This past year was yet another year of success for Aecon,and we are incredibly proud of all that was accomplished with your support. How do we define who we ARE? A nod to our ticker symbol, of course, but those three letters – ARE – encompass so much more. We are safe. We are profitable. And, we are a partner-of-choice.
Over the course of the year, we reached numerous milestones including record revenue of $3.2 billion and record new contract awards of $4.2 billion, largely reflecting the significant nuclear project awards during 2016 in the Energy segment. Year-end backlog of $4.2 billion, representing a 29 per cent increase over 2015, is diversified across our operating segments and duration, illustrating the soundness of our strategy. To top off the year, the Board of Directors approved a nine per cent increase in the annual dividend to 50 cents per share.
Although we experienced, and to some extent continue to experience, certain headwinds in oil and commodity markets across Canada and competition in the infrastructure market, we take pride in the strength and resiliency embedded in the layers of Aecon’s foundation. This foundation embodies our industry-leading safety culture with record-setting performance, Aecon’s diversification strategy, our skillful execution capabilities and our efforts to enhance the productivity of our business through innovation.
Our focus continues to be on the successful execution of the projects in our backlog and on growing our recurring revenue work with key clients. Following 10 per cent revenue growth in 2016, we expect 2017 to be a year of significant bidding activity that will build backlog for 2018 and beyond. Overall revenue expectations for 2017 are for flat to modestly lower volume, offset by an expectation that Adjusted EBITDA margin improvement will result in an overall improvement in Adjusted EBITDA in the year. There are four core elements that comprise our strategic path to success:
Our People and their Safety: We are committed to the further development of our 12,000-strong employees and industry-leading safety programs.
Superior Shareholder Value: Leveraging our vertical and horizontal integration capabilities and ensuring collaboration across our diverse businesses to create synergies and cost savings for both Aecon and our clients to deliver superior shareholder value.
Partnerships and Alliances: Building strong partnerships and alliances, including joint venture arrangements, Public-Private Partnerships (P3), and long-term relationships with trusted clients across Canada.
Prudent Risk Management: Monitoring projects at all stages of development through a newly formed project controls team to ensure complex projects are provided with state-of-the-art management controls.
With increased infrastructure investment being a key area of focus for all levels of government, Aecon is well positioned to successfully bid on, secure and deliver these projects in 2017 and beyond. In the Energy segment, we are focused on further expanding revenue from our nuclear business and we expect increased backlog and ongoing demand for gas distribution facilities, utilities work, as well as power and nuclear refurbishment programs in 2017 to help offset lower oil related volume. In the Mining segment, contract mining is expected to improve in 2017, with a new operating site coming on line during the second half of the year. Our Concessions segment continues to focus on the significant number of large-scale infrastructure projects and P3 opportunities available both domestically and internationally, including the Bermuda International Airport Redevelopment Project, which recently reached financial and commercial close.
As we near the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, we reflect on the fact that some of our predecessor companies were founded only 10 years after our country’s beginning, and we’ve been connecting communities and laying the foundation ever since. To say the least, we at Aecon are equally excited for the future and what’s to come. Aecon’s strong balance sheet, financial liquidity and diversified approach continue to provide the resources required to capitalize on the opportunities ahead of us to enhance backlog and improve Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA margin.
Aecon is comprised of a highly-skilled team of specialists ready to collaborate with our clients and partners to deliver
results in jurisdictions across Canada and globally.
We are invested. We are poised for future growth. We ARE Aecon.