ICF International, Inc. (NASDAQ:ICFI), a leading provider of professional services and technology-based solutions to government and commercial clients, reported results for the fourth quarter and 12 months ended December 31, 2015.
Fourth Quarter 2015 Results
“Fourth quarter results represented a strong finish to 2015, in line with our expectation for a significant pick-up in profitability in the second half of the year,” said ICF International Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sudhakar Kesavan. “Adjusted EBITDA1 increased 15.5 percent in the second half of 2015 compared to the first half of 2015, driven by higher utilization rates and resulting in an average margin of 10.4 percent in the 2015 second half.
“In the fourth quarter, we experienced year-over-year revenue growth in our business with federal government, state and local government and domestic commercial clients, which in total accounted for almost 90 percent of total revenues. The 4.7 percent increase in federal government revenues in the fourth quarter represented the highest quarterly comparison that we have posted for this end market since the first quarter of 2012, and was the second consecutive quarter of positive comparisons. This growth was achieved across a large group of agencies, most significantly, the Department of Health and Human Services.
“State and local government revenues increased 5.9 percent from a year earlier. This reflected the net effect of additional implementation work on client projects in the fourth quarter, including the California State Lottery and assistance for disaster victims.
“Domestic commercial revenue growth of 2.2 percent was led by double-digit year-over-year growth in ICF Olson, comprised of ICF’s legacy digital services business and Olson, which we acquired on November 5, 2014. We won 17 new commercial digital services accounts in the fourth quarter and have completed much of the implementation work for three new loyalty programs, one of which will go live at the start of the second quarter of 2016.
“International Government revenues, while up an estimated 4 percent excluding currency fluctuations, declined 7.3 percent on a reported basis because of a stronger U.S. dollar compared to the euro, GBP and Canadian dollar,” Mr. Kesavan said.
Fourth quarter 2015 revenue was $280.8 million, a 1.6 percent increase from the $276.4 million reported in the 2014 fourth quarter. Organic revenue2 growth was negative 0.8 percent on a reported basis and approximately flat excluding currency fluctuations. Service revenue increased 2.1 percent to $207.0 million.
Fourth quarter 2015 adjusted EBITDA was $28.3 million, representing a 10.1 percent margin and a 6.3 percent increase from the $26.6 million, or 9.6 percent margin, reported in the 2014 fourth quarter. EBITDA3 was $27.5 million, representing a 9.8 percent margin and a 12.4 percent increase from the $24.5 million, or 8.9 percent margin, reported in the 2014 fourth quarter. Non-GAAP EPS was $0.73 per share in the 2015 fourth quarter compared to $0.63 in the prior year. Reported net income was $10.8 million in the 2015 fourth quarter, or $0.55 per diluted share, which included $0.03 per share in special charges related to international office closures and severance. Reported net income was $8.8 million in last year’s fourth quarter, or $0.44 per diluted share, which included $0.07 per share in special charges related to international office closures and acquisition-related expenses.
Full Year 2015 Results
For 2015, revenue was $1.13 billion, up 7.8 percent over the $1.05 billion reported for full year 2014. Organic revenue growth was negative 1.8 percent on a reported basis and approximately flat excluding currency fluctuations. Service revenue was $849.1 million, or 9.6 percent above the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA was $110.7 million and EBITDA was $108.6 million, representing margins of 9.8 percent of revenues and 9.6 percent of revenues, respectively. For 2014, adjusted EBITDA was $98.6 million and EBITDA was $93.2 million, representing margins of 9.4 percent of revenues and 8.9 percent of revenues, respectively. Non-GAAP EPS was $2.64 per share in 2015 compared to $2.51 per share in 2014. Reported net income was $39.4 million in 2015, or $2.00 per diluted share, which included $0.10 per share in acquisition-related costs and special charges related to international office closures and severance.
Operating cash flow was $76.3 million for 2015. The company used cash during 2015 to pay down $38.5 million of debt and buy back $22.3 million of its common stock.
Backlog and New Business Awards
Backlog was $1.8 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015. Funded backlog was $792 million, or 44 percent of the total. The total value of contracts awarded in the 2015 fourth quarter was $227 million compared to $262 million the same period for the prior fiscal year. The value of full year 2015 contract awards was a record $1.3 billion, an increase of 2 percent over 2014.
Government Business Fourth Quarter 2015 Highlights
- U.S. federal government revenues increased 4.7 percent to $131.9 million in the fourth quarter and accounted for 47 percent of total revenue compared to 46 percent in last year’s fourth quarter.
- U.S. state and local government revenues increased 5.9 percent and accounted for 10 percent of total revenue, compared to 10 percent in the year-ago period.
- International government revenues decreased 7.3 percent on a reported basis, which was an estimated increase of 4 percent on a constant currency basis, and accounted for 8 percent of total revenue compared to 8 percent in last year’s fourth quarter.
Key Government Contracts Awarded in the Fourth Quarter
ICF was awarded more than 100 U.S. federal contracts and task orders and more than 300 additional contracts from other state and local governments and international governments. The largest awards were:
- Technical Assistance: A blanket purchase agreement with a ceiling of $150 million to provide technical, scientific and analytics support to the Center for Global Health.
- Strategic Communications: A framework contract with a value of up to 40 million euros with the European Commission to provide strategic communications support for the Directorate-General for Communications.
- Evaluation: A framework contract with a value of up to 15 million euros with the European Commission Directorate-General for Home Affairs to provide evaluation services.
- Event Management: A 15 million euro task order contract with the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy to provide event organization for multiple events, including Open Days, one of the largest institutional events in Brussels.
- Research and Evaluation: An $8 million contract with the Office of National Drug Control Policy to continue as the national evaluator for the Drug Free Communities Support Program.
- Environmental Planning: A $4.4 million contract to provide environmental planning services and support to a major metropolitan transit authority.
- Technical Assistance: A $4 million contract with a major port in the Western U.S. to provide outreach and analysis support for environmental planning efforts.
- Capacity Building: A 3.4 million euro contract with the European Commission Directorate-General for EuropeAid Development & Cooperation to provide capacity building support for a greenhouse gas emissions trading system.
- Enterprise Management: A $3.5 million contract with the U.S. Postal Service to provide new product support.
- Environmental Planning: A $2 million contract with a major U.S. transit authority to provide environmental planning support.
Revenues from domestic commercial clients increased 2.2 percent and accounted for 92 percent of fourth quarter 2015 commercial revenues. Revenues from commercial clients declined 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter to $98.4 million as compared to last year’s fourth quarter due to currency fluctuation and lower aviation revenues, and represented 35 percent of total revenue. Digital services accounted for 43 percent of commercial revenues. Energy markets, which includes energy efficiency, represented 33 percent of commercial revenues.
Key Commercial Contracts Awarded in the Fourth Quarter
Commercial sales were $94.4 million in the fourth quarter and $366.2 million for 2015. ICF was awarded more than 700 commercial projects globally in the fourth quarter. The largest awards were:
- Digital Services:
- Energy Markets:
- Named a “leader” in The Forrester Wave(TM): Customer Loyalty Solutions for Large Organizations, Q1 2016.
- Attained new certifications from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for ISO 9001: 2008 Quality Management Systems.
- Named Public Relations Agency of the Year and finalist for Midsize Agency of the Year by PR Week.
- Named Adobe Marketing Cloud North American Partner of the Year.
- Named finalist for 2015 Creative Agency of the Year by Holmes Report.
- Won a Bronze Lion in the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
- Won five awards, including Best in Show, in the Innovation SABRE Awards.
- Won two Business Achievement Awards from Climate Change Business Journal.
“Our performance in the second half of 2015 has set the stage for solid organic revenue and profit growth in 2016. The first quarter of the year is expected to show significant year-on-year improvement but results will be affected by the timing of start-up and implementation phases of recently-awarded programs and weather-related government closures in January.
“Taking these factors into account, and based on our backlog and current visibility, we expect 2016 revenues to range from $1.15 billion to $1.19 billion, 3.3 percent ahead of 2015 levels at the midpoint. Revenues from U.S. federal government clients are expected to increase at a low-single digit rate. We anticipate our commercial revenue growth rate will be high-single digits, driven by our energy efficiency and digital services businesses, which together account for approximately 75 percent of our commercial business.
“EBITDA margin for full year 2016 should average from 10 percent to 10.3 percent, up from 9.6 percent in 2015 and inclusive of additional investments to drive future growth. Non-GAAP EPS is expected to be $2.79 to $2.94, which represents year-on-year growth of 8.7 percent at the midpoint, and diluted EPS is projected at $2.40 to $2.55, or $2.48 at the midpoint, up from $2.00 in 2015. Full year cash flow from operations is projected to be in the range of $85 million to $95 million for 2016,” Mr. Kesavan said.
Revenue guidance is based on exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the euro, GBP and Canadian dollar similar to those on March 1, 2016. Per share guidance assumes weighted average shares outstanding of 19.5 million and a full year effective tax rate of no more than 38.5 percent.