks

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Quickly doing the math here in my head. So the Refrigeration is about 60% of the sales of the Food group now without Cooking. The other is Scientific Federal (ph) which are good businesses there. The Refrigeration business, as you recall last year, your other question was what we're doing to improve the margins there. Do you recall a year ago, maybe four, five quarters ago, we announced that we were restructuring and consolidating. We have two plants in North America. We focused one plant on walk -- on cabinets, we moved our cabinets from Wisconsin all down to enter Mississippi plant and we continue to drive improvements in that plant and the internal numbers in terms of the efficiency is improving, throughput is improving, quality is improving, the internal KPI's are improving. That's masked a bit by the fairly significant move in the marketplace, at the lower end of that cabinet business to more and more import -- and we've talked about this in previous quarters too, more and more of that market has been satisfied by imports, many of the dealers we sell through are introducing private label under their own brand with imports. So the continued improvements in Refrigeration and focus on the chain business and the more differentiated products like milk coolers and ice cream dipping cabinets and things will stabilize that business and right now it's kind of low single-digit EBITDA, with those moves over the next couple of years, it's not an overnight thing, we can get into mid to upper single-digit EBITDA for that commercial Refrigeration business.

Chris McGinnis -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

Great. Thanks for taking my questions and I'll jump back in queue.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Chris.

Operator

(Operator Instructions). Your next question comes from the line of DeForest Hinman of Walthausen & Company.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

Hi. Thanks for taking my questions. Just back to Electronics. My understanding was generally you didn't have a lot of ability to, visibility in terms of sales in that business, and I just want to make sure I understand this, you talked about outlook for sales level similar through the calendar year, and the way I read that, that will include June ending, September ending and December ending. Is that correct? If so, why is that the case?

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, both of your statements are correct. We do have limited visibility because quite a bit of our business comes through distribution channels and it's -- the Electronics business has in our order profile, we get more rapid swings sometimes. Back in 2008 and 2009 when markets turned down Electronics went out first, and our, you know, we have four to six weeks of backlog typically in that business. Our forecast is based on an expectation that China tariff situation will remain in effect through the year so if that's lifted, that could provide some upside. It assumes that global auto will remain about where it's at. If that moves, you know, that that could change it. And so it's based on an assumption that macro economic conditions we serve will remain fairly steady. Now we're not economists here. We try to be and do our best job at forecasts. But I would say there is some conservatism in that forecast and if there's any upside and if European growth improves a little bit, China tariffs are lifted, we could see some upside to those numbers.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

And just digging into that a little further, I mean, few minutes ago you were talking about business -- new business win opportunities, maybe some new verticals. How is that baked into that forecast or is it not baked into that forecast?

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

It's -- I'd say it's baked into the forecast, maybe again, a little conservatively, but the way our business works, if we win an application it takes several quarters for it to ramp up. And the large opportunities in our funnel, if they really hit on all cylinders, we would probably start to see that toward the end of the calendar year.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

Okay. And then how do you feel about inventory levels in the channel? And I'm spending a lot of time on this because it seems like the outlook was reasonably good, we're adding capacity, it's -- I think we had come at the writing headcount to some extent you know which would lend itself more so to, you know, kind of a growth outlook and a pipeline of potential new business wins, and now in this period where we're talking about, you know, some headcount reductions.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So there's three industries where we have a reasonable confidence on what's happening with inventory levels. You know, a year ago, when we talked about this business our reed switch plants were running at full capacity. The industry was at capacity and we now believe a lot of customers have bought last year -- were buying just to get their hands on reeds switches (ph) put them into inventory.

Now there is more capacity than demand and we think there's some inventory absorption in the reed switch business. In auto with a decline in SAR we think there's some inventory burn off going on there. In our high-reliability magnetics business, we have some exposure to semiconductor fab equipment that -- that market has slowed in this -- it's a great market to be in. It's slowed now, will pick up later. So those three we know, there's just kind of a color pause or correction phase going on.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

Okay. And then on Engraving, historically a very very good business you know really good long-term margin profile we put up two quarters in a row I think probably in the last decade is among some of the two lowest margin results in that business. We spent some time talking about the second quarter '19 results so we don't need to revisit that but can you call out any one time items in the Engraving business, you mentioned some of the restructuring. Can we talk about that, anything else that impacted that quarter?

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Well you know, we did mention that we're going to close some sites, just the first time we've announced that we're closing sites, first time we've closed sites since I've been here. And I would say that, you know, those sites in the past were good-sized profitable sites. But, year after year, as some of the tool makers in their markets closed, it's a little bit like the frog in the water kind of analogy, that you know, you wake up one day and realize gosh, there's not enough market in this country anymore to support a business, and we've been carrying that declining profitability in those countries in recent years.

So getting a move on those and just regularly reviewing profitability in the local market capability is going to be very important, continuous pruning activity for this Engraving business and I'd say that's a new direction. And just those moves that we anticipate to be done with by the end of this calendar year will add $2.7 million improvement to the margins. There's a second category of country where we've had some issues and this has to do with some management changes, we had different variations of a team, experienced successful manager retires, didn't get the right person or we had changes -- we've had to make changes in three countries to just improve the management and we're seeing those turn and that's more just operational stuff.

And then in our large plants there was a onetime effect and that was the timing of projects in North America. This last quarter was a very soft quarter for North America. And as we look at the data cash in last twenty three quarters was at times six -- in six of the quarters there's more than a 250 basis point swing in margin. And we get these significant swings and know and we saw that in North America and there was no corresponding strength in another region.

So the margin impacts on Engraving in the quarter were all site-specific. The basic offerings we have are good, gross margins are good, all the new laneways are good, the tool finishing, laser, nickel shells, we were happy with those. We just have to better manage a country by country profitability and try to give you an idea of the three different buckets.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

Okay. So you talked about this business being a plus 20% business, is it a plus 20% business in the fourth quarter and if not, when is it a 20% plus EBIT business?

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Based on what we see, I did mention the second half of this calendar year is going to be very strong in North America with good programs. So Q4 I think we called for sequential improvement. So getting it to, call it, upper teens and once we get to the end of the year with the programs that are scheduled to roll out, and I could give you the list of some names, we expect it to be running at its historic levels.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

Okay so we should think about third quarter '19 as a (inaudible) .

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

Okay.

Let's talk about the good performance, Engineering Technologies starting to hit that double-digit level of operating profitability, you talked about the bill ramping the A320 (ph) skin program I believe. When I look back, when that business was doing, performing very strongly, maybe 2015 fiscal level and the numbers were hitting toward the teen operating profit margin level, obviously third quarter '19 results, you know, huge improvement year-over-year, where is that margin heading? Is it going to be low double-digits or is it going to be moving toward the teens as we move into fiscal 2020?

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Just to kind of set the stage, you go back to the period you're referring to. You look at 2014, 2015, the business was performing upper teens -- I think we had a quarter or two where it was low 20s. There was a lot of Oil and Gas business then, Oil and Gas and Space, some Medical and Defense. Oil and Gas has come down quite a bit. And what we've communicated consistently I still believe that, as these new parts that we've won like the (ph) and more highly engineered engine parts on the new platforms ramp to full volume, this business will consistently deliver above 15% EBIT. Now, if there's a surge in Oil and Gas or Energy business which we are not counting on, you know it could bump above that but we think the base of the Space and Aviation business will carry this up above 15% EBIT.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

Okay. So, that's certainly encouraging. And then on the G.S. acquisition, $30 million purchase price. Can you help us understand the trailing 12-months revenue and EBITDA of that business?

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So, the businesses are just under $10 million in sales. It's very profitable. The EBITDA multiples about a 10. And this is a rapidly growing segment, a rapidly growing business and it -- we've known this business by reputation because they've really made a mark in the last few years, kind of coming out of nowhere with this proprietary process they have. But they lack the contact with -- they lack the account relationships with global OEMs, which we have. They lack the ability to capitalize to expand their facilities. So we're very excited as we got to talk to them. They saw an opportunity for them, that the founders will stay with the business, drive this for us to see an opportunity to realize the dreams they have for the business as part of the global network at Standex..

Unidentified Speaker --

When you talked about that opportunity, one of the things that stood out for me on the website was, you talked about significantly expanding the life of the molds. Can you help us understand that? Is that really the secret sauce that they have developed? How impactful can that be if it's rolled out over entire network of 40 plus locations with that technology?

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, these guys are very innovative. They have a number of process innovations that we're anxious to put in place. But the very first one which is there's really stronger source of competitive advantage is they can deliver in a couple of weeks, what competitors or traditional processes deliver in eight to ten weeks. So it is a lead time and a cost advantage at the same quality that really differentiates them. I mean it's true they do have some other process and things we believe we can apply to other molds, but the extension of the life of the mold, that doesn't ring a bell here with GS.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

That's helpful. And then can you give us an update on capital deployment priorities? You did the GS transaction,you may or may not have been in a blackout, you bought stock and in the second quarter of '19, it doesn't look like you were buying stock in this second quarter of '19. So just walk us through the buckets please.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So, it hasn't changed. Every every quarter we put out our capital allocation philosophy. First we keep the lights on, and what's that number now, Tom?

Tom DeByle -- Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer

$14 million

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

$14 million, $15 million. We look at gross capital to invest in our organic growth opportunities and you see what Engraving -- we've been putting in lasers and investing in nickel shell. Electronics, we are investing in tooling for these new MBRs. We have a new headquarters in Electronics the India plant -- for all of that, we look for -- with conservative assumptions, we approve all the capital here at headquarters, got to deliver more than 15% IRR. And we review these -- in fact at a recent board meeting. We look at individual CapEx as more than 200,000. We take a look at a dozen of them to see if they're paying off in delivering above that 15% threshold. We are confident we have a good process and we're delivering that. The next thing we would look at is acquisitions and there again, you know, we look at three different scenarios. We take the business case and understand what that return would be. Then we dial down our sales expectations, we dial down margin expectations, we dial down synergy expectations to get to 15%. And if it looks like there's a conservative set of assumptions that deliver that 15% then it looks like a good acquisition. A file case (ph) whack case and we say if sales and margins and-- a further decline-- how low can they go and they still delivers above our cost of capital. And if that looks like a -- almost an asteroid scenario would have to happen for that that to occur, then we have a green light with an acquisition. We go through all those scenarios with the board when we review acquisitions. And underneath all of this, we're constantly looking at the stock price relative to our long range plan and the inherent value of the business. We have an authorization from the board (ph) it was a $100 million. It's probably (inaudible) in its 67 left. So quarter-by-quarter we look opportunistically, where the market is at and we compare that with our other investment, other uses of capital and buyback shares when it's the best use of that cash.

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

Okay. And final question, what is the, excuse me, the commentary about the deal pipeline that might be something actionable in the short-term. Where are we comfortable with having the debt to EBITDA currently, if you did close transaction hypothetically, where are we comfortable.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Oh, the debt to EBITDA?

Tom DeByle -- Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer

As we say on our capital allocation slide, 1.5 to 3 times.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Which would leave like $280 million.

Tom DeByle -- Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer

Yeah. We have $282 million of dry powder right now..

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, DeForest.

Operator

(Operator Instructions). I will now return the call to David Dunbar for any additional or closing remarks.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

All right, thank you. You know there are a lot of businesses at Standex, a lot of moving pieces sometimes. So let me just kind of re -- what happened in the quarter, what it means for us long term. You know our growth initiatives, our laneways are driving growth, we have a great MBO opportunity in Electronics and the investments we started three years ago in Engineering Technologies are starting to pay off, so we're confident about that GDP plus process we've put in place. Secondly, the focus on operating discipline is starting to deliver, we're pleased with the cash management, the cash flow in the quarter. Third thing is this acquisition of GS positions us in a fast growing market with very attractive margins in our Engraving business. Fourthly, the divestiture of Cooking Solutions, that was a big deal for us, it was complicated, we executed it in the time frame and got the value that we communicated. So, we feel very good about that. That further focuses our portfolio. And finally, in the businesses that had margin trouble in the quarter, we are confident we have the actions in place to address them, and get back on track to where they have been historically. So, we look forward to coming back next quarter to report on our progress.

Operator

Thank you for participating in Standex International Third Quarter 2019 earnings conference call. You may now disconnect.

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Duration: 48 minutes

Call participants:

Gary Farber -- Investor Relations

David Dunbar -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Tom DeByle -- Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer

Chris Moore -- CJS Securities -- Analyst

Unidentified Speaker --

Chris McGinnis -- Sidoti & Company -- Analyst

DeForest Hinman -- Walthausen & Company -- Analyst

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