AVON PROTECTION PLC

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Transcript : Avon Protection plc, 2022 Earnings Call, Nov 22, 2022

22/11/2022 | 10:00

Presenter Speech
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

Well, good morning, everyone, and welcome to the presentation of the financial year '22 financial results of Avon Protection plc. In terms of the presentation this morning, and just have the next slide -- thank you. And the next one. The structure will be that after giving a few of the headlines of the year, I'm going to hand over to Rich Cashin, Chief Financial Officer for the strategic and operational review. He will then run through the financial review, and then we'll move on to the outlook, Rich will first talk about the outlook for our new financial year '23, and then I will make some comments on the medium-term outlook.

And then we'll move into questions -- initially questions from the room here and then we'll take any questions that have come through online.

So moving on to the headlines for the year, summed up with strong second half recovery and significant long-term growth opportunity. Certainly, the positive of the year looking back is in that first bullet, strong order intake and strong organic revenue growth with revenue growth, 9% organically over the previous year. And some really good orders that have come in through the year, which Rich will be describing a little bit more in the presentation.

Particularly, I think, in picking out in terms of the success in developing the head protection business, with the -- initially in February of this year, the award of the large contract with the U.S. DOD on the ACH Gen 2 basic military helmets. And then towards the end of the year, bringing in the next-generation IHPS helmets, our first delivery order on that contract really showing our progress on the testing of that product.

So in the head protection business, we can really make that statement that we are the leading world supplier of head protection systems to the U.S. DOD, but also expanding that worldwide. Also, growth in our international markets, the contract that we won with the NSPA, for NATO forces last year on the respiratory products has come through strongly in the year. I think you'll have seen in the statement that we've now delivered over 200,000 respirators under that contract. And very significantly, some 65,000 actually making their way through that contract through into Ukraine.

So some real positives in the head protection business worldwide and also growth in international markets. And -- and those orders coming in and the revenues generated, there offset a rather softer year in the U.S. DOD respiratory side of the business.

But I think the main challenge really for the year, we can see in the third bullet here, the challenge has really been converting those orders into revenue and then from there into decent levels of profitability. And I'm going to leave Rich with all of the lame jokes related to World Cup and football, but the only 1 that I will say is that we do have this game of 2 halves here. So the first half very much, if we look back to the first half of this financial year, it was a very different world. Post Afghanistan, Pre-Ukraine, a lot of uncertainty out there in the world's militaries, and I think that reflected itself in our business.

Orders coming through rather smaller and rather slower than we were expecting, supply chain issues really starting to affect us and not really having the confidence to put in those orders and to ramp up production. And so I suppose that the half year point, we then saw a change in the environment sadly with Ukraine. And we were able to lean forward a little bit more into ordering [ ofm ] our materials, our raw materials for products and also in terms of setting production levels. And I think we've seen that coming through in the second half in terms of improved operational efficiency.

And obviously, we've made some major steps, which Rich will describe on the whole overhead side of the business as well. But against that, also the background of the losses within the Armor business through the year. But we certainly saw that improvement coming through in the second half of the year on profitability.

Strong cash generation, cash conversion of over 140% in the year, and that really has had a positive effect on the leverage in the balance sheet, which has gone down below the 2.0 level. That's good to see. Final dividend of $0.449 level with the previous year and really reflecting the confidence in the medium-term future of the business that heightened demand environment really underpins that confidence and therefore, allows us to maintain that dividend at the level.

And then I think finally, before I hand over to Rich, I'll embarrass him first that I think 1 of the major changes during the year that really gives us confidence moving forward is the strong executive team that we've managed to get in place firstly, through the appointment of Rich Cashin as Chief Financial Officer at the half year, and then more recently, as you know, we have announced the appointment of Jos Sclater as Chief Executive, and he's starting in January. So we have a good, strong, experienced management team carrying us forward into the medium term.

So I think that's all I'm going to say in terms of introduction. I'll hand over now Rich to -- Rich to go through the strategic and operational review.

Presenter Speech
Richard Cashin (Executives)

Thank you, Bruce, and good morning, everyone. I'm afraid I've got to read from this. As we're all aware, the threat environment around the world has changed dramatically over the last 12 months, as Bruce said. So with the war in Ukraine and increasing tension around the South China Sea, the need for protective capabilities has never been stronger, and Avon remains very well placed to meet these needs.

Our pre-existing contract frameworks within Europe and the U.S. as well as our established wider Rest of the World customer base with companies, including Australia and the UAE, provide a strong platform to enable us to get products in the hands of those who need it, whilst the current climate also presents greater opportunities over the medium term, to increase our presence in markets and geographies where we don't currently operate.

Defense spending in the U.S., NATO and the allies looks to be robust in the medium term with the very evident fiscal challenges being offset by the requirement to respond to the current threat environment.

As mentioned on the previous slide, our long-standing relationships with militaries around the world provide the basis for the strength of our core respiratory business. This is no more evident than in Europe where we have seen further success off the back of the NSPA contract which enables us to provide our full range of respiratory products to a number of European countries. In the year, we've made deliveries to 7 countries under the framework contract with more countries expressing interest in joining the framework in the future. And as Bruce already mentioned, we celebrated the 200,000th mask delivery under the NSPA framework during this year.

Notwithstanding our strong relationship with the U.S. DOD, we did see a decline in DOD revenues in the year following the conclusion of the M69 respirator contract, along with reduced volumes of powered air purifying respirators and a very strong prior year comparator for spares and accessories. Nevertheless, we continue to work in partnership with the U.S. DOD, and we maintain a very strong market share for our respiratory products, demonstrating our long-term relationship with this important customer.

We have also made substantial strides in developing our head protection business during the year. Following contract award in 2021, we received the first delivery order for $42 million for the next-generation IHPS in September of this year. Initial deliveries are expected to ship in the first half of FY '23. We were awarded the ACH Gen 2 contract in February of this year, and submission for first article testing is planned for right around now, actually, with initial revenue expected in FY '24. This product is a particular note as it combines the helmet shell technology of Ceradyne with the liner technology of Team Wendy and is a great example of the strategic benefit of bringing these 2 businesses together.

The result of these 2 program wins is that Avon Protection will become the leading supplier of ballistic helmets into the U.S. military. We've also made further synergies by in-sourcing the helmet shells for a number of legacy Team Wendy products, allowing us to capture more of the value that these generate.

Despite the strong year from a demand perspective, particularly in the second half, we have seen a number of challenges. The global supply chain issues, coupled with increased volatility in customer order patterns, hampered our ability to react to the demand in the first half of the year. We took the initiative to buy forward a number of components where we had seen the largest increase in lead times predominantly electronics and textiles to combat these issues, which has allowed us to run our facilities at much more consistent and, therefore, more efficient levels of output.

We have also made significant progress against the 2 cost reduction programs announced in the year. Half of the $15 million announced in December 2021 has now been executed, with the other half linked to the closure of the Armor business, which we expect to be fully withdrawn from by the end of FY '23. The further $6 million reduction announced in May of this year has been fully delivered. But as mentioned at the time, these costs are more variable in nature, and therefore, we will likely put some of these costs back as revenue grows.

Lastly, delays in approvals for a number of our products resulted in limited throughput in some of our facilities whilst bearing all of the costs. As previously announced, we have now been granted FAT approval for both our NG IHPS helmets and our DLA ESAPI body armor, and we're therefore ramping up production accordingly.

So we'll now move on to look at some of the financials for FY '22 before looking at some guidance and expectations for the year ahead. You can see the headlines here. Orders received for the year were down slightly on the prior year with increases in head protection, including the previously mentioned $42 million for NG IHPS, offset by decreases in respiratory following a strong prior comparator with respect to orders received under the NSPA contract.

Order book was up as orders received outpaced revenue. Revenue was up with an increase in our U.K. and international business, driven by the NSPA contract, offsetting, as I said, a decline in U.S. DOD sales following the end of M69 and strong spares and accessories in the prior year.

You can see from the doughnut charts on the right that our U.K. and international revenue has shifted from 22% of the group in the prior year to 38% whilst the proportion of respiratory and head protection revenue stayed relatively unchanged. Adjusted EBITDA was down for the year, and I will talk through the movements in more detail shortly.

The remainder of the P&L flows pretty much as you would expect with an EPS excluding Armor of $0.547 and including Armor of $0.204 and as Bruce said, we're paying a final dividend of $0.306, giving a full year dividend of $0.449 in line with last year and in line with the decision made at the half year results.

From the income statement, you can see that armor contributed $13.3 million of EBITDA loss to the group in the year due to low revenue and operational challenges along with a high overhead cost base. The losses will continue into FY '23, but will be alleviated somewhat by increased revenue from higher deliveries of DLA ESAPI and flat armor.

So walking through revenue. As at the interims, we segment reporting by U.S. DOD, which is U.S. military. Commercial Americas, which is largely first responder and includes Team Wendy, but also captures other military sales in that continent beyond the U.S. And then there's U.K. and international, which is everything outside North and South America, both military and first responder.

This year, we saw a large increase in revenue from the U.K. and international business driven by the NSPA contract offsetting a decline in USD, as I've already described. The increase in commercial Americas predominantly reflects the additional month of Team Wendy.

Following from the previous slide, we now see an EBITDA walk for the year and note that this is on an excluding armor basis. Although we saw favorable volume and FX swings in the year, headwinds within mix and operational efficiency led to the decrease year-on-year. The adverse mix impact is partly a result of the shift in revenue from DOD to U.K. and international and partly owing to higher accessories revenues within U.K. and International.

The remaining $9.6 million decrease is roughly split 50-50 between manufacturing inefficiencies encountered in the first half due to a number of factors, including supply chain issues and increased overheads. This change in overheads is broadly as had been planned at the time of the FY '21 results, but it was expected to be more than compensated for by higher revenue and profit. The 2 cost saving programs initiated in the year have been executed, excluding the armor element, and we will see the benefits entering the new year, albeit tempered by inflationary factors.

So here, you can see the cash flow. The numbers are largely self-explanatory, but there are a few points worth highlighting. Firstly, the payment into the pension plan, which included a $4 million prepayment covering contribution for FY '23, enabling us to lock in benefits following the increase in bond yields. Second is the large decrease in capital expenditure which is driven by decreases in IT programs and in armor-related investment. We expect this to trend back towards normal levels moving forward.

And finally, there was the purchase of our own shares, which relate to the share buyback program, which was suspended in May. Please refer to the technical guidance in the back of the deck for more information on a number of line items.

Net debt shown here, excluding lease liabilities, has increased by just over $17 million in the period, with $26 million returned to shareholders. Walking through the bars, you can see the lower-than-expected contribution from EBITDA offset by tight control of working capital. We then have the larger-than-usual pension contributions highlighted earlier, alongside the returns to shareholders covering dividends and the [ approved ] buyback program.

In line with what we said at interims, leverage defined by our bank covenants on a pre-IFRS 16 basis has fallen to under 2x, lease liabilities at the end of the year totaled $23.8 million, down from $29.1 million this time last year.

Looking at the balance sheet, there are a few points of note. Capital assets have reduced with DLA outpacing additions following lower levels of capital expenditure than previous years and impairments of assets related to the U.K. GSR program at the half year. The largest movement is, of course, the reduction in the pension deficit, which has been all but wiped out by the increased discount rate driven by the change in bond yields.

And now moving on to some FY '23 expectations. Firstly, the new financial year has started in line with our expectations and is supported by the opening order book of $151 million. In terms of revenue, with the commencement of the next-generation IHPS, we will see growth in heap protection, although this will be offset slightly by a modest decline in respiratory following a strong year with the NSPA contract in '22.

Armor revenue is expected to total between $28 million and $30 million as we fulfill our contractual obligations. Margin is expected to be in line with FY '22 on an excluding armor basis with some adverse mix as a result of new product introduction costs and heightened inflationary pressures largely offsetting the annualized effect of the cost-saving programs and operational efficiency improvements that we have implemented.

Looking beyond FY '23, next-generation IHPS and ACH Gen 2, along with a number of new opportunities will underpin future growth as current headwinds subside and growth generates operating leverage, there is an opportunity for margin improvement from here. Although armor will continue to be a headwind in FY '23, the negative impact will lessen as we ship more DLA ESAPI product, resulting in an improved margin on an including armor basis, from 9.4% in FY '22 to double-digit levels.

And I'll now hand back to Bruce to conclude.

Presenter Speech
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

Thank you, Rich, and thank you for giving the near-term outlook, looking at the next financial year or the current financial year FY '23. If we now look more medium and long term, firstly, you can see greater focus on protective technologies and capabilities. The world has changed since even during this last year, and unfortunately, that is to our benefit in terms of the products that are demanded in this increased threat environment.

Ongoing proliferation of the CBRN chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear offensive capabilities in hostile nation states. Again, with that, then that creates the demand for our products, particularly. And just generally anticipated increase in public defense spending on personal protective equipment over the medium long term, including those long-term upgrade programs.

So I think with those 3 -- first 3 bullets, you see we see an environment from a market point of view that offers us greater opportunities in the medium and long term. And I hope also through the presentation that Rich has delivered, that we do look forward with confidence with a business that has improved in the second half of this year moving into the first half of this current financial year with improvements being made in the operational efficiency with a more stable production planning environment and very importantly and finally, with a strong executive management team in place ready to move the business forward.

So I think with those final words, let me hand over now to the questions in the room. And before actually asking the questions, if you could just give name and company, obviously, for our benefit but also for the benefit of the webinar.

Question
Henry Carver (Analysts)

It's Henry Carver from Peel Hunt. Just a couple. Firstly, on the ACH Gen 2, can you -- obviously, that's a sort of new home community Team Wendy as well. What would be the risk to FAT on that? Have we learned enough from recent FAT testing to sort of in plenty of contingency there? Or is there still a risk, be it even on their side and getting it all started or anything just around that would be -- or composting around that would be helpful. If we just start with that 1 maybe?

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

Yes. So ACH Gen 2 is the general inventory helmet. It is ballistically resistant to nothing like the same extent of the next-generation IHPS. And so technologically, is deemed to be less challenging. And so we think we're in a pretty good spot from a technology perspective. The risk with these things is always around timing. And the larger part of that is outside of our control, which is why we've kind of factored in a bit of a buffer as to -- I mean, if we're submitting FAT samples now, if the customer got right on it and started testing them immediately in theory, you could convert that to revenue pretty quickly. Our working assumption is that revenue will start at the beginning of FY '24. So that's how we mitigate our risk.

Question
Henry Carver (Analysts)

And then just a couple of sort of broader points, but how long might you expected to take to maybe get the NSPA interested in taking helmets as well as respirators -- is this -- is that a long sort of lead time type project for you? Or do you think, given what's going on, we might see a sort of acceleration in their thinking around their kit? .

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

Yes. It's a great question. I mean the way I see that playing out is on a -- is actually on a more country-by-country basis. I think I don't yet foresee a path to signing a big blockbuster deal with NSPA, which means that we're going to flood the European market with helmets. I think it's an interesting point. European customers tend to favor slightly different things than U.S. customers. And as a business, we're still learning about the nuances between the 2. But I think there's a great opportunity for us to start picking off individual countries within NATO, and hopefully, we'll be able to see some progress on that quite soon.

Question
Henry Carver (Analysts)

And then just lastly, on the DOD and what we've learned, not just around the way they order but the M50 generally. And particularly, I'm thinking of the lifespan of a mask, we were always sort of under the impression certainly was that it was a kind of 10-year lifespan and that was a fairly sort of strict number. But it feels now quite a long way after the start of the initial rollout contract that it might be a longer life.

Is there anything that we sort of learned over the last couple of years, I guess, after the rollout contract was finished about those marks that sort of make us think differently about how to forecast effectively?

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

Yes. Thank you. It's a good question again. So when the U.S. sort of general purpose mask contract was first signed, there was an expectation that these masks will have a life for 10 years. I think as we've gone through the delivery period, we've come up with the alarming observation that the quality of our product is rather better than we thought, which is good, but also bad.

So it doesn't mean that the theoretical life of these things is a bit longer. Now what that actually means in replacement cycles within the U.S. DOD is anybody's guess actually. And I mean, there were plenty of anecdotal examples where we get some very clear signals from the customer that they don't require any more product. And then the following week, we'll get an order for 6,000 has happened right at the end of last year, finely enough.

So I don't want to predict that we're going to be delivering 60,000 masks a year into perpetuity into the U.S. DOD, but there, again, nor do I want to predict that we won't be. I mean Bruce made the point that the sort of customer ordering patterns are somewhat less predictable than they used to be. And actually, there's a little bit of a Ukraine effect in there as NATO and Allies sort of scrabble together to work on behalf of Ukraine, there was a very finite pool of people who buy this sort of equipment. And when they're diverted to helping Ukraine, they're probably somewhat less focused on their domestic requirements.

So we said there's every chance that there was a bit of pent-up demand there, but the guidance does not assume a blockbuster return to delivery growth.

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

I think I'd just add a couple of points to that. Firstly, Rich's comments are absolutely right and focused on the mask. But what we mustn't forget is that alongside the mask, you also have quite a lot of accessories and ancillary products, which are driven by that demand. And so very specifically, you've got the filters and those filters are not things which actually you keep for 10 years or more, those whenever they are in use, they get replaced and there is a shelf life for those.

So at the -- towards the end of the year, you saw we got a reasonable size order for filters and accessories coming through. And so even though the mask demand may not be there at the same levels, we still will be getting revenues through. But I think the second very important point is that our mask is really seen as being the leading mask in the world supplied into the U.S. DOD. But continually, people are looking further forward and looking for advancements to that mask technology. And that particularly actually relates to the combination of the mask and the helmet and making those 2 things work together. You don't want to be in a situation where put the mask on, you actually have to take the helmet off when you're in a combat situation.

And when you have all of those developments coming on, then we have the opportunities so long as we stay ahead of the field. But actually, that can generate new demand. If there's a new product that we're coming out with, which is significantly better than the older one, then that can actually improve those purchasing cycles.

Question
Andrew Douglas (Analysts)

It's Andrew Douglas from Jefferies. Three questions, please. the M69 order completed in the year. Can you give us a feel for kind of follow-on potential orders in there, be [ IP ] spares or on masks? And are there any additional contracts which finish this year on that front? Secondly, on Team Wendy and in-sourcing, can you just give us a feel for how much that has progressed? And I'm working on the assumption that any future orders now get a Team Wendy, is that fair?

And then last one, but not least, the working capital performance, well done, strong performance there. Does any of that unwind? Or is that actually a structural working capital improvement so we now get an ongoing better performance from working capital?

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

Okay. I'll try and pick those off one by one. M69, so the end of the M69 contract was something that we knew about. It wasn't a surprise. Inevitably, there will be some accessories that will still feed into that. And frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if we still get follow-on orders for the masks themselves. It would not be unhurdled for a contract to come to an end, particularly in the U.S. and then to find that there's still a bit of demand there. But to all intents and purposes, we're assuming that the revenue we got from M69 last year won't recur this year. There are no other material contracts coming to an end in FY '23. So that's good.

Question
Andrew Douglas (Analysts)

So what's the life of an M69 product similar to M50 or is it...

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

I'm going to have to get back to on that. I have no clue. Apologies, Rory, making at that one. On Team Wendy, so we're talking about the in-sourcing of the shelves here. So Team Wendy has done ballistic helmets for a while. They have outsourced the shelves to a third-party provider. Clearly, we have the capability in-house to be producing those shelves. And our working assumption is that if we were to get an order today, we would satisfy it internally, not externally. So there is still some demand that's with the third-party provider, but I don't see significant new demand going that way.

And then finally, on working capital, thank you. No significant one-offs in working capital in FY '22 aside from the 1 item that actually went the other way, which is the pension prepayment. And so I don't expect to see a dramatic unwind in the improvement we saw as we go through '23, but clearly, as I flagged in the numbers section, I would expect CapEx and R&D to move up to slightly more normal levels as we go through this year and into next.

Question
Andrew Douglas (Analysts)

And I just ask 1 quick 1 on a point of clarification. On the armor business, which is included inside the guess of the numbers, but it's to be discontinued. In the statement, you say that you still expect it to complete to wind up in this year. I'm assuming you mean calendar so we'll still have this fiscal. So it will be case discontinued this year.

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

So because we're not selling it, it can't be classed as discontinued if you're winding it down, you're required to report it as continuing until such time as it is wound down.

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

I think just adding on the armor business, I think we are pleased to be in a position that we can really plan and wind it down. At an earlier stage, we were still having to ensure that on the customer demand side of things that we actually exited the business with no impact on those customers. So we have now actually finalized the orders that are required of DLA ESAPI and also the Boeing flat armor side of things as well. So we're in a clear position of when we can say it will close down.

Question
Richard Paige (Analysts)

Richard Paige from Numis. Just a couple for me, please. The next-gen IHPS or contracts, obviously, quite a significant portion of the order book. So could you just remind us how the time that $42 million orders or contracted those deliveries will be made against that order in terms of time frame?

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

It is second half '23 and into '24, and it will be roughly 50-50.

Question
Richard Paige (Analysts)

That picks the broader question, which is just the order cover for the revenue expectations for this year.

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

So we've got the order book of $151 million. Now clearly, IHPS is in there. Actually, if you look at order book, now versus history, we're in a pretty good spot. This is a fairly fast order-to-cash business. And the order book cover is unusually high right now and undoubtedly helped by a little bit that will be delivered in FY '24, but order cover for FY '23 delivery is slightly better than we were this time last year.

Question
Richard Paige (Analysts)

And the second one, you mentioned inflation obviously working against some of the operational improvements you're making. Could you just remind us contractually how easy inflation is to claw back in terms of what you've got across the business price?

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

Yes. So there's a good chunk of our business where we do have pricing power and we have been exercising that pricing power, as you would expect, in line with, if not ahead, of costs where we can. But similarly, there is a chunk of our business where we can't do that. So we -- I mean, IHPS is a classic example. IHPS is a contract that we won in 2021. It was priced in 2021. And the price that we agreed in 2021 is consistent with the price that we now expect to get as we start shipping those elements in '23. As we go through the program of IHPS, there will be opportunities to reset that. But there's a good example of where we can't capture inflation back straightaway.

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

I think just -- so to be completely clear on that, the delivery order we've had on IHPS next gen is the first delivery order under that contract. And that's under the J&A contract. And then obviously, what will be discussed during this next period will be a full rate production contract. And obviously, in that situation, you're able to submit different pricing.

Question
Annabel Hewson (Analysts)

It's Annabel Hewson from Stifel. Just 2 questions, if I may. Firstly, on R&D, where obviously you scale back, and we understand the reasons for that. But I mean, historically, I think Avon always said that you're about sort of 5 years ahead of the closest competition in terms of your portfolio. Is that something you can sustain now with the trimming that you've done and sort of what are the areas where we have sort of scaled back a little bit given the strength of demand in the market?

And secondly, you alluded to the U.S. and sort of timing of orders and things being a little bit difficult. It's also been a challenging budgetary time. Is there any more color you can give us around market, maybe talk about U.S. Navy Rebreather, if we can talk about that or any other things that are on the horizon that could be potentially interesting.

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

I'm just going to step in before Rich give some detailed answers to those questions because I think the first statement you made I think I would always feel it's a little bit complacent if we say we're 5 years ahead of the competition. We're confident of that. I think in this sort of business, absolutely, we've got very strong positions with the leading technology now in both respiratory and in head protection. But we have to continue to work to maintain that position in advance.

And I think any industrial company saying that they're 5 years ahead of all of the competition may be a little bit complacent. So we're not saying that at this point.

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

Thank you, Bruce. So with R&D, I mean, clearly, there were some development costs being expended on armor, which we're now not diving anymore. So there's 1 obvious step down. Thereafter, I think if we look at where we're focusing our R&D dollars, there's clearly quite a lot around helmets and the integration of new helmet platforms into the portfolio, which we've discussed. And actually, Bruce alluded to some of the more important stuff that we're looking at around respiratory as well.

So the spread of R&D is actually pretty good. I don't think that we've got any orphans out there, certainly. And we've given guidance in the back of the slides to show you the direction of travel for R&D. And as you can see, it is creeping back towards what you might deem to be a normal level. So I don't think we're in danger of falling behind here. But clearly, we do need to keep pushing forward to maintain those technology leadership positions. So that's R&D.

On the broader market outlook, the world is unpredictable, I think. So timing of orders is unpredictable. We saw it last year. We -- I suspect we'll see it again this year. FY '22 was somewhat unusual in that we managed to have in the entire 12 months of continuing resolution. Hopefully, that doesn't get repeated this year. And as you look through budget submissions, you can see clarity of where you expect expenditure to happen. But until such time as that comes into effect, that's what gives rise to some of the unpredictability. So hopefully, we can give you some more clarity around the half year results on that.

And then other contract opportunities. Bruce has already talked about potential follow-ons on IHPS. Clearly, ACH Gen 2, when that starts converting to revenue will be good news. The MCM100 rebreather product, so that the U.S. Navy are looking at that and as are other agencies within the U.S., interestingly outside it. So the U.S. Navy 1 is predominantly focused on mine clearance. There are other opportunities for MCM100. And actually, if you move beyond the U.S., that's probably where we'll see more immediate interest. It's under -- it's already in operation in Norway and in Belgium and in the U.K. And we've seen plenty of interest from other European and Asian countries to adopt that technology into their navies and it's under diving trails right now. So lots of opportunity with our product.

Question
Andrew Douglas (Analysts)

Just a quick follow-up from that question. If we look at your R&D pipeline and new products, you've got a lot of NPI this year. Exactly what time frame you want. In terms of new products, which you're going to deliver into the market over the next 5, 10 years or whatever period you want. Do we have blockbusters? Do we have 506 that are going to do $10 million a year? What does that pipeline look like in terms of size and lumpiness, if I can. .

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

That's quite a difficult question. I don't know I mean near term, clearly, the big things are those helmet programs as they come in. Looking a little bit further out, it's almost a little presumptuous at this stage. And the reason why I say that is, for example, if we talk about the respiratory thing that Bruce was talking about, how do you get a slightly more integrated solution so that you can put a repatriator without taking a helmet off.

We can come up with a few bright ideas and a few good technologies that sit behind that. But we're not going to turn it into a product until such time as our customer tells us there's a need for it. And so might that be a blockbuster down the line, yes, absolutely. Can I tell you it is and when? No. But that's kind of the nature of the business. It's an iterative development program.

Question
Unknown Analyst (Analysts)

As opposed to having a M69 [indiscernible]

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

But of course, those were effectively developed in exactly the same way. So we've identified what we think is a need. We'll come up with what might be a solution, discuss it with the customers, they'll say, well, no, that's not what we want, or it is what we want. And yes.

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

I think I would just reinforce what Richard said because I think if we look back over the recent period, a lot of that product development work is effectively bearing fruit now. And the challenge now and we have to keep reinforcing it is in execution. And so if we look at those helmet programs, we've got ourselves into that leading position on the ACH Gen 2 with the basic combat helmet. And then on the very importantly on the IHPS next gen, which is the ballistic rifle penetration helmet. And the challenge there is not necessarily to introduce a new product. It's really to get -- maximize the potential of that.

And it's already had spin-off. Rich was mentioning before about combining the Ceradyne ballistic shell technology with the Team Wendy liner and retention systems and -- we've developed a product more for commercial applications called the F90 which a number of you have heard about, which combines those very competitive qualities of the Ceradyne and Team Wendy technology. So those are all products which it's really about execution and maximizing the potential of those.

And as we were saying before, it's then making sure that we're ready with the next generation of products, both on respiratory and head protection so that we don't lose out to competition, but not necessarily forcing the pace of those introductions and replacing our existing models.

Question
Andrew Edmond (Analysts)

Andy Edmond, Equity Development. Rich, I wonder if you could just say a little bit more about the current state of supply chain challenges. And there's an overall feeling of improving logistics and production. How that relates to the forward ordering that you've done earlier in the year and what confidence that leaves you in timely delivery of that encouraging order book?

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

Yes. Great question. And just looking at some anecdotal evidence over the last 2 or 3 months. We have seen some of those lead times coming back in, which is great. And it's consistent with commentary you're probably hearing elsewhere. Logistics itself still maintains -- is still a bit of a challenge. So in other words, getting space on boats at a cost that makes sense. That's pretty hard work right now.

But net-net, we're seeing gradual improvement in the supply chain. But that's based on the stuff that we know and understand very well. Some of the execution challenges that Bruce was talking about as we start ramping up on new products there might be supply chain constraints that we haven't yet found. And so I'm just -- I'm slightly cautious to say, yes, it's all better. It's all off to the races.

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

It's not Robinson disclose.

Answer
Richard Cashin (Executives)

But it's true. There's -- where we understand the risk, we're working hard to mitigate it. There's always the chance that there is risk out there, particularly in new products where we haven't yet stressed the supply chain enough to meet full rate production. And time will tell, but we're working hard to mitigate those when we encounter them.

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

Any more questions in the room? Well, thank you. And we'll just see if there are questions coming through online.

Answer
Rachel Stevens (Executives)

There's been no further questions from the webcast. Bruce, I'll pass back to you for any closing remarks.

Answer
Bruce M. Thompson (Executives)

Well, I think the first thing is just to thank you for coming along and hearing the results presentation and giving some good challenging questions during the session. I think you can see we're looking forward to this new financial year and beyond a lot of optimism in terms of looking at the good things that have been done within the business, particularly in -- coming through in the second half of this financial year, but at the same time, not being complacent and understanding that there are challenges still in execution. We have some great potential there on new programs that we must bring through into revenue and into decent levels of profitability and cash flow. But thank you very much indeed for joining us on this presentation. Thank you.

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