Alpharetta, GA, Feb 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) -- -- Schweitzer-Mauduit International, Inc. ("SWM" or the "Company") /zigman2/quotes/208081440/composite SWM -2.56% reported earnings results for the three month and full year periods ended December 31, 2019.
Adjusted measures are reconciled to GAAP at the end of this release. Financial and operating comparisons are versus the prior year period and are from continuing operations. Figures may not sum to total due to rounding. Definitions: Advanced Materials & Structures (AMS), reverse osmosis (RO), Engineered Papers (EP), low ignition propensity (LIP), reconstituted tobacco leaf (RTL), heat-not-burn (HnB)
Full Year 2019 Financial Results Summary
-- Total sales were $1,022.8 million, down 2%, but unchanged versus prior year excluding currency impact
-- GAAP operating profit was $134.0 million, or 13.1% of sales, down 1%
-- Adjusted operating profit was $159.5 million, or 15.6% of sales, up 1%
-- GAAP EPS was $2.76, versus $3.07; both periods included material non-recurring items (details below)
-- Adjusted EPS was $3.55, up 2%, or up 5% excluding negative currency impact
Full Year 2019 Financial Highlights & 2020 Outlook
-- Full year 2019 Adjusted EPS was $3.55, up 2%, and in the high end of the $3.40 to $3.60 guided range issued at the outset of the year
-- Full year 2019 operating cash flow increased 15% to $160.3 million and free cash flow increased 16% to $126.2 million; total debt was reduced by $79.4 million
-- 2020 Adjusted EPS guidance excluding the pending Tekra and Trient acquisition is $3.50 to $3.75, reflecting AMS growth, EP stability, and lower unallocated costs
-- On February 18, 2020, the Company announced the pending acquisition of Tekra and Trient, technical film converters that are expected to bring complementary capabilities and new growth opportunities to AMS. Transaction expected to add approximately $0.10 to 2020 Adjusted EPS and approximately $0.20 to 2021 Adjusted EPS
Fourth Quarter 2019 Financial Results Summary
-- Total sales were $238.5 million, down 4%, or 3% excluding currency impact
-- GAAP operating profit was $24.8 million, or 10.4% of sales, down 7%
-- Adjusted operating profit was $31.5 million, or 13.2% of sales, down 2%
-- GAAP EPS was $0.64, versus $0.23; prior year quarter included a $0.50 per share non-cash impairment
-- Adjusted EPS was $0.80, down 8%; higher quarterly tax rate versus low 4Q:18 rate and unallocated expenses offset 11% combined profit growth of AMS and EP segments
Full Year and Fourth Quarter 2019 Operating Segment Overviews
-- Full year 2019 AMS segment sales increased 2%, as growth in filtration and transportation was impacted by some year-end customer inventory rebalancing; fourth quarter sales decreased 4% versus a very strong 4Q:18
-- Full year 2019 AMS GAAP and adjusted operating profit margin expanded 290 and 270 basis points, respectively, due to organic sales growth, fixed cost reductions, and favorable resin input costs; fourth quarter AMS GAAP operating profit margin was flat, while adjusted operating margin expanded 90 basis points
-- Full year 2019 EP segment sales decreased 5%, or 2% absent currency impacts, as positive price/mix performance nearly offset lower volumes; fourth quarter EP segment sales decreased 4%, or 2% absent currency impacts
-- Full year 2019 EP GAAP and adjusted operating margins expanded 60 and 130 basis points, respectively, due to positive price/mix benefits, manufacturing efficiencies, and lower wood pulp costs in 2H:19; fourth quarter EP GAAP operating profit and adjusted operating profit margins expanded 360 and 410 basis points, respectively
Dr. Jeff Kramer, Chief Executive Officer, commented, "2019 was a good year for SWM. Results were strong on several fronts, with both operating segments delivering profit growth and Adjusted EPS increasing 5% excluding currency impacts. Earnings growth was accompanied by solid free cash flow gains, underscoring the strong financial health of our business and which supports continued growth investments. Earlier this week, we were particularly pleased to announce our latest acquisition which we expect to close in March. Tekra and Trient are high-quality assets that add new processing capabilities and bolster our market presence in medical, graphics, and automotive, and offer long-term top-line synergy potential."
"AMS segment profits grew 20% in 2019 as we delivered continued organic sales growth, drove operational efficiencies, and benefited from a more favorable resin input cost environment. Transportation, filtration, and medical markets all posted solid sales growth for the year as we capitalized on strong demand. However, fourth quarter sales reflected some year-end customer inventory rebalancings and a difficult comparison to last year's 9% fourth quarter growth. Our recent and planned investments in both water filtration and transportation films capacity demonstrate our commitment to maintaining leadership positions in these high growth specialty applications."
"EP segment profits increased slightly for the year, as we continued to deliver stable operating profits despite the backdrop of the tobacco industry dynamics and volatile input costs over the past several years. 2019 results showed the benefits of our consistent focus on high-value products, cost controls, and innovation. Positive price/mix performance nearly offset our volume decline from strategic exits of low-margin paper business and tobacco market attrition. Nevertheless, our margins increased due to our higher-value product mix, cost reduction activities, and lower wood pulp input costs."
Dr. Kramer concluded, "Our 2020 Adjusted EPS guidance of $3.50 to $3.75, which excludes the pending Tekra and Trient transaction accretion, implies organic earnings growth of up to 6%. We believe our expected profit growth, combined with a robust dividend, results in compelling total return potential for shareholders. While we are closely monitoring the Coronavirus situation around the world, we enter the year well-positioned to continue our positive momentum, with our outlook reflecting the themes of EP stability and AMS growth continuing in 2020. To support this outlook, we plan to continue adding global capacity in our fastest-growing areas as needed and lead the market with innovative new products. Despite these investments in growth-oriented projects, we expect another year of strong free cash flow of more than $100 million."
Fourth Quarter 2019 Financial Results
Advanced Materials & Structures segment sales were $103.9 million, down 4%, or 3% absent negative currency impacts, versus a strong prior year quarter when segment sales increased 9%. In addition to the difficult comparison, fourth quarter sales were impacted by customer year-end inventory rebalancing activities following stronger sales performance in the first nine months of the year. Medical sales delivered high growth and industrial sales were stable; filtration, transportation and infrastructure and construction were down versus prior year. GAAP operating profit was $9.7 million, or 9.3% of sales, down 3%. Adjusted operating profit was $15.8 million, up 3%, with margin expanding 90 basis points to 15.2%.
Engineered Papers segment sales were $134.6 million, down 4%, or 2% absent Euro-driven negative currency impacts. Positive price/mix performance of 11% nearly offset a volume decline of 12%. Price/mix benefited from contractual wood pulp-based price escalators, as well as a higher mix of cigarette papers, wrapper and binder volumes, and HnB sales. The volume decrease was driven by continued de-emphasis of lower margin printing and writing volumes and tobacco-related declines from industry attrition and inventory draw-downs by certain customers. GAAP operating profit was $30.7 million, or 22.8% of sales, up 13%. Adjusted operating profit was $31.3 million, up 15%, with adjusted operating margin expanding 410 basis points to 23.3%. Margins increased primarily due to positive price/mix movements within the portfolio, lower wood pulp input costs, and improved manufacturing performance. Currency movements resulted in a negative $0.5 million impact to operating profit.
Unallocated GAAP and adjusted expenses were each $15.6 million, up $5.3 million, and were 6.5% of total sales, up 240 basis points. The most significant components of the increase were higher deferred compensation expenses related to the positive stock price movement in 4Q:19 compared to the prior year period, as well as investments in upgraded IT systems to support growth.
Consolidated sales were $238.5 million, down 4%, or 3% absent negative currency impacts. GAAP operating profit was $24.8 million, down 7%, and GAAP operating profit margin was 10.4%. Adjusted operating profit was $31.5 million, down 2%, and adjusted operating profit margin was 13.2%, up 30 basis points. Adjusted EBITDA was $40.9 million, down 2%, and adjusted EBITDA margin was 17.2%, up 40 basis points. GAAP income was $20.2 million, versus $7.2 million; GAAP EPS was $0.64. Adjusted income was $25.2 million, down 3%; Adjusted EPS was $0.80.
Interest expense was $6.5 million, down from $8.1 million, as the Company used available cash flow to reduce debt. Other income was $0.6 million, versus other expense of $0.4 million in the prior year quarter.
The Company reported a tax rate of 12.7%, versus 1.6% in the prior year period. During the fourth quarter of 2018, the Company recorded a low quarterly tax expense to reflect the final full year 2018 tax rate. Excluding the impact of non-GAAP adjustments, the fourth quarter 2019 tax rate was 15.8% (the implied rate reflected in the Company's Adjusted EPS), up from 4.9% in the prior year quarter.
The Company's Chinese JVs contributed $0.12 to both GAAP and Adjusted EPS, versus $0.14 in the prior year quarter (comparison excludes $0.50 non-cash impairment charge in 4q:18)
Net currency movements had a $0.6 million negative impact on operating profits and the translation impact of net currency movements was negative $0.01 to both GAAP EPS and Adjusted EPS.
Non-GAAP Adjustments reflect items included in GAAP operating profit, income, and EPS, but excluded from adjusted operating profit, income, and EPS (see non-GAAP reconciliation tables). The most significant adjustments to fourth quarter 2019 results were purchase accounting expenses of $0.13 per share (purchase accounting expenses reflect the ongoing non-cash intangible asset amortization associated with AMS acquisitions) and $0.04 per share of restructuring and impairment expenses. The most significant non-GAAP adjustments in the fourth quarter of 2018 were the $0.50 per share non-cash impairment expense related to the Company's RTL joint venture in China and purchase accounting expenses of $0.15 per share.
Full Year 2019 Financial Results
Advanced Materials & Structures segment sales were $477.2 million, up 2%, or 3% absent negative currency impacts. Increases in transportation products, driven by paint protection films and glass lamination, led the portfolio. Filtration sales, supported by RO water application growth, and medical products, led by the consumer finger bandage category, also drove organic sales gains. Infrastructure and construction and industrial sales both declined versus prior year. GAAP operating profit was $64.3 million, or 13.5% of sales, up 30%. Adjusted operating profit was $85.7 million, up 20%, with margin expanding 270 basis points to 18.0%. Sales growth, reduced fixed manufacturing costs, lower polypropylene resin input costs, and SG&A improvements combined to drive the increased profitability.
Engineered Papers segment sales were $545.6 million, down 5%, or 2% absent negative currency impacts due mostly to a weaker Euro. Positive price/mix performance of 8% was offset by a volume decline of 10%. Price/mix benefited from contractual wood pulp-based price escalators as well as a higher mix of LIP and other cigarette papers and wrapper and binder volumes. The volume decline was driven primarily by continued tobacco industry attrition, and lower HnB products, in part due to a difficult HnB comparison to the first half of 2018 when customers were launching new products. In addition, the continued de-emphasis of lower margin non-tobacco products affected volumes. GAAP operating profit was $119.2 million, or 21.8% of sales, down 2%. Adjusted operating profit was $123.3 million, up 1%, with adjusted operating margin increasing 130 basis points to 22.6%. Margins increased primarily due to positive price/mix movements within the portfolio and improved manufacturing performance. While wood pulp input costs trended lower versus prior year during 2H:19, total input costs for the full year were modestly negative compared to 2018. Currency movements resulted in a negative $3.8 million impact to operating profit.
Unallocated GAAP and adjusted expenses were each $49.5 million, up $13.2 million, and were 4.8% of total sales, up 130 basis points. The primary drivers of the increase were higher deferred compensation expenses as a result of positive stock price performance relative to 2018 and higher IT expenses to support growth initiatives.
Consolidated sales were $1,022.8 million, down 2%, but unchanged absent negative currency impacts. GAAP operating profit was $134.0 million, down 1%, and GAAP operating profit margin was 13.1%. Adjusted operating profit was $159.5 million, up 1%, and adjusted operating profit margin was 15.6%, up 50 basis points. Adjusted EBITDA was $197.2 million, flat versus prior year, and adjusted EBITDA margin was 19.3%, up 40 basis points. GAAP income was $85.8 million, versus $94.8 million; this equated to 2019 GAAP EPS of $2.76. Adjusted income was $110.3 million, up 3%; this equated to 2019 Adjusted EPS of $3.55.
Interest expense was $36.1 million, up $7.9 million, reflecting $7.1 million of interest expense related to the Brazil tax assessments. Interest expense on debt increased $0.8 million as higher effective interest rates on debt as a result of the bond issuance during the third quarter of 2018 were largely offset by debt reduction throughout 2019. Other expense was $1.0 million, including $2.2 million of expenses related to the Brazil tax assessments, down from other income of $10.0 million, as the prior year period reflected a $10.2 million benefit, or $0.25 per share, from a contingent liability revaluation.
The Company reported a tax rate of 15.7%, versus 9.2% in the prior year period. The increase is primarily due to the $13.0 million, or $0.43 per share, favorable transitional tax adjustment related to US tax reform recorded in the prior year. Excluding the impact of non-GAAP adjustments, the full year 2019 tax rate was 19.3% (the implied rate reflected in the Company's Adjusted EPS), up from 18.1% in 2018.
The Company's Chinese JVs contributed $0.13 to both GAAP and Adjusted EPS versus, up from $0.12 in the prior year (comparison excludes $0.50 non-cash impairment charge in 4q:18)
Net currency movements had a $4.4 million negative impact on operating profits; the translation impact of net currency movements was negative $0.09 to both GAAP EPS and Adjusted EPS.
Non-GAAP Adjustments reflect items included in GAAP operating profit, income, and EPS, but excluded from adjusted operating profit, income, and EPS (see non-GAAP reconciliation tables). 2019 results include purchase accounting expenses of $0.54 per share (purchase accounting expenses reflect the ongoing non-cash intangible asset amortization associated with AMS acquisitions), a $0.21 per share tax assessment from pre-2000 activities in Brazil related to raw material imports/exports (unfavorable) and social security taxes (favorable partial offset). The majority of the Brazil-tax assessment expenses consist of interest and penalties. Restructuring and impairment expenses were $0.10 per share and were mostly related to EP segment cost reduction activities. The most significant non-GAAP adjustments in 2018 were $0.57 per share of purchase accounting expenses, the $0.50 per share non-cash impairment of the Chinese RTL joint venture, the $0.43 gain from the transitional tax adjustment, the $0.25 benefit from a contingent liability revaluation.
Cash Flow, Debt, & Dividend
Full year 2019 cash provided by operating activities increased $21.4 million to $160.3 million. The Company's working capital-related cash outflows were $1.8 million, compared to $24.3 million in 2018 due primarily to favorable accounts receivables balances. Capital spending and capitalized software totaled $34.1 million, up $4.4 million, due primarily to planned capacity expansions for our filtration and transportation products and IT investments to support growth. Capital spending and capitalized software finished 2019 slightly below the Company's guided range of $35 million to $40 million. Free cash flow increased $17 million to $126.2 million. In 2019, the Company paid dividends to stockholders totaling $54.4 million.
Total debt was $542.7 million on December 31, 2019, down $79.4 million from year end 2018; net debt was $439.7 million on December 31, 2019, down $88.6 million from year end 2018. Pursuant to the debt covenants, the Company's net debt to adjusted EBITDA was approximately 2.1x as of December 31, 2019, down from 2.5x from year end 2018.
The Company announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.44 per share. The dividend will be payable on March 20, 2020 to stockholders of record as of March 4, 2020.
2020 Financial Outlook
The Company issued 2020 Adjusted EPS guidance of $3.50 to $3.75 (excludes the financial impact of the pending Tekra and Trient acquisition). This equates to $2.74 to $2.99 of GAAP EPS based on estimates of $0.53 per share of non-cash purchase accounting expenses related to AMS segment acquisitions and $0.23 per share of restructuring expenses related to cost reduction projects that are excluded from Adjusted EPS (see non-GAAP reconciliation table).
The Company expects 2020 capital expenditures and capitalized software spending of approximately $40 million to $45 million.
Tekra and Trient Acquisitions' Financial Impact
Given the anticipated timing of closing the Tekra and Trient acquisition before March 31, 2020, the Company expects the transaction would add approximately $0.10 to 2020 Adjusted EPS and approximately $0.20 to 2021 Adjusted EPS. As previously disclosed, Tekra and Trient have combined annual sales of approximately $100 million and a 16% EBITDA margin. The transaction price is $155 million, subject to certain customary closing adjustments. Please refer to the Company's February 18, 2020 press release for additional details.
SWM will hold a conference call to review fourth quarter 2019 results with investors and analysts at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, February 21, 2020. The earnings conference call will be simultaneously broadcast over the Internet at www.swmintl.com . To listen to the call, please go to the Company's website at least 15 minutes prior to the call to register and to download and install any necessary audio software. For those unable to listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available on the Company's website shortly after the call.
SWM will use a presentation in conjunction with its conference call. The presentation can be found on the Company's website under the Investor Relations section in advance of the earnings conference call. The presentation can also be accessed via the earnings conference call webcast.
SWM is a leading global performance materials company. Our highly engineered papers, films, nets and nonwovens are designed and manufactured using natural fibers and polymers for a variety of industries and applications. We provide our customers with critical components that enhance the performance of their products. End markets served include filtration, transportation, infrastructure and construction, medical, industrial, tobacco, energy, food services and home decor. SWM and its subsidiaries manufacture on four continents, conduct business in over 90 countries and employ approximately 3,400 people worldwide. For further information, please visit SWM's website at www.swmintl.com .
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other federal securities laws that are subject to the safe harbor created by such laws and other legal protections. Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, those regarding 2020 guidance and future performance, 2020 capital expenditures, future market and EPS trends, sales and volume trends, growth prospects, currency rates and trends and impact on EPS, future cash flows, effective tax rates, planned investments, anticipated timing, benefits and accretion of the Tekra and Trient acquisition, and other statements generally identified by words such as "believe," "expect," "intend," "guidance," "plan," "forecast," "potential," "anticipate," "confident," "project," "appear," "future," "should," "likely," "could," "may," "typically," "will," and similar words. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and certain risks, uncertainties (some of which are beyond the Company's control) and assumptions that may cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations as of the date of this release. These risks include, among other things, those set forth in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, which can be found at the SEC's website www.sec.gov , as well as the following factors:
-- Changes in sales or production volumes, pricing and/or manufacturing costs of Recon products, cigarette paper (including for LIP cigarettes), including any change by our customers in their tobacco and tobacco-related blends for their cigarettes, their target inventory levels and/or the overall demand for their products, new technologies such as e-cigarettes, inventory adjustments and rebalancings in our EP segment. Additionally, competition and changes in AMS end-market products due to changing customer demands;
-- Changes in the Chinese economy, including relating to the demand for reconstituted tobacco, premium cigarettes and netting and due to impact of tariffs;
-- Risks associated with the implementation of our strategic growth initiatives, including diversification, and the Company's understanding of, and entry into, new industries and technologies;
-- Changes in the source and intensity of competition in our commercial segments. We operate in highly competitive markets in which alternative supplies and technologies may attract our customers away from our products. In additional, our customers may, in some cases, produce for themselves the components that the Company sells to them for incorporation into their products, thus reducing or eliminating their purchases from us;
-- Our ability to attract and retain key personnel, due to our prior restructuring actions, the tobacco industry in which we operate or otherwise;
-- Weather conditions, including potential impacts, if any, from climate change, known and unknown, seasonality factors that affect the demand for virgin tobacco leaf and natural disasters or unusual weather events;
-- Seasonal or cyclical market and industry fluctuations which may result in reduced net sales and operating profits during certain periods;
-- Increases in commodity prices and lack of availability of such commodities, including energy, wood pulp and resins, which could impact the sales and profitability of our products;
-- Adverse changes in the oil, gas, automotive, construction and infrastructure, and mining sectors impacting key AMS segment customers;
-- Increases in operating costs due to inflation or otherwise, such as labor expense, compensation and benefits costs;
-- Employee retention and labor shortages;
-- Changes in employment, wage and hour laws and regulations in the U.S., France and elsewhere, including the loi de Securisation de l'emploi in France, unionization rule and regulations by the National Labor Relations Board in the U.S., equal pay initiatives, additional anti-discrimination rules or tests and different interpretations of exemptions from overtime laws;
-- Labor strikes, stoppages, disruptions or other disruptions at our facilities;
-- The impact of tariffs, and the imposition of any future additional tariffs and other trade barriers, and the effects of retaliatory trade measures;
-- Existing and future governmental regulation and the enforcement thereof, for example relating to the tobacco industry, taxation and the environment (including the impact thereof on our Chinese joint ventures);
-- New reports as to the effect of smoking on human health or the environment;
-- Changes in general economic, financial and credit conditions in the U.S., Europe, China and elsewhere, including the impact thereof on currency exchange rates (including any weakening of the Euro and Real) and on interest rates and the effects of the ongoing discussions between the U.K. and European Union to determine the terms of the U.K.'s withdrawal from the European Union;
-- Changes in the method pursuant to which LIBOR rates are determined and the potential phasing out of LIBOR after 2021;