WESCO International, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2021 Results

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May 17, 2021

First quarter summary:

  • Net sales of $4.0 billion, up more than double due to the Anixter merger
  • Up 3.2% on a pro forma workday-adjusted basis
  • Operating profit of $133.3 million; operating margin of 3.3%
  • Gross margin of 20.1%, up 100 basis points year-over-year and 50 bps basis points sequentially
  • Adjusted operating profit of $170.6 million; adjusted operating margin of 4.2%, up 90 basis points
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $216.5 million; adjusted EBITDA margin of 5.4%, up 100 basis points
  • Earnings per diluted share of $0.87
  • Adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.43
  • Operating cash flow of $120.5 million
  • Free cash flow of $124.8 million, 141% of adjusted net income
  • Leverage of 4.9x; improvement of 0.4x sequentially and 0.8x since Anixter merger
  • Net debt reduction of $144 million in the first quarter, and $534 million since the Anixter merger
  • Raising 2021 outlook for adjusted earnings per diluted share to a range of $6.80 to $7.30

WESCO International, Inc. announces its results for the first quarter of 2021.

“We’re off to a great start to the year and delivered excellent results across the board that exceeded our expectations. I am very proud of our team and the work that they are doing in executing our integration plan, delivering the synergies, and capturing the value of the transformational combination of WESCO and Anixter,” said John Engel, Chairman, President and CEO. “We’re outperforming our markets, delivering significant margin expansion, and generating very strong free cash flow. With over $500 million of debt reduction over the last three quarters, our financial leverage is now below 5.0X, showing the power of our business model. The first quarter is another strong proof point of the substantial value creation potential of WESCO plus Anixter.”

“We are seeing positive sales and margin momentum across each of our three global business units. Backlog has reached a new all-time record level, our margin improvement programs are generating results, and structural cost takeout has increased our operating leverage. As a result of our strong first quarter results and accelerated synergy realization to start the year, we are raising our full-year 2021 outlook for sales, synergies, and profitability. We now expect sales to increase 4.5% to 7.5%, adjusted EBITDA margin to expand to 5.8% to 6.1%, and adjusted EPS to grow to $6.80 to $7.30.”

“The strength of our franchise, power of our industry-leading value proposition, and benefits of our increased scale, is now more evident than ever. As the economic recovery accelerates, we are exceptionally well positioned to capitalize on the secular growth trends of  electrification, automation, communications and security.”

The following are results for the three months ended March 31, 2021 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020:

  • Net sales were $4.0 billion for the first quarter of 2021 compared to $2.0 billion for the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 105.3% due to the merger with Anixter that was completed on June 22, 2020. On a pro forma basis, and adjusted for two fewer workdays, net sales for the first quarter of 2021 were up 3.2% compared to the first quarter of the prior year. This increase reflects growth across all segments. At the end of the first quarter of 2021, WESCO’s book-to-bill ratio was above 1.0 and backlog has grown double digits since the end of the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Cost of goods sold for the first quarter of 2021 was $3.2 billion compared to $1.6 billion for the first quarter of 2020, and gross profit was $811.0 million and $376.4 million, respectively. As a percentage of net sales, gross profit was 20.1% for the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 100 basis points compared to 19.1% for the first quarter of 2020. Gross profit as a percentage of sales for the first quarter of 2021 reflects the favorable impact of margin improvement initiatives, partially offset by a write-down to the carrying value of certain personal protective equipment products, which had a negative impact of 20 basis points. Sequentially, gross profit as a percentage of net sales increased 50 basis points from 19.6% for the fourth quarter of 2020, as adjusted for merger-related fair value adjustments of $15.7 million, as well as an out-of-period adjustment of $23.3 million related to inventory absorption accounting.
  • Selling, general and administrative expenses were $636.6 million, or 15.8% of net sales, for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $299.4 million, or 15.2% of net sales, for the first quarter of 2020. SG&A expenses for the first quarter of 2021 include merger-related costs of $46.3 million, as well as a net gain of $8.9 million resulting from the sale of WESCO’s legacy utility and data communications businesses in Canada, which were divested in connection with the merger. Adjusted for these amounts, SG&A expenses were $599.2 million, or 14.8% of net sales, for the first quarter of 2021. SG&A expenses for the first quarter of 2020 include $4.6 million of merger-related costs. Adjusted for these costs, SG&A expenses were $294.8 million, or 15.0% of net sales for the first quarter of 2020.
  • Operating profit was $133.3 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $60.9 million for the first quarter of 2020. Operating profit as a percentage of net sales was 3.3% for the current quarter, compared to 3.1% for the first quarter of the prior year. Operating profit for the first quarter of 2021 includes merger-related costs and the net gain on the Canadian divestitures, as described above. Adjusted for these amounts, operating profit was $170.6 million, or 4.2% of net sales. Adjusted for merger-related costs of $4.6 million, operating profit was $65.5 million for the first quarter of 2020, or 3.3% of net sales. Adjusted operating margin was up 90 basis points compared to the prior year.
  • Net interest expense for the first quarter of 2021 was $70.4 million, compared to $16.6 million for the first quarter of 2020. The increase in interest expense was driven by financing activity related to the Anixter merger.
  • The effective tax rate for the first quarter of 2021 was 9.9%, compared to 23.1% for the first quarter of 2020. The lower effective tax rate in the current quarter was primarily due to a discrete income tax benefit associated with a change in valuation allowance related to foreign tax credit carryforwards, which impacted the effective tax rate by approximately 12.7 percentage points.
  • Net income attributable to common stockholders was $44.8 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $34.4 million for the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted for merger-related costs and interest, the net gain on the Canadian divestitures, and the related income tax effects, net income attributable to common stockholders was $74.1 million and $38.3 million for the first quarter of 2021 and 2020, respectively, an increase of 93.2%.
  • Earnings per diluted share for the first quarter of 2021 was $0.87, based on 51.7 million diluted shares, compared to $0.82 for the first quarter of 2020, based on 42.1 million diluted shares. Adjusted for merger-related costs and interest, the net gain on the Canadian divestitures, and the related income tax effects, earnings per diluted share for the first quarter of 2021 and 2020 was $1.43 and $0.91, respectively, an increase of 57.1%.
  • Operating cash flow for the first quarter of 2021 was $120.5 million, compared to $31.5 million for the first quarter of 2020. Free cash flow for the first quarter of 2021 was $124.8 million, or 141% of adjusted net income, compared to $15.8 million, or 41% of adjusted net income, for the first quarter of 2020.

Segment Results

The Company has operating segments that are organized around three strategic business units consisting of Electrical & Electronic Solutions (“EES”), Communications & Security Solutions (“CSS”) and Utility & Broadband Solutions (“UBS”).

Corporate expenses are incurred to obtain and coordinate financing, tax, information technology, legal and other related services. Segment results include depreciation expense or other allocations related to various corporate assets. Interest expense and other non-operating items are not allocated to the segments or reviewed on a segment basis. Corporate expenses are not directly identifiable with our reportable segments and are reported in the tables below to reconcile the reportable segments to the consolidated financial statements.

The following are results by segment for the three months ended March 31, 2021 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2020, which primarily reflect the impact of the merger with Anixter. For the first quarter of 2021, adjusted EBITDA margin improved for all segments (EES, CSS and UBS) and reflects the favorable impact of margin improvement initiatives, as well as lower operating expenses due to cost reduction actions, synergy capture and integration initiatives.

  • EES reported net sales of $1.7 billion for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $1.1 billion for the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 54.4%. In addition to the impact from the merger, the increase reflects sales growth in our construction and original equipment manufacturer businesses. Operating profit was $100.1 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $43.3 million for the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was $112.0 million for the first quarter of 2021, or 6.5% of net sales, compared to $51.0 million for the first quarter of 2020, or 4.6% of net sales.
  • CSS reported net sales of $1.3 billion for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $223.7 million for the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 459.0%. The increase reflects the impact of the merger. Operating profit was $74.0 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $9.9 million for the first quarter of 2020. The inventory write-down described above negatively impacted the operating profit of the CSS segment for the first quarter of 2021. Adjusted EBITDA was $90.7 million for the first quarter of 2021, or 7.3% of net sales, compared to $11.9 million for the first quarter of 2020, or 5.3% of net sales.
  • UBS reported net sales of $1.1 billion for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $630.5 million for the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 69.7%. Along with the impact of the merger, the increase reflects sales growth in our utility and broadband businesses, partially offset by lower sales from integrated supply programs due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Operating profit was $87.0 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $41.8 million for the first quarter of 2020. Operating profit for the first quarter of 2021 includes the benefit from the Canadian divestitures, as described above. Adjusted EBITDA was $83.7 million for the first quarter of 2021, or 7.8% of net sales, compared to $45.6 million for the first quarter of 2020, or 7.2% of net sales.

Source

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