- AECOM said Monday profits soared almost 86% in its first fiscal quarter to $61 million, or 43 cents a share, and the global construction giant raised guidance for the year, reflecting strong growth in both its design and construction management business in the Americas.
- Revenue for the Dallas-based company dipped 1% to $3.27 billion, but AECOM bumped up its guidance for fiscal 2022 to between $3.30 and $3.50 per share, spurred in part by a 5% increase in its backlog with a 1.2 book-to-burn ratio in its global design business.
- AECOM, which helped build the Los Angeles Clippers’ Intuit Dome (pictured above) and the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., finished the quarter on Dec. 31 with $1.1 billion in cash and liquid assets and $2.2 billion in debt.
AECOM CEO Troy Rudd said the company exceeded expectations on every key financial metric. Investments in collaboration and innovation contributed to its growth and operating margin expansion, Rudd said.
"Our win rate has been improving steadily over the last four or five quarters and this last quarter for us was an all-time high. We are capturing almost 50% of the work we’re bidding on," Rudd said during a call with investors. "We are winning work at the highest rate in the history of our company."
The company forecasts increasing infrastructure spending from federal, state and local clients in the U.S. due to the infrastructure act. AECOM is also seeing strong demand for its services in the international sector, particularly in the U.K., the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
"A global infrastructure investment renaissance is beginning, and our strategy – focused on our team, clients, communities and innovation – has us better positioned than ever to win," said Rudd. "Cash flow in the quarter is one of the highest in the company’s history, for a first quarter."
Last quarter, AECOM saw an increase in both revenue and backlog, which came on the heels of the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. At the time, Rudd said, “we are positioned to benefit from nearly every line item in this bill." He expects that federal spending to hit AECOM’s balance sheet in 2023.
Rudd said that although the labor market is challenging, the company is continuing to add personnel and invest in existing workers and company culture, as well as digital tools. Rudd cited its recently launched proprietary PlanEngage software, in helping it expand its workers’ capabilities.
While inflation continues to be top of mind for many contractors, Rudd said that typically that additional cost gets passed along to customers, and is already built into contracts and bids. It also doesn’t appear to be impacting the company’s pipeline.
"Inflation, for the most part, has no impact on our business," Rudd said. "I think we’re going to see a steady improvement in growth over the year."
AECOM repurchased $200 million in shares in the first quarter and declared its first-ever quarterly dividend in December 2021. The company said it has now repurchased $1.2 billion in stock since 2020 and plans to continue to buy back shares.
Krzysztof Smalec, analyst at Morningstar, said he is encouraged that AECOM expanded its segment operating margin by 60 basis points, despite inflationary pressures, and delivered strong cash flow conversion.
"We are optimistic about AECOM’s ability to grow its backlog," he said in an email, "especially heading into fiscal 2023 and beyond as benefits from the infrastructure bill start to kick in."