Gates Industrial Corporation plc

Q1 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk04: Thank you for standing by. My name is Kayla Baker, and I will be the conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Gates Industrial Corporation first quarter 2023 earnings call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speaker's remarks, there will be a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question during this time, simply press star, followed by the number one on your telephone keypad. If you would like to withdraw your question, again, press star and the number one. I would now like to turn the call over to Vice President of Investor Relations, Rich Quas.
spk11: Good morning, and thank you for joining us on our first quarter 2023 earnings call. I'll briefly cover our non-GAAP and forward-looking language before passing the call over to our CEO, Ivo Jurek, who will be followed by Brooks Maller, our CFO. Before the market opened today, we published our first quarter 2023 results. A copy of the release is available on our website at Our call this morning is being webcast and is accompanied by a slide presentation. On this call, we will refer to certain non-GAAP financial measures that we believe are useful in evaluating our performance. Reconciliations of historical non-GAAP financial measures are included in our earnings release and the slide presentation each of which is available in the Investor Relations sections of our website. Please refer now to slide two of the presentation, which provides a reminder that our remarks will include forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks that could cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks include, among others, matters that we have described in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and in other filings we make with the SEC. We disclaim any obligation to update these forward-looking statements. We will be attending several investor conferences over the next month, including the Goldman Sachs Industrials and Materials Conference, the Wolf Global Transportation and Industrials Conference, and the KeyBank Industrials and Basic Materials Conference. We look forward to meeting with many of you. With that out of the way, I'll turn the call over to Eva.
spk03: Thank you, Rich. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining our call today. Let's start on slide three of the presentation. Our global teams delivered another solid quarter, and we posted Q1 revenues above the midpoint of our guidance in an operating environment that remains challenging, and while managing through a cybersecurity attack on the enterprise. As previously disclosed in an 8K filed in February, our company experienced a cybersecurity incident in early February, which led to a temporary shutdown of most of our operations globally. Our operating and corporate teams worked diligently and tirelessly to restart nearly all of our operations progressively over the course of 10 days. I am proud of the resiliency and successful response to such challenging circumstances. Our Q1 results have been adjusted for costs incurred during the period associated with the incident, and Brooks will outline these in more detail later in a call. We estimate the cybersecurity event impacted our revenue growth rate by approximately 150 basis points in a quarter. The incident primarily disrupted our ability to support North American and European replacement demand, which is book and ship business. We estimate North America experienced approximately two-thirds of the sales dislocation, and we do not contemplate recovery of this volume in the current quarter. Moving on to our results, our core growth was relatively balanced across the first fit and replacement channels. Geographically, our EMEA region registered another strong quarter of core growth supported by healthy OEM demand. China regional performance continued to recover as the quarter progressed after the most recent impact from COVID and modestly outpaced our initial expectations. We saw solid automotive replacement demand despite the disruptions to our output and service levels caused by the cybersecurity event. Vehicles in operation in the car park age both continue to increase in our major geographies, which should support steady demand dynamics for our business in the mid-term. Supply chain and logistics headwinds continue to slowly ease and our global teams remain diligently focused on satisfying customer demand. Our profitability in a quarter expanded meaningfully compared to the prior year. Our business teams executed well and our price-cost position was more favorable when compared to last year's first quarter. Overall, the supply chain is slowly improving and benefiting our operational performance. Our adjusted EBITDA margin rate was slightly ahead of our Q1 guidance midpoint, including the estimated $5 million expense impact from the cybersecurity incident during the quarter. Notably, we produced positive free cash flow this quarter. Our working capital use was well below last year's first quarter. We made progress normalizing our inventory position, which experienced a sizable decrease on a year-over-year basis. We have multiple initiatives underway to improve our inventory turns while also driving improvements to our service levels for our customers. When coupled with easing supply chain impediments, we believe that further progress will be made as the year evolves. We are encouraged by the strong seasonal start to our cash flow. Underscoring our commitment to driving shareholder value, we announced today that our Board of Directors has approved a $250 million share repurchase authorization. that expires in October 2024. The authorization provides us with added flexibility to enhance shareholder returns, and we intend to use it opportunistically. Please turn to slide four. First quarter total revenue was $898 million, and translated to core growth of 4% versus the prior year. Foreign currencies were a 350 basis points headwind year over year. As outlined, we estimate the cybersecurity incident represented approximately a 150 basis points headwind to our growth rate. We realized solid growth in most of our end markets led by a double digit growth in energy and personal mobility. than high single-digit expansion in off-highway. Diversified industrial growth moderated from recent quarterly trends. Adjusted EBITDA was $175 million, which yielded a 19.4% adjusted EBITDA margin, an increase of 180 basis points year-over-year. Our price-cost position was better relative to a year-ago quarter when commodity and energy inflation accelerated due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Gross margins increased year-over-year, helped by a better supply chain dynamics. Adjusted earnings per share was 25 cents. Our operating income was up materially year-over-year and contributed a 6 cents per share of earnings. The year-over-year comparison was affected by a higher effective tax rate and increased interest expense. On slide five, I'll review our segment level highlights. In the power transmission segment, we generated revenue of approximately $548 million in the first quarter, resulting in core growth slightly above 3%. FX was a 450 basis points year over year headwind. The segment experienced the strongest top line performance in energy, construction, and personal mobility. All these end markets experienced double digit core growth, which helped offset weaker demand in China. Diversified industrial revenues decreased mid to high single digits on a core basis in North America. where we saw the most impact from the cybersecurity incident. While China was our weakest region in a quarter, primarily as a result of the COVID pandemic disruptions, it came in ahead of our expectations and strengthened as we exited the quarter. Polymer supply availability continues to normalize, and we are obtaining sufficient supply to support customer demand. We had strong design wins in the quarter, particularly in personal mobility, which should support continued above-market growth on a go-forward basis. Our adjusted EBITDA margin showed nice recovery year-over-year, helped by a balanced price-cost position and improving supply chain. Our fluid power segment recorded revenues of $350 million with core growth of approximately 5% year-over-year, partially offset by 170 basis points negative pressure from currency. The energy, construction, and other replacement markets were the best growth areas in the quarter. We booked meaningful wins in agriculture and construction that will begin production in the second half of 2023. Fluid power segment EBITDA margin improved 160 basis points year-over-year, benefiting from a more stable operating environment compared to the prior year. I will now turn the call over to Brooks for additional details on our results.
spk09: Thank you, Ivo. Moving now to slide six and an overview of our core revenue performance by region. Similar to fourth quarter 2022, EMEA was the standout region growing revenues 10% on a constant currency basis. Personal mobility and energy were the strongest in markets, both growing well above 20%. Off-highway expanded at a mid-teens pace. Overall, our industrial end markets core growth versus prior year was in the high teens. First fit sales experienced moderately stronger growth than replacement in EMEA. North America revenues increased low single digits year over year on an organic basis. Off-highway and automotive generated solid growth in the quarter, while diversified industrial moderated compared to last year. China declined mid-single digits, but activity strengthened in the last half of the quarter and modestly exceeded our initial expectations. Auto replacement was a distinct bright spot in China. growing double digits. The relaxation of COVID restrictions in the country has fueled miles driven and an increase in garage visits driving higher demand. East Asia and South America both generated high single digit core growth year over year with solid contributions across most end markets. Overall, it was a good start to the year and demonstrated the resiliency and dedication of the organization. On slide 7, we provide an adjusted earnings per share walk from last year's first quarter. Operating performance contributed approximately $0.06 per share and includes a little over $0.01 per share of expense add-back related to the cybersecurity incident. The adjustment primarily reflects lost manufacturing production in addition to incremental SG&A costs. A higher effective tax rate drove a $0.06 earnings per share headwind, while higher interest expense was a $0.03 earnings per share drag compared to the prior year. The other bucket includes the benefit of a reduced share count and lower minority interest versus the prior year. We recorded a 10.7 million pre-tax charge or 8.5 million after tax related to a customer bankruptcy filing. The charge was added back in our adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings per share reconciliations. Slide eight has an update on our cash flow performance and balance sheet. Our free cash flow for the quarter was $38 million. Relative to the prior year period, working capital outflow was significantly lower, benefiting from a slowly stabilizing operating environment and improved inventory management. Our inventory turns increased modestly year-over-year. Our net leverage declined both year-over-year and sequentially. At the end of the first quarter, our net leverage ratio was 2.7 times compared to 3.2 times last year. We ended the quarter with the lowest net leverage ratio for a first quarter in our history as a publicly traded company. We remain highly focused on driving incremental improvements to our balance sheet and will be opportunistic with regards to taking actions to strengthen our position. As Ivo mentioned earlier, the Board approved a new $250 million share repurchase authorization, which enables us to be efficient in optimizing our capital allocation options as we deploy excess cash. Shifting to 2023 guidance on slide 9. We are reiterating our full year 2023 guidance, which includes 1 to 5% core revenue growth. adjusted EBITDA in the range of $700 to $750 million, and adjusted earnings per share of $1.13 to $1.23. Also, we still anticipate capital expenditures of approximately $100 million and free cash flow conversion of 100%. Please note that our guidance ranges do not incorporate any potential share repurchases. For the second quarter, we expect revenues to be in the range of $915 million to $945 million. We expect low single-digit core growth year over year, inclusive of meaningful growth in China as the business comps against the COVID-related shutdown that occurred during last year's second quarter. We estimate our adjusted EBITDA margin will expand approximately 50 to 100 basis points compared to the prior year. With that, I will turn it back over to Ivo.
spk03: Thank you, Brooks. On slide 10, I'll summarize a couple of key messages before taking your questions. First, I am pleased with the start to our year. Our results came in above the midpoint of our guidance. while navigating through a cybersecurity incident. The operating environment continues to heal, and our operating initiatives are gaining traction, both of which contributed to attractive margin expansion year over year. Additionally, we are intensely focused on our customer service metrics as the operating environment normalizes. Second, we continue to make good progress improving our balance sheet and enhancing our ability to return capital to shareholders. We delivered positive free cash flow in the first quarter, a very strong performance when considering our normal seasonality usually results in an outflow. We are intently focused on converting 100% of our adjusted net income to free cash flow in 2023 and in the midterm. On trailing four-quarter basis through March, our free cash flow conversion has measured 105%, which highlights our cash flow generation capabilities. Our net leverage ratio decreased by half a turn year over year and fell slightly from the fourth quarter level. Based on the strong cash flow performance in our business and improving balance sheet, Our board of directors recently approved a $250 million share repurchase authorization that will enable us to opportunistically return capital to shareholders. The authorization provides us with another tool to deliver attractive returns to our shareholder base. I'll finish by extending my deep appreciation to the 15,000 Global Gates Associates for their perseverance and dedication. With that, I'll now turn the call back over to the operator to begin the Q&A.
spk04: At this time, I'd like to remind everyone, in order to ask a question, please press star and the number one on your telephone keypad. And our first question comes from the line of Dean Dry with RBC Capital Markets. Your line is open.
spk10: Thank you. Good morning, everyone.
spk04: Good morning, Dean. Good morning.
spk10: Hey, just to put some closure on the malware incident, when you say you're not going to recoup the volume so was that just it was a chair loss during that period just you know why was why is there that expectation that you don't get it back or is it in future quarters hey Dean you know a lot of our businesses is book and ship and so there was this period of time where we you know were
spk09: where we couldn't take some orders, and that progressively got better as we went through the incident. And so our view is during that time we couldn't take orders, we probably aren't going to get those orders back. And so that piece of it we just don't think is going to come back to us because it's primarily that book and ship business where you take the order and you book it within, you know, I mean ship it within 48 to 72 hours.
spk10: Got it. All right. So that's helpful. And then second question is, You give us a sense of the inventory in the channel, how distributors are positioning, any stocking going on, anything there would be helpful. Thanks.
spk03: You know, the business is fairly balanced. Based on the point-of-sale data that we continue to very carefully look at and the related indicators, we believe that The inventories are consistent with the underlying demand still in a channel. But as you can imagine, we are also being very, very cautious and very mindful of what the market, you know, may do in the near-term future. I'll say that we did see some choppiness in the industrial demand, as I stated in my prepared remarks. That, I would say, is more isolated to kind of logistics and distribution and markets that have weakened somewhat. But in general, the inventory positions remain in a reasonably good shape. And as we have also indicated, we started to take nice chunks of our finished goods inventory down.
spk10: That's real helpful. And just lastly, it's not a question, just a comment that's very impressive on free cash flow this quarter. Thanks.
spk09: Thank you.
spk10: Thank you.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of Andy Kaplowitz with Citigroup. Your line is open.
spk01: Good morning, everyone. Good morning. Eva, on your last earnings call, you mentioned the availability of highly engineered polymers is improving, and it seems like you said that again in today's presentation. It seems like it did help your margin performance in power transmission, given significantly higher margin and lower sales. So with the understanding that maybe Q1 was your easiest comparison in terms of supply chain headwind, would you expect that more positive performance to continue, especially in PT, or are you just being conservative in terms of your supply chain expectations?
spk03: Yeah, thank you, Andy. I mean, you know, I've been pretty consistent and maybe very open about our struggles with the polymer supply and availability. And so, look, we're making really good progress. We have secured adequate amount of resins. That was a big headache, particularly in Q3 of last year. So while Q1 of last year was probably the easiest comp, but predominantly driven by inflation and that was brought in by the conflict in Russia in particular and obviously some of the other issues that we have all seen in the end of 20, we think that the polymer-based comp will be easier in Q3 than it was in Q1. I feel that we have what we need and we should progressively be able to continue to drive our margins up as we have guided in our prepared remarks.
spk01: And then Ivo or Brooks, can you just give us a little more color into what happened with the customer bankruptcy and I think it would be a good time to ask you about how tighter credit conditions are impacting your customers and their markets.
spk09: know that you would expect this to be a relatively isolated incident yeah so i mean you know look there's not a lot to say you know the customer uh you know toward the end of january you know filed for bankruptcy proceedings they've been going through the process as we learned more information um at some point it became um prudent for us to go ahead and and book a credit uh reserve um you know for for that particular customer. And we do think it's an isolated incident. We have a good methodology in terms of how we track the credit worthiness of our customers and how we look at bad debt and different things like that. This one was a particularly big automotive supplier, and so it happened fairly quickly. But we have a good process in place where we manage both our customers' credit worthiness and looking at our you know, receivables and managing our bad debt. So we feel pretty good about where we are. Appreciate the call, I guess.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of Julian Mitchell with Barclays. Your line is open.
spk05: Hi, good morning. Maybe just to try and drill into the sales outlook a bit more, you know, just wondered in the first quarter, the sort of price versus volume spread within sales. And, you know, when you think about volumes for the balance of the year, volume growth, you know, anything to call out sort of on a quarterly basis or seasonal basis. And are we still thinking it's sort of, you know, three-ish points of growth? three to four points of price tailwind for the year.
spk03: Julian, good morning. Yeah, I think you're thinking about it correctly. Look, I mean, in Q1, again, to restate, right, I mean, we had a full quarter of Russia and, you know, then in a comp, and then obviously we had COVID impact in China in Q1 of this year. So based upon what we see, the order intake, pricing and the underlying performance of the market, we believe that our outlook remains pretty prudent as we have described it in our guidance.
spk05: Thanks so much. And the price tailwind eases gradually or narrows gradually through the year. Is that the way to think about price in sales?
spk09: Yeah, I think that's the exact way to think about it. It will, you know, as inflation, you know, the rate of inflation starts to decrease. I don't think we're seeing deflation certainly yet, but the rate of increase in inflation starts to slow. That'll trickle through the price-cost relationship, and then that will slowly, you know, go down over the course of the year quarter by quarter.
spk05: Thanks very much. And then just on the balance sheet usage, it's encouraging to see the free cash improving a lot in the first quarter. So you do have much more optionality sort of looking ahead on cash usage. Maybe just talk us through sort of the aspiration here to try and get the sort of the free float, if you like, or change the structure of the shareholder base to a degree at Gates, the appeal of that. versus kind of M&A, because I'm sure you're chomping at the bit to get some M&A done. Maybe just how are we thinking about that, a sort of even distribution between the two, or just given the valuation of the stock, it has to be a sort of a buyback is a much higher return?
spk09: Hey, look, I think, first of all, we're really pleased with our cash conversion in Q1. you know, as we continue to drive improved profitability as the supply chain optimizes, you know, we feel good about our cash conversion for the year, and that's going to give us, you know, a significant amount of cash to deploy, right, from a cash optionality perspective or a capital deployment perspective. And so, look, we've got a midterm target of, you know, getting our leverage down to one and one and a half terms. That's going to come through a combination of of both gross debt pay down and improved profitability. And it's probably split pretty evenly. So we'll continue to drive that leverage down both ways. We want to remain flexible so that if an opportunity comes up for us to do some stock repurchases, I mean, that's going to be nicely accretive for the company. We want to have that optionality. And then we also want to make sure that we We have M&A in front of us because all those are good options. We continue to, you know, look at our pipeline of M&A opportunities. We continue to, you know, make sure we keep those in front of us in case something becomes actionable. But in terms of debt pay down or stock buyback, those are both great, you know, capital deployment opportunities. And I'll say further, you know, we're not going to let the cash sit on our balance sheet. And so, you know, in the short run, if we have more opportunities to pay debt down, reduce cash interest, help improve earnings per share, then we'll do that. And as we continue to generate cash, we'll look at other options.
spk03: Great. Thank you.
spk04: And your next question comes from the line of Joshua Prokowinski with Morgan Stanley. Your line is open.
spk12: Hey, good morning, guys. Good morning, Josh. Ivo, just wondering, as you guys look out across, you know, a pretty big, we'll call it mega project funnel out there that some folks in the broader industrial orbit are seeing, are you seeing, you know, an uptick in either the, you know, the OE business or, you know, folks in distribution who are trying to prep for those things or new design wins or anything, I guess, that would just, you know, give Gates access to, you know, the higher CapEx spending that we're seeing now and probably, you know, get further momentum into 24.
spk03: Yeah, I think that, you know, maybe I'll point out to the prepared remarks a little bit, Josh, too. I mean, we've talked about, you know, some nice wins in construction and off-highway equipment that, you know, we believe we will start production with the second half of this year. So I would say that, you know, some of our participation, biggest participation is going to be more in the infrastructure build-out as a first stage. And then as a second stage, as you start looking more out to the industrial automation, the equipment that actually is going into those facilities, we have a ton of products that are components of the in-production equipment that our products get used to. So we're actually reasonably confident that we're going to have a good participation as these projects go from an early stage to more latent stage of development. And so, you know, this could provide a nice benefit for our revenue generation kind of in the 24 and beyond that timeframe. So definitely something that we look forward to participating on. Outside of that, I wouldn't say that, you know, we see, you know, we don't have like an electrical equipment, so we don't, you know, we don't participate in the early stage of that build out of those megaprojects.
spk12: Got it. That's helpful. And then I guess if I just think about the balance sheet, you gave some helpful color already, but what's the level at which you feel like it's sort of inefficient to continue to pay down debt? Do we see a lot more sense of urgency at two times? Or where do you guys kind of want that to land before you really get more aggressive?
spk09: Yeah, well, look, I think that depends on the environment. I mean, clearly, you know, we're in a higher interest rate environment right now, and you have to look at our complete debt picture in terms of how much of it is fixed versus how much of it is variable in terms of what the paybacks are. And we've said before, you know, we want to get down to below $2 billion of gross debt, so that still leaves us ways to go in terms of paying that down. But we want to be balanced, too. And so, you know, we want to look at what's best for the shareholders. And, you know, certainly as we pay down debt and improve profitability, get closer to our goal, pay down more of the high-cost debt, you know, buying back stock may be a little bit more attractive for the shareholders. And then on the M&A side, you know, or EVO?
spk03: Yeah, look, I mean, I will start with, we really like our product portfolio and how we participate in the end markets where we participate. We believe that we have a very strong set of opportunities ahead of us to nicely continue to grow our enterprise and do it at, you know, very strong type of margins that we can deliver. But that being said, we don't feel any pressure to do an M&A. We want to continue to demonstrate that this business has a strong opportunity to have, frankly, a bulletproof balance sheet. And that is our primary focus. And when opportunities arise, there are lots of companies out there that we believe we would benefit or they would benefit from combination with Gates. when the opportunities arise for the right valuations, we'll be on a standby to look at some of those potential transactions. Great. Best of luck in the meantime. Thank you.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of Mike Halloran with Baird. Your line is open.
spk06: Good morning, everyone.
spk04: Morning.
spk06: So maybe some thoughts on, first, the demand side again. Just how you think about backlog, backlog normalization through the year. And I certainly heard your response to Josh's first question, I think, about how some of these larger projects will cadence and project wins will cadence in through the year. But any nuance by end market from an underlying demand perspective, positive or negative, that you're thinking about as we look at the back half of the year from a trend perspective?
spk03: Yeah, no, I think that's a very good question, Mike. So, look, I mean, book to bill remain above one. Let me start with that. You know, taking into account what we've gone through with the cyber incident, which frankly was, you know, a very challenging period of time for our teams here, our age backlog and our backlog remains way too elevated. And frankly, we do not anticipate that we're going to be able to start reducing it in a meaningful way until the second half of the year. Maybe additional color is more available. And I think I said it a couple of moments ago. We do see some sharpness, particularly in the industrial replacement business. But it remains in line with our expectations, particularly if the supply chain normalizes The leak times overall start normalizing already. We believe that you're going to see a little bit of that choppiness. But again, book the bill above one. The inventory levels in a channel remain very, very solid with the present level of demand. And so we do think that the business should continue to evolve around how we have viewed the year at the beginning of the start of this year, which is probably some slowdown in second half, particularly driven around some of the credit constraints and late in the cycle and so on and so forth. So we feel pretty good with what we see. I mean, I'll maybe give you a little more color in here. Our auto demand was very solid. global auto up kind of four, energy up very strong, you know, high teens, underlying market demand staying very strong, off-highway very solid at plus eight. Obviously, we talked about personal mobility still in high teens. And, you know, so the only, you know, kind of the only choppiness that we have seen was more in the diversified industrials, and it was down kind of mid-single-digit level. So all in, you know, pretty, pretty good, pretty solid, and kind of what we anticipated, but we're being very cautious and we're being mindful of the underlying macroeconomics that we are all operating in.
spk07: Very helpful. And then follow-up, when you think about the optimization programs you announced a couple quarters back, just an update on how things are progressing on that side.
spk03: Yeah, look, I mean, you know, our gross margins up quite nicely, obviously flowing through operating margin, very good leverage on incremental revenues. So, you know, that's, you know, that was pretty solid. And I would say that, you know, we were predominantly helped in the first quarter by, you know, less negative supply chain situation. And so our prime wheel, prime pump is getting, you know, is getting pumped up and You know, we think that we have been in a good place to continue to drive improvements that we have described. And, you know, we certainly believe that over the next couple of years, the growth margins should go up very nicely. And, you know, that, you know, the underlying improvement should filter through the profitability, as we have highlighted in the last earnings call.
spk06: Thanks, Ivo. Appreciate it. Thank you.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of Jamie Cook with Credit Suisse. Your line is open.
spk00: Hi, good morning, and congrats on a nice quarter. I guess just, I mean, most of the questions have been asked. I guess I would just say, you know, assuming that the macro does deteriorate, can you talk to some of the changes in your business model, either from a cost side or, you know, end market focus, how your business performs in a potential downturn, you know, this cycle versus previous ones? and any actions you're contemplating right now in the event that things do deteriorate. Thank you.
spk03: Good morning, Jamie. Thank you for the question. Look, I would start with that I think that we are a lot more cognizant of the macros. You know, we have been maybe, I think somebody told me that I've maybe been too negative about the underlying market conditions. But we're just trying to be pragmatic. As I said earlier, we started to take down our inventories levels quite nicely. So we are positioning ourselves to be in a situation where while we want to have a flexibility and we absolutely laser focused on servicing our customers more effectively, we also don't want to be caught up with significant amount of inventory in a potential scenario where the macros filtered through the underlying demand. So I would say that's probably change number one maybe from the previous cycle. Change number two, I think we have a lot more balanced portfolio where we believe that some of our end markets should have a pretty strong dynamics even in slowdown of the macroeconomic environment. So automotive replacement business is in a very good shape, and we believe that, you know, that should provide a nice cushion for us. You know, we have done lots of work with the change of our portfolio. I mean, obviously, we have taken our automotive OEM exposure down by nearly 50% since we became a public company. So we believe that there should be less exposure to a cyclical auto market. And we have fundamentally improved our footprint, where we have a capability to flex our muscle a little more effectively maybe than we have been able to do in a past down cycle. And lastly, we still have a ton of restructuring projects on the docket that we haven't really spoken about a lot since we said – sometimes late last year that we are in planning stages of executing those. And we will be coming out mid-year and providing an incremental update on our opportunities that we see with driving, putting ourselves to a position to lower our break-even point.
spk00: Great. Thanks. I appreciate it.
spk04: Again, if you would like to ask a question, press the star and the number one on your telephone keypad. Our next question comes from the line of Jerry Reddick with Goldman Sachs. You may begin.
spk02: Hi, this is Clay. I'm for Jerry. Just one quick one for me. Second quarter EBITDA margins are typically the high point for the year, looking at normal seasonality. Would you expect any deviation from this in the second half? Thank you.
spk09: Yeah. No, look, I think overall Q2 tends to be our peak year. I do think when you look back at 22, there is some choppiness in terms of when we started to see the Russian-Ukraine impact come through. If you remember, Q3 and Q4, we had the supply chain disruptions last year, and then last And then, you know, we expect the supply chain to get progressively better. So, you know, when you look at our first, you know, we're kind of thinking of it more first half versus second half. And we expect a pretty even split when you think about gross margin improvement through the year, pretty even from the first half to the second half. We do expect to have more variable comp in the second half of 2023. So that's going to, you know, when you look at a year-over-year perspective, that's going to be a headwind. from a comp perspective, but I would think of it that way in terms of the first half versus the second half.
spk02: Thanks. Yep.
spk04: And the next question comes from the line of Jeff Hammond with KeyBank. Your line is open.
spk08: Hey, guys. Just on, I guess, any changes within how you're thinking about fluid power versus PT growth, and just confirm, I jumped on a little late. where all the cybersecurity revenue shortfall hit.
spk03: Yeah, good morning, Jeff. We believe that we still have a little more opportunity for recovering power transmission. Power transmission was more impacted in the second half of last year vis-a-vis the polymer shortages that we have discussed. So we think that the opportunity remains there to to continue to perform nicely in the second half. And on your first question, most of our cybersecurity impact was realized in North America and Europe, and two-thirds of about $15 million that we have highlighted were impacted in the North America business, predominantly in the replacement side of our business.
spk08: Okay. And then, um, this kind of industrial replacement choppiness, can we chalk that all up to D stock or is there, you know, some certain end markets or, or pockets that, you know, feels like, you know, some real demand weakness.
spk03: Yeah. You know, I, I think I said it earlier, Jeff, um, um, logistics and distribution, uh, equipment, uh, has been, uh, weaker. Uh, I mean, I think that that's, you know, that's pretty notable. But I would also say that, you know, the cybersecurity impact, you know, touched North America and Europe in particular. So we don't really see a lot of destocking at this point in time. We feel pretty good about the inventories in our channel being, you know, nicely balanced. And, you know, outside of that, you know, maybe that warehousing equipment side of the business, I would say that the rest of it remains pretty, you know, Pretty robust.
spk08: Okay. Thanks a lot, Ivo. Thank you.
spk04: And there are no further questions at this time. Rich Quas, I'll turn the call back over to you.
spk11: Thank you, everyone, for joining our first quarter conference call. If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to reach out to myself. Thanks again. Have a great day.
spk04: And this concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.

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