gldd-10k_20181231.htm

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018

or

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from             to             

Commission file number: 001-33225

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

20-5336063

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

2122 York Road, Oak Brook, IL

 

60523

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

(630) 574-3000

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, (Par Value $0.0001)

 

Nasdaq Stock Market, LLC

Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes       No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

 

  

Smaller reporting company

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  

The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant was $315,856,963 at June 30, 2018. The aggregate market value was computed using the closing price of the common stock as of that date on the Nasdaq Stock Market. (For purposes of a calculating this amount only, all directors and executive officers of the registrant have been treated as affiliates.)

As of February 22, 2019, 62,645,515 shares of Registrant’s Common Stock, par value $.0001 per share, were outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Part of 10-K

 

Documents Incorporated by Reference

Part III

 

Portions of the Proxy Statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

 

 

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PART I

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

2

 

 

 

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

10

 

 

 

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

26

 

 

 

Item 2.

 

Properties

26

 

 

 

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

27

 

 

 

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

27

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

28

 

 

 

Item 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

30

 

 

 

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

32

 

 

 

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

45

 

 

 

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

46

 

 

 

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

48

 

 

 

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

48

 

 

 

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

51

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

51

 

 

 

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

51

 

 

 

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

51

 

 

 

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

51

 

 

 

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

51

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

52

 

 

Item 16.    Form 10-K Summary

52

 

 

SIGNATURES

91

 

 

 

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Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may constitute “forward-looking” statements as defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “PSLRA”) or in releases made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), all as may be amended from time to time. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation and its subsidiaries (“Great Lakes”), or industry results, to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Statements that are not historical fact are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified by, among other things, the use of forward-looking language, such as the words “plan,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “estimate,” “project,” “may,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “seeks,” or “scheduled to,” or other similar words, or the negative of these terms or other variations of these terms or comparable language, or by discussion of strategy or intentions. These cautionary statements are being made pursuant to the Securities Act, the Exchange Act and the PSLRA with the intention of obtaining the benefits of the “safe harbor” provisions of such laws. Great Lakes cautions investors that any forward-looking statements made by Great Lakes are not guarantees or indicative of future performance. Important assumptions and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those forward-looking statements with respect to Great Lakes, include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties that are described in Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, and in other securities filings by Great Lakes with the SEC.

Although Great Lakes believes that our plans, intentions and expectations reflected in or suggested by such forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from a projection or assumption in any forward-looking statements. Great Lakes’ future financial condition and results of operations, as well as any forward-looking statements, are subject to change and inherent risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are made only as of the date hereof and we do not have or undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, subsequent events or otherwise, unless otherwise required by law.

 

 

1


Part I

Item 1.

Business

The terms “we,” “our,” “ours,” “us,” “Great Lakes” and “Company” refer to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation and its subsidiaries.

Organization

Great Lakes is the largest provider of dredging services in the United States and is the only U.S. dredging service provider with significant international operations. The Company was founded in 1890 as Lydon & Drews Partnership and performed its first project in Chicago, Illinois. The Company changed its name to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company in 1905 and was involved in a number of marine construction and landfill projects along the Chicago lakefront and in the surrounding Great Lakes region. Great Lakes now provides dredging services in the East, West, and Gulf Coasts of the United States and worldwide.

The Company operates in one operating segment, which is also the Company’s sole reportable segment and reporting unit.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, the management team proposed, and the board of directors approved, a plan to sell the Company’s historical environmental & infrastructure business. The Company has retained a financial advisor to assist with the process and expects to finalize disposition of the environmental & infrastructure business in the first half of 2019. The historical environmental & infrastructure segment has been retrospectively presented as discontinued operations and assets and liabilities held for sale and is no longer reflected in continuing operations. Refer to Note 14, Business Dispositions, to the Company’s consolidated financial statements included in Item 15 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Operations

Dredging generally involves the enhancement or preservation of navigability of waterways or the protection of shorelines through the removal or replenishment of soil, sand or rock. Domestically, our work generally is performed in coastal waterways and deep water ports. The U.S. dredging market consists of four primary types of work: capital, coastal protection, maintenance and rivers & lakes. The Company’s “bid market” is defined as the aggregate dollar value of domestic dredging projects on which the Company bid or could have bid if not for capacity constraints or other considerations. The Company experienced an average combined bid market share in the U.S. of 46% over the prior three years, including 77%, 40%, 28% and 14% of the domestic capital, coastal protection, maintenance and rivers & lakes sectors, respectively.

Over its 128 year history, the Company has grown to be a leader in capital, coastal protection and maintenance dredging in the U.S. and is one of the oldest and most experienced dredging companies in the United States. In addition, the Company is the only U.S. dredging service provider with significant international operations. Over the prior three years, foreign dredging operations accounted for an average of 13% of the Company’s dredging revenues. The Company’s foreign projects are typically categorized in the capital work type, but are not included in the aforementioned bid market.

Capital (domestic is 54% of 2018 revenues). Capital dredging consists primarily of port expansion projects, which involve the deepening of channels and berthing basins to allow access by larger, deeper draft ships and the provision of land fill used to expand port facilities. In addition to port work, capital projects also include coastal restoration and land reclamations, trench digging for pipelines, tunnels and cables, and other dredging related to the construction of breakwaters, jetties, canals and other marine structures. Although capital work can be impacted by budgetary constraints and economic conditions, these projects typically generate an immediate economic benefit to the ports and surrounding communities.

Foreign (2% of 2018 revenues). Foreign capital projects typically involve land reclamations, channel deepening and port infrastructure development. The Company targets foreign opportunities that are well suited to the Company’s equipment and where it faces reduced competition from its European competitors. Maintaining a presence in foreign markets has enabled the Company to diversify its customer base and take advantage of differences in global economic development. Over the last ten years, the Company has performed dredging work in the Middle East, Africa, Australia, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Coastal protection (28% of 2018 revenues). Coastal protection projects generally involve moving sand from the ocean floor to shoreline locations where erosion threatens shoreline assets. Beach erosion is a continuous problem that has intensified with the rise in coastal development and has become an important issue for state and local governments concerned with protecting beachfront tourism and real estate. Coastal protection via beach nourishment is often viewed as a better response to erosion than trapping sand through the use of sea walls and jetties, or relocating buildings and other assets away from the shoreline. Generally, coastal protection projects take place during the fall and winter months to minimize interference with bird and marine life migration and breeding patterns as well as coastal recreation activities.

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Maintenance (9% of 2018 revenues). Maintenance dredging consists of the re-dredging of previously deepened waterways and harbors to remove silt, sand and other accumulated sediments. Due to natural sedimentation, many channels require maintenance dredging every one to three years, thus creating a recurring source of dredging work that is typically non-deferrable if adequate commercial navigability is to be maintained. In addition, severe weather such as hurricanes, flooding and droughts can also cause the accumulation of sediments and drive the need for maintenance dredging.

Rivers & lakes (7% of 2018 revenues). Domestic rivers and lakes dredging and related operations typically consist of lake and river dredging, inland levee and construction dredging, environmental restoration and habitat improvement and other marine construction projects. Although the Mississippi River has a large source of projects on which the Company bids, certain dredges used on these projects are more portable and able to be transported to take advantage of the fragmented market. Generally, inland river and lake projects in the northern U.S. take place in non-winter months because frozen waterways significantly reduce contractors’ ability to operate and transport its equipment in the relevant geographies.

Demand Drivers

The Company believes that the following factors are important drivers of the demand for its services:

 

 

Deep port capital projects. Most of the East Coast and Gulf ports have expansion plans that include deepening and widening in order to better compete for international trade. International trade, particularly in the intermodal container shipping business, is undergoing significant change as a result of the Panama Canal expansion, which was completed in 2016. Many shipping lines have announced plans to deploy larger ships which, due to the channel dimension requirements, currently would not be able to use many U.S. ports. Miami’s port deepening project was completed in 2015 and its port channels are now able to accommodate larger vessels. The first phase of a multi-year deepening effort of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project was completed in 2018. Dredging commenced on two Charleston Entrance Channel projects during 2018 and is expected to continue through 2020. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are resuming expansion efforts to remain competitive with deepened East Coast ports. Deepening projects in Boston, Jacksonville, Tampa and Corpus Christi were recently awarded. Further, projects to deepen the Mississippi River and Port of Norfolk, Virginia are being expedited. In addition, during the fourth quarter of 2018, the President signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018/Water Resources Development Act (“WRDA 2018”) into law. The Company views the bill as a positive catalyst for the domestic dredging industry as it authorizes funding for critical infrastructure improvements that are needed throughout the U.S. Further, the bill authorizes studies for future water resources improvements and makes modifications to previous authorizations. The Company is encouraged by the current administration's focus on repairing and rebuilding America's infrastructure, including our nation's ports and waterways. The Company believes that port deepening and expansion work authorized under current and anticipated future legislation will continue to provide significant opportunities for the domestic dredging industry.

 

 

Gulf coast restoration. There has been continued focus on restoring the barrier islands and wetlands that provide natural protection from storms in the Gulf Coast area. Many restoration projects have commenced to repair coastal areas. Several additional projects are being planned by state and local governments to restore natural barriers. The State of Louisiana has completed a master plan calling for a $50 billion investment in its coastal infrastructure, with a significant portion involving dredging. Additionally, during October 2015, BP plc settled the final Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims for approximately $20 billion. This amount reflects the preliminary agreement which was reached in the second quarter of 2015 and includes $5.5 billion related to Clean Water Act penalties. Several state and local governments have already reached agreements that resolve their claims in the disaster. Many of the Gulf States previously committed to spending a portion of the fines received to repair the natural resources impacted by the oil spill including on coastal restoration projects that include dredging. Although the bulk of the fines are to be paid over the next decade, the Company expects several coastal restoration projects envisioned by the Gulf States to come to fruition in the next couple of years providing a new source of domestic capital dredging projects on which the Company will bid. The annual bid market for domestic capital dredging, which includes deep port capital dredging and Gulf Coast restoration, averaged $382 million over the prior three years. During 2018, the Company continued work on the $88 million Mississippi coastal restoration project in the Gulf of Mexico which is expected to be completed in early 2019. Additional phases of the project are expected to bid in 2019.

 

 

Substantial need for coastal protection. Beach erosion is a recurring problem due to the normal ebb and flow of coastlines as well as the effects of severe storm activity. Growing populations in coastal communities and vital beach tourism are drawing attention to the importance of protecting beachfront assets. Over the past few years, both the federal government and state and local entities have funded beach work recognizing the essential role these natural barriers play in absorbing storm energy and protecting public and private property. With continued funding available for projects in the Northeast from the Superstorm Sandy supplemental appropriations, the Company expects to continue to see an increase in projects let for bid in the coastal protection market. As a result of the extreme storm systems last year involving Hurricanes Harvey,

3


 

Irma, and Maria, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations passed supplemental appropriations for disaster relief and recovery which includes $17.4 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”) to fund projects that will reduce the risk of future damage from flood and storm events. The Corps is beginning to provide visibility on its plans for this money, and it is currently believed that over $1 billion is expected to be added to its dredging related budget over the next few years. Most of this work is anticipated to be coastal protection related, but some funding may be provided for channel maintenance. During the fourth quarter of 2018, Congress passed an additional $1.7 billion of supplemental appropriations for disaster relief funding as a result of Hurricane Florence. The annual bid market for coastal protection over the prior three years averaged $315 million.

 

 

Required maintenance of U.S. ports. The channels and waterways leading to U.S. ports have stated depths on which shippers rely when entering those ports. Due to naturally occurring sedimentation and severe weather, active channels require maintenance dredging to ensure that stated depths are at authorized levels. Consequently, the need to maintain channel depth creates a recurring source of dredging work that is non-deferrable if optimal navigability is to be preserved. The Corps is responsible for federally funded projects related to navigation and flood control of U.S. waterways. The maritime industry, including the ports, has repeatedly advocated for congressional efforts to ensure that a fully funded, recurring maintenance program is in place. In March 2018, Congress approved and the President signed an omnibus spending bill through fiscal year 2018. The spending bill continues the increases in the budget for the Corps and exceeds the increase in Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (“HMTF”) spending for maintenance dredging as required by the 2014 Water Resources and Development Act. As noted above, WRDA 2018 was signed into law during the fourth quarter of 2018. Similar to past versions of the bill, WRDA 2018 language calls for full use of the HMTF for its intended purpose of maintaining future access to the waterways and ports that support our nation’s economy. Further, WRDA 2018 ensures that Harbor Maintenance Tax (“HMT”) funding targets will increase by three percent over the prior year, even if the HMT revenue estimates decrease, to continue annual progress towards full use of the HMT by 2025. Through the increased appropriation of HMTF monies, the Company anticipates an increase in harbor projects to be let for bid throughout 2019 and beyond. Congress has improved spending from the HMTF by providing the Corps with record annual budgets including 94% utilization of the HMTF in FY 2018 and 91% proposed in the FY 2019 budget. The annual bid market for maintenance dredging over the prior three years averaged $391 million.

 

Need to maintain safe navigability of the U.S. river system. There are over twelve thousand miles of commercially navigable inland waterways that move more than 566 million tons of commercial goods annually. Transportation by barge requires less energy, and therefore is both better for the environment and costs less to move cargo than transportation by airplane, railcar or truck. Many industries rely on safe navigability of U.S. inland waterways as a primary means to transport goods and commodities such as coal, chemicals, petroleum, minerals, stones, metals and agricultural products. Natural sedimentation and other circumstances require that the inland waterway system be periodically dredged so that it can be used as intended. The Corps recognizes the need to maintain the safe navigability of U.S. waterways. The annual bid market for rivers and lakes dredging over the prior three years averaged $70 million.

 

Domestic and international energy transportation. The growth in demand for transportation of energy worldwide has driven the need for dredging to support new terminals, harbors, channels and pipelines. During 2014, Great Lakes completed dredging work on a project that created a new greenfield port for a liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) terminal developed to export abundant energy resources from the west coast of Australia. The Company was awarded a contract with Corpus Christi Liquefaction, LLC (“CCL”) during 2015. CCL is developing an LNG export terminal at a site located on Corpus Christi Bay in Texas. Great Lakes' portion of the LNG project involves the dredging and slope protection of two LNG carrier ship berths, dredging of a material offloading and tug mooring basin, and expansion of an existing La Quinta Channel turning basin. During 2018, the Company was awarded a project to widen the La Quinta Channel turning basin. The significant drop in crude oil prices in during recent years may lead to a slowdown in the development of LNG export plants; however, the Company continues to expect that future global energy demand will necessitate improvements in the infrastructure base around sources of rich resources and in countries that import global energy.

 

4


 

Middle East market. Over the past ten years, the Middle East has been a strong market for dredging services. With substantial income from oil revenues and significant real estate development, these countries have been undergoing extensive infrastructure expansion. Historically lower oil prices and the contraction in Middle East commercial and real estate development have slowed the rate of the region’s infrastructure development in recent years. Despite the decline in recent years, urban development continues to drive the need for land reclamation in the Middle East and the Company expects growth in the area over the next few years.  

For additional details regarding Operations, including financial information regarding our international and U.S. revenues and long-lived assets, see Item 7. “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Customers

The dredging industry’s customers include federal, state and local governments, foreign governments and both domestic and foreign private concerns, such as utilities, oil and other energy companies. Most dredging projects are competitively bid, with the award going to the lowest qualified bidder. Customers generally have few economical alternatives to dredging services. The Corps is the largest dredging customer in the U.S. and has responsibility for federally funded projects related to navigation and flood control. In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy are responsible for awarding federal contracts with respect to their own facilities. In 2018, approximately 75% of the Company’s dredging revenues were generated from 30 different contracts with federal agencies or third parties operating under contracts with federal agencies.

Bidding Process

Most of the Company’s contracts are obtained through competitive bidding on terms specified by the party inviting the bid. The types of equipment required to perform the specified service, project site conditions, the estimated project duration, seasonality, location and complexity of a project affect the cost of performing the contract and the price that dredging contractors will bid.

For contracts under its jurisdiction, the Corps typically prepares a fair and reasonable cost estimate based on the specifications of the project. To be successful, a bidder must be determined by the Corps to be a responsible bidder (i.e., a bidder that generally has the necessary equipment and experience to successfully complete the project as well as the ability to obtain a surety bid bond) and submit the lowest responsive bid that does not exceed 125% of the Corps’ original estimate. Contracts for state and local governments are generally awarded to the lowest qualified bidder. Contracts for private customers are awarded based on the contractor’s experience, equipment and schedule, as well as price. While substantially all of the Company’s contracts are competitively bid, some government contracts are awarded through a sole source procurement process involving negotiation between the contractor and the government, while other projects are bid by the Corps through a “request for proposal” process. The request for proposal process benefits both Great Lakes and its customers as customers can award contracts based on factors beyond price, including experience, skill and specialized equipment.

Bonding and Foreign Project Guarantees

For most domestic projects and some foreign projects, dredging service providers are required to obtain three types of bonds: bid bonds, performance bonds and payment bonds. These bonds are typically provided by large insurance companies. A bid bond is required to serve as a guarantee so that if a service provider’s bid is chosen, the service provider will sign the contract. The amount of the bond is typically 20% of the service provider’s bid, with a range generally between $1 and $10 million. After a contract is signed, the bid bond is replaced by a performance bond, the purpose of which is to guarantee that the job will be completed. If the service provider fails to complete a job, the bonding company would be required to complete the job and would be entitled to be paid the contract price directly by the customer. Additionally, the bonding company would be entitled to be paid by the service provider for any costs incurred in excess of the contract price. A service provider’s ability to obtain performance bonds with respect to a particular contract depends upon the size of the contract, as well as the size of the service provider and its financial position. A payment bond is required to protect the service provider’s suppliers and subcontractors in the event that the service provider cannot make timely payments. Payment bonds are generally written at 100% of the contract value.

The Company has bonding agreements with Argonaut Insurance Company, Berkley Insurance Company, Chubb Surety and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, (collectively, the “Sureties”) under which the Company can obtain performance, bid and payment bonds. The Company also has outstanding bonds with Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America and Zurich American Insurance Company (“Zurich”). Great Lakes has never experienced difficulty in obtaining bonding for any of its projects and Great Lakes has never failed to complete a marine project in its 128 year history. For most foreign dredging projects, letters of credit or bank guarantees issued by foreign banks are required as security for the bid, performance and, if applicable, advance payment guarantees. The Company obtains its letters of credit under the Credit Agreement (as defined below). Foreign bid guarantees are usually 2% to 5% of the service provider’s bid. Foreign performance and advance payment guarantees are each typically 5% to 10% of the contract value.

5


Competition

The U.S. dredging industry is highly fragmented with approximately 250 entities in the U.S. presently operating more than 850 dredges, primarily in maintenance dredging. Most of these dredges are smaller and service the inland, as opposed to coastal, waterways, and therefore do not generally compete with Great Lakes except in our rivers & lakes market. Competition is determined by the size and complexity of the job; equipment bonding and certification requirements; and government regulations. Competition on rivers & lakes projects is determined primarily based on geographic reach, project execution capability and price. Great Lakes and four other companies comprised approximately 85% of the Company’s defined bid market related to domestic capital, coastal protection, maintenance and rivers & lakes over the prior three years. Within the Company’s bid market, competition is determined primarily on the basis of price. In addition, the Foreign Dredge Act of 1906, or “Dredging Act,” and Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, or “Jones Act,” provide significant barriers to entry with respect to foreign competition. Together these two laws prohibit foreign-built, chartered or operated vessels from competing in the U.S. See “Business—Government Regulations” below.

Competition in the international market is dominated by four large European dredging companies all of which operate larger equipment and fleets that are more extensive than the Company’s fleet. Recently, a large Chinese dredging company has emerged as a key player in the international market. In addition, there are several governmentally supported dredging companies that operate on a local or regional basis. The Company targets opportunities that are well suited to its equipment and where it can be most competitive. Most recently, the Company has focused on opportunities in the Middle East where the Company has cultivated close customer relationships and has pursued contracts compatible with the size of the Company’s vessels.

Equipment

Great Lakes’ fleet of dredges, material barges and other specialized equipment is the largest and most diverse in the U.S. The Company operates three principal types of dredging equipment: hopper dredges, hydraulic dredges and mechanical dredges.

Hopper Dredges. Hopper dredges are typically self-propelled and have the general appearance of an ocean-going vessel. The dredge has hollow hulls, or “hoppers,” into which material is suctioned hydraulically through drag-arms. Once the hoppers are filled, the dredge sails to the designated disposal site and either (i) bottom dumps the material or (ii) pumps the material from the hoppers through a pipeline to a designated site. Hopper dredges can operate in rough waters, are less likely than other types of dredges to interfere with ship traffic, and can be relocated quickly from one project to another. Hopper dredges primarily work on coastal protection and maintenance projects. The Company completed construction of a dual mode articulated tug/barge trailing suction hopper dredge, the Ellis Island, which is the largest domestic hopper dredge, during the fourth quarter of 2017.

Hydraulic Dredges. Hydraulic dredges remove material using a revolving cutterhead which cuts and churns the sediment on the channel or ocean floor and hydraulically pumps the material by pipe to the disposal location. These dredges are very powerful and can dredge some types of rock. Certain dredged materials can be directly pumped for miles with the aid of multiple booster pumps. Hydraulic dredges work with an assortment of support equipment, which help with the positioning and movement of the dredge, handling of the pipelines and the placement of the dredged material. Unlike hopper dredges, relocating hydraulic dredges and all their ancillary equipment requires specialized vessels and additional time, and their operations can be impacted by ship traffic and rough waters. There is a wide range of hydraulic dredges from our smaller rivers & lakes vessels that use pipe sizes ranging from 10” to 22” and operate at between 365 and 3,200 total horsepower, while the Company’s other hydraulic dredges use pipe sizes ranging from 18” to 36” and operate at between 1,900 and 16,650 total horsepower.

Mechanical Dredges. There are two basic types of mechanical dredges: clamshell and backhoe. In both types, the dredge uses a bucket to excavate material from the channel or ocean floor. The dredged material is placed by the bucket into material barges, or “scows,” for transport to the designated disposal area. The scows are emptied by bottom-dumping, direct pump-out or removal by a crane with a bucket. Mechanical dredges are capable of removing hard-packed sediments, blasted rock and debris and can work in tight areas such as along docks or terminals. Clamshell dredges with specialized buckets are ideally suited to handle material requiring environmentally controlled disposal. Additionally, the Company owns an electric clamshell dredge which provides an advantage in those markets with stringent emissions standards.

Scows. The Company has the largest fleet of material barges in the domestic industry, which provides cost advantages when dredged material is required to be disposed far offshore or when material requires controlled disposal.  The Company uses scows with its hydraulic dredges and mechanical dredges.  Scows are an efficient and cost effective way to move material and increase dredging production. The Company has twelve scows in its fleet with a capacity ranging from 5,000 to 8,800 cubic yards.  

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In addition, the Company has numerous pieces of smaller equipment that support its dredging operations. Great Lakes’ domestic dredging fleet is typically positioned on the East and Gulf Coasts, with a smaller number of vessels occasionally positioned on the West Coast, and with many of the rivers & lakes dredges on inland rivers and lakes. The mobility of the fleet enables the Company to move equipment in response to changes in demand. Great Lakes’ fleet also includes vessels currently positioned in the Middle East.

The Company continually assesses its need to upgrade and expand its dredging fleet to take advantage of improving technology and to address the changing needs of the dredging market. The Company is also committed to preventive maintenance, which it believes is reflected in the long lives of most if its equipment and its low level of unscheduled downtime on jobs. To the extent that market conditions warrant the expenditures, Great Lakes can prolong the useful life of its vessels.

During 2017, management initiated a strategic review to improve the Company's financial results in both domestic and international operations. As a result of this review, management executed a plan to retire certain underperforming and underutilized assets. The retirement of these underperforming and underutilized assets was substantially completed in 2018.

Certification of equipment by the U.S. Coast Guard and establishment of the permissible loading capacity by the American Bureau of Shipping (“A.B.S.”) are important factors in the Company’s dredging business. Many projects, such as coastal protection projects with offshore sand borrow sites and dredging projects in exposed entrance channels or with offshore disposal areas, are restricted by federal regulations to be performed only by dredges or scows that have U.S. Coast Guard certification and a load line established by A.B.S. The certifications indicate that the dredge is structurally capable of operating in open waters. The Company has more certified dredging vessels than any of the Company’s domestic competitors and makes substantial investments to maintain these certifications.

Seasonality

Seasonality generally does not have a significant impact on the Company’s operations. However, many East Coast coastal protection projects are limited by environmental windows that require work to be performed in winter months to protect wildlife habitats. The Company can mitigate the impact of these environmental restrictions to a certain extent because the Company has the flexibility to reposition its equipment to project sites, if available, that are not limited by these restrictions. In addition, rivers and lakes in the northern U.S. freeze during the winter, significantly reducing the Company’s ability to operate and transport its equipment in the relevant geographies. Fish spawning and flooding can affect dredging operations as well. 

Weather

The Company’s ability to perform its contracts may depend on weather conditions. Inclement or hazardous weather conditions can delay the completion of a project, can result in disruption or early termination of a project, unanticipated recovery costs or liability exposure and additional costs. As part of bidding on fixed price contracts, the Company makes allowances, consistent with historical weather data, for project downtime due to adverse weather conditions. In the event that the Company experiences adverse weather beyond these allowances, a project may require additional days to complete, resulting in additional costs and decreased gross profit margins. Conversely, favorable weather can accelerate the completion of the project, resulting in cost savings and increased gross profit margins. Typically, Great Lakes is exposed to significant weather in the first and fourth quarters, and certain projects are required to be performed in environmental windows that occur during these periods. See “Business-Seasonality” above.

Weather is difficult to predict and historical records exist for only the last 100-125 years. Changes in weather patterns may cause a deviation from project weather allowances on a more frequent basis and consequently increase or decrease gross profit margin, as applicable, on a project-by-project basis. In a typical year, the Company works on many projects in multiple geographic locations and experiences both positive and negative deviations from project weather allowances. Accordingly, it is unlikely that future climate change will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations.

Backlog

The Company’s contract backlog represents its estimate of the revenues that will be realized under the portion of the contracts remaining to be performed. These estimates are based primarily upon the time and costs required to mobilize the necessary assets to and from the project site, the amount and type of material to be dredged and the expected production capabilities of the equipment performing the work. However, these estimates are necessarily subject to variances based upon actual circumstances. Because of these factors, as well as factors affecting the time required to complete each job, backlog is not always indicative of future revenues or profitability. In addition, a significant amount of the Company’s backlog relates to federal government contracts, which can be canceled at any time without penalty, subject to the Company’s right, in some cases, to recover the Company’s actual committed costs and profit on work performed up to the date of cancellation. The Company’s backlog may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter based upon the type and size of the projects the Company is awarded from the bid market. A quarterly increase or decrease of the Company’s backlog does not necessarily result in an improvement or a deterioration of the Company’s business. The Company’s

7


backlog includes only those projects for which the Company has obtained a signed contract with the customer. The components of the Company’s backlog including dollar amount and other related information are addressed in more detail in Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Bidding Activity and Backlog.”

Employees

At December 31, 2018, the Company employed 399 full-time salaried personnel in the U.S., including those in a corporate function. In addition, the Company employs U.S. hourly personnel, most of whom are unionized, on a project-by-project basis. Crews are generally available for hire on relatively short notice. During 2018, the Company employed an average of approximately 684 hourly personnel to meet domestic project requirements.

At December 31, 2018, the Company employed 8 expatriates, 15 foreign nationals and 41 local staff to manage and administer its Middle East operations. During 2018, the Company also employed a daily average of 45 hourly personnel to meet project requirements in the Middle East.

Safety

Safety of its employees is one of the Company’s core values. The Company employs behavioral and system based programs utilizing an Incident & Injury Free® (IIF) approach. The Company’s safety culture is committed to training, behavioral based awareness and mutual responsibility for the wellbeing of its employees. The Company’s goal is sustainable safety excellence. Incident prevention in all areas have top priority in the Company’s business planning, in the overall conduct of its business, and in the operation and maintenance of our equipment (marine and land) and facilities.

Unions

The Company is a party to numerous collective bargaining agreements in the U.S. that govern its relationships with its unionized hourly workforce. However, two unions represent a large majority of our dredging employees - the International Union of Operating Engineers (“IUOE”), Local 25 and the Seafarers International Union. The Company’s master contract with IUOE, Local 25 was ratified in February 2019 and expires in September 2021. Two ancillary contracts with IUOE, Local 25 expired in September 2018 and will be re-negotiated now that the master contract is completed. Our agreements with Seafarers International Union expire in February 2023. The Company has not experienced any major labor disputes in the past five years and believes it has good relationships with the unions that represent a significant number of its hourly employees; however, there can be no assurances that the Company will not experience labor strikes or disturbances in the future.

Government Regulations

The Company is subject to government regulations pursuant to the Dredging Act, the Jones Act, the Shipping Act, 1916, or “Shipping Act,” and the vessel documentation laws set forth in Chapter 121 of Title 46 of the United States Code. These statutes require vessels engaged in dredging in the navigable waters of the United States to be documented with a coastwise endorsement, to be owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, to be manned by U.S. crews, and to be built in the United States. The U.S. citizen ownership and control standards require the vessel-owning entity to be at least 75% U.S. citizen owned and prohibit the chartering of the vessel to any entity that does not meet the 75% U.S. citizen ownership test.

Environmental Matters

The Company’s operations, facilities and vessels are subject to various environmental laws and regulations related to, among other things: dredging operations; the disposal of dredged material; protection of wetlands; storm water and waste water discharges; demolition activities; asbestos removal; transportation and disposal of wastes and materials; air emissions; and remediation of contaminated soil, sediments, surface water and groundwater. The Company is also subject to laws designed to protect certain marine species and habitats. Compliance with these statutes and regulations can delay appropriation and/or performance of particular projects and increase related project costs. Non-compliance can also result in fines, penalties and claims by third parties seeking damages for alleged personal injury, as well as damages to property and natural resources.

Certain environmental laws such as the U.S. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 impose strict and, under some circumstances joint and several, liability on owners and operators of facilities and vessels for investigation and remediation of releases and discharges of regulated materials, and also impose liability for related damages to natural resources. The Company’s past and ongoing operations involve the use, and from time to time the release or discharge, of regulated materials which could result in liability under these and other environmental laws. The Company has remediated known releases and discharges as deemed necessary, but there can be no guarantee that additional costs will not be incurred if, for example, third party claims arise or new conditions are discovered.

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The Company’s projects may involve remediation, demolition, excavation, transportation, management and disposal of hazardous waste and other regulated materials. Various laws strictly regulate the removal, treatment and transportation of hazardous water and other regulated materials and impose liability for human health effects and environmental contamination caused by these materials. The Company takes steps to limit its potential liability by hiring qualified subcontractors from time to time to remove such materials from our projects, and some project contracts require the client to retain liability for hazardous waste generation.

Based on the Company’s experience and available information, the Company believes that the future cost of compliance with existing environmental laws and regulations (and liability for known environmental conditions) will not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows. However, the Company cannot predict what environmental legislation or regulations will be enacted in the future, how existing or future laws or regulations will be enforced, administered or interpreted, or the amount of future expenditures that may be required to comply with these environmental or health and safety laws or regulations or to respond to newly discovered conditions, such as future cleanup matters or other environmental claims.

Executive Officers of the Registrant

The following table sets forth the names and ages of all of the Company’s executive officers and the positions and offices presently held by them.

 

Name

 

Age

 

Position

Lasse J. Petterson

 

62

 

Chief Executive Officer and Director

Mark W. Marinko

 

57

 

Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

David E. Simonelli

 

62

 

President—Dredging Division

Christopher P. Shea

 

56

 

President—Environmental & Infrastructure Division

Kathleen M. LaVoy

 

39

 

Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary

Lasse J. Petterson, Chief Executive Officer and Director

Mr. Petterson has served as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) since May 2017. Mr. Petterson most recently had served as a private consultant to clients in the Oil & Gas sector and served as Chief Operating Officer (“COO”) and Executive Vice President at Chicago Bridge and Iron (“CB&I”) from 2009 to 2013. Reporting directly to the CEO, he was responsible for all of CB&I’s engineering, procurement and construction project operations and sales. Prior to CB&I, Mr. Petterson was CEO of Gearbulk, Ltd., a privately held company that owns and operates one of the largest fleets of gantry craned open hatch bulk vessels in the world. He was also President and COO of AMEC Inc. Americas, a subsidiary of AMEC plc, a British multinational consulting, engineering and project management company. Prior to joining AMEC, Mr. Petterson served in various executive and operational positions for Aker Maritime, Inc., the deepwater division of Aker Maritime ASA of Norway over the course of 20 years. He spent the first nine years of his career in various positions at Norwegian Contractors, an offshore oil & gas platform contractor. Mr. Petterson holds both master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the Norwegian University of Technology.

Mark W. Marinko, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Marinko has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since June 2014. Mr. Marinko was most recently President of the Consumer Services division at TransUnion leading the direct to consumer and business market, customer service, consumer compliance and marketing for the credit information company. Prior to his position as President, Mr. Marinko has been in increasing accounting and financial roles as Controller and Vice President of Finance at TransUnion since 1996. Prior to TransUnion, Mr. Marinko served as controller of Official Airline Guides. In his over 30 years of professional experience, Mr. Marinko has held roles specializing in accounting, finance, sales, systems and business operations. Mr. Marinko earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and Business Administration from Augustana College.

David E. Simonelli, President—Dredging Division

Mr. Simonelli was named President—Dredging Division in April 2010. Mr. Simonelli has overall responsibility for the Dredging Division which includes safety, estimating, engineering, domestic and international operations and plant and equipment. He was named a Vice President of the Company in 2002 and Special Projects Manager in 1996. He joined the Company in 1978 as a Civil Engineer and has since held positions of increasing responsibility in domestic and international operations and project management. Mr. Simonelli earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Rhode Island. He is a member of the Hydrographic Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Western Dredging Association.

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Christopher P. Shea, President—Environmental & Infrastructure Division

Mr. Shea was named President—Environmental & Infrastructure Division in November 2015. Mr. Shea has overall responsibility for the Environmental & Infrastructure Division. He has over 25 years of experience in global engineering, environmental services and construction management services. Prior to joining Great Lakes, Mr. Shea was at CH2M Hill, Inc., a global environmental and engineering consulting services firm, where he was most recently President of the Environmental and Nuclear Business Group. Prior to his nine year tenure at CH2M Hill, Mr. Shea was employed by Envirocon, Inc. as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Planning. Mr. Shea started his career at Waste Management (formerly Chemical Waste Management) in 1986. He received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Arizona.

Kathleen M. LaVoy, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary

Ms. LaVoy was appointed Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary in January 2018. Previously, Ms. LaVoy served as our Interim Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary since November 2015. Ms. LaVoy was appointed Vice President and General Counsel, Dredging Operations in July 2012. She joined the Company in 2007 as Assistant General Counsel. Ms. LaVoy received her J.D. cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law and was an associate in the litigation department of the Chicago law firm Winston & Strawn LLP following graduation. Ms. LaVoy earned a Bachelor of Science degree with distinction in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

 

Availability of Information

You may read and obtain copies of any materials Great Lakes files with the SEC, including without limitation, the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports, free of charge, at the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov. Great Lakes’ SEC filings are also available to the public, free of charge, on our corporate website, www.gldd.com, at “Investors – Financial & Filings”, as soon as reasonably practicable after Great Lakes electronically files such material with, or furnishes it to, the SEC. The reference to the Company’s website does not constitute incorporation by reference of information contained on or accessible through such website.

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

The following risk factors address the material risks and uncertainties concerning our business. You should carefully consider the following risks and other information contained or incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K when evaluating our business and financial condition and an investment in our common stock. Should any of the following risks or uncertainties develop into actual events, such developments could have material adverse effects on our business, financial condition, cash flows or results of operations. We have grouped our Risk Factors under captions that we believe describe various categories of potential risk. For the reader’s convenience, we have not duplicated risk factors that could be considered to be included in more than one category.

Risks Related to our Business

We depend on our ability to continue to obtain federal government dredging and other contracts, and are therefore impacted by the amount of government funding for dredging and other projects. A reduction in government funding for dredging or other contracts, or government cancellation of such contracts, could materially adversely affect our business operations, revenues and profits.

A substantial portion of our revenue is derived from federal government contracts, particularly dredging contracts. Revenues related to dredging contracts with federal agencies or companies operating under contracts with federal agencies and the percentage as a total of dredging revenue for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 were as follows:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

Federal government revenue (in US $1,000)

 

$

468,422

 

 

$

375,276

 

 

$

409,942

 

Percent of revenue from federal government

 

 

75

%

 

 

63

%

 

 

64

%

 

Amounts spent by the federal government on dredging are subject to the budgetary and legislative processes. We would expect the federal government to continue to improve and maintain ports as it has for many years, which will necessitate a certain level of federal spending. However, there can be no assurance that the federal government will allocate any particular amount or level of funds to be spent on dredging projects for any specified period. In addition, Congress must approve budgets that govern spending by many of the federal agencies we support. When Congress is unable to agree on budget priorities, and thus is unable to pass the annual budget on a timely basis, Congress typically enacts a continuing resolution. A continuing resolution allows U.S. federal government agencies

10


to operate at spending levels approved in the previous budget cycle. Under a continuing resolution, funding may not be available for new projects or may be delayed on current projects. Any such delays would likely result in new projects being delayed or canceled and could have a material adverse effect on our revenue and operating results. Furthermore, a failure to complete the budget process and fund government operations pursuant to a continuing resolution may result in a U.S. federal government shutdown, such as the recent shutdowns in 2018 and early 2019. While the impact on the Company of the shutdowns in 2018 and early 2019 was not material, an extended shutdown may result in us incurring substantial costs without reimbursement under our contracts and the delay or cancellation of key projects, which could have a material adverse effect on our revenue and operating results.

In addition, potential contract cancellations, modifications, protests, suspensions or terminations may arise from resolution of these issues and could cause our revenues, profits and cash flows to be lower. Federal government contracts can be canceled at any time without penalty to the government, subject to, in most cases, our contractual right to recover our actual committed costs and profit on work performed up to the date of cancellation. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the federal government will not cancel any federal government contracts that have been or are awarded to us. Even if a contract is not cancelled, the government may elect to not award further work pursuant to a contract. Furthermore, in February 2019 the U.S. President declared a national emergency. This may allow the administration to divert funds previously budgeted for other purposes. There is no guarantee that the administration will not divert funds away from the Corps or from our other customers relying on funding from the federal government. There is also no guarantee that additional national emergencies will not be declared in the future. A significant reduction in government funding for dredging or remediation contracts, could materially adversely affect our business, operations, revenues and profits.

We depend on our ability to qualify as an eligible bidder under government contract criteria and to compete successfully against other qualified bidders in order to obtain government dredging and other contracts. Our inability to qualify or to compete successfully for certain contracts could materially adversely affect our business operations, revenues and profits.

The U.S. government and various state, local and foreign government agencies conduct rigorous competitive processes for awarding many contracts. Some contracts include multiple award task order contracts in which several contractors are selected as eligible bidders for future work. We will face strong competition and pricing pressures for any additional contract awards from the U.S. government and other domestic and foreign government agencies, and we may be required to qualify or continue to qualify under various multiple award task order contract criteria. Our inability to qualify as an eligible bidder under government contract criteria could preclude us from competing for certain government contract awards. In addition, our inability to qualify as an eligible bidder, or to compete successfully when bidding for certain government contracts and to win those contracts, could materially adversely affect our business, operations, revenues and profits.

The nature of our contracts, particularly those that are fixed-price, subjects us to risks associated with cost over-runs, operating cost inflation and potential claims for liquidated damages. If we are unable to accurately estimate our costs to complete our projects, our profitability could suffer.

We conduct our business under various types of contracts where costs are estimated in advance of our performance. Most dredging contracts are fixed-price contracts where the customer pays a fixed price per unit (e.g., cubic yard) of material dredged. Fixed-price contracts carry inherent risks, including risks of losses from underestimating costs, operational difficulties, and other changes that can occur over the contract period. In 2017, we experienced delays as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Jose, which caused work stoppages in the impacted areas. If our estimates prove inaccurate, if there are errors or ambiguities as to contract specifications, or if circumstances change due to, among other things, unanticipated conditions or technical problems, difficulties in obtaining permits or approvals, changes in local laws or labor conditions, inclement or hazardous weather conditions, changes in cost of equipment or materials, or our suppliers’ or subcontractor’s inability to perform, then cost over-runs and delays in performance are likely to occur. We may not be able to obtain compensation for additional work performed or expenses incurred, or may be delayed in receiving necessary approvals or payments. Additionally, we may be required to pay liquidated damages upon our failure to meet schedule or performance requirements of our contracts. Our failure to accurately estimate the resources and time required for fixed-price contracts or our failure to perform our contractual obligations within the expected time frame and costs could result in reduced profits or, in certain cases, a loss for that contract. If we were to significantly underestimate the costs on one or more significant contracts, the resulting losses could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition.

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Our results of operations depend on the award of new contracts and the timing of the performance of these contracts. As a result, our quarterly and annual operating results may vary significantly.

Our quarterly and annual results of operations have fluctuated from period to period in the past and may continue to fluctuate in the future. Accordingly, you should not rely on the results of any past quarter or quarters as an indication of future performance in our business operations or valuation of our stock. Our operating results could vary greatly from period to period due to factors such as:

 

the timing of contract awards and the commencement or progress of work under awarded contracts;

 

inclement or hazardous weather conditions that may result in underestimated delays in dredging, disruption or early termination of projects, unanticipated recovery costs or liability exposure, and additional contract expenses;

 

planned and unplanned equipment downtime;

 

our ability to recognize revenue from pending change orders, which is not recognized until the recovery is probable and collectability is reasonably assured;

 

environmental restrictions requiring that certain projects be performed in winter months to protect wildlife habitats; and

 

equipment mobilization to and from projects.

If our results of operations from quarter to quarter fail to meet the expectations of public market analysts and investors, our stock price could be negatively impacted. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Primary Factors that Determine Operating Profitability.”

If we fail to comply with government contracting regulations, our revenue could suffer, and we could be subject to significant potential liabilities.

Our contracts with federal, state local and foreign governmental customers are subject to various procurement regulations and contract provisions. These regulations also subject us to examinations by government auditors and investigators, from time to time, to ensure compliance and to review costs. Violations of government contracting regulations could result in the imposition of civil and criminal penalties, which could include termination of contracts, forfeiture of profits, imposition of payments and fines and suspension or debarment from future government contracting. If we fail to continue to qualify for or are suspended from work under a government contract for any reason, we could suffer a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition.

In addition, we may be subject to litigation brought by private individuals on behalf of the government relating to our government contracts, referred to in this annual report as “qui tam” actions, which could include claims for up to treble damages. Qui tam actions are sealed by the court at the time of filing. The only parties privy to the information in the complaint are the complainant, the U.S. government and the court. Therefore, it is possible that qui tam actions have been filed against us and that we are not aware of such actions or have been ordered by the court not to discuss them until the seal is lifted. Thus, it is possible that we are subject to liability exposure arising out of qui tam actions.

We are subject to risks related to our international dredging operations.

Revenue from foreign contracts and its percentage to total dredging revenue for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 were as follows:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

Foreign revenue (in US $1,000)

 

$

14,088

 

 

$

42,306

 

 

$

59,413

 

Percent of revenue from foreign countries

 

 

2

%

 

 

7

%

 

 

9

%

 

The international dredging market is highly competitive and competition in the international market is dominated by four large European dredging companies, all of which operate larger equipment and fleets that are more modern and extensive than the Company’s. In addition, there are several governmentally supported dredging companies that operate on a local or regional basis. Competing for international dredging projects requires a substantial investment of resources, skilled personnel and capital investment in equipment and technology, and may adversely affect our ability to deploy resources for domestic dredging projects.

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International operations subject us to additional potential risks, including:

 

uncertainties concerning import and export license requirements, tariffs and other trade barriers;

 

political and economic instability and risks of terrorist activities;

 

reduced demand as a result of fluctuations in the price of oil, the primary export in the Middle East;

 

difficulties in enforcing contractual rights and agreements through certain foreign legal systems;

 

requirements of, and changes in, foreign laws, policies and regulations;

 

local licensing, permitting and royalty issues, particularly with respect to our overseas operations in Bahrain and the Middle East;

 

difficulties in staffing and managing international operations without additional expense;

 

taxation issues;

 

greater difficulty in accounts receivable collection and longer collection periods;

 

compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and international anticorruption laws;

 

currency fluctuations;

 

logistical and communication challenges; and

 

inability to effectively insure against political, cultural and economic uncertainties, including acts of terrorism, civil unrest, war or other armed conflict.

In addition, our international operations are subject to U.S. and other laws and regulations regarding operations in foreign jurisdictions. These numerous and sometimes conflicting laws and regulations include anti-boycott laws, anti-competition laws, anti-corruption laws, tax laws, immigration laws, privacy laws and accounting requirements. There is a risk that some provisions may be breached, for example through inadvertence or mistake, fraudulent or negligent behavior of individual employees or of agents, or failure to comply with certain formal documentation requirements or otherwise. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines and penalties, criminal sanctions against us, our officers, or our employees, prohibitions on the conduct of our business and on our ability to operate in one or more countries, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, military action, terrorist activities or continued unrest in the Middle East could affect the safety of our personnel in the region and significantly increase the costs of, or disrupt our operations in, the region and could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition.

A significant portion of our international revenue is earned from large, single customer contracts.

The Company earns significant revenue from governmental entities and private parties in the Middle East. Revenue from foreign projects has been concentrated in the Middle East which comprised 100%, 97% and 89% of our foreign dredging revenues in the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. A single customer contract represented 78% of the Company’s foreign dredging revenue from all sources in the year ended December 31, 2018. The Company continues to maintain significant equipment in the Middle East region and continues to pursue additional contracts in the region.

Certain factors have occurred suggesting that future revenues from projects with governments in the Middle East could decrease. Historically lower oil prices and the contraction in Middle East commercial and real estate development have slowed the rate of the region’s infrastructure development. If the diplomatic relationship of the United States or our commercial relationship with governments in the Middle East is significantly negatively impacted or terminated, or we encounter significant difficulties in obtaining licensing or permits to do business in these countries, the Company’s international revenues would be materially and adversely impacted. If the government of Bahrain or Saudi Arabia further curtails its infrastructure investment or diversifies its use of dredging vendors, our revenue from these customers could decline further.

Other Middle East governments have national dredging companies and may be incentivized to use the national dredging company of another Middle East government or have significant history with competitive dredging vendors other than the Company. The Company could lose future contracts for work in the Middle East to these competitors or could be forced to accept lower margins on contracts in order to utilize the equipment that is located in the Middle East. In addition, the Company may be forced to shrink the workforce in place or relocate dredging assets from this region in reaction to lower contract earnings. Lower utilization, workforce reductions or asset relocations could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition.

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Regional instability in the Middle East may adversely affect business conditions and may disrupt our operations.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Middle East countries have experienced political turbulence in the recent past. Political uprisings and conflicts, including armed hostilities and civil unrest, may affect the political stability of the region. In addition, there has been a decline in the relationships between and amongst certain governments in the Middle East, such as continued conflicts between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt.

Deterioration in the political, economic, and social conditions or other relevant policies of the government, such as changes in laws or regulations, export restrictions, expropriation of our assets or resource nationalization, could materially and adversely affect our business, access to markets, financial condition, and results of operations. Similar civil unrest and political turbulence has occurred in other countries in the region.

In addition, such events may affect plans for infrastructure investment. If the government changes or significant restrictions are established, our dredging operations in the Middle East, including the value of our assets related to such operations, may be adversely affected.

Our financial results include certain estimates and assumptions that may differ from actual results.

In preparing our consolidated financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, a number of estimates and assumptions are made by management that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements. These estimates and assumptions must be made because certain information that is used in the preparation of our financial statements is either dependent on future events or cannot be calculated with a high degree of precision from available data. In some instances, these estimates are particularly uncertain and we must exercise significant judgment. Estimates are primarily used in our assessment of the recognition of revenue for costs and estimated earnings under the percentage of completion method of accounting as discussed above, the fair value of reporting units for goodwill impairment analysis, the assessment of impairment of intangibles and other long-lived assets, the purchase price allocations of businesses acquired, accrued insurance claims, income taxes, asset lives used in computing depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation expense for performance-based stock awards, and accruals for contingencies, including legal matters. At the time they are made, we believe that such estimates are fair when considered in conjunction with our consolidated financial position and results of operations taken as a whole. However, actual results could differ from those estimates and such differences may be material to our financial statements.

Lapses in disclosure controls and procedures or internal control over financial reporting could materially and adversely affect our operations, profitability or reputation.

There can be no assurance that our disclosure controls and procedures will be effective in the future or that we will not experience a material weakness or significant deficiency in internal control over financial reporting. Any such lapses or deficiencies may materially and adversely affect our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition, restrict our ability to access the capital markets, require us to expend significant resources to correct the lapses or deficiencies, expose us to regulatory or legal proceedings, including litigation brought by private individuals, subject us to fines, penalties or judgments, harm our reputation, or otherwise cause a decline in investor confidence and our stock price.

Many of our contracts have penalties for late completion.

In many instances, including in our fixed-price contracts, we guarantee that we will complete a project by a scheduled date. If we subsequently fail to complete the project as scheduled, we may be liable for any customer losses resulting from such delay, generally in the form of contractually agreed-upon liquidated damages. In addition, failure to maintain a required schedule could cause us to default on our government contracts, giving rise to a variety of potential damages. To the extent that these events occur, the total costs of the project could exceed our original estimates, and we could experience reduced profits or, in some cases, a loss for that project.

Force majeure events, including natural disasters and terrorists’ actions, could negatively impact our business, which may affect our business, operations, revenues, cash flows and profits.

Force majeure or extraordinary events beyond the control of the contracting parties, such as natural and man-made disasters, as well as terrorist actions, could negatively impact the economies in which we operate. We typically negotiate contract language where we are allowed certain relief from force majeure events in private client contracts and review and attempt to mitigate force majeure events in both public and private client contracts. We remain obligated to perform our services after most extraordinary events subject to relief that may be available pursuant to a force majeure clause.

If a contract contains a force majeure provision, we may be able to obtain an extension of time to complete our obligations under such contract, but we will still be subject to our other contractual obligations in the event of such an extraordinary event. Because we cannot predict the length, severity or location of any potential force majeure event, it is not possible to determine the specific effects any such event may have on us. Depending on the specific circumstances of any particular force majeure event, or if

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we are unable to react quickly to such an event, our operations may be affected significantly, our productivity may be affected, our ability to complete projects in accordance with our contractual obligations may be affected, our payments from customers may be delayed and we may incur increased labor and materials costs, which could have a negative impact on our financial condition, relationships with customers or suppliers, and our reputation.

The amount of our estimated backlog is subject to change and not necessarily indicative of future revenues.

Our contract backlog represents our estimate of the revenues that we will realize under the portion of the contracts remaining to be performed. These estimates are based primarily upon the time and costs required to mobilize the necessary assets to and from the project site, the amount and type of material to be dredged and the expected production capabilities of the equipment performing the work. However, these estimates are necessarily subject to variances based upon actual circumstances. From time to time, changes in project scope may occur with respect to contracts reflected in our backlog and could reduce the dollar amount of our backlog and the timing of the revenue and profits that we actually earn. Projects may remain in our backlog for an extended period of time because of the nature of the project and the timing of the particular services or equipment required by the project.

Because of these factors, as well as factors affecting the time required to complete each job, backlog is not necessarily indicative of future revenues or profitability. In addition, a significant amount of our backlog (83% in 2018) relates to federal government contracts, which can be canceled at any time without penalty to the government, subject, in most cases, to our contractual right to recover our actual committed costs and profit on work performed up to the date of cancellation.

Below is our backlog from federal government contracts as of December 31, 2018, 2017, and 2016 and the percentage of those contracts to total backlog as of the same date.  

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

Federal government backlog (in US $1,000)

 

$

586,568

 

 

$

413,678

 

 

$

269,362

 

Percentage of backlog from federal government

 

 

83

%

 

 

81

%

 

 

58

%

 

At times we may have backlog with foreign governments that use local laws and regulations to change terms of a contract in backlog or to limit our ability to receive payment on a timely basis. Other contracts in backlog are with state and local municipalities or private companies that may have funding constraints or impose restrictions on timing. The termination, modification or suspension of projects currently in backlog could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition.

Our business would be adversely affected if we failed to comply with Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (the “Jones Act”) provisions on coastwise trade, or if those provisions were modified or repealed.

We are subject to the Jones Act and other federal laws that restrict dredging in U.S. waters and maritime transportation between points in the United States to vessels operating under the U.S. flag, built in the United States, at least 75% owned and operated by U.S. citizens and manned by U.S. crews. We are responsible for monitoring the ownership of our common stock to ensure compliance with these laws. If we do not comply with these restrictions, we would be prohibited from operating our vessels in the U.S. market, and under certain circumstances we would be deemed to have undertaken an unapproved foreign transfer, resulting in severe penalties, including permanent loss of U.S. dredging rights for our vessels, fines or forfeiture of the vessels.

In the past, interest groups have unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to modify or repeal the Jones Act to facilitate foreign flag competition for trades and cargoes currently reserved for U.S. flag vessels under the Jones Act. We believe that continued efforts may be made to modify or repeal the Jones Act or other federal laws currently benefiting U.S. flag vessels. If these efforts are ever successful, it could result in significantly increased competition and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

Our dependence on petroleum-based products increases our costs as the prices of such products increase, which could adversely affect our business, operations, revenues and profits.

Fuel prices fluctuate based on market events outside of our control. We use diesel fuel and other petroleum-based products to operate our equipment used in our dredging contracts. Fluctuations in supplies relative to demand and other factors can cause unanticipated increases in their cost. Most of our contracts do not allow us to adjust our pricing for higher fuel costs during a contract term and we may be unable to secure price increases reflecting rising costs when renewing or bidding contracts. In addition, on January 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization’s regulations regarding use of low sulfur fuel are expected to go into effect. We use low sulfur fuel in many of our domestic operations, and the increased demand for low sulfur fuel may result in an increase in price. Future increases in the costs of fuel and other petroleum-based products used in our business, particularly if a bid has been submitted for a contract and the costs of those products have been estimated at amounts less than the actual costs thereof, could result in a lower profit, or even a loss, on one or more contracts.

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If we are unable, in the future, to obtain bonding or letters of credit for our contracts, our ability to obtain future contracts will be limited, thereby adversely affecting our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition.

We are generally required to post bonds in connection with our domestic dredging contracts and bonds or letters of credit with our foreign dredging contracts to ensure job completion if we ever fail to finish a project. We have entered into bonding agreements with Argonaut Insurance Company, Berkley Insurance Company, Chubb Surety and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (collectively, the “Sureties”) to which the Sureties act as surety, issue bid bonds, performance bonds and payment bonds, and provide guarantees required by us in the day-to-day operations of our dredging business. The Company also has outstanding bonds with Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America and Zurich to issue future bonds for us. Historically, we have had a strong bonding capacity, but surety companies issue bonds on a project-by-project basis and can decline to issue bonds at any time or require the posting of collateral as a condition to issuing any bonds. With respect to our foreign dredging business, we generally obtain letters of credit under our Credit Agreement. However, access to our senior credit facility under our Credit Agreement may be limited by failure to meet certain levels of availability or other defined financial or other requirements. If we are unable to obtain bonds or letters of credit on terms reasonably acceptable to us, our ability to take on future work would be severely limited.

In connection with the sale of our historical demolition business, we were obligated to keep in place the surety bonds on pending demolition projects for the period required under the respective contract for a project.  In 2017, we were notified by Zurich of an alleged default triggered on a historical demolition surety performance bond in the aggregate amount of approximately $20 million for failure of the contractor to perform in accordance with the terms of a project. Zurich drew upon the letter of credit in the amount of $20.9 million. In order to fund the draw on the letter of credit, we had to increase the borrowings on our revolving credit facility. As the outstanding letters of credit previously reduced our availability under the revolving credit facility, this draw down on our letter of credit did not impact our liquidity or capital availability. However, in the future, other defaults (or alleged defaults) triggered under any of our surety bonds could have a material adverse effect on our  business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

Capital expenditures and other costs necessary to operate and maintain our vessels tend to increase with the age of the vessel and may also increase due to changes in governmental regulations, safety or other equipment standards, which could result in a decrease in our profits.

Capital expenditures and other costs necessary to operate and maintain our vessels tend to increase with the age of the vessel. Accordingly, it is likely that the operating costs of our vessels will increase.

The average age of our more significant vessels as of December 31, 2018, by equipment type, is as follows:

 

Type of Equipment

 

Quantity

 

 

Average Age in Years

 

Hydraulic Dredges

 

 

13

 

 

 

35

 

Hopper Dredges

 

 

6

 

 

 

27

 

Mechanical Dredges

 

 

4

 

 

 

39

 

Unloaders

 

 

1

 

 

 

34

 

Drillboats

 

 

1

 

 

 

34

 

Material and Other Barges

 

 

118

 

 

 

23

 

Total

 

 

143

 

 

 

25

 

 

Remaining economic life has not been presented because it is not reasonably quantifiable because, to the extent that market conditions warrant the expenditures, we can prolong the vessels’ lives. In our domestic market, we operate in an industry where a significant portion of our competitors’ equipment is of a similar age. It is common in the dredging industry to make maintenance and capital expenditures in order to extend the economic life of equipment.

In addition, changes in governmental regulations, safety or other equipment standards, as well as compliance with standards imposed by maritime self-regulatory organizations, standards imposed by vessel classification societies and customer requirements or competition, may require us to make additional expenditures. For example, if the U.S. Coast Guard enacts new standards, we may be required to incur expenditures for alterations or the addition of new equipment (e.g. more fuel efficient engines). Other new standard requirements could be significant. In order to satisfy any such requirement, we may need to take our vessels out of service for extended periods of time, with corresponding losses of revenues.

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We may experience equipment or mechanical failures, which could increase costs, reduce revenues and result in penalties for failure to meet project completion requirements.

The successful performance of contracts requires a high degree of reliability of our vessels, barges and other equipment. The average age of our marine fleet as of December 31, 2018 was 25 years. Breakdowns not only add to the costs of executing a project, but they can also delay the completion of subsequent contracts, which are scheduled to utilize the same assets. We operate a scheduled maintenance program in order to keep all assets in good working order, but despite this, breakdowns can and do occur and may result in loss of revenue.

Our current business strategy may include acquisitions which present certain risks and uncertainties. There are integration and consolidation risks associated with acquisitions. Future acquisitions may result in significant transaction expenses, unexpected liabilities and risks associated with entering new markets, and we may be unable to profitably operate these businesses.

We may seek business acquisition activities as a means of broadening our offerings and capturing additional market opportunities by our business units. We may be exposed to certain additional risks resulting from these activities. Acquisitions may expose us to operational challenges and risks, including:

 

the effects of valuation methodologies which may not accurately capture the value proposition;

 

the failure to integrate acquired businesses into our operations, financial reporting and controls with the efficiency and effectiveness initially expected resulting in a potentially significant detriment to our financial results and our operations as a whole;

 

the management of the growth resulting from acquisition activities;

 

the inability to capitalize on expected synergies;

 

the assumption of liabilities of an acquired business (for example, litigation, tax liabilities, environmental liabilities), including liabilities that were contingent or unknown at the time of the acquisition and that pose future risks to our working capital needs, cash flows and the profitability of related operations;

 

the assumption of unprofitable projects that pose future risks to our working capital needs, cash flows and the profitability of related operations;

 

the risks associated with entering new markets;

 

diversion of management’s attention from our existing business;

 

failure to retain key personnel, customers or contracts of any acquired business;

 

potential adverse effects on our ability to comply with covenants in our existing debt financing;

 

potential impairment of acquired intangible assets; and

 

additional debt financing, which may not be available on attractive terms.

We may not have the appropriate management, financial or other resources needed to integrate any businesses that we acquire. Any future acquisitions may result in significant transaction expenses and unexpected liabilities.

Divestitures and discontinued operations could negatively impact our business, and retained liabilities from businesses that we sell or discontinue could adversely affect our financial results.

As part of our strategic process, we review our operations for assets and businesses which may no longer be aligned with our strategic initiatives and long-term objectives. For example, we are currently marketing our environmental & infrastructure business for sale and, over the past five years, we have divested our historical demolition and certain service lines of our historical environmental & infrastructure business. We continue to review our assets and strategy and may pursue additional divestitures. Divestitures pose risks and challenges that could negatively impact our business, including required separation or carve-out activities and costs, disputes with buyers or potential impairment charges. We may also dispose of a business such as the environmental & infrastructure business at a price or on terms that are less than we had previously anticipated or fail to close a transaction at all. Dispositions may also involve continued financial involvement, as we may be required to retain responsibility for, or agree to indemnify buyers against contingent liabilities related to a businesses sold, such as lawsuits, surety obligations, tax liabilities, or environmental matters. It may also be difficult to determine whether a claim from a third party stemmed from actions taken by us or by another party and we may expend substantial resources trying to determine which party has responsibility for the claim. Under these types of arrangements, performance by the divested businesses or other conditions outside of our control could affect future financial results and such claims or conditions may divert management attention from our continuing business.

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On April 24, 2014, the Company announced that it had completed the sale of its historical demolition business. In connection with the sale, the Company retained responsibility for various pre-closing liabilities and obligations and may incur costs and expenses related to these items and asset recoveries. It is possible that claims, which could be material, could be made against the Company pursuant to the agreement pursuant to which the Company’s historical demolition business was sold. In connection with the sale of our historical demolition business, we were obligated to keep in place the surety bonds on pending demolition projects for the period required under the respective contract for a project. Moreover, we could face the same or similar risks with the planned divestiture of the environmental & infrastructure business. As noted above, if there should be a default (or alleged default) triggered under any of the surety bonds for either the historical demolition business or the environmental & infrastructure business, it could have a material adverse effect on our ability to obtain bonds and on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

If we do not realize the expected benefits or synergies of any divestiture transaction or if we underestimated the valuation of the charge related to placing the asset held for sale in discontinued operations, our consolidated financial position, results of operations and cash flows could be negatively impacted. Any divestiture may result in a dilutive impact to our future earnings if we are unable to offset the dilutive impact from the loss of revenue associated with the divestiture, as well as significant write-offs, including those related to goodwill and other intangible assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

We could face liabilities and/or damage to our reputation as a result of certain legal and regulatory proceedings.

From time to time, we are subject to legal and regulatory proceedings in the ordinary course of our business. These include proceedings relating to aspects of our businesses that are specific to us and proceedings that are typical in the businesses in which we operate. We are currently a defendant in a number of litigation matters, including those described in Item 3. “Legal Proceedings” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In certain of these matters, the plaintiffs are seeking large and/or indeterminate amounts of damages. These matters are subject to many uncertainties, and it is possible that some of these matters could ultimately be decided, resolved or settled adversely to the Company. An adverse outcome in a legal or regulatory matter could, depending on the facts, have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

In addition to its potential financial impact, legal and regulatory matters can have a significant adverse reputational impact. Allegations of improper conduct made by private litigants or regulators, whether the ultimate outcome is favorable or unfavorable to us, as well as negative publicity and press speculation about us, whether valid or not, may harm our reputation, which may be damaging to our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

Our current business strategy includes the construction of new vessels. There are substantial uncertainties associated with such construction, including the possibility of unforeseen delays and cost overruns.

We have previously disclosed our plans to build new vessels, including the recently completed dual mode articulated tug/barge trailing suction hopper dredge, the Ellis Island, which is now in full operation. As the Company previously disclosed, the Ellis Island experienced greater than anticipated delays in ramping up to full operation due to mechanical issues involving the port side gearbox. Although the Ellis Island is now in operation, other unknown mechanical or engineering issues involving the Ellis Island, or other mechanical or engineering issues involving other new vessels, could adversely affect the Company’s business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition. Our future revenues and profitability will also be impacted to some extent by our ability to secure financing for new vessels and bring them into service within the timeline anticipated by the Company. The Company contracts with shipyards to build new vessels and currently has vessels under construction. Construction projects are subject to risks of delay and cost overruns, resulting from shortages of equipment, materials and skilled labor; lack of shipyard availability; unforeseen design and engineering problems; work stoppages; weather interference; unanticipated cost increases; unscheduled delays in the delivery of material and equipment; and financial and other difficulties at shipyards including labor disputes, shipyard insolvency and inability to obtain necessary certifications and approvals. A significant delay in the construction of new vessels or a shipyard’s inability to perform under the construction contract could negatively impact the Company’s ability to fulfill contract commitments and to realize timely revenues with respect to vessels under construction. Significant cost overruns or delays for vessels under construction could also adversely affect the Company’s business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition. Changes in governmental regulations, safety or other equipment standards, as well as compliance with standards imposed by maritime self-regulatory organizations and customer requirements or competition, could also substantially increase the cost of such construction beyond what we currently expect such costs to be.

We may not realize all of the expected benefits from our restructuring activities.

In October 2017, we announced that we were executing a restructuring plan that would allow us to focus on reducing debt, improving return on capital and enhancing our fleet (the “Restructuring Plan”). Actual total costs, savings, benefits and timing of the Restructuring Plan may vary from our estimates. We therefore cannot ensure that we will achieve the targeted savings or other benefits. Numerous factors may limit the extent to which the anticipated benefits are realized. Unanticipated costs or unrealized savings in connection with the Restructuring Plan could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition, as well as our likelihood of realizing, and the amount of, expected restructuring charges to be realized in connection with the Restructuring Plan.

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We may become liable for the obligations of our joint ventures, partners and subcontractors.

Some of our projects are performed through joint ventures and similar arrangements with other parties. In addition to the usual liability of contractors for the completion of contracts and the warranty of our work, if work is performed through a joint venture or similar arrangement, we also have potential liability for the work performed by the joint venture or arrangement or a performance or payment default by another member of the joint venture or arrangement. In these projects, even if we satisfactorily complete our project responsibilities within budget, we may incur additional unforeseen costs due to the failure of the other party or parties to the arrangement to perform or complete work, fund expenditures, or make payments in accordance with contract specifications. In some joint ventures and similar arrangements, we may not be the controlling member. In these cases, we may have limited control over the actions of the joint venture. In addition, joint ventures or arrangements may not be subject to the same requirements regarding internal controls and internal control over financial reporting that we follow. To the extent the controlling member makes decisions that negatively impact the joint venture or arrangement or internal control problems arise within the joint venture or arrangement, it could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

Depending on the nature of work required to complete the project, we may choose to subcontract a portion of the project. In our industries, the prime contractor is often responsible for the performance of the entire contract, including subcontract work. Thus, we are subject to the risk associated with the failure of one or more subcontractors to perform as anticipated. In addition, in some cases, we pay our subcontractors before our customers pay us for the related services. If we choose, or are required, to pay our subcontractors for work performed for customers who fail to pay, or delay paying us for the related work, we could experience a material decrease in profitability and liquidity.

Environmental regulations could force us to incur capital and operational costs.

Our industries, and more specifically, our operations, facilities and vessels and equipment, are subject to various environmental laws and regulations relating to, among other things: dredging operations; the disposal of dredged material; protection of wetlands; storm water and waste water discharges; transportation and disposal of hazardous wastes and other regulated materials; air emissions; and disposal or remediation of contaminated soil, sediments, surface water and groundwater. We are also subject to laws designed to protect certain marine or land species and habitats. Compliance with these statutes and regulations can delay permitting and/or performance of particular projects and increase related project costs. These delays and increased costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition. Non-compliance can also result in fines, penalties and claims by third parties seeking damages for alleged personal injury, as well as damages to property and natural resources.

Certain environmental laws such as the U.S. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 impose strict and, under some circumstances, joint and several, liability on owners and lessees of land and facilities as well as owners and operators of vessels. Such obligations may include investigation and remediation of releases and discharges of regulated materials, and also impose liability for related damages to natural resources. Our past and ongoing operations involve the use, and from time to time the release or discharge, of regulated materials which could result in liability under these and other environmental laws. We have remediated known releases and discharges as deemed necessary, but there can be no guarantee that additional costs will not be incurred if, for example, third party claims arise or new conditions are discovered.

Our projects may involve excavation, remediation, demolition, transportation, management and disposal of hazardous waste and other regulated materials. Various laws strictly regulate the removal, treatment and transportation of hazardous waste and other regulated materials and impose liability for human health effects and environmental contamination caused by these materials. Services rendered in connection with hazardous substance and material removal and site development may involve professional judgments by licensed experts about the nature of soil conditions and other physical conditions, including the extent to which hazardous substances and materials are present, and about the probable effect of procedures to mitigate problems or otherwise affect those conditions. If the judgments and the recommendations based upon those judgments are incorrect, we may be liable for resulting damages, which may be material. The failure of certain contractual protections to protect us from incurring such liability, such as staying out of the ownership chain for hazardous waste and other regulated materials and securing indemnification obligations from our customers or subcontractors, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, revenues or profits.

Environmental requirements have generally become more stringent over time, for example in the areas of air emissions controls for vessels and ballast treatment and handling. New or stricter enforcement of existing laws, the discovery of currently unknown conditions or accidental discharges of regulated materials in the future could cause us to incur additional costs for environmental matters which might be significant.

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Uncertainty regarding fiscal, immigration, and other policies of the current U.S. Presidential administration or the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may adversely affect our business.

The current U.S. Presidential administration has called for changes to fiscal, immigration and other policies, which may include changes to infrastructure spending.  We cannot predict the impact, if any, of these changes to our business. Until we know what changes are enacted and when, we will not know whether in total we benefit from, or are negatively affected by, such changes. In addition, the Company may not realize any expected benefits associated with, and could be negatively impacted by, final implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

New tariffs have resulted in increased prices and could adversely affect our business operations, revenues and profits.

Recently, the United States imposed Section 232 tariffs on certain steel and aluminum products, such as imported dredge-related machinery and pipes. These tariffs have increased the prices of these inputs. Increased prices for imported steel and aluminum products have lead domestic sellers to respond with market-based increases to prices for such inputs as well. We cannot be sure of the ultimate effect such tariffs or any additional tariffs will have on our operating profits. If we are not able to pass these price increases on to our customers or to secure adequate alternative sources for such inputs on a timely basis, the tariffs may have a material adverse effect on our business operations, revenues and profits.

Our business could suffer in the event of a work stoppage by our unionized labor force.

We are a party to numerous collective bargaining agreements in the U.S. that govern our industry’s relationships with our unionized hourly workforce. However, two unions represent approximately 70% of our hourly dredging employees—the IUOE, Local 25 and the Seafarers International Union. The Company’s master contract with IUOE, Local 25 was ratified in February 2019 and expires in September 2021. Two ancillary contracts with IUOE, Local 25 expired in September 2018 and will be re-negotiated now that the master contract is completed. The inability to successfully renegotiate contracts with these unions as they expire, or any future strikes, employee slowdowns or similar actions by one or more unions could have a material adverse effect on our ability to operate our business.

Our employees are covered by federal laws that may provide seagoing employees remedies for job-related claims in addition to those provided by state laws.

Substantially all of our maritime employees are covered by provisions of the Jones Act, the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, the Seaman’s Wage Act and general maritime law. These laws typically operate to make liability limits established by state workers’ compensation laws inapplicable to these employees and to permit these employees and their representatives to pursue actions against employers for job-related injuries in federal or state courts. Because we are not generally protected by the limits imposed by state workers’ compensation statutes with respect to our seagoing employees, we have greater exposure for claims made by these employees as compared to industries whose employees are not covered by these provisions.

Our business is subject to significant operating risks and hazards that could result in damage or destruction to persons or property, which could result in losses or liabilities to us.

The dredging business is generally subject to a number of risks and hazards, including environmental hazards, industrial accidents, encountering unusual or unexpected geological formations, cave-ins below water levels, collisions, disruption of transportation services and flooding. These risks could result in personal injury, damage to, or destruction of, dredges, barges transportation vessels, other maritime vessels, other structures, buildings or equipment, environmental damage, performance delays, monetary losses or legal liability to third parties. We may also be exposed to disruption of our operations, early termination of projects, unanticipated recovery costs and loss of use of our equipment that may materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

Our safety record is an important consideration for our customers. Some of our customers require that we maintain certain specified safety record guidelines to be eligible to bid for contracts with these customers. Furthermore, contract terms may provide for automatic termination or forfeiture of some of our contract revenue in the event that our safety record fails to adhere to agreed-upon guidelines during performance of the contract. As a result, if serious accidents or fatalities occur or our safety record was to deteriorate, we may be ineligible to bid on certain work, and existing contracts could be terminated or less profitable than expected. Adverse experience with hazards and claims could have a negative effect on our reputation with our existing or potential new customers and our prospects for future work.

Our methods of accounting for recognizing revenue involve significant estimates and could result in a change in previously recorded revenue and profit.

We recognize revenue on our projects using generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”) including the percentage-of-completion method prior to December 31, 2017 and guidance from Revenue from Contracts with Customers, as

20


amended (commonly referred to as ASC 606) subsequent to year-end. The majority of our work is performed on a fixed-price basis. Contract revenue is recorded over time based on estimates which we develop from information known to us at the time of recording, but which may change. The cumulative impact of revisions to estimates is reflected in the period in which these changes are experienced or become known. Given the risks associated with the variables in these types of estimates, it is possible for actual costs to vary from estimates previously made, which may result in reductions or reversals of previously recorded net revenues and profits.

Our current insurance coverage may not be adequate, and we may not be able to obtain insurance at acceptable rates, or at all.

We maintain various insurance policies, including hull and machinery, pollution liability, general liability and personal injury. We partially self-insure risks covered by our policies. While we reserve for such self-insured exposures when appropriate for accounting purposes, we are not required to, and do not, specifically set aside funds for the self-insured portion of claims. We may not have insurance coverage or sufficient insurance coverage for all exposures potentially arising from a project.  Furthermore, in situations where there is insurance coverage, if multiple policies are involved, we may be subject to a number of self-retention or deductible amounts which in the aggregate could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition. At any given time, we are subject to Jones Act personal injury claims and claims from general contractors and other third parties for personal injuries. Our insurance policies may not be adequate to protect us from liabilities that we incur in our business. We may not be able to obtain similar levels of insurance on reasonable terms, or at all. Our inability to obtain such insurance coverage at acceptable rates or at all could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

We could face adverse consequences if we are unable to attract and retain key personnel and skilled labor.

Our ability to attract and retain reliable, qualified personnel is a significant factor that enables us to successfully bid for and profitably complete our work. This includes members of our board of directors, management, project managers, estimators, skilled engineers, supervisors, foremen, equipment operators and laborers. The loss of the services of any of our management could have a material adverse effect on us. If we do not succeed in retaining our current key employees and attracting, developing and retaining new highly-skilled employees, our reputation may be harmed and our operations and future earnings may be negatively impacted. We may not be able to maintain an adequate skilled labor force necessary to operate efficiently and to support our growth strategy. We have from time to time experienced, and may in the future experience, shortages of certain types of qualified equipment operating personnel. The supply of experienced engineers, project managers, field supervisors and other skilled workers may not be sufficient to meet current or expected demand. If we are unable to hire employees with the requisite skills, we may also be forced to incur significant training expenses. The occurrence of any of the foregoing could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

 

In addition, any abrupt changes in our management or board of directors may lead to concerns regarding the direction or stability of our business, which may be exploited by our competitors, result in the loss of business opportunities, cause concern to our current or potential customers or suppliers, or make it more difficult to retain existing personnel or attract and retain new personnel. Changes in management or the board could be time-consuming, result in significant additional costs to us and could be disruptive of our operations and divert the time and attention of management and our employees away from our business operations and executing on our strategic plan. The unexpected loss of any additional members of our Board of Directors or senior management team could be disruptive to our operations, jeopardize our ability to raise additional funding and have an adverse effect on our business. The failure of our directors or any new members of our Board of Directors or management to perform effectively could have a significant negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We rely on information technology systems to conduct our business and disruption, failure, data corruption, cyber-based attacks or security breaches of these systems could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We rely on information technology (IT) systems in order to achieve our business objectives, including to transmit and store electronic information, to capture knowledge of our business including vessel operation systems containing information about production, efficiency and vessel positioning, to conduct our accounting, financial and treasury activities, to store historical financial, project and proprietary information, to monitor our vessel maintenance and engine systems, and to communicate within the organization and with customers, suppliers, partners and other third parties. Our portfolio of hardware and software products, solutions and services and our enterprise IT systems may be vulnerable to damage or disruption caused by circumstances beyond our control such as catastrophic events, power outages, natural disasters and computer system or network failures. The Company’s IT systems may also be subject to cybersecurity attacks including malware, other computer viruses or malicious software, spoofing or phishing email attacks, attempts to gain unauthorized access to our data, the unauthorized release, corruption or loss of its data, loss or damage to its data delivery systems and other electronic security breaches. The failure or disruption of our IT systems to perform as anticipated for any reason could disrupt our business and result in decreased performance, significant remediation costs, transaction errors, loss of data, processing inefficiencies, downtime, failure to properly estimate the work or costs associated with projects, litigation and the loss of customers or suppliers. A significant disruption or failure could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition.

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We are incurring costs associated with designing and implementing a new enterprise resource planning software system (ERP) with the objective of gradually migrating to the new system. Capital expenditures and expenses for the ERP for 2019 and beyond will depend upon the pace of conversion. If implementation is not executed successfully, this could result in business interruptions. If we do not complete the implementation of the ERP timely and successfully, we may incur additional costs associated with completing this project and a delay in our ability to improve existing operations, support future growth and enable us to take advantage of new engineering and other applications and technologies.

We may be affected by market or regulatory responses to climate change.

Increased concern about the potential impact of greenhouse gases (GHG), such as carbon dioxide resulting from combustion of fossil fuels, on climate change has resulted in efforts to regulate their emission. Legislation, international protocols, regulation or other restrictions on GHG emissions could also affect our customers. Such legislation or restrictions could increase the costs of projects for our customers or, in some cases, prevent a project from going forward, thereby potentially reducing the need for our services which could in turn have a material adverse effect on our operations and financial condition. Additionally, in our normal course of operations, we use a significant amount of fossil fuels. The costs of controlling our GHG emissions or obtaining required emissions allowances in response to any regulatory change in our industry could increase materially.

We may be unable to identify and contract with qualified Minority Business Enterprise (“MBE”) or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (“DBE”) contractors to perform as subcontractors.

Certain of our government agency projects contain goals for minimum MBE and/or DBE participation clauses. If we subsequently fail to reach our goals for the minimum MBE and/or DBE participation, we may be held responsible for breach of contract, which may include restrictions on our ability to bid on future projects as well as monetary damages. To the extent we are responsible for monetary damages, the total costs of the project could exceed our original estimates, we could experience reduced profits or a loss for that project and there could be a material adverse impact to our financial position, results of operations, cash flows and liquidity.

Risks Related to our Financing

We have indebtedness, which makes us more vulnerable to adverse economic and competitive conditions.

We currently have a substantial amount of indebtedness. As of December 31, 2018, we had indebtedness of $336.5 million, consisting of $325.0 million of our senior subordinated notes and $11.5 million of borrowings on our revolving credit facility, in each case excluding approximately $37.7 million of undrawn letters of credit and $174.6 million of additional borrowing capacity under our revolving credit facility and excluding contingent obligations, including $1.4 billion of performance bonds outstanding under the Company’s agreements with the Sureties and other bonding agreements. Our debt could:

 

require us to dedicate a portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital and capital expenditures, pay dividends and other general corporate purposes;

 

limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and our industries;

 

affect our competitiveness compared to our less leveraged competitors;

 

increase our exposure to both general and industry-specific adverse economic conditions; and

 

limit, among other things, our ability to borrow additional funds.

We and our subsidiaries also may be able to incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future. The terms of our revolving credit facility, the indenture under which our senior subordinated notes are issued, and our term loan facility limit, but do not prohibit, us or our subsidiaries from incurring additional indebtedness. If new indebtedness is added to our current debt levels, the related risks that we and our subsidiaries now face could intensify.

Covenants in our financing arrangements limit, and other future financing agreements may limit, our ability to operate our business.

The credit agreement governing our senior revolving credit facility, the indenture governing our senior subordinated notes and any of our other future financing agreements, may contain covenants imposing operating and financial restrictions on our business.

For example, the credit agreement governing our senior revolving credit facility requires us to satisfy certain net leverage and fixed charge coverage ratios. If we fail to meet or satisfy any of these covenants (after applicable cure periods), we would be in default and the lenders (through the administrative agent or collateral agent, as applicable) could elect to declare all amounts outstanding to be

22


immediately due and payable, enforce their interests in the collateral pledged/or and restrict our ability to make additional borrowings, as applicable. The covenants and restrictions in the credit agreement, the indenture and the term loan facility, subject to specified exceptions and to varying degrees, restrict our ability to, among other things:

 

incur additional indebtedness;

 

create, incur, assume or permit to exist any liens;

 

enter into sale and leaseback transactions;

 

make investments, loans and advancements; merge or consolidate with, or dispose of all or substantially all assets to, a third party;

 

sell assets;

 

make acquisitions;

 

pay dividends;

 

enter into transactions with affiliates;

 

make capital expenditures;

 

prepay other indebtedness; and

 

issue capital stock.

These restrictions may interfere with our ability to obtain financings or to engage in other business activities, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

Adverse capital and credit market conditions may affect our ability to meet liquidity needs, access to capital and cost of capital.

The domestic and worldwide capital and credit markets may experience significant volatility, disruptions and dislocations with respect to price and credit availability. Should we need additional funds or to refinance our existing indebtedness, we may not be able to obtain such additional funds.

We need liquidity to pay our operating expenses, interest on our debt and dividends on our capital stock. Without sufficient liquidity, we will be forced to curtail our operations, and our business will suffer. The principal sources of our liquidity are cash flow from operations and borrowings under our senior revolving credit facility. Earnings from our operations and our working capital requirements can vary significantly from period to period based primarily on the mix of our projects underway and the percentage of project work completed during the period. Capital expenditures may also vary significantly from period to period. While we manage cash requirements for working capital and capital expenditure needs, unpredictability in cash collections and payments has required us in the past and may require us to borrow on our line of credit from time to time to meet the needs of our operations.

In the event these resources do not satisfy our liquidity needs, we may have to seek additional financing. The availability of additional financing will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit, the volume of trading activities, our credit ratings and credit capacity, as well as the possibility that customers or lenders could develop a negative perception of our long- or short-term financial prospects if the level of our business activity decreased due to a market downturn. If internal sources of liquidity prove to be insufficient, we may not be able to successfully obtain additional financing on favorable terms, or at all.

We may be unable to maintain or expand our credit capacity, which would adversely affect our operations and business.

We use credit facilities to support our working capital and acquisition needs. If we exhaust our borrowing capacity under our Credit Agreement, and cash flows from operations do not increase sufficiently, our ability to fund the working capital, capital expenditure and other needs of our existing operations could be constrained and our business and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.  If we experience operational difficulties or our operating results do not improve, we may need to increase our available borrowing capacity or seek amendments to the terms of our Credit Agreement. Our Credit Agreement is scheduled to expire in December 2019.  There can be no assurance that we will be able to refinance the Credit Agreement on commercially reasonable terms or at all, or that we will be able to secure any additional capacity or amend our Credit Agreement or to do so on terms that are acceptable to us, in which case, our costs of borrowing could rise and our business and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

23


Regulatory requirements for derivative transactions could have an adverse impact on our ability to hedge risks associated with our business.

We may enter into interest rate swap agreements to manage the interest rate paid with respect to our fixed rate indebtedness, foreign exchange forward contracts to hedge currency risk and heating oil commodity swap contracts to hedge the risk that fluctuations in diesel fuel prices will have an adverse impact on cash flows associated with our domestic dredging contracts. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”) and regulations adopted by a number of U.S. federal regulatory agencies created a comprehensive statutory and regulatory framework for derivative transactions, including foreign currency and other over-the-counter derivative hedging transactions. While a number of provisions of Dodd-Frank have been implemented, certain key provisions have not yet been implemented or remain subject to uncertainty.  Furthermore, certain provisions of Dodd-Frank may be modified or repealed in the future.  Any substantial change in the financial regulatory environment could create additional new compliance costs for us or cause us to alter the manner in which we manage risk, which could have a materially adverse effect on our business. The rules adopted or to be adopted under Dodd-Frank may significantly reduce our ability to execute strategic hedges to manage our interest expense, reduce our fuel commodity uncertainty and hedge our currency risk thus protecting our cash flows. In addition, the banks and other derivatives dealers who are our contractual counterparties are required to comply with extensive regulation under Dodd-Frank. The cost of our counterparties’ compliance will likely be passed on to customers such as ourselves, thus potentially decreasing the benefits to us of hedging transactions and potentially reducing our profitability.

We may be subject to foreign exchange risks, and improper management of that risk could result in large cash losses.

We are exposed to market risk associated with changes in foreign currency exchange rates. The primary foreign currency to which the Company has exposure is the Bahraini dinar. Our international contracts may be denominated in foreign currencies, which will result in additional risk of fluctuating currency values and exchange rates, hard currency shortages and controls on currency exchange. Changes in the value of foreign currencies could increase our U.S. dollar costs for, or reduce our U.S. dollar revenues from, our foreign operations. Any increased costs or reduced revenues as a result of foreign currency fluctuations could affect our profits. The value of the Bahraini dinar has historically been pegged to the value of the U.S. dollar, which has effectively eliminated the foreign currency risk with respect to that currency. However, if the Bahraini dinar were no longer to be so pegged, whether due to civil unrest in Bahrain or otherwise, the Company could become subject to additional, and substantial, foreign currency risk.

Changes in macroeconomic indicators, the overall business climate, and other factors could lead to our goodwill and other intangible assets becoming impaired, which may require us to take significant non-cash charges against earnings.

Under current accounting guidelines, we must assess, at least annually and potentially more frequently, whether the value of our goodwill and other intangible assets have been impaired. Any impairment of goodwill or other intangible assets as a result of such analysis would result in a non-cash charge against earnings, which charge could materially adversely affect our business, operating results, cash flows or financial condition. We test goodwill annually for impairment in the third quarter of each year, or more frequently should circumstances dictate. A significant and sustained decline in our future cash flows, a significant adverse change in the economic environment, slower growth rates or our stock price falling below our net book value per share for a sustained period could result in the need to perform additional impairment analysis in future periods. If we were to conclude that a future write-down of goodwill or other intangible assets is necessary, then we would be required to record a non-cash charge against earnings, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

We have made and may continue to make debt or equity investments in privately financed projects in, or may accept extended payment terms for, privately financed projects in which we could sustain significant losses.

We have participated and may continue to participate in privately financed projects that enable state and local governments and other customers to finance dredging,  such as dredging of local navigable waterways and lakes, coastal protection and infrastructure projects. These projects typically include the facilitation of non-recourse financing and the provision of dredging, environmental, infrastructure, and related services. We may incur contractually reimbursable costs and may accept extended payment terms, extend debt financing and/or make an equity investment in an entity prior to, in connection with, or as part of project financing, and in some cases we may be the sole or primary source of the project financing. Project financing may also involve the use of real estate, environmental, wetlands or similar credits. If a project is unable to obtain other financing on terms acceptable to it in amounts sufficient to repay or redeem our investments, we could incur losses on our investments and any related contractual receivables. After completion of these projects, the return on our equity investments can be dependent on the operational success of the project and market factors or sale of the aforementioned credits, which may not be under our control. As a result, we could sustain a loss of part or all of our equity investments in such projects or have to recognize the value of the credits at a lower amount than expected in the contract bid.

24


Risks Related to our Stock

Our common stock is subject to restrictions on foreign ownership.

We are subject to government regulations pursuant to the Dredging Act, the Jones Act, the Shipping Act and the vessel documentation laws set forth in Chapter 121 of Title 46 of the United States Code. These statutes require vessels engaged in the transport of merchandise or passengers or dredging in the navigable waters of the U.S. to be owned and controlled by U.S. citizens. The U.S. citizenship ownership and control standards require the vessel-owning entity to be at least 75% U.S.-citizen owned. Our certificate of incorporation contains provisions limiting non-citizenship ownership of our capital stock. If our board of directors determines that persons who are not citizens of the U.S. own more than 22.5% of our outstanding capital stock or more than 22.5% of our voting power, we may redeem such stock. The required redemption price could be materially different from the current price of our common stock or the price at which the non-citizen acquired the common stock. If a non-citizen purchases our common stock, there can be no assurance that he will not be required to divest the shares and such divestiture could result in a material loss. Such restrictions and redemption rights may make our equity securities less attractive to potential investors, which may result in our common stock having a lower market price than it might have in the absence of such restrictions and redemption rights.

Delaware law and our charter documents may impede or discourage a takeover that you may consider favorable.

The provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may deter, delay or prevent a third-party from acquiring us. These provisions include:

 

limitations on the ability of stockholders to amend our charter documents, including stockholder supermajority voting requirements; 

 

the inability of stockholders to call special meetings;

 

a classified board of directors with staggered three-year terms;

 

advance notice requirements for nominations for election to the board of directors and for stockholder proposals; and

 

the authority of our board of directors to issue, without stockholder approval, up to 1,000,000 shares of preferred stock with such terms as the board of directors may determine and to issue additional shares of our common stock.

We are also subject to the protections of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which prevents us from engaging in a business combination with a person who acquires at least 15% of our common stock for a period of three years from the date such person acquired such common stock, unless board or stockholder approval was obtained.

These provisions could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of our company, discourage others from making tender offers for our shares, lower the market price of our stock or impede the ability of our stockholders to change our management, even if such changes would be beneficial to our stockholders.

Our stockholders may not receive dividends because of restrictions in our debt agreements, Delaware law and state regulatory requirements.

Our ability to pay dividends is restricted by the agreements governing our debt, including our Credit Agreement, our bonding agreements and the indenture governing our senior unsecured notes. In addition, under Delaware law, our board of directors may not authorize payment of a dividend unless it is either paid out of our surplus, as calculated in accordance with the Delaware General Corporation Law, or, if we do not have a surplus, it is paid out of our net profits for the fiscal year in which the dividend is declared and/or the preceding fiscal year. To the extent we do not have adequate surplus or net profits, we will be prohibited from paying dividends.

The market price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly, and this may make it difficult for holders to resell our common stock when they want or at prices that they find attractive.

The price of our common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market constantly changes. We expect that the market price of our common stock will continue to fluctuate. The market price of our common stock may fluctuate as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. These factors include:

 

changes in market conditions;

 

quarterly variations in our operating results;

 

operating results that vary from the expectations of management, securities analysts and investors;

 

changes in expectations as to our future financial performance;

25


 

announcements of strategic developments, significant contracts, acquisitions and other material events by us or our competitors;

 

the operating and securities price performance of other companies that investors believe are comparable to us;

 

future sales of our equity or equity-related securities;

 

changes in the economy and the financial markets;

 

departures of key personnel;

 

changes in governmental regulations; and

 

geopolitical conditions, such as acts or threats of terrorism, political instability, civil unrest or military conflicts.

In addition, in recent years, global stock markets have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations. This volatility has had a significant effect on the market price of securities issued by many companies for reasons often unrelated to their operating performance. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our operating results.

Volatility in the financial markets could cause a decline in our stock price, which could trigger an impairment of the goodwill of individual reporting units that could be material to our consolidated financial statements. A significant drop in the price of our stock could also expose us to the risk of securities class action lawsuits, which could result in substantial costs and divert management's attention and resources, which could adversely affect our business. Additionally, volatility or a lack of positive performance in our stock price may adversely affect our ability to retain key employees, many of whom are awarded equity securities, the value of which is dependent on the performance of our stock price.

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2.

Properties

The Company owns or leases the properties described below. The Company believes that its existing facilities are adequate for its operations.

The Company’s headquarters are located at 2122 York Road, Oak Brook, Illinois 60523, with approximately 66,343 square feet of office space that it leases with a term expiring in 2020. As of December 31, 2018 the Company owns or leases the following additional facilities:

 

Location

 

Type of

Facility

 

Size

 

Leased or

Owned

Staten Island, NY

 

Yard

 

 

4.4

 

Acres

 

Owned

Morgan City, LA

 

Yard

 

 

6.4

 

Acres

 

Owned

Norfolk, VA

 

Yard

 

 

15.3

 

Acres

 

Owned

Chickasaw, AL

 

Yard

 

 

2.0

 

Acres

 

Leased

Channelview, TX

 

Office

 

 

1,302

 

Square feet

 

Leased

Cape Girardeau, MO

 

Office

 

 

726

 

Square feet

 

Owned

Cape Girardeau, MO

 

Storage

 

 

7,200

 

Square feet

 

Owned

Cape Girardeau, MO

 

Yard

 

 

18.4

 

Acres

 

Owned

Orange Park, FL

 

Office

 

 

1,700

 

Square feet

 

Leased

 

26


The following facilities are leased by the Company’s historical environmental & infrastructure segment, which is presented in discontinued operations:

 

Location

 

Type of

Facility

 

Size

 

Leased or

Owned

Centennial, Colorado

 

Office

 

 

5,464

 

Square feet

 

Leased

Portage, Michigan

 

Office

 

 

1,344

 

Square feet

 

Leased

Rocklin, CA

 

Office

 

 

12,623

 

Square feet

 

Leased

Rocklin, CA*

 

Yard

 

 

5.0

 

Acres

 

Leased

Rocklin, CA*

 

Storage

 

 

14,731

 

Square feet

 

Leased

Cumming, GA

 

Office

 

 

2,400

 

Square feet

 

Leased

Denton, Texas

 

Office

 

 

3,766

 

Square feet

 

Leased

Brielle, New Jersey

 

Office

 

 

4,800

 

Square feet

 

Leased

 

*The historical environmental & infrastructure segment leases the Rocklin, California facilities from the former shareholders of Magnus Pacific Corporation pursuant to leases expiring in 2019.  See Note 13, Related-Party Transactions, to the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

For a discussion of certain litigation involving the Company, see the disclosures under “Legal proceedings and other contingencies” included within Note 12, Commitments and Contingencies, to the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

Item 4.Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

 

 

 

27


Part II

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information

Our common stock is traded under the symbol “GLDD” on the NASDAQ Global Market.

The graph below shows the cumulative total return to stockholders of the Company’s common stock during a five year period ending December 31, 2018, the last trading day of our 2018 fiscal year, compared with the return on the NASDAQ Composite Index and a group of our peers which we use internally as a benchmark for our performance. The graph assumes initial investments of $100 each on December 31, 2013, in GLDD stock (assuming reinvestment of all dividends paid during the period), the NASDAQ Composite Index and the peer group companies, collectively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12/31/2013

 

 

12/31/2014

 

 

12/31/2015

 

 

12/31/2016

 

 

12/31/2017

 

 

12/31/2018

 

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

93.04

 

 

$

43.04

 

 

$

45.65

 

 

$

58.70

 

 

$

71.96

 

Peer Average  (see below)

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

91.73

 

 

 

89.74

 

 

 

128.18

 

 

 

144.10

 

 

 

146.70

 

NASDAQ Composite Index

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

113.40

 

 

 

119.89

 

 

 

128.89

 

 

 

165.29

 

 

 

158.87

 

 

28


The peer group in the graph above is comprised of the following member companies:

 

Company

 

Ticker

Aegion Corporation, successor to Insituform Technologies, Inc.

 

AEGN

 

Ameresco

 

AMRC

 

Badger Daylighting Ltd

 

BADFF

 

Hill International

 

HIL

 

IES Holdings

 

IESC

 

Layne Christensen Company (prior to merger with Granite Construction Inc. on June 14, 2018)

 

LAYN

 

Matrix Service Company

 

MTRX

 

Mistras Group

 

MG

 

MYR Group Inc.

 

MYRG

 

NV5 Global Inc

 

NVEE

 

Orion Marine Group, Inc.

 

ORN

 

Primoris Services Corporation

 

PRIM

 

Sterling Construction Company, Inc.

 

STRL

 

Team, Inc.

 

TISI

 

Willbros Group, Inc. (prior to merger with Primoris Services Corporation on June 4, 2018)

 

WG

 

 

Given the usage of this peer group for compensation purposes and the fact that each peer is a capital intensive business, the Company deems it appropriate to also use this peer group for showing the comparative cumulative total return to stockholders of Great Lakes.

Holders of Record

As of February 22, 2019, the Company had approximately 25 shareholders of record of the Company’s common stock. A substantial number of holders of the Company’s common stock are “street name” or beneficial holders, whose shares are held of record by banks, brokers and other financial institutions.

Dividends

The Company does not currently pay dividends to its common stockholders. The declaration and payment of future dividends will be at the discretion of Great Lakes’ board of directors and depends on many factors, including general economic and business conditions, the Company’s strategic plans, financial results and condition, legal requirements including restrictions and limitations contained in the Company’s senior credit agreement, bonding agreements and the indenture relating to the senior unsecured notes and other factors the board of directors deems relevant. Accordingly, the Company cannot ensure the size of any such dividend or that the Company will pay any future dividend.

29


Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

The following table sets forth selected financial data and should be read in conjunction with Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included elsewhere in this annual report. The selected financial data presented below have been derived from the Company’s consolidated financial statements; items may not sum due to rounding.

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

 

(in millions except shares in thousands and per share data)

 

Contract revenues

 

$

620.8

 

 

$

592.2

 

 

$

637.5

 

 

$

681.3

 

 

$

697.7

 

Costs of contract revenues

 

 

509.3

 

 

 

549.4

 

 

 

552.1

 

 

 

569.5

 

 

 

607.4

 

Gross profit

 

 

111.5

 

 

 

42.7

 

 

 

85.3

 

 

 

111.7

 

 

 

90.3

 

General and administrative expenses

 

 

55.1

 

 

 

57.2

 

 

 

55.3

 

 

 

56.7

 

 

 

54.1

 

(Gain) loss on sale of assets — net

 

 

3.7

 

 

 

4.8

 

 

 

3.1

 

 

 

(0.9

)

 

 

0.5

 

Operating income (loss)

 

 

52.6

 

 

 

(19.3

)

 

 

27.0

 

 

 

55.9

 

 

 

35.7

 

Interest expense — net

 

 

(33.6

)

 

 

(26.0

)

 

 

(23.5

)

 

 

(23.7

)

 

 

(19.8

)

Equity in earnings (loss) of joint ventures

 

 

 

 

 

(1.5

)

 

 

(2.4

)

 

 

(6.1

)

 

 

2.9

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

 

 

 

(2.3

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other income (expense)

 

 

(2.6

)

 

 

0.0

 

 

 

(0.8

)

 

 

(0.3

)

 

 

(0.4

)

Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes

 

 

16.5

 

 

 

(49.1

)

 

 

0.4

 

 

 

25.8

 

 

 

18.3

 

Income tax (provision) benefit

 

 

(5.4

)

 

 

33.8

 

 

 

0.2

 

 

 

(11.1

)

 

 

7.9

 

Income (loss) from continuing operations

 

 

11.0

 

 

 

(15.4

)

 

 

0.5

 

 

 

14.7

 

 

 

26.3

 

Loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes

 

 

(17.3

)

 

 

(15.9

)

 

 

(8.7

)

 

 

(20.9

)

 

 

(16.0

)

Net income (loss)

 

$

(6.3

)

 

$

(31.3

)

 

$

(8.2

)

 

$

(6.2

)

 

$

10.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings (loss) per share attributable to income (loss) from continuing operations (1)

 

$

0.18

 

 

$

(0.25

)

 

$

0.01

 

 

$

0.24

 

 

$

0.44

 

Basic loss per share attributable to loss on discontinued operations, net of income taxes

 

 

(0.28

)

 

 

(0.26

)

 

 

(0.14

)

 

 

(0.35

)

 

 

(0.26

)

Basic earnings (loss) per share

 

$

(0.10

)

 

$

(0.51

)

 

$

(0.13

)

 

$

(0.10

)

 

$

0.18

 

Basic weighted average shares

 

 

62,236

 

 

 

61,365

 

 

 

60,744

 

 

 

60,410

 

 

 

59,938

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted earnings (loss) per share attributable to income (loss) from continuing operations (1)

 

$

0.17

 

 

$

(0.25

)

 

$

0.01

 

 

$

0.24

 

 

$

0.43

 

Diluted loss per share attributable to loss on discontinued operations, net of income taxes

 

 

(0.27

)

 

 

(0.26

)

 

 

(0.14

)

 

 

(0.34

)

 

 

(0.26

)

Diluted earnings (loss) per share

 

$

(0.10

)

 

$

(0.51

)

 

$

(0.13

)

 

$

(0.10

)

 

$

0.17

 

Diluted weighted average shares

 

 

63,607

 

 

 

61,365

 

 

 

61,367

 

 

 

60,840

 

 

 

60,522

 

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

 

(in millions)

 

Other Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations (2)

 

$

100.4

 

 

$

35.2

 

 

$

78.7

 

 

$

100.1

 

 

$

81.8

 

Net cash flows from operating activities

 

 

137.7

 

 

 

21.5

 

 

 

38.7

 

 

 

29.1

 

 

 

48.8

 

Net cash flows from investing activities

 

 

(35.1

)

 

 

(58.2

)

 

 

(65.5

)

 

 

(73.1

)

 

 

(116.7

)

Net cash flows from financing activities

 

 

(85.5

)

 

 

34.2

 

 

 

30.8

 

 

 

15.9

 

 

 

35.1

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

50.4

 

 

 

56.0

 

 

 

54.8

 

 

 

50.6

 

 

 

43.6

 

Maintenance expense

 

 

44.2

 

 

 

50.1

 

 

 

54.8

 

 

 

51.9

 

 

 

53.5

 

Capital expenditures

 

 

53.7

 

 

 

63.9

 

 

 

84.3

 

 

 

82.0

 

 

 

79.2

 

 

(1)

Refer to Note 2, Earnings per Share, in the Company’s consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 and above information for additional details regarding these calculations.

(2)

See definition of Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

30


 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

 

(in millions)

 

Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

34.5

 

 

$

15.9

 

 

$

11.2

 

 

$

14.2

 

 

$

42.4

 

Working capital

 

 

43.6

 

 

 

111.9

 

 

 

127.4

 

 

 

124.0

 

 

 

141.7

 

Total assets

 

 

730.3

 

 

 

832.4

 

 

 

893.6

 

 

 

898.1

 

 

 

888.7

 

Long-term debt, promissory notes and subordinated notes

 

 

322.0

 

 

 

428.1

 

 

 

390.4

 

 

 

345.8

 

 

 

319.9

 

Total stockholder's equity

 

 

214.9

 

 

 

221.3

 

 

 

247.9

 

 

 

252.2

 

 

 

256.0

 

 

 

 

31


Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Overview

The Company is the largest provider of dredging services in the United States. In addition, the Company is the only U.S. dredging service provider with significant international operations. The Company operates in one reportable segment.

Dredging generally involves the enhancement or preservation of the navigability of waterways or the protection of shorelines through the removal or replenishment of soil, sand or rock. Domestically, our work generally is performed in coastal waterways and deep water ports. The U.S. dredging market consists of four primary types of work: capital, coastal protection, maintenance and rivers & lakes. Capital dredging consists primarily of port expansion projects, which involve the deepening of channels and berthing basins to allow access by larger, deeper draft ships and the provision of land fill used to expand port facilities. In addition to port work, capital projects also include coastal restoration and land reclamations, trench digging for pipelines, tunnels, and cables, and other dredging related to the construction of breakwaters, jetties, canals and other marine structures. Coastal protection projects involve moving sand from the ocean floor to shoreline locations where erosion threatens shoreline assets. Maintenance dredging consists of the re-dredging of previously deepened waterways and harbors to remove silt, sand and other accumulated sediments. Due to natural sedimentation, most channels generally require maintenance dredging every one to three years, thus creating a recurring source of dredging work that is typically non-deferrable if optimal navigability is to be maintained. In addition, severe weather such as hurricanes, flooding and droughts can also cause the accumulation of sediments and drive the need for maintenance dredging. Rivers & lakes dredging and related operations typically consist of lake and river dredging, inland levee and construction dredging, environmental restoration and habitat improvement and other marine construction projects.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, the management team proposed, and the board of directors approved, a plan to sell the Company’s historical environmental & infrastructure business. The Company has retained a financial advisor to assist with the process and expects to finalize disposition of the environmental & infrastructure business in the first half of 2019. The historical environmental & infrastructure segment has been retrospectively presented as discontinued operations and assets and liabilities held for sale and is no longer reflected in continuing operations. Refer to Note 14, Business Dispositions, to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 15 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

In 2017, a strategic review was begun to improve the Company's financial results in both domestic and international operations enabling debt reduction, improvements in return on capital and the continued renewal of our extensive fleet with new and efficient dredges to best serve our domestic and international clients. Management executed a plan to reduce general and administrative and overhead expenses, retire certain underperforming and underutilized assets, write-off pre-contract costs on a project that was never formally awarded and that the Company no longer intends to pursue and closeout the Company’s Brazil operations. The cumulative amounts incurred to date as a result of this plan, including amounts presented in discontinued operations, included severance costs of $3.5 million, asset retirements of $32.3 million, pre-contract costs of $6.4 million and closeout costs of $4.2 million.

The Company’s bid market is defined as the aggregate dollar value of domestic dredging projects on which the Company bid or could have bid if not for capacity constraints or other considerations (“bid market”). The Company experienced an average combined bid market share in the U.S. of 46% over the prior three years, including 77%, 40%, 28% and 14% of the domestic capital, coastal protection, maintenance and rivers & lakes sectors, respectively.

The Company’s fleet, including 23 dredges, of which two are deployed internationally, 16 material transportation barges, one drillboat, and numerous other support vessels, is the largest and most diverse fleet of any U.S. dredging company. The Company’s fleet of dredging equipment can be utilized on one or many types of work and in various geographic locations. This flexible approach to the Company’s fleet utilization, driven by the project scope and equipment, enables us to move equipment in response to changes in demand for dredging services to take advantage of the most attractive opportunities.

The Company’s largest domestic customer is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”), which has responsibility for federally funded projects related to navigation and flood control of U.S. waterways. Multi-jurisdictional cost sharing arrangements are allowing the Corps to utilize funds from sources other than the federal budget to prioritize additional projects where waterway infrastructure improvements can have an impact to large regions. Although some of a project’s funding may ultimately be derived from multiple sources, the Corps maintains the authority over the project and is the Company’s customer. In 2018, the Company’s revenues earned from contracts with federal government agencies were approximately 75% of total revenue, up from the Company’s prior three year average of 64%.

32


Contract Revenues

Most of the Company’s contracts are obtained through competitive bidding on terms specified by the party inviting the bid. The types of equipment required to perform the specified service, project site conditions, the estimated project duration, seasonality, location and complexity of a project affect the cost of performing the contract and the price that contractors will bid.

Fixed-price contracts, which comprise substantially all of the Company’s revenue, will most often represent a single performance obligation as the promise to transfer the individual services is not separately identifiable from other promises in the contracts and, therefore, not distinct. The Company capitalizes certain pre-contract and pre-construction costs, and defers recognition over the life of the contract. The Company’s performance obligations are satisfied over time and revenue is recognized using contract fulfillment costs incurred to date compared to total estimated costs at completion, also known as cost-to-cost, to measure progress towards completion. Contract modifications are changes in the scope or price (or both) of a contract that are approved by the parties to the contract. The Company recognizes a contract modification when the parties to a contract approve a modification that either creates new, or changes existing, enforceable rights and obligations of the parties to the contract. Contract modifications are included in the transaction price only if it is probable that the modification estimate will not result in a significant reversal of revenue. Revisions in estimated gross profit percentages are recorded in the period during which the change in circumstances is experienced or becomes known. As the duration of most of the Company’s contracts is one year or less, the cumulative net impact of these revisions in estimates, individually and in the aggregate across our projects, does not significantly affect our results across annual reporting periods. Provisions for estimated losses on contracts in progress are made in the period in which such losses are determined.

Costs and Expenses

 

The components of costs of contract revenues include labor, equipment (including depreciation, maintenance, insurance and long-term rentals), subcontracts, fuel, supplies, short-term rentals and project overhead. Hourly labor generally is hired on a project-by-project basis. The Company is a party to numerous collective bargaining agreements in the U.S. that govern its relationships with its unionized hourly workforce.

 

Effective beginning the first quarter of 2018, the Company changed the method of accounting for allocated fixed equipment costs for interim periods such that fixed equipment costs are now recognized as incurred. The Company adopted this change as a result of management’s belief that the new method is preferable and results in a more objective measure of quarterly expense that will better support planning and resource allocation decisions by management. The change has been applied retrospectively. The Company’s cost structure includes significant annual equipment-related costs, including depreciation, maintenance, insurance and long-term rentals. Previously, the Company allocated fixed equipment costs to interim periods in proportion to revenues recognized over the year. Specifically, at each interim reporting date the Company compared actual revenues earned to date on its dredging contracts to expected annual revenues and recognized equipment costs on the same proportionate basis. In the fourth quarter, any over or under allocated equipment costs were recognized such that the expense for the year equals actual equipment costs incurred during the year.

Primary Factors that Determine Operating Profitability

The Company’s results of operations for a calendar or quarterly period are generally determined by the following three factors:

 

Bid wins and dredge employment—The Company generates revenues when the Company wins a bid for a dredging contract and starts that project. Although the Company’s dredging equipment is subject to downtime for scheduled periodic maintenance and repair, the Company seeks to maximize its revenues by employing its dredging equipment on a full-time basis, allowing for scheduled down time and mobilization. If a dredge is idle (i.e., the dredge is not employed on a dredging project or undergoing scheduled periodic maintenance and repair), the Company does not earn revenue with respect to that dredge during the time period for which it is idle.

 

Project and dredge mix —The Company’s domestic dredging projects generally involve domestic capital, maintenance, coastal protection and rivers & lakes work and its foreign dredging projects generally involve capital work. In addition, the Company’s projects vary in duration and, in general, projects of longer duration result in less dredge downtime in a given period. Moreover, the Company’s dredges have different physical capabilities and typically work on certain types of dredging projects. Accordingly, the Company’s dredges have different daily revenue generating capacities.

33


The Company generally expects to achieve different levels of gross profit margin (i.e., gross profit divided by revenues) for work performed on the different types of dredging projects and for work performed by different types of dredges. The Company’s expected gross margin for a project is based upon the Company’s estimates at the time of the bid. Although the Company seeks to bid on and win projects that will maximize its gross margin, the Company cannot control the type of dredging projects that are available for bid from time to time, the type of dredge that is needed to complete these projects, the competitive landscape at the time of bid or the time schedule upon which these projects are required to be completed. As a result, in some quarters the Company works on a mix of dredging projects that, in the aggregate, have relatively high expected gross margins (based on project type and dredges employed) and in other quarters, the Company works on a mix of dredging projects that, in the aggregate, have relatively low expected gross margins (based on project type and dredges employed).

 

Project execution—The Company seeks to execute all of its projects consistent with or at a higher production than its as-bid project estimates. In general, the Company’s ability to achieve its project estimates depends upon many factors including soil conditions, weather, variances from estimated project conditions, equipment mobilization time periods, unplanned equipment downtime or other events or circumstances beyond the Company’s control. If the Company experiences any of these events and circumstances, the completion of a project will often be accelerated or delayed, as applicable, and, consequently, the Company will experience project results that are better or worse than its estimates. The Company does its best to estimate for events and circumstances that are not within its control; however, these situations are inherent in dredging.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

Our significant accounting policies are discussed in the Notes to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 15 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The application of certain of these policies requires significant judgments or an estimation process that can affect the Company’s results of operations, financial position and cash flows, as well as the related footnote disclosures. The Company bases its estimates on historical experience and other assumptions that it believes are reasonable. If actual amounts are ultimately different from previous estimates, the revisions are included in the Company’s results of operations for the period in which the actual amounts become known. The following accounting policies comprise those that management believes are the most critical to aid in fully understanding and evaluating the Company’s reported financial results.

The Company adopted Accounting Standard Update No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), and subsequently issued other Accounting Standard Updates related to Accounting Standards Codification Topic 606 (collectively, “ASC 606”) on January 1, 2018 under the modified retrospective method such that the cumulative effect is recognized at the date of initial application. The adoption of ASC 606 resulted in a change in the timing of recognition of both contract revenue and costs from our prior practices. Upon the adoption of ASC 606, the Company recorded a cumulative net adjustment of $1,950 to the beginning retained earnings balance. Refer to Note 9, Revenue, for further discussion of the adoption of ASC 606.

Cost-to-cost method of revenue recognitionPrior to January 1, 2018, the Company measured completion based on engineering estimates of the physical percentage completed for dredging contracts. Under the new accounting principle, revenue is recognized using contract fulfillment costs incurred to date compared to total estimated costs at completion, also known as cost-to-cost, to measure progress towards completion. Additionally, the Company capitalizes certain pre-contract and pre-construction costs, and defers recognition over the life of the contract. The Company uses contract fulfillment costs incurred to date and engineering estimates of costs at completion. In preparing estimates, the Company draws on its extensive experience in the dredging businesses. The Company utilizes its database of historical dredging information and technical computations to ensure that its estimates are as accurate as possible, given current circumstances. The Company recognizes a contract modification when the parties to a contract approve a modification that either creates new, or changes existing, enforceable rights and obligations of the parties to the contract. Contract modifications are included in the transaction price only if it is probable that the modification estimate will not result in a significant reversal of revenue. Provisions for estimated losses on contracts in progress are made in the period in which such losses are determined. Cost and profit estimates are reviewed on a periodic basis to reflect changes in expected project performance.

 

Impairment of goodwill—Goodwill is tested for impairment at the reporting unit level on an annual basis and between annual tests if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of the reporting unit below its carrying value. The Company believes that this estimate is a critical accounting estimate because: (i) goodwill is a material asset and (ii) the impact of an impairment could be material to the consolidated balance sheet and consolidated statement of operations. The Company performs its annual impairment test as of July 1 each year.

 

The Company assesses the fair values of its reporting unit using both a market-based approach and an income-based approach. Under the income approach, the fair value of the reporting unit is based on the present value of estimated future cash flows. The income approach is dependent on a number of factors, including estimates of future market growth trends, forecasted revenues and expenses, appropriate discount rates and other variables. The estimates are based on assumptions that the Company believes to be reasonable, but such assumptions are subject to unpredictability and uncertainty. Changes in these estimates and assumptions could

34


materially affect the determination of fair value, and may result in the impairment of goodwill in the event that actual results differ from those estimates.

The market approach measures the value of a reporting unit through comparison to comparable companies. Under the market approach, the Company uses the guideline public company method by applying estimated market-based enterprise value multiples to the reporting unit’s estimated revenue and Adjusted EBITDA. The Company analyzes companies that performed similar services or are considered peers. Due to the fact that there are no public companies that are direct competitors, the Company weighs the results of this approach less than the income approach.

The Company has one operating segment which is also the Company’s one reportable segment and reporting unit. The historical environmental & infrastructure segment has been retrospectively presented as discontinued operations and assets and liabilities held for sale and is no longer reflected in continuing operations. The Company performed its annual goodwill impairment test as of July 1, 2018 with no indication of impairment as of the test date. As of the test date, the fair value of the reporting unit was substantially in excess of its carrying value. The Company will perform its next scheduled annual test of goodwill in the third quarter of 2019 should no triggering events occur which would require a test prior to the next annual test. At December 31, 2018 and 2017, the Company’s goodwill was $76.6 million.

Results of Operations—Fiscal Years Ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016

The following table sets forth the components of net income attributable to common stockholders of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation and Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations, as defined below, as a percentage of contract revenues for the years ended December 31:

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

 

Contract revenues

 

 

100.0

 

%

 

100.0

 

%

 

100.0

 

%

Costs of contract revenues

 

 

(82.0

)

 

 

(92.8

)

 

 

(86.6

)

 

Gross profit

 

 

18.0

 

 

 

7.2

 

 

 

13.4

 

 

General and administrative expenses

 

 

(8.9

)

 

 

(9.7

)

 

 

(8.7

)

 

Loss on sale of assets—net

 

 

(0.6

)

 

 

(0.8

)

 

 

(0.5

)

 

Operating income (loss)

 

 

8.5

 

 

 

(3.3

)

 

 

4.2

 

 

Interest expense—net

 

 

(5.4

)

 

 

(4.4

)

 

 

(3.7

)

 

Equity in loss of joint ventures

 

 

 

 

 

(0.3

)

 

 

(0.4

)

 

Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 

 

 

 

(0.4

)

 

 

 

 

Other expense

 

 

(0.4

)

 

 

 

 

 

(0.1

)

 

Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes

 

 

2.7

 

 

 

(8.4

)

 

 

 

 

Income tax (provision) benefit

 

 

(0.9

)

 

 

5.7

 

 

 

 

 

Income (loss) from continuing operations

 

 

1.8