OKOTOKS, AB, Dec. 8, 2021 /CNW/ - (TSX: MTL) Mullen Group Ltd. ("Mullen Group", "We", "Our" and/or the "Corporation") announced today the business plan for 2022 has been approved by the Board of Directors ("Board").
"Recent events have highlighted just how important the supply chain is to a well functioning economy, to the timely delivery of everything including the most basic items consumers rely upon everyday, as well as to price stability. In 2022 we anticipate some of the disruptions that have plagued the supply chain ecosystem to be resolved. However, the current reality is that manufacturing, production, and freight distribution remains very tight, primarily due to robust demand. But this does not in itself explain the entire supply chain story. When strong demand is accompanied by lower productivity, due to issues such as new regulations, port bottlenecks, labour shortages and production problems of many critical parts, like computer chips for example, the economy suffers, and inflationary pressures build. Today's supply chain is very complex where shippers and producers operate within a worldwide integrated system. As such, regardless of where the disruption occurs, the entire system can become compromised. At the Mullen Group, we are on the front lines of the supply chain overseeing a large network of best in class independently managed Business Units providing critical transportation, logistics and warehousing solutions to customers throughout North America. Like others, we have encountered our share of challenges, but we have persevered and adapted. In fact, I can categorically attribute the majority of our success to the stellar performance of our Business Units and dedicated front line workers," commented Mr. Murray K. Mullen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
"I fully expect 2022 to be another busy year, in fact a record revenue year for our company. And because we have a disciplined approach to profit expectation, the business will continue to generate excess free cash, which we will return to shareholders via a combination of share buybacks and an increase in the dividend. In March of 2020 we outlined a COVID-19 Action Plan in response to the onset of the pandemic including asking shareholders to share in the pain many of our people were experiencing. But that was yesterday. Today we have a good paying job for every employee that wants to work and today we are returning our annual dividend to $0.60 per Common Share, payable in monthly instalments of $0.05 per Common Share starting in January. Aligning returns to shareholders with that of our employees has been an important part of the long-term success of our organization. In 2022 we will continue to ensure this alignment is maintained despite the emergence of inflationary pressures. To address this issue, the plan is to reward our employees with pay increases. Shareholders can expect the same," added Mr. Mullen.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2022 BUSINESS PLAN
Today the Board conducted its annual budget meeting. The annual process encompassed an extensive review of a wide range of issues including: the current state of the North American economy, expectations for the economy, the impact COVID-19 may have on consumer demand, the recent trends in commodity prices, as well as the balance sheet of Mullen Group and expected cash flows.
We expect revenue for 2022 to be in the $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion range, exclusive of any potential acquisitions made in 2022. We base this expectation on the continued economic recovery and stable consumer spending. As such, our expectation is that operating income before depreciation and amortization will be in the $260.0 million range.
The Board approved a net capital budget of $70.0 million for 2022, exclusive of corporate acquisitions or investment in facilities, land and buildings, with $60.0 million allocated towards maintenance capital primarily to invest in trucks, trailers, specialized equipment and technology to improve the operations of the Business Units. In addition, we will allocate $10.0 million to invest specifically towards sustainability initiatives.
One of the main components of our strategic plan is returning free cash flow to shareholders. This disciplined approach to capital deployment and focused growth has allowed Mullen Group to generate excess cash from operations for multiple years, resulting in over $1.44 billion distributed to shareholders since 2000, an average of $65.6 million per year. In 2022 Mullen Group expects to generate $100.0 million of free cash from operations, funds that will be allocated to dividends and/or share repurchases. Based upon the current valuation investors attribute to Mullen Group's business, the Board has determined that the appropriate allocation of the expected free cash will be as follows:
We are pleased to announce that the Board has approved an increase in the annual dividend to shareholders from $0.48 per Common Share to $0.60 per Common Share. Such dividend will continue to be paid on a monthly basis, subject to Board approval.
Early in 2020, we announced a plan to allocate $100.0 million over the course of three years to repurchase Common Shares in Mullen Group via an authorized share buyback program. In 2020 we repurchased 7,972,926 Common Shares for $53.4 million, the maximum allowed by the Toronto Stock Exchange ("TSX"). In 2021, for the eleven month period ending November 30, 2021, we repurchased 3,130,073 Common Shares for $40.4 million. In April 2022, we intend on requesting approvals from the TSX to renew a share buyback program.
We maintain a well structured balance sheet with ample liquidity as of today's date, funds that will be used to pursue strategic acquisitions. Our focus will continue to be in the consumer part of the economy where we see growth opportunities going forward.
About Mullen Group Ltd.
Mullen Group is a company that owns a network of independently operated businesses. The Corporation is recognized as one of the leading suppliers of trucking and logistics services in North America providing a wide range of service offerings including less-than-truckload, truckload, warehousing, logistics, transload, oversized and specialized hauling transportation. In addition, we provide a diverse set of specialized services related to the oil and natural gas industry in western Canada, water management, fluid hauling and environmental reclamation. The corporate office provides the capital and financial expertise, legal support, technology and systems support, shared services and strategic planning to its independent businesses.
Mullen Group is a publicly traded corporation listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "MTL". Additional information is available on our website at www.mullen-group.com or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Mr. Murray K. Mullen - Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President
Mr. P. Stephen Clark - Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Richard J. Maloney - Senior Vice President
Ms. Joanna K. Scott - Corporate Secretary & Vice President, Corporate Services
121A - 31 Southridge Drive
Okotoks, Alberta, Canada T1S 2N3
This news release may contain forward-looking information that is subject to risk factors associated with the overall economy and the oil and natural gas business. This information relates to future events and Mullen Group's future performance. All information and statements contained herein that are not clearly historical in nature constitute forward-looking information, and the words "may", "will", "should", "could", "expect", "plan", "intend", "anticipate", "believe", "estimate", "propose", "predict", "potential", "continue", "aim", or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology are generally intended to identify forward-looking information. Such information represents Mullen Group's internal projections, estimates, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions, intentions or statements about future events or performance. This information involves known or unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information. Mullen Group believes that the expectations reflected in this forward-looking information are reasonable; however, undue reliance should not be placed on this forward-looking information, as there can be no assurance that the plans, intentions or expectations upon which they are based will occur. In particular, forward-looking information and statements include but are not limited to the following: (i) our financial goals and expectations for 2022; (ii) our capital expenditure plans for 2022; (iii) our strategic initiatives for 2022 including but not limited to potential acquisitions; (iv) anticipated 2022 dividend payments; and our plan to renew our normal course issuer bid. This forward-looking information and statements are based on certain assumptions and analysis made by Mullen Group in light of our experience and our perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors we believe are appropriate under the circumstances. These assumptions include but are not limited to the following: (i) Mullen Group will generate sufficient cash in excess of our financial obligations to support the dividend; (ii) Mullen Group's Business Units will require capital to support their ongoing operations and growth opportunities and that we will generate sufficient cash in excess of our financial obligations to support the capital expenditures; (iii) Mullen Group's expectation as to how our current Business Units will perform in 2022; (iv) that the macro environment stabilizes including but not limited to economic recovery, stable customer spending and resolution of supply chain disruptions; (v) we have a well structured balance sheet with ample liquidity to pursue acquisitions; and (vi) Mullen Group's plan to renew its normal course issuer bid will be approved by regulatory authorities. For further information on any strategic, financial, operational and other outlook on Mullen Group's business please refer to Mullen Group's Management's Discussion and Analysis available for viewing on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Additional information on risks that could affect the operations or financial results of Mullen Group may be found under the heading "Principal Risks and Uncertainties" starting on page 64 of the 2020 Annual Financial Review as well as in reports on file with applicable securities regulatory authorities and may be accessed through the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. The forward-looking information contained in this news release is expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. The forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date of this news release and Mullen Group disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly any such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, other than as required by applicable Canadian securities laws. Mullen Group relies on litigation protection for "forward-looking" statements.
SOURCE Mullen Group Ltd.
View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/December2021/08/c0503.html