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Sunday July 3rd, 2022 2:42PM

Blue Bird Reports Fiscal 2022 Second Quarter Results; Focused on Electric Vehicle Growth and Process Improvement; Challenging Business Environment; Revising FY2022 Guidance

By The Associated Press

MACON, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 12, 2022--

Blue Bird Corporation (“Blue Bird”) (Nasdaq: BLBD), the leader in electric and low-emission school buses, announced today its fiscal 2022 second quarter results. GAAP net loss for the quarter of $12.1 million was $11.5 million higher than the same FY2021 fiscal period. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $(10.7) million, $18.2 million below prior year level. Order backlog remains strong at a record 6,600 buses, worth approximately $700 million.

Blue Bird faced a challenging second quarter marked by supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and COVID lockdowns in China. The continued rise in raw material, freight, and labor costs, as well shortages on a number of key components drove increased costs to manufacture the units in the quarter, the majority of which were ordered nearly a year ago and were delayed due to supply chain constraints. Blue Bird consciously chose to honor pricing on those units in the quarter to preserve long-standing franchised dealer and customer relationships.

Blue Bird continued to implement its multi-source supplier strategy for a number of critical components successfully addressing supply chain issues that had previously impacted production. However, new supply chain issues emerged amid geo-political global upheaval. Blue Bird again brought its pricing in line with expected cost increases. The Company has implemented price increases totaling more than 25% over the past 10 months and expects that pricing to catch up with costs in the latter half of the fiscal year.

As an employee-centric organization, Blue Bird continued to invest in its workforce and workplace upgrades to further improve safety, quality, cost and delivery. In addition, the company is finalizing a transformation of its leadership team and filled two key leadership positions in the quarter with seasoned industry veterans, including new top executives for electrification and global supply chain management. Blue Bird also advanced its Lean Transformation initiatives with efforts starting to show material improvements in the quarter in the areas of efficiency, quality, cost, and throughput. Many of these improvements are being overshadowed by the difficult supply chain environment.

Blue Bird continues to stay focused on capitalizing on significant growth opportunities in the areas of electric commercial chassis and the growing demand for electric school buses accelerated by the Clean School Bus Rebate Program.

The Company unveiled this week a flexible electric commercial chassis at the 2022 Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo. Blue Bird will expand its product reach beyond its core school transportation market to start serving the dynamic commercial vehicle sector. "We are combining our first-rate chassis-building capabilities with our technology leadership in electric zero-emission transportation solutions,” said . “Blue Bird showcased at ACT Expo a flexible Class 5-6 electric chassis which will enable a broad range of zero-emission vehicles, including last-mile delivery step vans, motorhomes, and other specialty vehicles. With a market size of more than 30,000 units we will effectively double our total addressable market.”

The Clean School Bus Rebate Program is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which allocates $5B in funding for electric and low-emission school buses and supporting infrastructure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced its 2022 Clean School Bus Rebate Program which earmarks the first $500M for the replacement of diesel-powered student transportation with electric and low-emission school buses. The EPA plans to accept online applications starting this month and notify applicants by October 2022. Selected school districts are required to order electric or low-emission school buses by April 2023 to qualify for the rebates. The EPA will provide up to $375,000 per electric bus.

Added Stevenson: “Blue Bird remains committed to further grow its share of electric and low-emission school buses in North America.” “Blue Bird is the proven technology leader for zero-emission electric school buses. We anticipate scaling up our electric vehicle production capacity to 4,000 vehicles a year by 2024 to meet increasing demand. Blue Bird continues to transform the transportation industry.”

“The previously anticipated recovery in the supply base in the second half of the fiscal year has been delayed due primarily to Russia’s war in Ukraine and to COVID-related lockdowns in China,” said Razvan Radulescu, CFO of Blue Bird Corporation. “We still expect to see gradual relief beginning in fiscal Q4 as fully-priced orders begin to be delivered, however it is unclear how the supply disruptions will trend. Given what we have seen in the recent months, we are revising our guidance for fiscal 2022 to Net Revenue of $800-900M, Adj. EBITDA of $20-30M and Adj. Free Cash Flow of $15-25M.”

Net sales were $207.7 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2022, an increase of $43.0 million, or 26.1%, from prior year period. Bus unit sales were 1,931 units for the quarter compared with 1,489 units for the same period last year, contributing to a $38.2 million increase. This was largely due to a return to in-person learning and increased demand, partially offset by constraints in the Company's ability to produce and deliver buses due to shortages of critical components. Additionally, there was an increase of $4.8 million in parts segment sales, primarily attributed to (a) more schools offering in-person learning during the 2021/2022 school year when compared with the 2020/2021 school year, which increased school bus units in operation and thus increased bus repair and maintenance activities and (b) pricing actions taken by management to offset increases in purchased part costs.

Second quarter gross profit of $3.2 million represented a decrease of $15.3 million from the second quarter of last year. The decrease was primarily driven by increases in manufacturing costs attributable to both a) supply chain disruptions that resulted in higher purchase costs for components and freight and b) increased manufacturing inefficiencies resulting from the shortage of certain critical components that required more off-line labor to produce buses. Gross profit margin declined 9.7 points to 1.5%.

Net loss was $12.1 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2022, which was $11.5 million higher than the same period last year. The increase was primarily driven by the $15.3 million decrease in net profit. Also contributing was an increase of $2.5 million in SG&A, which was largely a result of increases in professional services related to operational transformational initiatives, increases in R&D, and increases in payroll. These increases were partially offset by a $6.9 million increase in income tax benefit.

Adjusted Net (Loss) Income was $(10.1) million, representing a decrease of $11.5 million compared with the same period last year. This decrease is primarily due to the $11.5 million increase in net loss.

Adjusted EBITDA was $(10.7) million, which was a decrease of $18.2 million compared with the second quarter last year. This decrease is primarily due to the $17.7 million increase in loss before income taxes.

Blue Bird will discuss its second quarter 2022 results in a conference call at 4:30 PM ET today. Participants may listen to the audio portion of the conference call either through a live audio webcast on the Company's website or by telephone. The slide presentation and webcast can be accessed via the Investor Relations portion of Blue Bird's website at .

A replay of the webcast will be available approximately two hours after the call concludes via the same link on Blue Bird’s website.

Blue Bird (NASDAQ: BLBD) is recognized as a technology leader and innovator of school buses since its founding in 1927. Our dedicated team members design, engineer and manufacture school buses with a singular focus on safety, reliability, and durability. Blue Bird buses carry the most precious cargo in the world – the majority of 25 million children twice a day – making us the most trusted brand in the industry. The company is the proven leader in low- and zero-emission school buses with more than 20,000 propane, natural gas, and electric powered buses in operation today. Blue Bird is transforming the student transportation industry through cleaner energy solutions. For more information on Blue Bird's complete product and service portfolio, visit . For Blue Bird's line of emission-free electric buses, visit .

This press release includes the following non-GAAP financial measures “Adjusted EBITDA,” "Adjusted EBITDA Margin," "Adjusted Net Income," "Adjusted Diluted Earnings per Share," “Free Cash Flow” and “Adjusted Free Cash Flow”. Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow are financial metrics that are utilized by management and the board of directors to determine (a) the annual cash bonus payouts, if any, to be made to certain members of management based upon the terms of the Company’s Management Incentive Plan, and (b) whether the performance criteria have been met for the vesting of certain equity awards granted annually to certain members of management based upon the terms of the Company’s Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan. Additionally, consolidated EBITDA, which is an adjusted EBITDA metric defined by our Amended Credit Agreement that could differ from Adjusted EBITDA discussed above as the adjustments to the calculations are not uniform, is used to determine the Company's ongoing compliance with several financial covenant requirements, including being utilized in the denominator of the calculation of the Total Net Leverage Ratio. Accordingly, management views these non-GAAP financial metrics as key for the above purposes and as a useful way to evaluate the performance of our operations as discussed further below.

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income or loss prior to interest income; interest expense including the component of operating lease expense (which is presented as a single operating expense in selling, general and administrative expenses in our GAAP financial statements) that represents interest expense on lease liabilities; income taxes; and depreciation and amortization including the component of operating lease expense (which is presented as a single operating expense in selling, general and administrative expenses in our GAAP financial statements) that represents amortization charges on right-of-use lease assets; as adjusted for certain non-cash charges or credits that we may record on a recurring basis such as stock-compensation expense and unrealized gains or losses on certain derivative financial instruments; net gains or losses on the disposal of assets as well as certain charges such as (i) significant product design changes; (ii) transaction related costs; (iii) discrete expenses related to major cost cutting initiatives; or (iv) costs directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. While certain of the charges that are added back in the Adjusted EBITDA calculation, such as transaction related costs and operational transformation and major product redesign initiatives, represent operating expenses that may be recorded in more than one annual period, the significant project or transaction giving rise to such expenses is not considered to be indicative of the Company’s normal operations. Accordingly, we believe that these, as well as the other credits and charges that comprise the amounts utilized in the determination of Adjusted EBITDA described above, should not be used in evaluating the Company’s ongoing annual operating performance. We define Adjusted EBITDA Margin as Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of net sales. Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin are not measures of performance defined in accordance with GAAP. The measures are used as a supplement to GAAP results in evaluating certain aspects of our business, as described below.

We believe that Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA margin, Adjusted Net Income, and Adjusted Diluted Earnings per Share are useful to investors in evaluating our performance because the measures consider the performance of our ongoing operations, excluding decisions made with respect to capital investment, financing, and certain other significant initiatives or transactions as outlined in the preceding paragraph. We believe the non-GAAP measures offer additional financial metrics that, when coupled with the GAAP results and the reconciliation to GAAP results, provide a more complete understanding of our results of operations and the factors and trends affecting our business.

Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA margin, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Diluted Earnings per Share should not be considered as alternatives to net income or GAAP earnings per share as an indicator of our performance or as alternatives to any other measure prescribed by GAAP as there are limitations to using such non-GAAP measures. Although we believe the non-GAAP measures may enhance an evaluation of our operating performance based on recent revenue generation and product/overhead cost control because they exclude the impact of prior decisions made about capital investment, financing, and other expenses, (i) other companies in Blue Bird’s industry may define Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA margin, Adjusted Net Income, and Adjusted Diluted Earnings per Share differently than we do and, as a result, they may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies in Blue Bird’s industry, and (ii) Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA margin, Adjusted Net Income, and Adjusted Diluted Earnings per Share exclude certain financial information that some may consider important in evaluating our performance.

We compensate for these limitations by providing disclosure of the differences between Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA margin, Adjusted Net Income, and Adjusted Diluted Earnings per Share and GAAP results, including providing a reconciliation to GAAP results, to enable investors to perform their own analysis of our operating results.

Our measures of “Free Cash Flow” and "Adjusted Free Cash Flow" are used in addition to and in conjunction with results presented in accordance with GAAP and free cash flow and adjusted free cash flow should not be relied upon to the exclusion of GAAP financial measures. Free cash flow and adjusted free cash flow reflect an additional way of viewing our liquidity that, when viewed with our GAAP results, provides a more complete understanding of factors and trends affecting our cash flows. We strongly encourage investors to review our financial statements and publicly-filed reports in their entirety and not to rely on any single financial measure.

We define Free Cash Flow as total cash provided by/used in operating activities as adjusted for net cash paid for the acquisition of fixed assets and intangible assets. We use Free Cash Flow, and ratios based on Free Cash Flow, to conduct and evaluate our business because, although it is similar to cash flow from operations, we believe it is a more conservative measure of cash flow since purchases of fixed assets and intangible assets are a necessary component of ongoing operations.

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements relate to expectations for future financial performance, business strategies or expectations for our business. Specifically, forward-looking statements include statements in this press release regarding guidance, seasonality, product mix and gross profits and may include statements relating to:

These forward-looking statements are based on information available as of the date of this press release, and current expectations, forecasts and assumptions, and involve a number of judgments, risks and uncertainties. Accordingly, forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date, and we do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date they were made, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws. The factors described above, as well as risk factors described in reports filed with the SEC by us (available at ), could cause our actual results to differ materially from estimates or expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements.

 

View source version on businesswire.com:

CONTACT: Mark Benfield

Investor Relations

(478) 822-2315

[email protected]

KEYWORD: GEORGIA UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: FLEET MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVE ENERGY ALTERNATIVE VEHICLES/FUELS PUBLIC TRANSPORT ENERGY AUTOMOTIVE PRIMARY/SECONDARY OTHER TRANSPORT EDUCATION TRUCKING TRANSPORT AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING MANUFACTURING

SOURCE: Blue Bird Corporation

Copyright Business Wire 2022.

PUB: 05/12/2022 04:00 PM/DISC: 05/12/2022 04:02 PM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220512005969/en

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