Exchange Income Corporation

Q1 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk07: corporation's conference call to discuss the financial results for the three-month period ending March 31st, 2023. The corporation's results, including the MD&A and financial statements, were issued on May 9th, 2023 and are currently available via the company's website or on CDAR. Before turning the call over to management, Listeners are cautioned that today's presentation and the responses to questions may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbour provisions of Canadian provincial securities laws. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements. Certain material factors or assumptions are applied in making forward-looking statements and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. For additional information about factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from expectations, and about material factors or assumptions applied in making forward-looking statements, please consult the MD&A for this quarter, the Risk Factors section of the Annual Information Form, and EIC's other filings with Canadian securities regulators. Except as required by Canadian securities law, EIC does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements. Such statements speak only as of the date they are made. Listeners are also reminded that today's call is being recorded and broadcast live via the Internet for the benefit of individual shareholders, analysts, and other interested parties. I would now like to turn the call over to the CEO of Exchange Income Corporation, Mike Pyle. Please go ahead, sir.
spk12: Thank you, operator. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us on today's call. With me today is Richard Waurick, our CFO, and Carmel Peter, our president. Yesterday, we released our first quarter financial results for 2023. And I'm excited to have this opportunity to share with you some of our highlights from the quarter and pleased to report that even though in both of our operating segments, the first quarter is always our slowest seasonally, EIC exceeded all our internal financial targets while at the same time executing on opportunities for future growth. This is particularly noteworthy given the volatility in the macroeconomic environment, high inflation, interest rate increases and ongoing geopolitical tensions. Despite these challenges, we stayed focused on executing our strategy. In terms of our financial results, because of deliberate choices and investments we have made in our past, we have generated first quarter records in revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow. Revenue increased by 32% to $527 million. Adjusted EBITDA increased by 45% to $97 million. Free cash flow increased by 26% to $60 million. Adjusted net earnings were $12 million or $0.27 per share versus $8 million or $0.20 per share last year. On other financial metrics compared to the same period last year, and given the first quarter is our slowest seasonally, we're in line with our expectations. Free cash flow, thus maintenance capital expenditures, was essentially unchanged at $19 million, while on a per share basis it declined nominally to $0.44 as a result of a more normal seasonality in our maintenance capital expenditures compared to the COVID-affected results of the first quarter of last year. Our payout ratio on a free cash flow as maintenance capital expenditure basis improved modestly from 58% to 58% from 59%. You've heard me say many times before, our success is a result of our culture, the power of strategy, and our consistent execution. Our record results in the first quarter proved that once again. Our environmental access solutions business was a significant contributor to the results. as there was no comparable amount in the previous year. However, much like our aviation operations, their performance is impacted by seasonality, with the third quarter being the strongest and the first being the softest. Passenger volumes in our essential air services businesses returned to be more in line with pre-pandemic levels and replaced the $11 million of government subsidies recorded in the same period last year. Cargo and medevac demand remained strong. Charter demand also remained strong, but a tight supply of aircraft and crew limited our ability to capitalize on all charter opportunities this quarter. Our aerospace business benefited from a full quarter of operations within our Netherlands contract. Our precision manufacturing and engineering operations continued to experience strong demand for their product. and our multi-story window solutions business continues to recover from pandemic disruptions with production normalizing and strong demand. While our aircraft sales and leasing business did not generate the same level of large asset sales as they did in the same period last year, demand for aircraft parts and leasing remained consistent with the prior period. Large sales of assets and aircraft are always variable period to period, and have a bigger impact on our revenue than they do on our earnings. Managing in the short term is only part of our strategy. It is our focus on the long term that drives growth in future quarters. It is woven into our DNA. That's why in the first quarter of this year, we also made meaningful and disciplined investments into new acquisitions and organic growth in both our segments. In March, we announced the acquisition of BV Glazing Systems, and we're pleased to officially close the transaction early this month after receiving approval from the Canadian Competition Bureau. BV Glazing, located in Ontario, complements our existing investments in our multi-story window solutions business. Based on their historical profitability and strong order book, the transaction is immediately accretive to our per share metrics. In addition to the accretiveness to BV Glazing to our results, It represents the most attractive prospect in our history for creating efficiencies within our existing businesses. Complementary product offerings such as curtain wall and railings in the BV glazing business plus installation capabilities in our existing Quest business offer revenue expansion potential. The expectation of greater purchasing power and rationalization of production facilities will facilitate growth and improve margins. The strong combined order book of approximately $1 billion and positive industry outlook means hiring more people to tackle the tremendous opportunities. The impressive management team of BV Glazing led by Mike, who will stay on and run the business, was a critical element of our due diligence. Following our BV Glazing announcement in March, we later announced the acquisition of Hanson Industries. We have attempted to grow our precision manufacturing business by acquisition in the lower mainland of British Columbia, specifically for a prolonged period, but have been unable to uncover companies with unique market niches and strong defensible margins until we were introduced to Hanson. Hanson meets all of our acquisition requirements and will accretively grow our operations on a standalone basis The addition of a second operation in BC provides important capacity for both companies in times where demand exceeds their standalone capacity. Amit, the president of Hanson, is a proven leader who will continue to lead our team, killing the team under our ownership. Yesterday, we were also extremely pleased to announce two significant organic growth opportunities that will provide profitable growth for years to come. First, was the engagement of the force multiplier FMX aircraft in our aerospace business. This contract will fully deploy the aircraft for 18 months, as opposed to the short-term solution that was designed to deliver. This means double the utilization we would normally expect on an annual basis. In addition to approved utilization, it represents the second European contract win for our aerospace business, which validates our collective capabilities. our collective capabilities as a differentiator in the marketplace and is a testament to our credibility on the world stage. Secondly, we are thrilled to be in a position to announce we have invested in the purchase of what will be the only civilian-owned full-motion electronic King Air training simulator in Canada. Currently, our pilots must travel to third-party locations in the United States for simulator training. Having our own simulator will not only generate an accretive financial return, it will also increase operating flexibility because we will not have to rely on third party providers for limited training spots. It will increase our pilot training capacity in the industry faced with pilot shortage. It will provide new revenue opportunities for training pilots from other airlines within Canada as we will not fully utilize the simulator's capacity. It will eliminate fuel burn while gaining all of the experience to make our fleet one of the safest in the world's skies. And finally, we'll reduce our carbon footprint by significantly reducing fuel burn and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions for both the training itself and the travel training in the United States. Fundamental to our strategy is making a balance sheet to ensure we have capital on hand to take advantage of investment opportunities when they arise. While the markets have remained turbulent in 2023, we were successful in upsizing and extending our credit facility and fixing our interest rate exposure, which positions us well to execute on investment opportunities on a go-forward basis. Richard will detail this in his remarks. We're excited about our future and intend to keep on doing what we are doing because it works. The diversification of our manufacturing segment over the past 18 months, the new investments in acquisitions and organic growth from new contract wins, and the discipline in which we've managed our balance sheet, we are in a position to revise our guidance from the previous range of $510 million to $540 million to our new guidance of 540 to 570 million. And while we are not yet prepared to provide formal guidance for 2024, we believe it is likely that we will hit the $600 million threshold in adjusted EBITDA based on current performance levels and future growth. The consistent execution of our strategy continues to deliver for all our shareholders, as evidenced in our results. We're excited to integrate our new investments into our operations and report the performance in future quarters. I will now have the call off to Richard, who will detail our first quarter results.
spk09: Thank you, Mike, and good morning, everyone. During the first quarter, our subsidiaries delivered results that were higher than our internal expectations, resulting in several first quarter records in 2023. Adjusted EBITDA was $97 million, an increase of 45% over the prior period. Both the aerospace and aviation segment and the manufacturing segment drove this increase as adjusted EBITDA increased by 17% and 195% respectively in each segment. Essential Air Services increased adjusted EBITDA by 30% despite not receiving any government subsidies in 2023 as compared to $11 million in the prior period. All revenue streams within Essential Air Services grew over the prior period. The most material increase was passenger revenue as passenger levels returned to pre-COVID levels. Within aerospace, adjusted EBITDA increased primarily due to the contribution from the deployment of the corporation's ISR assets for the Netherlands Coast Guard contract. This is the first quarter of full deployment of these assets on this contract. Within aircraft sales and leasing, adjusted EBITDA declined from the prior period. The prior period experienced a much higher level of large asset sales than we have experienced historically as airlines around the world had to start making purchases that they had put off during the pandemic to prepare their fleets for summer 2022 travel. The current period was strong relative to what would be considered normal, but it was lower than the prior period. Part sales remained strong and lease revenues increased slightly over the prior period. In the manufacturing segment, the increase was primarily driven by the acquisition of Northern Met in the second quarter of 2022. as there was no comparative in Q1 2022, but all business lines within the segment experienced increases over the prior period. Within multi-story window solutions, adjusted EBITDA increased over the prior period as projects that were bid in previous periods included adjustments for higher input costs and are starting to be manufactured for customers. We expect continued improvement over the remainder of 2023. With precision manufacturing and engineering, adjusted EBITDA increased by 32%. Investments made in prior periods to expand capacity and the benefits of the integration of token acquisitions completed in 2021 were the main contributors to the increase. Net earnings and adjusted net earnings increased by 83% and 47%, respectively, an increase of and increased by 60% and 35%, respectively, on a per share basis. Our per share results were impacted by a 10% increase in the shares outstanding, driven by our common share offering in the third quarter of 2022, and shares issued as part of the purchase consideration on our 2022 acquisitions. The increase in adjusted EBITDA, which drove the increase in net earnings and adjusted net earnings, was partially offset primarily by two items, increased interest costs and depreciation on capital assets. Interest costs increased over the prior period in lockstep, with increased benchmark borrowing rates over the last 12 months. In addition, increased amounts outstanding due to investments made over the last 12 months increased interest costs. Depreciation on capital assets increased for two reasons. First, the acquisition of Northern Matt in the second quarter of 2022 contributed to the increase in 2023. Second, investments made to increase the size of our fleet and increased flying of that fleet also resulted in higher depreciations. Other costs associated with our acquisition activity, notably intangible asset amortization, also increased over the prior period. Amortization of intangible assets is a non-cash expense, and these assets are not replaced on an ongoing basis when they are set up as part of the purchase price allocation for accounting purposes, and as such are excluded from our adjusted debt earnings. Re-cash flow that's maintenance capital expenditures was flat to last year as a more normal seasonal cadence to our capital expenditures offset and increase re-cash flow. Generally, our essential air services complete the bulk of their maintenance where possible in the first part of the year when they are less busy. In the prior year, the onset of the Omicron variant pushed some of these expenditures to later in the year, meaning that Q1 of 2022 was abnormally low compared to what we would have expected absent the impact of the Omicron variant. Growth capital expenditures were focused in our essential air services and our aircraft and engine lease portfolio. In essential air service, investments were made in additional aircraft, the construction of a new hangar to support growth in our essential air services, and deposits made on a King Air simulator. Leasing portfolio investments were made in assets as we increase our fleet to position our operations to respond to customer demand as the narrow body regional jet marketplace continues its recovery from the impact of the worldwide pilot shortage. During the first quarter, as we messaged in the fourth quarter of 2022, we had a material outflow from working capital, which was driven by a receivable that was collected in the fourth quarter of 2022. but the corresponding payable was not due until January of 2023. Our senior leverage ratio at the end of the quarter remains consistent with our historical targets at 2.59 times. As our adjusted EBITDA over the remainder of the year aligns with the guidance we have provided to the market, we expect this will continue to decline towards the end of the year. Our leverage ratio, when including our convertible ventures, continues to decline as the ventures have not increased at the same rate as our adjusted EBITDA over the last 18 months. Historically, our convertible debentures have represented one times of adjusted EBITDA within our capital structure, whereas now the debentures represent approximately three-quarters of a turn of adjusted EBITDA off of the new 2023 guidance using the midpoint. In addition, there are two series of convertible debentures that are now in the money, and we have started to see a limited amount of these convert into equities. Some soon to the end of the quarter, we extended our credit facility to May 9th, 2027 and increased its size from approximately $1.75 billion to approximately $2 billion. Consistent with our past practice of always ensuring we have capital available for what is required for investment, we took advantage of our optional annual renewal with our syndicative lenders to increase the size of the facility. This will provide the liquidity required as we are seeing some very exciting growth opportunities, both through acquisition and organic growth. The terms of the facility are consistent with our previous facility, and we added one new American lender to the syndicate. Despite an elevated rate environment putting pressure on banks' funding costs, we were able to complete the extension and upsize with no change in pricing. During the first quarter, the corporation fixed $350 million of credit facility debt at a rate below floating rates for a period of approximately three years. The inversion in the yield curve in mid-January provided an opportunity to fix debt that was invested through acquisition and growth investments in the prior year. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, in early April, we fixed $140 million of credit facility debt at a rate below floating rates for a period of three years. As with our Canadian dollar swap, there was significant inversion in the yield curve at the time that made fixing the rates attractive. Both of these transactions provide us with certainty on our cost of capital, and with previous swap transactions and our convertible ventures both also having fixed rates, Approximately two-thirds of our debt now has a fixed rate. That concludes my review of our financial results. I will now turn the call over to Carmel.
spk08: Thank you, Rich. Our strong financial performance in Q1 coupled with the acquisition activities in the first part of 2023 and new organic contract awards has set the stage for another year of solid growth for EIC and further solidified the foundation for 2024. Before we talk about the impact that those items will have on our outlook for the year, let me first discuss our operations for Q2, which I will do in relation to how we are now discussing our operations, being through the six business lines in which our operations are included. Starting with the Aerospace Nation segment, our essential air service business will see increased profitability over Q2 2022, driven primarily by increased passenger traffic in all regions. Cargo will remain relatively flat compared to last year. Charters will continue to be hampered by tight aircraft availability, but demand remains strong, in particular with increased mining and exploration activity. We have three aircraft coming online in Q3, which will allow us to capture some of these additional opportunities. Medevac will see also year-over-year growth, albeit more modest. from trauma flight, which was not fully operational until later in 2022, and an expansion in scope of work for the government of Nunavut with increased crewing out of Ottawa and Winnipeg. All of our air operators are experiencing increased costs from raising labor costs driven by industry-wide shortages for pilots, aircraft mechanics, and medical personnel. We have completed or are in the process of negotiating many of our collective bargaining agreements that will provide security for our employees and stability for our operations. The increase in labor costs will impact margins until such time as we are able to pass through these costs onto our customers. The aerospace line business will see also an increase year over year with the benefit of its Netherlands operations, which did not go into service until Q4 of 2022. full deployment of force multiplier for the back half of Q2 pursuant to its 18-month ISR contract with an allied European government, higher tempo flying in the UAE and Curaçao, and some additional training contracts for the U.S. Department of Defense. The aircraft sales and leasing business will see marginal growth year over year as Q2 2022 has the highest ever aircraft and engine sales, which will be materially lower in Q2 2023. Parts sales, although still strong, are being impeded by the lack of available MRO slots for teardowns. This will be offset by an increase in leasing revenue over last year. We are encouraged by the trend of our leasing revenues, but the pace is slower than expected as pilot charges continue to persist and constrain the speed of the regional narrow-body aircraft recovery. The environmental access solutions business will benefit from a full quarter of earnings from Northern Mat compared to two months in Q2 2022. However, Northern Mat's performance in Q2 2022 needs to be put in perspective as it benefited from ideal winter-spring transition conditions, peak of the market pricing, and lack of mat supply from competitors. Q2 2023 market conditions are good but not as ideal. Going into Q2, large portions of Northern Matts operating regions went from frozen terrain conditions straight to road bans as temperatures rose, limiting Northern Matts rental and operational buildup in Q2. Also declining matting lumber prices and an increase in competitor mat supply will also limit environmental access solutions year over year growth. However, to be clear, Northern Matts performance in Q2 is still expected to materially exceed the performance metrics on which it was acquired. The ongoing wildfires in northern Alberta have not yet, but depending on their path of destruction, could impact our customers or access to our customers in that region and therefore impede in the short term our operations in northern Alberta. If this does occur, there could be upside in later quarters as those customers look to replace mats and rebuild any damaged infrastructures. The multi-storey window solutions business will benefit from the acquisition of BB Glazing on May 1st, as well as increasing margins later in Q2 from higher pricing Quest took to market over a year ago to address the substantially higher input cost. Overall demand for product remains strong, but in the U.S. market, the time from quote to project contract has elongated. The Canadian market, however, is particularly experiencing high levels of activity. The precision manufacturing engineering business will experience organic growth year over year, as well as benefit from the acquisition of Hanson, which was completed at the beginning of April. The organic growth is from increased demand in our wireline and wireless construction and services business, as well as in precision manufacturing, in particular for the defense sector. With respect to maintenance tasks, capital expenditures in Q2, we anticipate materially higher levels than in Q2 of 2022 for several reasons. First, the first part of Q2 2022 was impacted by Omicron variant, which slowed activity and forced maintenance capital expenditures into subsequent quarters. Secondly, our air operators are expecting increased flying hours relative to Q2 2022, leading to increased maintenance capex. Thirdly, labour shortages and supply chain issues have driven maintenance capital expenses higher. And lastly, we have increased maintenance capex due to recent acquisitions for Hanson BB as well as a full quarter for Northern Map. Growth investments for the aerospace and aviation segment in Q2 were focused on the upgrade of the surveillance aircraft for the renewed Curacao contract, additional aircraft capacity to capture increased charter demand, and the start of the construction of the Gary Fillman Indigenous Terminal, which will align our terminal capacity to the growth of the communities we serve. Also, in Q2, investments will be made to modify one of our Beach 1900 aircraft to provide for scheduled medevac flights for Nova Scotia Health. We currently have a seven-year contract with Nova Scotia Health, which is serviced by One King Air. The addition of the 1900 aircraft is an increase in the scope of the service under that contract and will commence in Q3. With the current size of our King Air fleet and the anticipated continued growth in this platform, EAC will be one of the largest King Air operators in the world. The scope of operations led to EAC's economic and strategic decision to enter into a contract to purchase a full motion simulator to support all of our King Air operators and eliminate the cost of sending our pilots to the U.S. for training. The simulator is expected to take several quarters to complete and install. The simulator not only provides more training time for pilots, but also significantly reduces fuel burn and corresponding GHG emissions for both training and travel to training, thus reducing our carbon footprint. Growth investments for manufacturing segment will be minimal, with the investment concentrated on the expansion of our environmental access solutions mat rental fleet and rolling stock, and the procurement of some new equipment in the precision manufacturing and engineering solutions business to meet increased customer demand. As I look to the balance of 2023, there are obviously economic challenges to manage through, including persistent higher interest rates, inflation rates, labor shortages, and increased costs. But the investments we have made in the past have paved the way for continued success for the balance of 2023. With the tailwinds of strong performance in Q1 to acquisitions in Q2 and organic growth opportunities, we are increasing our 2023 adjusted EBITDA guidance from 510 to 540 million to between 540 to 570 million. Thank you for your time this morning. We would now like to open the call for questions. Operator?
spk07: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, we will now begin the question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question, please press star followed by the number 1 on your telephone keypad. If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw from the queue, please press star followed by the number 2. And if you are using a speakerphone, please lift your handset before pressing any keys. One moment please for your first question. Your first question comes from Steve Hansen at Raymond James. Please go ahead. Good morning, Dave.
spk11: Good morning. Mike, the new force multiplier contract appears to be another important win in Europe for that segment. It also is one of the longest duration contracts I think you've discussed thus far. Can you maybe give us a sense for what that means for the program longer term and whether this opens up additional opportunities in that region?
spk12: Yeah, we are really excited about the ability to put FMX out on a prolonged basis. Many of you will recall we built FMX as an opportunity to respond to hotspots in the world where there was a need for an immediate surveillance aircraft, but nobody has them staffed and available and ready to go. It's something that always needs to be built. And so we built this, and during COVID, quite frankly, it's been less busy than it had been before, simply because governments are focused in other areas. With ongoing immigration issues, governments around the world, but in Europe in particular, are very interested in patrolling their waters. And one of the governments approached us and said, we need an immediate solution. And by immediate, we're going to stand up that operation in a matter of a few weeks. And I'm not just getting the plane there. We're going to have bases, staff, everything to fly that aircraft more hours than we've ever flown it on a monthly basis. In fact, the government would like us to fly beyond the capacity we think it could fly. So we're going to be pushing the limits of our team to keep it maintained and in the air. But what's unique about that is that we only just signed our first or delivered our first contract in the Netherlands. This is a second opportunity. And we see opportunities like this continuing to pop up. It's highly likely that the government that we're doing this for will follow up this 18-month contract with a long-term RFP. And while we would have to win such an RFP, I think we're in a good position we at least have a head start because we're working for them already. And so I think it just speaks well to PAL's reputation in the world and credibility in solving ISR maritime surveillance issues.
spk08: Yeah, and Steve, what I would add is it really showcases the capability of force multiplier. I think a lot of times we think of it as an object, it's an aircraft, but it's really a full service. And for our folks to stand up in just a matter of weeks the aircraft to get it ready for the type of deployment that it's going on, to do the necessary modifications, and to quickly adapt our technology on the aircraft to suit the government, the customer that we're servicing is quite remarkable. And we're also excited about the cart nav system, which you've heard us talk about before, because it is on other surveillance technology that this government has. So we'll be very integrated with them. And I think it just showcases our international capabilities. And I think that'll lead to a lot of additional opportunities in the future.
spk12: One last thing before we leave this topic. We're not being cute or vague about who it's for. The government we signed the contract with allowed us to announce it because it's our AGM later today. But they will be making their own announcement very shortly. And it will become public who this is for. But we are at the request of our customer, letting them announce that.
spk11: Okay, that's great. That's good color. Thank you. Just maybe one follow up and I'll jump back in the queue is around the Windows solutions business. I'm still getting used to all these new names. Just wanted to make sure I'm understanding it properly. The backlog there has been deep for some time. I think we all know that. But there has been challenges. You referenced the ability to ramp up here through the balance of the year. I'm trying to get a sense for the cadence at which you see that production schedule and moving and how we should think about the economics for that business that goes forward. I think you've also described it in the past as one of your most underutilized businesses with the most upside. So just some sort of sense for how we expect the balance of the year to play out would be helpful. Thanks.
spk12: Well, I think you see two things. We've already seen the revenue start to increase as our production is normalizing. And so you'll see that continue to go through the year and quite frankly into next year. We've got more and more projects. The farther we go, the deeper the order book is. But in addition to that, the returns go not only with the volume, but the gross margins are better because they were priced at higher input prices. So we have better gross margins. And then quite frankly, the factory is more efficient now. because it's running more than it has been in the past. And one of the best indicators of that is we're in the midst of setting up a second shift in Dallas for the first time since we built that factory. And for those of you who have had the opportunity to see it, it really is a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. And so the more product we can run through there, the better. It really wasn't part of your question, but I'm going to add something else because it's related to this as it relates to BV. They have a strong order book, and you'll see that instantaneously as they come into Q2 with the May 1 closing. But you're going to see significant synergy opportunities as those companies are put together. Revenue cross-selling on railings and curtain wall and installation where they can help each other out. And then consolidating our manufacturing. We have five or six facilities in southern Ontario. We'll shrink that down materially and have more Dallas-like production. Now, that stuff's obviously not going to happen overnight. We'll see that over ensuing quarters. But I think the... We're going to be talking about this quarterly for the next three, four, five quarters as we start to see the benefits of the higher contracts, the increased demand, and then following that, the synergies of the two operations.
spk07: Your next question comes from Matthew Lee at Canaccord. Please go ahead.
spk16: Good morning, Matt. Hey, morning. Hey, morning. Thanks for taking my question and congrats on the result. I just maybe want to start, but I'm... ...the manufacturing side. You know, based on my calc, it looks like you did high single-digit organic revenue in the business. Can you maybe break down what's driving that and if we should expect that rate of growth to kind of continue throughout the year, even though noted Matt as being some rate keys?
spk12: Yeah, I mean, we need to talk about Northern MAT separately from the precision manufacturing stuff we do. Your calc on the high single digits is pretty close to bang on. It's driven by really by two things, strong demand and passing on some of the costs of increased products like the raw materials in there. But virtually every one of our businesses has record or near record order books. So in that part of our business, it's easier to forecast and, quite frankly, pretty positive because the demand across the board, we don't have a lot of direct-to-retail kind of products we're producing. So the discussions and rumors of recession continue. We really don't see having a big impact there. So I think continued growth of the type you're talking about is a reasonable estimate. As it relates to Northern Mat, they performed at a rate very close to last year. Well, we didn't know the business, but last year was clearly the best in Northern Mat's business. Carmel mentioned during the call that We don't anticipate, and we've said all along that last year was kind of a perfect storm of good things. Having said that, this year remains strong. Demand is good. We have a lot of mats on rent. Price may come down somewhat as our competitors have more supply, but demand remains strong. The results coming out of Northern Matter are going to remain far higher than what we bought the company off of. but I wouldn't expect them to match 2022 levels either.
spk16: Okay. That's fair. And then, and then maybe when we think about M&A, you know, you've done a couple of deals with you already and both are kind of strategic with assets that you already own. Is that the focus for 2023? Are you still willing to go out there and acquire something in a completely different vertical if the return and operational metrics met your requirements?
spk12: If we stumbled on, like I would never not buy another Northern Matter or another Quest or another regional one where we entered into new verticals. But I think the first part of your question is pretty bang on. The stuff we've got in our funnel right now tends to be very related, whether it's a geographic expansion of an existing business, a competitor, or vertical integration opportunities. I think that's mostly what we're seeing. And the other thing is we've talk a lot about organic growth being different than acquisitions. But in some ways, I really think they're the same. When we land a big contract that requires an investment, it's very similar to an acquisition from our own internal thought process. And so I think in addition to acquisitions, we're as confident as we've been, I think, that we're going to see some significant organic growth opportunities over the next zero to nine months.
spk08: Yeah. And the other thing is when we look at capital, it's not like we have a set amount of capital that we look to allocate. We deploy capital where there's going to be a creative growth to our shareholders. So whether that opportunity is organic, as Mike mentioned, or through acquisition, if it makes sense, if it's a creative, it meets our criteria, you know, we do it. And that's always been what we've done in the past and we'll continue to do in the future.
spk12: That's what's enabled us to go from just over $300 million in EBITDA in 2021 to approaching or exceeding $600 million next year.
spk04: All right, thanks. Super helpful.
spk07: Your next question comes from James McGarrigle at RBC Capital Markets. Please go ahead.
spk10: Morning, James. Hey, good morning, Mike, and thanks for taking my question here. So I had a quick housekeeping question on that initial 2024 guide. So I just wanted to confirm that that would only include completed M&A, your current growth capex plans for the year. I assume a little bit of a recovery at question regional one. And I wanted to confirm that that wouldn't include yet to be completed M&A and any potential contract wins that might be upcoming.
spk12: Have you been reading my internal documents? Yeah, that's exactly right, James.
spk10: Awesome. Thank you very much. And just on Northern, Matt, I know you talked a little bit about pricing coming off. Things could slow a little bit into 2023. But that said, how are you and your team kind of looking at the outlook longer term? And you've talked about some of the strategic initiatives planned in Central and Eastern Canada. If you could just give us a quick update on those, please.
spk12: Sure. Sure. Nothing has changed about our view of this business. We view it as an environmental best practice. We think the move to the electrification of the economy is going to create long-term demand for new distribution of electrical power. Distribution of electrical power is a big user of our services. And so we are looking for opportunities to expand our offerings and expand our coverage, which likely means acquisitions. But we talk a lot in our stuff about being disciplined. And it's interesting, Darren and his team, when we've been looking at opportunities, are of exactly the same culture. They're regularly saying, oh, that one's not good enough. That's not the way we want to enter a marketplace or that's not a fair price for that business. And so we've probably taken a little longer to take our next step in that business. But don't read that as a lack of interest. It's really just being selective on who our next step is going to be with. As it relates to eastern Canada, in the current marketplace, as we speak today, we are more western-centric than we were a year ago. And that would be because the oil and gas development is stronger than it was Our pipeline business remains very strong, and we completed a major job in the hydrospace in Ontario last year. We're busy working on a couple of new projects that we would expect to see, whether it's later this year or into 2024, which will, again, invigorate our eastern Canadian marketplace. So in terms of a long-term view, nothing has really changed about our geographic balance, but in terms of the quarter-to-quarter cadence, I think we probably have more of our business in Western Canada than we would have had, say, 12 months ago.
spk10: I appreciate the color. And one more for me before I turn the line over. Corus Aviation had recently announced some plans to move into some adjacent businesses. Any risk that your team sees to your business model? If you can just share any color from internal conversations that you and the team have been having. Spark, turn it over. Congrats on another good quarter.
spk12: Thank you very much. I remember growing up, my mom always said that when someone copies you, that's the most sincere form of flattery. So the fact that Chorus is talking about moving into a more EIC-like segment is, I think, positive. Where we are, we're really good at what we do. We're a medevac leader. Dave White and the team, what we do at Nunavut, what our team does in BC. And we can't wait for the government to let us know who won that contract. We believe it's imminent. So I suspect you'll see an announcement on that soon. And we remain cautiously optimistic. We're looking forward to that. And so where we are... I don't think we're particularly vulnerable to someone deciding they want to start flying in those areas. Same thing with maritime surveillance. It's a great marketplace, but the amount of time that's gone into designing the aircraft we have and the expertise we have, it would be very difficult, absent an acquisition, to quickly become a player in those spaces. Corus is a well-run company and they generate free cash flow. So if they want to move into something, I'm sure... they'll be able to do it. I mean, they bought Voyager a number of years ago in North Bay and that was a company we were interested in and it's a great company. So I think there's room for more than one player in, in niche aviation. I don't want to sound overconfident, but I think if they decide that's what they want to do, there's lots of room for both of us in this.
spk08: Yeah. And the other comment, I mean, we get competitors, you know, from time to time, always in our, our markets. And we've got typically long-term contracts, great relations with our customers, a high level of service, and significant experience, and great management teams. So that's a phenomenal combination that makes us very difficult to compete with. And we have competed with Chorus on certain contracts in the past and been successful. And You know, if there's more, we're happy to have them come on and compete with them. We certainly have a lot of faith in what we've put together.
spk07: Your next question comes from Cameron Dirksen at National Bank Financial.
spk03: Please go ahead.
spk04: Morning, Cam.
spk01: Labour pilots specifically. So, yeah, I know you're in the process of, I guess, renegotiating labour deals with the various unions. at your various operating entities. Sounds like you've had some success so far on that. I just wonder if you can just update us on the progress there, like what's left to do, and can you maybe talk about the impact on margins? I mean, Carmel mentioned this a little bit, but I mean, I guess sort of the timeframe it might take to kind of offset some of maybe the margin pressure from higher labor costs as you kind of renegotiate contracts with customers to reflect those new costs.
spk12: Sure. We, I mean, I don't want to get into company by company assessments of it, but a number of our pilots are represented by ALPA. ALPA is a strong advocate for their pilots and they can be challenging to deal with, but we've had success. We've completed at least two of our negotiations and we're well down the road on a couple more. So, like I say, it's a tough time in aviation in that there's less available people. And so those negotiations are perhaps take longer and are a little more difficult than they would have been five years ago. But having said that, we've good relationships and we're making our way through it. We should be through most of it by the end of this year, I would think. And some of it will be done in this quarter, I would think. In terms of passing it along, we have pretty strong market presence. And so on the passenger businesses in most places, we're able to pass that on reasonably quickly. Where we have contracted pricing, it can take a little bit longer. But I don't think you're going to see a material impact beyond a quarter or so with most of our airlines. I think where you would see the biggest impact would be in the longest-term impact would be in a place like Kuwait, as an example, where we have long-term contracts with the government that are tied to inflation, not specifically to employee costs. So those may take us a couple of quarters to get things lined up. But it's more of a time-taker and a – a distraction for my management teams with these prolonged negotiations that are required less than the pure cost. We aren't in a lot of places where we don't have enough market presence to pass the ultimate cost of the service to our customer.
spk01: Okay, no, that's great to hear. And I guess maybe a related question. I mean, I know you guys have done a good job of creating a pilot sourcing solution internally. But it does sound like there's some short-term challenges with finding pilots. And you mentioned there were maybe some contracts on the charter side that maybe you could have captured earlier if you had available aircraft and pilots. I'm just wondering if a shortage of pilots industry-wide is having a limiting impact on your ability to grow, or is it more the aircraft availability that's the problem?
spk12: I mean, I think sometimes I can that it just gets oversimplified to be just about pilots. It's about pilots and about AMEs. So it's some days it's got to have enough iron ready to fly. And other days you need the pilots to fly it. And so it definitely limits how fast you can move on expansions. But having said that, we've been able to do it. We bought extra aircraft. You saw in our results. I mean, we mentioned, Rich mentioned in his talk that we had this significant internal beat in our central air services. And that beat was relative to our own expectations. So even with the pilot shortages, we've been able to cover most of that off. There are certain times in certain markets for certain things that a given type of pilot can be hard to find. And that's where you would see the results the most distinctly. You don't see that in EIC as a whole's results because they're very niche problems. They are a problem for my management teams, but in terms of our overall performance, the impact is limited.
spk08: You understand some pilots, it can vary by aircraft or platform type. You tend to see more turnover in pilots with your smaller aircraft and less so in the larger ones that we fly, whether that's an ATR or a Dash or a 2400. So, you know, our focus has been on ensuring that we have a continued flow of those pilots so that we can ensure that the aircraft that we do have are manned and that we've got room for expansion.
spk12: I think one last thing on this before we drop the topic is we've chosen, we believe this is a long-term issue. We don't think this is just a COVID issue. If you go back to our conference calls in 2019, we were talking about a pilot shortage then. And that's why we bought Smokin' Flight College. Having gone through the pandemic, we realized that that's not enough. That's why we bought the simulator to internalize the training for our smaller aircraft. But it's also the Tick Mason pilot pathway. Last year, we started it with a dozen First Nations people, and most of them got through with private pilot licensing. They're back getting their commercial pilots. We've doubled the size of the program this year in terms of number of students. And I can tell you we intend next year to expand it beyond southern Canada into Nunavut. And we think a big part of this is enabling our First Nations and Indigenous customers to dream to be pilots. If you live in some of these northern communities where the economic opportunities are very limited, kids don't wake up and say, I want to be a pilot. Well, we want them to wake up and say, I want to be a pilot. And we think it's our responsibility to help provide a pathway for them to get there. And we believe that the reward for us for doing this beyond doing the right thing that's the right thing is that the pilots we will build will want to service their own communities. And so they're likely to stay longer and not move on to the major airlines flying, you know, the 787 to Singapore. And so it's a long-term focus. We know it's going to take investment. We're prepared to spend on it. And we think it's one of those great crossovers where economic reconciliation and ESG ties into selfish, profitable motives.
spk08: We've also taken advantage of immigration. We've had several pilots come over from the Ukraine where we've got them, you know, licensed in Canada and now becoming pilots for us. So that's been another great stream for us to tap into.
spk01: Okay, no, that's great. Appreciate the colour on that. So congratulations on the results. Thanks.
spk07: Thank you. Your next question comes from Kunark Gupta at Scotiabank. Please go ahead.
spk05: Morning, Konar. Morning, Mike. Thanks, operator. Morning, everyone. So maybe just wanted to kind of get back to EC Medivac contract, Mike. I think you mentioned you are expecting the award pretty soon this quarter. Can you refresh your memory on how many contracts are going to be awarded and what would be the expected CapEx spending for each if they come through?
spk12: So there was two main contracts that are being left. One was for the rotary wing medevac and the other was for the fixed wing medevac. We do not have a presence in BC in the rotary wing medevac business. We did bid on it. We were not the chosen bidder. BC announced that one a few days ago. We believe the fixed wing announcement is imminent and imminent could literally mean this afternoon or it could mean a couple of weeks. We don't know. That's in the hands of the B.C. government. We currently cover a significant portion of B.C., over half of it. But the new contract is not only just a single omnibus contract for the whole province. It requires a whole new fleet of aircraft. So they've decided that notwithstanding the aircraft we operate there are actually, for Medevac standards, a very young fleet. They wanted, because they're putting it into a single contractor, bidders to provide all brand new aircraft. So for us, it's an investment of, depending on how the contract is awarded, approximately $200 million. That's over probably about 18 months, because it's not like if we need a dozen or so, Dave, is that the right number of aircraft? Twelve. Twelve aircraft is what we think it's going to be. You can't go to the airplane store. and pick up 12 aircraft. We've bought spots in the production line, should we be successful, but those come one every couple of months or two in one month. And then we have to convert them into medevac aircraft from brand new aircraft, and then they go into service. So should we be successful? And even if it was announced 10 minutes from now, and we were the winner, it's not something that's going to impact this year's financial results from an income statement point of view. We would start investing this year in new aircraft, and it would probably only really have a meaningful impact at the very back end of next year as these go into service. But remember, this is a minimal of a 10-year contract from when they go into service. So summarizing all that, a couple hundred million bucks, it would give us the whole province. They would go into service over the next 18 months or so roughly, and you would see the full impact of it beginning in 2024. 2025, sorry, yes.
spk05: 25, right.
spk12: Yeah, makes sense.
spk05: Thanks. That's a great color, Mike. Thanks so much. And then on the Alberta forest fires, I know, you know, you guys mentioned, you know, the Northern Met opportunity potentially, right? But just looking at a shorter term in the second quarter, Can you help us identify what your exposure to the Alberta operations are? I mean, again, the sense that the forest fires can impact any of your working subsidiaries there, not Northern Met, and any tailwinds for your firefighting business?
spk12: Good question. In terms of the fires impacting my existing operations, they can. Right now, uh the fires the existing fires are not near any of our bases or any of our people so right now it doesn't have an impact but a wind could change in three days from now that could be different those impacts tend to be short term mats that are on rent are the responsibility of our customers and the ones that are in our yards are insured so it's not dramatic it could slow our ability to lay mats or do a project for a given short period of time. But again, that would really be more of a timing issue that would bounce back as soon as we could get in there and go do it. So, um, not, not dramatic, uh, clearly stressful for the people there and our thoughts and prayers are with everybody in Alberta. Uh, but in terms of our mat business right now, so far so good, um, in terms of the firefighting, um, This is one of those good news, bad news stories. I called my CEO, Jed, of Custom Aviation, and I said, so how many planes or how many helicopters we got going in Alberta? He said, none. And I said, why is that? He said, because they're all already contracted. So in a normal year, yes, this would have impacted us, but
spk05: we're so busy as it is it really hasn't done anything for us directly because our planes are already working that's a that's a good problem to have i guess okay perfect thanks and uh last one for me on on the balance sheet um so if i look at your credit facility debt today your senior leverage ratio would be below 2.5 times on the updated ebitda guidance to what leverage level do you think you would be comfortable going before looking at other alternatives?
spk12: I think the organic growth rate and on the acquisition front where we're taking in a piece of equity on the deals we do, like if you saw with BV as an example, 20 or 25% of the deal was funded in equity. We really don't have a limitation especially with Rich's work on extending and increasing the facility, our appetite for leverage hasn't changed. And if you roll out my kind of musings for next year at 600, you put that into our current debt level, you get much closer to two than two and a half. And our converts at that level fall to, I don't know, 0.6 or so of a turn. you get us at the lower end of our range. So we have dry powder. I would say that nothing has changed with our business strategy. We've always said we want to maintain a strong balance sheet with liquidity and reasonable debt levels. So if we get the right opportunities, I would move to raise money if, as, and when that happens. But we have no pressing need to raise equity. We're in a great spot. We've got the better part of a billion dollars worth of liquidity, if you include our accordion and our debt facility, and our aggregate debt is moving down to the lower end of our historic range. So I think we're in a good spot as it relates to that CONARC, but we remain committed to maintaining a strong balance sheet. And because everything we look at is on a creative nature on a per share basis, if at some point you need some equity, It's not going to hurt the existing shareholders because whatever we're spending the equity on is accretive to the existing shareholders.
spk05: Perfect. That makes sense, Mike. Thanks so much. And just to clearly understand, what's your incremental cost of borrowing on this credit facility under the fixed rate swaps?
spk12: My CIO did a wicked job of negotiating, and it's the same as it was for the existing part. There was no increase. uh in the cost of borrowing i mean obviously the cost of of cdor and those things bounces up and down uh but our markup to the mix is unchanged uh from what it was in last year's facility yeah and just because i think on the tail end you asked about the swaps the i think in in mike's message he talked about you know 100 to 150 basis points of inversion
spk09: So that's kind of, you know, pick the midpoint over the two swaps. It's probably a good starting point compared to where you see, you know, CEDAR or SOFR setting plus our margins.
spk05: Makes sense. Perfect. Thanks so much, guys. Done the call. Thank you.
spk04: Thanks.
spk07: Your next question comes from Chris Murray at ATB Capital Markets. Please go ahead.
spk14: Morning, Chris. Yeah, thanks, folks. Good morning. So, Mike, I just want to turn back to the baby glazing acquisition. And it's interesting, your commentary that, you know, it's probably one of the more unique opportunities you guys have had around doing an acquisition, but actually having synergies to work with. So I just wanted to kind of work through this a little bit. We've talked a little bit about, you know, maybe some end market support and things like that, but a couple things to think about. So we think margins in that business were historically kind of plus or minus 20%. And just looking at the acquisition price and what you guys have historically bought or done transactions at, we think that BV is going to be kind of in that range. But I'm kind of thinking about this from a couple things. Like, first of all, utilizing manufacturing footprint. So, you know, I guess straight up, can BV You build the BV product in your other facility, so can you use Texas, for example, to build that? And then second, is there anything else on the cost side that we could see that margin profile materially change, or is it mainly going to be on the sales side? Do you want to see any additional color that we kind of walk through how to think about how you guys are thinking about synergies would be helpful?
spk12: Yeah, so as you put it, we've got the market synergies, which is really – three different product offerings. Quest, our current company, our existing company, didn't have the capability to make railings or stick window wall for the joint use buildings where you've got retail on the bottom or commercial on the bottom. Now we can require both of those products from BV Glazing. BV didn't have an installing capability in the US. They had to use third parties. So now they'll immediately use Quest. Those will happen more rapidly because they're more easily done and internalized. Then as it relates to the manufacturing, we have, I think, I believe it's either five or six facilities in southern Ontario, all in leased buildings. We will amalgamate that production, whether it goes to one building, two buildings, or three buildings, we're still running models. We just closed May 1st, so the management teams are just starting to talk about the best ways to do this. And so what that's going to enable us to do is I, you've had the opportunity to go through our Toronto plan for quest and see how that's built until it's absolutely fit walls versus how we built Dallas, which is obviously much more efficient and effective because it was custom designed. You're going to see a new facility or facilities for quest and for BV, um, in the Southern Ontario marketplace. And then we will also determine how we're going to specialize manufacturing between Dallas and Ontario. I think it's highly likely that we'll do certain kinds of work in certain facilities. So one may do the more complicated doors and open windows and that kind of stuff. And the other may do the more vanilla but larger run window wall segments. We're still working on that. But I think this is something I want to make sure I'm crystal clear on. is that this is not about building the same number of windows with less people. This is about being able to take that equipment, put it in a bigger space, and do more stuff with the same people. This business is growing. The opportunities are huge. I don't know if anybody saw the article in The Globe a few days ago where they opened up sales on a condo project with two towers, and it's sold out in a matter of days. With today's interest rates, that's a tremendous statement about the demand for high-rise living quarters, particularly in big cities where the cost of single-family housing is prohibitive. So we believe what we need to do from a synergies point of view is take the skilled people we have and get way more out of them. by changing our manufacturing footprint. That's obviously going to take us a few quarters to do, and we may invest in some bigger, faster, more effective equipment, but that's going to let us build more windows with the same people.
spk08: And, you know, as we look at the operations as a whole, and Mike touched on this, it will allow us, we believe, over time to specialize So that, you know, one line will just do glass and you'll get increased throughput on that. You'll get that specialization. All of that drives efficiencies. And then just you have two great operators looking at best practices in and of themselves. That will drive, in my view, some additional synergies, all of which take time. But that's just part of the excitement that, you know, we see in bringing both BV and Quest together.
spk14: Okay. That's helpful. Thank you. Um, and any, any thoughts around, you know, kind of overall margin and overhead absorption or, or anything direct that we could think about?
spk12: Uh, yes. I mean, the 20%, you, you mentioned would be at the high end of the range for that business. Um, and it does touch that in places, but it depends on whether you include installation and that, which is typically a lower, uh, margin part of the business. But, um, I think we're going to need a quarter or two of having BV to be able to give you meaningful guidance on how fast it changes. The one thing I can tell you is that we fully expect BV to contribute starting May 2nd, the day after we closed. So you'll see an immediate impact from an acquisition point of view, and then the synergies will bleed in over time. And either in our Q2 or Q3 meeting, I'll give you some more precise guidance as to how we see that margin growing over ensuing periods.
spk14: Okay, that's great. Thank you. And then the other question in this one, you know, a bit of a change in the presentation and, you know, in some ways removing some of the transparency on some of the segments. I guess a couple of pieces of this. Is there any way that we can get, you know, what kind of a revenue in some of those subsectors and EBITDA breakdowns? And just in thinking about making the changes, you know, last time we kind of were facing some criticism around about the transparency in your reporting. You know, any thoughts around, you know, the rocking off of the changes and how to maybe address some of the criticisms that might return?
spk12: Yeah, I'll tell you, the changes we've made to discussing this in terms of our six key areas of operation came from outreach we've done with our shareholders who told us we make our things too complicated and too hard to understand and they really didn't need to understand who Perimeter was versus Comair was if they're both flying passengers into northern First Nation communities. So we tried to align those things. This is just the first reporting period under this and if there's some disclosure as it relates to revenue in a given part of that, I think that's something we're prepared to provide. Come back to us and we can go offline in terms of in future periods or what you're looking for. If you want to know an essential air revenue and EBITDA number, those things that are things we could consider. But the idea was, is we want to stop talking about all the brand names and all the great companies we have because it confuses most people. So we tried to, uh, uh, make this a little more linear. And if there's things we can bolt onto that in the future, we're, uh, we're glad to consider it. It certainly wasn't meant to reduce transparency. It was meant to, uh, improve, uh, uh, how opaque the number of companies were and how much you had to understand about our company to get there. um, Very interested in your feedback.
spk04: All right. Thanks, folks. I'll leave it there.
spk07: Your next question comes from Krista Friesen at CIBC. Please go ahead. Good morning, Krista.
spk06: Good morning. Thanks for taking my question. I was just wondering, just as we get to understand Northern MAT a bit better, are there any incredibly large contracts for Northern MAT that are rolling off in the next year to 18 months that it will take some effort to really backfill?
spk12: The short answer to that is there is always big contracts rolling on and off in that business. We had a big one in Ontario that we had putting in hydro lines into northern Indigenous communities that we've completed. We have a fair number of mats on with one of the pipelines, which should expire sometime next year. It keeps extending, but I don't know exactly when. So yes, there's always some of those, but conversely, there's always new ones coming in behind them. And so that's what makes, when we bought it, we talked about it. It's not particularly cyclical. It is a little bit choppy in that sometimes you'll have a new one, a new one doesn't start exactly when the old one finishes. But yes, there can be variations period to period. But it's not that right now or next year or last year is more driven by individual projects than the businesses as a whole. So like I say, right now, the single biggest stuff we would be doing would be on the pipeline, the Trans Mountain Pipelines. That's expected to be finished sometime next year. But then very quickly after that, you go into the maintenance and the testing and the service. So while fewer mats, it's replaced with that business. And then quite frankly, we're expecting some material new work that we don't have today in Eastern Canada for some electrical distribution projects that are available.
spk06: Okay, great. And then maybe just a follow-up question on the acquisitions and the guidance raised. Are you including much in terms of synergies this year from the acquisitions in your guidance for 2023?
spk12: No. There's virtually zero. The reason being is to be honest with you, when we built the numbers out, we didn't even know when we'd get competition board approval. So we weren't sure when we were going to take over. And because of the nature of that, Krista, we really didn't allow the teams to talk to one another. Even though we had announced the deal back in March, we needed the competition bureau to bless it. In case they said, you can't do this, we didn't want to start anything. So it's going to take us some time. to get that. We've got the whole team together here in Winnipeg, actually. It was fun watching them say, we could do this. Yeah, we could do that. And I think I mentioned previously in a press release that we're actually going to have Darwin Sparrow, our COO, spend a fair bit of time in Toronto and help with the integration of the businesses, simply because it's such a big opportunity. And it's not like our typical deals where we're we buy one company and fold another one into it. This is more, you've got two peers and how are we going to put them together into an entity? I think it's very likely you're going to continue to see a BV product line and a Quest product line within our window solutions project. But we may well have common production or common marketing or common installation. And so we're just working on that. So the numbers we're giving you are based on just owning the things we own. And we'll start seeing synergies next year. And that's why I'm not really ready to give a hard guidance number. We just gave the indicative kind of $600 million because we know there's stuff to come there.
spk06: Right. Okay, perfect. Thank you. Thank you very much. And I'll jump back in the queue. Thank you.
spk07: Your next question comes from Matthew Weeks at IA Capital Markets. Please go ahead.
spk13: Good morning, Matt. Good morning. Thanks for taking my question. The first one just on Northern Matt, and as you think about that business and maybe seeing a bit more supply and kind of pricing pressure in the market, you know, just understanding your kind of cost leadership efficiencies in that market. You know, if you can comment on anything the team's kind of doing there to maybe get ahead of it a little bit, sort of capture that. you know, take advantage of the market environment, capture more work, sort of mitigate, you know, downside from competition. Thanks.
spk12: I think that the team at Northern Mat is exceptionally good at having their finger in the water of where things are going. And our key competitive advantage, both from a cost and a strategic point of view, is vertical integration. Most of the people we compete against in the rental business, which is the core part of the business, don't make their own mats. So they got to make decisions well in advance about where they're going to buy from and what they're going to do. Whereas we ramp up and ramp down our production as demand requires. We carry months of wood supplies. So the wood that's used in a mat, it comes from a very few number of trees because it requires such large timber. And it's available at some times, it's not available at others. So one of the other things we do is we make sure we've always got lumber in the yard. If we want to wrap up, we can do it tomorrow. And then the other thing we're doing now is we're looking at investing in even better technology to make the mats. We already have a state-of-the-art process, but it's still labor-intensive. We continue to examine opportunities to make it more efficient, more automated. which again increases the delta between our mat costs and our competitors' mat costs. In terms of putting mats out now versus later, the customers are pretty sophisticated about that. If you put them out now, they're still negotiating, and mat prices are still strong. The reason why you keep hearing us talk about it's not as good as last year is last year was a perfect storm, and we didn't buy it off of last year. We bought it off of an average. So we benefited from that last year, and this is going to be way above the average as well. It's just we're trying to be transparent with the market that it's not always as good as it was last year.
spk08: The other thing they do is they have the ability, because they do produce their own mats, the balance between mat sales and leasing mats to maximize their revenues on that basis. And, of course, as pricing has gone down, their input costs have also gone down for the – actual production of the mats and hence, you know, the margins on the sales. So by getting that balance right and taking opportunities that exist in the sales side, that helps them as a market leader. And then obviously deploying the mats the most effective way, whether that's leasing or sale.
spk12: And you see, just further on that, you'll see where customers will come to you and they've got a use for a mat that's going to be very destructive to the mats. And so, yeah, they want to buy mats, but there's no advantage for them for having brand new mats. So we've got the ability to say, okay, well, we've got this batch that are two years old. We'll sell you those for less, and then we'll just backfill our fleet with new ones we produce. And so we have the ability to participate in all age of mat sales without impeding our ability to take advantage of leasing opportunities.
spk13: Okay, that makes sense. Thanks. And just flipping over to the aerospace and aviation segment and thinking about, you know, the guidance. Are you assuming there's a bit of kind of margin lever as it comes from, you know, last year, you had sharp, you know, volatile increases in fuel costs. Should that impact sort of be lessened this year as those have, you know, stabilized and you've had a bit more of an opportunity to sort of build in you know, fuel surcharge into your contracts and pricing?
spk12: I mean, yeah, the answer to that is yes, but it comes with a big but, because I don't know what fuel prices are going to do. The fuel prices are like they have been this year, which is relatively stable. Your assessment's bang on. We got hit by really sharp short-term increases over last year, and this year has not been that, and we've been able to price our product in line with current fuel prices. If the Saudis were to stop production all of a sudden and fuel prices spiked, we could have another one of those where you have a short-term impact till we adjust. Or conversely, if it's like it's been in the last 25 days or so where fuel prices are softening, you could actually have a short-term benefit while we take fuel surcharges off. So your statement about more stability and slightly higher margins is correct. subject to any changes in the macro environment.
spk09: And when talking about margins for the entire segment, as our aircraft leasing portfolio comes back online and is being utilized at a higher rate, margins should tick up when you're looking at the segment as a whole.
spk13: Okay, thanks. And at that point, that's kind of being viewed probably as more of a later in the year, sort of second half event for the leasing portfolio.
spk12: Yeah, I mean, I think you'll definitely see a higher lease number in Q2 than in Q1. And you'll see another pop in Q3. So it's not all at once. I always try to explain to my board, it's not like a light switch. All of a sudden, they're all out. But we can see into the future because we have contracts signed for we'll take this plane in this month or those engines starting in this month. So I think you'll see kind of a Not quite a straight line, but pretty close to it in terms of improvement over the next two or three quarters.
spk13: Okay, excellent. Thank you for answering my questions. I'll turn it back.
spk04: Thank you.
spk07: Your next question comes from Jonathan Lammers at Laurentian Bank Securities. Please go ahead.
spk15: Morning, John. Good morning. Good morning. I think my questions have largely been covered, but just on the Quest Windows business production, could you comment on how you see production at the facilities, including the new Dallas one, ramping up into Q2 and how it ramped up in Q1?
spk12: Yeah, I mean, we produced materially more windows in Q1 than we did last year in the same period. And that will continue to grow, albeit more so at the back half of Q2 than the beginning of Q2. But I think the best way I can qualitatively explain that without publishing window frames, which Jody told me he'd kill me if I published as it's too competitive, we're opening up our second shift at Quest Dallas. And we never got there pre-COVID. We were talking about a second shift. We're now opening it up for that. And so I think that can tell you what we think about our volume requirements. And I can tell you that BV and our due diligence, we expected them to be busy through the balance of this year for sure and into next year. But they're instantly into a busy period as well. So I think you'll see growth in the amount of window frames we do. in each of the next few quarters. And the margins on each window frame will also improve because of efficiencies of the plant and because of better pricing.
spk04: Thank you.
spk15: And just on the R01 leasing business, appreciate the color there. If possible, it would be helpful if you could provide us with the revenue for the leasing business, just because the margin profile is so different from the aircraft sales. or perhaps the EVA-DA.
spk12: Thanks. Leave that with me and we'll deal with that for next quarter.
spk15: Thanks for your comments.
spk12: This was a learning curve for us in terms of the new disclosure. We wanted to make it easier for our readers to understand, but I appreciate for modeling purposes, there's probably a couple of numbers you'd like to have. So we'll take a peek at what we disclose give you a few more of those pieces for Q2.
spk15: That's great. I just wanted to provide that feedback. Thank you.
spk12: I appreciate that.
spk04: Thank you.
spk07: Your next question comes from Jasroop Bains at TD Securities. Please go ahead.
spk02: Good morning. Thanks for taking my question this morning. My apologies if this question was already answered. My line has been dropping in and out. So my first question is regarding the two acquisitions. Could we get a sense of what the annualized revenue and EBITDA contributions were for those two acquisitions in 2022? And how do you guys kind of see 2023 play out with those two businesses, assuming, obviously, with BB Glazing, that you guys close on that acquisition?
spk12: I think what we provided on that was that in both cases – they were above our 15% return threshold. So if you back into that from the acquisition price, you can come up with what the EBITDA, the maintenance capex in those businesses are very modest. So EBITDA and free cash flow are very similar. And then when you look at margins, I think what we said is they tend to both of them would be sort of mid to the higher end of the range of our existing companies. We have not disclosed a specific revenue number for competitive reasons, nor a specific margin number, but we explained that they were purchased off of a return north of 15%. And so you can back into those, I think. And then in terms of next year, I talked about earlier in the call that there's going to be significant synergies on the BVL, both from a multiple products point of view that they're able to provide products to Quest, Quest to BV that we don't currently have. They're outsourced. And then additionally, we're going to consolidate our manufacturing footprint in Ontario from five or six facilities down to a couple or three facilities. which will increase efficiencies and generate greater throughput so we can grow the business. But those synergies obviously take time. We just closed eight days ago. So that's more of a 2023 story. In terms of the details of that, give us a quarter or two to get the plan in place. I don't like shooting from the hip in case I back my operating guys into corners with my promises. So we'll give you a better color on that in Q2 or Q3.
spk02: Perfect. I appreciate that. And then my last question is which one of your businesses, if any, I think you guys kind of hinted that you guys haven't seen any impacts from the economic headwinds, but which one of your businesses, if any, do you expect to be impacted the most if economic headwinds persist?
spk12: To be perfectly honest with you, what we see from a recessionary point of view really does not impact at this point anything our order books are strong across the board um the one that's uh like we said regional one's improving we thought it would have improved faster till now we now are signing contracts and growing the business if we've got one that's a little lower down the hill in terms of the uh climbing back out of COVID, it would be R1, but it's well on the way. And in terms of any declines, things could change in the future, but where we are now, we just don't see any.
spk04: Perfect. I appreciate the call, guys. I'll hop back in the queue.
spk07: At this time, we have no further questions, so I will turn the conference back to Mike Pyle for any closing remarks.
spk12: I want to thank everybody for hanging around, listening to all the questions and the talk. I look forward to seeing some of you today with our annual meeting in a few minutes over at COM's new facility at the Winnipeg Airport. And we're excited about the rest of the year, and I can't wait for August to tell you all about it then. So have a great day, and hopefully we'll see you.
spk07: Ladies and gentlemen, this does conclude your conference call for this morning. We would like to thank you all for participating and ask you to please disconnect your

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