AirBoss of America Corp. (TSX: BOS) (the “Company” or “AirBoss”) today announced strong first quarter performance as it has entered 2022 with continued momentum. The Company’s annual general meeting will be held on Thursday, May 12th, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. (EDT). Following the formal portion of the meeting, management will provide a presentation including a discussion of Q1 2022 results. In an effort to safeguard the health of its shareholders, directors, management and employees, the meeting will be accessible via live webcast or by dialing in to the numbers provided later in this release. All dollar amounts are shown in thousands of United States dollars ("U.S. $" or "$"), except per share amounts, unless otherwise noted.

Recent Highlights

  • Diluted EPS growth of 54.5% to $0.34 for the three-month period ended March 31, 2022 ("Q1 2022”) vs. $0.22 in the three month period ended March 31, 2021 (“Q1 2021”);
  • Q1 2022 Net Debt to EBITDA ratio was 1.11x;
  • Declared a quarterly dividend of C$0.10 per common share;
  • Commenced the commercialization of the new AirBoss 100™ Half Mask Respirator; and
  • Completed deliveries of nitrile patient examination gloves under the previously announced order for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) for the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (“HHS") – Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the largest AirBoss business award on record, delivering US$237 million of the US$288 million of gloves originally contracted for. This contract has now been completed.

“I’m pleased to report that Q1 2022 was the strongest first quarter in the Company’s history, with continued execution within ADG and our focus on operating efficiency gains throughout the business offsetting the challenging market conditions we continue to face,” said Chris Bitsakakis, President and COO of AirBoss. “Despite the increased issues being faced by an already fractured supply chain, the employees at AirBoss were able to find a way to deliver most of the original volumes under the HHS contract, posting several consecutive months as the largest importer of nitrile gloves to the United States. AirBoss’ continued execution of large scale contracts during these unprecedented global supply challenges has continued to position us favourably as we work diligently to convert the existing pipeline of opportunities into incremental revenue.”

“Within our Rubber Solutions segment, we delivered solid growth compared to the same period in 2021. Our team was able to capitalize on strong product demand and margin expansion initiatives, which led to sales growth in the quarter despite continued raw material supply and freight challenges.”

“Building on ADG’s acquisition of Blackbox Biometrics in early 2021, we are in active pursuit of new sales opportunities related to our Blast Gauge System of lightweight wearable blast overpressure sensors, with a primary focus on military personnel”, said Gren Schoch, Chairman and CEO of AirBoss. “As well, new innovations like our AirBoss 100TM Half Mask Respirator add further depth to our product line-up and place us in a competitive position to secure new business going forward. While our sales pipeline continues to sit at record levels, government focus shifting towards immediate support of emerging and ongoing conflicts is expected to impact the Company’s ability to convert those opportunities in the second quarter of 2022. However, the Company remains well positioned to build further value for our shareholders in the second half of 2022 and beyond, with meaningful progress having been made in our initiatives to capture operating efficiencies and expand margins as well as the support of a well-capitalized balance sheet.”

Three months ended March 31 (unaudited)  
In thousands of US dollars, except share data 2022 2021
Financial results:    
   Net sales 144,473 107,329
   Profit 9,576 6,319
   Earnings per share (US$)    
– Basic 0.35 0.23
– Diluted 0.34 0.22
   EBITDA1 19,695 14,390
   Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities (32,686) (3,976)
   Free cash flow1 (34,827) (9,222)
   Dividends declared per share (CAD$) 0.10 0.07
   Capital additions 2,141 9,781
Financial position: March 31, 2022 December 31, 2021
   Total assets 498,758 443,264
   Debt2 124,659 80,563
   Net Debt1 94,203 56,033
   Shareholders' equity 242,580 235,148
   Outstanding shares* 27,092,041 26,993,181
   *27,092,041 at May 11, 2022    

1 See Non-IFRS and Other Financial Measures.2 Debt as at March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021 include lease liabilities of $16,846 and $17,399, respectively.

Financial Results

AirBoss increased consolidated net sales in Q2 2022 by 34.6% to $144,473 compared with Q1 2021, due primarily to HHS nitrile patient examination glove contract deliveries, supported by a significant recovery in volumes at the Rubber Solutions segment and the benefit of acquisitions completed in 2021, partially offset by softer volumes at the Engineered Products segment.

Consolidated gross profit for Q1 2022 increased by $5,826 to $31,601, compared with Q1 2021, driven by higher volumes at ADG related to HHS nitrile patient examination glove contract deliveries and higher volumes at Rubber Solutions, offset by lower volumes at Engineered Products and continued freight and raw material increases experienced across the organization. Gross profit as a percentage of net sales was reduced to 21.9% in Q1 2022 compared with 24.0% for Q1 2021 primarily due to a change in product mix at ADG, raw material, freight and labor related challenges impacting each segment to varying degrees and the elimination of government-directed wage subsidies recognized in Q1 2021.

EBITDA for Q1 2022 increased by 36.9% to $19,695, compared to $14,395 in Q1 2021, with the increase driven primarily by deliveries by AirBoss Defense Group under the HHS nitrile patient examination glove contract and increased gross profit in the Rubber Solutions segment.

Financial Position

The Company remains in strong financial condition. With a $250,000 credit facility and a net debt to TTM EBITDA ratio of 1.11x at March 31, 2022, the Company continues 2022 with significant resources with which to pursue organic and acquisitive growth opportunities.

Dividend

The Board of Directors of the Company has approved a quarterly dividend of C$0.10 per common share, to be paid on July 15, 2022 to shareholders of record at June 30, 2022.

Segmented Results

In the AirBoss Defense Group segment, net sales increased by 41.9%, to $63,962 in Q1 2022, compared to Q1 2021. The increase was primarily the result of deliveries under the large HHS nitrile patient examination glove contract further supported by improved volumes from industrial operations at our Acton Vale facility. Gross profit at AirBoss Defense Group for Q1 2022 increased by 32.7% to $27,671, from $20,846 in Q1 2021. The increase was primarily the result of deliveries under the large HHS nitrile patient examination glove contract and favourable mix of certain other products, offset by the elimination of government-directed wage subsidies compared to Q1 2021.

In the Rubber Solutions segment, net sales increased by 52.4% to $56,707 in Q1 2022, compared with Q1 2021. Volume was up 7.2% with increases across the vast majority of sectors due to increased momentum at most customer’s operations despite continuing supply chain challenges related to raw material supply and elevated freight costs. Tolling volume was up 10.0% while non-tolling was down 2.0%. Gross profit in Q1 2022 increased by 53.7% to $8,008 from $5,209 in Q1 2021, primarily the result of an improvement in non-tolling volumes and managing controllable overhead costs, partially offset by increased raw material, labor and logistics costs and the elimination of government-directed subsidies.

At Engineered Products, net sales for Q1 2022 decreased by 7.8%, to $29,840, compared with Q1 2022. The decrease was due to lower volumes in SUV, light truck and mini-van platforms related to the global electronic chip shortages combined with raw material shortages and freight and logistics bottlenecks which continue to challenge production schedules across all original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”) and Tier 1 suppliers. Gross profit in the Engineered Products segment for Q1 2022 decreased to $(4,078) from $(280) in Q1 2021. This was primarily a result of lower volumes in part due to the global electronic chip shortages in the automotive sector combined with significant raw material shortages in addition to freight and logistics constraints partially offset by a continued focus on controllable operational cost containment.

Overview

This was a strong quarter for AirBoss. The Company integrated the operations of Ace Elastomer and BlackBox Biometrics and continued building momentum from 2021 with a concentrated focus on operational execution and growth initiatives while navigating on-going global challenges including freight, labor and logistics issues, raw material price escalations and constraints, other supply chain interruptions and continued shutdowns due to COVID-19 and the conflict in the Ukraine. ADG completed delivery of a significant portion of the nitrile patient examination glove order for the Strategic National Stockpile for HHS – Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Execution under this contract, which is now complete, provided a strong financial backdrop to offset raw material, logistics and labor challenges faced by the Rubber Solutions and Engineered Products segments, though Rubber Solutions did commence a strong recovery towards the end of the quarter. AirBoss has continued to focus on its core segments despite the challenges outlined above, further solidifying its position in the personal protective equipment (“PPE”), health care and survivability sectors and has remained focused on supporting its customers, employees and stakeholders during the pandemic, ensuring the highest standards for safety at all locations. The Company remains well positioned for continued future growth, including a record pipeline of over $1.5 billion, the largest in its history.

The Company continued to take the necessary risk mitigation steps within its supply chain, to strive to reduce potential impacts to its business and that of customers, by identifying alternative raw material sources both domestically and internationally. The continued recovery of volumes previously impacted by global challenges including COVID-19, will be subject, in part, to the ongoing management of stable and sustained operations of businesses globally, which continues to be difficult to predict, especially in light of the new and ongoing challenges noted above. Material availability and significant raw material price increases, as well as increasing demand outpacing traditional supply models, has forced AirBoss to focus on a combination of domestic sourcing, advanced buying tactics and the development of alternative sources. However, we anticipate further constraints on our supply chain for the foreseeable future in 2022. Notwithstanding these challenges, the Company continues to believe that it is poised for continued success during the remainder of the year.

ADG continues to work on the significant opportunities in its sales pipeline, which is at a record level. Management believes that the future sourcing of PPE for first responders and healthcare professionals will continue to be a necessity and priority for front line workers, evidenced by the strong pipeline of PPE-related opportunities that ADG is currently pursuing. Management expects a more unified and streamlined approach to PPE acquisition aimed at building strategic stockpiles and an increased focus on domestic contracting and production as part of overall future emergency preparedness planning. ADG has accordingly focused its strategy on the development of domestic supply chains in order to capitalize on this trend.

ADG has now also commenced the commercialization of the new AirBoss 100™ Half Mask Respirator across its network, following the previously announced receipt of NIOSH approval for this product. Beyond this, ADG continues to target traditional defense contracts for its broader portfolio of survivability solutions, especially given the current conflict unfolding in the Ukraine.

The Rubber Solutions segment saw sustained demand that exceeded volumes for the same quarter in 2021 with a healthy backlog, supported by the successful implementation of the bulk material handling and delivery system in Scotland Neck, North Carolina. The continued focus on integrating operational excellence supported by Ace Elastomer’s line of specialized products expanded production of a broader array of compounded products (white and color), as well as providing enhanced flexibility in attracting and fulfilling new business through identified synergies. This was further enhanced as development and sales in colored rubber continued to grow in line with the margin expansion strategy with new customers. The Company also continued to make inroads in utilization of its “tilt” mixer, which is expected to support the production of increasingly specialized, higher margin compounds, further diversifying AirBoss’ offering and enhancing penetration with both existing and new customers.

The Engineered Products segment continued to be impacted by record raw material increases, significant supply chain challenges and electronic chip shortages as OEMs flex production, with vehicle inventories remaining at historically low levels while demand remains strong. Management remains committed to continuing to address key challenges in the anti-vibration business including margin improvement with targeted cost management, enhanced pricing strategies with raw material indexing and investments in advanced manufacturing. The segment also continued to focus on its operational improvement plan including managing variable costs and sustaining a stable hourly workforce while dealing with the volume reductions in the automotive sector, as well as its commitment to drive efficiencies and best-in-class automation, with significant investment in new injection presses and the addition of a second state of the art automated work cell which is now running at full capacity. The segment also continued its focus on diversification of its product lines into sectors adjacent to the automotive space.

The Company remains in sound financial position. The strong performance of the business has continued to support increased balance sheet strength and will provide management enhanced flexibility to execute opportunistically on both organic and inorganic growth initiatives, particularly as potential acquisition targets may lack the balance sheet strength to weather a prolonged downturn. AirBoss believes it is well positioned to further leverage its significant recent investments in innovation, capacity expansion, and new solutions for our customers as industry conditions improve. Our strategic priorities include:

  1. Growing the core Rubber Solutions segment by positioning it as a specialty supplier of choice in the consolidating North American market, with a growing focus on building defensible leadership positions in selected compounds;
  2. Capitalizing on ADG’s enhanced scale and capabilities to pursue an array of growth and value-creation opportunities in the broader survivability solutions segment serving both defense and first responder markets;
  3. Driving improved performance from Engineered Products through a combination of disciplined cost containment, client relationship expansion, new product development and sector diversification; and
  4. Targeting additional acquisition opportunities across the business with a focus on adding new compounds and products, technical capabilities, and geographic reach into selected North American and international markets.

As before, management remains dedicated to the creation of long-term value for all stakeholders through a combination of strategic initiatives that drive organic growth and support possible accretive transactions.

Annual General and Special Meeting and Q1 Results Earnings Webcast

The Company’s Annual General Meeting for Shareholders will occur May 12, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. (EDT). Following the formal portion of the Meeting, management will provide a webcast presentation including discussion of Q1 2022 results.

For webcast access, please log-in online at https://bit.ly/3N5SQqG (Microsoft Teams broadcast). We recommend that viewers log in at least 15 minutes before the Meeting starts. If watching the meeting online, it is important to remain connected to the internet at all times during the Meeting. It is each person’s responsibility to ensure connectivity for the duration of the Meeting. The live webcast will include a facility for shareholders to enter questions for management.

For telephone access, please dial in at 1-800-319-4610 or 1-416-915-3239, access code: 55506. Callers should dial-in five to 10 minutes before the Meeting starts and ask to join the call. When prompted, the access code should be provided.

Investor Contact: Chris Bitsakakis, President or Gren Schoch, CEO at 905-751-1188.

Media Contact: media@airboss.com

About Airboss

AirBoss of America is a leading and diversified developer, manufacturer and provider of innovative survivability solutions, advanced custom rubber compounds and finished rubber products that are designed to outperform in the most challenging environments. Founded in 1989, the company operates through three divisions. AirBoss Defense Group is a global leader in personal and respiratory protective equipment and technology for the defense, healthcare, medical and first responder communities. AirBoss Rubber Solutions is a top-tier North American custom rubber compounder with 500 million turn pounds of annual capacity. AirBoss Engineered Products is a supplier of innovative anti-vibration solutions to the North American automotive market and other sectors. The Company’s shares trade on the TSX under the symbol BOS and on the OTCQX under the symbol ABSSF. Visit www.airboss.com for more information.

Non-IFRS and Other Financial Measures

This earnings release is based on financial statements prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) and Non-IFRS and Other Financial Measures. Management believes that these measures provide useful information to investors in measuring the financial performance of the Company. These measures do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and therefore they may not be comparable to similarly titled measures presented by other companies and should not be construed as an alternative to other financial measures determined in accordance with IFRS. These terms are not a measure of performance under IFRS and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for net income under IFRS.EBITDA is a non-IFRS measure used to measure the Company's ability to generate cash from operations for debt service, to finance working capital and capital expenditures, potential acquisitions and to pay dividends. EBITDA is defined as earnings before income taxes, finance costs, depreciation, amortization, and impairment costs. A reconciliation of Profit to EBITDA is below.

Three-months ended March 31 (unaudited)
In thousands of US dollars 2022 2021
EBITDA:    
Profit 9,776 6,319
Finance costs 952 547
Depreciation, amortization and impairment 5,497 4,663
Income tax expense 3,670 2,861
EBITDA 19,695 14,390
     

Net Debt measures the financial indebtedness of the Company assuming that all cash on hand is used to repay a portion of the outstanding debt. A reconciliation of loans and borrowings to Net Debt is below.

  March 31, 2022 December 31, 2021
In thousands of US dollars (unaudited)  
Net debt:    
Loans and borrowings - current 2,143 2,356
Loans and borrowings - non-current 122,516 78,207
Leases included in loans and borrowings (16,846) (17,399)
Cash and cash equivalents (13,610) (7,131)
Net debt 94,203 56,033

Free cash flow is a non-IFRS measure used to evaluate cash flow after investing in the maintenance or expansion of the Company's business. It is defined as cash provided by operating activities, less cash expenditures on long-term assets. A reconciliation of cash from operating activities to free cash flow is below.

Three-months ended March 31 (unaudited)
In thousands of US dollars 2022 2021
Free cash flow:    
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities (32,686) (3,976)
Acquisition of property, plant and equipment (1,834) (4,873)
Acquisition of intangible assets (307) (373)
Free cash flow (34,827) (9,222)
     
Basic weighted average number of shares outstanding 27,005 26,921
Diluted weighted average number of shares outstanding 27,005 26,921
     
Free cash flow per share (in US dollars):Basic (1.29) (0.34)
Diluted (1.29) (0.34)

AIRBOSS FORWARD LOOKING INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Certain statements contained or incorporated by reference herein, including those that express management’s expectations or estimates of future developments or AirBoss’ future performance, constitute “forward-looking information” or “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities laws, and can generally be identified by words such as “will”, “may”, “could” “expects”, “believes”, “anticipates”, “forecasts”, “plans”, “intends” or similar expressions. These statements are not historical facts but instead represent management’s expectations, estimates and projections regarding future events and performance.

Statements containing forward-looking information are necessarily based upon a number of opinions, estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management at the time the statements are made, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive risks, uncertainties and contingencies. AirBoss cautions that such forward-looking information involves known and unknown contingencies, uncertainties and other risks that may cause AirBoss’ actual financial results, performance or achievements to be materially different from its estimated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. Numerous factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking information, including without limitation: impact of general economic conditions, notably including their impact on demand for rubber solutions and products; dependence on key customers; global defense budgets, notably in the Company’s target markets, and success of the Company in obtaining new or extended defense contracts; cyclical trends in the tire and automotive, construction, mining and retail industries; sufficient availability of raw materials at economical costs; weather conditions affecting raw materials, production and sales; AirBoss’ ability to maintain existing customers or develop new customers in light of increased competition; AirBoss’ ability to successfully integrate acquisitions of other businesses and/or companies or to realize on the anticipated benefits thereof; changes in accounting policies and methods, including uncertainties associated with critical accounting assumptions and estimates; changes in the value of the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar; changes in tax laws and potential litigation; ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms; environmental damage and non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations; impact of global health situations; potential product liability and warranty claims and equipment malfunction. COVID-19 could also negatively impact the Company’s operations and financial results in future periods. There is increased uncertainty associated with future operating assumptions and expectations as compared to prior periods. As such, it is not possible to estimate the impacts COVID-19 will have on the Company’s financial position or results of operations in future periods. While the direct impacts of COVID-19 are not determinable at this time, the Company has a credit facility that can provide financing up to $250,000. This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of AirBoss’ forward-looking information.

All of the forward-looking information in this press release is expressly qualified by these cautionary statements. Investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking information. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking information attributable to AirBoss or persons acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this notice. Forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date of this Interim Report and, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, AirBoss disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly the forward-looking information except as required by applicable laws. Risks and uncertainties about AirBoss’ business are more fully discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in our most recent Annual Information Form and are otherwise disclosed in our filings with securities regulatory authorities which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

 

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