Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Methode Electronics, inc (MEI) Q2 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

By Motley Fool Transcribers – Dec 2, 2021 at 10:00AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

MEI earnings call for the period ending October 30, 2021.

Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Methode Electronics, inc (MEI 0.05%)
Q2 2022 Earnings Call
Dec 2, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Methode Electronics Second Quarter Fiscal 2022 Results. [Operator Instructions] It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to your host, Robert Cherry, Vice President of Investor Relations of Methode Electronics. Sir, the floor is yours.

10 stocks we like better than Methode Electronics
When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.* 

They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Methode Electronics wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

*Stock Advisor returns as of November 10, 2021

Robert Cherry -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Thank you, operator. Good morning and welcome to Methode Electronics Fiscal 2022 Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call. For this call, we have prepared a presentation entitled Fiscal 2022 Second Quarter Financial Results, which can be viewed on the webcast of this call or found at on the Investors page.

This conference call contains certain forward-looking statements, which reflect management's expectations regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date hereof. These forward-looking statements are subject to the safe harbor protection provided under the securities laws. Methode undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements to conform the statement to actual results or changes in Methode's expectations on a quarterly basis or otherwise.

The forward-looking statements in this conference call involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations are detailed in Methode's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, such as our 10-K and 10-Q reports. At this time, I'd like to turn the call over to Mr. Don Duda, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Rob and good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us for our fiscal 2022 second quarter earnings conference call. I'm joined today by Ron Tsoumas, our Chief Financial Officer, both Ron and I will have opening comments and then, we will take your questions. Let's begin with the highlights on the Slide 4. Our sales for the quarter were $296 million. We had a significant headwind in our automotive segment, due to the ongoing supply chain disruptions, particularly the semiconductor shortage. That shortage led to Auto OEM production slowdowns and some cases production shutdowns. This in turn led directly to lower sales in our Automotive segment, especially in North America. Helping to offset that auto headwind were near record sales in our Industrial segment.

There was strength in sales across all our industrial product categories, but in particular, we saw growth in electric vehicle busbars, commercial vehicle lighting and radio remote controls. Respectively, these products are benefiting from the macro growth trends of electrification, e-commerce and automation. The industrial sales in our portfolio relative our Automotive sales continue to grow. As I mentioned, our team continuing to face supply chain challenges. These include the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage, pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and port congestion, all of which are increasing costs and consequently negatively impacting margins. Our team has worked diligently to mitigate these challenges, which in many cases require remedial actions such as expedited shipping and premium component pricing.

In addition, we are working relentlessly with our customers to share in the absorption of these costs. The timing of these cost recoveries is not certain. At this point, our expectation is that these conditions will last until the end of our fiscal year. This extended period of demand recovery and margin pressure is a driver of our revised guidance for the full fiscal year. The situation is fluid and our mitigation efforts are ongoing, but we are confident that we will continue to execute and meet our customers' requirements.

Ron will provide more detail on our guidance later in the call. On the new order front, we were encouraged by the diversity of awards across key applications. In addition to our traditional automotive market, we secured awards of cloud computing, commercial vehicle and EV applications. Focusing on EV, last quarter, we reported that sales into EV applications were 16% of the consolidated sales. This quarter, EV sales were again 16% of consolidated sales. However, on a dollar basis, they were higher and in fact, we were a record for Methode. Our expectation for that percentage for the full year continues to be in the mid-teens. Our EV activity is being fueled by growth in our power distribution offerings where we leverage over 40 years of expertise to supply power products to various EV OEMs.

In the quarter, we further reduced debt, generated positive operating cash flow and continued to return capital to shareholders. Our free cash flow was positive even though we invested in inventory to support our deliveries to customers and to help mitigate supply chain disruptions. While our debt was down, we did have an increase in net debt as we utilized a portion of our available cash to execute a $35 million share buyback in the quarter. We have now executed half of $100 million stock buyback authorization since it was announced last March.

Before I provide detail on our business awards, I want to provide some information on an existing program. I can now share with you a little more detail on our largest truck center console program. We expect a small portion of that sales from this program to start to roll off late this fiscal year, which was included in our original full-year guidance. Then in fiscal 2023, we expect the bulk of the remaining truck program sales to roll off in the range of $90 million to $100 million. The fiscal 2024 impact is negligible. As I've mentioned in recent quarters, our business awards over the last couple of years have put us on track in aggregate to replace the sales from the roll off of this truck program.

Moving to Slide 5. Methode had another solid quarter of business awards. These awards continue to capitalize in key market trends like cloud computing and vehicle electrification. The awards identified here represent some of the key business wins in the quarter and represent $25 million in annual sales at full production.

In non-EV automotive, we're awarded programs for lighting and user Interface applications. In cloud computing, we saw demand for our power distribution products in data center applications. In commercial vehicles where signs of an upcycle continue, we were awarded programs for exterior lighting solutions. In EV, we want awards for switch, lighting and power distribution programs. Overall, our business are delivering on our strategic priority to drive customer product and geographic diversity.

To conclude, despite the ongoing demand fluctuations and supply chain challenges, we are still in a position to deliver solid organic growth sales for fiscal 2022, while generating positive free cash flow. At this point, I'll turn the call over to Ron who will provide more detail on our second quarter financial results. Ron?

Ronald Tsoumas -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Don and good morning everyone. Please turn to Slide 7. Second quarter net sales were $295.5 million in fiscal year '22 compared to $300.8 million in fiscal year '21, a decrease of $5.3 million or 1.8%. The year-over-year quarterly comparisons included a favorable foreign currency impact on sales of $2.8 million in the current quarter. Sequentially, sales increased by $7.7 million or 2.7% from the first quarter of fiscal year '22. The decrease in second quarter sales was mainly due to lower automotive sales, especially in North America as compared to the same period in fiscal '21, which benefited from the rebound from the depths of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic experience in our first quarter of fiscal year '21. The sales decrease was partially offset by higher sales of electric hybrid vehicle products, which amounted to 16% of sales in the second quarter of fiscal 2022, which was in line with our previous communication at electric and hybrid vehicles sales would comprise a mid-teens percentage of our fiscal year '22 consolidated sales.

In addition, stronger commercial vehicle sales contributed to the robust industrial segment sales growth. Second quarter net income decreased $11.1 million to $27.5 million or $0.72 per diluted share from $38.6 million or $1.01 per diluted share in the same period last year. Net income was negatively impacted from decreased sales, the impact of higher materials and logistics costs and other operating costs in the efficiencies, due to the global supply chain shortages and logistics challenges, higher stock-based compensation cost, and lower other income, partially offset by lower restructuring costs and favorable foreign currency translation.

Please turn to Slide 8. Second quarter gross margins were lower in fiscal year '22 as compared to fiscal year '21, mainly due to higher material and logistics costs, including freight and supply chain shortages and unfavorable product mix. Fiscal year '22 second quarter margins were 23.4% as compared to 26.9% in the second quarter of fiscal year '21. The negative impact of supply chain disruption and higher logistics costs, including freight on the second quarter fiscal year '22 gross margin was approximately 250 basis points. Unfavorable product mix also impacted gross margins. These higher costs that were experienced in the second quarter are expected to continue and further into fiscal year '22. In addition, we had anticipated a degree of cost inflation in the remainder of the current fiscal year.

Fiscal year '22 second quarter selling and administrative expenses, as a percentage of sales, increased to 10.6% compared to 10.2% in the fiscal year '21 second quarter. The minor fiscal year '22 second quarter percentage increase was achieved, but all to higher stock-based compensation, partially offset by lower professional fees and restructuring costs. The second quarter of fiscal year '22 selling and administrative expenses percentage is in line with our historical norm, which should yield an efficient flow-through from gross margin to operating income.

Please turn to Slide 9. In addition to the gross margin and selling and administrative items mentioned above, one other non-operational items significantly impacted net income in the second quarter of fiscal year '22 as compared to the comparable quarter last fiscal year. Other income net was down by $1.7 million, mainly due to lower international government assistance between the comparable quarters and increased foreign exchange losses from remeasurement. The effective tax rate in the second quarter of fiscal year '22 was 16.7% as compared to 16.5% in the second quarter of fiscal year '21.

The fiscal year '22 full-year estimate, which does not include any discrete items, is estimated to be between 17% and 18%, tightening the high end of the range down from 19% to 18%. Shifting to EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial measure, fiscal year '22 second quarter EBITDA was $47.4 million versus $60.2 million in the same period last fiscal year. EBITDA was negative negatively impacted by lower operating income and lower other income.

Please turn to Slide 10. In the second quarter of fiscal year '22, we reduced gross debt by $12.3 million, and we ended the second quarter with $177.2 million in cash. During the first six months of fiscal year '22, net debt a non-GAAP financial measure, increased by $39 million, mainly due to the share repurchases of $42.4 million and unfavorable working capital changes, especially related to inventory, which increased by nearly $26 million due to the supply chain-related challenges.

Regarding capital allocation on March 31, we announced a $100 million share repurchase program, which we executed nearly $35 million of purchases during the second quarter of fiscal year '22. Since the authorization's approval, we purchased nearly 50 million worth of shares at an average price of $44.04.

Please turn to Slide 11. Free cash flow, a non-GAAP financial measure as defined as net cash provided from operating activities, minus capex. For the fiscal year '22 second quarter, free cash flow was $21.6 million compared to $36.7 million in the second quarter of fiscal year '21. The decrease was mainly due to negative working capital changes, especially from the inventory items we discussed prior. We experienced sequentially improved free cash flow in the second quarter of fiscal '22 as compared to the first quarter of fiscal '22. We anticipate our proven history of generating reliable cash flows, which allows for ample funding of future organic growth, inorganic growth and continued return of capital to the shareholders. In the second quarter of fiscal year '22, we invested approximately $5.4 million in capex as compared to $3.6 million in the second quarter of fiscal year '21.

The higher capex is in line with our expectation that capex in fiscal year '22 would be higher than the investment in the prior fiscal year. We now estimate fiscal year '22 capex to be in the $45 million to $50 million range, which is lower than the prior estimates for the current fiscal year of $50 million to $55 million we provide earlier. The decrease is simply the result of the timing of the cash outflows of approved projects as opposed to a concerted effort to slow or reduce the guidance of capital investment.

Investing for future organic growth and vertical integration remains a key priority from a capital allocation strategy perspective. We do have a strong balance sheet, and we'll continue to utilize it by continuing investment in our businesses to grow them organically. In addition, we continue to pursue opportunities for inorganic growth in a measured return of capital to the shareholders.

Please turn to Slide 12. Regarding guidance, it is managed -- it is based on management's best estimates. External events and the related potential impact on our financial results remain an ongoing challenge. As Don mentioned in his remarks, we lowered our previously issued revenue and earnings per share guidance, largely due to the persistent headwinds from the ongoing negative impact of the chip shortage and logistics challenges. As you recall in our September conference call, we noted that the persistent headwinds could call our performance to be below the midpoint of the ranges of our original guidance as a situation was fluid and would likely remain challenging. These headwinds continue to adversely impact our second quarter results and will likely be with us for the remaining six months of our fiscal year.

The revenue range for full fiscal year '22 is between $1.14 billion and $1.16 billion, down from a range of $1.175 billion to $1.235 billion. Diluted earnings per share range is now between $3 per share and $3.20 per share, down from $3.35 to $3.75 per share. The range is due from the uncertainty from the supply chain disruption for semiconductors and other materials on both Methode and as customers. From a sales perspective, lower sales could result from a supply disruptions to us or our customers, which could result in lesser demand for our products or our ability to meet customer demand. Continued supply chain disruption would also negatively impact gross margins, due to additional costs incurred from premium freight, factory inefficiencies and a lesser extent, other logistic factors such as port congestion. Higher costs for materials, freight and labor are a constant and a dynamic battle, and we remain uncertain as to when things will stabilize.

Don, that concludes my comments.

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Ron, thank you very much. Matt, we are ready to take questions.

Questions and Answers:


[Operator Instructions] Your first question is coming from Luke Junk from Baird. Your line is live.

Luke Junk -- Baird Capital -- Analyst

Yeah. Thanks for taking the question. Good morning. Good morning. So first question I want to ask is on guidance. So I know you're not giving third quarter guidance. I was just wondering at a very high level, if there is any factors that you could discuss that we should be thinking about from a modeling perspective 3Q versus 4Q in your fiscal year, especially be interested in your perspective on underlying auto and commercial vehicle trends and also just want to make sure there is nothing that's sort of one-off in nature that we should be aware I know, Ron, you mentioned the FX remeasurement in the current quarter. For example, I just want to make sure there is nothing that we should be looking for in the back half of the year that could be impactful.

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

I think the main thing that will affect the cadence of the second half as we're going into the holiday production shutdowns that always has an impact both in the US and in Europe. So if I was -- the Q3 tends to be a lesser revenue quarter, I mean historically. So I think that would be the biggest factor and the balance is really unknown on supply chain disruptions. I will comment that, that to some degree, maybe we've reached in the US a bottom of that and that's I guess a qualified maybe and then in Europe, we've seen more disruptions in the previous quarter than we've had in the past. So one, maybe getting slightly better, the other one might be getting a little bit worse.

Ron, is there anything -- clearly, I mean historically, our third quarter due to Don as the dimension, the holiday shutdowns and simply less shipping days tends to be our weaker quarter and our fourth quarter tends to be stronger, and we would expect that to follow that type of cadence.

Luke Junk -- Baird Capital -- Analyst

Okay. Great. Thank you for that. Second question would be in terms of the state of your supply chain, obviously, a number of comments in the prepared remarks and I'm hoping we could maybe discuss sequentially what you saw in the second quarter versus the first quarter of the year, sort of where you exited the previous fiscal year, especially wondering where you're seeing incremental challenges right now from a supply chain and material standpoint. And as we zoom out and look at what this like -- look like going forward, how much permanence do you see in costs that are in the P&L right now versus things that might be less permanent in nature or a subject to potential customer recoveries, let's say.

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, let me answer that one first. I mean we -- as I said in my remarks, we are diligently working with customers to mitigate the entire supply chain issues from a cost standpoint, that takes some time. We think that's going to be with us for the duration of the fiscal year, that's -- the success on that is contemplated in the high and low-end of our guidance. COVID is still part of the supply chain issues. In certain areas, there's upside. In other areas, it's still contributing to labor shortages and causing our inventory to be higher that needs to be. We will work down the inventory as the disruption subside, exactly when -- it's very difficult to say.

From a cadence standpoint, from Q2 to or -- Q1 to Q2, it was 250 basis point. The things get worse. They did -- they did not get better. I think that's best I can say about that. We're getting maybe a little more confident on our ability to deal with the shortages, maybe from a labor standpoint, port congestion, yes, but again, I see that continuing through the end of the fiscal year. And every day, there's really a new challenge and normally in auto or the production schedules are pretty well cast at the end of the quarter. And it's -- through this whole year, it's been changing on a daily basis.

Ron, is there anything?

Ronald Tsoumas -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes, I would just say that as time goes on, I mean this is -- from a basis point perspective, we did a little better than we did in the first quarter. But as time goes on, we'll be better positioned to eventually get better or get more accommodating in terms of cost sharing and things of that nature. So one quarter doesn't make a trend, but certainly, we can be in a position to maybe do better with that down the road and that's contemplated in our guidance.

Luke Junk -- Baird Capital -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you for that. Next thing I want to ask about. I appreciate the disclosure in terms of the existing large trucks and our console program and was just hoping to understand the revenue numbers that you provided are really helpful. Just hoping to understand the margin puts and takes related to that. I know there is certainly going to be gross margin impact in terms of mix as that business rolls off and certainly, there is a manufacturing overhead impact as well. Where do those two lines [Indecipherable] and I don't want to get into fiscal '23 guidance per se, but just any high-level considerations as we think about the margin progression would be helpful.

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Sure. That's been a very good program for us, but -- I think we said this in the past, it's not the highest margin program and it is being replaced by higher margin EV program. So we would expect without getting into the exact timing of and we would expect that our margins as that rolls off another program rolls on, then our margins would improve.

In terms of overhead and the associated cost of that, we're pretty good at looking at programs and how they're rolling off, how do we adjust the factory overhead accordingly, what are we bringing in, we look at floor space, we look at indirects, as we look at labor and that will -- those are all being put in place now, as we start to see the roll off of that program. Inventory is another area that we look at. You don't really want to have a whole lot of inventory left as the program goes end of life, but there is also a service that we have to provide for the three to five years at a minimum. So we'll take that into account. I would say that we're on top of that. We've had other programs roll off and other ones roll on and you would just your factory accordingly.

Luke Junk -- Baird Capital -- Analyst

Okay. And then if I could just ask a last question a little bigger picture noticed on the business awards that one of the words there was interesting this quarter is busbars for charging and just hoping you could expand on what that opportunity set might look like for Methode going forward?

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Sure. That is for commercial vehicle charging, not the charge stations that you might see in a parking garage, and that's -- and if there's any more just to say on that, it's a busbar. It deals with the commercial vehicles. In other words, at a fedex -- I mean saying it's fedex, but -- at a depot, those charges would be charging the vehicles overnight and we're providing the busbars for that.

Luke Junk -- Baird Capital -- Analyst

Got it. Okay. Well, that's all I had for this morning. So thank you again for taking the questions.

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Luke, thank you very much.


Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Your next question is coming from Matt Sheerin from Stifel. Your line is live.

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel Nicolaus -- Analyst

Yes, thanks and good morning everyone. I just had a quick follow-up question regarding your comments on the cost headwinds and your ability or inability to pass them along to your auto customers. Some of your peers selling into auto appear to have more success. So I'm wondering are you sort of locked into contracts that make it difficult, how are those conversations with customers going?

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

I would say, as well as it can be expected in terms of -- we're asking for price increases and logistics relief. That does take time, and we've been there before. And we're confident that we will recover our margin and maybe some of our competitors are ahead of the game. We have -- we track it on a weekly basis. We feel the conversations are taking place. The answer is not what we won't get increases. This is really a matter of the timing. And the other thing to point out is some tears have material writers. And so, the price increases are automatic. We don't have those.

In our typical automotive contract, we do have that in some of our non-EV or power distribution contracts where we have material [Indecipherable]. So some of that could be automatic. In our case, it's not. We -- our programs tend to be four to five years. They are contractual, and it's unusual time. So that will take some discussions and I think as I would also point out, that actually auto has been -- I know over accommodating is the word, a little bit easier to have those discussions than actually with our commercial vehicle. I think this is the first quarter I can say we made some progress. So that's been a little tougher going than auto. I'm not saying that auto is easy. We've had some very tough discussions whenever you're asking for a price increase.

Ronald Tsoumas -- Chief Financial Officer

I was just going to mention on the CV space.

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel Nicolaus -- Analyst

Okay, thanks very much for that. And just regarding the strength you're seeing on the EV side, it seems like you've got some good content gains or are you also winning new programs and new logos in terms of customers?

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Yes. And I think it's important to point out that it's -- some of it is some of the start-ups and also the traditional OEMs as well. So we've been very pleased with the bookings we've had there and that supports our growth going forward.

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel Nicolaus -- Analyst

Okay. Great. Thanks very much.

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.


Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Thank you. There are no further questions in the queue. I will now hand the conference back to Donald Duda, CEO for closing remarks. Please go ahead.

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you very much. Well, thank you everyone for listening today and the questions and we wish everyone a very safe in the bus and holiday season. Good day.

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel Nicolaus -- Analyst

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 31 minutes

Call participants:

Robert Cherry -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Donald Duda -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Ronald Tsoumas -- Chief Financial Officer

Luke Junk -- Baird Capital -- Analyst

Matt Sheerin -- Stifel Nicolaus -- Analyst

More MEI analysis

All earnings call transcripts

AlphaStreet Logo

This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.

The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.