Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Colfax Corporation (NYSE:CFX)
Q2 2021 Earnings Call
Nov 4, 2021, 8:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Welcome to the Colfax Third Quarter 2021 Earnings Call. My name is Annette and I'll be your operator for today's call. [Operator Instructions]. I will now turn the call over to Mike Macek. Mr Macek, you may begin.

Mike Macek -- Vice President of Finance

Thanks, Annette. Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us. I'm Mike Macek, Vice President of Finance. Joining me on the call today are Matt Trerotola, President and CEO, Shyam Kambeyanda, Executive Vice President and CEO of ESAB, and Chris Hix, Executive Vice President and CFO. Our earnings release was issued earlier this morning and is available in the Investors section of our website colfaxcorp.com. We will be using a slide presentation to walk through today's call, which can also be found on our website. Both the audio and the slide presentation of this call will be archived on the website later today and will be available until the next quarterly earnings call.

During this call, we'll be making some forward-looking statements about our beliefs and estimates regarding future events and results. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including those set forth in the Safe Harbor language in today's earnings release and in our filings with the SEC. Actual results might differ materially from any forward-looking statements that we make today. The forward-looking statements speak only as of today and we do not assume any obligation or intend to update them except as required by law. With respect to any non-GAAP financial measures made during the call today, the accompanying reconciliation information related to those measures can be found in our earnings press release and today's slide presentation. With that, let me turn it over to Matt who will start on Slide 3.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Mike. Welcome everyone and thanks for joining our call today. I'm pleased to report that our business has performed well in the quarter and we made strong progress on key strategic priorities. We met our third quarter commitments by growing organic revenue 15% and achieving adjusted EPS growth of 32% despite the challenging environment. We also outperformed our markets as a result of our amazing teams around the world. I want to take a moment to thank our teams for their continued dedication to our customers and patients, and to the success of our businesses.

ESAB exceeded our expectations this quarter with better than expected growth and strong margin expansion. We continue to see strong execution here and as a result, we are increasing our full-year organic growth and margin expectations outlook for ESOP. I've asked Shyam Kambeyanda, the CEO of ESAB, to join the call this morning to talk further about this great performance and progress. MedTech performed well given the challenges faced by the industry. We outperformed the market in both PNR and recon again but we're impacted by COVID driven slowing of elective procedures, which I'll touch on more in a few minutes. We're making strong progress integrating the recent acquisitions and I'll share some highlights later in the call.

Finally, we are fully on track for the expected tax free spin-off of our ESAB business to Colfax shareholders. We've made substantial progress toward creating two independent boards with relevant skills, experiences, and diversity, and with limited overlap. Also, we've filled all the key corporate leadership positions for ESOP with tremendous talent readying them to become an independent public company. And as you'll see in a few moments, we've also selected our new corporate name which symbolizes our exciting future. We continue to target separation for the first quarter of 2022 and we're confident that we will position both companies for maximum long-term growth and value creation.

Slide 4 gives an update of our MedTech business. Sales for the quarter increased 40% or 1% on an organic sales per day basis. This includes the two-point headwind from one-time TT sales in Q3 last year. While this is below the expectations that we had entering the quarter, we believe that it's very strong top line performance given the temporary pressure on elective surgeries in the quarter. The key thing to note is that both businesses, recon and PNR, continue to outperform their markets. We've grown well ahead of peers for a number of periods over the past several years. The year-to-date organic growth figures versus 2019 on the slide tell the story. Our recon business is up 7% year-to-date versus 2019, and our PNR business is approximately flat. These are organic numbers, both significantly better than market rates.

In recon, our shoulder implants grew double-digits year-to-date versus 2019, continuing to take share through innovation and commercial execution. As we move past COVID and return to normalized market growth, both of our MedTech businesses are well positioned to show strong growth in 2022 and consistent market outperformance over time. In the quarter, we had some unexpected impact from COVID, primarily in recon. After a strong June and July, we saw a slowing of elective procedures in certain regions of the US. However, we did see improvement in October, giving us confidence in our expectation of gradual improvement in Q4. This points to a more normal market environment in 2022 and an opportunity to recapture some of the missed demand from 2020 and 2021 as pressure on hospital space and staffing subsides.

Additionally, during the quarter we continue to see MedTech supply chain inflation and inefficiencies. Our teams are doing what it takes to serve our customers, which is driving costs higher and temporarily impacting our profitability. We still made sequential progress in the quarter as organic EBITDA margins improved on lower organic volumes. We also were able to implement some price increases to offset part of the inflation that we're seeing. These took effect late this quarter, and along with expected volume improvement, support our guidance of sequential margin improvement in Q4. We have other CBS initiatives driving price cost, productivity, and SG&A simplification to accelerate margin improvement in 2022, and we remain confident in our ability to substantially expand MedTech segment margins over time and achieve the longer term targets outlined earlier this year of 25%.

Slide 5 highlights two recent product introductions. We continue to innovate, bringing clinically differentiated products to the market to broaden and strengthen our portfolio. Having robust vitality is a key part of our strategy to drive above market organic growth. And these two launches are good examples of us filling out our offerings for surgeons, increasing our clinical relevance, and expanding our market reach. The Empower Dual Mobility Hip System is the latest addition to the Empower Hip portfolio that provide surgeons a solution to treat a large patient group meaning better joint stability. Joint mobility is a sizable and important segment of the hip market and this launch will help us to secure additional business in existing surgeons and also attract new surgeons.

Next, we continue to expand our robust suite of foot and ankle products with the DynaNail hybrid fusion system, a member of the proprietary DynaNail family of products. The DynaNail hybrid feature the unique design with ease of insert dynamic compression. Our early results on this launch have been very positive. We're exceeding our sales plans and have gotten excellent feedback from customers and our channel. Slide 6 highlights the great progress we made on the integration of the highly strategic recon acquisitions that we completed over the past year. Along with our very successful U.S. surgical business, these lay the foundation for sustained double-digit organic growth in a much larger addressable market.

During our July earnings call, we announced the acquisition of Mathys, a highly complementary global expansion of our fast growing reconstructive platform. Since then, we've been rapidly integrating the business and there is great cultural fit between the two companies. We expect to accelerate Mathys growth by introducing several of our market-leading products into their channel. Together, we've already established a clear product roadmap and an aligned forecast for revenue synergies. In the first half of 2022, Mathys will launch our Reverse Shoulder and Empower 3D Knee, which already have the required regulatory approvals. We're also working on a pipeline of other growth synergies.

Beyond growth, our teams are collaborating to secure a three-year path to $15 million of annual savings from increased scale and operating synergies. Our early focus is on insourcing projects that will generate savings next year. We continue to expect this business to generate approximately $150 million of revenue in 2022 and build over time to double-digit growth and accretive EBITDA margins. Also, we continue to build strong momentum in our foot and ankle platform which was formed through three different acquisitions over the past year. These additions established a differentiated product portfolio in the high growth, high gross margin foot and ankle market segment. We combined our new foot and ankle businesses into a cohesive growth platform, led by a very strong team with deep foot and ankle experience. This allows us to create a powerful channel focused on the 10 thousand foot and ankle surgeons in the U.S. that will extend our reach and scale as we grow.

We also aligned on a combined innovation pipeline and acquisition priorities to expand our bag of clinically differentiated products to address the full foot and ankle market opportunity. We continue to expect this business to grow rapidly and reach $100 million of revenue with accretive margins and strong double-digit growth over the next three years. And finally, I'm really excited to introduce our new company name on Slide 7, Enovis. Enovis symbolizes the powerful combination of innovation and vision fueled by our passion for continuous improvement and reinforced by our drive to deliver superior clinical outcomes.

As we strategically pivot to a specialty med-tech company focused on creating solutions that improve lives, the Enovis brand emphasizes the differentiated value and accretive foresight we will bring to healthcare professionals and their patients around the world. And in recognition of our successful history of growth and innovation, the distinctive O in the new Enovis logo was deliberately carried over from the Colfax logo as it represents continuous improvement, the cornerstone of compounding value creation that we will continue as Enovis. With that, I'll turn it over to Shyam, who will start on Slide 8.

Shyam Kambeyanda -- Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of ESAB

Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Matt. We had a strong quarter at ESAB and I'm proud of the progress and effort by the team. Want to share a few things before we get into Slide 8. Recently we celebrated our 117th-year as a company. Our passionate and committed associates are looking forward to shaping the future of fabrication technology for many years to come. We are outpacing our end markets and further expanding our margins, reflecting strong execution by our global teams and I'm thrilled with the progress that our engineering teams are making to deliver exciting new products for our customers and I'll share more on this later. To give you a bit more color on our end markets, we continue to experience a broad recovery across most segments and especially strong underlying demand in infrastructure, construction, and renewable energy. We're also beginning to see modest improvement in energy end markets. And lastly, the one segment that continues to show some weakness is automotive as a result of their supply constraints.

Along with innovation and a broad recovery, our next advantage is our strong global footprint. Our footprint provides great diversification and resiliency, which has been on display during and after the pandemic. Last, and most important, we continue our journey with CBS. Recently had the chance to visit several of our manufacturing facilities and was especially impressed with our Maceo plant and its adoption of lean principles. This facility has been and continues to be a major factor in our margin expansion and customer satisfaction journey.

Getting into the numbers. In the third quarter, total sales increased 24% versus last year, effecting high single-digit volume growth and 15 points of price. Our volume growth is fueled by our innovative products and a strong local ground game focused on customers. Drilling down another layer, third quarter volumes in the Americas rose 11%, reflecting a strong underlying demand and continued share gain. A price increase of 24% was substantially influenced by South America, the South America did a fantastic job of balancing price and costs while providing best-in-class service to our customers.

EMEA and APAC increased 6% versus the same period a year ago. These are strong results considering some of the regions began to rebound earlier from COVID restrictions. That said, we believe our Europe business has yet to fully rebound due to weakness in the auto sector. On the flip side, the auto sector recovery in Europe could provide upside for growth as we head into 2022.Our GCE business continued its strong multi-year growth. We acquired this business a few years ago, and it continues to set the bar on growth and margin expansion, ad we expect another strong performance from them in 2022.

Turning now to Slide 9. We are accelerating our innovation strategy. Our relentless focus on innovation delivered 80 new products last year and we are on pace to deliver over 100 new products in 2021. In particular, I'm pleased with the performance of our new broad product range. This product has been very well received by our customers globally and positions ESAB to increase our market share in the light industrial equipment category. We recently had a grand opening of our newly redesigned innovation facility in Gothenburg. I'm very proud of the detail, passion, and thought that went into the design. One could feel the energy and excitement, even though most attended the opening virtually. To complement Gothenburg, we continue to invest in our R&D center in Chennai. As a result, we have a strong funnel of new products to come.

With the recent acquisition of OCTOPUZ, we added capability of offline programming of robots, strengthening our digital offering. Recently, we were able to win a key customer by providing a full workflow robotic solution that included our equipment, filler metal, and digital solutions. This is a great example of a software acquisition that furthers our strategic goals, and increases our ability to gain more of our customers' wallet. In summary, we're confident in our ability to achieve our long-term strategic goals of $3 billion plus in revenue, 20 plus percent in EBITDA segment margins, and strong free cash flow. With that, let me hand it over to Chris.

Christopher Hix -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Shyam. I'll start on Slide 10. We entered the third quarter with decreasing COVID pressures. This reversed in early August when increasing Delta variant cases disrupted elective surgeries, temporarily reducing expected revenues in our MedTech business. Despite this, our total company achieved percent sales growth with a small FX tailwind, and six points from acquisitions. The COVID forces placed a further strain on an already stressed global supply chain network. Our operating teams executed effectively to supply customers, but this came at a higher cost, especially in freight and logistics that slowed our sequential margin expansion. Our FabTech business continued to successfully pass through its raw material cost inflation to customers, protecting profit but affecting gross margins. Total company EBITDA margins grew 20 basis points, which was 90 basis points better before the effect from acquisitions.

Overall, we achieved adjusted EPS of $0.54 in the quarter toward the upper end of our guidance range, but a little lower than our trajectory before the COVID resurgence. This included a higher tax rate that we are expecting for the second half of the year due to profit mix changes in FX. We had another strong quarter of free cash flow generating $68 million. Year-to-date we are approaching $200 million and are well on our way to approximately $275 million for the year excluding separation costs. This includes higher inventory levels related to supply chain and logistics challenges.

Turning to Slide 11, our ESAB business posted strong results this quarter. Shawn already covered the market commentary so I'll highlight that our 23% total growth included volume growth this quarter over both 2020 and 2019 levels. We are using dynamic customer pricing to stay on top of raw material inflation pressures, and we expect to see a small amount of additional price reading through in the fourth quarter based on actions already taken in the third quarter. EBITDA margins were again at healthy levels, up 180 basis points to 16.5%. Volume leverage and benefits from restructuring programs underpinned this terrific performance, and we had favorable timing on the resolution of some previously reserved matters that contributed about half of the improvement and won't recur in Q4.

On Slide 12, our MedTech business grew by 14% over 2020 Q3 results, including organic sales per day growth of 3% excluding PPE. The acquisitions are contributing as expected, and are on solid paths for strong growth and healthy margin expansion. This quarter's performance reflects at least 500 basis points of reduced organic growth from the Delta variant impact on elective surgeries and related clinical and patient services. Because of our high gross margins in this business, the revenue drag also impacted margins in the quarter. As growth strengthens, we expect strong volume leverage that will contribute to healthy margin expansion. Our operating teams are pointed in the right direction to serve customers, first and foremost. They're working hard to overcome COVID driven global supply chain constraints, which added approximately $3 million of cost this quarter versus last year's Q3. This friction is likely to persist into at least the first half of 2022.

Included on this page is a chart that fuels a part of the EBITDA performance progression this year to separate our organic performance versus acquisitions. Our Q3 organic margin stepped up from Q2 levels despite having approximately $20 million of sequentially lower revenues. We expect even higher organic margins in Q4 as the delta variant pressures moderate, and as we benefit from seasonally higher revenues. We expect our fast-growing high gross margin acquisitions to become EBITDA accretive over the next three years, including the benefit from cost synergies. Our outlook for the year is included on Slide 13.

We started the year with an EPS forecast of $2 to $2.15. As our performance strengthened throughout the first half of the year, we improved our outlook a few times and landed in July at $2.10 to $2.20. Entering the fourth quarter, we expect the transitional impacts of COVID and our tax rate to keep us in this range shaping toward the lower end. Our current forecast includes the continual gradual recovery of elective surgeries than we experienced in October as well as the current level of COVID driven friction in our supply chain. We also expect the typical sequential seasonal revenue improvements in both of our businesses.

As noted earlier, our free cash flow performance remains on track for approximately $275 million this year before costs related to the separation. I'll conclude our prepared remarks on Slide 14. Our teams are performing very well this year in a difficult environment. We are outperforming market growth levels and driving continuous operational improvements. We've completed acquisitions to shape the MedTech business for faster growth and margin expansion in the coming years, and the integrations are right on track. Our two businesses continue to gather momentum as we approach the first quarter 2022 separation, and our teams are excited and ready for their new futures. And with that, Annette, let's go ahead and open up the call for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

All right, thank you. We will now begin the question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions]. And our first question is from Mr. Scott David of Melias [Phonetic] Research. You may go ahead.

Scott David

Thanks, operator. Good morning, guys.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hello. Scott, good morning.

Scott David

I am curious on what steps are left to get to the finish line on the split.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Scott. As you would imagine, this has been a pretty well orchestrated effort by our team and we're well into the process here. We've talked about getting Shyam's team built out for the corporate support capabilities that he needs. He's already got of course all the operating team and momentum there. And we're close to to getting our boards fully built out as well. We've talked about capital structure and getting that aligned. And so really at this point, it's just following some of the more typical steps that you would expect getting filings ready and so on. We're right on track. We don't expect any significant challenges here as we approach the separation.

Scott David

Okay. And then on the same line of questioning, how many of those positions were you able to fill internally at each of the-- or senior positions? Or however you guys want to define it, at least in certain levels.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, so first as we shared already, Shyam and the leadership team of ESAB, most of the role there are people that have been with us for a number of years like Kevin Johnson, the CFO who you all are familiar with, as he was our IR leader before he was in this role, and has been with the business for a number of years and with the company for many years. So that leadership team was mostly in place when we announced the separation. And then, there have been a few specific additional add there. And then as far as the sort of corporate leadership support team, there is a few roles there that have come from our Colfax team here. And then there has been fair amount of hiring as well. And boy, it's been great. I think the talent that the team has been able to attract, you really shows the excitement that people have for the opportunity ahead for ESAB as an independent company.

Scott David

Okay. And just real quickly, it will price offset costs in MedTech in 4Q?

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So for MedTech price versus cost, I think the answer is no, in that when we get price increases in that business, there is part of the business where we can pass the price through. And then there is other parts of the business where we can't immediately pass the price through. And there is there is mechanisms like changes to the reimbursement rates over time, and GPO contract changes over time, and things like that. And so we did make make a healthy price move within the parts of the business where we could to start to regain some of the inflation that's come through the business. And we plan to continue to fight that price versus cost battle as we move into next year. And I think we'll see how much of it we can get back through price versus how much of it aside as inflation, as the quarters play out.

Scott David

Okay, thank you guys. I'll pass it on. Good luck this quarter.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Scott.

Operator

All right. The next question is from Andrew Obin of Bank of America. Go ahead please.

Andrew Obin -- Bank of America

Hey, good morning.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Morning, Andrew.

Christopher Hix -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Morning, Andrew.

Andrew Obin -- Bank of America

Chris, Mike. How are you? Shyam. Yeah, just a question. I know it's sort of a tough one to answer. But as we think about sort of MedTech recovery and elective procedures, coming back basing the conversation, what's your best guess how just this progresses over the next six to nine months because I think this is a fairly unprecedented pause and growth for the industry. You guys are doing as well as anybody, but just what are you hearing from the channel in terms of how this recovery will progress into for first half of next year? Thank you.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So first, thanks for the question on the comment that we're doing as well as anybody. I think we try to share some clear year-to-date organic data that hopefully let you take a look because we really feel like we are outperforming nicely there in this environment and showing that we'll be able to outperform on the other side. As far as the external environment, we saw play out in the quarter was-- there was a pretty strong momentum there in that sort of June, July period. And near the end of July is when it started to be some pressure. And so really in August and September, I think the sort of data sets out there all suggest that elective surgery pulled back at least 5%, some say more and as much as 10%. But we feel like there was at least 5% pressure on elective surgery versus what we were seeing going into the end of the quarter and expecting.

But then as we got through the end of September and into October, we're starting to see little bit more activity and certainly there is a desire and intended plans by the surgeons to try to make up a little ground here in the fourth quarter and show a little bit of improvement as we go, month to month. There are some limitations on that. Obviously the compression was caused by some of the COVID spikes around the country and in the regions that have lower vaccination rates, you see the more significant compression. But the recovery is being limited by some other factors, space in hospitals and operating rooms, staffing is a new issue that's been talked about a lot, and not being able to get enough staffing. And so we do expect and we're seeing an improvement of elective surgery as we work through the fourth quarter so that as we roll into next year, we can be kind of getting to more normal levels and move forward.

And as we move through next year, we certainly feel like there is ground to be made up. There's a lot of surgeries that were not done in 2020 and 2021 and need to be done. And so the whole industry has some extra opportunity. Most of the conventional wisdom out there suggests that it's going to take a couple of years for that to be made up given how much space in time et cetera would be needed. And so that gives the opportunity for the industry to have a little extra market growth for each of the net-- each of the coming years. And we expect that we'll be able to see that and continue to outperform.

Andrew Obin -- Bank of America

Thank you. Just a follow-up question. Given the number of the deals you guys are doing and given pervasive supply chain bottlenecks, specifically on the MedTech business, can you just tell us how are you taking advantage of CBS or I guess it's now called EBS. Is it still CBS?

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

It's still CBS now.

Andrew Obin -- Bank of America

Okay. How are you guys using CBS to straight line sort of interacting with your supply base and sort of being able to get the product out of the door. And as I said, particularly given the fact that you bringing on number of acquisitions. Thanks.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, so the team had started a really nice CBS journey already as we went through 2019. And we were starting to see real benefits in terms of the service levels to customers and then progress on productivity initiatives that we were fully confident we're going to start to turn into some nice margin expansion as we move forward. That work continues but for sure a lot of our CBS efforts have been redirected in the last few years here to focusing on customer service. And things like I know our plant that produces our bracing products uses the CBS tools really every week to look forward at the production forecast, understand what they're going to be able to produce, and where the limitations are in terms of different elements of the product supply.

And Pareto that and then problem solve to be able to either find a way to expedite the supply, to be able to produce, or redirect some of the resource in the facility in order to make other products, so that once we have product available, they can access that. So it's daily management, it's weekly management, i'ts root cause Pareto. And it's certainly helping us a lot in terms of being able to serve customers. We think better than our competition through this period. But we're looking forward to the time when we'll get those CDS tools, driving productivity, and margin expansion in the business versus helping the teams to scramble for supply.

Andrew Obin -- Bank of America

Thanks so much.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Andrew.

Operator

Okay. And our next question is from Joe Giordano with Cowen and Company. Go ahead please.

Robert -- Cowen and Company

Hey, good morning. This is Robert in for Joe. Just on so I wondering if you could talk about the implications of lower steel prices and how fast you all might have to get back some of the price increases that you've made recently?

Shyam Kambeyanda -- Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of ESAB

Yeah, thanks for that question. Robert. What we are seeing in the marketplace that it feels like it's been relatively stable. And so we'll see where the price will go. I think we've spoken about this before, our intention is we do expect when steel prices go down, they will give some price back, but then we have other tools in our toolkit with CBS where we talk about value, different strategies around product line, streamlining, et cetera, that will help us continue to hold some amount of that price as we go through the year. So what I do expect is that we'll have some innovations and new pricing as well as some give backs related to steel prices declining.

Robert -- Cowen and Company

Okay, that's helpful. Thank you. And then just on the MedTech business. Just wondered, how of procedure rates in the ambulatory procedures trended versus like the hospital based procedures? Is there any difference there? I mean, do you feel like you picked up some share gains?

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, there is. As we move through COVID, the hospitals accelerated the pace of moving things into an ambulatory environment and the percent of procedures done in an ambulatory environment expanded, at least temporarily. And I think the expectation is that that balance is back a little. And then the ASC continues to outgrow. We've tracked our business and the portion of it that's in that end of the environment. And we believe that our portion of the ambulatory environment is more than the average industry amount and that it's been growing faster. And so we do think that success in that ambulatory environment has contributed to our share gains. And we've got strategies aimed at making sure that over time, we've got the right solutions, not just our implants, which set up well for the ambulatory environment, but also the the full solution in terms of the workflow for that. Surgeon that helps them to efficiently do the procedure in a small footprint space and helps us to keep using that as a part of how we gained share in the market.

Robert -- Cowen and Company

That's great, thanks so much for taking my questions.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Robert.

Operator

And the next question is from Chris Snyder with UBS. Go ahead please.

Chris Snyder -- UBS

Thank you. So the company has talked to kind of high single-digit normalized organic growth from MedTech, but I was hoping for some more color or any maybe targets the company has on expected total growth. As commentary and actions here suggest, you guys will continue to be active on M&A. And then I guess maybe a different way to ask the same question is, is there any kind of time frame for the expected kind of $3 billion MedTech revenue target which the company has spoken to?

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, thanks, Chris. Well, I think first what I'd say is, we've talked about being able to drive to $2 billion pretty quickly and a lot of that's going to come from organic growth. Starting from our pro forma coming out of this year and then a couple of years of good strong organic growth will get us a good ways toward that that $2 billion number. And we certainly see ample bolt-ons and adjacencies that would be opportunities to fill in the gap there and to grow double-digits through the coming years and get to that $2 billion pretty quickly. In terms of how we get from $2 billion to $3 billion, we certainly have the opportunity to grow nicely organically with the portfolio that we've been shaping and the strategies that we've been driving. We have an opportunity to continue to do bolt-ons and adjacencies like the ones that we've been doing.

And then there are some larger possibilities to think about within the orthopedic space, some large attractive areas that we're still not in and also adjacent to the orthopedic space that it could be a part of how we make that journey from $2 billion to $3 billion. Always with a focus on making sure that we're getting great businesses, that we are shaping our organic growth upwards to solidify that high single-digit consistent organic growth, and we're shaping our gross margins upward. Because if we got the organic growth and we've got the gross margins, we are very confident that we can drive the EBITDA margins up over time.

Chris Snyder -- UBS

Appreciate that. That kind of I guess leads into my follow-up on MedTech margins. I mean, I certainly understand that COVID was a pretty material drag in the quarter and M&A has been a margin headwind all year as expected. But the legacy DJO business is running down year-on-year despite similar topline and down pretty [TechnicalIssues] 2019 despite higher top line at least by my math. I know you guys called out supply chain as a headwind, but is there something else going on there that we should take note of that's driving that compression?

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Beyond the acquisitions that you mentioned that there are, we try to isolate that you can see the temporary impact of those acquisitions and we've already talked about how those are going to scale over time and some of the synergies on the Mathys side. So if you set aside the acquisition impactors, there's really three factors there. We made some meaningful investments back as we work through '19 that we've talked about, to really get this business positioned for the future and get it prepared to drive the kind of growth that we're driving relative to the industry now. Second, operating leverage is important in this business and when we grow above mid single digits and in that high-single digits organic range over time, there is a healthy amount of operating leverage that's going to contribute to margins. And through the past couple of years, we've had limited limited growth there and that-- take that operating leverage out of the equation. And in shorter periods of time like recently when we expect to be at one level and then we wind up at a lower level, it can be real headwind.

And then third, COVID driven inefficiencies. We're seeing inflation, we're seeing a lot of extra costs from expediting the inflation. It's not just product but also freight and some of it is outbound freight to customers and we can look at how we pass through policy et cetera. But some of it also all the escalation in global freight rates related to supply chain pressures and those are expected to subside over time, but in the meantime that's extra extra costs coming through the system. And beyond the inflation and expediting our production has been quite inefficient. When I talked earlier about the challenge of week to week, figuring out what are we going to make based on which supplies have not come in the way they were supposed to. And that really has a pretty significant impact on the efficiency of how the plants run. And again, we've chosen to focus on keeping customer service up and bear the costs that go with that.

And so those are the three big factors that are affecting margins. We think about the path to 25% going forward. So yeah, we've got a little lower starting first place than we talked about earlier in the year. But when we think about the path to 25%, we've got an opportunity to recover that COVID impact over time in terms of being able to manufacture more efficiently, in terms of not having the excess expediting costs and things, and recovering that inflation one way or the other, whether we get it all through price or over time subside some.

Second, we've got a chance to get that operating leverage and also productivity through CBS as we grow and that will be a meaningful contributor as well. And third, we've got opportunities to scale our SG&A and to streamline our SG&A. We've had projects underway, different initiatives streamlining our SG&A, and we'll continue to to focus there as well to make sure that that overall journey to 25% is secure. And we're confident that it is-- as I said, we've got the gross margin, wie'l be increasing that over time. And we've also got the growth come in over time. And so we will make sure that the bottom line comes with it.

Chris Snyder -- UBS

I appreciate all that color. Thank you.

Operator

All right. And next we have Jeff Hammond with KeyBanc, I'm sorry, KeyBanc Capital Markets. Please go ahead.

Jeff Hammond -- KeyBanc Capital Markets

Yeah, good morning. Yes, Shyam. Good to have you on the call. Maybe I'll ask you a question and go the other way on price. Can you just talk about if steel kind of stabilizes here, what you think the wrap around pricing is for ESAB into '22?

Shyam Kambeyanda -- Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of ESAB

What I'd say to you is that, we don't predict obviously what happens with steel. But what you know very well is that we've had a strong process in play. We know exactly what to do and react to when steel goes up or down. And so my view on that particular piece is, as I said earlier, that steel has stabilized, in some regions is still going up. We've got strong processes in place to react to that. And then going forward, what I expect is that for that price costs, these to continue to be neutral as we move forward.

Jeff Hammond -- KeyBanc Capital Markets

Okay. And then maybe just on, if we assume that there's kind of no respikes in COVID into '22, what do you think is a reasonable kind of growth rate to think about for PNR and recon individually as you move into '22?

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, so our recon business. Sorry, maybe focus on the core growth. Our recon business was growing healthy double digits before we came into COVID and so we expect it to be able to come out the other side growing in healthy double-digits. And then as we-- the foot and ankle business is our businesses [Technical Issues] as well. And we've talked about the Mathys business as a business that will build from it's mid single-digit history up to double digits. And so we do expect that overall recon portfolio to be able to grow in that double digits range as we come out and over time. And on the PNR side, those are markets that grow kind of in the 3% kind of range.

We've been shaping the portfolio little, like your acquisition shapes us a little bit in a positive way and we'll look for other ways to do that with bolt-ons. But we do think that PNR business has been shaped up to where-- it's growing better than the markets now right through COVID and so we do think on the other side, we're positioned to at least grow at market rates in that business and potentially higher than market rates. And so if you put those together, you certainly get to mid-single digits, plus and potentially high single digits growth already on the other side of COVID versus a little bit further forward.

Jeff Hammond -- KeyBanc Capital Markets

Okay. And then just quick one for Chris. We're getting closer to the split. Any thoughts on tax rates or tax structure for each of the businesses individually?

Christopher Hix -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, thanks, Jeff. So we're continuing to work through all the tax structuring that it takes to enact a tax-free separation of the company. And we've got really two great tax teams that are developing now to focus on where we can drive those rates longer term. So it's a little early for us to make definitive comments on that, but I can tell you that absent any legislative change in the US, our teams are going to be focused on maintaining rates at or below the sort of current levels.

Jeff Hammond -- KeyBanc Capital Markets

Okay, thanks.

Operator

Okay. And we now have a question from Nathan Jones of Stifel. Go ahead please.

Nathan Jones -- Stifel

Good morning, everyone.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Nathan.

Nathan Jones -- Stifel

I wanted to ask a question on the pricing in MedTech. I think Matt during your prepared remarks, you said there were places you can get pricing, places that you can't get pricing. I assume that that's got to do with insurance reimbursement rates, but maybe for the industrial analysts on the call who don't understand those mechanisms as well, you could describe a little bit about the process for getting those reimbursement rates increased as inflation goes through, how long that might take, et cetera.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, sure. Yeah, there is a portion of the business -- there's a portion where we are the biller and so we get the reimbursement rates. And then there is areas where our direct customer is the biller. And over time in the industry, there is constant reassessment with Medicare of what the right reimbursement rates are. And historically when there has been inflationary periods, sometimes those rates have then been increased or sometimes, some of the ongoing yearly reductions that come through in some of the product lines have stabilized for a few years before that continued. And in some cases, that's something that the industry lobbies for and gives information for, in some cases, it's a normal process where they go through that, but there is certainly an opportunity for some of those reimbursement rates to change over time and we think that will be part of the equation.

But then there is also another portion of this that is GPO contracts with hospitals. And those GPO contracts open up at different periods of time for different pieces of the business. And again, the kind of historical trend on some of those GPO contracts is that they typically go down each time that they open up and that's why this industry has a little bit of price down every year. But again, in inflationary periods in the past, those GPO contracts sometimes stabilize or even go up for a period of time based on the arguments that players are able to make about the inflationary environment. And so those are some of the other mechanisms beyond the straight price mechanism that will be coming through as we work through the next couple of years. And so I would expect that the overall price cost equation for this business for the next couple of years is better than it is in normal years as we're pulling back what's happened over the course of these past few years.

Nathan Jones -- Stifel

So you think it takes like a year to two years for this to normalize?

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I mean what I'd say, we're certainly focused on trying to make sure that we get as much price through the systems as we can, as fast as possible, and offset as much as possible of the inflationary impact that we've borne. But I'd also say that on the inflation part within products, if the product costs don't go back down, it will take a couple of years to fully normalize. Now there are other inflationary things like expediting costs and higher freight costs that could change very quickly if things stabilize in the global supply chains. And if there been more excess in terms of freight and logistics, you could see-- as we work through next year, you could see a sharper fall off in some of these freight and logistics costs, that there could be a faster path through.

Nathan Jones -- Stifel

Thanks for that. And then one for Chris. You mentioned in quarter timing in FabTech during the quarter. Can you give us some more details on what that was?

Christopher Hix -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, sure, Nathan. Back in 2020, we had some customer distribution challenges that we had to reserve for it to [Technical Issues] and some of that of course happening in the middle of all the COVID timing there. And our teams had are really good job of working through the related issues in getting to a good answer. And our expectations as we get to the other side of that more closer to the end of the year. And the good news is we got there a little bit more quickly. And so we wanted to highlight that just because it put a little bit of extra of positive impact on the FabTech margins in the third quarter that we wouldn't expect to see as we progress into Q4. Having said that, we have every expectation that Q4 margins in ESAB are going to be attractive and relative to prior performance.

Nathan Jones -- Stifel

Great, thanks. I'll pass it up.

Operator

Okay. And we now have Steve Tusa with JPMorgan. Go ahead please.

Steve Tusa -- JPMorgan

Hey guys, good morning.

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Christopher Hix -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Hey, Steve.

Steve Tusa -- JPMorgan

Can you just talk about what you're kind of seeing in international markets in the FabTech business? Anything kind of out of China or anything like that, that you could talk about?

Shyam Kambeyanda -- Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of ESAB

Yeah, thanks for that question. Steve, I think what I mentioned in my comments earlier as well was, we saw a really fast recovery in Asia as we came out of the COVID period and restrictions. What we are seeing is a stabilization in the growth rates. And China is no different on that particular front, but other regions in Asia continue to seem to have a really strong growth profile, specifically as we speak about India and some of the other geographies there. But we are seeing a bit of a stabilization in our growth rates in China.

Steve Tusa -- JPMorgan

And how do you see that playing out in the fourth quarter and then going into next year?

Shyam Kambeyanda -- Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of ESAB

Yeah. What we have said is that our play in China has been really in places where we are-- our innovation is appreciated and where we add significant value. What we are seeing is that in the places that we played, that it continues to be some tailwind and momentum on that particular side. So we're not seeing any downside in our position in China. As you know we play basically on the top tier of that particular marketplace in China.

Steve Tusa -- JPMorgan

Okay, great, thanks a lot.

Operator

And that concludes our Q&A session. I will now turn the call back after-- I would now turn the call back to Mike Macek for closing remarks. Go ahead please.

Mike Macek -- Vice President of Finance

Thanks everybody for joining our call today. And we look forward to catching up with you guys individually and have a good afternoon, and day. Thanks everyone.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 52 minutes

Call participants:

Mike Macek -- Vice President of Finance

Matt Trerotola -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Shyam Kambeyanda -- Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of ESAB

Christopher Hix -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Scott David

Andrew Obin -- Bank of America

Robert -- Cowen and Company

Chris Snyder -- UBS

Jeff Hammond -- KeyBanc Capital Markets

Nathan Jones -- Stifel

Steve Tusa -- JPMorgan

More CFX analysis

All earnings call transcripts

AlphaStreet Logo

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.