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April 5, 2022, 7:52 a.m. EDT

10-Q: ACUITY BRANDS INC

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(EDGAR Online via COMTEX) -- Item 2.Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The purpose of this discussion and analysis is to enhance the understanding and evaluation of the results of operations, financial position, cash flows, indebtedness, and other key financial information of Acuity Brands, Inc.

Overview

Company

We are a market-leading industrial technology company. We use technology to solve problems in spaces and light. Through our two business segments, Acuity Brands Lighting and Lighting Controls ("ABL") and the Intelligent Spaces Group ("ISG") we design, manufacture, and bring to market products and services that make the world more brilliant, productive, and connected. We achieve growth through the development of innovative new products and services, including lighting, lighting controls, building management systems, and location-aware applications.

We achieve customer-focused efficiencies that allow us to increase market share and deliver superior returns. We look to aggressively deploy capital to grow the business and to enter attractive new verticals.

The results of operations for the three and six months ended February 28, 2022 are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for the full fiscal 2022 year due primarily to continued uncertainty of general economic conditions that may impact our key end markets for fiscal 2022, seasonality, and the impact of any acquisitions, among other reasons. We are uncertain of the future impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic or recovery of prior deterioration in economic conditions to our sales channels, supply chain, manufacturing, and distribution as well as overall construction, renovation, and consumer spending. Additionally, the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the related sanctions and other penalties imposed by countries across the globe against Russia are creating substantial uncertainty in the global economy. While we do not have operations in Russia or Ukraine and do not have significant direct exposure to customers and vendors in those countries, we are unable to predict the impact that these actions will have on the global economy or on our financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows as of the date of these financial statements.

Financial Condition, Capital Resources, and Liquidity

We have numerous sources of capital, including cash on hand and cash flows generated from operations as well as various sources of financing. Our ability to generate sufficient cash flow from operations or to access certain capital markets, including banks, is necessary to meet our capital allocation priorities, which are to reinvest in our organic growth, make strategic acquisitions and investments, pay dividends, and repurchase shares. Sufficient cash flow generation is also critical to fund our operations in the short and long-term and to maintain compliance with covenants contained in our financing agreements

Our significant contractual cash requirements primarily include principal and interest on long-term debt, payments for operating lease liabilities, and certain purchase obligations incurred in the ordinary course of business that are enforceable and legally binding. Our obligations related to these items are described further within Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations within our Annual Report filed on Form 10-K. We believe that we will be able to meet our liquidity needs over the next 12 months based on our cash on hand, current projections of cash flows from operations, and borrowing availability under financing arrangements. Additionally, we believe that our cash flows from operations and sources of funding, including, but not limited to, future borrowings and borrowing capacity, will sufficiently support our long-term liquidity needs. In the event of a sustained market deterioration, we may need additional capital, which would require us to evaluate available alternatives and take appropriate actions.

Cash

Our cash position at February 28, 2022 was $475.5 million, a decrease of $15.8 million from August 31, 2021. Cash generated from operating activities and cash on-hand were used during the current year to fund our capital allocation priorities as discussed below.







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We generated $127.3 million of cash flows from operating activities during the six months ended February 28, 2022 compared with $212.6 million in the prior-year period, a decrease of $85.3 million. This decline was due primarily to increased operating working capital, as we managed our inventory levels to support growth and insulate production facilities from inconsistent supply availability.

Financing Arrangements

See the Debt and Lines of Credit footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for discussion of our various financing arrangements, including the terms of our $400.0 million five-year unsecured revolving credit facility ("Revolving Credit Facility") as well as the $500.0 million aggregate principal amount of 2.150% senior unsecured notes due December 15, 2030 (the "Unsecured Notes"). At February 28, 2022, our outstanding debt balance was $494.7 million compared to our cash position of $475.5 million. We were in compliance with all financial covenants under our financing arrangements as of February 28, 2022.

At February 28, 2022, we had additional borrowing capacity under the Revolving Credit Facility of $395.9 million under the most restrictive covenant in effect at the time, which represents the full amount of the Revolving Credit Facility less the outstanding letters of credit of $4.1 million issued under the facility. As of February 28, 2022, our cash on hand combined with the additional borrowing capacity under the Revolving Credit Facility totaled $871.4 million.

The Unsecured Notes were issued by Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acuity Brands, Inc. The Unsecured Notes are fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior unsecured basis by Acuity Brands, Inc. and ABL IP Holding LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acuity Brands, Inc. The following tables present summarized financial information for Acuity Brands, Inc., Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc., and ABL IP Holding LLC on a combined basis after the elimination of all intercompany balances and transactions between the combined group as well as any investments in non-guarantors as of the dates and during the period presented (in millions):







        Summarized Balance Sheet Information             February 28, 2022       August 31, 2021
        Current assets                                  $          1,271.6      $        1,172.0
        Amounts due from non-guarantor affiliates                    247.4                 213.4
        Non-current assets                                         1,385.6               1,391.7
        Current liabilities                                          645.5                 595.1
        Non-current liabilities                                      814.5                 815.7
        Summarized Income Statement Information       Six Months Ended February 28, 2022
        Net sales                                    $                           1,552.8
        Gross profit                                                               640.7
        Net income                                                                 158.3
        


Capital Allocation Priorities

Our capital allocation priorities are to invest in our business for growth, to invest in mergers and acquisitions, to maintain our dividend, and to make share repurchases.

Organic Growth Investments

We invested $24.1 million and $21.2 million during the six months ended February 28, 2022 and 2021, respectively, in property, plant, and equipment, primarily related to investments in new and enhanced information technology capabilities, tooling, equipment, and facility enhancements. We currently expect to invest approximately 1.5% of net sales on capital expenditures during fiscal 2022.

Strategic Acquisitions and Investments

We seek opportunities to strategically expand and enhance our portfolio of solutions. There were no acquisitions during the first half of fiscal 2022. The $10.2 million of cash outflows reflected in the fiscal 2022 Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows relate to working capital settlements for fiscal 2021 acquisitions.

Please refer to the Acquisitions footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for more information.







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Dividends

We paid dividends on our common stock of $9.3 million ($0.26 per share) and $9.7 million ($0.26 per share) during the six months ended February 28, 2022 and 2021, respectively. All decisions regarding the declaration and payment of dividends are at the discretion of the Board of Directors (the "Board") and are evaluated regularly in light of our financial condition, earnings, growth prospects, funding requirements, applicable law, and any other factors the Board deems relevant.

Share Repurchases

During the first half of fiscal 2022, we repurchased 0.6 million shares of our outstanding common stock for $109.1 million. Total cash outflows for share repurchases during the six months ended February 28, 2022 were $108.0 million. We expect to repurchase shares on an opportunistic basis subject to various factors including stock price, Company performance, market conditions, and other possible uses of cash. As of February 28, 2022, the maximum number of shares that may yet be repurchased under the share repurchase program authorized by the Board equaled 3.2 million shares. On March 31, 2022, the Board authorized the repurchase of additional shares of our common stock, bringing our total authorization to five million shares. Refer to Part II, Item 5. Other Information for further details.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in intermittent worldwide government restrictions on the movement of people, goods, and services resulting in increased volatility in and disruptions to global markets. We remain committed to prioritizing the health and well-being of our associates and their families and ensuring that we operate effectively. We have implemented policies to screen associates, contractors, and vendors for COVID-19 symptoms upon entering our manufacturing, distribution, and open-office facilities in the United States, Mexico, and other locations as permitted by law. We have also implemented one-way traffic flows, additional cleaning requirements for common spaces, mandatory face coverings, hand sanitizer stations, socially-distanced workspaces, and self-serve pay stations within our cafeterias to mitigate the spread of the virus. Additionally, we have required certain employees whose job functions can be performed remotely to work primarily from home.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on our results of operations. The pandemic has caused reduced construction and renovation spending as well as a disruption in our supply chain for certain components, both of which negatively impacted our operating results. Although our facilities are open, a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, including as a result of new variants, may lead to the reimposition of previously lifted business closure requirements, the imposition of new restrictions, or the issuance of new or revised local or national health guidance. We also continue to incur additional health and safety costs including expenditures for personal protection equipment and facility enhancements to maintain proper distancing guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have taken actions to reduce costs, including the realignment of headcount with current volumes, a limit on all non-essential employee travel, other efforts to decrease discretionary spending, and reductions in our real estate footprint. Additionally, we elected to defer certain employer payroll taxes as allowable under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES" Act) signed into law on March 27, 2020. Half of these deferrals were paid in December 2021, and the remaining deferrals are due in December 2022.

Although we have implemented significant measures to mitigate further spread of the virus, our employees, customers, suppliers, and contractors may continue to experience disruptions to business activities due to potential further government-mandated or voluntary shutdowns, general economic conditions, or other negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are continuously monitoring the adverse effects of the pandemic and identifying steps to mitigate those effects. As the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving, we are uncertain of its ultimate duration and impact. See Part I, Item 1a. Risk Factors of our Form 10-K for further details regarding the potential impacts of COVID-19 to our results of operations, financial position, and cash flows.

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        Results of Operations
        Second Quarter of Fiscal 2022 Compared with Second Quarter of Fiscal 2021
        The following table sets forth information comparing the components of net
        income for the three months ended February 28, 2022 and 2021 (in millions except
        per share data):
                                                                     Three Months Ended
                                                                                     February 28,           Increase
                                                            February 28, 2022            2021              (Decrease)              Percent Change
        Net sales                                          $          909.1          $    776.6          $      132.5                      17.1  %
        Cost of products sold                                         529.8               439.9                  89.9                      20.4  %
        Gross profit                                                  379.3               336.7                  42.6                      12.7  %
        Percent of net sales                                           41.7  %             43.4  %               (170)   bps
        Selling, distribution, and administrative expenses            277.0               245.4                  31.6                      12.9  %
        Special charges                                                   -                 0.3                  (0.3)                          NM
        Operating profit                                              102.3                91.0                  11.3                      12.4  %
        Percent of net sales                                           11.3  %             11.7  %                (40)   bps
        Other expense:
        Interest expense, net                                           6.0                 6.6                  (0.6)                     (9.1) %
        Miscellaneous (income) expense, net                            (1.9)                2.2                  (4.1)                          NM
        Total other expense                                             4.1                 8.8                  (4.7)                    (53.4) %
        Income before income taxes                                     98.2                82.2                  16.0                      19.5  %
        Percent of net sales                                           10.8  %             10.6  %                 20    bps
        Income tax expense                                             22.9                19.3                   3.6                      18.7  %
        Effective tax rate                                             23.3  %             23.5  %
        Net income                                         $           75.3          $     62.9          $       12.4                      19.7  %
        Diluted earnings per share                         $           2.13          $     1.74          $       0.39                      22.4  %
        NM - not meaningful
        


Net Sales

Net sales for the three months ended February 28, 2022 increased $132.5 million, or 17.1%, to $909.1 million compared with $776.6 million in the prior-year period. Both our ABL and ISG segments benefited from recent price increases as well as higher volumes. Revenues from acquired companies contributed an almost 4% increase in sales compared to the prior year. Changes in foreign currency rates did not have a meaningful impact on net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2022.

Gross Profit

Gross profit for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 increased $42.6 million, or 12.7%, to $379.3 million compared with $336.7 million in the prior-year period, while gross profit margin decreased 170 basis points to 41.7% from 43.4%. Throughout the current quarter, material and conversion costs as well as freight costs continued to escalate, which we were able to offset through price increases and product and productivity improvements. Gross profit margin was also unfavorably impacted by the near-term dilutive effects of recent acquisitions.

Operating Profit

Selling, distribution, and administrative expenses ("SD&A") expenses for the three months ended February 28, 2022 were $277.0 million compared with $245.4 million in the prior-year period, an increase of $31.6 million, or 12.9%. The increase in SD&A expense was due primarily to higher outbound freight and commissions costs associated with higher sales as well as increased employee-related costs due in part to recent acquisitions. SD&A expenses for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 were 30.5% of net sales compared with 31.6% for the prior-year period due primarily to improved leveraging of our operating costs.

Operating profit for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 was $102.3 million (11.3% of net sales) compared with $91.0 million (11.7% of net sales) for the prior-year period, an increase of $11.3 million, or 12.4%. The increase in Table of Contents

operating profit was due primarily to higher gross profit associated with the increase in sales, partially offset by higher SD&A expenses. The operating profit margin decrease of 40 bps year over year was due primarily to our decline in gross profit margin as well as the unfavorable impact of acquisitions on our operating expenses. These declines were partially offset by improved leveraging of operating costs.

Other Expense

Other expense consists of net interest expense and net miscellaneous (income) expense, which includes non-service related components of net periodic pension cost, gains and losses associated with foreign currency-related transactions, and non-operating gains and losses.

Interest expense, net, was $6.0 million and $6.6 million for the three months ended February 28, 2022 and 2021, respectively.

We reported net miscellaneous income of $1.9 million for the three months ended February 28, 2022 and net miscellaneous expense of $2.2 million for the three months ended February 28, 2021. The year-over-year change in net miscellaneous (income) expense was largely due to gains and losses on foreign currency-related transactions.

Income Taxes and Net Income

Our effective income tax rate was 23.3% and 23.5% for the three months ended February 28, 2022 and 2021, respectively. We currently estimate that our blended consolidated effective income tax rate, before any discrete items, will be approximately 23% for fiscal 2022, assuming the rates in our taxing jurisdictions remain generally consistent throughout the year.

Net income for the three months ended February 28, 2022 increased $12.4 million, or 19.7%, to $75.3 million from $62.9 million reported for the prior-year period. The increase in net income resulted primarily from an increased operating profit compared to the prior-year period. Diluted earnings per share for the three months ended February 28, 2022 increased $0.39, or 22.4%, to $2.13 compared with diluted earnings per share of $1.74 for the prior-year period. This increase reflects higher net income as well as lower outstanding diluted shares.







        Segment Results
        The following table sets forth information comparing the operating results of
        our segments, ABL and ISG, for the three months ended February 28, 2022 and 2021
        (in millions). We have recast historical information to conform to the current
        segment structure.
                                                                    Three Months Ended
                                                                                    February 28,           Increase
                                                           February 28, 2022            2021              (Decrease)           Percent Change
        ABL:
        Net sales                                         $          863.1          $    736.8          $      126.3                   17.1  %
        Operating profit                                             116.5               102.0                  14.5                   14.2  %
        Operating profit margin                                       13.5  %             13.8  %                (30)         bps
        ISG:
        Net sales                                         $           50.0          $     43.3          $        6.7                   15.5  %
        Operating profit                                               1.2                 0.8                   0.4                   50.0  %
        Operating profit margin                                        2.4  %              1.8  %                    60       bps
        


ABL net sales for the three months ended February 28, 2022 increased $126.3 million, or 17.1%, to $863.1 million compared with $736.8 million in the prior-year period. Sales within the independent and direct network channels increased due primarily to benefits from recent price increases as well as higher volumes. Additionally, sales within the corporate accounts channel increased year over year as some large accounts began previously deferred maintenance and renovations. Acquisitions contributed an almost 4% increase in sales compared to the prior year and are reflected within the other sales channel in ABL's disaggregated revenue. Operating profit for ABL was $116.5 million (13.5% of ABL net sales) for the three months ended February 28, 2022 compared to $102.0 million (13.8% of ABL net sales) in the prior-year period, an increase of $14.5 million. The increase in operating profit was due primarily to contributions from higher sales partially offset by increased materials and freight costs as well as higher operating costs to support the increase in sales.







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ISG net sales for the three months ended February 28, 2022 increased $6.7 million, or 15.5%, to $50.0 million compared with $43.3 million in the prior-year period driven primarily by strong demand for building and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning controls as well as price increases. ISG operating profit was $1.2 million for the three months ended February 28, 2022 compared to $0.8 million in the prior-year period, an increase of $0.4 million. This increase was due primarily to contributions from higher sales, partially offset by increased employee costs.







        First Six Months of Fiscal 2022 Compared with First Six Months of Fiscal 2021
        The following table sets forth information comparing the components of net
        income for the six months ended February 28, 2022 and 2021 (in millions except
        per share data):
                                                                   Six Months Ended
                                                           February 28,        February 28,           Increase
                                                               2022                2021              (Decrease)              Percent Change
        Net sales                                          $  1,835.2          $  1,568.6          $      266.6                      17.0  %
        Cost of products sold                                 1,070.1               899.5                 170.6                      19.0  %
        Gross profit                                            765.1               669.1                  96.0                      14.3  %
        Percent of net sales                                     41.7  %             42.7  %               (100)   bps
        Selling, distribution, and administrative expenses      547.7               491.4                  56.3                      11.5  %
        Special charges                                             -                 1.0                  (1.0)                          NM
        Operating profit                                        217.4               176.7                  40.7                      23.0  %
        Percent of net sales                                     11.8  %             11.3  %                 50    bps
        Other expense:
        Interest expense, net                                    11.9                11.5                   0.4                       3.5  %
        Miscellaneous (income) expense, net                      (1.6)                3.8                  (5.4)                          NM
        Total other expense                                      10.3                15.3                  (5.0)                    (32.7) %
        Income before income taxes                              207.1               161.4                  45.7                      28.3  %
        Percent of net sales                                     11.3  %             10.3  %                100    bps
        Income tax expense                                       44.2                38.9                   5.3                      13.6  %
        Effective tax rate                                       21.3  %             24.1  %
        Net income                                         $    162.9          $    122.5          $       40.4                      33.0  %
        Diluted earnings per share                         $     4.60          $     3.30          $       1.30                      39.4  %
        NM - not meaningful
        


Net Sales

Net sales for the six months ended February 28, 2022 increased $266.6 million, or 17.0%, to $1.84 billion compared with $1.57 billion in the prior-year period. Both our ABL and ISG segments benefited from recent price increases as well as higher volumes. Revenues from acquired companies contributed an almost 4% increase in sales compared to the prior year. Changes in foreign currency rates did not have a meaningful impact on net sales for the first six months of fiscal 2022.

Gross Profit

Gross profit for the six months ended February 28, 2022 increased $96.0 million, or 14.3%, to $765.1 million compared with $669.1 million in the prior-year period. Gross profit margin decreased 100 basis points to 41.7% for the six months ended February 28, 2022 compared with 42.7% in the prior-year period. Throughout the first six months of fiscal 2022, material and conversion costs as well as freight costs continued to escalate, which we were able to offset through price increases and product and productivity improvements. Gross profit margin was also unfavorably impacted by the near-term dilutive effects of recent acquisitions.

Operating Profit

SD&A expenses for the six months ended February 28, 2022 were $547.7 million compared with $491.4 million in the prior-year period, an increase of $56.3 . . .

Apr 05, 2022

COMTEX_405255943/2041/2022-04-05T07:52:07

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