Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Textron (NYSE:TXT)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Jan 27, 2021, 8:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Textron fourth-quarter earnings conference call. [Operator instructions] This conference is being recorded. And I would now like to turn the conference over to the vice president of investor relations, Mr. Eric Salander.

Please go ahead.

Eric Salander -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Thanks, Kelly, and good morning, everyone. Before we begin, I'd like to mention we will be discussing future estimates and expectations during our call today. These forward-looking statements are subject to various risk factors, which are detailed in our SEC filings and also in today's press release. On the call today, we have Scott Donnelly, Textron's chairman and CEO; and Frank Connor, our chief financial officer.

Our earnings call presentation can be found in the investor relations section of our website. Textron's revenues in the quarter were $3.7 billion, down $368 million from last year. During this year's fourth quarter, we recorded $23 million in pre-tax special charges, largely related to restructuring activities on industrial and Textron Aviation or $0.07 per share after tax. We also recognized a one-time favorable tax benefit related to the sale of TRU Canada of $0.04 per share.

Excluding special charges and the one-time favorable benefit, adjusted net income was $1.06 per share compared to $1.11 in last year's fourth quarter. Manufacturing cash flow before pension contributions was $467 million, down $183 million from last year's fourth quarter. For the full year, revenues were $11.7 billion, down from $13.6 billion a year ago. Adjusted net income was $2.07 per share compared to $3.74 last year.

Manufacturing cash flow before pension contributions was $596 million, as compared to $642 million last year. With that, I'll turn the call over to Scott.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Eric, and good morning, everyone. Our business has closed out the year with a strong operating performance in the fourth quarter, as we saw margin improvement in Systems, Industrial, and Bell that drove an increase in Textron's manufacturing margin to 8.8% on lower revenues. At Bell, margins of 12.6% were up 30 basis points, as compared to the prior year despite lower military revenues and commercial volume. We delivered 57 commercial helicopters, down from 76 in last year's fourth quarter.

On the military side, the Japanese officially began V-22 flight operations in November. This continues the growth of the worldwide fleet of operating aircraft, which has amassed over 560,000 flight hours. Looking to Future Vertical Lift, Bell marked the third anniversary of the V-280's first flight in December, with the aircraft having now flown more than 200 hours. Army leadership and Congress have been very supportive of Future Vertical Lift and we expect this will continue under the new administration.

In December, the U.S. Army provided the draft RFP for the FLRAA program for review and comment. The Army continues to anticipate a down-select and FLRAA program award in mid-2022. At Systems, revenues were down primarily on lower volume at the TRU Simulation + Training business.

In November, Systems announced sale of its commercial air transport simulator business to CAE. This transaction closed in January. In the quarter, ATAC won the recompete of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps flight, fighter jet training services program.

This contract expands the scope of the services we currently provide into the program and it's worth up to $440 million over the next five years. Also in the quarter, unmanned systems was awarded a $66 million contract for the U.S. Army for 36 Shadow aircraft. The Shadow platform now has over 1.2 million flight hours globally.

Moving to Industrial. Revenues were down primarily due to reduced demand in the ground support equipment business within Specialized Vehicles. Kautex, the automotive production outlook, has steadily improved since the low point in May and demand from our customers continues to ramp in the fourth quarter as revenues approach their prior-year levels. Moving to Textron Aviation.

Revenues were down in the quarter, primarily on lower jet deliveries and aftermarket volume. We delivered 61 jets, down from 71 last year and 61 commercial turboprops, up from 59 in last year's fourth quarter. On the new product front, Aviation began deliveries of the new King Air 360 with eight units in the quarter and announced the new King Air 260. Cessna SkyCourier program continues to progress with three aircraft flying in the certification program.

The flight test -- test program has completed over 400 flight hours and the aircraft is on track for entry into service in the second half of 2021. In summary, 2020 was a difficult year with many challenges for our operations and I'm proud of the way our teams responded. Through our focus on working capital management and cost control, the business has generated a strong manufacturing cash flow performance for the year. At our defense businesses, we were able to maintain our operations, meeting our customer commitments and delivering strong results.

On the commercial side, we overcame temporary manufacturing shutdowns and disruptions in our end markets to deliver strong fourth-quarter results and look forward to carrying that momentum into 2021. With this backdrop, we're projecting revenues of about $12.5 billion for Textron's 2021 financial guidance. At Aviation, we are projecting growth from increased aircraft deliveries on both jets and turboprops, including the entry into service of our new Cessna SkyCourier and higher aftermarket revenues driven by increased fleet utilization. At Systems, we're expecting higher revenues and margin expansion, primarily driven by growth in ATAC and Marine and Land Systems.

At Bell, we expect solid margin performance despite lower military and commercial revenues while continuing to invest in Future Vertical Lift. At Industrial, we're expecting revenue growth and margin improvement at Kautex as auto demand continues to recover from pre -- to pre-COVID levels. At Textron Specialized Vehicles, we're also expecting revenue growth and margin improvement as we continue to grow our powersports business with Bass Pro Shops. We are projecting adjusted EPS in the range of $2.70 to $2.90 per share.

Manufacturing cash flow before pension contributions is expected to be in the range of $600 million to $700 million. With that, I'll turn the call over to Frank.

Frank Connor -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Scott. Good morning, everyone. Segment profit in the quarter was $324 million, down $16 million from the fourth quarter of 2019 on a $368 million decrease in revenues. Let's review how each of the segments contributed, starting with Textron Aviation.

Revenues at Textron Aviation of $1.6 billion were down 10%, primarily due to lower Citation jet volume and lower aftermarket volume. Segment profit was $108 million in the fourth quarter, down from $134 million a year ago, primarily due to the impact from lower volume and mix. Backlog in the segment ended the quarter at $1.6 billion. Moving to Bell, revenues were $871 million, down from $961 million last year, primarily on lower military revenues and commercial volume.

Segment profit of $110 million was down $8 million, largely on the lower volume, partially offset by a favorable impact from performance, primarily reflecting higher favorable program adjustments. Backlog in the segment ended the quarter at $5.3 billion. At Textron Systems, revenues were $357 million, down from $399 million a year ago, primarily due to lower volume at TRU Simulation and training. Segment profit of $49 million was up $16 million, primarily due to favorable performance.

Backlog in the segment ended the quarter at $2.6 billion. Industrial revenues were $866 million, a decrease of $61 million from last year, primarily due to reduced demand in the ground support equipment business within Specialized Vehicles. Segment profit was $55 million, up 25% from the fourth quarter of 2019, largely due to a favorable impact from pricing and inflation and favorable performance, partially offset by the impact of lower volume and mix. Finance segment revenues were $13 million and profit was $2 million.

Moving below segment profit, corporate expenses were $50 million and interest expense was $36 million. We recorded pre -- pre-tax special charges of $23 million in the quarter related to restructuring activities. Following the strong cash performance in the quarter, we ended the year with approximately $2.3 billion of cash on the balance sheet. The $2.3 billion represents a higher-than-normal level of cash on hand, reflecting a prefunding of $500 million of 2021 debt maturities.

During the quarter, we repaid $350 million of floating rate notes that matured in November and $362 million of outstanding borrowings on corporate-owned life insurance policies that were drawn in the first quarter for additional liquidity. In the quarter, we also reactivated our share repurchase program and repurchased approximately 120 -- 129 million of shares. Turning to our 2021 outlook, I'll begin with our segments on Slide 9 of the earnings call presentation. At Textron Aviation, we're expecting higher revenues of about $4.5 billion, reflecting higher aircraft deliveries for both jets and turboprops, as well as, higher aftermarket revenues.

Segment margin is expected to be approximately 5.5%, reflecting the higher volume and increased production. Looking to Bell, we expect slightly lower revenues of about $3.1 billion, reflecting lower military revenues from a lower H-1 production and aftermarket volume and lower commercial deliveries. We're forecasting a margin of about 12.5%, largely reflecting the lower military and commercial revenues and increased R&D investments related to FLRAA and FARA. At Systems, we're estimating higher 2021 rev -- revenues of about $1.4 billion.

Segment margin is expected to be about 12.5%. At Industrial, we're expecting segment revenues of about $3.4 billion, reflecting higher revenues at Kautex and Textron Specialized Vehicles. Segment margin is expected to be about 6%. At finance, we're forecasting segment profit of about $10 million.

Turning to Slide 10. We're estimating 2021 pension income of about $30 million versus a pension cost of $33 million last year. Our 2021 pension, reflects the strong return on our pension assets for 2020 of 17.4% and a change to the amortization period for accumulated actuarial losses for one of our domestic plans, resulting in those losses being amortized over a longer period. Offsetting these favorable changes are a 75-basis point decrease in our discount rate to 2.7% and a decrease in our estimated long-term asset return of 50 basis points to 7.25%.

Turning to Slide 11. R&D is expected to be about $600 million, up from $545 million in 2020. We're estimating capex will be about $400 million, up from $317 million last year. Moving below the segment line and looking at Slide 12, we're projecting about $120 million of corporate expense, $135 million of interest expense, and a full-year effective tax rate of approximately 18%.

Our full-year 2021 adjusted EPS guidance is $2.70 to $2.90 per share, which excludes $20 million to $30 million of pre-tax special charges for the completion of our previously announced restructuring plan and a pre-tax gain of about $10 million from the sale of TRU Canada. Our outlook assumes an average share count of about 227 million shares as we continue to deploy the majority of our free cash toward share repurchases in 2021. That concludes our prepared remarks. So operator, we can open the line for questions.

Questions & Answers:


Operator

Thank you. Our first question will come from the line of Robert Stallard of Vertical Research. Please go ahead.

Robert Stallard -- Vertical Research -- Analyst

Thanks so much. Good morning.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Robert Stallard -- Vertical Research -- Analyst

First question is on the Aviation division. In the release, you said that you've seen a continued good order momentum. I was wondering if you could maybe give us a little bit more clarity on what's going on out there in the market. And in particular, given your forecast for 2021, how are the availability of slots is looking?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I think, Robert, when we've referred to strong order updates, obviously, we've seen sequentially from the challenges in Q2, Q3 improved, Q4 improved, and we expect to see that momentum continue just based on the dialogues that are going on with our sales teams. So I think people are feeling like things are recovering and demand remains there. Obviously, you see the data around used aircraft for sale is at record lows. If you look at Citations that are less than 10 years old, it's only about 1% of the fleet.

So I think the market has been strong, not just as we've seen increased interest in orders on the new side, but also very strong on the used side. Flight activity has rebounded quite strongly. November and December in the U.S. were actually up for our aircraft over a year ago.

So I think the demand and what we recognize is that primarily leisure travel at this point. There's still a pretty muted amount of what we think is straight business travel. So as things continue to return to normal, we think we'll see ongoing improvements in utilization as well. So at a macro level, considering the level of interest we're seeing, the momentum that we're seeing through the course of the year, and the very low levels of used aircraft that are within that 10-year window in terms of age are all kind of pointing to continued momentum and strength in the order side of the business.

Robert Stallard -- Vertical Research -- Analyst

Great. Thanks, Scott. And Frank, just a clarification. I missed what you said on the share count for 2021.

I wasn't typing quick enough.

Frank Connor -- Chief Financial Officer

227 million.

Robert Stallard -- Vertical Research -- Analyst

That's great. Thanks so much, guys.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. Next, we'll go to the line of Carter Copeland of Melius Research. Please go ahead.

Carter Copeland -- Melius Research -- Analyst

Hey, good morning, gents.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Carter Copeland -- Melius Research -- Analyst

Scott, I wanted just a clarification on the comment you made on the Bell margin and the continued investment in Future Vertical Lift. Does that mean that the investment sustains at the same level? Or is there a headwind related to that as we look at '21?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Oh, yeah. There's a headwind in '21, Carter. So you know, obviously, we started those programs in the latter part of the year. They've been ramping through the Q4 and we expect to see that continue to ramp through the course of this year as we're obviously working on both FLRAA and FARA.

So you know, FLRAA, we talked about a little bit, that's going into Phase 2 of that risk reduction phase. So that's fully ramped. And on the FARA program, you know, we've actually begun component manufacturing and some of the initial assembly work on the flight test aircraft to get it ready for flight late next year.

Carter Copeland -- Melius Research -- Analyst

OK. And so does that peak in '21? Or will we continue to trend upward to '22?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

You know, it's probably kind of flattish going into '22 would be my guess. We're probably not quite ready to guide '22, but --

Carter Copeland -- Melius Research -- Analyst

Yeah, understand. OK. OK. And then Frank, just a quick clarification on the pension piece.

How much longer did the amortization period get on the losses?

Frank Connor -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. For the one plan, it went from -- it would have been in seven years and it moved out to 20 years.

Carter Copeland -- Melius Research -- Analyst

OK. And was that a large portion of the plan or --

Frank Connor -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, it's our largest plan.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It's the Textron master plan.

Frank Connor -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, it's the Textron master plan. And the reason for that is that we move below 10% of the participants in that plan being actives versus retired.

Carter Copeland -- Melius Research -- Analyst

Yeah.

Frank Connor -- Chief Financial Officer

And so when you do that, you change to the remaining life -- expectation for remaining life rather than the remaining service period.

Carter Copeland -- Melius Research -- Analyst

Yeah, exactly. All right. Great. That's very clear.

Operator

Thank you. Next, we'll go to the line of Sheila Kahyaoglu of Jefferies. Please go ahead.

Sheila Kahyaoglu -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hi, good morning, Scott, Frank, and Eric.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Sheila Kahyaoglu -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Scott, you previously talked about recovering half of the delivery decline in Aviation in 2021. That implies deliveries about 165 units. How do we think about that given orders fell mid-teens in the quarter?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think that's still what we're thinking, Sheila, and that's what we have laid out in terms of our assumptions in the guide that we gave you, guys. We're expecting to get about halfway back in terms of both new aircraft, as well as, our aftermarket volumes. So you know, again, the flight activity has picked up and we've been seeing steady improvement in the amount of activity that's going on the aftermarket.

So it won't get all the way back to '19 in one year, but we're assuming that's also about a -- about a -- halfway there sort of a step.

Sheila Kahyaoglu -- Jefferies -- Analyst

OK. Cool. And then on just the Bell revenue guide, I think it's down about 10%. What are the moving pieces to that? You know, I think V-22 should be fairly stable? Is it an H-1 drop? Or is it on the military aftermarket?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. On the military side, it's primarily driven by H-1. So we're starting to ramp down the number of H-1 deliveries. And also, we do expect, at this point, commercial will be down as well.

You know, I think the end market will start to recover there. But as you know, a lot of our -- so much of our commercial helicopter market is international. It's just been tough to get deals closed here in 2020. So I think we'll start to see that pick back up again, but it will leave a little bit of a decline in '21 for commercial deliveries as well.

Sheila Kahyaoglu -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Great. Thank you. Good quarter.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Next, we'll go to the line of George Shapiro of Shapiro Research. Please go ahead.

George Shapiro -- Shapiro Research -- Analyst

Yes, Scott, I wanted to pursue -- the book-to-bill was like 0.86 in the quarter. Orders were certainly better than they were in the third quarter, but they're down from last year's fourth quarter. I was just wondering, did you see any slowing in the quarter as people rushed to try and get deliveries by the end of last year to beat the potential change in the bonus depreciation with the new administration?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

No, I don't think we saw any change in -- as you know, George, there's always end-of-the-year tax-driven, regardless of administrations or tax policies, it's always best to get that first year tax, regardless of what the depreciation schedules are. So we've always seen that -- you know, a certain amount of that activity as we get into Q4 and that's why Q4 has always been our strongest delivery quarter. But with respect to the order stuff, I think we saw -- you know, 2020 was an extraordinary year, obviously. But we did see that incremental strengthening and order flow through four -- through Q4.

And again, just based on dialogues and the level of interest and activity that's out there, we're feeling pretty good toward that revenue guide that we gave you in terms of jet deliveries for the year. So -- again, as you know, Q4 is always our highest delivery and so book-to-bill is always a challenge in there. But I think order activity certainly supports our view on what the revenue guide is for this year.

George Shapiro -- Shapiro Research -- Analyst

And just on -- your projection for Aviation implies about a 35% incremental margin, which is a pretty strong incremental. I mean is that reflecting better pricing that you're seeing? Or if you could give a little more color on why it's so strong.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we certainly do expect to see better pricing. We had better pricing in Q4 as well. So given the demand environment, we would certainly expect to see some continued price improvement. But it's also, you know, when you look at the year over year, George, you've got a lot of idle facility cost that was in there in 2020.

And so we're -- we certainly expect to rebound back to the kind of levels that we had in 2019 with considerably better leverage than you would normally expect to see in that kind of 20% or so range.

George Shapiro -- Shapiro Research -- Analyst

OK. Very good. Thank you very much.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Next, we'll go to the line of David Strauss of Barclays. Please go ahead.

David Strauss -- Barclays -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, David.

David Strauss -- Barclays -- Analyst

Scott, just back on the Cessna plan, 165 or so deliveries, could you talk about how, you know, I guess not in absolute terms, but relative to prior years, kind of how sold you are on that plan entering the year, as compared to what you've seen in the past?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

No. I mean we don't usually provide -- I mean, you know, the backlog number is pretty comparable, right? So I don't think it's a very different situation than we're used to seeing, David.

David Strauss -- Barclays -- Analyst

OK. And then Latitude, Longitude, looks like they've been running about 30%, 35% of full deliveries. Would you expect a similar mix? And you know, maybe if you could just update us on Longitude. I think, for a while, it was dilutive, it was seen as dilutive to margins, where that sits today relative to kind of the overall Aviation average?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I don't think I'm going to get into margins on particular aircraft, but look, David, there's no doubt that we had some dilution. Obviously, when you see the initial aircraft builds, those are always more expensive. I think the guys have done a pretty nice job of working through that. You know, obviously, there's some interruption this year as we shut down the plant and brought it back up.

But I think Longitude is on a good track to be a strong gross margin product for us. I think demand has been good. You know, as you know, this thing is -- we have quite a few retail aircraft out there that's out operating in the NetJets fleet and doing really, really well. So I probably won't go into gross margin by aircraft, but we're very happy with where the Longitude is.

David Strauss -- Barclays -- Analyst

OK. And just mix within deliveries, Latitude, Longitude, you think in a similar kind of range as what we've seen in the past? Around --

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I would expect so. I mean it should be about the same.

David Strauss -- Barclays -- Analyst

OK. All right. Thanks very much.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. Next, we'll go to the line of Pete Skibitski of Alembic Global. Please go ahead.

Pete Skibitski -- Alembic Global -- Analyst

Hey, good morning, guys.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Pete Skibitski -- Alembic Global -- Analyst

I think I might have missed it if you mentioned what drove the big increase in Systems backlog, but was that GBSD primarily? And then if it was, in terms of converting that to revenue, is it just going to be kind of a very slow ramp through kind of '21, '22?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So the backlog adds at Systems were kind of across most of the segments, Pete. So absolutely, GBSD went in there, which is you know, several hundred million dollars plus kind of business. We just started really to recognize any revenue on that in Q4. And so yes, that's kind of a 5-year window.

So it will ramp here as we go through '21 and '22. We have some nice adds to the backlog. You know, we talked about some of the ATAC wins, both the recompete with the Navy, as well as, the ongoing CAPCAS, you know, task order awards. And we had some -- obviously, Shadow program on Block III.

So it was across most of the segments. But --

Pete Skibitski -- Alembic Global -- Analyst

OK. No, that's great. And just the margin there, the guidance of 12.5%, it -- should we be thinking that that's kind of the new kind of steady state for that business? Or you know, does '21 kind of benefit from some unusual dynamic?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

No. I think it's you know -- again, this is probably -- this is a very defense-oriented business segment. So 10%, 12% margins is sort of where we would expect that business to be.

Pete Skibitski -- Alembic Global -- Analyst

OK. Thanks, guys.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. Next we'll go to the line of Jon Raviv of Citi. Please go ahead.

Jon Raviv -- Citi -- Analyst

Hey, thanks. Good morning, Scott. You just said 10% to 12%, I thought I'd ask about Bell margin. Bell margin opportunity, understood the guidance for this year and that you still have a lot of FVL.

Any sort of thoughts on the opportunity for Bell margin on the other side of FVL versus the normalized rate, so to speak?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Look, it's going to depend so much on where volume goes, right? I mean looking at V-22s and H-1s and FMS opportunities or -- you know, so I mean I don't think we're ready to guide that. One of our challenges this year, obviously, is these OTA programs and even the government [Inaudible] doesn't come through revenue, right? So it's you know, there's -- if it swings into a full-blown EMV program, at least you'll start to see some revenue growth associated with R&D side, which is not going to be very high margin, obviously. So it's -- it'll depend a lot on what that mix looks like. So I think until we have a lot more insight into where the contracts award are, where they are on FVL and some FMS opportunities, it's pretty hard to give you that mix out in '22 and beyond.

Jon Raviv -- Citi -- Analyst

Sure, understood. And then just on Aviation, I fully appreciate you're still looking at getting half of the drop from last year back this year. But just given the conversation with your customers, including the fleet operators, is there still an idea that this could be a structurally larger market going forward? And therefore, when do you feel like you can get back to this 2019 production and delivery levels? And what should the margin opportunity be around that? You know, should we still feel that double-digit is in the cards in the, we'll call it, medium-term?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

You know, I would say that we still feel like, from a macro standpoint and a structural standpoint, however you want to refer to it, that the business jets, particularly, that light midsize, is going to very much be in favor. Now we're seeing a lot of new customers coming to the market. You know, we certainly have dialogues with new customers on new aircraft sales. We know that's happening in charter, in fractional and in club.

It's really happening across the board. I think that's part of why you see the reflection of so much used aircraft activity, is the demand out there supports about 135 operators, charter operators, all these guys are seeing very strong demand. And that's just really driven by leisure because we haven't seen much rebound yet on the business side of travel. But we certainly expect to see that same dynamic as businesses start to travel again.

So I think structurally, at a macro level, it will drive a larger end market, which is good for everyone that is a participant in this -- the biz jet world. And that's why we feel like we're going to get -- there's still an overhang, obviously, of the COVID impacts and not seeing a lot of business demand yet, which is why we think we'll see half of that recovery back to '19 this year and I think we feel pretty good about that. And then we would certainly expect to see back to that '19 level when you get into the 2022 timeframe.

Jon Raviv -- Citi -- Analyst

And just on the margin opportunity, is this still a double-digit margin business when you get back to those levels?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. And again, I think we'll see very strong conversion leverage as we get back to those levels that we were and then back to more -- probably our more normalized 20%, 25% on growth beyond that.

Jon Raviv -- Citi -- Analyst

Thanks.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. Next, we'll go to the line of Ron Epstein of Bank of America. Please go ahead.

Ron Epstein -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Yeah. Good morning, guys. Thanks for taking the question. Scott, what's your sense on the support for Future Vertical Lift with the change in administration and the possibility of a flattening budget environment? I mean I know there's a lot of components, but how are you thinking about FARA versus FLRAA, that kind of thing?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, look, Ron, everything we have heard, and I think the Army has been very, very public about this, is that modernization remains very, very, very important part of their strategy and they continue to be committed to putting these things forward. Obviously, the focus on modernizing versus spending a lot of money on their legacy platforms is what they've talked about now for a couple -- several years and they continue to talk about that as their primary funding source and they even talk about it in strength. In a challenging budget environment, they know that they need to modernize a lot of these important platforms. And obviously, FVL is one of those and that remains one of their top priorities.

I think General McConville has been very clear, General Milley has been very clear. They are going full speed ahead. The fact that the draft RFP came out when they said on FLRAA and their expectations to have an RFP out here in the not-too-distant future and are still committing to a down-select that's out in that middle of 2022. Everything we see is still 100% full commitment, full speed ahead.

Ron Epstein -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

OK. Great. And then maybe a topic that nobody brings up anymore, but just curious what's going on with it, if anything, if it's parked in a garage collecting dust there. What's up with the Scorpion? Like is it just over? Or are you guys still trying to market it? Or, um --

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Look, we still fly the aircraft on occasion and do certain things with it. We heard the government still has some interest. But I'll tell you for the last year or so, our primary focus on the military side of that business has been getting the AT-6 through its certification. As you know, the Air Force did do a program only for a small number of aircraft, obviously.

But it did give us certification pathway. We've delivered the first aircraft to them. So we hope to get the type of [Inaudible] wrapped up pretty soon. And we have international customers that are -- have already inquired and proposals that are going on for that aircraft.

So I think we'll get through that first and then see where we go from there.

Ron Epstein -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

OK. Great. Thank you very much, Scott.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. Next, we'll go to the line of Seth Seifman of J.P. Morgan. Please go ahead.

[Operator instructions] Mr. Seifman? We'll move on. We'll go next to the line of Peter Arment of Baird. Please go ahead.

Peter Arment -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Ah, yes. Good morning, Scott and Frank. Scott, the question regarding liquidity. You guys have continued to generate a lot of cash and it looks like you're going to continue to generate that amount of cash going forward.

What's -- do you guys have a target liquidity ratio, when you'd start to be more aggressive in terms of deploying it?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, you know, look, Peter, we're still being a little bit conservative around the cash side. But recall, part of what the cash that's sitting on the balance sheet right now is that we've pre-funded this year's maturities, which is about $500 million. So that -- that cash will come out of our balance sheet to pay off the debt. There's two tranches that are due this year.

After that, we don't have another one until 2024. So I think we're in a very good position on cash. As we said, we have reinitiated our buyback program. And so certainly, we will allocate capital to doing that.

And I think we'll be a little conservative maybe here at the beginning, just to make sure we understand where the end markets and what's going on with the economy, but I think it gives us plenty of degrees of flexibility going forward.

Peter Arment -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Yeah. And just a clarification on the kind of the Aviation plan for deliveries, just kind of first half versus second half, assuming -- I assume it's kind of your normal second half-weighted when we think about the delivery cadence?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I would say that. I mean I think it's -- it will look like a kind of a normal year for us.

Peter Arment -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

That's it for me. I'll leave it there. Thanks.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Sure.

Operator

Thank you. And we'll revisit Mr. Seifman's line with J.P. Morgan.

Please go ahead.

Seth Seifman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Great. Thanks very much. Good morning. I think I figured out how to work my phone now.

So just real quick, I apologize if I missed it at the beginning, but if you talk about the expectations for the industrial business this year and sort of fairly nice profitability where that stacks up between sort of Kautex and vehicles, even if it's not a number, but kind of qualitatively and then sort of, where you are on the path of where you think profitability can be in vehicles?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. So I think we'll see nice rebounds in both businesses as we go into 2021. The trajectory on the Kautex side, And again, guys, we use IHS data and kind of like everybody does, so I think the expectations for continued recovery in the automotive market is what we're expecting. We certainly saw that volume driving into Q4.

There's always -- as all the auto guys have been ramping back up some supply chain issues and shortages here and there, but I think largely they're working through those, and I think our deliveries will be much improved here in 2021. You know, a lot of hybrid, which is a good mix for us. We have a really good position in that segment of the market. So I think we feel pretty good about the trajectory that Kautex is on, and frankly, back at their sort of strong margins.

On the vehicle side, you know, ex the ground support equipment business, because I think that's going to continue to be challenged here until we start to see the commercial aviation business coming back but we certainly expect to see another solid year in Gulf, the PTV business, which was very strong for us in the back half of last year. We expect to see that continued momentum. And powersports, when you look at everything from ATVs and side by sides and even through the snowmobiles retail has been very strong. To be honest, we've been struggling to keep up just because we've got our own supply chain challenges based on smaller suppliers and COVID and whatnot.

So I think that business will see growth, in part by continued growth in -- on the demand and the retail side. And in part, we know we have every stocking to do. So I think the inventory -- I'd rather see the inventory on a very low level than high level, obviously. So I think we're in a good place, but we definitely feel like we'll see growth based on both end market retail demand, as well as, our need to restock dealers out there.

Seth Seifman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. OK. And then longer-term, the thoughts on profitability in that business?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think we'll continue to see that business growing. The margins in historical businesses are good. On the off-road side, we need to see more volume in that business.

Obviously, the capability, the manufacturing capacity is considerably greater than what we've been seeing in the last couple of years here in terms of our manufacturing rates. And as we continue to grow those, which includes 2021, there's no question we'll see improved profitability in that segment of the business.

Seth Seifman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. And then just one follow-up on Aviation. You know, you mentioned the strength in usage of fractional and charter aircraft. Do you think about that mix in terms of your customer base evolving significantly in that direction though as we look out over the course of the next couple of years?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Oh, I think that we've always seen that mix, right? The issue is usually a balance where companies or you know, I mean most of our customers are -- they own their own companies and they have the asset, they use the asset for both business and leisure travel. So I think the only dynamic right now in the marketplace is you're seeing so many using it more for leisure than business just because of the lack of number of business trips. But when we see new customers coming into the market, those customers are kind of come in and I think those assets will be deployed much like our historical customer base has. They'll use it for both business and leisure travel.

Seth Seifman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Right. And so you see the -- you know, that mix between sort of retail and fractional charter looking fairly similar over the next few years as it has in the past in terms of your deliveries?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Oh, yeah. I'm sorry, so you're talking about how many are being sold in kind of what we would call retail versus through the NetJets of the world?

Seth Seifman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Yeah. Yeah.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I think that the mix is going to look much like a hazard. It's funny going through these cycles, it stays -- they have been about that same ratio. Obviously, with Latitude and Longitude out there, that has helped us get back to our more normal share in the fractional world. So -- but no, I don't think you're going to see any structural change between those who choose to operate by owning a fraction of an aircraft versus flying a charter versus owning a whole aircraft.

Seth Seifman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Great. Thanks very much.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. We'll go next to the line of Noah Poponak of Goldman Sachs. Please go ahead.

Noah Poponak -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hey, good morning, everybody.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Noah Poponak -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Scott, what's happening with Shadow replacement? Is that happening? When is it happening? And how big is that in annual revenue for you at this point?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So the Shadow replacement, which is the FTUAS program, is ongoing. As you probably know, there were several different platforms which were deployed to different Army bases to do their own soldier evaluations. There's another step in that process here coming up in a few months, which the Army refers as a rodeo, where they'll bring each of the platforms all to one base and the soldiers will operate those different systems, and that will help them to inform them in terms of what are the requirements. I think the Army current plan on FTUAS is they'll go through all those evaluations this year, including that rodeo, and by the end of the year, have come up with what they have as their requirements document, which they would then turn around and issue as an RFP.

So I would expect that would probably be sometime early in 2022.

Noah Poponak -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

OK. And can you give us a sense for how much annual revenue that contributes to systems at this point?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I don't -- no, I don't think so. We don't break out revenue within the individual segment line. But as you saw, we just got an order for $66 million, which is building more aircraft in the Block III configuration. So you know, Shadow operations, obviously, continue, upgrades continue.

And I expect we'll see that sort of activity up until the Army decides what they're going to do in terms of their next-generation platform.

Noah Poponak -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

OK. And then following up on the Bell margin discussion. You -- I guess, any way to size the Future Vertical Lift investment -- incremental investment you're making? And I guess, you've started the year forecasting that segment's margin to be about 12.5% as you've done for this year and then have exceeded that. And I guess, I'm wondering if -- I guess maybe if there's just less upside this year as you're definitively making investment or if you still have some of the mature program upside drivers that you normally have?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we definitely have headwind on the increased R&D on the FVL program. As I say, we've got both FLRAA and FARA going on at the same time. And FLRAA or FARA, I'm sorry, is reaching a point here where we're incurring a fair bit of cost around building flight test articles. So I think it largely reflects -- you know, first of all, we are going to see somewhat lower revenue in the year, driven by those lower deliveries around H-1s and commercial, offset with some higher R&D on the FVL program.

And that's why we're guiding somewhat lower revenue and fairly modest margin compression based on that additional R&D.

Noah Poponak -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Can you size how much higher the R&D is?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

No.

Noah Poponak -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

OK. And then just one last one with -- on the question of the quarterly progression through the year at aviation. I know it's always seasonally heavier in the back half versus the first half. But I'm assuming -- is it correct to assume that it will be significantly less back half-loaded than it was in 2020 given the pressures that were there in the first half of the year?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, look, Noah, I would say that it's going to be characteristically heavier. You know, Q4 is always our biggest quarter. Q1 wasn't hurt that badly. Frankly, in Q1 last year, things kind of just happened in March.

So I think that Q1 on a year-over-year basis won't look very different than Q1 in 2020 as 2020 was fine. You know, the real big difference is going to be that our deliveries in Q2 and Q3 are going to be more normal, whereas, Q2 and Q3 of 2020 were extraordinarily low.

Noah Poponak -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

OK. OK. That's helpful. OK.

Thanks so much.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. We'll go next to the line of Kristine Liwag of Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.

Kristine Liwag -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Hey, good morning. Scott, with fewer commercial flights and city pairs available as commercial airlines still recover, one would think that demand for business jets should recover at a steeper rate than overall return of business travel. Are there other items or dynamics that we should consider in why that may not be the case? Because I would just think that with fewer options in commercial flights, especially when you get to that -- you know, these smaller hubs and U.S. manufacturing, that your business should really be recovering at a faster rate than the overall market.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah and I do think we're seeing that. So the dynamic is business aviation flight hours have recovered much faster than commercial, obviously. I mean they were up over to about 85%. And again, in November and December, in the U.S., they were actually up above what they had been in prior years.

So -- but the dynamic that I think you have to moderate that a little bit, is that all that recovery really is driven by leisure travel. So in a normal world, we probably -- and again, the data is not collected exactly this way, so it's hard to get the exact numbers around it. But I mean, you'd certainly say that most air -- most business jet flying are business trips and then there's an augmentation of utilization of those aircraft for leisure travel. I think what we're seeing right now is almost exclusively leisure travel.

So you've got almost back to where you were on a more normalized basis in terms of flight hours but all of the flying, almost all the flying, is leisure. So as you start to see the economy recover, as you see travel restrictions come down, you see more business flying. You know, again, you start to see conferences coming back and business trips and meetings, you know, these sorts of things, that when you add that on top of what we're already seeing and strong demand on the leisure side, that you will see very strong demand on the business jet side dramatically over what we've seen in the past and it is because of the dynamic that you're talking about, which is, with the fewer flights. You know for someone to go from a small airport area to a trip that's going to land them in another small airport area with fewer flights to get through hubs, it's a day.

I mean it's very challenging with those lower schedules and I think health is also part of it. People feel more comfortable in getting into an aircraft with just themselves or family versus getting on to commercial aircraft. So the issue is that this rebound, which has been much more pronounced than what we've seen in commercial, is all leisure. And so our belief is when you add business travel back on top of that that you will see this in a very strong recovery.

But again, today, even though we're seeing and very good -- we feel very good about the rebound in travel, it really is only on the leisure side because you still have very little business travel and that's what's muting it a little bit. But I expect that will change, again, as the economy starts to come back and people start to travel on business trips.

Kristine Liwag -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Great. Thank you and if I could add another question on a separate topic. We're seeing a lot of new entrants in the urban air mobility market. How are you thinking about this? Do you think the air taxi industry could really gain traction? And also, what's your progress on your Nexus aircraft?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So look, I think that the -- you know, we've -- as you know, we've made investments in our Nexus platform. We continue to work on that program, but we are being a little cautious here to gate how much we spend and where we invest, and understand what the regulatory environment is going to look like because there are two issues here. One is these are aircraft that are going to have human beings in them. And therefore, they will have to go through a full regulatory approval process.

Those standards are evolving and trying to understand with certainty what it will take to certify such an aircraft and the other is the air taxi model. And again, we don't operate the air taxi model. But obviously, you know, the business case of how much you invest and what the volume looks like will depend on how are these businesses going to operate. And again, there is, I believe, a real -- a lot of regulatory uncertainty as to getting approval for the routings and where are these things going to fly and at what altitudes and what kind of controlled airspace.

You know for the sort of the vision that people have around the air taxi, there's still a lot of uncertainty around what that regulatory environment looks like. So I would say that I think when you think about the technology that's involved and the ability to design and certify an aircraft that can meet that mission, our team in Bell is absolutely qualified and capable to do that. I would say far much more so than a lot of the other hype that you hear out there. But I do think we have to be cautious here in terms of not getting too far out front of a regulatory environment that's very uncertain in order to allow that business model to be successful.

Kristine Liwag -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And we'll go next to the line of Cai von Rumohr. Please go ahead.

Cai von Rumohr -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Yes. Thanks so much. So if you haven't said it already, roughly where is the tax rate guide for '21? And on the pension, you've got a swing of $63 million. That adds, it looks like, 50 bps to your margin, $0.18 to earnings.

Is that mostly centered at Bell and at Aviation? Thanks.

Frank Connor -- Chief Financial Officer

The tax rate is 18%, we had mentioned that. On the pension side, the impact is -- does not impact Bell, 'cause Bell has a separate plan. So the impact is, otherwise, spread across the rest of the businesses, as well as, any corporate employees.

Cai von Rumohr -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Got it. And then R&D at Bell, I assume that, as you mentioned, that's the big lift in R&D. You know, how long -- does that continue into next year? Because I would assume on V-280, your R&D is at a lower level, predominantly at FARA. And how far in the future does that level of R&D continue roughly?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, that's absolutely right, Cai. So on the FLRAA activity, which is the lesser of the two right now, really because remember where you're sort of in a phase here where you're finishing the Phase 2 of the CRR program on FLRAA, that goes until March of '22, right? So that level of activity is in that timeframe and it becomes the lesser of the two. The one that's really going to drive a lot of the R&D here for the next two years is the FARA program because right now, you're in the middle of all the detailed design, you're starting component, manufacturing, and assembly. As you go into 2022, first flight is at the end of 2022, so you have all of the cost in 2022, is really driven by the FARA program and completing all the design and getting ready for a flight test program.

And you go into 2023, that's really the flight test program through the course of that year. So that's the program schedule and so the relative level of R&D is highly driven by FARA, particularly as you get into '22, '23. This year, it's a little more balanced, but a significant increase in FARA spending as you go through this year.

Cai von Rumohr -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Terrific. And then one last one, cash deployment. You know, you've basically taken care of your near-term maturities. It looks like you're focused totally on share repurchase.

You know, to what extent do you think of M&A and/or dividend?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I don't think we're at a point right now where we're going to have a lot of dialogue around the dividend. I think that strategy served us well as we went through a challenging year this year. M&A would have to be opportunistic, Cai, if something came along that we thought made a lot of sense. But for the time being, our view is it is primarily going to be focused around share buyback.

And again, we'll kind of take that as you see what's going on with the economy and how the businesses are performing.

Cai von Rumohr -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Got it. I mean if you look at your business, you've got lots of different businesses and systems. Any thought about rationalizing your portfolio so that it's more concentrated? Obviously, Aviation and Bell are concentrated, but if you look at Systems, it really isn't. Any thoughts about that?

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, you're right. Systems has been a series of smaller business, again, primarily defense-oriented and our strategy in that area has been largely to invest through primarily organic activity. And if you look, I think, at where we are today on things like ship-to-shore, which is going to turn into a very nice program for us. You know, we did make a small investment, obviously, in the -- on the ATAC side and that has been augmented by investments in bringing new aircraft on.

You know, that -- last year was a huge year for us in terms of winning that Air Force CAPCAS program, some of the important task orders, which was our strategy, as well as, obviously, winning the recompete on the -- on the Navy side, the weapons business to be a major player on the GBSD program. Look at some of the things we're doing around the land vehicle side. We'll start the first deliveries of the RCV medium here in the quarter. So like those are very nice businesses.

I think they can generate very nice margins and they're frankly, going to be benefiting here from the end of last year and going through this year from a lot of investment that we made in a lot of new programs that we won. So I think it's going to be a nice growing and very successful business for us.

Cai von Rumohr -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Terrific. Thanks so much.

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Sure.

Operator

Thank you. [Operator signoff] This conference will be available for replay today after 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time running through May 1st at midnight. You may access the AT&T teleconference replay system by dialing 1 (866) 207-1041 and entering the access code of 4600749.

International participants may dial (402) 970-0847. Those numbers again are 1 (866) 207-1041 and (402) 970-0847 with the access code of 4600749. [Operator signoff]

Duration: 55 minutes

Call participants:

Eric Salander -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Scott Donnelly -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Frank Connor -- Chief Financial Officer

Robert Stallard -- Vertical Research -- Analyst

Carter Copeland -- Melius Research -- Analyst

Sheila Kahyaoglu -- Jefferies -- Analyst

George Shapiro -- Shapiro Research -- Analyst

David Strauss -- Barclays -- Analyst

Pete Skibitski -- Alembic Global -- Analyst

Jon Raviv -- Citi -- Analyst

Ron Epstein -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Peter Arment -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Seth Seifman -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Noah Poponak -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Kristine Liwag -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Cai von Rumohr -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

More TXT analysis

All earnings call transcripts

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.