(EDGAR Online via COMTEX) -- ITEM 2. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") is intended to help the reader understand the results of operations and financial condition of the Company. MD&A is provided as a supplement to, and should be read in conjunction with, our Consolidated Financial Statements and the accompanying Notes.
This quarterly report and the documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference in this quarterly report contain statements concerning our future results and performance and other matters that are "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"). The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "estimate," "project," "look for," "will," "should," "guidance," "guide" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which generally are not historical in nature. Because forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, (including, without limitation, those set forth in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K or prior Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q) actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.
There are a number of risks, uncertainties, and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to:
Conditions in the industries in which our Machine Clothing and Albany Engineered Composites segments compete, along with the general risks associated with macroeconomic conditions;
In the Machine Clothing segment, greater than anticipated declines in the demand for publication grades of paper, or lower than anticipated growth in other paper grades; and continuation of coronavirus effects for an extended period;
In the Albany Engineered Composites segment, extended weakness in commercial aerospace activity, further delays in the Boeing 737 MAX return to service, or unanticipated reductions in demand, delays, technical difficulties, or delays/cancellations in other aerospace programs;
Failure to achieve or maintain anticipated profitable growth in our Albany Engineered Composites segment; and
Other risks and uncertainties detailed in this report.
Further information concerning important factors that could cause actual events or results to be materially different from the forward-looking statements can be found in "Business Environment Overview and Trends" sections of this quarterly report, as well as in Item 1A-"Risk Factors" section of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K. Although we believe the expectations reflected in our other forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it is not possible to foresee or identify all factors that could have a material and negative impact on our future performance. The forward-looking statements included or incorporated by reference in this report are made on the basis of our assumptions and analyses, as of the time the statements are made, in light of our experience and perception of historical conditions, expected future developments, and other factors believed to be appropriate under the circumstances.
Except as otherwise required by the federal securities laws, we disclaim any obligations or undertaking to publicly release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained or incorporated by reference in this report to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
Business Environment Overview and Trends
Our reportable segments, Machine Clothing ("MC") and Albany Engineered Composites ("AEC"), draw on the same advanced textiles and materials processing capabilities, and compete on the basis of product-based advantage that is grounded in those core capabilities.
The MC segment is the Company's long-established core business and primary generator of cash. While it has suffered from well-documented declines in publication grades in the Company's traditional markets, the paper and paperboard industry has stabilized in recent years, driven by demand for packaging and tissue grades, as well as the expansion of paper consumption and production in Asia and South America. We feel we are now well-positioned in key markets, with high-quality, low-cost production in growth markets, substantially lower fixed costs in mature markets, and continued strength in new product development, technical product support, and manufacturing technology. Because of pricing pressures and industry overcapacity, the machine clothing and paper industries will continue to face top line pressure. Despite continued market pressure on revenue, the business retains the potential for maintaining stable earnings in the future. It has been a significant generator of cash, and we seek to maintain the cash-generating potential of this business by maintaining the low costs that we achieved through continuous focus on cost reduction initiatives, and competing vigorously by using our differentiated and technically superior products to reduce our customers' total cost of operation and improve their paper quality.
The AEC segment provides long-term growth potential for our Company. Our strategy is to grow by focusing our proprietary 3D-woven technology, as well as our non-3D technology capabilities, on high-value aerospace (both commercial and defense) applications, while at the same time performing successfully on our portfolio of growth programs. AEC (including Albany Safran Composites, LLC ("ASC"), in which our customer SAFRAN Group owns a 10 percent noncontrolling interest) supplies a number of customers in the aerospace industry. AEC's largest aerospace customer is the SAFRAN Group and sales to SAFRAN, through ASC, (consisting primarily of fan blades and cases for CFM's LEAP engine) accounted for approximately 22 percent of the Company's consolidated Net sales in 2019. AEC, through ASC, also supplies 3D-woven composite fan cases for the GE9X engine. AEC's current portfolio of non-3D programs includes components for the F-35, fuselage components for the Boeing 787, components for the CH-53K helicopter, vacuum waste tanks for Boeing 7-Series aircraft, and missile bodies for Lockheed Martin's JASSM air-to-surface missiles. AEC is actively engaged in research to develop new applications in both commercial and defense aircraft engine and airframe markets. In 2019, approximately 25 percent of AEC sales were related to U.S. government contracts or programs.
A number of countries, including the United States, have issued orders grounding Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. If these groundings cause a further decrease in demand in production for this aircraft, it could have an adverse impact on demand for LEAP engines, which, in turn, could have an adverse impact on demand for our LEAP engine parts. The Company is continuing to monitor developments with our customer. Considerable uncertainty exists with respect to the return-to-service of the 737-MAX and the subsequent ramp-up in our production of LEAP-1B components, which may lead to additional impacts to our revenues from LEAP-1B components in 2020 and future periods. The nature of our cost-plus fee arrangement, however, should somewhat mitigate the impact of such factors on gross margin rate in such future periods. In April 2020, the Company announced the temporary closure of all three of its LEAP production facilities, resulting from depressed demand, due to the ongoing Boeing 737 MAX situation and a pause in production of the Airbus A320neo family. The resumption of operations at these facilities will be undertaken in coordination with our customer and in compliance with all local, state/provincial, and national guidelines or directives. However, management expects that these closures will continue through much of second quarter and, in some cases, into the third quarter. As a result, the year-over-year comparisons for LEAP revenue in the second quarter are expected to be very unfavorable. While management expects to see some recovery in the later part of the year, management expects that full-year LEAP program revenue will be less than half of that generated in 2019.
Apr 30, 2020
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