Newmarket, ON – AirBoss of America Corp. (TSX: BOS) (the “Company” or “AirBoss”) today announced record fourth quarter and annual performance as it enters 2021 with strong momentum. The Company will host a conference call and webcast to discuss the results on March 10th at 9 a.m. ET, the details of which are further below.

Recent Highlights

($US except where otherwise noted)

  • Grew net sales by 54.1% for the fourth quarter of 2020 (“Q4 2020”) to $132.2 million vs $85.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 (“Q4 2019”), and by 52.9% to $501.6 million in 2020 vs $328.1 million in 2019;
  • Increased Adjusted EBITDA by 259.6% to $32.8 million in Q4 2020 vs $9.1 million in Q4 2019, and by 228.0% to $105.6 million in 2020 vs $32.2 million in 2019;
  • Grew diluted EPS by 436.4% to $0.59 in Q4 2020 (Q4 2019: $0.11), and by 206.8% to $1.35 for 2020 (2019: $0.44);
  • Increased Adjusted EPS to $0.59 in Q4 2020 (Q4 2019: $0.12) and to $1.45 in 2020 (2019 – $0.47);
  • Finished Q4 2020 with a Net Debt to EBITDA ratio of (0.09)x;
  • Paid a quarterly dividend of C$0.07 per common share for a total annual payment of C$0.28;
  • Completed acquisition of 100% ownership of AirBoss Defense Group effective October 26, 2020 by purchasing 45% minority interest held by Critical Solutions Holdings, LLC;
  • Continued delivery against a $121.0 million contract from the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (“HHS”) with the completion of the FlexAir™ PAPR systems (“PAPR’s”) portion of the contract, with the remaining fulfillment of filters, and related accessories expected to be completed by early Q2 of 2021;
  • Announced that AirBoss Defense Group was awarded an additional US$22.0 million in contracts across its survivability portfolio for multiple parties in North America and internationally;
  • Continued to strengthen the Board with the appointment of Stephen Ryan to the Board of Directors, the third new Director added to the Board over the past 18 months; and
  • Announced that AirBoss Defense Group has agreed to acquire Blackbox Biometrics, developer of the Blast Gauge System of lightweight wearable blast overpressure sensors which have been outfitted on U.S. Special Forces, Army, and SWAT teams across the U.S.

“2020 was another record year for AirBoss in terms of growth, profitability and free cash flow generation, and was marked by the step change we achieved in the scale of our business through the formation of AirBoss Defense Group (“ADG”) at the beginning of the year,” said Gren Schoch, Chairman and CEO of AirBoss. “Through ADG, we have widened the aperture of opportunity for our business, established health care as a significant end customer base for our personal protective equipment, and created the full value chain of a survivability platform, one that combines our decades long experience, expertise and innovation in manufacturing and engineering design with new marketing, distribution, and supply chain management expertise for a broadened customer-base across the globe.”

“2020 was also our 25th consecutive year of operating profitability, during which time we have generated meaningful returns for investors and continued to succeed through three recessions,” said Mr. Schoch. “This reflects the benefits of our carefully cultivated strategy to diversify our business to mitigate the impact of economic and industry cycles, focus our product lines on areas where we can leverage our competitive advantages in innovation and efficiency, and undertake strategic transactions to position our business for ongoing growth in sales and margins. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy this past year, we maintained our dividend, invested in growth and efficiency initiatives across our operations, and added new employees across our company.”

“We are entering 2021 in an enviable financial position, one that will enable us to be opportunistic in the current environment, including through strategic acquisitions to broaden our product lines and regional presence,” said Chris Bitsakakis, President and COO of AirBoss. “We are competing for over $750 million in contract opportunities over the next 24 months, including new large health care contracts, and we believe we will win a portion of these which would result in continued organic growth in 2021. Additionally, our strategy to grow our rubber compounding business is working as we have recovered from the pandemic sales drops and are beginning to operate at the highest volume levels in years and continuing to gain market share from top competitors in North America.”

Three Months ended
December 31
Twelve Months ended
December 31
(In thousands of US dollars, except share data) 2020       2019         2020           2019
Financial results:
Net Sales 132,180 85,762 501,572 328,126
Profit 19,932 2,457 56,262 10,219
Profit attributable to owners of the Company 15,902 2,457 33,703 10,219
Adjusted Profit attributable to owners of the Company(2) 15,923 2,788 36,087 10,948
Earnings per share (US$)
-Basic 0.61 0.11 1.40  0.44
-Diluted 0.59 0.11 1.35  0.44
Adjusted earnings per share(2) (US$)
-Basic 0.61 0.12 1.50  0.47
-Diluted 0.59 0.12 1.45  0.47
EBITDA(2) 32,811 8,833 103,211  32,082
Adjusted EBITDA(2) 32.832 9,129 105,595  32,196
Net cash from operating activities 56.530 (327) 104,399  11,706
Free cash flow (2) 51,486 (6,773) 89, 965 (7,775)
Dividends declared per share (CAD$) 0.07 0.07 0.28  0.28
Capital additions(2) 5,045 13,115 15,606  26,700
Financial position: December 31, 2020 December 31, 2019
Total assets 367,369  249,664
Term loan and other debt(1) 90,734  74,144
Net debt (2) (9,718) 59,481
Shareholders’ equity 194,588  125,979
Outstanding shares* 26,908,802  23,392,442
* at March 9, 2021

Financial Results

AirBoss increased consolidated net sales in Q4 2020 by 54.1% to $132,180 compared with the same period in 2019, with increases in AirBoss Defense Group primarily due to the large contract with HHS and the Engineered Products segment across several product lines, partially offset by decreases in the Rubber Solutions segment, primarily due to mix and higher material costs. Consolidated net sales for the year increased by 52.9% to $501,572 compared with 2019 due largely to the FEMA and HHS contracts, partially offset by softness in the Rubber Solutions and Engineered Products segments, primarily due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consolidated gross profit for Q4 2020 increased to $40,255 from $13,246 compared with the same period in 2019, with increase in AirBoss Defense Group partially offset by decreases in the Rubber Solutions and Engineered Products segments. For the year, consolidated gross profit increased by $87,168 to $135,922 compared to 2019, driven by higher volume from AirBoss Defense Group and partially offset by lower volumes in the Rubber Solutions and Engineered Products segments. Gross profit as a percentage of net sales for the three-month period ended December 31, 2020 increased to 30.5% compared with 15.4% for the same period in 2019, and to 27.1% for 2020 compared with 14.9% for 2019.

Adjusted EBITDA for Q4 2020 increased by 271.5%, compared to the same period in 2019 and by 221.7% for 2020 compared to 2019, due primarily to the increases in gross profit noted above, as partially offset by an increase in operating expenses related to incorporating the business of CSI.

In addition, on November 26, 2020 the Company renewed its normal course issuer bid for its common shares, pursuant to which the Company may re-purchase up to 500,000 of its common shares (representing approximately 3.8% of the Company’s public float of 13,031,799 common shares as of November 21, 2020.

Financial Position

The Company remains in strong financial condition. With a $60 million credit facility and a net debt to TTM EBITDA ratio of (0.09)x, the Company enters 2021 with significant resources with which to pursue organic and acquisitive growth opportunities.

Dividend

The Board of Directors of the Company has approved a quarterly dividend of C$0.07 per common share, to be paid on April 15, 2021 to shareholders of record at March 31, 2021.

Segment Results

In the Rubber Solutions segment, net sales in the quarter decreased by 2.9% to $31,728 and by 13.4% to $119,090 year-to-date from the comparable periods in 2019. The decrease in net sales for the quarter was reflective of an approximate 3.5% increase in raw material prices which were not passed on to customers and the impact of a higher product sales mix in tolling vs. non-tolling applications. For the year, the decrease was principally due to an 8.4% decrease in volume, partially offset by an approximate 2.5% increase in raw material prices. Tolling volume was down 13.0% in the quarter and down 18.2% year-to-date from the comparable periods in 2019. Non-tolling volume decreased marginally by 0.4% for the quarter and 14.8% year-to-date compared to the same periods in 2019. Gross profit in the Rubber Solutions segment decreased by 12.8% to $3,873 for the quarter and by 9.3% to $18,552 year-to-date, from the comparable periods in 2019. For the quarter, the decrease was primarily due to mix and higher material costs, partially offset by government directed wage subsidies. For the year, the decrease was primarily a result of lower volume partially offset by managing overhead costs in conjunction with government-directed wage subsidies.

At Engineered Products, net sales in the quarter increased by 12.2% to $33,150 and decreased by 8.3% to $114,557 year-to-date from the comparable periods in 2019. The increase in the quarter was across several product lines and in particular muffler hangers, bushings, spring insulators and molded defense products. The decrease year-to-date was across all product lines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the partial shutdown during Q2 2020 of the Auburn Hills, Michigan plant, partially offset by a pivot to certain molded defense products during the year. Gross profit in the Engineered Products segment decreased by 70.6% to $368 for the quarter and decreased by 17.3% to $5,337 year to date from the comparable periods in 2019. For the quarter, the decrease was primarily a result of mix and a one-time cash bonus paid to union employees as part of the collective bargaining contract renewal partially offset by operational cost containment and managing overhead costs. The decrease year-to-date was primarily a result of pandemic-related lower volumes in the anti-noise, vibration and harshness business partially offset by increases in molded defense sales, operational cost containment and managing overhead costs.

In the AirBoss Defense Group segment, net sales in the quarter increased by 168.6% to $76,769 and by 253.2% to $302,278 year-to-date from the comparable periods in 2019. For the quarter, the increase was primarily the result of the large contract from HHS (commenced in August 2020) and higher sales of masks and boots related to other defense customers. The increase year-to-date was primarily the result of the completion of the large contract from FEMA and continued successful delivery of the HHS contract which is expected to continue until Q2 of 2021, as well as higher sales for other products in the defense portfolio and CSI sales stemming from the ADG transaction that were not included in the comparable period in 2019. Gross profit at AirBoss Defense Group increased by 377.0% to $36,014 for the quarter and by 413.0% to $112,033 year-to-date, from the comparable periods in 2019. In both cases the increase was primarily due to higher volume associated with new business awards, while the Canadian operations were supported by government-directed wage subsidies, as well as CSI gross profit stemming from the ADG transaction that were not included in the comparable periods in 2019.

Overview

This was a transformative year for AirBoss as the creation and eventual 100% acquisition of AirBoss Defense Group resulted in our defense business becoming a significant contributor to the AirBoss portfolio while executing on the biggest survivability contracts in its history. Despite the extensive challenges associated with COVID-19, the company was focused on supporting its customers, employees and stakeholders during the pandemic while delivering on its highest sales, EBITDA and EPS in its history. This was a record breaking year for AirBoss, and we believe poises the Company for continued success in the future. The timing for the continued recovery in volumes will be subject, at least in part, to a stable and sustained re-opening of businesses across North America, which could be difficult to predict, especially in light of the current COVID-19 impacts globally and across North America, which remains a key market for the Company.

Despite the continued second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, AirBoss has continued to take the necessary steps, including risk mitigation plans within the Company’s supply chain, to strive to reduce any potential impact to its business and that of customers, by identifying alternative raw material sources both domestically and internationally while providing a safe work environment for its employees.

While this past year had many obstacles and challenges, AirBoss was able to continue to take advantage of opportunities supporting its strong trajectory for the year. The Company’s strong results were driven by the delivery and completion of a large personal protective equipment (“PPE”) award from FEMA, which was completed mid-year and this strong performance was further augmented by the deliveries under the PPE contract for HHS which provided a strong financial backdrop to offset the COVID-19 related impact on the Rubber Solutions and Engineered Products segments which did experience progressive recoveries in the latter part of the year.

Despite the pandemic disruptions experienced in the Rubber Solutions and Engineered Products segments, AirBoss continued its capital investment in its support of longer-term growth with investments in a series of key strategic initiatives across the business in 2020 with a dual focus on innovation and diversification. Capital expenditures for 2020 were $14.9 million dollars (excluding leases). Capital expenditures are expected to remain strong as AirBoss continues to invest in its future well above historical levels.

For the Rubber Solutions segment, areas of investment continued to build from the record capital spend in 2019 with the successful implementation of the automated small ingredient weighment system. While this segment saw progressive traction in each of the quarters in the latter half of the year, development and sales in colored rubber continued to grow in line with the margin expansion strategy with new customers while continuing to develop new compounds, proprietary compounds, and continuous improvement on existing compounds. The continued focus on operational excellence supported the new mixing lines in Kitchener, ON and Scotland Neck, NC that, in addition to increasing annual capacity by 20 and 50 million pounds, respectively, supported production of a broader array of compounded products (white and color), as well as provided enhanced flexibility in attracting and fulfilling new business. The Company has also made further inroads in utilization of the “tilt” mixer, which should support the production of increasingly specialized, higher margin compounds, further diversifying AirBoss’ offering and enhancing penetration with both existing and new customers. In Kitchener, AirBoss continued to invest in its R&D expertise and lab capital to support enhanced collaboration with customers and better reflect the Company’s focus on innovative R&D and proprietary technical solutions.

Within the Engineered Products segment, 2020 was a transformative year as the business dealt with the significant challenge of temporarily suspended operations due to COVID-19 at the end of the first quarter and into the second quarter, aligned with pending re-starts by key customers that began in mid-May. The Company managed variable costs within the Engineered Products business, flexing overhead to mirror the impact of their key customers. Management also accelerated the plan to begin producing certain molded defense products at the Auburn Hills, MI facility, as well as PAPRs, which supported the return to work for some staff as well as continued execution against existing defense contracts. These measures helped utilize, and offset the impact of, temporarily shuttered manufacturing capacity in the anti-noise, vibration and harshness business, which was substantially ramped back up to historical levels in the fourth quarter. AirBoss also continues to push ahead with the new robotic work cell fully installed as well as the diversification of its product lines into sectors adjacent to the automotive space. Management is continuing to address key challenges in the anti-vibration business, focusing on margin improvement with targeted cost management, improved pricing strategies and investments in advanced manufacturing. Over the medium and longer-term, the team is focused on launching new products that diversify initially into opportunities adjacent to the automotive space, increasingly across a range of sectors where more highly engineered anti-noise, vibration and harshness solutions are required including, renewable energy, marine, rail and appliances.

On January 1, 2020 AirBoss announced a transaction to create AirBoss Defense Group (“ADG”) through the merger of the AirBoss defense business with privately-owned Critical Solutions International, with AirBoss owning 55% of this new group. While management knew there were numerous synergies associated with transaction, including the creation of a strong platform with the scale, capabilities and flexibility to act on an array of growth opportunities, ADG executed on its biggest year in its history, culminating in AirBoss acquiring the remaining 45% of the group in Q4 of 2020. The Company’s record results for 2020 were driven by sales in its survivability platform with the completion of the PPE award from FEMA, completed in July followed up with the deliveries under the PPE contract for HHS which provided a strong financial backdrop to offset the COVID-19 related impacts in the other segments. In addition, ADG remains focused on fulfilling contracts in its core portfolio including the MALO contract award from the U.S. Department of Defense. ADG continues to advance next-generation products like Blast Gauge® and a new version of the low-burden mask through focused development and testing.

As part of its go-forward strategy for the Company, management is focused on four core priorities:

  1. Growing the core Rubber Solutions segment by positioning it as a specialty supplier of choice in the consolidating North American market, with a growing focus on building defensible leadership positions in selected compounds;
  2. Leveraging ADG’s enhanced scale and capabilities to pursue an array of growth and value-creation opportunities in the broader survivability solutions segment serving both defense and first responder markets;
  3. Driving improved performance from the anti-vibration business through a combination of disciplined cost containment, client relationship expansion, new product development and sector diversification; and
  4. Targeting additional acquisition opportunities across the business with a focus on adding new compounds and products, technical capabilities, and geographic reach into selected North American and international markets.

AirBoss continues to generate meaningful returns to shareholders through a stable quarterly dividend, while driving improved profitability and simultaneously investing in core areas of the business to expand a solid foundation that will support long-term growth.

Contact: Chris Bitsakakis, President or Gren Schoch, CEO at 905-751-1188.

Conference Call Details

A conference call to discuss the quarterly results is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Please go to https://www.gowebcasting.com/11074 or dial in to the following numbers: 1-800-319-4610 or 416-915-3239, pass code: 55506. Please connect approximately 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the call to ensure participation. A replay of the conference call as well as the Company’s updated investor presentation will also be made available at: https://airboss.com/investor-media-center.

Annual General and Special Meeting

The Company’s Annual General and Special Meeting for Shareholders will occur May 13, 2021. Further details will be provided in the near future.

AirBoss of America Corp.

AirBoss of America Corp. is a group of complementary businesses supplying custom compounded rubber, survivability solutions and anti-vibration components to a diverse group of customers globally. AirBoss Rubber Solutions is a top-tier North American custom rubber compounder with 500 million turn pounds of annual capacity. AirBoss Defense Group manufactures and supplies a growing array of Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear and Explosive (“CBRN-E”) protective solutions and is a leading provider of personal protective equipment to governments, militaries and frontline healthcare workers both in the U.S. and internationally. AirBoss Engineered Products is a supplier of innovative anti-vibration solutions to the North American automotive market. The Company’s shares trade on the TSX under the symbol BOS. Visit www.airboss.com for more information.

Note (1): Term loan and other debt as at December 31, 2020, includes $13,482 of lease liabilities (2019: $14,542) (see Significant Account Policies in the Company’s FY2020 MD&A).

Note (2): Non – IFRS Financial Measures: EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted profit attributable to owners of the Company, Adjusted earnings per share, Free cash flow and Net debt are directly derived from the consolidated financial statements but do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and are not necessarily comparable to similar measure presented by other issuers. The Company discloses these terms for use in financial measurements made by interested parties and investors to monitor the ability of the Company to generate cash from operations for debt service, to finance working capital and capital expenditures and to pay dividends. These terms are not a measure of performance under IFRS and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for net income under IFRS. Reconciliations of profit to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted profit attributable to owners of the Company, and Adjusted earnings per share, cash provided by operations to Free cash flow and loans and borrowings to Net debt, are presented below.

Reconciliations of Non-IFRS Measures ($US except where otherwise noted)

In thousands of US dollars Q4’20 Q4’19 2020 2019
EBITDA:
Profit 19,932 2,457 56,262 10,219
Finance costs 674 850 3,368 3,831
Depreciation, amortization and impairment 4,379 3,692 21,014 13,716
Income tax expense 7,826 1,834 22,567 4,316
EBITDA 32,811 8,833 103,211 32,082
AirBoss Defense Group (“ADG”) transaction fees 21 424 2,384 1,401
Insurance provision (128) (1,287)
Adjusted EBITDA 32,832 9,129 105,595 32,196
In thousands of US dollars Q420 Q419 2020 2019
Adjusted profit attributable to owners of the Company:
Profit attributable to owners of the Company 15,902 2,457 33,703 10,219
ADG transaction fees 21 424 2,384 1,401
Insurance provision (93) (672)
Adjusted profit attributable to owners of the Company 15,923 2,788 36,087 10,948
Basic weighted average number of shares outstanding 25,919 23,392 24,032 23,392
Diluted weighted average number of shares outstanding 27,042 23,456 24,901 23,445
Adjusted earnings per share (in US dollars):
Basic
0.61 0.12 1.50 0.47
Diluted 0.59 0.12 1.45 0.47
In thousands of US dollars 2020 2019
Net debt:
Loans and borrowings – current 27,083 5,358
Loans and borrowings – non-current 63,651 68,786
Leases included in loans and borrowings (13,482) (14,542)
Cash and cash equivalent (86,970) (121)
Net debt (9,718) 59,481
In thousands of US dollars Q420 Q419 2020 2019
Free cash flow:
Net cash provided by operating activities 56,530 (327) 104,399 11,706
Acquisition of property, plant and equipment (5,041) (5,664) (14,215) (17,261)
Acquisition of intangible assets (3) (782) (719) (2,220)
Proceeds from government grant 500
Free cash flow 51,486 (6,773) 89,965 (7,775)
Basic weighted average number of shares outstanding 25,919 23,392 24,032 23,392
Diluted weighted average number of shares outstanding 27,042 23,456 24,901 23,445
Free cash flow per share (in US dollars):
Basic
1.99 (0.29) 3.74 (0.33)
Diluted 1.90 (0.29) 3.61 (0.33)

AirBoss Forward-Looking Information Disclaimer

Certain statements contained or incorporated by reference herein, including those that express management’s expectations or estimates of future developments or AirBoss’ future performance, constitute “forward-looking information” or “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities laws, and can generally be identified by words such as “will”, “may”, “could” “expects”, “believes”, “anticipates”, “forecasts”, “plans”, “intends” or similar expressions. These statements are not historical facts but instead represent management’s expectations, estimates and projections regarding future events and performance.

Statements containing forward-looking information are necessarily based upon a number of opinions, estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management at the time the statements are made, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive risks, uncertainties and contingencies. AirBoss cautions that such forward-looking information involves known and unknown contingencies, uncertainties and other risks that may cause AirBoss’ actual financial results, performance or achievements to be materially different from its estimated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. Numerous factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking information, including without limitation: impact of general economic conditions, notably including its impact on demand for rubber solutions and products; dependence on key customers; global defense budgets, notably in the Company’s target markets, and success of the Company in obtaining new or extended defense contracts; cyclical trends in the tire and automotive, construction, mining and retail industries; sufficient availability of raw materials at economical costs; weather conditions affecting raw materials, production and sales; AirBoss’ ability to maintain existing customers or develop new customers in light of increased competition; AirBoss’ ability to successfully integrate acquisitions of other businesses and/or companies or to realize on the anticipated benefits thereof, changes in accounting policies and methods, including uncertainties associated with critical accounting assumptions and estimates; changes in the value of the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar; changes in tax laws and potential litigation; ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms; environmental damage and non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations; impact of global health situations; potential product liability and warranty claims and equipment malfunction. COVID-19 could also negatively impact the Company’s operations and financial results in future periods. There is increased uncertainty associated with future operating assumptions and expectations as compared to prior periods. As such, it is not possible to estimate the impacts COVID-19 will have on the Company’s financial position or results of operations in future periods. While the direct impacts of COVID-19 are not determinable at this time, the Company has a credit facility as at December 31, 2020 that can provide financing up to $60,000. This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of AirBoss’ forward-looking information.

All of the forward-looking information in this press release is expressly qualified by these cautionary statements. Investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking information. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking information attributable to AirBoss or persons acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this notice. Forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date of this press release and, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, AirBoss disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly this forward-looking information except as required by applicable laws. Risks and uncertainties about AirBoss’ business are more fully discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in our most recent Annual Information Form and are otherwise disclosed in our filings with securities regulatory authorities which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.