Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New Flyer revenue plummets 18% in Q4

But it's better than analysts predicted after order delayed

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WINNIPEG bus-maker New Flyer Industries released lower sales and profits results for the fourth quarter, but the results are better than some analysts had forecast and the share price is still near its 52-week high.

Total revenue was down 18.5 per cent in the quarter to $209.9 million and bus revenue was down 20.5 per cent.

That's mostly attributed to the fact the number of equivalent bus units delivered in the quarter was down 17.7 per cent, which the company said was primarily as a result of a supplier quality issue that's been taken care of and the temporary delay in receiving a notice to proceed for an order from New York City Transit Authority.

Even the company's aftermarket revenue decreased slightly -- 1.6 per cent -- to $28.9 million in the quarter due largely to the company's decision to get out of the used-bus market.

Consolidated adjusted EBITDA of $14.5 million was down 8.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2011 and net earnings of $3.9 million in the quarter were much less than the $15.6-million record for the fourth quarter last year. Last year's results included a one-time recognition of investment tax credits.

Trevor Johnson, an analyst with National Bank Financial, said despite a lot of negative numbers, the results were not a surprise and were slightly better than anticipated.

"I was happy as can be. They said fourth quarter was going to be like the third quarter and they beat our EBITDA forecasts," he said.

"I was fine with the quarter. It was more or less bang-on what we were looking for."

Johnson has forecast EBITDA of $14.2 million and the company came in at $14.5 million.

"It was very much as articulated," he said. "I'm telling my clients the pullback (in the stock price) could be used as a buying opportunity."

Total revenue for the full year was off 5.8 per cent to $872.9 million, EBITDA was down 23.1 per cent to $61.6 million and net earnings was down 6.1 per cent to $9.8 million.

The company recently received a $116-million equity injection from Brazilian bus-maker Marcopolo for 20 per cent of the company.

New Flyer also recently acquired the parts business from Orion, the former North American bus division of Daimler, which has been shut down.

During the first quarter of this year the company landed a few very large long-term contracts. New Flyer shares were down three per cent on Thursday to $10.12.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 22, 2013 A12

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