|AECOM filed this Form 10-Q on 02/06/2019|
order is issued. In addition, the federal government has also awarded federal contracts based on a low-price, technically acceptable criteria emphasizing price over qualitative factors, such as past performance. As a result of these competitive pricing pressures, our profit margins on future federal contracts may be reduced and may require us to make sustained efforts to reduce costs in order to realize revenues and profits under government contracts. If we are not successful in reducing the amount of costs we incur, our profitability on government contracts will be negatively impacted. In addition, we may not be awarded government contracts because of existing government policies designed to protect small businesses and under-represented minority contractors. Our inability to win or renew government contracts during regulated procurement processes could harm our operations and reduce our profits and revenues.
Governmental agencies may modify, curtail or terminate our contracts at any time prior to their completion and, if we do not replace them, we may suffer a decline in revenue.
Most government contracts may be modified, curtailed or terminated by the government either at its discretion or upon the default of the contractor. If the government terminates a contract at its discretion, then we typically are able to recover only costs incurred or committed, settlement expenses and profit on work completed prior to termination, which could prevent us from recognizing all of our potential revenue and profits from that contract. In addition, for some assignments, the U.S. government may attempt to insource the services to government employees rather than outsource to a contractor. If a government terminates a contract due to our default, we could be liable for excess costs incurred by the government in obtaining services from another source.
Our contracts with governmental agencies are subject to audit, which could result in adjustments to reimbursable contract costs or, if we are charged with wrongdoing, possible temporary or permanent suspension from participating in government programs.
Our books and records are subject to audit by the various governmental agencies we serve and their representatives. These audits can result in adjustments to the amount of contract costs we believe are reimbursable by the agencies and the amount of our overhead costs allocated to the agencies. If such matters are not resolved in our favor, they could have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, if one of our subsidiaries is charged with wrongdoing as a result of an audit, that subsidiary, and possibly our company as a whole, could be temporarily suspended or could be prohibited from bidding on and receiving future government contracts for a period of time. Furthermore, as a government contractor, we are subject to an increased risk of investigations, criminal prosecution, civil fraud actions, whistleblower lawsuits and other legal actions and liabilities to which purely private sector companies are not, the results of which could materially adversely impact our business. For example, a qui tam lawsuit related to our affiliate, URS Energy and Construction, was unsealed in 2016. Qui tam lawsuits typically allege that we have made false statements or certifications in connection with claims for payment, or improperly retained overpayments, from the government. These suits may remain under seal (and hence, be unknown to us) for some time while the government decides whether to intervene on behalf of the qui tam plaintiff.
Our substantial leverage and significant debt service obligations could adversely affect our financial condition and our ability to fulfill our obligations and operate our business.
We had approximately $4.0 billion of indebtedness (excluding intercompany indebtedness) outstanding as of December 31, 2018, of which $1.9 billion was secured obligations (exclusive of $27.2 million of outstanding undrawn letters of credit) and we have an additional $1.0 billion of availability under our Credit Agreement (after giving effect to outstanding letters of credit), all of which would be secured debt, if drawn. Our financial performance could be adversely affected by our substantial leverage. We may also incur significant additional indebtedness in the future, subject to various conditions.
This high level of indebtedness could have important negative consequences to us, including, but not limited to:
· we may have difficulty satisfying our obligations with respect to outstanding debt obligations;
· we may have difficulty obtaining financing in the future for working capital, acquisitions, capital expenditures or other purposes;
· we may need to use all, or a substantial portion, of our available excess cash flow to pay interest and principal on our debt, which will reduce the amount of money available to finance our operations and other business activities, including, but not limited to, working capital requirements, acquisitions, capital expenditures or other general corporate or business activities;
· our debt level increases our vulnerability to general economic downturns and adverse industry conditions;
· our debt level could limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and in our industry in general;
· our substantial amount of debt and the amount we must pay to service our debt obligations could place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt;