WSP Global Inc.
TSX : WSP

WSP Global Inc.

March 15, 2018 08:00 ET

WSP Ends Fiscal 2017 With Strong Financial Results

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - March 15, 2018) - WSP Global Inc. (TSX:WSP) ("WSP" or the "Corporation") today announced strong financial and operating results for the fiscal year and fourth quarter ended December 31, 2017.

Fiscal 2017

  • Revenues and net revenues of $6,942.2 million and $5,356.6 million, up 8.8% and 9.4%, respectively, compared to 2016.
  • Consolidated organic growth in net revenues of 6.2% for the fiscal year, adjusted for Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA") related net revenues in excess of expectations, organic growth in net revenues would have stood at 4.4%, ahead of Management's 2017 outlook.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $555.2 million, up $56.2 million or 11.3%, compared to 2016.
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin at 10.4%, compared to 10.2% in 2016.
  • Adjusted net earnings of $233.9 million or $2.28 per share, up 4.6% and 2.7%, respectively, compared to 2016. Excluding the non-cash income tax expense resulting from US tax reform enacted in Q4 2017, adjusted net earnings would have stood at $249.9 million or $2.44 per share, up 11.7% and 10.0%, respectively, compared to 2016.
  • Net earnings attributable to shareholders of $213.3 million, or $2.08 per share, up 7.1% and 5.6%, respectively, compared to 2016. Adjusted for negative impact of enacted US tax reform, the aforementioned net earnings metrics would have stood at $229.3 million, or $2.24 per share, up 15.2%, and 13.7%, respectively.
  • Backlog at $6,361.6 million, representing 10.1 months of revenues, up $397.7 million, or 6.7% compared to Q3 2017 and up $692.8 million, or 12.2% compared to Q4 2016.
  • Healthy DSO stood at 79 days, stable when compared to 2016.
  • Cash flow from operating activities stood at $395.4 million, compared to $386.8 million in 2016.
  • Strong free cash flow of $296.1 million, representing 138.8% of net earnings.
  • Incorporating a full twelve-month adjusted EBITDA for all acquisitions, net debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio stood at 1.8x, in line with our target range.
  • Full year dividend declared of $1.50 per share, or $153.8 million with a cash payout of $70.4 million, or 45.8%.

Q4 2017

  • Revenues and net revenues of $1,954.3 million and $1,478.6 million, up 8.7% and 11.4%, respectively, compared to Q4 2016.
  • Consolidated organic growth in net revenues of 8.1% for the quarter, adjusted for FEMA-related net revenues in excess of expectations, consolidated organic growth in net revenues would have stood at 1.6%, ahead of Management's expectations.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $140.0 million, up $4.7 million or 3.5%, despite four less billable days, compared to Q4 2016.
  • Adjusted EBITDA margin at 9.5%, compared to 10.2% in Q4 2016. Four less billable days compared to Q4 2016 had a significant negative impact.
  • Adjusted net earnings and adjusted net earnings per share of $39.4 million, or $0.38 per share for the quarter, were negatively impacted by multiple non-cash expenses, notably the aforementioned US tax reform enactment, as well as four less billable days, when compared to Q4 2016.
  • Net earnings attributable to shareholders of $30.3 million, or $0.29 per share for the quarter, were negatively impacted by the same factors as for the adjusted net earnings metrics noted above.
  • Quarterly dividend declared of $0.375 per share, with a 49.7% Dividend Reinvestment Plan ("DRIP") participation.

"We are pleased to report solid results for the fiscal year in which we achieved or surpassed all of our 2017 financial outlook metrics, " said Alexandre L'Heureux, WSP's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Over the past year, our organization was united under one name, one brand and one vision. We also expanded the scope and breadth of our expertise portfolio with the completion of 10 strategic acquisitions, accounting for 5,000 new colleagues and expanded our geographic footprint in the Australia/New Zealand region and Latin America," he added.

"As we enter the last year of our strategic cycle, we are tracking favourably to get where we want to be by the end of 2018. As we look forward to 2018, we anticipate organic growth in net revenues in the 1% to 4% range and adjusted EBITDA level in the $610 to $660 million range, to bring the Corporation to its annualized 11% adjusted EBITDA margin target by the end of the fiscal year," he concluded.

OUTLOOK FOR 2018

Management of the Corporation ("Management") has provided guidance on 2018 operating results in the Management's Discussion & Analysis ("MD&A") for the year ended December 31, 2017. The outlook is provided to assist analysts and shareholders in formalizing their respective views on 2018. These measures are subject to change.

DIVIDEND

The Board of WSP declared a dividend of $0.375 per share. This dividend will be payable on or about April 15, 2018, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 31, 2018.

FINANCIAL REPORT

This release includes, by reference, the 2017 financial reports, including the audited consolidated financial statements and the Management's Discussion & Analysis ("MD&A") of the Corporation.

For a copy of our 2017 financial results, including the MD&A and the audited consolidated financial statements, please visit our website at www.wsp.com.

CONFERENCE CALL

WSP will hold a conference call at 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) on March 15, 2018, to discuss these results. To participate in the conference call, dial 1-647-788-4922 or 1-877-223-4471 (toll-free).

A presentation of the fiscal and fourth quarter 2017 highlights and results will be available on the same day at www.wsp.com in the Investors section, under Presentation & Events.

The conference call will also be broadcasted live and archived in the Investor section of the WSP website.

A replay of the call will be available until April 15, 2018. The telephone numbers to access the replay of the call are 1-416-621-4642 or 1-800-585-8367 (toll-free), code 2681806. The replay of the conference call will also be available in the Investors section of the WSP website in the days following the event.

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Q4 YTD
2017 2016 2017 2016
(in millions of dollars, except number of shares and per share data) For the
period from
October 1 to
December 31
For the
period from
September 25 to
December 31
For the
period from
January 1 to
December 31
For the
period from
January 1 to
December 31
Revenues $1,954.3 $1,798.4 $6,942.2 $6,379.6
Less: Subconsultants and direct costs $475.7 $470.7 $1,585.6 $1,484.5
Net revenues* $1,478.6 $1,327.7 $5,356.6 $4,895.1
Personnel costs $1,154.3 $987.4 $4,112.9 $3,704.4
Occupancy costs $56.3 $55.9 $227.8 $226.8
Other operational costs(1) $128.4 $148.9 $462.5 $466.9
Share of earnings of associates $(0.4 ) $0.2 $(1.8 ) $(2.0 )
Adjusted EBITDA* $140.0 $135.3 $555.2 $499.0
Acquisition and integration costs* $12.3 $15.1 $28.4 $32.9
EBITDA* $127.7 $120.2 $526.8 $466.1
Amortization of intangible assets $27.9 $20.4 $89.2 $81.1
Depreciation of property, plant and equipment $22.3 $23.7 $79.6 $78.4
Financial expenses $14.5 $9.7 $41.1 $38.9
Share of depreciation of associates $0.5 $0.8 $1.4 $1.9
Earnings before income taxes $62.5 $65.6 $315.5 $265.8
Income-tax expense $32.2 $10.0 $102.1 $67.1
Share of tax of associates $- $(0.4 ) $0.1 $-
Net earnings $30.3 $56.0 $213.3 $198.7
Attributable to:
- Shareholders $30.3 $56.0 $213.3 $199.1
- Non-controlling interests $- $- $- $(0.4 )
Basic net earnings per share $0.29 $0.55 $2.08 $1.97
Diluted net earnings per share $0.29 $0.55 $2.08 $1.97
Basic weighted average number of shares 103,084,862 101,257,040 102,448,943 100,883,512
Diluted weighted average number of shares 103,267,305 101,309,305 102,576,410 100,919,789
* Non-IFRS measures are described in the "Glossary" section
(1) Other operational costs include operational foreign exchange gains/losses and interest income

NON-IFRS MEASURES

The Corporation reports its financial results in accordance with IFRS. However, the following non-IFRS measures are used by the Corporation: net revenues; EBITDA; adjusted EBITDA; adjusted EBITDA margin; adjusted EBITDA before Global Corporate costs; adjusted EBITDA margin before Global Corporate costs; adjusted net earnings; adjusted net earnings per share; adjusted net earnings excluding amortization of intangible assets related to acquisitions; adjusted net earnings excluding amortization of intangible assets related to acquisitions per share; acquisition and integration costs; backlog; funds from operations; funds from operations per share; free cash flow; free cash flow per share; days sales outstanding (or DSO) and net debt to adjusted EBITDA. Additional details for these non-IFRS measures can be found in WSP's MD&A, which is posted on WSP's website at www.wsp.com, and filed with SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Management believes that these non-IFRS measures provide useful information to investors regarding the Corporation's financial condition and results of operations as they provide key metrics of its performance. These non-IFRS measures are not recognized under IFRS, do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS and may differ from similar computations as reported by other issuers, and accordingly may not be comparable. These measures should not be viewed as a substitute for the related financial information prepared in accordance with IFRS.

ABOUT WSP

As one of the world's leading professional services firms, WSP provides technical expertise and strategic advice to clients in the Transportation & Infrastructure, Property & Buildings, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors. We also offer highly specialized services in project delivery and strategic consulting. Our experts include engineers, advisors, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. With approximately 42,000 talented people in 550 offices across 40 countries, we are uniquely positioned to deliver successful and sustainable projects, wherever our clients need us. www.wsp.com

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain information regarding WSP contained herein may constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may include estimates, plans, expectations, opinions, forecasts, projections, guidance or other statements that are not statements of fact. Although WSP believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct. These statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and may be based on assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements. WSP's forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. The complete version of the cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements as well as a description of the relevant assumptions and risk factors likely to affect WSP's actual or projected results are included in the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2017, which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and WSP does not assume any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise unless expressly required by applicable securities laws.

Contact Information

  • Isabelle Adjahi
    Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications
    WSP Global Inc.
    (438) 843-7548
    isabelle.adjahi@wsp.com