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Energy Recovery Sets Product Revenue Record in the First Quarter

SAN LEANDRO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / May 6, 2021 / Energy Recovery, Inc. (Nasdaq:ERII) today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2021. The Company posted record-high quarterly product revenue in its core Water segment with 52% growth compared to the first quarter of 2020.

"Today, Energy Recovery is at a key inflection point as we embark on a path of sustainable, disciplined, and diversified growth. First, we must protect and grow our seawater desalination business, which is thriving as our quarterly results show," said Robert Mao, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Energy Recovery.

Mr. Mao continued, "Second, we are expanding our pressure exchanger technology's aperture and developing pressure exchanger-based solutions for new industries. We specifically look for markets where we can reduce costs and accelerate customers' environmental sustainability. I am particularly excited by our progress developing an energy recovery device for carbon dioxide (CO2) commercial refrigeration. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just this week announced an accelerated phase out of HFCs which should hasten adoption of CO2 technology in the U.S. in the coming years. Our testing indicates that our solution excels at saving energy where today's market-leading technology fails - in warmer climates."

Mr. Mao concluded, "The coming months will be an exciting time for Energy Recovery. Significant growth in our core desalination market, combined with our strong financial position and exciting research and development ("R&D") results, gives us confidence that the future is bright."

Financial Results

Three Months Ended March 31,
(In millions, except net income per share, percentages and basis points)
Product revenue
License and development revenue
Total revenue
Product gross profit
Product gross margin
Operating expense
Operating income
Net income
Diluted net income per share
Operating cash flow
Cash and investments

Product Channel Revenue

  Three Months Ended March 31,  
  2021     2020     Variance  
  (In millions, except percentages)  
  $ 23.7     $ 14.4       64%  
Original equipment manufacturer
    2.8       3.6       (22%)  
    2.4       1.0       142%  
Total product revenue
  $ 28.9     $ 19.0       52%  

"Our desalination business drove significant growth in the first quarter, and we continue to work towards a more diversified revenue stream for the future," said Joshua Ballard, Chief Financial Officer of Energy Recovery. "We also maintained our discipline in OPEX. General and administrative ("G&A") spend was 4% lower year-over-year, and we reduced our R&D spend over 30% while still making significant progress in our emerging technology projects. With our healthy gross margin, we can both improve profitability and invest in disciplined future growth."

Segment Reporting

To reflect Energy Recovery's evolving business, the Company realigned its segment reporting starting in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 and recast the prior year amounts for comparability. Income and type of expense activities included in the Company's Water and Emerging Technologies segments and corporate operating expenses are as follows:

Water segment: Includes seawater desalination and industrial wastewater sales and service, SWRO and industrial wastewater R&D and sales & marketing ("S&M") efforts, other water-related R&D activities, and certain water-related S&M and G&A expenses previously reported under corporate expenses.

Emerging Technologies segment: Includes R&D efforts in continued development of the VorTeq, sales and support of the IsoBoost® in natural gas processing which lowers the energy needed for sour gas treatment, and R&D efforts for new product development outside of desalination and industrial wastewater, and certain emerging technologies-related S&M and G&A activity expenses previously reported under corporate expenses.

Corporate operating expense: Includes certain operating expenses related to corporate activities outside of the operating segments, such as audit and accounting, some corporate legal, Board, and other separately managed general expenses not related to the identified segments.

First Quarter 2021 Business Highlights

Water Segment

  • Megaproject and aftermarket channels contributed to strong sales growth while original equipment manufacturer sales remain affected by the global slowdown in tourism and hospitality.
  • Product gross margin came within guidance and in-line with recent quarters, primarily due to reduction in average sales prices that began in 2020.
  • We announced a joint marketing effort with DuPont Water Solutions, a global leader in purification and specialty-separation technologies, to build awareness of the benefits of pairing our Ultra PX energy recovery devices with DuPont membranes in industrial wastewater treatment systems. Our focus remains on marketing and further developing our industrial wastewater customer pipeline in China and India.
  • Operating expenses in this segment decreased year-over-year primarily due to lower G&A expenses, in part due to Covid-19 related slowdown in travel and lower other office expenditures. In addition R&D expenses fell year-over-year, but are expected to increase as PX development for industrial wastewater picks up.

Emerging Technologies Segment

  • We completed our first live well field trials of the VorTeq technology alongside Liberty Oilfield Services and one of the largest independent oil producers in the United States. The VorTeq took part in more than 25 stages on a multi-well pad in New Mexico in the first quarter. Our focus remains on extending the service life of the VorTeq cartridges, a critical hurdle for profitable commercialization.
  • Investments continue in pressure exchanger-based incubation initiatives, most notably in our CO2 commercial refrigeration efforts. Our testing indicates that our new PX can process CO2 within the refrigeration cycle more efficiently than existing technologies and the product is undergoing design and testing in preparation for beta tests.
  • Operating expenses in this segment decreased year-over-year, primarily due to reduced development expenditures related to the VorTeq, which were partially offset by a shift of R&D investment to our CO2 activities and lower employee-related costs.

Corporate Operating Expenses

  • Operating expenses increased year-over-year due primarily to higher employee-related costs largely related to higher share-based compensation expense and legal costs, partially offset by lower recruiting costs related to Energy Recovery's chief executive officer search in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.

Bottom Line Summary

On a quarterly basis, we reported a net income of $6.9 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended March 31, 2021, compared to a net income of $0.6 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020.

Cash Flow Highlights

The Company finished the first quarter ended March 31, 2021 with cash and cash equivalents of $105.4 million, and short-term investments of $14.6 million, which represents a combined total of $120.0 million.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain matters discussed in this press release and on the conference call are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including the Company's belief that the company is embarking on a path of sustainable, disciplined and diversified growth; our ability to develop pressure exchanged-based solutions for new industries; our belief that our carbon dioxide commercial refrigeration solution excels in warmer climates as compared to the market-leading technology; our belief that the Company's future is bright; our belief that the Company can work towards a more diversified revenue stream for the future; and our belief that the Company is making significant progress in our emerging technology projects. These forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to us and on management's beliefs, assumptions, estimates, or projections and are not guarantees of future events or results. Potential risks and uncertainties include any other factors that may have been discussed herein regarding the risks and uncertainties of the Company's business, and the risks discussed under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") for the year ended December 31, 2020, as well as other reports filed by the Company with the SEC from time to time. Because such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, the Company's actual results may differ materially from the predictions in these forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are made as of today, and the Company assumes no obligation to update such statements.

Conference Call to Discuss First Quarter 2021 Financial Results


Thursday, May 6, 2021, 2:00 PM PDT / 5:00 PM EDT
Listen-only, US / Canada Toll-Free: +1 (877) 709-8150
Listen-only, Local / International Toll: +1 (201) 689-8354
Access code: 13718447


Expiration: Sunday, June 6, 2021
US / Canada Toll-Free: +1 (877) 660-6853
Local / International Toll: +1 (201) 612-7415
Access code: 13718447

Investors may also access the live call or the replay over the internet at The replay will be available approximately three hours after the live call concludes.

Disclosure Information

Energy Recovery uses the investor relations section on its website as means of complying with its disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Accordingly, investors should monitor Energy Recovery's investor relations website in addition to following Energy Recovery's press releases, SEC filings, and public conference calls and webcasts.

About Energy Recovery

Energy Recovery creates technologies that solve complex challenges for industrial fluid-flow markets worldwide. Building on our pressure exchanger technology platform, we design and manufacture solutions that make industrial processes more efficient and sustainable. What began as a game-changing invention for desalination has grown into a global business accelerating the environmental sustainability of customers' operations in multiple industries. Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Energy Recovery has manufacturing, research and development facilities across California and Texas with sales and on-site technical support available globally. For more information, please visit


Investor Relations
+1 (281) 962-8105


  March 31,
    December 31,
  (In thousands)  
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents
  $ 105,431     $ 94,255  
Short-term investments
    14,617       20,446  
Accounts receivable, net
    16,397       11,792  
Inventories, net
    11,925       11,748  
Prepaid expenses and other current assets
    4,470       4,950  
Total current assets
    152,840       143,191  
Deferred tax assets, non-current
    11,699       11,030  
Property and equipment, net
    20,734       20,176  
Operating lease, right of use asset
    15,739       16,090  
Goodwill and other intangible assets
    12,835       12,839  
Other assets, non-current
    1,371       988  
Total assets
  $ 215,218     $ 204,314  
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable
  $ 1,957     $ 1,118  
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities
    7,756       11,816  
Lease liabilities, current
    1,428       1,243  
Contract liabilities, current
    1,136       1,552  
Total current liabilities
    12,277       15,729  
Lease liabilities, non-current
    16,074       16,443  
Contract liabilities, non-current
    96       88  
Other non-current liabilities
    431       430  
Total liabilities
    28,878       32,690  
Stockholders' equity:
Common stock
    63       62  
Additional paid-in capital
    187,083       179,161  
Accumulated other comprehensive (loss) income
    (20)       53  
Treasury stock
    (30,486)       (30,486)  
Retained earnings
    29,700       22,834  
Total stockholders' equity
    186,340       171,624  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity
  $ 215,218     $ 204,314  



  Three Months Ended March 31,  
  2021     2020  
  (In thousands, except per share data)  
Product revenue
  $ 28,940     $ 19,001  
Product cost of revenue
    8,981       5,684  
Product gross profit
    19,959       13,317  
License and development revenue
    -       2,543  
Operating expenses:
General and administrative
    6,606       6,881  
Sales and marketing
    2,703       2,138  
Research and development
    4,502       6,709  
Amortization of intangible assets
    4       4  
Total operating expenses
    13,815       15,732  
Income from operations
    6,144       128  
Other income (expense):
Interest income
    92       420  
Other non-operating expense, net
    (10)       (12)  
Total other income, net
    82       408  
Income before income taxes
    6,226       536  
Benefit from income taxes
    (640)       (85)  
Net income
  $ 6,866     $ 621  
Net income per share:
  $ 0.12     $ 0.01  
  $ 0.12     $ 0.01  
Number of shares used in per share calculations:
    56,877       55,412  
    58,597       56,542  



  Three Months Ended March 31,  
  2021     2020  
  (In thousands)  
Cash flows from operating activities:
Net income
  $ 6,866     $ 621  
Adjustments to reconcile net income to cash provided by (used in) operating activities
Stock-based compensation
    1,913       1,503  
Depreciation and amortization
    1,347       1,258  
Amortization of premiums and discounts on investments
    71       220  
Deferred income taxes
    (669)       (35)  
Other non-cash adjustments
    (12)       145  
Changes in operating assets and liabilities:
Accounts receivable, net
    (4,605)       (902)  
Contract assets
    (183)       (244)  
Inventories, net
    (186)       (692)  
Prepaid and other assets
    281       (428)  
Accounts payable
    821       745  
Accrued expenses and other liabilities
    (5,182)       (4,511)  
Contract liabilities
    (408)       (3,552)  
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities
    54       (5,872)  
Cash flows from investing activities:
Sales of marketable securities
    -       4,974  
Maturities of marketable securities
    5,710       21,195  
Purchases of marketable securities
    -       (12,855)  
Proceeds from sale of assets
    5       -  
Capital expenditures
    (627)       (1,380)  
Net cash provided by investing activities
    5,088       11,934  
Cash flows from financing activities:
Net proceeds from issuance of common stock
    6,059       440  
Tax payment for employee shares withheld
    -       (22)  
Net cash provided by financing activities
    6,059       418  
Effect of exchange rate differences on cash and cash equivalents
    (25)       (25)  
Net change in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash
    11,176       6,455  
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash, beginning of year
    94,358       26,488  
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash, end of period
  $ 105,534     $ 32,943  



  Three Months Ended March 31, 2021     Three Months Ended March 31, 2020 (Recasted)  
  Water     Emerging
    Corporate     Total     Water     Emerging
    Corporate     Total  
Product revenue
  28,940     -     -     28,940     19,001     -     -     19,001  
Product cost of revenue
    8,981       -       -       8,981       5,684       -       -       5,684  
Product gross profit
    19,959       -       -       19,959       13,317       -       -       13,317  
License and development revenue
    -       -       -       -       -       2,543       -       2,543  
Operating expenses
General and administrative
    1,557       1,166       3,883       6,606       2,079       1,492       3,310       6,881  
Sales and marketing
    2,164       179       360       2,703       1,676       312       150       2,138  
Research and development
    501       4,001       -       4,502       902       5,807       -       6,709  
Amortization of intangible assets
    4       -       -       4       4       -       -       4  
Total operating expenses
    4,226       5,346       4,243       13,815       4,661       7,611       3,460       15,732  
Operating income (loss)
  15,733     (5,346 )   (4,243 )     6,144     8,656     (5,068 )   (3,460 )     128  
Other income, net
                            82                               408  
Income before income taxes
                          6,226                             536  

SOURCE: Energy Recovery

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