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

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Celestica Inc. (NYSE:CLS)
Q2 2019 Earnings Call
July 24, 2019, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good afternoon, my name is Chantal and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to Celestica's second quarter 2019 earnings call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question and answer session. If you'd like to ask a question during this time, simply press * then number 1 on your telephone keypad. If you would like to withdraw your question, press the # key. Thank you. Lisa Headrick, Vice President of Finance, you may begin of finance, you may begin your conference.

Lisa Headrick -- Vice President of Finance

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us on Celestica's second quarter 2019 earnings conference call. On the call today are Rob Mionis, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Mandeep Chawla, Chief Financial Officer.

As a reminder, during this call, we will make forward-looking statements within the meanings of US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws. Such forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations, forecasts, and assumptions, which are subject to risks, uncertainties, and other factors that can cause other outcomes and results to differ materially from conclusions, forecasts, or projections expressed in such statements.

For identification and discussion of such factors and assumptions as well as further information concerning financial guidance, please refer to today's press release, including the cautionary notes regarding forward-looking statements therein, our annual report on Form 20-F, and other public filings, which can be accessed at sec.gov and sedar.com. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statement except as required by applicable law.

In addition, during this call, we will refer to various non-IFRS measures, including operating earnings, operating margin, adjusted gross margin, adjusted return on invested capital or adjusted ROIC, free cashflow, gross debt to non-IFRS trailing 12-month adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio, adjusted net earnings, adjusted EPS, adjusted SG&A expense, and adjusted effective tax rate.

Listeners should be cautioned that reference of any of the foregoing measures during this call denote non-IFRS measures, whether or not specifically designed as such. These non-IFRS measures do not have any standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other public companies that use IFRS or who report under US GAAP and use non-GAAP measures to describe similar operating metrics.

We refer you to today's press release and our Q2 2019 earnings presentation, which are available at Celestica.com under the investor relations tab for more information about these and certain other non-IFRS measures, including a reconciliation of historical non-IFRS measures to the most directly comparable IFRS measures from our financial statement. Unless otherwise specified, all references to dollars on this call are to US dollars.

Now, let me turn the call over to Rob.

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Lisa. Good afternoon and thank you for joining today's conference call. Celestica delivered second quarter results that were in line with our expectations with another quarter of strong free cash flow. Despite lower revenue, our CCS segment delivered sequential and year-to-year margin improvements, the result of improved mix and productivity resulting from a CCS segment portfolio review and cost efficiency initiative.

While the capital equipment market remains soft, we were pleased to see strong performance in the rest of our ATS segments. Excluding capital equipment, ATS would have delivered low double-digit year-to-year revenue growth with improved sequential and year to year profitability. However, given the challenging demand environment, the capital equipment business continues to operate at a loss, driving ATS segment margin performance well below our targeted range.

In addition, communications and market demand were softer than expected. We expect a soft demand environment experience in the first half of 2019 to persist for the remainder of the year. We continue to take actions intended to align costs to current revenue level while remaining focused on our long-term goals and executing on our transformational strategy.

I will provide you with additional information on the quarter and our outlook shortly. But first, Mandeep will take you through our second quarter results and third quarter guidance.

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Rob and good afternoon, everyone. For the second quarter of 2019, Celestica reported revenue of $1.45 billion, in line with the midpoint of our guidance range and down 15% year over year. Our non-IFRS operating margin was 2.5%, above our guidance midpoint of 2.4% and down 60 basis points year over year. Non-IFRS adjusted earnings per share were $0.12, at the midpoint of our guidance range.

Our ATS segment revenue was 39% of our consolidated revenue and grew 2% year over year, in line with our expectations. The increase year over year was driven primarily by double-digit growth across our industrial, A&D, and health tech businesses, offset in large part by significantly lower demand in our capital equipment business. Sequentially, ATS segment revenue was down 3%, largely due to lower capital equipment demand and our disengagement from an unprofitable energy business customer. This was partially offset by stronger demand and new programs in our other ATS businesses.

Our CCS segment revenue was down 23% year over year, primarily driven by enterprise program disengagements as a part of our CCS portfolio review as well as continued end market demand softness in our communications business. Sequentially, CCS segment revenue was up 3%, driven by seasonal demand growth and new programs.

Within our CCS segment, the communications end market represented 39% of our consolidated revenue in the second quarter, down from 42% in the second quarter of last year. Communications revenue in the quarter was slightly below our expectations and down 21% compared to the prior year period, driven by continued weakness in end market demand, partially offset by demand strength and new program revenue in support of data center growth.

Our enterprise end market represented 22% of consolidated revenue in the second quarter, down from 25% in the second quarter of last year. Enterprise revenue in the quarter was slightly above our expectations, driven by demand strength, but down 26% year over year due to planned disengagement in connection with our CCS segment portfolio review.

Excluding these disengagements, enterprise end market revenue would have been relatively flat to the prior year period. Our top ten customers represented 65% of revenue for the quarter, up from 62% last quarter and down from 71% in the same period last year. For the second quarter, we had two customers individually contributing more than 10% of total revenue.

Turning to segment margins -- ATS segment margin was 2.8%, up from 2.6% in the first quarter of this year as stronger performance in our aerospace in defense, industrial, and health tech businesses more than offset increased losses in our capital equipment business. Our capital equipment business operated at a loss in the high-single-digit million-dollar range, which was higher than expected due to lower than expected sequential demand. Relative to the second quarter of last year, ATS segment margin was down from 5.1%, primarily as a result of losses within our capital equipment business.

Excluding capital equipment, ATS would have delivered segment income within our ATS target margin range of 5% to 6%. Our DCS segment margin was 2.4%, up sequentially and up from 2.2% in the same period last year. The year over year improvement is a result of improved mix and productivity, more than offsetting the impact of lower year to year revenue.

Moving to some other financial highlights from the quarter -- IFRS net loss for the quarter was $6.1 million or negative $0.05 per share, compared to net earnings of $16.1 million or $0.11 per share in the same quarter of last year. The decrease was a result of lower gross profit, increased SG&A expense, and higher financing and amortization costs. Adjusted gross margin of 7% was up 40 basis points sequentially, as improved productivity, including lower variable spending across the majority of our businesses was partially offset by weaker demand and performance within capital equipment.

Adjusted gross margin was up 60 basis points year over year, primarily due to improved mix and productivity, more than offsetting weaker capital equipment performance within ATS. Our adjusted SG&A of $56 million was up $8 million year over year, primarily driven by unfavorable foreign exchange impacts and our impact acquisition. Non IFRS operating earnings were $36.7 million, up $1.6 million sequentially and down $16.4 million from the same quarter last year.

Our non-IFRS adjusted effective tax rate for the second quarter was 36%, higher than our expectations as a result of taxable FX costs. Our tax rate continues to be higher than our originally anticipated range, due to lower levels of income, including losses in certain low tax geographies. Adjusted net earnings for the second quarter were $15.4 million compared to $40.2 million for the prior year period.

Non-IFRS adjusted earnings per share of $0.12 represents a decline of $0.17 year over year, mainly driven by lower non-IFRS operating earnings and higher interest expense. Non-IFRS-adjusted ROIC of 8.4% was up 0.5% sequentially and down 7.6% year over year, primarily driven by lower operating earnings.

Moving on to working capital, our inventory at the end of the quarter was $1.1 billion, an increase of $8 million sequentially. Inventory turns were 5.0 flat quarter over quarter and down 1.6 turns from the same quarter of last year. Capital expenditures for the second quarter were $23 million or 1.6% of revenue.

Non-IFRS free cash flow was $47 million in the second quarter, compared to negative $46 million for the same period last year, primarily driven by improved working capital. We are encouraged by the improvements we've made in our working capital performance over the last two quarters. Year to date, we have generated $191 million of non-IFRS free cash flow or $78 million without accounting for the Toronto property sale proceeds of $113 million.

Cash cycle days in the second quarter were 65 days, an improvement of four days sequentially, primarily due to increased cash deposits from our customers. Our customer cash deposits have increased to $139 million as of June 30th, up from $120 million at the end of March. As we continue to work with our customers on targeted inventory reductions in the second half of 2019, we expect a partial offset and reduction in cash deposits.

Now, moving on to our balance sheet and other key measures -- we continue to maintain a strong balance sheet and remain confident in our long-term capital allocation priorities. We are focused on generating positive free cash flow, paying down debt, returning part of our capital to shareholders, and investing in the business to drive long-term profitable growth. Our cash balance at quarter end was $437 million, down $21 million sequentially, and up $35 million year over year.

We've made progress toward deleveraging our balance sheet in the quarter by reducing the outstanding balance on our bank revolver from $97 million on March 31st to $53 million as of June 30th. Our net debt position at the end of June was $211 million in gross debt to non-IFRS trailing 12-month adjusted EBTIDA. Leverage ratio was 2.3 times compared to 2.4 times as of March 31st.

In the second quarter of 2019, we repurchased 3.2 million shares at a cost of $23 million and have bought back the maximum number of shares that we can cancel under this program, which expires in November of 2019. Restructuring charges related to our cost efficiency initiative were $9 million this quarter, including charges related to our capital equipment business, bringing the total program spend to date to $60 million. We anticipate spending at the high end of the $50 million to $75 million program range with an expected completion by the end of 2019.

Now, turning to our guidance for the third quarter of 2019, we are projecting third quarter revenue to be in the range of $1.40 billion to $1.50 billion. At the midpoint to this range, revenue would be down 15% year over year. Third quarter non-IFRS adjusted earnings per share are expected to range between $0.09 and $0.15. At the midpoint of our revenue and adjusted EPS guidance ranges, non-IFRS operating margin would be approximately 2.5%, flat to the second quarter.

Non-IFRS adjusted SG&A expense for the third quarter is expected to be in the range of $53 million to $55 million. Based on the projected geographical mix of our profits in the third quarter, we anticipate our non-IFRS adjusted effective tax rate to be similar to the second quarter and above our previously anticipated annual rate.

Turning to our end market outlook for the third quarter of 2019, in our ATS end market, we are anticipating revenue to be down low single digits year over year. While we expect steady growth across most of our ATS businesses, this growth is expected to be more than offset by persistent demand softness in the capital equipment market.

In our communications end market, we anticipate revenue to decrease in the mid-teens percentage range year over year, driven by continued end market demand softness. In our enterprise end market, we anticipate revenue to decrease in the mid-30% range year over year, primarily driven by planned program disengagement as part of our CCS portfolio review.

I'll now turn the call over to Rob for additional color and an update on our priorities.

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Mandeep. Despite the challenging environment, we made solid progress in the quarter in lowering working capital, driving strong free cash flow, and improving the profitability of our business outside of capital equipment. Within ATS, we have strong revenue growth in our A&D, industrial, and health tech businesses, led by new program grants, which more than offset continued demand weakness in the capital equipment business.

The performance of our ATS businesses other than capital equipment improved sequentially and year over year due to improved mix and progress of ramping new programs. As expected, the A&D business continued to be impacted by material shortages in the quarter. Relative to last quarter, we saw marginal improvement in materials, availability, which showed improved throughput and efficiency. We expect the supply environment in general to gradually improve in the second half of the year.

In the second quarter, our capital equipment business continued to be impacted by soft demand in both the semiconductor and display markets. Since the start of the capital equipment downturn, we have significantly reduced our overhead, transitioned a number of programs to our lower costs regions, and we are in the process of closing four facilities with the goal of lowering the breakeven point of this business and improving profitability. However, in the second quarter, demand was weaker than expected and down sequentially, resulting in higher than expected operating loss. As we look to the third quarter, we are seeing signs of stabilizing demand and expect capital equipment revenue to be flat sequentially.

We are taking incremental cost actions to drive improved profitability and while we expect a loss in the third quarter similar to the second quarter, we do anticipate improved performance in future periods. At this stage, we do not see semiconductor demand environment improving in 2019. And on the display side, we are expecting continuing revenue weakness for the remainder of the year as well as lower customer capex spending is delaying the ramp of next generation programs.

We have, however, secured a number of new business awards within our semiconductor business, including market share gains and are in the early stages of preparing for these ramps. We anticipate these new programs will begin ramping in 2020 and will yield growth in revenue and profitability as volumes gradually increase.

We have built a capital equipment business that includes specialized vertical capability, including precision machining, cleaning, welding, and power coating, as well as design, engineering, and supply chain services. We believe that maintaining the infrastructure and skills we have in these areas is critical to our ability to maximize our growth and profitability when market demand returns to prior levels.

In a more normalized demand environment, we believe our capital equipment business would deliver profitability higher than our target ATS segment margin range. We are confident we have the rigth strategy, relationships, and capabilities in place to be successful in this market.

Turning to CCS, overall, this business performed in line with our expectations. The planned enterprise revenue disengagements are on track to be completed by the end of 2019 and as expected with a full year 2009 impact of just over $400 million relative to last year. Once complete, we believe we will emerge with a more resilient CCS business, offering higher value add solutions to our customers.

Our improved year to year and sequential CCS segment margin performance is in part due to the improved mix resulting from the portfolio transition as well as productivity improvement. Within our communications business, we saw weaker than expected demand in the quarter, driven by continued unwinding of customer inventory buffers and transitions to next generation technology. This increased softness is expected to persist throughout the remainder of the year. As a result of this and lower capital equipment demand, total company revenue for 2019 is expected to be down in the low teens percentage range on the year over year basis, reflecting a lower 2019 revenue outlook than we anticipated three months ago.

As we look to the future of our CCS segment, we continue to believe we are well-positioned to serve cloud-based service providers through our higher value-added services such as JDM. We continually evolve our offering to support this new class of customers and we anticipate that over time, the growth of these customers will strengthen and stabilize our overall CCS revenue while diversifying our portfolio.

Although the current market and margin dynamics remain challenging, we continue to make good progress in securing new wins across our markets. Year to date, we have delivered very strong bookings with ATS, up over 30% year over year and at our highest gross margin level to date, although many of these programs will not fully ramp to peak revenue for several years, we believe these programs will help further diversify and expand our ATS segment and company margins. We are also performing well with our customers.

For example, in the second quarter, Atrenne was awarded a Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Four-Star Supplier Excellence Awarded. This is the fifth time Atrenne has received this award from the strategic customer.

In terms of margins, we continue to work toward achieving non-IFRS operating margin in the range of 3.75% to 4.5%. As highlighted in our last call, there are a number of drivers required for us to achieve this margin range. The first driver is restoring our ATS segment margin to the mid to higher end of a 5% to 6% target margin range, which requires the recovery of a capital equipment demand environment, improved material supply, and the successful ramp of new ATS programs.

The second driver is maintaining our CCS segment margin within a target range of 2% to 3%. Outside of capital equipment, we believe that we are building momentum toward achieving our margin targets. Program ramp and ATS progressing well and we see materials constrains modestly improving, including in A&D.

We are also seeing stable CCS margins. We continue to believe that 3.75% to 4.5% operating margin target is the right goal. We've previously communicated that we were focused on achieving this range and our ATS segment goals within the first half of 2020. However due to the persistence of uncertain demand conditions, it is difficult to predict the timing of a market recovery. As such, the timing for achieving our margin target is also uncertain.

While we are disappointed with the current environment and the length of the downturn, we are committed to executing our transformational plan. We believe that the end result will be a more diversified business, which will help dampen the impact of market dynamics in any single market. We believe that our strategy, which is on a path to driving sustainable profitable growth.

In the short-term, we are tackling our challenges head on and remaining diligent in driving productivity improvement. I want to thank our employees for their dedication as we manage our transformation and our many long-term investors for their support. We look forward to updating you on our progress.

Operator, over to you for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

At this time, I would like to remind everyone in order to ask a question, press * then number 1 on your telephone keypad. We'll pause for just a moment to compile the Q&A roster.

Your first question comes from Ruplu Bhattacharya with Bank of America. Your line is open.

Ruplu Bhattacharya -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Hi. Thank you for taking my questions. I think your target was to get to break even in capital equipment by the end of this calendar year. Based on the current trends that you're seeing, do you think that is still possible or would that be delayed?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Ruplu. This is Rob. Let me take a step back and talk a little bit about the capital equipment environment a little bit. So, we were clearly disappointed in the financial performance of our capital equipment business and the impact it's having on the overall company and its results. I mentioned on the call that in Q2, revenue came in a little lower than expected and that was driven by rate quoted demand erosion.

So, in the near term, we've taken some incremental cost actions. We're also being mindful to preserve the core capabilities that really differentiate us from our competition. We're also working with our customers to drive improved efficiency and profitability. So, as we're getting to the second half, as I mentioned, we're seeing signs of revenue stabilizing and as we get into the 2020, we are expecting semi-cap revenue to grow. It's really as a result of our new wins converting to revenue.

To answer your question, this revenue growth along with the cost actions that we're taking is going to lead this business back to profitability. Furthermore, as the market continues to recover, we do expect the capital equipment margins to be higher than our ATS equipment margins prior to the downturn. This was the case and we believe this will be the case in a more normalized demand environment.

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Ruplu, as we mentioned, we're expecting a loss similar to what we had right now in the third quarter. We are in the process of beginning to ramp programs. The cost actions that we're taking are well under way. Right now, we are not calling out the quarter that we are going to be getting into break even. When both of those actions, ramping of programs as well as the cost productivity start taking ahold, we're going to be moving back to profitability in the near-term.

Ruplu Bhattacharya -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks for the color on that. And just for my follow-up, can you give us some more color on the communications end markets? Any color on optical versus routing and switching? With respect to the inventory buffer reductions or the buffer inventory work down, any color on how long that is taking? Do you think it will take the whole of calendar '19 or just one more quarter? Any color on that? Thank you.

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So, in respect to communications, last year at this time, we had quite the growth spurt. So, we do have some tough comps. That's a factor. The other factor is the unwinding of inventory buffers. As we mentioned, we think that's a Q3/Q4 dynamic in terms of the inventory buffer, the wind down. That being said, that's on the backbone of a dynamic market. We do see a bright spot in networking and optical, though, moving forward.

Ruplu Bhattacharya -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you so much.

Operator

Your next question comes from Thanos Moschopoulos with BMO Capital Markets. Your line is open.

Thanos Moschopoulos -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon. On the capital equipment side, can you help us understand where the sequential deteriorating came from? Was that more focused semi versus display or vice-versa or does it come from both segments?

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Hey, Thanos. Mandeep here. Our expectations in the second quarter were to have revenue come in higher than what it did. So, we've been taking cost actions along the way, but when revenue drops off in a very short period of time, frankly our cost structure just wasn't aligned to the revenue levels that we ended up having. That's what drove the greater loss. We are seeing softness in the semiconductor space. The majority of our portfolio is semiconductor, but we have seen some softness on the display side as well. So, we're seeing demand reductions in both areas.

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanos, just to put it in context, our base semiconductor business is down about 50% on a year over year basis in Q2. It's quite a dramatic drop from where we were this time last year.

Thanos Moschopoulos -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

And given that you're taking restructuring actions and given that you're talking about revenue stabilizing sequentially, why would the loss not be a lower amount the upcoming quarter than it was last quarter?

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

So, two things -- one is the we're in the process of taking the actions. Most of them are under way, but they're not yet complete. We'll be completing them during the third quarter. The second one is that as mentioned, we've actually been fortunate to have a number of new wins in the capital equipment space through 2018 and even so far into 2019. We're in the process now of beginning to ramp those programs. We expect those to start coming online in 2020. For those two reasons, as we execute both of those activities, we'll start to see the benefits starting in the fourth quarter.

Thanos Moschopoulos -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

And then how should we think about working capital throughout the remainder of the year given the program disengagements, the revenue declines. Should we expect to see some ongoing improvement in the cash cycle days?

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. We're really happy with the performance that we've seen in the first half of the year. We've generated close to $200 million of free cash flow, as you know, close to $80 million of operational free cash flow. We are continuing to target positive free cash flow into the third quarter. There will be some improvement, I think, in cash cycle dates as we go through it, but I'm not going to call a specific number at this point, but we do think that there continues to be an opportunity in unwinding working capital to the new revenue levels that we have.

Thanos Moschopoulos -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Thanks, guys. I'll pass the line.

Operator

Your next question comes from Robert Young with Canaccord Genuity. Your line is open.

Robert Young -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Good evening. Given that you're seeing some higher cash, what are your priorities there? Maybe if you could give us a sense for your appetite for M&A. How much room is left in the current NCIB, the buyback, and what options do you have there? I know you said you have some ramps to fund. What other areas would you direct that cash to?

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Hey, Robert. I'll start off on this. So, our focus really right now is on de-levering and continuing to generate positive free cash flow. We did see our leveraging drop to 2.3 times in the quarter. Our total leverage dropped close to $50 million. As we generate more cash flow, that is our priority.

We're happy with the progress that we made on the share buybacks. We bought back 8.5 million shares for the first half of this year. That actually exhausts the amount of shares we predict we can cancel under the current NCIB. The current NCIB runs until December of this year. So, at this time, we don't anticipate doing any further share buybacks in the third quarter. So, any cash generation we do have would be going to fund internal investments such as capex or continue to pay down debt.

On the M&A side, we continue to have an active funnel, but that's not an area that we are actively hunting. We always have our filter open to continue to invest in capabilities, but I'll let Rob add on to that, if he wishes.

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I think that says it, Mandeep. We call it favorably unicorn hunting, but if we find something compelling that progresses or strategic capabilities, we take a look at it, but it would be small at this stage of the game.

Robert Young -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Is there a target in terms of EBITDA you'd expect in debt?

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, our long-term target has been 2 to 2.5 times, in line with what we see our peer group at. To be frank, it's a little bit difficult right now to call the turns number because we are at the same time faced with declining 12 months of EBITDA. That's just the nature as we continue to go through this transformation. What our focus is is maintaining the lowest debt we can.

Robert Young -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

The CCS portfolio review, you said it was going to be completed in 2019. Is there any appetite to start another portfolio review after that on CCS or more broadly? Is there any thought on extending that program?

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. We're pleased with the program that's under way right now. As you mentioned, it is on track to be completed. It was sized at around $500 million to begin with. The teams have done an excellent job in working with their customers to do that. It's a part of what we do on a day to day basis. We continue to look at making sure that we're generating the right level of returns for the significant value that we provide.

So, we want to have some long-term strategic relationships with our customers. If there are dynamics where that's not the case, we will have conversations with our customers on how to improve profitability and of course, sometimes you need to part ways in business. I would say we're not looking at this time to initiate a new program, but it is an active part of how we manage the business, in both CCS as well as in ETS.

Robert Young -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Okay. One last little question -- it sounds as though the A&D business is very healthy with the exception of material constraints. Are there any risk items in that business? Do you see a lot of news around Boeing? Is there any risk to highlight to investors?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

With respect to Boeing, the impact to us is negligible. To your point, we're pleased that A&D grew into double digits in Q2 and we're showing some gradual improvement in the backlog and ramping of new programs, both in our base business and through Atrenne. So, overall, it's getting healthier and we expect to continue to gradually improve from a materials environment as the quarters move on.

Robert Young -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Thanks for answering the question.

Operator

Your next question comes from Paul Steep with Scotia Capital. Your line is open.

Paul Steep -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Great. Thanks. Rob or Mandeep, maybe you could talk a little bit about communications. In your statements here, you flag inventory buffering, obviously the transition, but inventory buffering in next gen program transitions is being to the impact items there. Can you give us a sense of where you think we are in that cycle in terms of burning through what's buffered in the supply chain and maybe where we are in terms of ramping up those new programs?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So, we think the unwinding of the inventory buffers is a Q3/Q4 dynamic. As I mentioned earlier, it is a little bit on a dynamic marketplace, so based volumes in terms of market adoption and things like that also fluctuate up and down. We think the buffers is a one or two-quarter type of dynamic. But in concert with that, we're also seeing some of our customers transition their products from one generation to the next generation.

As that happens and as their end customers realize that the demand for the older product trails off until the new product comes in. So, we're seeing that dynamic as well as some of the product transitions are happening. So, both those combinations are giving us lower revenues to the back half of this year.

Paul Steep -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

If we go over to A&D, we talked in the last couple quarters about the materials constraints and you note in your comments here you think that's going to pick up in the back half. Can you give a sense of how much that may have actually constrained the business around just those constraints on those high-reliability parts and give us maybe more a sense of what it actually did? Did it just mean you held more stuff in whip or just orders didn't materialize?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. In summary, it basically means we have all the orders in house. We have a lot of the material in house except for the pacing items. Our customers are very eager to get that product in their hands and to their end customers. We're trying to burn off this backlog that's past due, if you will. The pacing item is frankly several types of components and commodity groups that are pacing that. These are our suppliers and our customers' suppliers that are slowly getting healthier and improving their supply to us. But it's not going to be a step function improvement on a quarter over quarter basis. It's drips and drabs, but we are working it hard and we are seeing that backlog gradually improve.

Paul Steep -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Great. Last one. On the energy segment, I know it's now a small component of the overall business, but I thought I heard you mention a disengagement with the customer in the period, can you give a sense of a little more context around that? Thanks.

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, sure. So, a product that probably quickly commoditized over a shorter period of time and as it's being more of a commodity, it's marked by higher cost outs and lower price flexibility with our customers. Our strategy, frankly, has us playing more the higher value add given the commodity nature of the product and the fact that it was loss generating, we worked with our customers and decided to disengage and help transition into somebody who specializes more on the low end. From a sizing perspective, it was less than 2% of ATS annual revenues.

Paul Steep -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Perfect. Thanks, guys.

Operator

Your next question comes from Todd Coupland with CIBC. Your line is open.

Todd Coupland -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Good evening, everyone. A couple of housekeeping items -- in terms of thinking about a tax rate post-losses in capital, how should we think about that?

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Post losses after we get back to profitability in capital equipment?

Todd Coupland -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Yeah.

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

So, Todd, on the question on tax, if you look back at our target rate, it was 19% to 21% at the beginning of the year. If you go back four or five years, you'll see that we more or less have operated plus or minus around that range for a number of years. Maybe I'll just double click on the two main drivers again. One was mix. We had higher levels of profitability in high-tax geos.

The second is -- and you're touching on it -- we've generated losses in capital equipment by driving restructuring and those losses are landing in geographies where we pay very little to sometimes no tax. Because of the historical losses in those areas, we're not able to really generate a tax credit. So, as we normalize our capital equipment business and you get back to profitability as the restructuring program comes to an end, we would expect at this time that we're going to get back to our target range. I think the way to go about it right now would be 19% to 21%.

Todd Coupland -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Okay. And in terms of the buyback, I thought you said you'd finished it for this year. So, should we expect you to reapply for another buyback or will you wait until the end of the year to do that?

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Our intention would be to open another buyback. We like just for good housekeeping to your point to have a buyback program open when available. Because we can't have another program open until the end of December, it's something that we would start the paperwork on shortly, but it wouldn't go into effect until the end of the year.

Todd Coupland -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Okay. And you called out optical, the networking growing under the covers. Can you just talk about what some of the drivers are for that?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. The networking growth and optical growth is really being fueled by data center growth and a large part of it is coming from our non-traditional customers.

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. And on the optical side, we're seeing it more on the system side versus the component side.

Todd Coupland -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

And is it from a telecom perspective, is it just bandwidth in the network? Is 5G starting to kick in? What's actually happening there?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

It's largely datacenter interconnect.

Todd Coupland -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Oh, that's datacenter as well too on the optical side.

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, they both are.

Todd Coupland -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Then just last question -- you're buying a lot of stock back. Your valuation is low here. Does the board think about whether or not it makes sense for Celestica to stay public, given all these transition points and not being terribly well-received by the overall public market? Maybe just give us your thoughts on that.

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So, as a leadership team and as a board, we always look for various ways to return value to our shareholders. Right now, we're committed to our current strategy. We believe it's sound. We believe it's working, albeit it's not progressing as fast as we'd like, which is being largely driven by the market headwinds we have in capital equipment and to some extent communications. We always look at a wide variety of ways to increase shareholder value.

Todd Coupland -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Appreciate the color. Thanks a lot.

Operator

Your next question comes from Paul Treiber with RBC Capital Markets. Your line is open.

Paul Treiber -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Thanks very much and good afternoon. You mentioned that you're closing four facilities in semi cap. Were those planned at the beginning of the year? Is that an incremental decision? Could you also elaborate on what regions or the types of facilities that you're closing?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Some of that was an acceleration of the impact integration. Given the low revenue environment, we accelerated the integration and some of that was just taking capacity out of the system. A large portion of it was consolidation of facilities in and around our West Coast and some of it was actually in Korea -- again, consolidation of facilities to make ourselves more efficient.

It's important to note that as we're consolidating facilities and repositioning work to lower cost regions, we are lowering our breakeven point and lowering our cost to serve. So, when the market does come back, we should be in a much better position to be able to serve that demand.

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

To your point, though, Paul -- as the demand has softened even further than what we were originally expecting in the quarter, we did decide to take additional actions to bring the business back to a level of profitability. So, we are continuing to sharpen our pencils to make sure we can get this business back to break even and then growing from there.

Paul Treiber -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

You mentioned that you're not losing or plan to lose any capabilities. What's the strategy when you mitigate that risk when you do close those facilities? Are they mostly overlapping facilities or do you have knowledge or IP that you need to transfer among some of them?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Some of it is transferring work from high cost geos to low cost geos. So, with that comes the equipment and the knowledge. Some of it is just preserving -- to some extent, we have some overlapping capabilities between impact and our capital equipment business. So, we've consolidated that extra capacity and those capabilities so we could serve it more efficiently. Every time we do this, we always mark out what's key and what's core in terms of people with processes and capabilities and we make sure that we're not at the risk of losing those things such that we can respond to the market when it does return.

Paul Treiber -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Just lastly -- on the display programs, you mentioned a pushout from the second half of this year to 2020. I think you made a similar comment last quarter -- is there a change -- are you seeing a further pushout or are you just reiterating the same comment from last quarter?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We were tracking a large customer project that we thought would start ramping toward the end of this year. That specific project pushed out to the end of next year. That was partially offset by several smaller projects, which we expect to start ramping in 2020. In fact, in the news yesterday, there was an end customer announcing some major investments in 10.5G, which we're tracking. According to that announcement, they're announcing production in 2021-2022. The long-term fundamentals for the display end market, I think, are intact. It's just a question now of timing.

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

It probably was incremental softness from 90 days ago.

Paul Treiber -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Jim Suva with Citigroup Investment. Your line is open.

Jim Suva -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thank you very much. You've given a lot of detail so far, which is greatly appreciate. On the semi cap orders, have these gotten worse or stabilized or improved? It seems like there have been some other semi cap equipment companies who have started to talk about billings and orders that have started to improve. I'm just trying to get a sense from you about your visibility. Have those orders percolated down to you or stabilized or are things still pretty disappointing in that segment?

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So, inside of Q2, it got incrementally worse from what we were thinking from the beginning of the quarter. Moving to the back half, we think at the Q2 levels, they're stabilized. We've seen some of the recent news and upgrades of some customers at the end markets. We have yet to see that pick up. We're mindful that that might happen toward the end of the year, but right now, our views are that that's not going to happen. If it does happen, that might be some potential upside for us and we'd be very happy to serve that.

The growth that we're actually banking on and looking forward to us probably more in 2020. Again, that's not more of capacity increases, but that's just converting a lot of the business that we've booked in prior periods, converting that to revenue in 2020.

Jim Suva -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Great. And then switching over to the communications segment -- it seems like there are some companies there who have actually been seeing some pretty good strength, whether it be on the enterprise side or service provider or even 5G buildout. Is it an inventory digestion? Is it a customer concentration? Or is it you happen to have some programs that right now are not in favor? I'm trying to connect the dots on how we see some strength in those markets but then maybe some inventory or some customers that we should think about. You don't have to name names, but just help us understand and bridge those.

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. I think the biggest driver, at least on a year over year basis are the tough comps, but beyond that, it's largely the inventory buffers. Then from a customer perspective, our traditional OEMs are probably down the most and we're feeling that slowdown as well. That's being driven by the overall disruption that's happening in the marketplace, which is probably nothing new than what we've said in prior quarters, infrastructure as a service and disaggregation and things like that are disrupting the traditional OEMs business model.

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

What we're happy to see under the covers is we're seeing this very strong growth on the service provider side. The JDM investments that we've been making are paying off. Despite the softness we're seeing in those legacy customers, there is being buffered a little bit by those other areas.

Jim Suva -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thanks so much for the details. That's greatly appreciated.

Operator

There are no further questions at this time. I will now turn the call back over to the presenters.

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Chantal. So, in Q2, we delivered in line results and it was marked by very strong cashflow. The performance of our business other than capital equipment is performing well. Within capital equipment, we're taking the appropriate short-term measures with an eye toward our longer-term goals.

Again, we believe our strategy is sound and over time, the actions that we're taking will improve our diversification and improve and enable consistent and profitable growth. I thank you for joining and I look forward to updating you as we progress throughout the year.

Operator

This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.

Duration: 50 minutes

Call participants:

Lisa Headrick -- Vice President of Finance

Rob Mionis -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Mandeep Chawla -- Chief Financial Officer

Ruplu Bhattacharya -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Thanos Moschopoulos -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Robert Young -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Paul Steep -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Todd Coupland -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Paul Treiber -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Jim Suva -- Citigroup -- Analyst

More CLS analysis

All earnings call transcripts

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 Celestica
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 ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Celestica wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

 

*Stock Advisor returns as of June 1, 2019