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Harsco Corporation Reports First Quarter 2020 Results

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Jay Cooney
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer
  • Q1 GAAP Operating Income of $3 Million
  • Adjusted EBITDA Totaled $57 Million; Above Prior Guidance Due to Strong Performance in Clean Earth and Rail as Well as Lower Corporate Spending
  • Completed Purchase of ESOL, Furthering Transformation to an Environmental Solutions Company; Initiated Robust Integration Plan to Achieve Targeted Synergies
  • Harsco Rail SCOR Program (Supply Chain Operations Recovery) Delivering Positive Results
  • In Response to COVID-19, Broad Business Continuity Actions Implemented to Protect Stakeholders, Maintain Essential Operations and Preserve Financial Flexibility
  • Significant Financial Flexibility; Committed to Goal of Reducing 2020 Capital Spending to Support Positive Free Cash Flow and to Cost Reduction Initiatives

CAMP HILL, PA (May 8, 2020) - Harsco Corporation (NYSE: HSC) today reported first quarter 2020 results. On a U.S. GAAP ("GAAP") basis, first quarter of 2020 diluted loss per share from continuing operations was $0.11, which included strategic and acquisition integration costs as well as severance expenses incurred within Harsco Environmental to achieve improvement objectives. Adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations in the first quarter of 2020 were $0.16. These figures compare with first quarter of 2019 GAAP diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.13 and adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.18.

GAAP operating income from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2020 was $3 million. Excluding unusual items, adjusted EBITDA was $57 million, compared to the Company's previously provided guidance range of $43 million to $48 million.

“While Harsco had a positive start to the year, with better than anticipated results in Clean Earth and Rail and the completion of our ESOL acquisition, we have had to shift our immediate priorities to include addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chairman and CEO Nick Grasberger. “During these unprecedented times, our focus is on ensuring the health and well-being of our employees and the communities in which we operate, as well as providing the services and products demanded by the critical industries that we support. To that end, our employees have risen to the challenge, and I would like to personally thank all Harsco employees for their outstanding efforts to sustain our operations, serve our customers and ensure our business continuity.

"Our team has managed through market challenges in the past, and while the severity and duration of this downturn is unknown, we are well-prepared to handle this uncertain period. Harsco has significant financial flexibility through a strong liquidity position and favorable debt maturity profile. We are also implementing the lessons learned from past cycles to shape our quick and proactive decisions in response to the pandemic, such as recently implementing actions to align our cost structure and reduce capital spending, to support positive free cash flow generation.

"In total, I am confident that the steps we have taken to build a strong and durable business model focused on environmental services and products will allow us to continue to navigate through the year. In addition, we believe our efforts will position Harsco to be able to exit this period a stronger, more resilient company, poised to capitalize on growth opportunities when the global economy eventually recovers."

Harsco Corporation—Selected First Quarter Results

($ in millions, except per share amounts) Q1 2020 Q1 2019
Revenues $ 399 $ 330
Operating income from continuing operations - GAAP $ 3 $ 20
Diluted EPS from continuing operations - GAAP   $ (0.11) $ 0.13
Adjusted EBITDA - excluding unusual items $ 57 $ 54
Adjusted EBITDA margin - excluding unusual items 14.4 % 16.3 %
Adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations - excluding unusual items $ 0.16 $ 0.18

Note: Income statement details above and commentary below reflect that the prior Industrial segment was reclassified as Discontinued Operations in 2019. Also, adjusted earnings per share details presented throughout this release are adjusted for unusual items and acquisition-related amortization expense.

Consolidated First Quarter Operating Results

Consolidated total revenues from continuing operations were $399 million, an increase of 21 percent compared with the prior-year quarter due to higher revenues in the Company's Rail segment and the acquisition of Clean Earth in mid-2019. Foreign currency translation negatively impacted first quarter 2020 revenues by approximately $11 million compared with the prior-year period.

GAAP operating income from continuing operations was $3 million for the first quarter of 2020, compared with $20 million in the same quarter of last year.  Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA totaled $57 million in the first quarter of 2020 versus $54 million in the first quarter of 2019. This increase is attributable to the Clean Earth acquisition and lower adjusted Corporate spending.

First Quarter Business Review


($ in millions) Q1 2020  Q1 2019  % Change
Revenues $ 242 $ 261 (8)%
Operating income - GAAP $ 11 $ 24 (57)%
Adjusted EBITDA - excluding unusual items $ 43 $ 51 (16)%
Adjusted EBITDA margin - excluding unusual items 17.8 % 19.6 %  

Environmental revenues totaled $242 million in the first quarter of 2020, compared with $261 million in the prior-year quarter. This change is attributable to foreign currency translation impacts, lower services demand from steel customers and exited contracts. The segment's GAAP operating income and adjusted EBITDA totaled $11 million and $43 million, respectively, in the first quarter of 2020. These figures compare with GAAP operating income of $24 million and adjusted EBITDA of $51 million in the prior-year period. During the quarter, Environmental initiated actions contemplated at the beginning of the year to strengthen its financial performance and competitive position. The costs to complete this program totaled approximately $5 million in the first quarter, with annualized cost benefits anticipated to be in excess of $7 million. Meanwhile, the change in the segment's adjusted EBITDA relative to the prior-year quarter is attributable to the above factors and lower commodity prices, partially offset by a reduction in selling and administrative expenses. Environmental's adjusted EBITDA margin was 17.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020.

Clean Earth

($ in millions) Q1 2020 Q1 2019 % Change
Revenues $ 79 $ 64 24 %
Operating income - GAAP $ 4 $ 1 nmf
Adjusted EBITDA - excluding unusual items $ 11 $ 8 43 %
Adjusted EBITDA  margin - excluding unusual items 13.7 % 11.8 %  

Note: The 2019 financial information provided above and discussed below for Clean Earth is not incorporated within Harsco's consolidated results and is provided only for comparison purposes.

Clean Earth revenues totaled $79 million, representing an increase of 24 percent compared with the prior-year quarter. Segment operating income and adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter of 2020 totaled $4 million, and $11 million, respectively. These figures compare favorably with $1 million and $8 million, respectively, in the prior-year period (2019 figures do not include corporate cost allocation). The increase in revenues and earnings is attributable to higher hazardous and non-hazardous volumes, with growth most pronounced for dredged material processing. Clean Earth's adjusted EBITDA margin was 13.7 percent in the first quarter of 2020.


($ in millions) Q1 2020 Q1 2019 % Change
Revenues $ 78 $ 69 14 %
Operating income - GAAP $ 6 $ 5 20 %
Adjusted EBITDA - excluding unusual items $ 8  $ 9 (16)%
Adjusted EBITDA margin - excluding unusual items 9.9 % 13.4 %  

Rail revenues increased 14 percent to $78 million, primarily due to higher global demand for maintenance equipment. The segment's operating income and adjusted EBITDA totaled $6 million and $8 million, respectively, in the first quarter of 2020. These figures compare with operating income of $5 million and adjusted EBITDA of $9 million in the prior-year quarter. The EBITDA change year-on-year is attributable to a less favorable mix of equipment, partially offset by lower administrative expense and a more favorable mix of contract services in the most-recent quarter. Rail's adjusted EBITDA margin was 9.9 percent in the first quarter of 2020.

Cash Flow

Net cash used by operating activities totaled $12 million in the first quarter of 2020, compared with net cash provided by operating activities of $15 million in the prior-year period. Free cash flow was $(26) million (before transaction expenses) in the first quarter of 2020, compared with $(20) million in the prior-year period. The change in free cash flow compared with the prior-year quarter is attributable to changes in net cash from operating activities, including the impact of higher cash interest payments, partially offset by lower capital expenditures.

Business Continuity / 2020 Outlook

Harsco is operating as an essential business in each of its segments in the United States and almost entirely around the world. The Company has taken significant actions, as previously disclosed, to protect its stakeholders and minimize the operational and financial impacts of the pandemic on the business, while continuing to provide customers with essential products and services. As part of these efforts, Harsco has implemented work safety and flexibility measures to keep employees and customers healthy, as facilities remain operational.

Harsco has also taken measures to adjust its cost structure and reduce capital expenditures, with the goal of improving free cash flow for the year and preserving its financial flexibility and strong liquidity position. To that end, the Company intends to lower 2020 capital spending by approximately $75 million. In addition, Harsco recently executed actions to reduce operating costs by approximately $15 million over the next two quarters ($30 million annualized), while maintaining the ability to take further cost actions if necessary. The Company has also chosen to defer pension and certain tax cash payments and to pursue governmental benefit reimbursements within the scope of various pandemic-related legislation for countries within which it operates.

Lastly, as also previously announced, Harsco will not be providing detailed guidance for the time being given the uncertainty around the pandemic and its evolving impact on relevant markets. While underlying business conditions currently vary across markets, the Company expects that sluggish customer demand and business disruptions will persist for some time. The extent and duration of these impacts cannot be quantified at this time. As a result, Harsco will provide formal guidance when visibility improves, and it deems appropriate.

Conference Call

The Company will hold a conference call today at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss its results and respond to questions from the investment community. The conference call will be broadcast live through the Harsco Corporation website at The Company will refer to a slide presentation that accompanies its formal remarks. The slide presentation will be available on the Company’s website.

The call can also be accessed by telephone by dialing (844) 467-8153 or (270) 855-8732. Enter Conference ID number 7929498. Listeners are advised to dial in at least five minutes prior to the call.

Forward-Looking Statements

The nature of the Company's business, together with the number of countries in which it operates, subject it to changing economic, competitive, regulatory and technological conditions, risks and uncertainties.  In accordance with the "safe harbor" provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Company provides the following cautionary remarks regarding important factors that, among others, could cause future results to differ materially from the results contemplated by forward-looking statements, including the expectations and assumptions expressed or implied herein.  Forward-looking statements contained herein could include, among other things, statements about management's confidence in and strategies for performance; expectations for new and existing products, technologies and opportunities; and expectations regarding growth, sales, cash flows, and earnings.  Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of such terms as "may," "could," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "believe," "likely," "estimate," "plan" or other comparable terms.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ, perhaps materially, from those implied by forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (1) changes in the worldwide business environment in which the Company operates, including changes in general economic conditions or changes due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and governmental and market reactions to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic; (2) changes in currency exchange rates, interest rates, commodity and fuel costs and capital costs; (3) changes in the performance of equity and bond markets that could affect, among other things, the valuation of the assets in the Company's pension plans and the accounting for pension assets, liabilities and expenses; (4) changes in governmental laws and regulations, including environmental, occupational health and safety, tax and import tariff standards and amounts; (5) market and competitive changes, including pricing pressures, market demand and acceptance for new products, services and technologies; (6) the Company's inability or failure to protect its intellectual property rights from infringement in one or more of the many countries in which the Company operates; (7) failure to effectively prevent, detect or recover from breaches in the Company's cybersecurity infrastructure; (8) unforeseen business disruptions in one or more of the many countries in which the Company operates due to political instability, civil disobedience, armed hostilities, public health issues or other calamities; (9) disruptions associated with labor disputes and increased operating costs associated with union organization; (10) the seasonal nature of the Company's business; (11) the Company's ability to successfully enter into new contracts and complete new acquisitions or strategic ventures in the time-frame contemplated, or at all; (12) the integration of the Company's strategic acquisitions; (13) potential severe volatility in the capital markets; (14) failure to retain key management and employees; (15) the amount and timing of repurchases of the Company's common stock, if any; (16) the outcome of any disputes with customers, contractors and subcontractors; (17) the financial condition of the Company's customers, including the ability of customers (especially those that may be highly leveraged, have inadequate liquidity or whose business is significantly impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic) to maintain their credit availability; (18) implementation of environmental remediation matters; (19) risk and uncertainty associated with intangible assets and  (20) other risk factors listed from time to time in the Company's SEC reports.  A further discussion of these, along with other potential risk factors, can be found in Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors," of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.  The Company cautions that these factors may not be exhaustive and that many of these factors are beyond the Company's ability to control or predict.  Accordingly, forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as a prediction of actual results.  The Company undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements except as may be required by law.

About Harsco

Harsco Corporation is a global market leader providing environmental solutions for industrial and specialty waste streams and innovative technologies for the rail sector. Based in Camp Hill, PA, the 13,000-employee company operates in more than 30 countries. Harsco’s common stock is a component of the S&P SmallCap 600 Index and the Russell 2000 Index. Additional information can be found at

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