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Blue Bird Reports Fiscal 2021 First Quarter Results

Focused on margin expansion, EV growth and industry recovery; fiscal 2021 guidance reaffirmed

MACON, Ga. — Blue Bird Corporation (“Blue Bird”) (Nasdaq: BLBD), the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, announced today its fiscal 2021 first quarter results. GAAP net loss for the quarter of $1.6 million, down $1.2 million from the comparable FY2020 period. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $5.8 million, $2.2 million below last year, reflecting 205 lower unit sales resulting from the pandemic impact on schools.

  • Net Sales of $130.4M and GAAP Net Loss of $1.6
  • Bus Average Selling Price up 1.7
  • Electric Bus Sales and Backlog of 100+ Unit
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $5.8M in Lowest-Volume Quarter with 1,255 Buses Sold

“We are very pleased with our first quarter performance and results,” said Phil Horlock, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Bird Corporation. “The Blue Bird team executed well, despite the challenging environment caused by the pandemic which has resulted in many schools operating in a virtual or hybrid mode. We remain focused on improving our operational performance during this period, however, our confidence is increasing that schools will accelerate reopening for in-classroom teaching as we head toward the next school year.

“While working through these challenges, I am encouraged with our progress in improving our underlying business structure that is key to achieving our near-term EBITDA margin target of at least 10%. We increased our first quarter average selling price per bus by $1,600, or 2%, over last year. The move to a single shift production schedule late in the third quarter of 2020 drove efficiency and quality improvements through the first quarter and we are making changes in our plant, so that by spring of 2021, we will have the same daily capacity on one shift that we previously had on two shifts. We grew our alternative-powered bus sales mix again in the first quarter, achieving a record 46% mix of total unit sales compared with 39% last year.”

“The interest in Electric buses is unprecedented and our Fiscal 2021 bookings and order backlog has grown 24% over prior year. In fact, our total sold units and order backlog since we began production just three years ago, is now in excess of 400 electric buses, covering Type A, C and D configurations. With the growth rate we are seeing, and the breadth of chassis and powertrain choices that we offer, we are increasing our focus and resources in the EV business. We are announcing our intention to begin offering and supplying Blue Bird chassis with factory-installed electric powertrains to commercial vehicle manufacturers participating in Class 3-7 segments. These truck segments are comparable with the school bus classification of Type A, C and D, in which we participate today. We also announced the upcoming product launch of our all-new and exclusive 7.3 liter engine, developed with Ford and Roush, which will power our class-leading propane- and gas-powered Blue Bird Vision, best described by our tagline, “The best just got better!”

“With these business structure improvements, we are well positioned to capitalize on the market recovery as schools resume in-classroom learning. We have a history of robust cash generation and strong liquidity, a culture of winning and leadership in growing segments, a clearly defined margin-growth strategy and an experienced team with a proven track record of delivering results and handling difficult times. There is a lot of uncertainty around timing of a return-to-normalcy for schools, but as COVID-19 vaccinations accelerate, coupled with the new Administration’s commitment to open schools within 100 days of its term start, we are confident that an industry rebound is in sight. We are reaffirming our previously provided guidance for net revenue of $750M-975M, Adj. EBITDA between $40M-$65M and Adjusted Free Cash Flow of $(5)-$20M.”

Fiscal 2021 First Quarter Results

Net Sales
Net sales were $130.4 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2021, a decrease of $22.8 million, or 14.9%, from prior year period. Bus unit sales were 1,255 units for the quarter compared with 1,460 units for the same period last year.

Gross Profit
First quarter gross profit of $14.5 million represented a decrease of $6.8 million from the first quarter of last year. Gross profit margin declined 2.8 points to 11.1%. The decline was driven by lower volumes, partially offset by bus pricing and cost and efficiency improvements.

Net Loss
Net loss was $1.6 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2021, a profit reduction of $1.2 million compared with the same period last year.

Adjusted Net Income
Adjusted Net Income was $0.1 million, representing a decrease of $2.0 million compared with the same period last year.

Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA was $5.8 million, which was a decrease of $2.2 million compared with the first quarter last year. The decrease was driven by lower volume, partially offset by bus pricing and cost and efficiency improvements.

About Blue Bird Corporation

Blue Bird is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 570,000 buses sold since its formation in 1927 and approximately 180,000 buses in operation today. Blue Bird’s longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made it an iconic American brand. Blue Bird distinguishes itself from its principal competitors by its singular focus on the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses and related parts. As the only manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, operating costs and drivability. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative fuel applications with its propane-powered and compressed natural gas-powered school buses. Blue Bird manufactures school buses at two facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia. Its Micro Bird joint venture operates a manufacturing facility in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Service and after-market parts are distributed from Blue Bird’s parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio.

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