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Westport Fuel Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:WPRT)
Q1 2021 Earnings Call
May 07, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Thank you for standing by. This is the conference operator. Welcome to the Westport Fuel Systems, Inc. first-quarter 2021 results conference call.

[Operator instructions] The conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Christine Marks, Westport's investor relations representative. Please go ahead, Ms. Marks.

Christine Marks -- Investor Relations

Thank you, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to Westport Fuel Systems first-quarter 2021 conference call which is being held to coincide with the press release containing Westport Fuel Systems' financial results that was distributed yesterday. On today's call speaking on behalf of Westport Fuel Systems is chief executive officer, David Johnson; and chief financial officer, Richard Orazietti. Attendance at this call is open to the public and to media, but questions will be restricted to the investment community.

You are reminded that certain statements made in this conference call and our responses to various questions may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. and applicable Canadian securities laws, and as such, forward-looking statements are made based on our current expectations and involve certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, so you're cautioned not to place undue reliance on those statements. Information contained in this conference call is subject to and qualified in its entirety by information contained in the company's public filings.

I'll now turn the call over to you, David.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Christine. Good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us today to review Westport Fuel Systems results for the first-quarter 2021. This is David Johnson speaking.

If you're new to our story, thanks for your interest, and on this slide, you'll see a brief synopsis about our company. Following a record fourth-quarter close in 2020, we started 2021 with solid revenue growth despite the ongoing challenges brought on by COVID-19. Our HPDI business is ramping well in Europe and our independent aftermarket, delayed OEM, and electronics businesses are profitable. We have a comprehensive global offering of pat clean, affordable gaseous fuel components and systems offered through a global network of distributors and partners.

Fleets are continuing to gain confidence that our HPDI solutions outperform with demonstrated operational cost savings and reduced carbon emissions. And as a result, our products are taking on an increasing role in large fleets and accelerating the global transition to cleaner fuels. We're driving innovation to power a cleaner tomorrow and changing the way the world moves people and freight. I'll cover just a few highlights from the first quarter and then provide a business overview before handing over to Richard to go into more details on our financial performance.

Our revenues were $76.4 million in the first quarter, compared to $67.2 million for Q1 last year, a 14% increase. Q1 sales revenue in our light-duty and heavy-duty OEM businesses also increased significantly, up 25% versus the year-ago quarter. Like many OEMs, our HPDI launch partner is experiencing supply chain production issues due to the global semiconductor shortage. While our HPDI manufacturing has thus far been unaffected by this particular issue, global shortages are expected to impact revenues and margins through the second quarter.

We do, however, expect the impact of this issue to decrease in the second half of 2021. Our business mix is shifting with growing revenue for HPDI, hydrogen, and our light-duty OEM businesses, especially in India, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic effects and the resulting shift in sales mix resulted in nearly flat performance of our IAM business. In total, gross margins are under pressure and not where we want them to be. We ended the quarter with $59.7 million of cash and cash equivalents, including gross proceeds of $13.2 million raised from our at-the-market equity offering in the three months ended March 31st, 2021 for a cumulative total of $27.6 million raised.

I'm immensely proud of the progress our global team has made toward sustainable profitability which is the foundation upon which we'll continue to build success. Westport Fuel System is addressing a huge market, $100 billion annually, of which roughly half is heavy-duty trucking, and market share for gaseous fuel solutions is growing. We have substantial regulatory, economic, and societal tailwinds in markets around the world. Consumers buy our aftermarket conversion kits to save money while using cleaner fuels and our products also help OEMs to respond to regulations while meeting their customers' demand.

We've worked hard to develop a solid reputation as an industry leader in gaseous fuels over the last two decades with sales in 70 countries. HPDI was launched in Europe in 2018 and our share of the market continues to grow. The EU market for alternative fuel trucks grew by 38% in 2020, despite the impact of COVID-19 and we finished last year with an HPDI sales rate almost double compared to 2019. Lest it's unclear, HPDI is not a concept demonstration, it's a product, and with HPDI, OEMs can avoid penalties for CO2 non-compliance that are built into the regulations in Europe.

For example, if no improvements are made to today's European diesel power trucks, selling those trucks in 2025 will generate a penalty of EUR 38,000 per truck sold, payable by the OEM. This year, we expect to launch HPDI in China, the largest market for natural gas trucking. HPDI 2.0 is the only product in production at scale that can fully and cost effectively respond to the regulatory standards for commercial vehicles in Europe, India, and China. We've announced the initial demonstration of the efficiency of hydrogen HPDI and we've shown the cost effectiveness of hydrogen internal combustion engines using HPDI.

It's increasingly clear there is no panacea for zero carbon transportation across all applications. Today there is and tomorrow there will be a diversity of technologies and a diversity of fuels. Gaseous fuels are cleaner, renewable, and go all the way to zero carbon hydrogen. And because our gaseous fuel systems are available and affordable today, we will lead the way.

For heavy-duty long-haul applications, the size, weight, and cost of batteries, not to mention the recharge time, make battery electric technology a non-starter for this application. Regarding fuel cells, the demonstration vehicles that OEMs have shown include, not just the fuel cell, but significant batteries, and of course, electric motors. And for both of these concepts, the investments required, the industrialized batteries, fuel cells and motors, and then to rearchitect vehicles is massive. In North America, vehicles using gaseous fuels are not so common, so the existing and accelerating global adoption of gaseous fuels may be surprising to some of you.

With the increasing substitution of renewable fuels like biomethane, our products can further decrease the greenhouse gas impact of transportation and they do so much more affordably than battery electric vehicles, for example. Against that backdrop, I also want to share with you the views of two global players, our customer Volvo and our partner, Cummins. As you can see, both companies forecast an ongoing important role for natural gas over the next two decades and an important role for hydrogen as key ingredients on the pathway to near-zero carbon and fossil-free transportation. In the long-term view, the mix of products that will be sold is to be determined.

We already design, develop, produce, and sell hydrogen components for transportation and industrial applications. This area of our business saw substantial growth in 2020 and remain strong in the current quarter and we could see a pathway for continued growth. The potential for OEMs and others to avoid new and significant investments required to develop and manufacture fuel cells, electric motors, and batteries are incredibly compelling. Like trucking, other high-load applications like mining, marine, and rail have come to rely on the efficiency, power, durability, and reliability of diesel engines.

And HPDI is the only alternative that offers the same performance and yet can leverage existing supply chains, manufacturing infrastructure, and economies of scale and offer a road map on a technology platform that has a proven track record and longevity. We believe the potential to use hydrogen with HPDI and to do so more cost effectively than fuel cells means there's a very large portion of the future product mix for long-haul transportation that will count on Westport Fuel Systems' products. In November, we announced new product development work to apply HPDI 2.0 to an updated base engine platform designed to meet Euro VI Step E regulations that take effect in 2024. We interpret this as our customers' confidence in our HPDI systems and the increasing demand of their fleet customers who are already realizing the benefits of our HPDI solutions.

In China, our JV's HPDI engine has been certified and we are pleased with the increased minimum volume commitment by Weichai Westport. I'll go into more detail regarding China momentarily. For us, North America is next. UPS has already adopted natural gas, announcing in 2019 that they're adding 6,000 natural gas vehicles to their fleet.

In February, Reuters reported that Amazon ordered 700 CNG trucks. Fleets aren't waiting for technology breakthroughs, they're acting now to reduce carbon and our solutions to save them money. With the path established by our JV with Cummins, HPDI in North America could take natural gas to the next level. The joint venture term is scheduled to end on December 31st, 2021, and we're evaluating our strategic alternatives in anticipation of this termination.

We see a growing opportunity to sell and supply our alternative fuel systems, especially our HPDI technology in heavy-duty applications in the North American market. We're making significant progress in China, where our joint venture with Weichai Power's secured certification for the WP12 natural gas engine, powered by HPDI 2.0. As one of the largest suppliers of natural gas engines in China, our JV currently supplies engines to leading Chinese commercial vehicle OEMs and they serve the largest natural gas trucking market in the world. The engine certification sets us up to serve that market as vehicle OEMs complete certifications to their vehicle offerings with our engines.

In the first quarter, we announced a co-investment agreement to expand the manufacturing footprint for HPDI 2.0 injectors in China and also announced amended agreement terms with Weichai Westport for the supply of a minimum of 25,000 HPDI systems through December 31st, 2024, which represents a 39% increase in the minimum volume, compared to the original agreement. China's already primed for our technology with the largest LNG refueling infrastructure in the world and already has hundreds of thousands of natural gas trucks on the road and we're bullish about the opportunity that's in front of us in China. Recently, we presented with AVL, a leading independent engineering firm, an analysis showing the cost advantages of hydrogen-fueled, HPDI-equipped internal combustion engines for trucking. Next, we demonstrated that hydrogen with HPDI works very well out of the box, delivering efficiency on par with fuel cells in heavy-duty applications and we presented that data at the Vienna Motor Symposium for review by industry experts just last week.

Among the combustion systems we investigated, we determined that HPDI combustion offers the highest power density, highest efficiency, and is the most robust system for using hydrogen and internal combustion engines for heavy-duty applications. We're in discussions with potential partners and customers to gain input and to further develop and validate this exciting opportunity. Although it's still early days, we don't think it's a stretch to say that this could be a game changer for the internal combustion engine and for clean transportation globally. Before I hand back to Richard, I'd like to highlight our commitment to strong governance, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability.

This is inherent in Westport Fuel Systems' DNA. The strength and diversity of our board is a critical asset that provides oversight and guidance to the implementation of our strategies and achievement over goals. At the board level, we have a 50-50 gender mix, and more than one-third of our global workforce identifies as female. We're committed to our employees' health and safety, with 97% of our employee base being represented by joint health and safety committees.

Our major operational sites are also ISO certified for environmental management and product quality. In 2018, we established a sustainability working group that reports directly to me. Our commitment to the environment is in our DNA. It's in our products and we're committed to reducing the energy and carbon intensity of our global operations. For those of you who know the transportation sector well, you'll recognize some of the talented individuals who've joined our team and led their considerable expertise.

On our board, Dan Hancock, our chair, brings 43 years of experience at GM to our company. During his career, he was CEO of Allison Transmission and CEO of the Fiat-GM Powertrain Joint Venture. Rita Forst led vehicle and powertrain engineering during her 36 years career at Opel in Germany. Dr.

Karl Viktor Schaller led purchasing and vehicle engineering as a board member at MAN and later was the chief technical officer of BMW's Motorcycle division. Many of you will also know Tony Guglielmin, the retiring CFO of Ballard, who joined our board earlier this year and on our management team, Jim Arthurs and Lance Follett have 30 years of Westport Fuel Systems leadership experience. Tim Smith joined us late last year, bringing his 38 years of experience from Daimler, Navistar, and Tier 1 automotive supplier, Dana. Nicola Cosciani joined us from the Italian automotive industry and leads our global manufacturing operations in Italy and our CFO, Richard Orazietti, has extensive public company leadership experience with an international mining company, and in the telecom sector with Bell Canada earlier in his career.

Our leadership team together represents impressive skills, experience and rich geographical and cultural diversity, and we're grateful for their commitment to excellence in the pursuit of our objectives. Now over to you, Richard, for more detail on our Q1 financial results.

Richard Orazietti -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, David. As David mentioned earlier, our revenues increased 14% year over year to $76.4 million, compared to the first-quarter 2020, mainly due to the strong performance from our OEM businesses, driven by improving sales volumes in light-duty OEM and continued year-over-year growth in our HPDI product sales. As much of our sales are in euros, revenues also benefited from a 9% increase in the average euro exchange rate period over period. Year-over-year gross margins increased to $13.0 million, compared to $4.3 million, primarily due to a $10 million charge for the field service campaign for our pressure release device taken in the first quarter of 2020, which excluded a $7.7 million in insurance recoveries recorded later in the second quarter of that year.

Excluding this charge, gross margins experienced pressure this quarter due to the continued impact of COVID-19 on customer demand, primarily in our independent aftermarket business, and we also realized lower margins on HPDI product sales and engineering services than in 2020. Equity income from the CWI joint venture increased to $6.4 million, a year-over-year improvement of $1.2 million, primarily due to reduced R&D expenses. We recorded a net loss of $3.1 million or 2% or $0.02 per share for the first quarter of 2021, compared to a net loss of $15.3 million or $0.11 per share, for the same period in 2020. Besides the positive change in gross margin and pickup in equity income from CWI, the current quarter benefited from a decrease in unrealized foreign exchange losses due mostly to the strengthening of the Canadian dollar, partially offset by increasing operating expenses, including one-time severance expenses.

Notwithstanding the challenging business environment, we continued to generate positive adjusted EBITDA of $2.7 million, compared to negative $3.6 million in the first quarter of 2020. Turning to our business segment performance, OEM revenue for the first quarter of 2021 was $42.7 million which was a 25% increase year over year in revenue that was primarily driven by increased light-duty OEM sales volumes to Russian and Indian OEMs, growing sales in our electronics business and higher year-over-year HPDI product sales, more than offsetting a decline in delayed OEM business that has been affected by the impact on customer demand due to COVID-19. As David mentioned previously, global supply chain issues related to a lack of semiconductors has been impacting production and creating bottlenecks in the automotive industry, including our HPDI launch partner. Although the demand for our HPDI technology continues on a positive trajectory, our HPDI product sales were lower than in the second half of 2020, due to the supply chain challenges that have affected the production of trucks at our HPDI launch partner.

These shortages do not currently affect manufacturing of the HPDI system directly and demand for HPDI product has increased even more significantly than is reflected in the year-over-year increase in revenues. Gross margin for OEM increased by $11 million to $4.9 million or 11% of revenue, for the current quarter, compared to negative $6.1 million in the same period 2020. Gross margin in the prior period reflects the aforementioned $10 million charge for the field service campaign. Excluding this charge, gross margin for the current quarter increased by $1 million at a consistent gross margin percentage of 11%.

This increase in gross margin was largely due to the higher sales in light-duty OEM, as discussed previously, more than offsetting the pressure of the margins in HPDI product sales. OEM recognized an operating loss of $6.5 million, compared to $14.5 million for the same period in 2020. Normalizing for the $10 million charge, the operating loss in OEM increased by $2 million year over year due to the increase in the average euro exchange rate and higher compensation expense. Turning to independent aftermarket, revenues for the current quarter increased modestly year over year by 2% to $33.7 million, primarily due to the higher average euro exchange rate which offset comparative and lower customer demand from our Western European customers affected by the continuing impact of COVID-19.

Notwithstanding the comparable sales performance, gross margin decreased by $2.3 million to $8.1 million in the current quarter due to the increase in sales mix from lower-margin emerging market customers and the challenging recovery in Western Europe. Besides the gross margin impact, operating income decreased $3.2 million to $1.6 million due to some one-time severance expenses. CWI. Revenue for the first-quarter 2021 was $82.3 million, a 7% increase compared to the first-quarter 2020.

Unit sales for the first quarter were 1,873, compared to 1,513 for the first quarter of 2020. The increase in unit sales in the current year largely reflected the timing of sales and an increase in demand. Parts revenue decreased from $21.1 million to $25.8 million due to fewer parts purchases for repairs, reflecting improving product quality. Gross margin decreased by $0.6 million to $21 million or 26% of revenue, compared to $21.6 million or 28% of revenue in the prior-year period.

A decrease in gross margin and gross margin percentage primarily reflects product mix and a $1.9 million warranty provision. Operating income for the first-quarter 2021 increased by $3.7 million year over year to $17.1 million, primarily reflecting lower R&D expenses. As mentioned at the outset, our share of CWI's net income for the first-quarter 2021 increased to $6.4 million from $5.3 million in the same period last year. Turning to the balance sheet and our liquidity.

Cash at the quarter end was approximately $60 million, a decrease of $4.5 million, compared to the fourth-quarter 2020. The decrease in cash was primarily due to debt repayment, cash used in operations and capital expenditures, and a lower euro exchange rate on our cash held in Europe. This was partially offset by proceeds of $13 million from equity issued from our ATM program during the quarter and $7.9 million in dividends received from our CWI joint venture. At the quarter end, our total debt stood at $62 million, down from $85 million in the fourth-quarter 2020, largely due to the repayment of debt on our revolving receivables credit facility from our collections, scheduled debt repayment on our term loans, and a partial conversion of $2.5 million convertible notes.

We are continuing our efforts to strengthen our balance sheet and ability to fund our long-term growth and financial stability. Two UniCredit loans were refinanced subsequent to the quarter with principal increased from EUR 5.4 to EUR 7.5 million maturing in the first quarter of 2027 at lower cost of borrowing. Further, we are also actively discussing with our lenders about refinancing other term loans and extend maturity and improve borrowing rates based on our investment horizon and improving credit profile. With that, I would like to turn it back to David.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Richard. In 2021, our focus remains on continued growth at scale in key markets. For HPDI, that means Europe, China, and the North America. And for our light-duty business, profitable growth through the aftermarket and OEM channels in markets like Turkey, Russia, Egypt, India, and other cost-sensitive markets where our products resonate strongly with the need to deliver affordable transportation and reduce carbon, and we'll continue our development work with hydrogen HPDI.

Looking further ahead, we believe $1 billion in annual revenue is a very attainable goal and expect margins to improve as we gain economies of scale and operational leverage closer in line with industry standard performance. The market fundamentals are in place and the next catalysts for growth are clear. We have a talented team dedicated to delivering continued value, affordable, and sustainable transportation solutions. With that, I'd like to turn it back to the operator for your questions.

Questions & Answers:


Operator

[Operator instructions] The first question comes from Eric Stine with Craig-Hallum. Please go ahead.

Eric Stine -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Good morning, everyone.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Eric Stine -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Good morning. So I would love if you could just expand a little bit on your commentary on HPDI in North America. Just in the context, I know it's a different market, especially from the standpoint of not as vertically integrated as, say, Europe is. You know, just maybe some things we should look for as part of that, because clearly, you're focusing on North America more than we've heard on past calls.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thanks for the question, Eric. You know, we're really inspired by the opportunity in North America. And I would say most importantly, what we see is the success of CWI over a long stretch of time to bring natural gas engines to the marketplace, and then that creates, from our perspective, the opportunity for HPDI which is that next level better performance.

So as the infrastructure is built out and customers have gotten more comfortable with natural gas, the benefits of HPDI now being demonstrated in Europe, we think the sustainability movement that is added to the other benefits, the environmental benefits, the economic benefits of our products will really help the market to develop and flourish in North America. As you know, the OEMs we work with around the world, all of them are global OEMs, and so when we have a product in one location, bringing it to another one is a little easier than starting from scratch and so we see a big opportunity, a big market. Then we think that the move to clean up transportation on a global basis is, in fact, a global trend and so we're prepared and eager to serve the North American market with our superior technology.

Eric Stine -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Got it. And is this something that we should think about a 2021 event or something that -- I mean, I guess it's up to your OEM partners, but something that if not in 2021, at the very least, it is, uh -- it's a potential near-term event.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

We see it in our sights, but I have to be, let's say, pragmatic and reasonable about the timeframe. The emissions regulations in North America are different than the emissions regulations in Europe and so some work is required. The vehicles are different. You know, there's a fair number of differences, it's not just to roll the product off the ship and start selling.

Having said that, you know, we don't frequently get the chance to talk about our development contracts in advance of actual production start. And so I'm going to leave the announcements to our customers and so I can't give you any forward-looking on when we might expect those announcements. Sorry for that.

Eric Stine -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Right. No, understand, but encouraging nonetheless. OK. Maybe just last one for me.

This $1 billion target by middle of the decade, nice to see that. Just maybe a little more in-depth to your thought process. Obviously, HPDI-heavy, but whether it's that or how that breaks down between your segments from a high level. And then also, how you kind of foresee the mix when you're at that level by geographic area would be great.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, absolutely. So clearly, our HPDI product is a very important part of that equation and it's off to the strongest start already, or you know, essentially, this is the market for us in Europe today with HPDI and our lead customer. We do expect the Chinese market to be very important to this equation. We're very pleased to announce the contract amendment that we made with our JV, Westport -- Weichai Westport, to increase the minimum volume commitment, and I want to reinforce that it's a minimum volume commitment, so we're talking 25,000 units through 2024 at a minimum.

So that I think -- and we're going into the largest market for natural gas trucking in the world with a superior product. So I think Europe and China are very, very important and we expect North America to come along, but perhaps in that kind of context of mid-decade may not be the biggest piece, of course. Also, I want to say that while HPDI is critical to this growth trajectory and our targets of $1 billion by mid-decade, it's not the only ingredient. We do have a comprehensive portfolio of products and ways to go to market, the OEM channel, the aftermarket channel, and I expect growth in all of those aspects of our business.

Growth in volume, revenue, and profitability, and those are our targets, is to do that. So it all adds up and we're very excited about the prospects for the company in total, but there's lots of work to be done to realize it.

Eric Stine -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

OK. Thanks a lot.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Eric.

Operator

And the next question comes from Colin Rusch with Oppenheimer. Please go ahead.

Colin Rusch -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc -- Analyst

Thanks so much guys. Um, can you speak to the timeframe for the next several kind of important benchmarks around proving up the hydrogen technology and how you guys are progressing along that timeframe?

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thank you. I mean, this is, uh, I think, a really exciting development for the corporation. Fundamentally, as you know, Colin, we had analysis late last year that showed that it would work well.

We put an engine in our test cell and fed it from hydrogen and it worked very well, exactly in line with our analysis, and for us with HPDI, hydrogen is a great fuel. Just to make it clear; for a spark-ignited engine, it's actually problematic that that the fuel has the flammability properties that it does. But for HPDI, it's absolutely fantastic because we introduce the fuel after combustion's started and so that really is very much in our favor, and we demonstrated that in the engine. Where we go from here, you know about the project we have with Scania, we expect and we're in discussions around other projects like that that will take our hardware, our HPDI hardware, put it on others' engines and then demonstrate the technology first in dyno, then in vehicle and really that's, I would say, kind of a normal development process.

So we look forward to getting out of the early demonstration phase and into the product development phase, one important ingredient actually for bringing it all the way to production will be how does the infrastructure develop, and so this is a very important role for governments around the world to play. So there are a lot of ingredients, but I think you are well aware that around the world, hydrogen is clearly established as the zero-carbon fuel for long-haul heavy-duty transportation going forward. And we think that hydrogen has a tremendous potential, we've demonstrated in our engines, so we're looking forward to those next projects with customers to further develop it, further validate it, and bring it to production.

Colin Rusch -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc -- Analyst

Perfect. And then just around the current supply chain and what's going on kind of globally at this point. I know that you guys had kind of proactively gotten some inventory in. But I wanted get your sense of how things are trending in terms of procurement, availability of components, and kind of just fundamental availability of hardware as you try to -- you know, go through the second and third quarters here.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I've been reflecting on this, Colin, because it is a global problem. It's not a Westport Fuel Systems, it's a big problem, but of course, we face it, too, and it comes at us in a couple of different ways. It affects our customers, as we've talked about just moments ago.

And so far, it hasn't so much affected us in terms of our ability to get components, but of course, you know, if our customer's affected, then it affects us kind of the same way. And I look back actually at what we were doing this time last year which was, as the pandemics started in China and then moved to Italy, we were trying to build those inventories and so we were ordering more than we needed to build up that inventory to have some buffer stock. And I can only imagine this scenario that basically everybody was doing that and so there was a huge wave of orders, and then all of a sudden, factories shut down and then everybody stopped their orders. And so I think, as a world globally, we have perturbed the supply lines in a very unnatural way as a result of the actions taken to try and manage through COVID and so it's going to take some time to work through this and some of the supply lines are very long.

I was reading recently about the supply lines for chips, you know and how long back in the supply chain it is, where you actually make the silicon wafer and then go through that. It's not my area of specialty, but it was very interesting this long supply chain, so we've disturbed that. I don't think it's anything that we can't recover from, we will recover from it, but it does take some time. In the meantime, it affects our operations hopefully not too much.

So far, not so much, but our customers' operations unfortunately already and also hopefully not too much. But from my perspective, it is just something we have to work through, caused by the pandemic, and the supply and demand disruptions that that pandemic to some degree is still impinging upon us. As you heard from our commentary, we have some markets that aren't as strong as we'd like them to be because COVID is still causing lockdowns. We have red and orange zones.

We have problems in India, of course, so all these things around the world are unhelpful to running the business and caused a fair bit of work. But so far, we've been able to manage them fairly well, but not without impact.

Colin Rusch -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc -- Analyst

Thank you so much.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

My pleasure.

Operator

The next question comes from Amit Dayal with H.C. Wainwright. Please go ahead.

Amit Dayal -- H.C. Wainwright -- Analyst

Thank you. Good morning, guys.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Amit Dayal -- H.C. Wainwright -- Analyst

It looks like we're bracing for some variability in sort of, how the quarterly results may come through for the remainder of 2021, compared to, say, the historical period. Could you give us some sense of, you know, the revenue cadence potentially that you have visibility on for the rest of the year on a quarterly basis?

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, Amit. It's a fact that the visibility is not so great, as we were just talking with Colin in the last question. You know, the supply chain, I would say, is one of the big variables and the second big variable is the ongoing impact of COVID. So, India is an important market for us, as you know and right now that's severely affected.

And frankly, Europe is still working through getting the vaccine out and recovering. And you know, a fair bit of our revenue stream and profitability stream is from consumer products in our aftermarket business, so that does have a lingering and continuing impact. Turkey had to shut down, so you can hear some of the countries and some of the markets that are important to us are still severely affected, even though here in the U.S., we've got our vaccines and people are opening up and we're trying to get back to normal. So there are different scenarios around the world and that does affect us.

And we don't have a crystal ball on it, so this is, hence, the lack of guidance for the year. But in the long-term you know, we see that and I'm really quite thrilled to see our revenue up 14% over last year which was almost unaffected by COVID last year. You know, we just had the tail end of March where COVID started to close our factories and have other negative effects, but a 14% year-over-year improvement and our OEM business, up by 25%. So we do see a number of very positive signs in total and have a strong outlook for a good year in total, but the quarter by quarters are very, very tough to call at this moment.

Amit Dayal -- H.C. Wainwright -- Analyst

Well, that's understandable. Thank you, David. Um, with respect to some of the same challenges on the margin and opex front, I mean, factories, etc., are open now, compared to being shut last year. How should we think about some of these expenses moving higher for you this year versus last year?

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So I'll comment on the mix and maybe Richard can give you a little insight on our opex view. On the mix right now, some of our more -- most important markets are still significantly depressed. So Italy, for example, is significantly depressed in terms of our aftermarket business and you can easily imagine that India is facing some challenges and Turkey's got that shutdown I just mentioned.

So we face these things and I think the quarter over quarter for second quarter will be a really great story because we were so bad last year with our shutdown, but that really isn't any solace. We'd like to see quarter-over-quarter improvement, sequential quarter improvement as opposed to year over year, but I don't have a number to share with you or a forecast. But we're working very hard to manage all the challenges and to be ready for our customers when they're ready to buy our products.

Amit Dayal -- H.C. Wainwright -- Analyst

Understood.

Richard Orazietti -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. And I think, David -- go ahead, Amit. Go ahead.

Amit Dayal -- H.C. Wainwright -- Analyst

No, sorry. Go ahead. Sorry, sorry, Richard. Please go ahead.

Sorry.

Richard Orazietti -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. No, I was just going to say the -- you know, one of the challenges we're facing is the lingering impact of COVID and so the markets where we had a lot of profitability in our independent aftermarket in Western Europe, it's just a market that is just recovering. And now we're seeing, we'll call it, the beginnings where those markets are starting to reopen and so we'll call it profitability will start improving with regards to that side of the house. With regards to our heavy-duty OEM business, HPDI sales, I mean, that's the temporary thing right now that our launch partner is dealing with and we're seeing, we'll call it, a lot of interest that they're receiving for their truck.

That it's just a question of a wait time right now, but that profitability, you know, we're hoping that we'll get back in the right trajectory in the second half of the year. The one thing that you will notice that it's going to be different with regards to and you saw it, it's a little bit foreign exchange, the other thing is subsidies. Last year in the first half of the year, the second and the third quarter last year, there was a lot of wage subsidies coming from the Italian government and we had in the Netherlands and the Canadian -- in Canada as well. That those numbers year over year, our operating expenses, and some of our SG&A will be somewhat higher because there'll be less of those subsidies this year because the, we'll call it, the businesses are starting to return.

Amit Dayal -- H.C. Wainwright -- Analyst

OK. Yes, that's helpful. Thank you, Richard. Just one last one I was going ask David, maybe.

You know, any color on who the Tier 1 partner is with you're expanding the HPDI production in China? Is it the same partner in Europe, but the facilities are in China? I don't know if you can share this, but it would be helpful. Thank you.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We have a long-standing partnership with Delphi, which is now BorgWarner, on our injector and they are our global partner for this production and realization of the injector. So we're very happy to be working with them and bringing this product to the market and expanding that capacity to respond to the demand that's in our forecast. So, yeah, happy to be partnered with such a capable company.

Amit Dayal -- H.C. Wainwright -- Analyst

Understood. Thank you for that, David. That's all I have.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Amit.

Operator

The next question comes from Rob Brown with Lake Street Capital Markets. Please go ahead.

Rob Brown -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. I'm just wondering if you could expand a little bit on your comments around the demand with your European launch partner. You're seeing kind of good order activity, even though it's maybe not coming through the production line yet. What are you sort of seeing in the demand trends there?

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Overall, Rob, the demand looks good to us, so we're very encouraged by the order board. The challenges that we're facing right now, I would say, with our partner relate to the supply of components, the ability to keep their lines running because of other components. We can make the necessary HPDI parts and the order book looks good.

So as I've described before, the market that we see is a really strong, growing market. We've seen it since we launched in 2018 through 2019. And frankly, to have volume up so significantly in 2020, a COVID year with the shutdown, just reinforced our view that this is a growth product that's extremely important in the compliant scenarios that OEMs are calculating all the time for the CO2 regulations in 2025 and 2030. The buildout of the infrastructure supports that.

We're now over 400 LNG stations in Europe. So that's a doubling in just the time I've been with Westport Fuel Systems, so early grid expansion that fully responds to the increasing pool of vehicles in the marketplace. We see good market share results of our partner in the marketplace for natural gas vehicles in the European Union. And so frankly, all the elements are lining up and the order book looks strong and we're looking forward to getting through the supply chain issues and serving our customers and serving their customers.

Rob Brown -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK. Thank you. And then in terms of China, I think you're waiting for vehicle certifications at this point. Where is that at and how do you see that playing out at this point?

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. We see good progress, so we're encouraged by the outlook to get the product into the marketplace, into customers' hands and I think that was best representated, excuse me, represented in a public way by the announcement that we had recently that we've rewritten that contract to expand the minimum commitment. You know, my view is any time a customer is willing to sign up to a minimum commitment, that means they're planning to build and sell even more than that. They're confident in the product and they're confident in their plans and so I'm really excited to get the product into the marketplace.

You know, there's multiple OEMs working to integrate these engines into their trucks and bring those trucks all the way to fruition to their customers. The market in China, as you know, is on the order of 100,000 natural gas trucks per year with sparked-ignited engines from our joint venture being a main component of those sales. And so we think when HPDI is added to the mix through our Weichai Westport JV, that that will really grow the market, so increase the share beyond the 10% that it is today as of total trucking, and it will start grabbing that share of the mix between spark ignited and HPDI. And so we'll see a mix shift from 0% HPDI to something much more interesting and you can kind of track that as what's happened with our lead customer in Europe versus their spark-ignited engine competitors in Scania and Iveco.

So we're real excited about it and we're real eager, but we'll wait for the announcements from the vehicle OEMs regarding their launches and their availability to provide to our customers.

Rob Brown -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK. Thank you. I'll turn it over.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Rob.

Operator

[Operator instructions] The next question comes from Thomas Boyes with Cowen and Company. Please go ahead.

Thomas Boyes -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Great. Thank you -- uh, thank you for taking my questions. Just two quick ones from me. The first one would be is, could you just give us a quick update on what you're seeing in the passenger car market in places like Italy or maybe some other key geographies?

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. What we see in passenger car in total, maybe just to start with, actually, the market in India has been very strong. So this is a really important part of the story that now is seeing some headwinds with the COVID challenges, severe COVID challenge they're facing, but surely that's temporary. We wish them all the best and to stay safe in India.

But the market itself in India adopted new regulations in April of last year and so our customer and the leading passenger car OEM in India, Maruti Suzuki, dropped the offering of diesel engines because basically with the new emissions regulations, they just got too expensive for the marketplace and they're pivoting to natural gas vehicles to replace those diesel vehicles. So it's kind of the most affordable alternative with respect to low cost of acquisition and combined with low cost of operation and even better than they're clean vehicles and they have this building infrastructure of natural gas in India. So that's very strong for us. In Europe, I would tell you that the market is still under some substantial depression, if you will, from the COVID pandemic.

So although we're seeing some increase in, I'll say Western Europe, Italy, and other markets, it's rather modest and what we see is stronger responses in places like Russia and India, for example. So we do expect the market in Western Europe to come back and we're looking forward to that. And that's where our predictability about Q2 and Q3, when it comes back and what the numbers are is very, very challenging.

Thomas Boyes -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Great. I appreciate the color there and then just the last one for me. I was just wondering maybe what the next steps were around service support for the coming Cummins Westport JV longer-term. What's being communicated to fleets that maybe would be reluctant to buy in the last year of the JV to give them kind of some confidence there?

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I think we've been pretty clear within the JV that there won't be any disruption to service or support in customers don't need to be worried about that aspect of, whether or not they should purchase a Cummins Westport engine in Q2, Q3 or Q4 of this year. So while we continue to evaluate the strategic alternatives, as Cummins does in terms of what comes next, our view is collectively between ourselves and Cummins, that customers will not be disrupted in any way, shape or form. So I think that's something that's not to be worried about and I'm sure that the customers are hearing that message from Cummins Westport, Cummins and us quite clearly.

Thomas Boyes -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

Great. Thanks again, I appreciate it.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Thomas. Good to hear you.

Operator

This concludes the question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Westport management for any closing remarks.

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thank you very much, everybody, for joining us. You know, I'm really quite pleased and proud of what we accomplished in 2020 and pleased to put up a year-over-year performance improvements in terms of the top line for the company. We have some ongoing headwinds in terms of COVID, for sure.

But the fundamentals of our company and the products we bring to the marketplace and the way the marketplace is developing now in Europe, next in China and already in North America with respect to natural gas engines really tells the fundamental story that gives us the confidence around our $1 billion target for mid-decade. The story of Westport Fuel Systems, the products we bring to the market is a growth story, and we're hard at work to support that growth story and realize it in the coming years. Thanks again for your time and attention and all your support. You all have a good day.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 50 minutes

Call participants:

Christine Marks -- Investor Relations

David Johnson -- Chief Executive Officer

Richard Orazietti -- Chief Financial Officer

Eric Stine -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC -- Analyst

Colin Rusch -- Oppenheimer & Co. Inc -- Analyst

Amit Dayal -- H.C. Wainwright -- Analyst

Rob Brown -- Lake Street Capital Markets -- Analyst

Thomas Boyes -- Cowen and Company -- Analyst

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