NFI Provides Update on NFI Forward 2.0 Business Transformation Initiatives
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, May 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — (TSX: NFI, OTC: NFYEF, TSX: NFI.DB) NFI Group Inc. (“NFI” or the “Company”), a leading independent bus and coach manufacturer and a leader in electric mass mobility solutions, today announced an update regarding “NFI Forward 2.0”, a series of new projects that are part of the Company’s business optimization and cost reduction initiatives. Today’s announcement includes the closure of the Motor Coach Industries (“MCI”) coach manufacturing facility in Pembina, North Dakota, anticipated to occur in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Originally launched in July 2020, NFI Forward included a number of major initiatives targeted to drive approximately $67 million in annual overhead and sales, general and administration savings by the end of 2023 from 2019 levels, plus an additional $10 million in annualized Free Cash Flow generation. As of the first quarter of 2022, NFI had achieved an annualized run rate of approximately $63 million, well on its way to achieving its $67 million target.
The original NFI Forward program included the following initiatives, completed throughout 2020 and 2021:
- Streamlining of administrative and back-office functions (human resources, finance, legal, treasury, information technology), into an integrated shared services model;
- The combination of New Flyer and MCI into one consolidated North American operating business;
- The rationalization of the Alexander Dennis (“ADI”) North American parts business into the NFI Parts™ business;
- The closure of ADI’s manufacturing facilities in Nappanee and Peru, Indiana, and Vaughan, Ontario;
- The cessation of chassis manufacturing at Alexander Dennis Limited’s (“ADL”) Guildford, UK facility; and
- The optimization of two Winnipeg-based fiberglass part fabrication facilities.
With the majority of the original projects complete, the Company is now implementing a series of additional projects called “NFI Forward 2.0”, that are expected to generate additional annualized Adjusted EBITDA savings in 2023 and beyond. Within NFI Forward 2.0, the Company completed a detailed review of its remaining North American footprint with a view to match production capacity and facility investments to customer demand, local labor availability and zero-emission fleet investment plans. From this review, NFI made the decision to integrate its Delaware parts distribution facility (a legacy parts warehouse of NABI that NFI acquired in 2013) into its existing NFI Parts™ footprint, and today announced the closure of an MCI coach manufacturing facility in Pembina, North Dakota, anticipated to occur by the end of 2022.
“Over the past two years, we have been on a journey to lower our fixed cost base and optimize operations as we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and associated supply chain disruptions. The closure of our Pembina facility follows a detailed review of our manufacturing footprint, combined with the planned cessation of a legacy motorcoach vehicle product, and prior investments in expanded production and workforce development at our Minnesota facilities,” said Brian Dewsnup, Acting President and Chief Executive Officer, NFI. “It is never easy to close locations and impact the lives and careers of our people, and we will do our best to redeploy or assist them in finding alternative employment where possible. These decisions, while difficult, best position NFI to serve our coach customers, better match production capacity with labor availability, and improve the flexibility of our overall North American footprint on our path to achieving our 2025 financial targets.”
All dollar amounts herein are quoted in U.S. currency, unless otherwise noted.
Leveraging 450 years of combined experience, NFI is leading the electrification of mass mobility around the world. With zero-emission buses and coaches, infrastructure, and technology, NFI meets today’s urban demands for scalable smart mobility solutions. Together, NFI is enabling more livable cities through connected, clean, and sustainable transportation. NFI also operates the Vehicle Innovation Center (“VIC”), the first and only innovation lab of its kind dedicated to advancing bus and coach technology and providing workforce development. Since opening late 2017, the VIC has hosted over 300 interactive events, welcoming 5,000 industry professionals for electric vehicle (“EV”) and infrastructure training.
With 7,500 team members in nine countries, NFI is a leading global bus manufacturer of mass mobility solutions under the brands New Flyer® (heavy-duty transit buses), MCI® (motor coaches), Alexander Dennis Limited (single and double-deck buses), Plaxton (motor coaches), ARBOC® (low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses), and NFI Parts™. NFI currently offers the widest range of sustainable drive systems available, including zero-emission electric (trolley, battery, and fuel cell), natural gas, electric hybrid, and clean diesel. In total, NFI supports its installed base of over 105,000 buses and coaches around the world. NFI’s common shares (“Shares”) trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) under the symbol NFI and its convertible unsecured debentures (“Debentures”) trade on the TSX under the symbol NFI.DB. News and information is available at www.nfigroup.com, www.newflyer.com, www.mcicoach.com, www.nfi.parts, www.alexander-dennis.com, www.arbocsv.com, and www.carfaircomposites.com.
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References to “Adjusted EBITDA” are to earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization after adjusting for the effects of certain non-recurring and/or non-operations related items that do not reflect the current ongoing cash operations of the Company. These adjustments include gains or losses on disposal of property, plant and equipment, fair value adjustment for total return swap, unrealized foreign exchange losses or gains on non-current monetary items and forward foreign exchange contracts, costs associated with assessing strategic and corporate initiatives, past service costs and other pension costs or recovery, non-operating costs or recoveries related to business acquisition, fair value adjustment to acquired subsidiary company’s inventory and deferred revenue, proportion of the total return swap realized, equity settled stock-based compensation, recovery of currency transactions, prior year sales tax provision, COVID-19 costs and impairment loss on goodwill and non-operating restructuring costs.
References to “Free Cash Flow” mean net cash generated by or used in operating activities adjusted for changes in non-cash working capital items, interest paid, interest expense, income taxes paid, current income tax expense, repayment of obligation under lease, cash capital expenditures, acquisition of intangible assets, proceeds from disposition of property, plant and equipment, costs associated with assessing strategic and corporate initiatives, fair value adjustment to acquired subsidiary company’s inventory and deferred revenue, defined benefit funding, defined benefit expense, past service costs and other pension costs or recovery, proportion of total return swap, unrecoverable insurance costs, prior year sales tax provision, non-operating restructuring costs, extraordinary COVID-19 costs, foreign exchange gain or loss on cash held in foreign currency.
Management believes Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow are useful measures in evaluating the performance of NFI. However, Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow are not recognized earnings or cash flow measures under International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) and do not have standardized meanings prescribed by IFRS. Readers of this press release are cautioned that Adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as an alternative to net earnings or loss or cash flows from operating activities determined in accordance with IFRS as an indicator of NFI’s performance, and Free Cash Flow should not be construed as an alternative to cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities determined in accordance with IFRS as a measure of liquidity and cash flows. NFI’s method of calculating Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow may differ materially from the methods used by other issuers and, accordingly, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other issuers.
This press release contains “forward-looking information” and “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws, which reflect the expectations of management regarding the Company’s future growth, financial performance and objectives and the Company’s strategic initiatives, plans, business prospects and opportunities, including the expected benefits to be obtained under its “NFI Forward 2.0” initiative. The words “believes”, “views”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “expects”, “intends”, “projects”, “forecasts”, “estimates”, “guidance”, “goals”, “objectives” and “targets” and similar expressions of future events or conditional verbs such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “could”, “would” are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect management’s current expectations regarding future events (including the expected benefits to be obtained through the “NFI Forward 2.0” initiative) and the Company’s financial and operating outlook and performance and speak only as of the date of this press release. By their very nature, forward-looking statements require management to make assumptions and involve significant risks and uncertainties, should not be read as guarantees of future events, performance or results, and give rise to the possibility that management’s predictions, forecasts, projections, expectations or conclusions will not prove to be accurate, that the assumptions may not be correct and that the Company’s future growth, financial performance and objectives and the Company’s strategic initiatives, plans, business prospects and opportunities, including the duration, impact of and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions, will not occur or be achieved.
A number of factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements include: the Company’s business, operating results, financial condition and liquidity may be materially adversely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related supply chain, employee absenteeism and inflationary effects; the Company’s business, operating results, financial condition and liquidity may be materially adversely impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine due to factors including but not limited to further supply chain issues and inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions; funding may not continue to be available to the Company’s customers at current levels or at all, the Company’s business is affected by economic factors and adverse developments in economic conditions which could have an adverse effect on the demand for the Company’s products and the results of its operations; currency fluctuations could adversely affect the Company’s financial results or competitive position; interest rates could change substantially, materially impacting the Company’s revenue and profitability; an active, liquid trading market for the Shares and/or the Debentures may cease to exist, which may limit the ability of securityholders to trade Shares and/or Debentures; the market price for the Shares and/or the Debentures may be volatile; if securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about the Company and its business, if they adversely change their recommendations regarding the Shares or if the Company’s results of operations do not meet their expectations, the Share price and trading volume could decline, in addition, if securities or industry analysts publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about the Company or its business, the Share price and trading volume of the Shares could decline; competition in the industry and entrance of new competitors; current requirements under U.S. “Buy America” regulations may change and/or become more onerous or suppliers’ “Buy America” content may change; failure of the Company to comply with the U.S. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“DBE”) program requirements or the failure to have its DBE goals approved by the U.S. Federal Transit Administration; absence of fixed term customer contracts, exercise of options and customer suspension or termination for convenience; local content bidding preferences in the United States may create a competitive disadvantage; requirements under Canadian content policies may change and/or become more onerous; the Company’s business may be materially impacted by climate change matters, including risks related to the transition to a lower-carbon economy); operational risk resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and/or systems or from external events, including fiduciary breaches, regulatory compliance failures, legal disputes, business disruption, pandemics, floods, technology failures, processing errors, business integration, damage to physical assets, employee safety and insurance coverage; international operations subject the Company to additional risks and costs and may cause profitability to decline; compliance with international trade regulations, tariffs and duties; dependence on unique or limited sources of supply (such as engines, components containing microprocessors or, in other cases, for example, the supply of transmissions, batteries for battery-electric buses, axles or structural steel tubing) resulting in the Company’s raw materials and components not being readily available from alternative sources of supply, being available only in limited supply, a particular component may be specified by a customer, the Company’s products have been engineered or designed with a component unique to one supplier or a supplier may have limited or no supply of such raw materials or components or sells such raw materials or components to the Company on less than favorable commercial terms; the Company’s vehicles and certain other products contain electronics, microprocessors control modules, and other computer chips, for which there has been a surge in demand, resulting in a worldwide supply shortage of such chips in the transportation industry, and a shortage or disruption of the supply of such microchips could materially disrupt the Company’s operations and its ability to deliver products to customers; dependence on supply of engines that comply with emission regulations; a disruption, termination or alteration of the supply of vehicle chassis or other critical components from third-party suppliers could materially adversely affect the sales of certain of the Company’s products; the Company’s profitability can be adversely affected by increases in raw material and component costs; the Company may incur material losses and costs as a result of product warranty costs, recalls and remediation of transit buses and motor coaches; production delays may result in liquidated damages under the Company’s contracts with its customers; catastrophic events, including those related to impacts of climate change, may lead to production curtailments or shutdowns; the Company may not be able to successfully renegotiate collective bargaining agreements when they expire and may be adversely affected by labor disruptions and shortages of labor; the Company’s operations are subject to risks and hazards that may result in monetary losses and liabilities not covered by insurance or which exceed its insurance coverage; the Company may be adversely affected by rising insurance costs; the Company may not be able to maintain performance bonds or letters of credit required by its contracts or obtain performance bonds and letters of credit required for new contracts; the Company is subject to litigation in the ordinary course of business and may incur material losses and costs as a result of product liability and other claims; the Company may have difficulty selling pre-owned coaches and realizing expected resale values; the Company may incur costs in connection with regulations relating to axle weight restrictions and vehicle lengths; the Company may be subject to claims and liabilities under environmental, health and safety laws; dependence on management information systems and cyber security risks; the Company’s ability to execute its strategy and conduct operations is dependent upon its ability to attract, train and retain qualified personnel, including its ability to retain and attract executives, senior management and key employees; the Company may be exposed to liabilities under applicable anti-corruption laws and any determination that it violated these laws could have a material adverse effect on its business; the Company’s risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective in achieving their intended purposes; internal controls over financial reporting, no matter how well designed, have inherent limitations; there are inherent limitations to the effectiveness of any system of disclosure controls and procedures, including the possibility of human error and the circumvention or overriding of the controls and procedures; ability to successfully execute strategic plans and maintain profitability; development of competitive or disruptive products, services or technology; development and testing of new products or model variants; acquisition risk; reliance on third-party manufacturers; third-party distribution/dealer agreements; availability to the Company of future financing; the Company may not be able to generate the necessary amount of cash to service its existing debt, which may require the Company to refinance its debt; the Company’s substantial consolidated indebtedness could negatively impact the business; the restrictive covenants in the Company’s credit facilities could impact the Company’s business and affect its ability to pursue its business strategies; payment of dividends is not guaranteed; a significant amount of the Company’s cash is distributed, which may restrict potential growth; the Company is dependent on its subsidiaries for all cash available for distributions; the Company may not be able to make principal payments on the Debentures; redemption by the Company of the Debentures for Shares will result in dilution to holders of Shares; Debentures may be redeemed by the Company prior to maturity; the Company may not be able to repurchase the Debentures upon a change of control as required by the trust indenture under which the Debentures were issued (the “Indenture”); conversion of the Debentures following certain transactions could lessen or eliminate the value of the conversion privilege associated with the Debentures; future sales or the possibility of future sales of a substantial number of Shares or Debentures may impact the price of the Shares and/or the Debentures and could result in dilution; payments to holders of the Debentures are subordinated in right of payment to existing and future Senior Indebtedness (as described under the Indenture) and will depend on the financial health of the Company and its creditworthiness; if the Company is required to write down goodwill or other intangible assets, its financial condition and operating results would be negatively affected; and income and other tax risk resulting from the complexity of the Company’s businesses and operations and the income and other tax interpretations, legislation and regulations pertaining to the Company’s activities being subject to continual change.
Factors relating to the global COVID-19 pandemic include: the magnitude and duration of the global, national and regional economic and social disruption being caused as a result of the pandemic; the impact of national, regional and local governmental laws, regulations and “shelter in place” or similar orders relating to the pandemic which may materially adversely impact the Company’s ability to continue operations; partial or complete closures of one, more or all of the Company’s facilities and work locations or the reduction of production rates (including due to government mandates and to protect the health and safety of the Company’s employees or as a result of employees being unable to come to work due to COVID-19 infections with respect to them or their family members or having to isolate or quarantine as a result of coming into contact with infected individuals); production rates may be further decreased as a result of the pandemic; ongoing and future supply delays and shortages of parts and components, and shipping and freight delays, and disruption to labor supply as a result of the pandemic; the pandemic will likely adversely affect operations of suppliers and customers, and reduce and delay, for an unknown period, customers’ purchases of the Company’s products and the supply of parts and components by suppliers; the anticipated recovery of the Company’s markets in the future may be delayed or increase in demand may be lower than expected as a result of the continuing effects of the pandemic; the Company’s ability to obtain access to additional capital if required; and the Company’s financial performance and condition, obligations, cash flow and liquidity and its ability to maintain compliance with the covenants under its credit facilities, which may also negatively impact the ability of the Company to pay dividends. There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to maintain sufficient liquidity for an extended period, obtain satisfactory covenant relief under its credit facilities, or access to additional capital or access to government financial support or as to when production operations will return to previous production rates. There is also no assurance that governments will provide continued or adequate stimulus funding during or after the pandemic for public transit agencies to purchase transit vehicles or that public or private demand for the Company’s vehicles will return to pre-pandemic levels in the anticipated period of time. The Company cautions that due to the dynamic, fluid and highly unpredictable nature of the pandemic and its impact on global and local economies, supply chains, businesses and individuals, it is impossible to predict the severity of the impact on the Company’s business, operating performance, financial condition and ability to generate sufficient cash flow and maintain adequate liquidity and any material adverse effects could very well be rapid, unexpected and may continue for an extended and unknown period of time.
Factors relating to the Company’s “NFI Forward 2.0” initiative include: the Company’s ability to successfully execute the initiative and to generate the planned savings in the expected time frame or at all; management may have overestimated the amount of savings and production efficiencies that can be generated or may have underestimated the amount of costs to be expended; the implementation of the projects included in the initiative may take longer than planned to achieve the expected savings; further restructuring and cost-cutting may be required in order to achieve the objectives of the initiative; the estimated amount of savings generated under the initiative may not be sufficient to achieve the planned benefits; combining business units and/or reducing the number of production or parts facilities may not achieve the efficiencies anticipated; and the impact of the continuing global COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues and inflationary pressures. There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to achieve the anticipated financial and operational benefits, cost savings or other benefits of the initiative.
Factors relating to the Company’s savings, Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow objectives and targets disclosed in this press release include, in addition to the factors set out above, the degree to which actual future events accord with, or vary from, the expectations of, and assumptions used by, NFI’s management in preparing the objectives and targets and the Company’s ability to successfully execute the “NFI Forward 2.0” initiative and to generate the planned savings in the expected time frame or at all.
Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that could cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended or to occur or be achieved at all. Specific reference is made to “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Information Form for a discussion of the factors that may affect forward-looking statements and information. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in forward-looking statements and information. The forward-looking statements and information contained herein are made as of the date of this press release (or as otherwise indicated) and, except as required by law, the Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement or information, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by the Company or on its behalf. The Company provides no assurance that forward-looking statements and information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers and investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and information.