Blue Bird Corporation (NASDAQ:BLBD) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Feb 06, 2019 • 04:30 pm ET
Good day, and welcome to the Blue Bird Fiscal 2019 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call and Webcast. Today's conference is being recorded.
At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mark Benfield, Director of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.
Thank you, Betty. And welcome to Blue Bird's fiscal 2019 first quarter earnings conference call. The audio for our call is webcast live on investors.blue-bird.com. You can access supporting slides by clicking on the Presentations portion of our IR webpage.
Our comments today include forward-looking statements that are subject to risks that may cause actual results to be materially different. Those risks include, among others, matters we have noted in our latest earnings release and filings with the SEC. Blue Bird disclaims any obligation to update the information in this call.
This afternoon you will hear from Blue Bird's CEO, Phil Horlock and CFO, Phil Tighe. Then we will take some questions. Let's get started. Phil?
Okay. Well, thanks, Mark. Well, good afternoon everyone, and thanks for joining us today for our first quarter earnings call for fiscal 2019. We welcome this opportunity to share our latest quarterly results with you. So let's get started with an overview of those financial results on Slide 4.
As we have previously explained, the school bus industry is extremely seasonal and the first quarter is always the softest quarter of the year, with unit sales typically representing no more than 15% of the full-year volume, which is also expectation of fiscal 2019. And so I'm pleased to report that our financial results were strong coming in slightly above last year's levels. We sold 1,600 buses in the first quarter. And while this was 105 units below last year, it was our third highest first quarter volume in the past 10 years. Importantly, the shortfall versus a year ago is more than explained by 120 fewer sales to one customer, the government, or General Services Administration as they're known. This is simply timing of deliveries. And through the course of the year, we expect the GSA to order their usual volume of buses from us.
Net sales of $155 million, were about $8 million below last year, more than explained by the lower government sales I just discussed. It's important to note however that when we look at school bus sales only, which represented 96% of our first quarter volume this year, revenue per unit is up by about $2,500 per unit or 3% from last year. This reflects the pricing action we took late last year to address the rapid tariff-led escalation in steel and other commodity prices. That's a great result for us in the first quarter.
At $7.2 million, adjusted EBITDA was about $100,000 higher than the year ago. As Phil Tighe will show you later, we achieved this slight profit improvement despite significantly higher steel-led commodity prices and lower volume than in the first quarter last year. Now you'll recall, we had substantially lower steel cost in