NFI Group Inc. (NFI) today announced that it has acquired Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), one of the world’s leading independent bus and coach manufacturers and the number one global producer of double deck buses, for a total transaction value of £320 million on a cash-free, debt-free basis, subject to certain adjustments. All amounts in this press release are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated. British pounds sterling have been converted to U.S. dollars using an exchange rate of £1.00 = $1.2663; 2018 actual figures have been converted at an exchange rate of £1.00 = $1.3355.
In 2018, ADL generated annual consolidated revenue of £631 million ($843 million) from delivering 2,533 buses for manufacturing revenue of £559 million ($747 million) and £71 million ($95 million) in aftermarket parts and service revenue. During 2018, approximately 49 percent of ADL’s consolidated revenue was generated from the U.K., 27 percent from Asia Pacific markets and 12 percent from North America, with the remaining 12 percent coming from aftermarket and developing markets. In addition, ADL generated free cash flow of £18 million ($24 million). From 2010 to 2018, ADL achieved a compound annual revenue growth rate of 10.5 percent.
“This is a transformational acquisition for NFI to become a global bus manufacturer,” Paul Soubry, NFI president and CEO, said. “ADL is the U.K.’s number one bus manufacturer and the number one global producer of double deck buses, with an established international presence and is recognized as a leader known for innovative products and a commitment to quality and service. We’re thrilled to have ADL join the NFI family in a transaction that we believe will drive our business forward by combining joint strengths in engineering, sales, new product development and manufacturing with NFI’s expertise in operational excellence, insourcing, fabrication and systems management.”
“ADL is a company we know very well, and this acquisition presents a compelling opportunity to make NFI a more diversified and robust business while creating immediate value for our shareholders,” NFI Board Chairman Brian Tobin said. “NFI’s management team has a track record of delivering accretive acquisitions and prudent capital management which we expect to continue through the addition of ADL.”
NFI has entered into an agreement with Colin Robertson, ADL’s Chief Executive Officer, and Michael Stewart, ADL’s Chief Financial Officer, to continue leading ADL. They will also be tasked with leading NFI’s international growth ambitions. ADL’s primary shareholders along with Robertson and Stewart have elected to roll approximately 10 percent of their transaction consideration into NFI shares ensuring strong ongoing alignment with NFI’s existing shareholders.
“We are incredibly proud of the growth and success we’ve had building Alexander Dennis over the past 15 years, and I’m excited to have the ADL team join NFI — one great bus company joining another,” Robertson said. “We believe our consolidated businesses will enhance NFI’s market leading position in North America, while improving NFI’s offering through combined engineering expertise, supplier partnerships, electric vehicle know-how and aftermarket platforms. I look forward to continuing our solid progress at ADL and also championing further international growth for NFI in coordination with Paul and his leadership team.”
The transaction presents a number of attractive opportunities for NFI, including:
- Market leadership, international diversification and a growth platform for NFI. ADL is the number one global producer of double deck buses with an established presence across multiple continents, over 50 percent market share in the U.K., and a growing presence in continental Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. ADL’s recent contract win in Berlin, Germany provides a platform for further European expansion while its existing presence in Mexico establishes a model for further Latin American growth.
- Enhanced product portfolio. ADL adds to NFI’s product portfolio through its class leading, internationally proven line-up of single and double deck buses, and motor coaches. ADL enhances NFI’s technical competencies on lightweight chassis and bodies. NFI’s electric vehicle (EV) experience will enhance ADL’s international EV offering and ensure both companies drive the future of clean transportation. The combined NFI and ADL business creates the strongest customer offering in North America with the widest range of buses and unrivaled aftermarket support.
- Cost-effective platform. ADL’s flexible operating model enables the business to enhance competitiveness in existing markets while entering new regions. ADL successfully operates in highly competitive markets through its ability to effectively and efficiently develop innovative new products, leverage local sourcing, create flexible assembly partnerships and establish dedicated aftermarket service.
- Financially compelling. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive (before potential synergies) to both earnings per share and free cash flow per share. NFI expects the combined financial results will enable us to de-lever quickly and return to our target of 2 to 2.5 times the total debt to EBITDA within approximately 18 months of closing without impact on the NFI’s dividend policy. NFI expects to capture synergies over time and to capitalize on further growth opportunities through a combined approach. The combined NFI and ADL business will explore North American manufacturing, sales, service and supply chain optimization as well as part fabrication opportunities that may provide additional benefits over time.
- Strong cultural fit with commitment to safety and the environment. Through NFI’s longstanding dialogue and prior joint venture with ADL, it became clear that the two companies shared similar cultures and values regarding quality and customer experience. Further, there is a clear alignment with management strategy, market outlook, and EV adoption expectations which should allow for a smooth transition. ADL’s management team remains in place to drive performance and international growth.
The transaction, including related expenses, is being funded through NFI’s existing credit facility capacity, a new $300 million credit facility with substantially the same terms as the existing credit facility, and the issuance, from treasury, of 1.47 million NFI common shares, in lieu of cash, to certain primary ADL shareholders, representing approximately 2 percent of NFI’s outstanding shares following completion of the transaction. At close of the transaction, NFI drew an aggregate of approximately $420 million on its credit facilities, resulting in pro forma total debt to pro forma Adjusted EBITDA as of December 30, 2018 of approximately 2.9x.
BMO Capital Markets and HSBC Securities (Canada) Inc. acted as financial advisors and Torys LLP and Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP acted as legal counsel to NFI in connection with the transaction. BMO Capital Markets and HSBC Bank Canada acted as co-lead arrangers and joint-bookrunners on the new credit facility.
Conference Call and Webcast
NFI hosted a conference call at 10:00 a.m (ET) on May 28, 2019, to discuss the transaction. During the call, management referred to a presentation posted on the NFI website at www.nfigroup.com in the Events and Presentations page of the Investor Relations page.
A replay of the call will be available from 1:00 p.m. (ET) on May 28, 2019 until 11:59 p.m. (ET) on June 4, 2019. To access the replay, call 1-855-859-2056 or 416-849-0833 and then enter pass code number 9797743. The replay will also be available on NFI’s web site at www.nfigroup.com.