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Viemed Healthcare, Inc.  (NASDAQ:VMD)
Q1 2020 Earnings Call
May. 05, 2020, 11:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day, and welcome to the Viemed First Quarter 2020 Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions]

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Todd Zehnder, Chief Operating Officer. Please go ahead, sir.

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

Thanks, and good morning, everyone. Please note that our remarks in this conference call may include forward-looking statements under the US Federal Securities laws of forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities legislation, which we collectively refer to as forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect the Company's current views and intentions with respect to future results or events and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results or events to vary from those indicated in forward-looking statements.

Examples of such risks and uncertainties are discussed in our disclosure documents filed with the SEC or the securities regulatory authorities in certain provinces of Canada. Because of these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made in this conference call are made as of the date hereof and the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements except as required by law. The first quarter financial results, news release, including the related financial statements are available on the SEC's website.

Now, I'll turn it over to Casey to get things started.

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Okay. Thanks, Todd. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining our call today. Once again, I'm pleased to have the opportunity to report on another record-breaking quarter for Viemed. While we have plenty of updates on the first quarter to give to, let me first address the question that seems to be on everyone's mind. How has Viemed been part of the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic?

With our company being the largest independent supplier of ventilation in the country, you can imagine our product quickly became an high-demand as clinical guidance were showing ventilation to be in the primary form of treatment for Coronavirus patients. Before the virus hit the states, our management team was paying close attention to other countries, struggling to treat the virus and made swift and key decisions that help lock-in our supply of ventilators. We were able to secure orders in many manufacturer queues, which led to us supplying many patients within states such as Louisiana,New York, Illinois, Wisconsin and many others. We supplied over 40,000 machines inclusive of invasive and non-invasive vents and complex sleep apnea machines such as bypass. We were able to also support and continue to support many of our hospitals and states with oxygen concentrators, mass, PPE and many other respiratory supplies.

Secondly, and equally as important, we were able to assist our hospital partners with getting non-COVID-19 patients out of Ohm's way and treated in the home. Our hospital partners were never more relieved to lean on us to help free up those valuable hospital beds for the people in need. Our clinicians also sprung into quick action, and they created in best an educational resource video library, which is currently hosted on our website at www.viemed.com. With many different brand names of equipment traveling across the country, our library allows pulmonologists, respiratory therapists and ICU nurses to have a central place for them to brush up on their clinical ventilation skills.

Lastly, we were able to provide RT and nurse staffing to hospital systems trying to deal with the large quantities of patients headed their way. I couldn't be more proud to be leading this batch of counted clinicians to make these daily decisions to work long hours, oftentimes away from their families, all in the name of helping others. I'm also pleased with the way that CMS quickly responded to the needs of the healthcare industry. We saw many rule changes announced by us and all appeared to be adjustments to help seamlessly support treating more patients in the home.

Telehealth reimbursements were kicked up to being equal with the face-to-face visit. Professional clinicians, who can conduct the telehealth visit were expanded to nurse practitioners, nutritional specialists, dieticians etc. We will also receive a 2% sequestration relief on all Medicare home medical equipment from May 1st through December 31st, 2020. CMS sent a memo to Medicare Advantage plans explaining that they must abide all the Medicare rules for prior authorizing equipment.

Perhaps the most pertinent announcement, with the decision to not include non-invasive vents and for the next competitive bidding round from 2021 to 2024. This announcement should protect our vent reimbursement for the future for many years to come. With Coronavirus being a respiratory illness, that is treated with a ventilator, there was really no brighter light shine on the need for equipment and our expertise. While we always have to keep patients, who struggled and others who lost their loved ones at the top of our mind, we still have the responsibility to communicate to our investors on the tailwind that presented to our company.

We had many other opportunities to tell our story to a much broader audience and we did so. We recently have been interviewed and written up by H&B News, AA Home Care and many local publications. We've also made it on to many TV shows. I was personally interviewed on multiple national news networks such as Fox Business, News Max, a CBS New Island's local syndicate. If anyone is interested in viewing those videos and content, then please visit www.viemednet.com to catch up.

Before the crisis began, we were having a great first quarter. Beginning with our core business, we hired a total of 17 new sales reps in Q1, which was one of our best quarters. We expanded doing business into New York and Connecticut, which brought our total coverage area up to 36 states. We've been working on revising our training program and stand ready for pushing our model to new areas around the country when the stay at home freeze is relaxed. Unfortunately, our technology department within pilot mode with our Patient Engagement Portal, which we call PEP, we were able to ramp up our launch efforts.

PEP provided our patients with a continuum of care to connect with our RTs Viemed's telehealth platform. Our tech team created another telehealth app called Viemed Connect in under two weeks, to help those patients, who were without a PEP tablet. The adoption of patients on both PEP and Viemed Connect have been amazing, and has definitely fast track our technology initiative. The VA has also been moving faster than normal, and they helped us sign two large national contracts with the remaining third-party payers. The VA has also pushed through payments for our services, which has been the confirmation that we have been waiting for to expand.

During the pandemic phase, we also provided multiple staffing contracts through our SBB OSB partner to help with the underserved VA facilities. While we did have to cancel our bell ringing ceremony with the NASDAQ and a few other physical roadshows, we have been very active with virtually communicating to our institutional investors.

For more on the capital markets, and the overview of the financials for the quarter, I'll turn the call back over to Chief Operating Officer, Todd Zehnder.

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

All right. Thank you, Casey. In reviewing the financial results, all figures are in US dollars and the full results have been made available on the SEC website as well as SEDAR. We generated net revenue of $23.8 million during the first quarter of 2020, as compared to net revenues of $18.1 million in the first quarter of 2019, which equates to a 31% increase. This is above our initial revenue guidance and at the midpoint of our recently revised guidance. Including -- included in the current quarter, is approximately $1 million of equipment sales in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the sales of new equipment filed above, we assisted in certain areas by deploying equipment that had previously been in our active rental fleet. Those proceeds were recognized in the gain or loss on disposal of property and equipment, and the gain during the quarter related to those sales was approximately $1.6 million.

Our vent patient growth was once again strong as we grew approximately 3% during the sequential quarter and 25% over prior year first quarter amount. The new patient [Technical Issues] were slightly lower in March as a result of slower hospital admissions with the ongoing pandemic, but we continue to add new patients to our program, albeit on a slower pace than we were in January and February. Additionally, we have been active in retrieving vents from patients, who had not had client utilization in order to assist in the need for vents around the country.

Historically, we would allow a longer period for our RTs to get patients compliant. But during this pandemic, we have been more aggressively placing units on the most in need. While our vent patient growth is still solid, we are continuing on our other product growth. Our vest business continues to be strong and while does that make up a huge part of our revenue stream, the oxygen business has continued to ramp up nicely since our national rollout last year. Our current year gross margins are slightly lower than last year, partially attributable to the sales of equipment during the pandemic that have lower gross margins than our traditional rental business model.

Adjusted EBITDA hit an all-time high and totaled $7.9 million for the quarter, which is a 33% margin. The aforementioned COVID sales were accretive to historical EBITDA margins in the rental business. Our SG&A for the quarter totaled $10.6 million, as compared to $9.5 million in the prior year. The rate of hiring slowed at the end of the quarter with travel restrictions, but we anticipate ramping back up when new employees can come in for training. We have continued to hire essential needs like clinicians in growing areas and we are building out our inside sales team that will work remotely.

Our investments into the future growth of the company continue, and we have launched our PEP pilot and we pivoted during the pandemic to launch our Viemed Connect app. This app was able to be fast-tracked as a result of our prior technology investments. We have begun having patients interact with their therapists via the smartphone app, which is making our lower in-person visits more effective than just visiting on a phone. To our knowledge, there is no other vent provider, as conducting business like this, and we once again pride ourselves on being the most patient-centric provider in the country.

As in prior quarters, we once again have a very solid balance sheet with approximately $8.4 million in cash at quarter end, $15.4 million of accounts receivable, overall working capital balance of roughly $4 million. Our AR during the first quarter grew primarily as a result of the sales of equipment later in the quarter for COVID-19, but those amounts were collected in April. Our traditional AR was up slightly as cash collections were strong during the first quarter and our first quarter business continues to grow.

Our long-term debt is approximately $9.5 million in being serviced with operating cash flow. The majority of our long-term debt is for our building and our term loan and having the liquidity to help during this current pandemic has been powerful. We plan to continue to minimize the amount of leverage on our balance sheet in order to remain opportunistic to changes in business landscape. Along the lines of changes in the regulatory landscape, as Casey previously mentioned, CMS has recently announced the non-invasive ventilators have been removed from the 2021 round of competitive bidding. We fully support this action as NIB is a life-saving device that we feel should be frequently and substantially service.

Our understanding of the latest guidance is that vents are out of the program for three years. And with the latest focus on vent suppliers in the need for expertise, we hope that they will not be included in the future. There have been many other programs through the government to help companies during this time. Our company has received approximately $3.5 million related to the Cares Act and we have attested to our uses of these funds. We will clearly be redeploying these dollars in the COVID-19 cost to help with our patient, our employees and the new areas.

Our company evaluated the payroll protection program extensively, and after much evaluation, we decided that we were not the right type of company to request these funds. Therefore, we did not submit an application. We feel the right decision was made as that program was intended for smaller, less capitalized companies around the country.

Moving on to the first quarter, we have provided net revenue guidance in the $42 million to $44 million range, which includes approximately $20 million of sales of equipment related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our margins will be difficult to estimate currently as a result of the changes in our revenue composition related to our efforts in the pandemic. Our organic business model should have relatively consistent margins as it historically have had, though such major changes to our model we can't currently guide margins.

In conclusion of my prepared remarks, I would like to say how incredibly proud I'm and our entire staff for stepping up during this ongoing crisis. From our clinicians to our inventory purchasing and maintenance teams, to technology team, to our back office squad. Everyone is teaming up to provide the best solutions to our existing patients, as well as the hot spots around the country. As we have always said, we put our patients needs first and the rest will take care of itself.

At this time, I'll turn it over to Casey to wrap things up.

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Okay. Thank you, Todd. So we wrote a growth story before the COVID crisis. We helped a ton of people during the crisis, resulting in incremental business, and now we have our sight set on nurturing our new relationships to grow, while we established the new normal in healthcare. This pandemic proved what we've said all along. We just don't have enough hospital beds in this country and we must take care of more -- take advantage of more patients -- treating more patients inside of the home.

The government is easing up on the programs and regulations that do not support home-based healthcare to prevent these future outbreaks and help the masses of elderly patients headed our way. The new normal will include a more simplified approach for our position to seamlessly transition patients from the facility to the home. A rapid adoption of telehealth and remote patient monitoring is under way, all in an effort to keep patients and clinicians safe from spreading another outbreak. Payers will be needing more home medical equipment providers especially one equipped with clinicians administering care. Our company has already strategically in place to be the premier provider and as new healthcare environment. Our clinician, salespeople, tech team and executive staff are extremely excited to perform in this new world.

With that being said, we must not forget about the many folks, who lost their loved ones during this time. We also have a country of grieving families and many who have lost livelihood as the result of the economic slowdown. Viemed will continue to do our part as a company to develop solution, create jobs and stimulate the economy as best we can, while helping a lot of people live their best lives.

This concludes our prepared remarks. We will now open it up for Q&A.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] We'll take the first question from the line of Brooks O'Neil with Lake Street Capital Markets. Please go ahead.

Brooks O'Neil -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Good morning, guys. Congratulations on all your accomplishing. Can you hear me, OK?

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

We can, Brooks.

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

We can, Brooks.

Brooks O'Neil -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Great. So the question I got most this morning I have to say is when we look at your Q2 guide, obviously the $20 million product sales are incremental. Is there any implied or actual softness in your core business in Q2 that might caused the shortfall relative to a previous expectations on the core side?

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

Yes, I mean, just like in the month of March, April has been slower than our initial expectations. Just because hospital system are extremely slow. I mean, as you can imagine, people that have chronic diseases are doing everything they can not to go to hospitals and many clinics have been shutdown in the month of April. So we're starting to see some of that loosen up around the country, but we've taken a more conservative stance with our guidance. And then also, we've done a really, really good job of not having patient attrition catches from COVID-19, but as we've been pretty upfront and this is a very vulnerable patient group. So we're not seeing any higher attrition than we have in the past, but we're just taking a more measured approach for guidance just because of the current situation in the system.

Brooks O'Neil -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay, that's very helpful. Secondly, I'm glad to hear about progress with the VA. Can you just talk a little bit about what steps you need to take to begin to ramp the patient population that's covered in that VA national contract?

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes, it's -- and it's no -- there was really two other payers, Brooks that we were trying to get on with nationally beyond the BCA contract, which we announced in the last call. We had inking those deals. We ink those deals in Q1. So from a payor standpoint we're good to go. The next piece, as you probably remember, we are waiting on getting paid, that has been solved as well. We started collecting on payments. And then as the pandemic hit us, a lot of the work that we were going to be doing it for the VA was on the front-end, getting RTs into the home and assessing the home environment and recommending equipment and services that they would need. Well, as you could imagine that put on the halt. However, just because they saw the need for the vent, they were quickly wanting us to get a network with the other two large payers, and so we were able to accomplish that.

We have orders that are being uploaded into a VA queue right now. So we're seeing the shift and folks getting ready to release as to go out into the home again. And that's exciting for us, because now we know -- not only do they want it, we knew they wanted it we just didn't know that we were going to get paid for. We've solved that problem as we started collecting on payments. So we're very -- we're geared up and ready to ramp up here in the Q2 for both doing business with the VA.

Brooks O'Neil -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Fantastic. Let me just ask one more. I appreciate the color. So I think Todd you may have mentioned a little bit, but how do you view the investments you made to prepare for competitive bidding. Obviously you look into many other states beyond the ones that sort of the six that you're in now. And do you see that as, kind of, a waste of effort or do you see opportunities to leverage some of that investment and that you made to grow the core business going forward?

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

It's absolutely not a wasted investment. We continue to leave our bids out there. The real cost to being a competitive bidding was getting our licensor ready for around the country, which we would have to do over time anyway, because we always had a goal of getting to the lower 48. So we just kind of compressed that in the last year. We had bonds out there that will remain with our oxygen and PEP bids, and if we win, then we will execute on those and if we don't, we don't. So the amount of money we spent, I wouldn't say would be significant, and I'd definitely would not it's a wasted effort, because we are going to continue to grow into metropolitan areas. We just don't have the split to be there on January 1st in the event that we would have won the bids.

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

And I might just add that during the crisis, we did business in states that we currently were not in. New York being probably one of the largest and it was just nice being licensed in that state and ready to go and easily to be of the transition into their system so that we could service them. So that was helpful.

Brooks O'Neil -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Great. I guess maybe I'll just ask one more set of questions, but can you just talk a little bit more about the equipment sales. I assume, in general, those are one-time transactions, but you could clarify just so I understand? And then could you just talk a little bit more about, sort of, the profitability or margin on those sales and how you see that maybe now and going forward? Thanks a lot.

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes, I mean clearly, there are sales that we want to consider them one time, but they're going to be over a period of time, right? And margins are all over the Board, but -- and that's why I've been -- in my prepared remarks, I was upfront, I don't -- we're not guiding a gross margin or an EBITDA margin, because we're not done selling. We've sold everything from vents, the bypass to consumables, to PPE. We have a website for both PPE orders now. So I just -- I don't feel comfortable throwing guidance numbers out. All I can tell you is that we're continuing to sell things that are "one-time" in nature, all at the same time with keeping our core business rolling. So anything we do in conjunction with helping these hot spots around the country is just accretive to sales.

Brooks O'Neil -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Great. Thank you very much and congratulations guys. Keep up all the good work.

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Brooks.

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

All right. Thank you.

Operator

We'll take the next question from the line of Nick Corcoran with Acumen Capital. Please go ahead.

Nick Corcoran -- Acumen Capital -- Analyst

Good morning. I think Brook asked most of my questions, but do you have any visibility on whether the new vent sales and all the equipment sales you've been doing will continue into Q3 and Q4?

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

You're talking about the sales to systems, Nick?

Nick Corcoran -- Acumen Capital -- Analyst

Yes. Exactly.

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

It's hard for us to say. You know, I mean, here's the thing. If you would have asked us a month ago how long we last -- this thing will last, we would have told you a lot longer than we feel like today, because things feel like they're stabilizing. And I think everybody is seeing the same things around the country. However, we all know that people are preparing that this thing may raise its head again in the fall. So it -- we don't have any better I guess crystal ball than you on that, but we're continuing to make investments to be ready to sell to our people.

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

And I'll just say that different state have been having different peaks and demand at different times. So we've seen a little bit of a second run from some of these less hit states just getting ready. You've also seen hospitals, which are -- been inundated with all sorts of different types of equipment. They are now trying to back into getting the right equipment that they need that for their care plans. So we're seeing a lot of different demand coming out of the hospitals that's changing on a day-by-day basis, so it's really just hard to guide at this point in time the phase that we're in.

Nick Corcoran -- Acumen Capital -- Analyst

Great. And then just looking at the revenue per patient per month. Can you give any insight into the -- maybe the sequential growth or the year-over-year growth and the ancillary revenue and how that's been out?

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes, I think this is in general as the vent revenue is not as large, I mean, it's still making up I guess lower 80s in percentage wise of our total revenue. But when you look at the ancillary services, primarily the sleep business and the vest business, as those take up a larger share then the incremental revenue per patient should go up. We don't implicitly guide by product. So as long as always vents continue to grow or stay stable and these other products continue to grow, you should see a little bit of growth in that number.

Nick Corcoran -- Acumen Capital -- Analyst

Great. And then the last question from me is, are you able to get your regular financing of the vents just to -- I'm just wondering how you're financing of them in the short-term?

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. We continue to use some of our cash to buy equipment and some of our short-term leasing through some of our strategic partners in order to lease those and we have plenty of credit line under that as well.

Nick Corcoran -- Acumen Capital -- Analyst

Great. That's all from me. Thank you.

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Nick.

Operator

Your next question will come from the line of Doug Cooper with Beacon Securities. Please go ahead.

Doug Cooper -- Beacon Securities -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning, guys. Thanks. First of all, the $20 million that you've guided to for COVID sales in Q2 we're only five weeks into the quarter. Is that orders in hand? Or are you making some assumption that you're going to sell more throughout the quarter, in other words, could that number grow over the quarter?

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Those are orders in hand, Doug.

Doug Cooper -- Beacon Securities -- Analyst

Okay. Now moving on, Casey qualitatively given your expanding relationships with states and hospitals and people are becoming more familiar with non-invasive vents versus invasive. What do you think this means for your business and the referrals given educating the doctor community is one of the prime in the pump for future growth. I mean your establishing relationships across the country now deeper relationships and they're getting more comfortable with the efficacy of the non-invasive vents in particular, I imagine during this process. Can you just talk about how this could translate to maybe accelerated patient growth as we move forward once this crisis has abated?

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I'm glad you asked that Doug, because that's the most important piece. Let's just say, it's the one that I'm most excited about. We -- as you know, were -- have always been the leader in developing these clinical studies, we have KPMG a few years back and our precision in Harvard study here is going to be published within the next month or so, we hope. That was all in an effort to educate folks on the benefits of non-invasive ventilation and the hospital rate prevention and so on and so forth. That education process has been fast track and there is not many clinicians, not many pulmonology groups or RT staffing respiratory care before is, if you will, that don't understand the benefits of working with a non-invasive vent right now, because they've just had to use it. They had to use it in different settings and now that was the value that we really brought to the table.

Being a distributor who knows how to work all the different types of equipment, we will be a leaned on whenever they would just get trying to get their hands on any kind of ventilator they could get their hands on. So they were overloaded with these various pieces of equipment not they weren't familiar with. That's why we create that video library. But that's also how we help to build the relationships as a thought leader with hospital groups all across the country. And they were calling on us and leaning on us with clinical expertise and guidance and we were able to respond and be there for them not only with just supply and equipment, but really through education which was probably some of the most important needed things that they needed to help save lives at that moment in time.

So that's the kind of thing that people don't really forget and will circle back around and hopefully build some more strategic partnerships in these areas that we help serve. The Viemed name has got a brand now of just being one that's very helpful and just the leader in respiratory. And so we'll continue to build off of that momentum and see how many more people we can help around the country.

Doug Cooper -- Beacon Securities -- Analyst

Great. Thanks. Thank you for that. Todd just looking at even excluding the COVID respond sales $1 million in the quarter, vest or excuse me, ventilator rentals are now down to 82% of sales versus almost 90% in Q1 last year. I guess as you start selling what are the percussion vest or oxygen and so forth. What -- do you think that continues to trend, I guess lower over time and do you think by the end of the year we're below 80%?

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

I think we could definitely get there. Our goal is to be able to offer more products to our patients. We don't want to be selling every product out there. We're very focused on these chronic patients. But we have found a few products that are referral sources really need and like and many of our patients will ultimately have multiple devices, maybe they'll have O2 and a vest or O2 and a vent or they'll have a vest -- a vent and the vest. So that's the goal. We don't have a set number we're shooting for. But obviously the vest and O2 and sleep businesses had a much smaller base, so they have the ability to grow at very high percentages. It's just that to keep up with the vent growth is sometimes pretty tough even in this environment where things may be a little slower in the clinics. We're still growing and I think all the products will grow.

Doug Cooper -- Beacon Securities -- Analyst

Okay. And my last question just on the PEP business, is that a -- If the RTs are doing a remote monitoring and low checking in the patients. Is that a separate billing revenue stream potentially or is that en-captured under the monthly billing for the vent under CMS?

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

Right now, it's all captured under the existing billing code and but we have visions and aspirations that we're working on models to have other ways to monetize our technology investments. Right now, everything we've been doing from a technology perspective is in the attempt to keep patients out of the hospital, to save the system money and to keep patients alive longer, and that's what we've made these investments for. And we just went into pilot with the PEP and then as we mentioned pivoting to Viemed Connect during the pandemic was clutch by our technology team just to be able to give people the ability to communicate with a smartphone, they don't need the tablet in the home that is really a much more dynamic platform.

So the investment was made for the -- as we always say, invest in the patient and the rest will take care of itself. So we're investing in the patient and the payers and so forth. Down the road we have many, many different ideas that we're thinking through, but we just have to have the concept proven out that we're working on right now.

Doug Cooper -- Beacon Securities -- Analyst

Great. Thanks very much, gentlemen.

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

All right, Doug. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 33 minutes

Call participants:

Todd Zehnder -- Chief Operating Officer

Casey Hoyt -- Chief Executive Officer

Brooks O'Neil -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Nick Corcoran -- Acumen Capital -- Analyst

Doug Cooper -- Beacon Securities -- Analyst

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