Apergy Corporation (APY) Q2 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

APY earnings call for the period ending Jun 30, 2019.

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Apergy Corporation  (NYSE:APY)
Q2 2019 Earnings Call
Jul. 25, 2019, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to Apergy's Corporation Second Quarter 2019 Conference Call. Your host for this morning's call is David Skipper, Vice President and Treasurer at Apergy.

I will now turn the call over to Mr. Skipper, you may begin.

David Skipper -- Vice President and Treasurer

Thank you. Good morning, everyone. With me today are Soma Somasundaram, President and CEO of Apergy and Jay Nutt, Senior Vice President and CFO of Apergy.

During today's call, Soma will discuss Apergy's second quarter highlights and market outlook. Jay will then discuss our second quarter results and be referring to slides posted on our website, before turning the call back to Soma to discuss the progress on our growth initiatives. And then we will open the call for Q&A.

I would like to remind our participants that some of the statements we will we making today are forward looking. These matters involve risks and uncertainties that could cause material differences in our results from those projected in these statements. Information concerning risk factors that could affect the company's performance and uncertainties that could cause material differences to actual results from those in the forward-looking statements can we found in the company's press release as well as in Apergy's annual report on Form 10-K and those set forth from time to time in Apergy's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are currently available at apergy.com. Except as required by law, the company expressly disclaims any intention or obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements.

Our comments today may also include non-GAAP financial measures. Additional details on reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure can we found in our second quarter press release and slide presentation for this call, which are on our website.

I will now turn the call over to Soma to discuss Apergy's second quarter results.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Thank you, David. Good morning, everyone. I would like to welcome our shareholders, our analysts and our employees to our second quarter 2019 earnings call. Thanks for joining the call.

We continued our strong execution in the second quarter, and as expected, we delivered sequential growth in revenue and adjusted EBITDA, driven by growth in our artificial lift and digital products, partially offset by lower revenue and adjusted EBITDA in Drilling Technologies.

In the second quarter and against the backdrop of volatile oil prices, we continue to see the effects of capital discipline in the oilfield. As we expected, we saw sequential improvement in the market activity for our artificial lift and digital products. In Drilling Technologies, in addition to the expected seasonal decline in Canadian activity, we also saw US drilling activity decline through the second quarter. International activity continue to improve in the second quarter.

Turning to our financial performance. In the second quarter of 2019, our consolidated revenue was $306 million, with adjusted EBITDA of $75 million. Our continued productivity focus and cost discipline helped us to achieve sequential margin expansion of 40 basis points, and we delivered an adjusted EBITDA margin of 24.4% in the quarter.

We generated $26 million of free cash flow in the quarter. Year-to-date, we have generated 23% more free cash flow in 2019 than in the first half of 2018. We intend to carry this momentum into the back half of 2019 and deliver another year of solid free cash flow performance.

In line with our capital allocation priorities, we continue to make good progress on deleveraging our balance sheet and repay $25 million of term loan debt in the quarter. Since our spin-off, we have repaid $95 million of debt and we remain on the path toward achieving a leverage ratio of 1.5 times debt-to-EBITDA in the first half of 2020.

Additionally, we closed on previously announced sale of our pressure vessel manufacturing business as it was non-core to our portfolio. We have committed to continuously evaluating and taking action when necessary to ensure that our portfolio is positioned to continue to deliver the top-box performance we discussed during our Investor Day in March. This divestiture is an example of our work to ensure Apergy remains a top-box performer.

Turning to our segments. Production & Automation Technologies segment revenues increased 5% sequentially, with artificial lift revenue growing 6%. Growth was driven by both US and international markets. Within the segment, we achieved 2% sequential growth in North America, driven by 3% growth in the US market, offset by a seasonal decline in Canadian market. We achieved 24% sequential revenue growth in international markets outside of North America.

In the US, we posted strong sequential growth in Rod Lift, while results for ESP were flat. Strong growth in the Permian basin for ESP was offset by lower revenue in the Bakken due to an operational issue. We expect this to be corrected in Q3, and we expect ESP revenue growth to resume in the second half.

Our artificial lift second quarter results demonstrate the strength and benefits of having a broad portfolio of artificial lift product. This broad portfolio helps us to continue to grow in spite of challenges in a particular basin or a product.

Digital products recorded revenue growth at 12% year-over-year and 10% sequentially. Growth in our digital portfolio in the quarter was led by our downhole monitoring, production optimization and artificial lift-related digital products. In the second quarter, Drilling Technologies' revenues decreased 9% sequentially. As expected, we experienced lower seasonal drilling activity in Canada, additionally, the decline in US drilling activity through the second quarter prompted our customers to right size their diamond cutter inventory, which resulted in reduced volumes in the quarter.

From a geographic perspective, we continue to execute well internationally with revenues outside of North America up 6% sequentially. Our strong growth was led by artificial lift sales in Latin America and the Asia Pacific, particularly our Rod Lift and PCP product lines. Within North America, our US revenue grew 2% sequentially.

Before I turn the call over to Jay to take you through the details of the consolidated and segment financial results, let me take a few minutes to share our view of the current market for our products. As we look into the second half of 2019, North American activity is expected to be lower, while international markets will continue to show incremental growth. For the remainder of the year, we expect that our US customers will maintain spending discipline and focus on free cash flow generation. Against this backdrop, we expect Apergy to post resilient performance relative to the market, with modest sequential revenue growth in the third quarter driven by our artificial lift and digital products.

Within our Drilling Technologies segments in the third quarter, we expect our customers to continue to right size their polycrystalline diamond cutter inventories to match activity level, and push out some diamond-bearing orders due to spending discipline. This will result in a slight sequential decrease in our Drilling Technologies' revenue in the third quarter. We expect our customers to complete the rightsizing of their cutter inventories in the third quarter.

At Apergy, we continue to remain focused on the factors under our control including advancing our growth and technology initiatives, maintaining cost discipline, driving productivity improvements and generating free cash flow. To that end, for full-year 2019, we are targeting a free cash flow conversion ratio of 40% to 45% of our adjusted EBITDA and believe that we are well positioned to deliver another year of differentiated financial results.

Now let me turn the call over to Jay.

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, everyone. As David mentioned, I'll we referring to the slides posted on our website. Beginning with Slide 4. Apergy delivered revenue and adjusted EBITDA within our guidance range. Revenue was $306 million for the second quarter, which was $4 million higher or 1% increase sequentially, and flat compared to second quarter 2018 performance. The sequential increase was due to growth, both domestically and in our international business.

In the quarter, there was a year-over-year revenue decline in the US of $2 million or 1%, offset by revenue growth outside of North America of $3 million or 4%.

Adjusted diluted EPS was $0.35, down $0.03 when compared to the second quarter of 2018. As we pointed out in our release, the second quarter 2018 results did not include the full quarter impact of stand-alone public company cost, including a build-out corporate staff and interest expense associated with our debt. The absence of such expenses in the prior year results limits comparability on an adjusted diluted earnings per share basis.

Cash flow from operating activities was $39 million in the second quarter, down $12 million from the year ago period. Compared to the year ago period, Apergy interest payments increased approximately $12 million due to the debt that was placed on our balance sheet at the time of the spin. We also made tax payments during the current period that were not incurred in the prior period due to the timing of this spin.

During the second quarter, in spite of some slowing of customer collections, we still managed to draw down adjusted working capital, $6 million sequentially on lower receivables and increased vendor payables.

Due to first six months of the year, cash from operating activities is ahead of 2018 performance, in spite of the interest expense and higher cash tax payments made in the current year when combined with lower CapEx investments year-to-date compared to 2018, free cash flow is 23% ahead of last year.

Turning to Slide 5. From a macro viewpoint, oil prices continued to demonstrate some volatility, driven by global oil demand concerns from trade discussions, but more recently, have rebounded as a result of the extension of OPEC, non-OPEC production cuts and lower supplies stemming from geopolitical developments. As anticipated, the North American rig count [Technical Issues] are aligned with the progression of the industry.

Moving to Slide 6 and looking at consolidated second quarter performance. Net income in the quarter was $24 million and diluted earnings per share were $0.31. After adjusting for the impact of spin-off and restructuring-related items, adjusted net income was $27 million, resulting in diluted earnings per share of $0.35 in the quarter.

We generated adjusted EBITDA of $75 million during the second quarter compared to $77 million in the second quarter of 2018. Once again, as a result of the timing of our spin in the middle of Q2 last year, results from the second quarter of 2018 do not include all of the expenses that would have been incurred had Apergy been a stand-alone public company for the full period.

In the second quarter of 2019, we incurred approximately $2 million of additional corporate cost associated with Apergy becoming a stand-alone public company compared to the prior year period.

Sequentially, adjusted EBITDA increased $2 million on the $4 million revenue increase. The sequential revenue increase within Production & Automation Technologies more than offset the larger-than-expected sequential revenue decline in Drilling Technologies.

In the second quarter, net interest expense was $10 million, which was 4% lower than the first quarter as we're beginning to see some of the benefits of the effects of our deleveraging.

In the second quarter, we repaid another $25 million of term loan debt. Since the completion of the spin-off on May 9 of last year, we've repaid $95 million of term loan debt.

Our effective tax rate in the second quarter was 22%. Our effective tax rate was slightly below our guidance range, due to a nonrecurring spin-related benefit in our international operations.

In the second quarter, we invested $13 million in capital expenditures, including growth capital associated with surface equipment for ESP leased asset portfolio.

Current quarter spending was lower compared to the total capital spending of $16 million in the second quarter of 2018. Our free cash flow conversion from adjusted EBITDA was 35% in the second quarter of 2019 and free cash flow as a percentage of revenue was 9%. Both ratios improved sequentially, and were positively impacted by the recovery of some of the working capital build from the first quarter, but negatively impacted by the timing of income tax, interest and insurance premium payments.

Free cash flow conversion from adjusted EBITDA for the first six months of 2019 was 25% compared to 21% last year. Free cash flow as a percentage of revenue was 6% year-to-date through June compared to 5% in 2018. Similar to last year, we expect cash flow improvement to continue through the remaining quarters of the year.

Turning to Slide 7. Production & Automation Technologies revenue finished at $236 million in the second quarter, a decrease of $5 million or 2% from the second quarter of 2018, but up $12 million or 5% sequentially. The year-over-year revenue decline was due to lower international volume, specifically related to timing of deliveries in the Middle East and negative foreign exchange impacts.

Digital products had revenue growth of 12% year-over-year. The sequential growth came from stronger international activity, mainly in Asia and Latin America along with improved volumes in Rod Lift and Digital Products. Digital Products had sequential growth of 10%.

Adjusted segment EBITDA decreased $2 million or 5% from $54 million in the year ago period. Driven by the revenue decline, adjusted segment EBITDA increased $6 million sequentially or 12% due to the revenue growth, the building momentum in productivity initiatives and continued strong cost discipline.

Adjusted segment EBITDA margin was 22% in the current quarter compared to 23% in the second quarter of 2018 and 21% in the first quarter of 2019. The sequential adjusted EBITDA increase of 140 basis points again reflects the benefits of continued cost discipline and operational leverage on the increased volume.

Regarding our ESP leased program, our up-front investment and downhole cables and pumps are reflected in our cash from operating activities. This investment was $9 million in the second quarter and is $31 million for the first six months of 2019.

As we noted during our fourth quarter of last year, we released more capital and put additional inventory on order in anticipation of another robust growth year for ESPs in 2019. As a result of those actions, we built some inventory, which we expect to draw down on in the remainder of the year through deployment of the leased asset portfolio.

We expect the investment in the second half of the year to be lower than the $31 million year-to-date due to the drawdown. For the full year, we estimate we will invest between $45 million and $50 million, which will be reflected in cash from operating activity section of our financial statements.

As we've shared and previously demonstrated, we will maintain capital and spending discipline on our ESP leased asset portfolio to ensure acceptable returns and cash generation. Finally, in the second quarter, we completed the previously announced divestiture of our pressure vessel manufacturing business as it was not core to our portfolio and dilutive to our returns. Due to the divestiture, we recorded a $3 million loss on disposal on the quarter. The business represented approximately 2% of production in Automation Technologies revenue in 2018 and less than 2% in the first half of 2019.

Moving to Slide 8. Drilling Technologies posted revenue of $70 million in the second quarter, representing an increase of 8% from the second quarter of last year compared to flat worldwide average rig count. The $5 million year-over-year revenue growth was driven by higher shipments of both our polycrystalline diamond cutters and diamond bearings. Revenue from diamond bearings was up 54% compared to the year-ago period.

Compared to the first quarter of 2019, Drilling Technologies revenues decreased 9% due to the seasonally lower rig count in Canada and a decline in US drilling activity through the second quarter as a result of the US average rig count declining 5%. The lower rig count led to some rightsizing of diamond cutter inventory levels by several customers in the second quarter. Lower international bearing shipments contributed to this sequential revenue decline.

Adjusted segment EBITDA increased 10% to $27 million in the current quarter from the second quarter of 2018, primarily driven by higher volume and the benefits of our cost discipline and productivity initiatives. Sequentially, adjusted segment EBITDA decreased 9% from $29 million in the first quarter due to the revenue decline. Adjusted segment EBITDA margin was 38% in the second quarter of 2019 compared to 38% in the first quarter of 2019 and 37% in the second quarter of 2018.

Looking at Slide 9. On the balance sheet, second quarter ending debt, net of debt discounts and deferred financing cost was $613 million. Cash at the end of the quarter was $24 million.

As previously noted, we repaid another $25 million of debt on our term loan, consistent with our commitment to our capital allocation priorities, which include continuing to fund our organic capex needs tied to our growth accelerators as well as reducing our leverage through earnings growth and debt reduction.

At June 30, Apergy's total leverage ratio was 2 times, and our available liquidity was $269 million.

Turning to Slide 10. For the third quarter of 2019, we expect consolidated revenue of $305 million to $315 million and adjusted EBITDA of $72 million to $77 million. We expect sequential growth in our artificial lift and digital businesses to be partially offset by a sequential decline in our Drilling Technologies business due to the lower North American drilling activity and the push out of deliveries of diamond bearing orders as customers constrain their investments. We anticipate that interest expense will be approximately $10 million, and that our depreciation and amortization expense will be approximately $30 million. Our effective tax rate is expected to be in the range of 23% to 25% in the third quarter.

Within the investing section of our cash flow statement, our full-year 2019 capital spending forecast continues to be approximately 2.5% of revenue for infrastructure-related growth and maintenance, plus an additional $15 million to $20 million for capital investment and surface equipment for our portfolio of ESP leased assets.

As a result, for the full-year of 2019, we estimate adjusted EBITDA free cash flow conversion of 40% to 45%, and free cash flow as a percentage of sales of approximately 10% with free cash flow being defined as cash from operating activities plus capital expenditures.

With that, I'll turn the call back over to Soma for some closing comments before we open up the lines for Q&A.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Thank you, Jay. Before we open the call to questions, I would like to update you on our progress on the key growth initiatives for 2019 and beyond.

Our first growth initiative is in our ESP product line, where we continue to drive above-market growth. As you know, we have been working on qualifying our ESP product line with major integrated oil companies. I'm pleased to report that in the second quarter, we completed the qualification process with one major IOC and received an order for our first set of wells for ESP installations. We expect these installations to happen in the third quarter and begin generating revenues. We believe achieving this milestone is an important step in the continued growth for our ESP business as our continued penetration into the major IOCs will further drive our ESP share in the market.

Additionally, we continue to advance technologies within the ESP product line to improve run life through increased reliability and remote monitoring capability. Compared to the year ago period, we have grown significantly our digital revenues associated with ESP monitoring.

Our second growth initiative is focused on existing well conversions to Rod Lift as production declines. In the US, for the 12 months ended June 30, 2019, our Rod Lift revenues increased in the high single digits. In the second quarter of 2019, we saw strong sequential growth across our US footprint, and we expect this to continue in the third quarter. We believe that we continue to see evidence of a multiyear growth story for our Rod Lift product line. Our strong brands and our position in the market will enable us to capitalize on the growing pool of available Rod Lift conversion candidates.

Our third growth initiative involves driving significant growth of our digital product revenues. We are focused on developing fit-for-purpose solutions, designed to improve customer productivity and operation economics as well as growing our software-related recurring revenue stream. We are constantly looking for opportunities that will continue to advance our digital portfolio and deepen our customer engagement.

To that end, we are in the process of acquiring a bolt-on digital technology, which is strategic to our artificial lift portfolio. We expect the acquisition to close in the third quarter, although our digital portfolio revenue may be lumpy from quarter-to-quarter due to the current capital discipline environment, we continue to believe that we can post significant year-over-year revenue growth in the years to come.

Our fourth growth initiative is in the continued innovation and advancement of our diamond sciences technology, including our polycrystalline diamond cutters. In the second quarter of 2019, our Drilling Technology segment had 22 new patents issued, bringing the total issued patents since the beginning of 2008 to 763. Although revenue growth in the third quarter will we impacted by reduced drilling activity in North America, adoption continues to remain strong for new technology. And this resulted in 44% of our revenues in the segment in the second quarter coming from products introduced within the last three years.

In the second quarter, the continued advancement of our diamond sciences technology helped us to achieve the 8% year-over-year revenue growth in Drilling Technologies compared to a 7% year-over-year decline in the North American rig count. This is a differentiated performance.

Our final growth initiative is focused on driving continued adoption of our diamond bearings in downhole application, including rotary steerables, mud motors and power generators.

Year-to-date, we have seen strong performance in this product line with the revenue up 69% compared to the first half of last year. Even with the temporary push out of some diamond bearing orders in the second half due to capital discipline, we will post strong revenue growth in our diamond bearings product line in 2019.

Additionally, we expect strong growth in the coming years, driven by continued adoption of -- for downhole application and also from other applications, where this technology can we applied.

We delivered a solid financial performance in the second quarter and continue to execute well on our growth initiatives. We are committed to maintaining a focused portfolio that is resilient and continues to deliver the top-box performance through the cycle.

Finally, I want to thank all of our employees for their continued efforts and passion in improving the lives of our customers, our employees, our shareholders and our communities. I'm proud of their accomplishments, and it is privilege for me to lead such a great team.

With that, I would like to open the call for questions.


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Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. We can now have our question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Our first question is from Byron Pope of Tudor, Pickering.

Byron Pope -- Tudor, Pickering -- Analyst

Good morning guys.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Good morning.

Byron Pope -- Tudor, Pickering -- Analyst

Soma, I just want to make sure I'm thinking about the way you framed the outlook for Production & Automation Technologies. I think I heard that you expect the strong growth that you saw in Rod Lift to continue in Q3, but could you frame how you think about the ESP installations that you're seeing as we've stepped into Q3 and realize that, that product line is skewed toward the Permian? Just looking for how you think about activity there or the mix within Production & Automation Technologies here in Q3 in the context of the guidance.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. So our conversations with our customers and also pumpjack manufacturers continue to point that the Rod Lift conversions should continue to improve in the third quarter. So we do think across the US footprint. We saw that in Q2, our Rod Lift sequentially grow in all basins, and we expect that to continue into the Q3.

With respect to ESP installations, we definitely see the -- on the Permian, incremental improvement from Q2. Q1 to Q2, our ESP installations grew in Permian, and we expect that to continue into Q3 as well, and into the second half. But on the -- as I mentioned in the prepared remarks, we did have an operational issue in the Bakken, which we are correcting in Q3. And as that abates, you will see the second half ESP will grow. So we expect our the second half sequentially for ESP to be better than the first half.

Byron Pope -- Tudor, Pickering -- Analyst

Okay. That's helpful, Soma. And then just my quick second question on diamond technologies. The orders for diamond bearings that got pushed into the back half of the year, it -- are you -- is the expectation that they happen at some point before year-end? Or it's just not that much visibility as we stand here today? Because you've had great traction with customers on the diamond bearing front as it relates to the downhole tools and rotary steerables.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. Absolutely, Byron. I think we continue to believe the conversations with the customers are very strong to point out the continued adoption. In the first half, as you have seen, we grew 69% in the first half in the diamond bearings business. So it's a pretty strong growth. And as you know the main customers for these are the large oilfield service companies. So as we move into the second half as the large oilfield service companies continue to exercise spending discipline, capital discipline. We -- some of these orders are going to we pushed out. It's hard to say at this point whether it will resume in the -- before some of these orders will come back before the end of the year. But our plan today is -- our visibility is -- the assumption we are making is, it will be more into the first quarter of next year.

Byron Pope -- Tudor, Pickering -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks, Soma. Appreciate it.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Sure.

Operator

Our next question from David Anderson of Barclays.

David Anderson -- Barclays -- Analyst

Hey, good morning, Soma. So there is a lot of thinking out there that the so-called frac holiday from last year is going to cause an air pocket in the ESP demand and -- from the Permian kind of in the second half of the year, doesn't sound like that's happening. It sounds like -- you sound pretty confident that's going to continue to increase. Can you just kind of give us a sense of some of kind of the dynamics that you're seeing out there? I mean, I know this is more OpEx and CapEx, or is that sort of the -- your view that it should be fairly steady throughout the next couple of quarters?

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. It's exactly how you described it. Especially in the Permian, it being a more leased-asset business. We're seeing as we came out of the Q2, we are seeing the installations continue to the stable, and in some cases, improving. So we feel that ESP installations to be -- continue to be improving, and at least table are improving in the second half.

The other aspect that happens, and we have talked about this before, is the run backs. As we have talked about it before that in the same well where ESP has been installed, there can be additional run backs of ESP, which is as the production declines, taking out one ESP and putting in lower volume ESP. And we have seeing that to be -- two has become almost 10 nowadays in -- particularly in Permian. And we have seen in some cases as much as three. And that's why we always say that it is not a one-to-one relationship. And we have done multiple analytics to understand this. And I can tell you that it's hard to find a one-to-one clear relationship between a fracking slowdown and a ESP growth. So -- because of these factors.

David Anderson -- Barclays -- Analyst

Soma, that 30 ESPs you're talking about that are going to the well. Is that a new design? Does that require a different rental piece from you? Do you have to build that out? Or is that similar to what you normally do and it's just in sort of a just different size in your kit there?

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. It's just different sizes in our kit.

David Anderson -- Barclays -- Analyst

Okay. A separate question here on the digital side. You had a nice quarter, up 10%. I was just wondering, if maybe you could just kind of step back and kind of help us understand kind of the overall market penetration with digital. I guess -- I don't know of this is the right way to think about it. But if I you think about all of your ESPs and the Rod that you have out there in the field, I mean, what percentage of that -- tell me if this is a right way to look at it, but what percentage of your installed base has digital or some form of digital applied to it? And secondarily, is it only your equipment that goes to? Or can you -- do you -- or do you also put the digital on other people's equipment?

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. So let me start with the last question first. Because in the last piece where you asked, whether we also put digital on other people's equipments. It is true. We also -- as you know, we have hardware component and the software component, and we work in a very collaborative manner with the customers. So we offer them a suite of products so they can pick and choose what works best for them as well. So in some cases, our software will work and run on a customer's -- a competitor's controllers, meaning the exact -- taking data from a competitor's controllers and then doing the optimization work, right? So the software and hardware components can work in our own hardware as well as a competitor's hardware.

Now the question to -- the question of how should we think about digital penetration. If you look at our portfolio, we have those -- we have downhole monitoring aspect of the business, where we provide downhole monitoring of pressure, temperature, those elements. And then we have the production optimization element, which involves artificial lift, full set of artificial lift. Then we have our asset integrity management, which includes monitoring of reciprocating compressors in the -- in engine, in pipelines and gathering lines. If you think about the downhole monitoring, a big driver of those type of things, when you think of it as intelligent completions. So as continued permanent monitoring of wealth improve, intelligent completions continue to improve. So we are seeing the strength of that come through in downhole monitoring.

When you think about the production optimization where we have the artificial lift products. The ESP monitoring, we saw significant growth, continued growth in our ESP monitoring. And again, as we said, all of our ESP installations goes with the monitoring portfolio. And so that's a continued aspect of our...

Then the third element, the asset integrity management and the reciprocating compressor engine, this is where our spotlight product line, which we talk about and what we launch. And we are seeing increased number of, what I would call, proof of concepts. The way customers adopt this product is if you have a pipeline with multiple compressors, they want to test it on few compressors first, they call it the proof of concept, it could be one, it could be a fleet to five. And then as they see the value of it, they adopt across their product portfolio. So what we are seeing is that increased proof of concept, the number of proof of concepts continues to improve, which will eventually turn into orders. As we have always said, it's always hard to predict adoption. And since our portfolio has a hardware and software, it is not completely immune to capital discipline, right? So that's why we say it can be lumpy, but where we have the conviction and the evidence, what we are seeing is the continued -- think about it from a year-over-year basis, you should continue to see healthy growth rates in this business, and we are seeing evidence.

David Anderson -- Barclays -- Analyst

Great. Thank you, Soma.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question Marc Bianchi of Cowen and Company.

Marc Bianchi -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Thanks. Thanks very much. I would like to start with some of the puts and takes in third quarter. The inventory destocking and drilling, and maybe the disruption that occurred in the Bakken. Is your best guess that fourth quarter could be up from third quarter given these perhaps transitory events? Or is the decline in customer activity going to overwhelm that, it's most likely down from third quarter? And I'm asking on a top line perspective.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. Excellent question, Marc. Because we talk about this quite heavily internally. Look, Q4 is always difficult to predict. And let me talk about it from production automation technology's perspective. In our production automation technologie's perspective, we -- in the fourth quarter, we typically see the holidays and the spending customer budget exhaustion come into play. So from that perspective, we will see normally a sequential decline from Q3 to Q4. But when it comes on the Drilling Technologies, this year in particular, the Q3 -- Q2 to Q3 typically tends to be up as Canadian and the activity rebounds. This year, what we are seeing from Q2 to Q3 is if you look at the Canadian rig count, in 2018, Q2 to Q3, when they exited, it was up 21 -- 22% by this time last year. But this year, it's down 5% in Q3, right? And then US rig count is also modestly declining Q2 to Q3 sequentially. And as customers continue to maintain their spending discipline. So that's the reason why we feel Q2 to Q3 will be sequentially down in Drilling Technologies, one of the reasons. But our conversations with customers indicate that they will complete these talking adjustment in Q3. So there is a potential possibility Q3 to Q4, our Drilling Technologies will be up. So net-net, sequentially, we feel it should be down, but it can be somewhat muted how much down it is based on the Drilling Technologies sequentially coming up from Q3 to Q4. So that's as much visibility as we have right now, Marc.

Marc Bianchi -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

How much of a headwind in revenue is the destocking? And maybe we can make up our own mind on what the market will do in the fourth quarter?

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

You're talking about in Q2? I would say, in Q2 --

Marc Bianchi -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

3Q. Yes. And Q2. Sure.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. 3Q is hard to predict for us. Because we -- again, we are estimating the destocking impact. I can tell you, in Q2 -- because if I isolate the US impact, it's between $1 million and $2 million in revenue, in Q2, in US because of the destocking.

Marc Bianchi -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Okay. Okay. That's great. And then just on the idea of the downhole ESP investment that you're talking about the $45 million to $50 million. Maybe Jay or Soma, could you help us understand the -- just the dynamics of how that works? It seems to me like it's a little bit of a almost like a working capital item rather than a CapEx item. Maybe explain how that business would -- or that piece of the business would behave if revenue per ESP were perhaps flat, if you weren't growing perhaps in 2020. And then also, could you discuss what that spending was in 2018?

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Mark. So Good question. And just to address the question, it was in the prerelease. So of the 31 -- we spent $31 million year-to-date in 2019, that's reflected in the leased assets, another line in our statement of cash flow. There's two components of this. First, there's an element of timing of when we received inventory that's used in the leased asset portfolio. And then also, when we actually paid for that inventory. As you may recall, much of the inventory for the leased asset portfolio in ESPs is coming from the supply chain in China. And this can add a timing element due to the extended transportation time.

The second item that influences our spending in support of ESP growth is the mix between sold ESPs and leased ESPs in any quarter or year-over-year. And we are, as Soma just mentioned, with the growth in Permian, we are experiencing a higher ratio of leased ESPs versus sold ESPs in 2019 versus last year.

I want to be clear that we have a very clear and disciplined capital allocation process with respect to the ESP spending. And we review the spending forecast with the operations regularly as part of the approval or allocation of spending in support of our growth initiative. We recognized that this is difficult to model from an outsider's perspective, and therefore, that's why we decided to provide more specific guidance regarding the spending for 2019 in the range of $45 million to $50 million. And again, the year-to-date $31 million is already included in that. And we're going to continue to provide guidance on a go-forward basis to assure you that we're exercising strong capital discipline associated with this growth initiative.

Marc Bianchi -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Okay. If it is -- if ESP is flat in 2020, what would you anticipate that line to look like?

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

So Marc, it depends upon, again, the mix. So if we are selling ESPs and just pulling ESP components out of inventory to sell that unit versus pulling components out of inventory to configure an ESP for less leased, it will have a bit of an impact. But for 2020, right now, I would tell you that we would be in the same neighborhood as the 2019 expectation.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

If it is flat.

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

If it is flat.

Marc Bianchi -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Okay, thanks very much for taking my question.

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Thanks, Marc.

Operator

Next question from Chase Mulvehill of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Chase Mulvehill -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. I guess, I wanted to come back to the acquisition that you noted during the prepared remarks. How material is that digital acquisition? And then maybe talk about the opportunities to leverage that technology across your entire lift portfolio. Is that -- is it just kind of Rod Lift? Or is it across the entire portfolio that you will the able to leverage that?

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. Thanks, Chase. Just for competitive reason at this point, I'm not going to be specific about which lift type this refers to. But it relates to -- it's a critical component in the area of real-time monitoring and optimization of artificial lift products. So today, it relates to a particular type of lift. And it's a very important investment, but it is -- the investment is between $10 million to $15 million.

So the second half impact of this will be somewhat small but positive. To your question of whether -- how we are -- will be able to leverage this across the portfolio? Definitely we can leverage this across at least two of the artificial lift product groups for sure now because we -- the one we -- it is very strong in. And we have -- we are in the -- they are in the process of developing a new product for another form of lift. So we are pretty excited about this product line. Although it is small but it just adds an important critical capability to our digital technology.

Chase Mulvehill -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Okay. Right. That's very helpful. And a quick follow up. I may have missed it, but did you talk about pricing across artificial lift? And then maybe also kind of commentary on pricing across the drilling inserts business. And I'll turn it over.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. So Chase, with respect to pricing, we haven't seen sequentially any meaningful changes in the PAT segments. So it's a fairly -- I would characterize this to be a fairly stable. With respect to Drilling Technologies, where we are finding some challenge is more as we introduce new technologies where the adoption is strong for new technologies. Usually, trying to get meaningful pricing improvement on that is always a challenge. So technology adoption is strong, but meaningful price improvement to the technology is right now a little more challenging. So what we -- the way we are focused on is make sure that we continue to advance technology, but then drive significant productivity internally to make sure that we continue to maintain those margins.

Chase Mulvehill -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Okay. All right. That's very helpful. I'll turn it back over. Thanks so much.

Operator

Our next question from Blake Gendron of Wolfe Research.

Blake Gendron -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Hey, thanks. Good morning. Just following on the inventory drawdown question on the drilling tech side. Just trying to get a sense of what -- and maybe you can quantify what inventory levels normally are in a, call it, slow-growth rig count environment. How long is the inflection after the rig count bottoms, potentially in 3Q, but, say, base case, the rig count stabilizes. And then if we see in 2020 that the rig count begins to recover, should we expect that volumes outperform the rig count outside of any major market share gains just because you will see your customers restocking?

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. Good question, Blake. We don't have the quantitative visibility of how much inventory our customers hold across their field locations. So we rely on the conversations we have with our customers on where they are in rightsizing their inventory to the activity level. So to your question on -- so right now, let me go back to the previous comment I made, current conversations with our customers indicate that they will be completing their adjustment to rightsizing the inventory in Q3. So in 2020, if that means that if the rig count is continuing to be flat or if it starts going up, then yes, you would see restocking opportunity if the rig count starts going up. And that's why we always say that you should expect in the upturn when the -- in a rig count growing environment growing environment this [indecipherable] some growth. And then on a declining environment, in the initial period of the decline, you will see a little bit more growth decline in our PDC cutter in the initial period until that inventory level adjust, and then it will stay flat.

Blake Gendron -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Okay. That's very helpful. And then one more on the ESP side, if I may. Pretty encouraging data point with the IOC qualification. It seems that ESP growth in the Permian continues to grind higher. But at some point, when that slows is down, it's going to be a zero-sum game. Some of your larger competitors have talked about ESPs being a source of strength. So you talked about potentially getting more runs on ESP per well, and that's may be creating pent-up demand for Rod Lift conversions in 2020 or 2021. But if we do get into a more competitive ESP environment, slower growth in 2020, is there a whole lot of share velocity, I guess, where if you get the initial ESPs installation, a competitor can come in and displace you or vice versa for the second and third runs on that ESP?

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. So Blake, typically, on the leased when they do the third -- if you have the first installation, typically you don't lose the second and third, unless your equipment completely didn't perform, right? So normally, that's a very high stickiness in the run backs. Because again, as we explained before, the customers don't change the whole system when they do that in the runback, right? The only change certain elements of it.

The Rod Lift side, as I mentioned in our prepared remarks, we are very encouraged by what we are seeing in the Rod Lift activity. In the second quarter, we saw across all basins sequential improvement in Rod Lift activity. And periodically, we meet with pump jack manufacturers to understand how they are seeing the market. And so far, all the conversations continue to point to that there should be a good continued sequential growth in this in Q3. Now Q4, as you know, the budget exhaustion can come into play. But I just think that it is encouraging to see the continued evidence of that multiyear growth conversion coming through.

Blake Gendron -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Okay, perfect. Thanks.

Operator

Next question from Scott Gruber of Citigroup.

Scott Gruber -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Yes, good morning.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Good morning, Scott.

Scott Gruber -- Citigroup -- Analyst

The 40% to 45% free cash conversion target this year, is that in a good range to think about free cash conversion potential in '20 and '21? Let's say, it was a flattish macro backdrop and your growth initiatives progressing as expected?

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, Scott. This is Jay. I would say, yes, in a flattish environment next year, that would be a good range for us to estimate free cash flow conversion for next year.

Scott Gruber -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Great. And then we received a few questions this morning, just on squaring your production growth outlook in 3Q with the order rate trend in 2Q. Orders were up in 2Q, but the top line growth in production was faster, and book-to-bill slowed a little bit below 1. So you -- and I realize that the conversion cycle is quick. So are you seeing the pace of order intake accelerate here already in July? Is that what underpins the confidence for growth in 3Q in production?

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. I think, Scott, you rightly pointed out. Our's is a very short-cycle-type business. So there is a -- big part of our business is book and ship, particularly our Rod Lift portfolio and our ESP portfolio, right? And the longer-term bookings backlog in PAT typically tends to be associated toward our international-type orders. So to answer your question, what we are seeing right now in July, continues to support our view in terms of what Q3 progression will be sequentially.

Scott Gruber -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Great. And then just a quick one on the international conversion cycle. With international taking share, how should we think about that conversion cadence? How different is that versus a lot of the booking ship revenues in the states?

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. Our international revenues tend to be lumpy because of that reasoning -- the reason what we said. But what we are seeing Scott is the improved level of tender activity, number one, as the market itself is improving. But we also are seeing the benefit of some of the capabilities we built, particularly in Argentina, if you recall, we made that acquisition in October of 2018 -- '17, sorry and putting local capabilities in place, the capability we built in Columbia. We are seeing not just the activity being up, but our participation in the activity has also increased in those specific areas where we participate. So we feel I think in the Investor Day, if you recall, we mentioned that we feel over the next three to five years, we should be able to continue to grow our international in the low double digits. And I think we are on a -- on our way to do that in 2019 and beyond.

Scott Gruber -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Okay. Appreciate the color. Thank you.

Operator

And our last question comes from Saurabh Pant of Jefferies.

Saurabh Pant -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning Soma and Jay.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Good morning.

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, Saurabh.

Saurabh Pant -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hi. I'd like to go back to Marc's question, he was asking on the ESP leasing model, right? So I would like to make it slightly bigger picture, right? So if you can explain to us, right, if I'm a customer, I want to leave your ESP, how does it work for me as a customer? And then internally, how you account for all of that in your financial statements all P&L, cash flow and balance sheet?

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Saurabh. So I think as we've explained before, if it's a lease opportunity with the customer, we have three revenue streams with the customer: we get paid upon the installation; we get paid over the run life of the lease on the rental basis; and then upon pulling the leased asset at the completion of the lease term. The downhole components that are not reusable get billed to the customer. And the customer reimburses us for those at retail value. So that we have a -- so that we can procure the inventory or draw down on the inventory. So that we have a fully redeployable asset for their next run or for another customer. So the -- what you see in the cash flow from leased assets, and other in the cash flow statement is the outflow for components predominantly cable and pumps that are going downhole. And then the remaining net book value that is undepreciated when that asset is pulled is recovered against that line item from the cash flow perspective. But within the net income, because we are charging the customer for those components, the revenue less the cost of that is showing up in net income. So there's two components in the cash flow statement where we are recovering from the customer on that original asset.

Saurabh Pant -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay, OK. That's helpful. And if I think through that, right? You made it very clear impact on the cash flow statement, right? But I think about the P&L, right, again, sticking on the leasing side of things. You said that third stream, right, revenue stream is when you pull that downhole pump and the customer would pay for that, right? So if I were to think about that, what that tends to do in my mind is that further delays the revenue realization, right? If a downhole pump lasts for, let's say, nine months, right? And in the first place that ESP system was installed six months from IP, your revenue realization on that pump is nine months plus six months, 15 months, right? So when we talk about the impact of frac holiday anyways, the lead time to revenue realization just based on that accounting methodology you're confident when it gets pulled. The lead time is even more than just the installation of the initial pump.

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, you are correct. So getting paid for those downhole components at the completion of the lease term, that may consist now as a system upfront when you would get paid right up front. So you're not getting paid for those pumps and cables until the completion of the lease term.

Saurabh Pant -- Jefferies -- Analyst

So one of the things that we monitor is our installed versus full, as you pointed out. In high pull environment, your revenues will go up because you get those but all ESPs have to we eventually pulled, right? It's not -- you can leave the downhole. So I think that's why as installation pace continues to improve, you should expect eventually that full. And customers are very focused on improving the run life because that is an aspect of ESP we all know, customers are most concerned about. And that is a competitive advantage, customers grade you on how your run life is.

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Right. And right now, as Soma pointed out, we continue to see installations outpace the pulls because of the growth, again, predominantly in the Permian, where we had good sequential growth in ESP in Q2.

Saurabh Pant -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Right. Right. Right. No, all of that makes sense, and that's very helpful. My quick follow up is, we've heard some of the pump jack manufacturers get retroactive exemption from the Section 301 that is trade with China tariff. I understand it's a restricted to pump jacks only, but if you can talk about any potential impact on ESPs in general, that would the helpful.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes, Saurabh, we are currently evaluating that. And right now we don't see that to be a meaningful thing for us at this point. But if it -- if you have any further progress on that, we will talk about that again in the third quarter call.

Saurabh Pant -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay. Okay. Last one, a very quick one, Jay for you. When you said 40% to 45% EBITDA to free cash flow conversion, I'm assuming that's before the $10 million to $15 million acquisition, right?

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

That is correct.

Saurabh Pant -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you guys.

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Yes. Thanks again for joining our second quarter call and your continued interest in Apergy. We will look forward to talking to you in our third quarter conference call.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 63 minutes

Call participants:

David Skipper -- Vice President and Treasurer

Sivasankaran Somasundaram -- President & CEO

Jay A. Nutt -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Byron Pope -- Tudor, Pickering -- Analyst

David Anderson -- Barclays -- Analyst

Marc Bianchi -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Chase Mulvehill -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Blake Gendron -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Scott Gruber -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Saurabh Pant -- Jefferies -- Analyst

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