ASGN Incorporated Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020
February 10, 2021 at 16:15 PM EST
ASGN Incorporated (NYSE: ASGN), one of the foremost providers of information technology (IT) and professional services in the technology, digital, creative, engineering, life sciences fields across commercial and government sectors, reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2020.
“ASGN reported very strong results for the fourth quarter of 2020, with revenues, Adjusted EBITDA and EPS all exceeding the high end of our guidance ranges,” said ASGN President and Chief Executive Officer, Ted Hanson. “As a result of our strong fourth quarter performance, full year revenues reached nearly $4.0 billion, a true testament to the resiliency of our business. Our significant exposure to mission-critical federal government work, combined with our ability to provide high-end digital transformation services to the commercial marketplace, helped insulate our business from swings in the economy. At the same time, our deployment model enabled our employees to work offsite and still provide the high level of service our clients expect. Together, our team never lost focus on our operations or our execution.”
Mr. Hanson continued, “As this was not ASGN’s first experience with an economic downturn, we entered COVID-19 with a good sense of how our business would perform even if we could not predict the scale of disruption that a global pandemic would have on the overall economy. We expected that our free cash flow generation and Adjusted EBITDA margins would remain strong, and they did exactly that, with Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow exceeding our internal expectations. As a result of this strong free cash flow generation, we made four acquisitions in 2020 without the need to take on additional leverage. We enter 2021 on very solid footing, remaining acquisition-ready and well positioned to support our commercial and government clients on their most critical IT needs.”
Consolidated revenues for the fourth quarter were down 1.3 percent year-over-year and were flat sequentially. Revenues from the Commercial business (74.0 percent of total revenues) were down 5.5 percent year-over-year and Federal Government business (26.0 percent of revenues) were up 12.7 percent.
Commercial business revenues, while down mid-single digits year-over-year, were up sequentially on 3.5 fewer Billable Days. Revenues per Billable Day increased 9.4 percent sequentially. Both commercial segments and all five industry verticals reported sequential growth. Revenues from the Federal Government business were up double-digits year-over-year despite the fourth quarter of last year including $34.4 million in revenues from a customer-driven, early renewal of software licenses.
Gross profit was $276.6 million, down $12.9 million year-over-year mainly related to the year-over-year decline in revenues and the change in business mix. The significant changes in business mix included lower revenues from high-margin revenue streams (mainly creative marketing and permanent placement) and higher proportionate revenues from the Federal Government business, which carries a lower gross margin than the Commercial business.
Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) expenses were $179.9 million (17.8 percent of revenues), compared with $195.5 million (19.1 percent of revenues) in the fourth quarter of 2019. This improvement is related to lower annual incentive compensation (commissions and bonuses), travel and entertainment expenses and headcount expenses in certain divisions.
Net income was $55.4 million, up from $39.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2019 included a charge of $18.9 million ($13.9 million after income taxes) related to a write-off of deferred loan costs on the Company's Senior Secured facility. The facility was restructured in conjunction with the Company’s issuance of $550.0 million of 4.625 percent senior unsecured notes in November 2019.
EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP measures) were $106.6 million and $116.3 million, respectively, for the quarter and were both higher year-over-year on lower revenues. The Adjusted EBITDA margin for the quarter was 11.5 percent, up 20 basis points year-over-year. EBITDA for the full year 2020 was $400.1 million, up slightly from 2019, while Adjusted EBITDA for the full year of $439.3 million was down 2.2 percent year-over-year related to lower stock-based compensation expense.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
The Company's primary source of liquidity is cash flows from operating activities, which have been sufficient to fund working capital and capital expenditure requirements. During the fourth quarter, the Company generated $87.0 million in cash flows from operating activities, which benefited from the deferral of the payment of approximately $24.9 million in FICA payroll taxes pursuant to the provisions of the CARES Act.
At December 31, 2020, the Company had:
Borrowings under the Company’s $250.0 million Senior Secured Revolving Credit Facility are limited to a maximum Senior Secured Debt leverage ratio (ratio of Senior Secured Debt to trailing 12 months Adjusted EBITDA) of 4.0 to 1.0 at December 31, 2020. The Company's Senior Secured Debt leverage ratio was 1.14 to 1.0 at year end.
No principal payments are due on any of the Company’s borrowings until maturity.
First Quarter 2021 Financial Estimates
The Company is providing financial estimates for the first quarter of 2021, which are based on recent operating trends in the business and assume no significant deterioration in the markets ASGN serves. These estimates do not include any acquisition, integration or strategic planning expenses and assume no significant change in current foreign exchange rates. Full company financial estimates and reconciliations of estimated net income to the estimated non-GAAP financial measures are included in the tables that accompany this release.
The financial estimates above are based on an estimate of “Billable Days”, which are Business Days (calendar days for the period less weekends and holidays) adjusted for other factors, such as the day of the week a holiday occurs, and additional time taken off around holidays. For the first quarter of 2021, the number of "Billable Days" is estimated to be 62.0, which is one fewer than the first quarter of 2020 and 1.5 more than the fourth quarter of 2020.
The above estimates also include the effects of the payroll tax reset, which occurs at the beginning of each year. These annual resets cause, among other things, lower gross and Adjusted EBITDA margins in the first quarter of the year.
For the Commercial business, revenues are expected to be in line with or slightly up from the fourth quarter of 2020, which considers the typical latency in spending at the beginning of the year on recently-approved capital projects. For the Federal Government business, revenues are expected to be up double digits year-over-year, but down low single digits sequentially.
The Company will hold a conference call today at 4:30 p.m. ET to review its financial results for the fourth quarter. The dial-in number is 877-407-0792 (+1-201-689-8263 for callers outside the United States), and the conference ID number is 13714744. Participants should dial in ten minutes before the call. The prepared remarks, supplemental materials and webcast for this call can be accessed at asgn.com.
A replay of the conference call will be available beginning February 10, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET until February 24, 2021. The access number for the replay is 844-512-2921 (+1-412-317-6671 for callers outside the United States) and the conference ID number is 13714744.
About ASGN Incorporated
ASGN Incorporated (NYSE: ASGN) is one of the foremost providers of IT and professional services in the technology, digital, creative, engineering and life sciences fields across commercial and government sectors. Operating through its Apex, Oxford and ECS segments, ASGN helps leading corporate enterprises and government organizations develop, implement and operate critical IT and business solutions through its integrated offering of professional staffing and IT solutions. ASGN's mission is to be the most trusted partner for companies seeking highly skilled human capital and integrated solutions to fulfill their strategic and operational needs. For more information, visit us at asgn.com.
Certain statements made in this news release are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and involve a high degree of risk and uncertainty. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding our anticipated financial and operating performance.
All statements in this news release, other than those setting forth strictly historical information, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results might differ materially. In particular, we make no assurances that the proposed revenue scenarios outlined above will be achieved. Additional examples of forward-looking statements in this press release include, without limitation, statements regarding the expected impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on our competitive position and demand for our services; our ability to attract, train and retain qualified staffing consultants, the availability of qualified contract professionals, management of our growth, continued performance and improvement of our enterprise-wide information systems, our ability to manage our litigation matters, the successful integration of our acquired subsidiaries and other risks detailed from time to time in our reports filed with the SEC, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 as filed with the SEC on March 2, 2020 and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 as filed with the SEC on May 11, 2020. We specifically disclaim any intention or duty to update any forward-looking statements contained in this news release.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Statements in this release and the accompanying financial information include non-GAAP financial measures that are provided as additional information to enhance the overall understanding of the Company's current financial performance and not as an alternative to the consolidated interim financial statements presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States ("GAAP"). Management uses these non-GAAP measures (EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Net Income per diluted share, Free Cash Flow, Senior Secured Debt leverage ratio and Revenues on a same Billable Days and Constant Currency basis) to evaluate the Company's financial performance. These terms might not be calculated in the same manner as, and thus might not be comparable to, similarly titled measures reported by other companies. The financial information tables that accompany this press release include reconciliations of net income to non-GAAP financial measures.
EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA provide a measure of the Company's operating results in a manner that is focused on the performance of the Company's core business on an ongoing basis, by removing the effects of non-operating and certain non-cash expenses. These non-operating and non-cash items are specifically identified in the reconciliations of GAAP measures to Non-GAAP measures that accompany this release.
Adjusted Net Income provides a method for assessing the Company's operating results in a manner that is focused on the performance of the Company's core business on an ongoing basis by removing the effects of non-operating and certain non-cash expenses, adjusted for some of the cash flows associated with amortization of intangible assets to more fully present the performance of the Company's acquisitions. The calculation of Adjusted Net Income is presented in the reconciliations of GAAP measures to Non-GAAP measures that accompany this release.
Free Cash Flow provides useful information to investors about the amount of cash generated by the business that can be used for strategic opportunities and is computed as presented in the tables that accompany this release.
The Senior Secured Debt leverage ratio is a ratio of the Company's Senior Secured Debt to trailing 12 months Adjusted EBITDA and provides information about the Company's compliance with loan covenants.
Revenues calculated on a Same Billable Days and Constant Currency basis provide more comparable information by removing the effect of differences in the number of billable days and changes in currency exchange rates on a year-over-year basis. Revenues on a Same Billable Days basis are adjusted for the following items: differences in billable days during the period by taking the current-period average revenue per billable day, multiplied by the number of billable days from the same period in the prior year; Billable Days are business days (calendar days for the period less weekends and holidays) adjusted for other factors, such as the day of the week a holiday occurs, additional time taken off around holidays, year-end client furloughs and inclement weather. To calculate revenues on Constant Currency basis, reported revenues are re-translated using foreign exchange rates from the comparable prior year period.