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Manitowoc (NYSE:MTW)
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Nov 04, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Good day, everyone, and welcome to the Manitowoc's third quarter 2021 earnings conference call. Today's call is being recorded. At this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I'd like to turn the call over to Ion Warner, vice president, marketing and investor relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Ion Warner

Good morning, everyone. And welcome to the Manitowoc conference call to review the company's third quarter 2021 financial performance and business update, as outlined in last evening's press release. Participating on the call today are Aaron Ravenscroft, president and chief executive officer; and Dave Antoniuk, executive vice president and chief financial officer. Today's webcast includes a slide presentation, which can be found in the investor relations section of our website under events and presentations.

We will reserve time for questions and answers after our prepared remarks. I would like to request that you limit your questions to one and a follow-up and return to the queue to ensure everyone has an opportunity to ask their questions. Please turn to Slide 2. Please note our safe harbor statement in the material provided for this call.

During today's call, forward-looking statements, as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 are made based on the company's current assessment of its markets and other factors that affect its business. However, actual results could differ materially from any implied or actual projections due to one or more of the factors, among others, described in the company's latest SEC filings. The Manitowoc company does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or other circumstances. And with that, please turn to Slide 3, and I will now turn the call over to Aaron.

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Ion, and good morning, everyone. Our third quarter reminds me of a book written by Chuck Clausing. Chuck was a legendary football coach from Western Pennsylvania. He had a 45-year story at coaching career, which started in 1948 and concluded with his induction into the college Hall of Fame.

When Chuck retired, he wrote a book about his trials and tribulations titled, Never Lost a Game, Time Just Ran Out. The title of Chuck's memoir is a good description of Manitowoc's third quarter. I've yet to see a quarter where our team executed so well that came up short of our financial expectations. Frankly, I think, it was one of the most accomplished quarters our team has achieved since I joined the company in March of 2016.

Beginning, as always, with safety, our journey to a zero-harm workplace continues to evolve using the principles of the Manitowoc way. Internally, we track RIR or Recordable Injury Rate on a rolling 24-month basis. During the third quarter, we set a record low for this metric with an average RIR of 1.46. This significant milestone is a testament to the growing maturity of our safety management system, and our employees' daily hazard observation practice.

In particular, the National Crane boom truck value stream in Shady Grove, recently celebrated one year without any injuries. Congratulations to Justin Pilgrim and his team on this fantastic achievement. Also in the quarter, we finalized the acquisition of Aspen Equipment and the H&E crane business for approximately $180 million. This translates to an all-in EBITDA multiple of roughly six times.

The integration of these acquisitions are progressing as planned, and we welcome the Aspen and H&E crane teams to Manitowoc. Moving to the Manitowoc way. During the quarter, we revitalized a workshop at our factory in Niella, Italy and integrated the assembly of chassis for self erecting tower cranes, which significantly improves the safety and process flow on site. I look forward to visiting the team in two weeks to see these improvements.

Looking at our financial results. For the quarter, our orders were $535 million. Overall, markets for our products and aftermarket services remain robust. In North America, dealer inventory levels are in line with current demand and continues at a steady pace.

In Europe, we are beginning to see recovery in the all terrain products and the tower crane business remains at elevated levels. In the Middle East and South America, confidence is building as a result of sustained higher commodity prices. Finally, in Asia, while China continues to soften, other key markets, including South Korea and Australia remain strong. I would note, however, that we did see a moderate slowdown in orders during September and October.

However, it's too early to say whether this was a result of our orders coming in ahead of price increases during July and August or if price elasticity has finally caught up with the increases. Regardless, our sales teams have worked tirelessly to implement price increases to offset inflation. Until this fall, crane demand has proven resilient to rising input costs. Only time will tell whether inflation will hinder demand.

Finally, I'd like to discuss our supply chain. Although our supply chain and operations teams have never worked so hard to keep the factory rolling, we are facing the same supply chain crisis that many of our peers have already reported. These supply chain constraints are broad-based. Every factory and product line we have is battling shortages.

Every day, we are confronted with different issues. As a result of these supply chain's disruptions, sales in the third quarter were approximately $405 million which was more than 15% below our expectations. The combination of these lower volumes and the cost of price lag, which we discussed last quarter, resulted in an adjusted EBITDA margin of 4.9%. Overall, I was extremely proud of how our team had executed during the third quarter.

Our financial results, however, don't give a complete picture of our progress on safety, ESG, strategic initiatives and the overall effort to battle the current supply chain and inflationary environment. As Chuck Clausing would say, time simply ran out on us. With that, I'll pass it to Dave, to provide further details on our financial results. Dave?

Dave Antoniuk -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Aaron. And good morning, everyone. Let's move to Slide 4. As Aaron mentioned, our third quarter orders totaled $535 million, an increase of $145 million or 37% compared to the same period last year.

On a currency-neutral basis, Q3 orders were up $143 million. The increase in orders was mainly driven by a robust European market, exacerbated by weak demand in the prior year due to the COVID pandemic. The Americas region continued at a steady pace and improved year over year, primarily as a result of low order intake in the prior year. These gains were partly offset by lower orders in the MEAP segment.

Our third quarter backlog of $891 million increased 92% over the prior year. Backlog increased across all of our segments. Sequentially, backlog increased $155 million due to strong Q3 orders, coupled with the late shipments due to supply chain issues. While over 50% of our backlog is scheduled to ship within the year, material shortages due to supply chain issues will impact our fourth quarter shipments.

Compared to year-end, backlog was up 64%. Net sales in the third quarter were $405 million, an increase of $49 million or 14% from a year ago. The year-over-year increase resulted from a combination of entering the quarter with a higher shippable backlog and a low prior year comparable due to COVID. In spite of the year-over-year increase, we estimate that our net sales were negatively impacted by approximately 16% due to the supply chain issues and labor constraints.

Third quarter engineering, selling and administrative expenses increased by approximately $10 million year over year. The increase was primarily driven by higher employee-related costs, inclusive of short-term incentive compensation expense and acquisition-related costs. Our adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of $20 million decreased approximately $5 million year over year. As a percentage of sales, adjusted EBITDA margin declined to 4.9%, 210 basis points lower than the prior year.

As has been the theme with most industrial manufacturers, our financial results for the quarter were substantially impacted by supply chain issues, material cost increases, logistics and labor constraints. Third quarter depreciation of $10 million was flat compared to the prior year. Our benefit for income taxes in the third quarter was $1 million, primarily related to a refund in Europe from a prior year tax audit. GAAP diluted net loss per share in the quarter was $0.01.

On an adjusted basis, diluted net earnings per share of $0.06 declined by $0.04 from the prior year. Moving to liquidity, we generated $18 million of cash from operating activities in the quarter, compared to a cash generation of $28 million in the prior year. Capital spending in the quarter amounted to $7 million, resulting in free cash flow of approximately $12 million. Year to date, we have generated $46 million of free cash flow.

We ended the quarter with a cash balance of $222 million, which included $100 million from borrowings under our ABL facility for the acquisition of the H&E crane business on October 1. During the quarter, we spent approximately $51 million for the purchase of Aspen Equipment. Our total liquidity as of September 30 was $389 million. Turning to Slide 5.

As a result of the previously discussed market dynamics, we are updating our 2021 full year guidance, which now includes the acquisitions of Aspen Equipment and the H&E crane business. The guidance is as follows. Revenue approximately $1.725 billion to $1.775 billion. Adjusted EBITDA approximately $100 million to $110 million, depreciation of approximately $40 million to $45 million, interest expense, approximately $28 million to $30 million, income tax expense approximately $10 million to $14 million, excluding discrete items, and capital expenditures approximately $40 million.

With that, I will now turn the call back to Aaron.

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Dave. Although, the clock ran out on us in the third quarter, we are still fighting to achieve the low end of our previous full year EBITDA guidance of $105 million to $115 million. Clearly, given our new guidance, we're concerned that we haven't seen the worst of the part shortages. We have four major headwinds, supply chain, transportation, inflation and labor.

As I constantly preach to our team, our competitors face the same issues. It's during the tough times like these that great companies are in the trust of their customers and gain market share. We have made this our focus. Whether it is safety, productivity, quality, new product development, acquisitions or ESG, the Manitowoc way is our family recipe for solving problems and driving continuous improvements.

The truth testament to this is how we are able to make progress on our four strategic initiatives during this difficult environment. With that, please turn to Slide 6, and let's take a moment to review our progress on each initiative. Number one, our European tower crane rental fleet strategy continues to progress as planned. Since we embarked on the strategic initiative 18 months ago, we have doubled the size of our rental fleet and maintained a very high asset utilization rates.

Additionally, we continue to make inroads by serving key accounts with our new larger capacity top slowing tower cranes. Our strategy of growing our rental fleet also improves our flexibility when pursuing new sales. For example, we recently won an order for an MDT 569 on the HS2 high-speed train project in the U.K., where we were able to offer a buyback option. This provides the customer with flexibility on the project, and an opportunity when exercised for us to utilize this crane in our rental fleet.

As another example, we recently won four cranes and assemble on a canal project to relieve the boat traffic on the Bosphorus, with the use of a buyback option and the rental of additional mass sections. We've been able to position our cranes on these projects in the initial phases, which we expect to give us an advantage as the projects mature. Moving to number two. We are making meaningful progress on our Chinese tower crane business by locally engineering and producing models to effectively compete in the Belt and Road region.

Last month, we launched the six new models designed by our China team since 2019, the Potain MCT 385A. I am continually impressed by our team's ability to quickly translate the voice to the customer and bring to market highly productive cranes that serve the unique needs of customers and the belt and road markets. In spite of the Chinese market softening, we are seeing stronger adoption of these new models in several other key markets, such as the Middle East and Russia. Number three, on our all-terrain crane business.

Our five-year strategy to expand our product line is on track with the public introductions of our new models scheduled for next fall at the Bauma trade show. Last month, we hosted over 180 customers at our factory in Wilhelmshaven Germany as a special voice of the customer event. Customers saw our two most recent product launches and a few of our latest technology innovations. We received excellent feedback on our new product development road map.

Lastly, and number four, regarding our strategic initiative to grow aftermarket activities in North America, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the project teams upon closing the acquisitions of Aspen Equipment and the H&E crane business. As part of the H&E crane acquisition, we created a new business called MGX Equipment Services. Additionally, we implemented a new ERP system prior to closing in order to support the new business. The new ERP system went live on October 1 with minimal disruptions.

Jim Glenwright and his it team did a fantastic job working cross-functionally to map out the new ERP system to include lean processes. We will continue with a disciplined approach in our North American aftermarket strategy through organic and inorganic growth opportunities. In closing, as the same goes, tough times don't last but tough teams do. The current environment is not easy.

Our supply chain teams and shop for supervisors are experiencing unprecedented challenges. I'm inspired by the resiliency and passion they bring to work each day. That passion is pervasive at Manitowoc, where we are all motivated by the opportunity to transition the business from a low-margin crane manufacturer riding the crane cycle to a dynamic company that is customer-driven, focused on aftermarket and is able to thrive even during the tough times. This is how we will bring greater value to our customers and drive the long-term value of our enterprise.

With that, operator, please open the line for questions.

Questions & Answers:


Operator

Thank you. [Operator instructions] We'll take our first question from Jerry Revich with Goldman Sachs.

Ashok Sivamohan -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Hi, this is Ashok Sivamohan on for Jerry Revich. I'm wondering, can you provide some details on what the cadence of your pricing actions have been so far this year? And at this point, on new orders coming in. Are you able to match price with locked in steel and component costs?

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Ashok. So the first way I start to look at this is just looking at commodity pricing, and it's really starting to flatten out during the last couple of months. So when I look at the way we've increased prices, we've done it three or four times, depending on product lines over the last six months. So right now, we feel like we're in good shape that the last price increase that we are on top of it, and we're matched up.

It's just a question of working through our backlog now. As Dave said in his opening remarks, more than 50% is shippable during the fourth quarter, but in all likelihood with the supply chain issues that we have. Some of that -- obviously, a lot of that's going to fall into next year, too. So we still have probably two more quarters to work through the backlog that's got the tougher pricing.

Ashok Sivamohan -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

OK, Got it. And can you describe how your M&A pipeline looks today? How much runway do you have to continue to make the types of acquisitions like the H&E crane business?

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I feel really good about our funnel rig. Now, I think, our focus right now is just to keep the funnel going, but it's really -- our internal focus is on the integration of the two deals we did. We're going to make sure that they're good and well embedded before we move on to the next acquisition.

Ashok Sivamohan -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Understood. Thank you.

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. We'll now take our next question from Stephen Volkmann with Jefferies.

Stephen Volkmann -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Good morning, guys. Aaron, your little story reminds me of saying you might remember from your earlier days, where the sell-side were never wrong, we're only early. So it applies to us as well. Can I just ask you about this pricing, just sort of the mechanisms? I mean, it seems like steel has maybe started to roll over.

If it continues to go down, do you get to keep the pricing you've put in? So maybe second half of '22, you could see some real margin expansion?

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So I think, part of the trick here is how we buy this deal because we buy it, in some cases, six months out. So obviously, three months ago when we were buying. So we have this denominal work through.

And we historically have really never done surcharges in the crane industry, we always have price increases. So that does give us a little bit of buffer. But it's really too early to tell how sticky these price increases is gonna be if we really see a massive reduction in steel.

Stephen Volkmann -- Jefferies -- Analyst

OK, all right, fair enough. And then, can you just talk a little bit about, I guess, maybe more H&E, but Aspen, if you want, as you kind of are starting to integrate these things, how is it sort of fitting in with your expectations? And I guess, specifically, I'm trying to think about how we should sort of model these things coming into the business through '22?

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. So it sounds like your question is really a financial question. Dave why don't you?

Dave Antoniuk -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So Steve, great question. So correct. The impact for Aspen in the quarter was minimal.

So it didn't have any material impact on our third quarter results. However, we will get to see the impact in the fourth quarter and for full year '22. And as Aaron indicated, for both companies, we are approximately $180 million of acquisition price, and our expectations are that that will be a six EBITDA multiple. So you can do the math on what we expect in 2022 on that.

And as a reminder, both Aspen and H&E were customers of Manitowoc. So during the first quarter of ownership, which is the fourth quarter, we have to eliminate intercompany profit and ending inventory as we move the equipment from a Manitowoc location to an H&E or an Aspen Equipment. And as a result, our net EBITDA impact in the fourth quarter is gonna be minimal, roughly about $3 million. But from a top-line point of view, that acquisition is going to add about $30 million in the fourth quarter.

Stephen Volkmann -- Jefferies -- Analyst

OK, great. Thank you, guys.

Operator

Thank you. Our next from Jamie Cook with Credit Suisse.

Jamie Cook -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. Just a couple of questions. I think, you noted that the cadence of orders slowed throughout the quarter. So if you could just give a little more color on the cadence and sort of what you're seeing post the quarter close? My second question, sort of what's the level that steel prices need to be at for you guys to generate solid margins given the price increases that you have? So I guess, and then last, I guess, you made some commentary on 2022 is still gonna be sort of challenged from a cost margin perspective.

If you could just give any more color on that. Thank you.

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. So when I look at the backlog, call it, it's roughly $900 million. So from my point of view, the last month of the quarter, we had all the price increases and, it's roughly $100 million. So that's completely covered with price increases.

Probably $200 million of that is from, four, five months ago, which is not very well covered and you got the rest that's covered. So my view is that, yes, fourth quarter is gonna be tough. The first quarter is gonna be tough, but when I really look at next year, my bigger concerns are supply chain. We know what works through the backlog.

Maybe some will drag into the second quarter, but we've got a lot of coverage on the outstanding backlog that we'll pick up between here and there. I think, your second question was relative to steel prices. Do you want to take that Dave?

Dave Antoniuk -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So as far as material input costs, we believe that effectively in September, our price/cost dynamic is covered for 2022. So when we look at order intake from September forward, we think that we are in a good position for all those orders. As Aaron indicated, really, the issue is gonna be not only the supply chain but also the labor constraints that not only us, but everybody is facing at this point in time as well.

So the 2022 dynamic, while we're not ready to talk about anything financially, we can -- we're just looking at how that backlog is going to impact 2022 because there's a lot of dynamics that will happen between now and when we start the next year.

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I'm sorry, what was your third question, Jamie?

Jamie Cook -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Just the -- sorry, the cadence of orders?

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Yeah, so ahead of the price increases, we saw a lot of orders. So NIM is normally, we have our winter campaign in this quarter. It would appear that some of that winter campaign came before the price increases.

So September and October have been lighter than what we've seen in the prior few months. And we just really need to look out over the next couple of months to see how it plays out, to be honest with you.

Jamie Cook -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

OK, thanks. I'll get back in queue.

Operator

[Operator instructions] We'll go next from Mig Dobre with Baird.

Mig Dobre -- Robert W. Baird and Company -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning. Yeah, I appreciate the color on the cadence of pricing and what's in the backlog. So if we were to stay reach price cost parity sometime in the second quarter of '22, what will the core incremental margins on your business? And so, even on the acquisitions here? What would the core incremental margins to look like based on what -- where you currently have the cost structure set up?

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. So I mean, because of the way the backlog is priced, when I think about 2022, I really think that it's the inverse of 2021, where we have these lower margins in the first half, but then we get back to more normalized margins and contribution margins in the second half.

Mig Dobre -- Robert W. Baird and Company -- Analyst

That I do understand. I'm just curious on the magnitude of what incremental margins should look like in an environment like that?

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Oh, I'd say, it's always our normal 20% to 25%.

Mig Dobre -- Robert W. Baird and Company -- Analyst

I see. And then, my follow-up sort of has to do with China. You talked about demand getting a little bit softer here. I'm curious if you can size this business for us.

And I'm also wondering, in North America, it doesn't seem -- I mean, your coal demand is steady. So I'm sort of trying to understand as to what that means. Does that mean it's growing at a low rate? Does that mean that it's flattish? And based on what you're hearing from your customers, how do you think demand in North America can progress going forward? I mean, oil and gas seems to be getting better, and obviously, infrastructure is -- seems to be pending. So thoughts on that, I would appreciate.

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

OK. So with respect to China, it's our smallest region by far. So I'd say that it's pretty minimal in terms of the overall performance of the company, and it's somewhat offset by strengths in other belt on road countries like Russia and Korea. So I'm not overly stressed out about the situation there.

It is tough and getting tougher, especially getting payment terms, correct. With respect to North America, you know, first of all, dealer inventories, we feel really good about they're back to normal, which we probably hadn't said for two years now. And I was just at a big industry event last week. And the sentiment was very positive for big exact reasons that you mentioned, that, hey, there's still an infrastructure program out there that might get passed.

And oil prices are now looking sustainable above $80. And even when I often follow copper prices, too, because that helps drive us down in Latin America and some of the other mining countries like in Australia. So I mean, if we can get through this inflationary period, I think there's reason to be optimistic out there, but we're not there yet.

Mig Dobre -- Robert W. Baird and Company -- Analyst

Great, thanks.

Operator

Thank you. And that does conclude today's question-and-answer session. I'd like to turn the conference back over to management for any additional or closing remarks.

Ion Warner

Thank you. Before we conclude today's call, please note that a replay of our third quarter 2021 conference call will be available later this morning by accessing the investor relations section of our website at www.manitowoc.com. Thank you, everyone, for joining us today and for your continuing interest in the Manitowoc company. We look forward to speaking with you again next quarter.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 26 minutes

Call participants:

Ion Warner

Aaron Ravenscroft -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Dave Antoniuk -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Ashok Sivamohan -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Stephen Volkmann -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Jamie Cook -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Mig Dobre -- Robert W. Baird and Company -- Analyst

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