Earnings Check-In $ABM

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In my prior ABM post on June 2nd, I made the call the ABM was sandbagging guidance and they would likely beat and raise. Part of that thesis was (i) the company’s sales were still down, but likely going to improve significantly and (ii) its margins would be much higher than they forecasted and (iii) since we already had Q1, it gave us lots of clues for the rest of the year.

Lo and Behold:

Per the conference call:

Enhanced Clean, our proprietary and trusted protocol for cleaning and disinfecting spaces was an important contributor to our second quarter results as well.

…our clients in both the office and manufacturing markets indicate they plan to continue to incorporate disinfection into their cleaning protocols as they prepare for the return of staff and workers to their offices and industrial facilities. In fact, given the heightened concerns around pandemic risk and greater awareness of public health issues in general, we expect these specialized services to remain in demand and to become part of our client contracts.

….school districts have accelerated the return to in-person learning. Our conversations with school district professionals and educational institutions indicate that with the full-time return to school expected this fall, cleaning and disinfecting will be a priority throughout the school year

Recall, this is high margin work for ABM. I don’t think it will last forever, but like my previous posts on Dollar General and Big Lots, ABM has more cash than ever. Typically they redeploy that cash in acquisitions. So we now have a free option. Oh yeah, they also straight up alluded to that in the call:

Additionally, we continue to explore acquisition opportunities where as a strategic buyer, we would be able to drive meaningful revenue and operating synergies.

Last thing I’ll say on the margin front is to call out their Technical Solutions segment. This is their highest margin segment and guess what?

And then the last thing, and you mentioned it is, technical solutions, we have a backlog of over $250 million in business, our strongest ever.

…And so we’re excited about that to actually turn the work.

So I think you’re going to see revenues go up in the second half. You’re going to see disinfection strong. You’ll see, again, the mitigation on the labor side, but you’re also going to see ATFs sure enough as well. So I think we feel really good about that. And we’ll see where it goes into ’22 as we get closer to that. And again, November 1 starts our ’22. And I think that’s still going to be at the time where people are returning to work. And so I think we’ll have a good start to ’22 as well

Sounds to me like everything is going well.

Bottom line: I think there’s even more upside to the EPS guide, frankly. There are some puts and takes, but I continue to like the outlook.

Again, a lot of my commentary was on mgmt sandbagging, but at $50, we have a ~10% FCF yield stock, ex cash, for something that isn’t overly levered and a relatively good business.

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