US Ecology Announces First Quarter 2021 Results; Reaffirms 2021 Business Outlook

FIRST QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS COMPARED TO PRIOR YEAR:

  • Revenue of $228.6 million, down 5%
  • Field Services revenue grew 4%
  • Waste Solutions Base Business revenue declined 3%; Event Business revenue declined 9%
  • Net loss of $796,000, or $0.03 per diluted share
  • Adjusted loss per diluted share of $0.07
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $33.2 million
  • Adjusted free cash flow of $13.7 million

BOISE, Idaho, April 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- US Ecology, Inc. (NASDAQ-GS: ECOL) (“US Ecology” or “the Company”) today reported results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2021.

“The solid momentum that began to build toward the end of 2020 has continued into the first quarter of 2021, led by our field services business which generated 4% organic revenue growth over the first quarter last year,” commented Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Feeler. “On a consolidated basis, performance was slightly better than our expectations, with our team demonstrating strong execution in servicing our customers, delivering solid financial results, and generating strong free cash flow during the quarter. All of this was accomplished while navigating the ongoing pandemic, supply chain disruptions and extreme weather events. We continue to see benefits through the execution of our strategy amid signs of recovery across our service lines. We expect this positive momentum to continue, and we anticipate sequential improvement as we move into the seasonally stronger second and third quarters, putting us on track to achieve our full-year 2021 guidance.”

FIRST QUARTER 2021 RESULTS

Revenue was $228.6 million in the first quarter of 2021, down 5% compared to $240.7 million in the first quarter of 2020.

Revenue for our Waste Solutions segment was $104.1 million compared to $109.4 million in the first quarter of 2020 and was impacted by a Base Business decline of 3% reflecting lower revenues from our manufacturing verticals, a 9% decline in Event Business and a 17% decline in transportation revenue compared to the same period in 2020.

Revenue for our Field Services segment was $118.2 million, up 4% from $114.0 million in the first quarter of 2020 and benefitted from increases in our Emergency Response, Small Quantity Generation and Total Waste Management service lines compared to the first quarter of 2020. Emergency Response benefited early in the quarter from COVID-19 decontamination services of $12.5 million, and improvement in other response services.

Revenue for the Energy Waste segment was $6.2 million compared to $17.3 million in the first quarter of 2020 resulting from the severe declines in the energy markets intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.   Revenue for Energy Waste increased sequentially from $4.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, and we continue to see sequential improvement and incremental customer investment in the Texas oil fields.

Net loss was $796,000, or $0.03 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $298.1 million, or $9.52 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted loss per diluted share was $0.07 and compares to adjusted earnings per diluted share of $0.12 in the first quarter of 2020.   Net loss in the first quarter of 2020 included pretax non-cash goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges totaling $300.3 million.

Cash earnings per diluted share was $0.14 compared to $0.33 for the first quarter of 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was $33.2 million compared to $43.2 million in the same quarter last year.

Definitions and reconciliations of net loss to adjusted EBITDA, loss per diluted share to adjusted earnings (loss) per diluted share, loss per diluted share to cash earnings per diluted share, and net cash provided by operating activities to adjusted free cash flow are attached as Exhibit A to this release.

Environmental, Social & Governance (“ESG”)

We continued to make significant progress on our ESG priorities in the first quarter of 2021 and are on track to advance programs and investments in our sustainability initiatives. Our primary ESG goals for 2021 center around gathering data and setting targets, specifically on greenhouse gas emissions, advancing our capital investment in beneficial reuse technology for aerosols and advancing our diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

2021 BUSINESS OUTLOOK

“With first quarter results slightly ahead of our expectations, improving business conditions, positive industrial trends and ongoing benefits from integration, we expect this momentum to continue driving growth across all our business units in 2021, and therefore we are reaffirming our 2021 business outlook” added Feeler.

Our 2021 Business outlook initially provided in February 2021, and reaffirmed today, is summarized in the table below:

         
(in millions, except per share data)        
         
  Waste Solutions Field Services Energy Waste Total Company
Revenue $430 - $450 $485 - $510 $25 - $30 $940 - $990
Adjusted EBITDA $185 - $189 $84 - $88 $1 - $4 $175 - $185
Adjusted earnings per diluted share n/a n/a n/a $0.65 - $0.88
Cash earnings per share n/a n/a n/a $1.46 - $1.69
Adjusted free cashflow n/a n/a n/a $60 - $77
Capital Expenditures $53 -$55 $13 - $15 $7 - $9 $85 - $90
         

The following table reconciles our projected net income to our projected adjusted EBITDA guidance range:

  For the Year Ending December 31, 2021
(in thousands) Low High
     
Projected Net Income $21,558  $28,919 
Income tax expense  7,952   10,656 
Interest expense, net  27,312   27,312 
Foreign currency loss (gain)  371   371 
Other income  (3,710)  (3,710)
Depreciation and amortization of plant and equipment  72,362   72,362 
Amortization of intangible assets  34,580   34,580 
Accretion and non-cash adjustments of closure & post-closure obligations  5,354   5,354 
Business Development & Integration Expense  1,220   1,155 
Share-based compensation  8,001   8,001 
Projected Adjusted EBITDA $175,000  $185,000 
     
     

The following table reconciles our projected earnings per diluted share to our projected adjusted earnings per diluted share and to our projected cash earnings per diluted share:

  For the Year Ending December 31, 2021
  Low High
     
Projected earnings per diluted share $0.69  $0.92 
     
Adjustments:    
Plus: Business development and integration expenses $0.03  $0.03 
Less: Gain on minority interest investment $(0.08) $(0.08)
Foreign currency loss (gain) $0.01  $0.01 
     
Projected adjusted earnings per diluted share $ 0.65  $ 0.88 
     
Plus: projected amortization of Intangible assets  0.81   0.81 
     
Projected cash earnings per diluted share $ 1.46  $ 1.69 
     
Shares used in earnings per diluted share calculation (in thousands)  31,376   31,376 
     

The following table reconciles our projected net cash provided by operating activities to projected adjusted free cash flow:

 Year Ended December 31, 2021 
(in thousands)Low End of Guidance High End of Guidance 
Projected net cash provided by operating activities$ 143,000  $ 155,000  
Less: Purchases of property and equipment (90,000)  (85,000) 
Plus: Business development and integration expenses, net of tax 1,000   1,000  
Plus: Purchases of property and equipment for the Idaho facility rebuild 4,000   4,000  
Plus: Payment of deferred/contingent purchase consideration 2,000   2,000  
     
Projected Adjusted Free Cash Flow$ 60,000  $ 77,000  
     

Our adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings per diluted share guidance exclude gains on minority interest investments, business development and integration expenses and foreign currency translation gains or losses.

CONFERENCE CALL

US Ecology, Inc. will hold an investor conference call on Friday, April 30, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (9:00 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time) to discuss these results and its current financial position and business outlook. Questions will be invited after management’s presentation. Interested parties can access the conference call by dialing 877-512-4138 or 412-317-5478. The conference call will also be broadcast live on our website at www.usecology.com. An audio replay will be available through May 7, 2021 by calling 877-344-7529 or 412-317-0088 and using the passcode 10155079. The replay will also be accessible on our website at www.usecology.com.

ABOUT US ECOLOGY, INC.

US Ecology, Inc. is a leading provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities. The company addresses the complex waste management and response needs of its customers offering treatment, disposal, beneficial re-use, and recycling of hazardous, non-hazardous, radioactive and other specialty waste. US Ecology also provides a variety of vertically integrated field services including logistics and response at its customers in-field locations and through its network of 10-day transfer facilities. Logistics solutions include specialty waste packaging, collection lab pack, transportation, and total waste management. Response solutions include emergency response, oil spill response standby services, spill clean-up services, remediation, and industrial services. US Ecology’s focus on safety, environmental compliance, and best-in-class customer service enables us to effectively meet the needs of US Ecology’s customers and to build long lasting relationships. US Ecology has been protecting the environment since 1952. For more information, visit www.usecology.com.

Forward looking statements are only predictions and are not guarantees of performance. These statements are based on management’s beliefs and assumptions, which in turn are based on currently available information. Important assumptions include, among others, those regarding demand for the Company’s services, expansion of service offerings geographically or through new or expanded service lines, the timing and cost of planned capital expenditures, competitive conditions, and general economic conditions. These assumptions could prove inaccurate. Forward looking statements also involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Many of these factors are beyond our ability to control or predict. Such factors include developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, fluctuations in commodity markets related to our business, the integration of NRC’s operations, the loss or failure to renew significant contracts, competition in our markets, adverse economic conditions, our compliance with applicable laws and regulations, potential liability in connection with providing oil spill response services and waste disposal services, the effect of existing or future laws and regulations related to greenhouse gases and climate change, the effect of our failure to comply with U.S. or foreign anti-bribery laws, the effect of compliance with laws and regulations, an accident at one of our facilities, incidents arising out of the handling of dangerous substances, our failure to maintain an acceptable safety record, our ability to perform under required contracts, limitations on our available cash flow as a result of our indebtedness, liabilities arising from our participation in multi-employer pension plans, the effect of changes in the method of determining the London Interbank Offered Rate or the replacement thereto, risks associated with our international operations, the impact of changes to U.S. tariff and import and export regulations, a change in NRC’s classification as an Oil Spill Removal Organization, cyber security threats, unanticipated changes in tax rules and regulations, loss of key personnel, a deterioration in our labor relations or labor disputes, our reliance on first-party contractors to provide emergency response services, our access to insurance, surety bonds and other financial assurances, our litigation risk not covered by insurance, the replacement of non-recurring event projects, our ability to permit and contract for timely construction of new or expanded disposal space, renewals of our operating permits or lease agreements with regulatory bodies, our access to cost-effective transportation services, lawsuits, our implementation of new technologies, fluctuations in foreign currency markets and foreign affairs, our integration of acquired businesses, our ability to pay dividends or repurchase stock, anti-takeover regulations, stock market volatility, the failure of the warrants to be in the money or their expiration worthless and risks related to our compliance with maritime regulations (including the Jones Act).

Except as required by applicable law, including the securities laws of the United States and the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in forward looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results or performance.

 

US ECOLOGY, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(in thousands, except per share data)
(unaudited)
     
  Three Months Ended March 31,
   2021   2020 
Revenue    
Waste Solutions $104,142  $109,392 
Field Services  118,249   113,994 
Energy Waste  6,228   17,334 
     
Total  228,619   240,720 
     
Gross profit (loss)    
Waste Solutions  34,950   39,309 
Field Services  18,306   18,276 
Energy Waste  (383)  4,856 
     
Total  52,873   62,441 
     
Selling, general & administrative expenses    
Waste Solutions  6,301   6,889 
Field Services  12,725   12,853 
Energy Waste  3,343   5,288 
Corporate  28,999   27,347 
     
Total  51,368   52,377 
     
Goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges   
Waste Solutions  -   - 
Field Services  -   16,700 
Energy Waste  -   283,600 
     
Operating income (loss)  1,505   (290,236)
     
Other income (expense):    
Interest income  273   89 
Interest expense  (7,357)  (9,310)
Foreign currency (loss) gain  (371)  937 
Other  3,710   171 
     
Total other expense  (3,745)  (8,113)
     
Loss before income taxes  (2,240)  (298,349)
Income tax benefit  (1,444)  (263)
     
Net loss $(796) $(298,086)
     
Loss per share:    
Basic $(0.03) $(9.52)
Diluted $(0.03) $(9.52)
     
Shares used in loss    
per share calculation:    
Basic  31,104   31,305 
Diluted  31,104   31,305 
     
Dividends paid per share $-  $0.18 
     


US ECOLOGY, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(in thousands)
(unaudited)
     
  March 31, 2021 December 31, 2020
Assets    
     
Current Assets:    
Cash and cash equivalents $82,354  $73,848 
Receivables, net  242,854   241,978 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets  25,709   28,379 
Income tax receivable  17,006   18,279 
Total current assets  367,923   362,484 
     
Property and equipment, net  448,248   456,637 
Operating lease assets  48,824   51,474 
Restricted cash and investments  5,784   5,598 
Intangible assets, net  515,208   523,988 
Goodwill  413,346   413,037 
Other assets  23,819   18,065 
Total assets $ 1,823,152  $ 1,831,283 
     
Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity    
     
Current Liabilities:    
Accounts payable $44,773  $35,881 
Deferred revenue  17,524   15,267 
Accrued liabilities  47,300   59,296 
Accrued salaries and benefits  27,913   30,918 
Income tax payable  888   977 
Short-term borrowings  277   - 
Current portion of long-term debt  3,358   3,359 
Current portion of closure and post-closure obligations  7,119   6,471 
Current portion of operating lease liabilities  16,208   17,048 
Total current liabilities  165,360   169,217 
     
Long-term debt  781,644   782,484 
Long-term closure and post-closure obligations  89,615   89,398 
Long-term operating lease liabilities  33,362   35,069 
Other long-term liabilities  20,767   32,201 
Deferred income taxes, net  119,701   120,983 
Total liabilities  1,210,449   1,229,352 
     
Commitments and contingencies    
     
Stockholders’ Equity    
     
Common stock  315   315 
Additional paid-in capital  817,818   820,567 
Retained deficit  (189,249)  (188,452)
Treasury stock  (12,179)  (15,841)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss  (4,002)  (14,658)
Total stockholders’ equity  612,703   601,931 
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity $ 1,823,152  $ 1,831,283 
     


US ECOLOGY, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(in thousands)
(unaudited)
  For the Three Months Ended March 31,
   2021   2020 
Cash Flows From Operating Activities:    
Net loss $(796) $(298,086)
Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash provided by    
 operating activities:    
Depreciation and amortization of property and equipment  18,234   17,978 
Amortization of intangible assets  9,135   9,441 
Accretion of closure and post-closure obligations  1,182   1,266 
Change in fair value of minority interest investment  (3,509)  - 
Unrealized foreign currency (gain) loss  (315)  2,703 
Deferred income taxes  (3,781)  (3,320)
Share-based compensation expense  1,928   1,564 
Share-based payment of business development and integration expenses  163   181 
Unrecognized tax benefits  12   52 
Net (gain) loss on disposition of assets  (221)  184 
Amortization of debt discount  40   245 
Amortization of debt issuance costs  577   298 
Goodwill impairment charges  -   300,300 
Change in fair value of contingent consideration  -   (1,127)
Changes in assets and liabilities (net of effects of business acquisitions):    
Receivables  (680)  13,467 
Income tax receivable  1,276   893 
Other assets  1,114   (2,957)
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities  (3,647)  (13,618)
Deferred revenue  2,214   7,083 
Accrued salaries and benefits  (3,028)  (7,446)
Income tax payable  (98)  662 
Closure and post-closure obligations  (337)  (417)
  Net cash provided by operating activities   19,463   29,346 
     
Cash Flows From Investing Activities:    
Purchases of property and equipment  (9,614)  (19,131)
Proceeds from sale of property and equipment  1,623   781 
Purchases of restricted investments  (913)  (56)
Proceeds from sale of restricted investments  934   - 
Minority interest investment  (712)  - 
Business acquisitions, net of cash acquired  -   (3,309)
  Net cash used in investing activities   (8,682)  (21,715)
     
Cash Flows From Financing Activities:    
Proceeds from short-term borrowings  3,227   50,267 
Payments on short-term borrowings  (2,950)  (49,871)
Proceeds from long-term debt  -   90,000 
Payments on long-term debt  (1,125)  (1,125)
Repurchases of common stock  (465)  (18,332)
Payment of equipment financing obligations  (1,461)  (1,525)
Dividends paid  -   (5,667)
  Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities   (2,774)  63,747 
     
Effect of foreign exchange rate changes on cash  708   (2,825)
     
Increase in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash  8,715   68,553 
     
Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of period  75,104   42,140 
     
Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of period $83,819  $110,693 
     

 

EXHIBIT A
Non-GAAP Results and Reconciliations

US Ecology reports adjusted EBITDA, adjusted earnings (loss) per diluted share, cash earnings per diluted share results and adjusted free cash flow, which are non-GAAP financial measures, as a complement to results provided in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”) and believes that such information provides analysts, stockholders, and other users information to better understand the Company’s operating performance. Because adjusted EBITDA, adjusted earnings (loss) per diluted share and adjusted free cash flow are not measurements determined in accordance with GAAP and are thus susceptible to varying calculations they may not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies. Items excluded from adjusted EBITDA, adjusted earnings (loss) per diluted share and adjusted free cash flow are significant components in understanding and assessing financial performance.

Adjusted EBITDA, adjusted earnings (loss) per diluted share, cash earnings per diluted share and adjusted free cash flow should not be considered in isolation or as an alternative to, or substitute for, net income, cash flows generated by operations, investing or financing activities, or other financial statement data presented in the consolidated financial statements as indicators of financial performance or liquidity. Adjusted EBITDA, adjusted earnings (loss) per diluted share and adjusted free cash flow have limitations as analytical tools and should not be considered in isolation or a substitute for analyzing our results as reported under GAAP. Some of the limitations are:

  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect changes in, or cash requirements for, our working capital needs;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect our interest expense, or the requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments on our debt;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect our income tax expenses or the cash requirements to pay our taxes;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect our cash expenditures or future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments;
  • Although depreciation and amortization charges are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized will often have to be replaced in the future, and adjusted EBITDA does not reflect cash requirements for such replacements;
  • Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect our business development and integration expenses, which may vary significantly quarter to quarter;

Adjusted EBITDA

The Company defines adjusted EBITDA as net income before interest expense, interest income, income tax expense/benefit, depreciation, amortization, share-based compensation, accretion of closure and post-closure liabilities, foreign currency gain/loss, non-cash impairment charges, business development and integration expenses and other income/expense.

The following reconciliation itemizes the differences between reported net loss and adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020:

(in thousands) Three Months Ended March 31,
   2021   2020 
     
Net loss $(796) $(298,086)
Income tax benefit  (1,444)  (263)
Interest expense  7,357   9,310 
Interest income  (273)  (89)
Foreign currency loss (gain)  371   (937)
Other income  (3,710)  (171)
Goodwill impairment charges  -   300,300 
Depreciation and amortization of plant and equipment  18,234   17,978 
Amortization of intangible assets  9,135   9,441 
Share-based compensation  1,928   1,564 
Accretion and non-cash adjustments of closure & post-closure obligations  1,182   1,266 
Business development and integration expenses  1,220   2,907 
Adjusted EBITDA $33,204  $43,220 
     

Adjusted Loss Per Diluted Share

The Company defines adjusted loss per diluted share as net loss adjusted for the after-tax impact of the gain on a minority interest investment, the after-tax impact of business development and integration costs, the after-tax impact of non-cash goodwill impairment charges, and non-cash foreign currency translation gains or losses, divided by the number of diluted shares used in the loss per diluted share calculation.

The gain on a minority interest investment excluded from the loss per diluted share calculation represents an increase in the fair value of our investment based on a recent observable transaction in the equity of the entity. Impairment charges excluded from the loss per diluted share calculation are related to the Company’s assessment of goodwill associated with its Energy Waste and international businesses in the first quarter of 2020. Business development and integration costs excluded from the loss per diluted share calculation relate to expenses incurred to evaluate businesses for potential acquisition or costs related to closing and integrating successfully acquired businesses and transaction expenses. The foreign currency translation gains or losses excluded from the loss per diluted share calculation are related to intercompany loans between our Canadian subsidiaries and the U.S. parent which have been established as part of our tax and treasury management strategy. These intercompany loans are payable in Canadian dollars (“CAD”) requiring us to revalue the outstanding loan balance through our consolidated income statement based on the CAD/United States currency movements from period to period.

We believe excluding the gain on minority interest investment, business development and integration costs, non-cash impairment charges, and non-cash foreign currency translation gains or losses provides meaningful information to investors regarding the operational and financial performance of the Company.

Cash Earnings Per Diluted Share

The Company defines cash earnings per diluted share as adjusted loss per diluted share (see definition above) plus amortization of intangible assets, net of tax.

The following reconciliation itemizes the differences between reported net loss and loss per diluted share to adjusted net loss and adjusted loss per diluted share and cash earnings per diluted share for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020:

(in thousands, except per share data)Three Months Ended March 31, 
  2021   2020  
 (Loss) income
before
income taxes
Income tax
benefit
(expense)
Net (loss)
income
per share (Loss) income
before
income taxes
Income tax
benefit
(expense)
Net (loss)
income
per share 
As Reported$(2,240)$1,444 $(796)$(0.03) $(298,349)$263 $(298,086)$(9.52) 
           
Adjustments:          
Less: Gain on minority interest investment (3,509) 965  (2,544) (0.08)  -  -  -  -  
Plus: Business development and integration expenses 1,220  (335) 885  0.03   2,907  (799) 2,108  0.07  
Plus: Goodwill impairment charges -  -  -  -   300,300  -  300,300  9.59  
Foreign currency loss (gain) 371  (102) 269  0.01   (937) 258  (679) (0.02) 
           
As Adjusted$(4,158)$1,972 $(2,186)$(0.07) $3,921 $(278)$3,643 $0.12  
           
Plus: Amortization of intangible assets$9,135 $(2,512) 6,623  0.21  $9,441 $(2,600) 6,841  0.21  
           
Cash earnings per diluted share$4,977 $(540)$4,437 $0.14  $13,362 $(2,878)$10,484 $0.33  
           
Shares used in loss per diluted share calculation   31,104      31,305   
           

Adjusted Free Cash Flow

The Company defines adjusted free cash flow as net cash provided by operating activities less purchases of property plant and equipment, plus business development and integration expenses, plus payments of deferred/contingent purchase consideration, plus purchases of property and equipment for the Grand View, Idaho facility rebuild, plus proceeds from sale of property and equipment.

The following reconciliation itemizes the differences between reported net cash from operating activities to adjusted free cash flow for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020:

 Three Months Ended March 31,
(in thousands) 2021   2020 
Adjusted Free Cash Flow Reconciliation   
Net cash provided by operating activities$ 19,463  $ 29,346 
Less: Purchases of property and equipment (9,614)  (19,131)
Plus: Business development and integration expenses, net of tax 885   2,108 
Plus: Purchases of property and equipment for the Idaho facility rebuild 1,331   1,811 
Plus: Payment of deferred/contingent purchase consideration -   1,000 
Plus: Proceeds from sale of property and equipment 1,623   781 
    
Adjusted Free Cash Flow$ 13,688  $ 15,915 
    

 

Contact: Alison Ziegler, Darrow Associates (201)220-2678
aziegler@darrowir.com     www.usecology.com 


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