SOURCE: US Ecology, Inc.

US Ecology, Inc.

May 05, 2014 16:30 ET

US Ecology Announces First Quarter 2014 Results

Strong Business Conditions Drive Record Quarterly Adjusted EBITDA; 2014 Guidance Raised on Strong Outlook and Demand

BOISE, ID--(Marketwired - May 5, 2014) - US Ecology, Inc. (NASDAQ: ECOL) ("the Company") today reported financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2014.

Net income for the first quarter of 2014 was $9.4 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, up from $5.4 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2013. Excluding foreign currency translation losses and business development expenses, adjusted earnings per diluted share grew 50% to $0.48 in the first quarter of 2014, up from $0.32 in the first quarter of 2013. Earnings per share for the first quarter of 2014 reflects the 3.0 million shares issued in December 2013. Total shares outstanding were 21.5 million at March 31, 2014. 

Operating income for the first quarter of 2014 was $15.5 million, up 60% from $9.7 million in the first quarter last year. Adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter of 2014 was a record $20.3 million, up 46% from $13.9 million in the same period last year. A reconciliation of earnings per diluted share to adjusted earnings per diluted share and net income to adjusted EBITDA is attached as Exhibit A to this release. 

Total revenue for the first quarter of 2014 was $53.4 million, up 24% from $42.9 million in the same quarter last year. Treatment and disposal ("T&D") revenue increased 24% reflecting a 58% increase in project-based Event Business. Transportation revenue increased 28% from the same quarter in the prior year. Recurring Base Business revenue for the first quarter of 2014 increased 4% compared to the first quarter of 2013.

Total quarterly waste volume disposed or processed was 296,000 tons in the first quarter of 2014, up 32% from 223,000 tons in the first quarter of 2013. Average selling price ("ASP") for the first quarter of 2014 decreased 6% compared to the same quarter last year, primarily due to service mix. 

For the first quarter of 2014, gross profit was $22.1 million, up 44% from $15.4 million in the first quarter of 2013. Total gross margin was 41% in the first quarter of 2014, up from 36% in the same quarter last year. T&D gross margin for the first quarter of 2014 was 50%, up from 42% in the first quarter of 2013, primarily reflecting higher volumes. 

Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expense for the first quarter of 2014 was $6.6 million compared with $5.7 million in the same quarter last year. This increase reflects higher labor and variable compensation, business development expenses and other administrative expenses supporting increased business activity. Despite the increase, as a percentage of revenue SG&A declined to 12% from 13% in the same quarter in the prior year.

The Company's effective income tax rate for the first quarter of 2014 was 35.8%, down from 37.1% for the first quarter of 2013. This decrease reflects a higher proportion of earnings from our Canadian operations, which are taxed at a lower corporate tax rate.

At March 31, 2014, cash on hand was $77.9 million with no outstanding borrowings on our lines of credit, compared with $73.9 million of cash on hand at December 31, 2013. At March 31, 2014, $80.8 million was available for future borrowings. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Company announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire EQ -- The Environmental Quality Company ("EQ") for $465 million. The acquisition is anticipated to close in the second or third quarter of 2014.

"Continuing, favorable business conditions and service mix drove these strong quarterly financial results," commented President and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Feeler. "Event Business projects in the Northeast, Gulf Coast and Southwest regions continued to show strength with new opportunities building on last year's strength. Our recurring Base Business continued its steady performance. Increased waste volumes enhanced the favorable operating leverage inherent to the disposal business, pushing treatment and disposal margin up eight percentage points to 50% for the quarter."

2014 Outlook

"First quarter results continued the positive momentum seen in 2013 and puts us on track for another strong year in 2014," commented Feeler. "With a solid pipeline of opportunities developing, we now project annual adjusted earnings per share to range from $1.60 to $1.70 per share and adjusted EBITDA to range from $74 million to $78 million. This is up from our previous guidance of $1.50 to $1.60 per share of adjusted diluted earnings and adjusted EBITDA of $70 to $74 million." Estimates do not include potential accretion to adjusted EPS and increased adjusted EBITDA anticipated from the proposed acquisition of EQ, foreign currency translation gains or losses, or business development expenses.

Dividend

On April 1, 2014, the Company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.18 per common share for stockholders of record on April 21, 2014. The $3.9 million dividend was paid on April 28, 2014. As previously announced, we do not expect the anticipated acquisition of EQ to affect the Company's dividend policy.

Conference Call

US Ecology, Inc. will hold an investor conference call on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (7:00 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time) to discuss these results and its current financial position and business outlook. Questions will be invited after management's presentation. Interested parties can join the conference call by dialing (866) 825-1709 or (617) 213-8060 and using the passcode 12600771. The conference call will also be broadcast live on our website at www.usecology.com. An audio replay will be available through May 13, 2014 by calling (888) 286-8010 or (617) 801-6888 and using the passcode 76389658. The replay will also be accessible on our website at www.usecology.com.

About US Ecology, Inc.

US Ecology, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides radioactive, hazardous, PCB and non-hazardous industrial waste management and recycling services to commercial and government entities, such as refineries and chemical production facilities, manufacturers, electric utilities, steel mills, medical and academic institutions and waste brokers. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, the Company is one of the oldest radioactive and hazardous waste services companies in North America.

This press release contains forward-looking statements (as such term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) that are based on our current expectations, beliefs and assumptions about the industry and markets in which US Ecology, Inc. and its subsidiaries operate as well as the proposed acquisition of EQ - The Environmental Quality Company. Such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about the Company's ability to close its proposed acquisition, its ability to raise the capital necessary to complete the transaction, expected synergies from the transaction, projections of the financial results of the combined company and other statements that are not historical facts. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause the actual results of the Company to differ materially from what is expressed herein and no assurance can be given that the Company will achieve its 2014 earnings estimates, successfully execute its growth strategy, increase market share, or declare or pay future dividends. For information on other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations, please refer to US Ecology, Inc.'s December 31, 2013 Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Many of the factors that will determine the Company's future results are beyond the ability of management to control or predict. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect management's views only as of the date such statements are made. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements, or to make any other forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Important assumptions and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking information include a loss of a major customer or contract, compliance with and changes to applicable laws, rules, or regulations, access to cost effective transportation services, access to insurance, surety bonds and other financial assurances, loss of key personnel, lawsuits, labor disputes, adverse economic conditions, government funding or competitive pressures, incidents or adverse weather conditions that could limit or suspend specific operations, implementation of new technologies, market conditions, average selling prices for recycled materials, our ability to replace business from recently completed large projects, our ability to perform under required contracts, our ability to permit and contract for timely construction of new or expanded disposal cells, our willingness or ability to pay dividends and our ability to effectively close, integrate, and realize anticipated synergies from future acquisitions, which can be impacted by the failure of the acquired company to achieve anticipated revenues, earnings or cash flows, assumption of liabilities that exceed our estimates, potential compliance issues, diversion of management's attention or other resources from our existing business, risks associated with entering product / service areas in which we have limited experience, increases in working capital investment, unexpected capital expenditures, potential losses of key employees and customers of the acquired company and future write-offs of intangible and other assets, including goodwill, if the acquired operations fail to generate sufficient cash flows.

Investors should also be aware that while we do, from time to time, communicate with securities analysts, it is against our policy to disclose to them any material non-public information or other confidential commercial information. Accordingly, stockholders should not assume that we agree with any statement or report issued by any analyst irrespective of the content of the statement or report. Furthermore, we have a policy against issuing or confirming financial forecasts or projections issued by others. Thus, to the extent that reports issued by securities analysts contain any projections, forecasts or opinions, such reports are not the responsibility of US Ecology, Inc.

   
US ECOLOGY, INC.  
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME  
(in thousands, except per share data)  
(unaudited)  
             
    Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
    2014     2013  
                 
Revenue   $ 53,354     $ 42,899  
Direct operating costs     22,621       21,084  
Transportation costs     8,613       6,433  
                 
Gross profit     22,120       15,382  
                 
Selling, general and administrative expenses     6,636       5,726  
Operating income     15,484       9,656  
                 
Other income (expense):                
  Interest income     44       5  
  Interest expense     (86 )     (221 )
  Foreign currency loss     (940 )     (938 )
  Other     86       97  
    Total other expense     (896 )     (1,057 )
                 
Income before income taxes     14,588       8,599  
Income tax expense     5,227       3,193  
Net income   $ 9,361     $ 5,406  
                 
Earnings per share:                
    Basic   $ 0.44     $ 0.30  
    Diluted   $ 0.43     $ 0.29  
                 
Shares used in earnings                
per share calculation:                
    Basic     21,475       18,320  
    Diluted     21,586       18,407  
                 
Dividends paid per share (1)   $ 0.18     $ -  
                 
(1) First quarter 2013 dividend was accelerated and paid in December 2012  
   
   
   
US ECOLOGY, INC.  
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS  
(in thousands)  
(unaudited)  
             
    March 31, 2014     December 31, 2013  
Assets                
                 
Current Assets:                
  Cash and cash equivalents   $ 77,918     $ 73,940  
  Receivables, net     41,678       43,636  
  Prepaid expenses and other current assets     2,832       3,612  
  Deferred income taxes     659       1,340  
    Total current assets     123,087       122,528  
                 
Property and equipment, net     116,419       114,859  
Restricted cash and investments     4,111       4,097  
Intangible assets, net     35,187       36,832  
Goodwill     20,941       21,693  
Other assets     411       547  
Total assets   $ 300,156     $ 300,556  
                 
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity                
                 
Current Liabilities:                
  Accounts payable   $ 4,605     $ 7,277  
  Deferred revenue     7,458       8,870  
  Accrued liabilities     7,962       8,691  
  Accrued salaries and benefits     4,872       6,957  
  Income tax payable     5,113       4,428  
  Current portion of closure and post-closure obligations     916       949  
    Total current liabilities     30,926       37,172  
                 
Long-term closure and post-closure obligations     19,552       16,519  
Other long-term liabilities     58       69  
Unrecognized tax benefits     483       480  
Deferred income taxes     13,213       14,778  
  Total liabilities     64,232       69,018  
                 
Contingencies and commitments                
                 
Stockholders' Equity                
  Common stock     215       215  
  Additional paid-in capital     163,275       162,830  
  Retained earnings     76,085       70,597  
  Treasury stock     (387 )     (319 )
  Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)     (3,264 )     (1,785 )
    Total stockholders' equity     235,924       231,538  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity   $ 300,156     $ 300,556  
                 
                 
   
US ECOLOGY, INC.  
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS  
(in thousands)  
(unaudited)  
             
    Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
    2014     2013  
Cash Flows From Operating Activities:                
  Net income   $ 9,361     $ 5,406  
  Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:                
    Depreciation and amortization of property and equipment     3,839       3,439  
    Amortization of intangible assets     352       367  
    Accretion of closure and post-closure obligations     330       307  
    Unrealized foreign currency loss     1,452       1,057  
    Deferred income taxes     (460 )     (716 )
    Share-based compensation expense     270       146  
    Unrecognized tax benefits     3       3  
    Net (gain) loss on sale of property and equipment     8       (41 )
    Changes in assets and liabilities:                
      Receivables     1,259       1,473  
      Other assets     882       732  
      Accounts payable and accrued liabilities     (2,142 )     (556 )
      Deferred revenue     (1,164 )     1,269  
      Accrued salaries and benefits     (1,994 )     (3,106 )
      Income tax payable     783       3,528  
      Closure and post-closure obligations     (114 )     (1,043 )
        Net cash provided by operating activities     12,665       12,265  
                 
Cash Flows From Investing Activities:                
  Purchases of property and equipment     (4,775 )     (6,752 )
  Purchases of restricted cash and investments     (14 )     -  
  Proceeds from sale of property and equipment     6       52  
        Net cash used in investing activities     (4,783 )     (6,700 )
                 
Cash Flows From Financing Activities:                
  Dividends paid     (3,874 )     -  
  Proceeds from stock option exercises     174       1,050  
  Payments on reducing revolving line of credit     -       (4,000 )
  Deferred financing costs paid     -       (177 )
  Other     (65 )     2  
        Net cash used in financing activities     (3,765 )     (3,125 )
                 
Effect of foreign exchange rate changes on cash     (139 )     (49 )
                 
Increase in cash and cash equivalents     3,978       2,391  
                 
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period     73,940       2,120  
                 
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period   $ 77,918     $ 4,511  
                 
                 

EXHIBIT A

Non-GAAP Results and Reconciliation

US Ecology reports adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings per diluted share results, which are non-GAAP financial measures, as a complement to results provided in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (GAAP) and believes that such information provides analysts, stockholders, and other users information to better understand the Company's operating performance. Because adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings per diluted share are not measurements determined in accordance with GAAP and are thus susceptible to varying calculations they may not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies. Items excluded from adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings per diluted share are significant components in understanding and assessing financial performance. 

Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings per diluted share should not be considered in isolation or as an alternative to, or substitute for, net income, cash flows generated by operations, investing or financing activities, or other financial statement data presented in the consolidated financial statements as indicators of financial performance or liquidity. Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings per diluted share have limitations as analytical tools and should not be considered in isolation or a substitute for analyzing our results as reported under GAAP. Some of the limitations are:

  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect changes in, or cash requirements for, our working capital needs;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect our interest expense, or the requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments on our debt;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect our income tax expenses or the cash requirements to pay our taxes;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect our cash expenditures or future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments; and
  • although depreciation and amortization charges are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized will often have to be replaced in the future, and Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect cash requirements for such replacements.

Adjusted EBITDA
The Company defines adjusted EBITDA as net income before interest expense, interest income, income tax expense, depreciation, amortization, stock based compensation, accretion of closure and post-closure liabilities, foreign currency gain/loss and other income/expense, which are not considered part of usual business operations. The following reconciliation itemizes the differences between reported net income and adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013:

       
(in thousands)   Three Months Ended March 31,  
    2014     2013  
                 
Net Income   $ 9,361     $ 5,406  
  Income tax expense     5,227       3,193  
  Interest expense     86       221  
  Interest income     (44 )     (5 )
  Foreign currency (gain)/loss     940       938  
  Other income     (86 )     (97 )
  Depreciation and amortization of plant and equipment     3,839       3,439  
  Amortization of intangible assets     352       367  
  Stock-based compensation     270       146  
  Accretion and non-cash adjustments of closure & post-closure obligations     330       307  
Adjusted EBITDA   $ 20,275     $ 13,915  
                 

EXHIBIT A

Non-GAAP Results and Reconciliation, continued

Adjusted Earnings Per Diluted Share
The Company defines adjusted earnings per diluted share as net income plus the after tax impact of non-cash, non-operational foreign currency gains or losses ("Foreign Currency Gain/Loss") plus the after tax impact of business development cost divided by the diluted shares used in the earnings per share calculation. The Foreign Currency Gain/Loss excluded from the earnings per diluted share calculation are related to intercompany loans between our Canadian subsidiary and the U.S. parent which have been established as part of our tax and treasury management strategy. These intercompany loans are payable in Canadian dollars ("CAD") requiring us to revalue the outstanding loan balance through our consolidated income statement based on the CAD/United States currency movements from period to period. We believe excluding the currency movements for these intercompany financial instruments provides meaningful information to investors regarding the operational and financial performance of the Company.

Business development costs relate to expenses incurred to evaluate businesses for potential acquisition or costs related to closing and integrating successfully acquired businesses. We believe excluding these business development costs provides meaningful information to investors regarding the operational and financial performance of the Company.

The following reconciliation itemizes the differences between reported net income and earnings per diluted share to adjusted net income and adjusted earnings per diluted share for the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013:

     
(in thousands, except per share data)   Three Months Ended March 31,
    2014   2013
                         
            per share           per share
Net income / earnings per diluted share   $ 9,361   $ 0.43   $ 5,406   $ 0.29
                         
Business development costs, net of tax     120     0.01     -     -
Non-cash foreign currency (gain)/loss, net of tax     703     0.04     595     0.03
                         
Adjusted net income / adjusted earnings per diluted share   $ 10,184   $ 0.48   $ 6,001   $ 0.32
                         
                         
Shares used in earnings per diluted share calculation     21,586           18,407      
                         

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