|AECOM filed this Form 10-Q on 02/06/2019|
AECOM Capitals real estate development and investment activities are inherently risky and may result in a future loss.
ACAPs real estate business involves managing, sponsoring, investing and developing commercial real estate projects (Real Estate Joint Ventures) that are inherently risky and may result in future losses since real estate markets are significantly impacted by economic trends and government policies that we do not control. Our registered investment adviser jointly manages, sponsors and owns an equity interest with its co-partner in the AECOM-Canyon Equity Fund, L.P. (the Fund), which invests and develops Real Estate Joint Ventures on behalf of its investors. Real Estate Joint Ventures rely on substantial amounts of third party borrowing to finance their development activities including completion guarantees, repayment guarantees, environmental indemnities and other lender required credit support guarantees that may be provided by AECOM or an affiliate to secure the Real Estate Joint Venture financing. Although the Fund and the Real Estate Venture have reserves that will be used to share Real Estate Joint Venture cost overruns, if such reserves are depleted, then AECOM may be required to make support payments to fund non-budgeted cost overruns on behalf of the Fund (but not on behalf of the Funds co-partner or any unaffiliated Real Estate Joint Venture limited partners). Some of the Funds limited partners may be permitted to make additional equity co-investments in certain Real Estate Joint Ventures for which AECOM will provide support payments, after additional specific reserves have been depleted, on behalf of the limited partner co-investor in the event of a Real Estate Joint Venture cost overrun. AECOMs provision of lender guarantees is contingent upon the Real Estate Joint Venture meeting AECOMs underwriting criteria, including an affiliate of AECOM acting as either the construction manager at risk or the owners representative for the project, no material adverse change in AECOMs financial condition, and the guarantee not violating a covenant under a material AECOM agreement.
Misconduct by our employees, partners or consultants or our failure to comply with laws or regulations applicable to our business could cause us to lose customers or lose our ability to contract with government agencies.
As a government contractor, misconduct, fraud or other improper activities caused by our employees, partners or consultants failure to comply with laws or regulations could have a significant negative impact on our business and reputation. Such misconduct could include the failure to comply with procurement regulations, environmental regulations, regulations regarding the protection of sensitive government information, legislation regarding the pricing of labor and other costs in government contracts, regulations on lobbying or similar activities, and anti-corruption, anti-competition, export control and other applicable laws or regulations. Our failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations, misconduct by any of our employees or consultants or our failure to make timely and accurate certifications to government agencies regarding misconduct or potential misconduct could subject us to fines and penalties, loss of government granted eligibility, cancellation of contracts and suspension or debarment from contracting with government agencies, any of which may adversely affect our business.
We may be required to contribute additional cash to meet our significant underfunded benefit obligations associated with pension benefit plans we manage or multiemployer pension plans in which we participate.
We have defined benefit pension plans for employees in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. At September 30, 2018, our defined benefit pension plans had an aggregate deficit (the excess of projected benefit obligations over the fair value of plan assets) of approximately $400.5 million. In the future, our pension deficits may increase or decrease depending on changes in the levels of interest rates, pension plan performance and other factors that may require us to make additional cash contributions to our pension plans and recognize further increases in our net pension cost to satisfy our funding requirements. If we are forced or elect to make up all or a portion of the deficit for unfunded benefit plans, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
A multiemployer pension plan is typically established under a collective bargaining agreement with a union to cover the union-represented workers of various unrelated companies. Our collective bargaining agreements with unions will require us to contribute to various multiemployer pension plans; however, we do not control or manage these plans. For the year ended September 30, 2018, we contributed $49.8 million to multiemployer pension plans. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, an employer who contributes to a multiemployer pension plan, absent an applicable exemption, may also be liable, upon termination or withdrawal from the plan, for its proportionate share of the multiemployer pension plans unfunded vested benefit. If we terminate or withdraw from a multiemployer plan, absent an applicable exemption (such as for some plans in the building and construction industry), we could be required to contribute a significant amount of cash to fund the multiemployer plans unfunded vested benefit, which could materially and adversely affect our financial results; however, since we do not control the multiemployer plans, we are unable to estimate any potential contributions that could be required.
New legal requirements could adversely affect our operating results.
Our business and results of operations could be adversely affected by the passage of new climate change, defense, environmental, infrastructure and other laws, policies and regulations. Growing concerns about climate change and greenhouse gases, such as those adopted under the United Nations COP-21 Paris Agreement or the EPA Clean Power Plan, may result in the imposition of additional environmental regulations for our clients fossil fuel projects. For example, legislation, international protocols, regulation or other restrictions on emissions regulations could increase the costs of projects for our clients or, in some cases, prevent a project from going forward, thereby potentially reducing the need for our services. In addition, relaxation or repeal of laws and regulations, or changes in governmental policies regarding environmental, defense, infrastructure or other industries we serve could result in a decline in demand for our services, which could in turn negatively impact our revenues. We cannot predict when or whether any of these various proposals may be enacted or what their effect will be on us or on our customers.