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Fluor : First Quarter 2021 Conference Call Transcript

05/10/2021 | 10:54am EDT



FLR.N - Q1 2021 Fluor Corp Earnings Call

EVENT DATE/TIME: MAY 07, 2021 / 12:30PM GMT

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MAY 07, 2021 / 12:30PM, FLR.N - Q1 2021 Fluor Corp Earnings Call


David Edward Constable Fluor Corporation - CEO & Executive Director

Jason Landkamer Fluor Corporation - Director of IR

Joseph L. Brennan Fluor Corporation - Executive VP & CFO


Andrew Alec Kaplowitz Citigroup Inc., Research Division - MD and U.S. Industrial Sector Head

Jamie Lyn Cook Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Sector Head of United States Capital Goods Research and Analyst

Michael Stephan Dudas Vertical Research Partners, LLC - Partner

Sean D. Eastman KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst

Steven Fisher UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director and Senior Analyst



Good morning, and welcome to the Fluor's First Quarter 2021 Earnings Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded. (Operator Instructions)

A replay of today's conference call will be available approximately at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time today, accessible on Fluor's website at investor.fluor.com. The web replay will be available for 30 days. A telephone replay will also be available for 7 days through the registration link, also accessible on Fluor's website at investor.fluor.com.

At this time, for opening remarks, I would like to turn the call over to Jason Landkamer, Director of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Jason Landkamer - Fluor Corporation - Director of IR

Thank you, operator. Welcome to Fluor's 2021 First Quarter Conference Call. With us today are David Constable, Fluor's Chief Executive Officer; and Joe Brennan, Fluor's Chief Financial Officer.

We released our earnings announcement earlier this morning, and we are streaming a slide presentation on our website, which we will reference while making prepared remarks.

Before getting started, I'd like to refer you to our safe harbor note regarding forward-looking statements, which is summarized on Slide 2. During today's presentation, we'll be making forward-looking statements which reflect our current analysis of existing trends and information. There is an inherent risk that actual results and experience could differ materially. You can find a discussion of our risk factors, which could potentially contribute to such differences, in our Form 10-Q filed earlier today.

During this call, we may discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations of these amounts to the comparable GAAP measures are reflected in our earnings release and posted in the Investor Relations section of our website at investor.fluor.com.

I'll now turn the call over to David Constable, Fluor's Chief Executive Officer. David?

David Edward Constable - Fluor Corporation - CEO & Executive Director

Thank you, Jason. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today.


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MAY 07, 2021 / 12:30PM, FLR.N - Q1 2021 Fluor Corp Earnings Call

If you could please turn to Slide 3. Before we get started on operational results, one of the strategic priorities outlined during our Strategy Day was to foster a high-performance culture with purpose. And I'm pleased to announce that we have appointed Tolani Azeez, a 6-year Fluor employee with 20 years of EPC experience, to lead our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Fluor is a vast and diverse company. And with Tolani's leadership, she will help us retain, attract and cultivate a workforce that represents the world in which we live and operate.

On a separate subject, please note that earlier this week, a favorable motion was granted as it relates to an outstanding securities class action lawsuit. This motion dismissed with prejudice all allegations, except those relating to a single statement in 2015 about one gas-fired power project. While no assurance can be given as to the ultimate outcome of this remaining allegation, we do not believe it is probable that a loss will be incurred.

Please turn to Slide 4. It's been great to see the vaccine rollout around the globe, and I'm particularly encouraged at the speed of distribution here in the United States. Although there are still many regional challenges to deal with, the end of the pandemic seems to be in sight, which will be a relief to all of us. Currently, well over 90% of our project sites and about 80% of our offices are operating at limited operations or better. One exception is our office in New Delhi, where a surge in COVID cases has caused local officials to issue a lockdown and curfew order effective until May 10.

The safety and well-being of all employees is our top priority. To help support our Delhi colleagues and families that are in medical need, we airlifted several oxygen concentrators from Houston. Our 1,500 New Delhi employees are all now working safely and productively from home.

In the first quarter, our book-to-bill ratio was 1.25, with new awards led by the Dos Bocas refinery program in our Energy Solutions group. While we continue to see softness in the markets when it comes to capital spending, we anticipate that awards will start to pick up as we get into the back half of 2021. And our teams are busy on front-end work and project pursuits that will help to build a healthy backlog over the next few years.

Note again that we are now reporting in line with our 3 new business segments: Energy Solutions, Urban Solutions and Mission Solutions. Additionally, Stork is now a part of discontinued operations. Joe will give an update on our divestitures of Stork and AMECO in just a few minutes.

Moving to Slide 5, with regard to NuScale. On April 5, we announced a $40 million equity contribution from JGC. We know JGC well, having executed projects with them for more than 10 years. They are an ideal partner that could support NuScale's industry-leading,carbon-free energy solution.

In addition, this morning, we announced that NuScale has retained Guggenheim Partners to explore financing options to fund the commercialization of NuScale's small modular reactor technology. This is consistent with the strategy announced in January to reduce Fluor's equity ownership of NuScale.

Regarding our cost savings initiative, efforts are now well underway to streamline the organization. We will be updating you on our progress as the year proceeds. Key to this program will be ensuring the deployment of world-class execution teams onto new prospects over the coming quarters, coupled with the proper level of fit-for-purpose,back-office support.

I'd like to take the next few minutes to inform you on what is happening across our end markets and what we expect to see over the next few quarters.

Please turn to Slide 6. In Energy Solutions, this quarter, our ICA Fluor joint venture was awarded 3 contracts totaling $2.8 billion for the Pemex Dos Bocas refinery in Mexico. We have a long and successful history of Pemex contracts, and we are pleased to be adding our $1.4 billion share of this refinery program to backlog.

During the quarter, a chemicals project was canceled. And as a result, we removed approximately $1 billion from backlog while slightly increasing Energy Solutions total backlog to $11.1 billion.

When we unveiled our strategy in January, there was a lot of interest in Fluor's energy transition opportunities supporting a reduced carbon future. Over the past few months, we've been in extensive conversations with clients about our energy transition capabilities. We are executing several carbon capture FEED and feasibility studies using our proprietary Econamine FG Plus technology.


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MAY 07, 2021 / 12:30PM, FLR.N - Q1 2021 Fluor Corp Earnings Call

Additionally, we are doing early work in the areas of refinery efficiency, gasification to produce carbon-negative energy, green hydrogen, renewable diesel, renewable jet fuel and energy storage. In each of these areas, we have identified projects and are continuing to pursue new opportunities as well.

I'd also like to provide a quick update on LNG Canada on Slide 7 of the presentation. I encourage all of you to check out the project website and social media channels to see our progress on the project. On site, we have completed all site preparation work. The Cedar Valley Lodge camp is filling up, pilings are in place. And overseas, modules are being constructed in the fab yards. We've been remobilizing craft workers on site and are currently at required staffing levels.

In 2021, the focus on site is completing the installation of underground cable and pipe as well as concrete foundations. This will allow the project team to go vertical and be positioned for the receipt of large equipment and the first modules, which are scheduled to arrive later this year.

COVID-19 and changes in law have impacted both engineering and material deliveries as well as the site's ability to mobilize workers due to public health orders. However, several opportunities are being jointly explored with the client to mitigate the COVID-19 and change in law impacts. We will keep you updated on the outcome of these discussions.

Moving to Urban Solutions on Slide 8. This segment is comprised of the infrastructure, mining and metals and advanced technologies and life sciences end markets. In infrastructure, we completed the handover for the 183 South highway project outside of Austin, just a few miles from the Oak Hill Parkway project we booked in 2020.

There is obviously a lot of interest and excitement with the proposed federal infrastructure plan. We think a long-term infrastructure bill would obviously be a good thing for the U.S. economy. In addition to providing needed funding for surface transportation improvements, it would enable state and local governments to better plan for future growth and capacity needs.

It's too soon to tell what impact the bill could have on Fluor, but we typically experience a 2- to 3-quarter lag between any new federal infrastructure spending and the release of construction and services RFPs within the states. Within our infrastructure-focused area of regional projects in selected states, we are tracking some key opportunities in Texas and North Carolina this year.

Please turn to Slide 9. Next, we remain confident in our mining and metals opportunities and prospects. We are currently completing FEED work that represents $20 billion of potential projects. And we see a robust pipeline of FEED and feasibility studies ahead of us. These projects will support an increasingly urbanized and electrified world that is driving the need for investment in minerals like copper and lithium. We have several large prospects in 2021 and expect awards throughout the year.

For our last group in Urban Solutions, we have a lot of positive momentum in advanced technologies and life sciences. As we briefly mentioned in February, in the first quarter, we won a significant EPCM biotech project in Europe. This award from Fujifilm is for a world-scale biologics drug substance manufacturing facility that will be used to produce a variety of treatments, including vaccines. As we have seen over the last 18 months, vaccine development is an integral part of our global economy. And facilities like this one will be essential going forward in protecting the population.

Finally, there's been a lot of news recently about the inability of semiconductor chip manufacturers to increase production to meet demand. While it will take several months for the supply chain to overcome this shortage, this is another area where we can leverage our advanced manufacturing capabilities. Currently, we are tracking several semiconductor prospects in the United States.

Moving to Mission Solutions on Slide 10. This quarter, our Fluor-led joint venture won an extension for the Portsmouth decontamination and decommissioning contract for the Department of Energy in Ohio. This reimbursable 12-month contract with two 6-month options is valued at $690 million. The DOE is a key long-term client. And we look forward to continuing our support at Portsmouth.

And finally, a few weeks ago, the federal government announced that it was -- would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11. Although uncertainty about the pace of withdrawal remains, Fluor expects to book an additional 3-month extension to LOGCAP IV in the second quarter that will allow us to further support the U.S. Army in Afghanistan until they are demobilized.


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MAY 07, 2021 / 12:30PM, FLR.N - Q1 2021 Fluor Corp Earnings Call

Before I turn the call over to Joe, I would be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to acknowledge yesterday's retirement of Peter Fluor from the company's Board. Peter is the last of a long line of family members to serve the company since our founding in 1912. Joining the Board in 1984, he continued the Fluor family legacy of a commitment to excellence, integrity and ethics, always putting the safety and well-being of employees first and recognizing that teamwork is a key component of our success. On behalf of the entire company, I'd like to thank Peter for his outstanding service and wish him and his entire family much health and happiness going forward.

With that, I'll now turn the call over to Joe for the financial update. Joe?

Joseph L. Brennan - Fluor Corporation - Executive VP & CFO

Thanks, David, and good morning, everyone.

Please turn to Slide 11. For the first quarter of 2021, we are reporting adjusted earnings per share of $0.07. As a reminder, we are adjusting out NuScale expenses, foreign exchange fluctuations, impairments and certain legal-related costs.

Our adjusted results also exclude an embedded foreign currency derivative for an Energy Solutions project in Mexico. This derivative is based on exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the Mexican peso and will fluctuate over the life of the contract or at least until the job has been fully procured.

Our overall segment profit for the quarter was $60 million or 2% and includes the $29 million embedded derivative in Energy Solutions and quarterly NuScale expenses of $15 million. This compares favorably to $55 million in the first quarter of 2020. Removing NuScale expenses and the effect of the embedded derivative would improve our total segment profit margin to 3.6%.

Margins in Energy Solutions and Urban Solutions reflect reduced execution activity on certain projects and the lack of new awards to replace projects we are completing. We anticipate project activities will accelerate as we move through 2021.

In Mission Solutions, margins were strong due to the increased execution activity on DOE projects as well as an increase in performance scores on several projects.

As David mentioned, we received a $40 million investment in NuScale from JGC this quarter and are anticipating other significant investments in the near future. Note here that even though partners are meeting NuScale's cash needs, we will continue to expense 100% of this investment on our income statement on a consolidated basis.

Our G&A expense in the quarter was $66 million. This is higher than our expected run rate due to the increase in our stock price driving up the value of our executive compensation expense.

As David said, our cost savings initiative is well underway. We have identified cost savings above the $100 million target previously discussed. I look forward to providing an update on the progress as we get into the execution phase later this year and transition into a fit-for-purpose organization.

On Slide 12, our ending cash for the quarter was $2 billion, 25% of this domestically available. As a reminder, the rest of our cash is tied up in either VIEs, in projects, or in foreign accounts and is not easily accessible. Our operating cash flow for the quarter was an outflow of $231 million and was negatively impacted by increased funding of COVID costs on our projects; higher cash payments of corporate G&A, including the timing and extent of employee bonuses; and increased tax payments. While it is typical to have a lower operating cash flow in the first quarter, we expect full year operating cash flow to be positive.

We used approximately $50 million in cash for challenged legacy projects in the first quarter. As I stated in February, we expect to spend an additional $65 million over the balance of 2021 to fund these projects.


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Fluor Corporation published this content on 08 May 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 10 May 2021 14:53:02 UTC.

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Financials (USD)
Sales 2021 13 394 M - -
Net income 2021 -6,03 M - -
Net cash 2021 278 M - -
P/E ratio 2021 1 903x
Yield 2021 0,38%
Capitalization 2 413 M 2 413 M -
EV / Sales 2021 0,16x
EV / Sales 2022 0,13x
Nbr of Employees 43 717
Free-Float 98,2%
Duration : Period :
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Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 9
Last Close Price 17,07 $
Average target price 21,57 $
Spread / Average Target 26,4%
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David Edward Constable Chief Executive Officer & Director
Joseph L. Brennan Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Alan Lee Boeckmann Executive Chairman
Robert C. Taylor Chief Information Officer & Senior Vice President
Rosemary T. Berkery Independent Director
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