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Blue Bird Corp (BLBD) SEC Filing 10-K Annual Report for the fiscal year ending Saturday, October 2, 2021

Blue Bird Corp

CIK: 1589526 Ticker: BLBD

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BLUE BIRD REPORTS FISCAL 2021
FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR RESULTS;
IMPACTED BY SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTIONS;
STRONG DEMAND AND RECORD FIRM ORDER BACKLOG;
WELL POSITIONED FOR EV MARKET EXPANSION

Net Sales of $684M and GAAP Net income of $(0.3)M
Firm Order Backlog of 4,200+ units
Electric Bus Backlog at 260+ units
Adjusted EBITDA of $34.1M with 6,679 Buses Sold


Macon, GA, December 15, 2021 – Blue Bird Corporation (“Blue Bird”) (Nasdaq: BLBD), the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, announced today its fiscal 2021 fourth quarter and full year results. GAAP net income for the year of $(0.3) million was $12.5 million lower than FY2020. Adjusted EBITDA for the year was $34.1 million, $20.6 million lower than last year. Supply chain disruptions resulted in more than 2,000 bookings being delayed to fiscal 2022. Order backlog is strong at more than 4,200 buses, filling production slots through the first half of FY2022.

Highlights
(in millions except Unit Sales and EPS data)Three Months Ended October 2, 2021B/(W) 2020Fiscal Year Ended October 2, 2021B/(W) 2020
Unit Sales1,911 (965)6,679 (2,199)
GAAP Measures:
Revenue$192.2 $(89.2)$684.0 $(195.2)
Net Income$(2.4)$(14.3)$(0.3)$(12.5)
Diluted Earnings per Share$(0.09)$(0.53)$(0.01)$(0.46)
Non-GAAP Measures1:
Adjusted EBITDA$7.6 $(14.3)$34.1 $(20.6)
Adjusted Net Income$2.0 $(11.3)$8.7 $(13.5)
Adjusted Diluted Earnings per Share$0.07 $(0.42)$0.31 $(0.51)
1 Reconciliation to relevant GAAP metrics shown below

“The results of FY2021 are characterized by a first half with soft demand and a second half fraught with supply chain disruptions when order volume recovered. However, there is clear evidence of exciting longer-term trends in demand and we are going to be ideally positioned to capture our profitable share. The unprecedented situation in the world around us has only temporarily delayed what I see as a remarkable opportunity ahead for our company and its investors," said Matthew Stevenson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Bird Corporation. “We were encouraged by new orders of more than 9,700 buses this year as the school bus industry rebounded strongly in the second half of the year with schools reopening and fleet replacement resuming. Unfortunately, like the majority of the automotive industry, our production was limited by supply chain constrains. As such, we have built a substantial order backlog of more than 4,200 buses, comprising both our traditional internal combustion engine buses and a record level of electric buses.

"With the school-bus industry recovery well underway, we are focused on ensuring we ramp production quickly and profitably as supply chain challenges ease, likely in the spring of 2022. We have taken actions to realize manufacturing efficiency improvements while also lowering our operating expenses through cost controls. In addition, we recently increased all vehicle prices by 11% in
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The following information was filed by Blue Bird Corp (BLBD) on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 as an 8K 2.02 statement, which is an earnings press release pertaining to results of operations and financial condition. It may be helpful to assess the quality of management by comparing the information in the press release to the information in the accompanying 10-K Annual Report statement of earnings and operation as management may choose to highlight particular information in the press release.






 
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-K
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended October 2, 2021

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: 001-36267
 
BLUE BIRD CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware46-3891989
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(IRS Employer Identification No.)


3920 Arkwright Road, 2nd Floor, Macon, Georgia, 31210
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
(Zip Code)


(478) 822-2801
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common stock, $0.0001 par valueBLBDNASDAQ Global Market

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


Indicate by check mark whether 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 whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a 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 has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

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

At April 3, 2021, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $461.2 million based on the closing sales price of $26.75 as reported on The NASDAQ Global Market on April 1, 2021. For the purpose of this response, executive officers, directors, and holders of 10% or more of the registrant’s common stock are considered to be affiliates of the registrant at that date.

At December 10, 2021, there were 27,280,400 outstanding shares of the registrant’s $0.0001 par value common stock.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the Registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be delivered to stockholders in connection with the Registrant’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference in response to Part III of this report.




BLUE BIRD CORPORATION
FORM 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS









PART I
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Report”) of Blue Bird Corporation (“Blue Bird” or the “Company”) contains forward-looking statements. Except as otherwise indicated by the context, references in this Report to “we,” “us” and “our” are to the consolidated business of the Company. All statements in this Report, including those made by the management of the Company, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s estimates, projections and assumptions as of the date hereof and include the assumptions that underlie such statements. Forward-looking statements may contain words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “expect,” “plan,” “estimate,” “project,” “forecast,” “seek,” “target,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “predict,” “potential” and “continue,” the negative of these terms, or other comparable terminology. Examples of forward-looking statements include statements regarding the Company’s future financial results, research and trial results, regulatory approvals, operating results, business strategies, projected costs, products, competitive positions, management’s plans and objectives for future operations, and industry trends. These forward-looking statements relate to expectations for future financial performance, business strategies or expectations for our business. Specifically, forward-looking statements may include statements relating to:

the future financial performance of the Company;
negative changes in the market for Blue Bird products;
expansion plans and opportunities;
challenges or unexpected costs related to manufacturing;
future impacts from the novel coronavirus pandemic known as "COVID-19," and any other pandemics, public health crises, or epidemics, on capital markets, manufacturing and supply chain abilities, consumer and customer demand, school system operations, workplace conditions, and any other unexpected impacts, which could include, among other effects:
disruption in global financial and credit markets;
supply shortages and supplier financial risk, especially from our single-source suppliers impacted by the pandemic;
negative impacts to manufacturing operations or the supply chain from shutdowns or other disruptions in operations;
negative impacts on capacity and/or production in response to changes in demand due to the pandemic, including possible cost containment actions;
financial difficulties of our customers impacted by the pandemic;
reductions in market demand for our products due to the pandemic; and
potential negative impacts of various actions taken by federal, state and/or local governments in response to the pandemic.

These forward-looking statements are based on information available as of the date of this Report (or, in the case of forward-looking statements incorporated herein by reference, as of the date of the applicable filed document), and current expectations, forecasts and assumptions, and involve a number of judgments, risks and uncertainties. Accordingly, forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date, and we do not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date they were made, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws. As a result of a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties, our actual results or performance may be materially different than those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

Any expectations based on these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties and other important factors, including those discussed in this Report, particularly the sections titled “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Other risks and uncertainties are and will be disclosed in the Company’s prior and future SEC filings. The following information should be read in conjunction with the financial statements included in this Report.


Available Information

We are subject to the reporting and information requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and as a result are obligated to file annual, quarterly, and current reports, proxy statements, and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). We make these filings available free of charge on our website (http://www.blue-bird.com) as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file them with, or furnish them to, the SEC. Information on our website does not constitute part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In addition, the SEC maintains a website (http://www.sec.gov) that contains our annual, quarterly, and current reports, proxy and information statements, and other information we electronically file with, or furnish to, the SEC.

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Item 1. Business

The Company (formerly Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp.) was incorporated in Delaware on September 24, 2013 as a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. On February 24, 2015, the Company consummated a business combination (the “Business Combination”), pursuant to which the Company acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of School Bus Holdings Inc., a Delaware corporation (“School Bus Holdings” or “SBH”) from The Traxis Group, B.V. (the “Seller”). The total purchase price was paid in a combination of cash in the amount of $100.0 million and 12,000,000 shares of the Company’s common stock, $0.0001 par value (the “Common Stock”), valued at $120.0 million.

In connection with the closing of the Business Combination, the Company changed its name from Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. to Blue Bird Corporation. Unless expressly stated otherwise in this Report, Blue Bird Corporation shall be referred to as "Blue Bird," the "Company," "we," "our" or "us," and includes its consolidated subsidiaries.

In May 2016, the Seller, ASP BB Holdings LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (“ASP”), and the Company, entered into an agreement pursuant to which the Seller agreed to sell the 12,000,000 shares of Common Stock of the Company owned by Seller (the “Transaction Shares”) to ASP. ASP acquired 7,000,000 Transaction Shares at an initial closing on June 3, 2016 for an amount in cash equal to $10.10 per share and 5,000,000 Transaction Shares at a second closing on June 8, 2016 for an amount in cash equal to $11.00 per share, for an aggregate purchase price of $125.7 million. There were no proceeds to the Company from this transaction.

The following discussion of our business describes the business historically operated by School Bus Holdings and its subsidiaries under the “Blue Bird” name as an independent enterprise prior to the Business Combination and as subsidiaries of Blue Bird Corporation (formerly Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp.) after the Business Combination.

The periodic reports filed by us with the SEC pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are available free of charge on our website: http://investors.blue-bird.com. This includes Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, as well as any amendments to those reports. Section 16 filings made with the SEC by any of our executive officers or directors with respect to our Common Stock also are made available free of charge through our website. We post each of these documents on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after it is electronically filed with the SEC. Our reports filed with the SEC may also be found at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. The Company’s Common Stock is traded on The NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “BLBD.”

The corporate governance information on our website includes our Corporate Governance Principles, Code of Conduct and Ethics and the Charters for each of the Committees of our Board of Directors. Any amendments to our Code of Ethics or waivers granted to our directors and executive officers will be posted on our corporate website.

In addition to the information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 2, 2021 (“2021 Form 10-K Report” or “Report”), information about our Company can be found at http://investors.blue-bird.com, including extensive information about our management team, our products and our corporate governance.

The foregoing information regarding content on our website is for convenience only and is not deemed to be incorporated by reference into this Report or filed with the SEC.

Overview

We are the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with more than 585,000 buses sold since our formation in 1927.

We review and present our business in two operating segments, which are also our reportable segments: (i) the Bus segment, which involves the design, engineering, manufacture and sales of school buses and extended warranties; and (ii) the Parts segment, which includes the sale of replacement bus parts. Financial information is reported on the basis that it is used internally by the chief operating decision maker (“CODM”) in evaluating segment performance and deciding how to allocate resources to segments. The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company has been identified as the CODM. Management evaluates the segments based primarily upon revenues and gross profit. Refer to Note 11, Segment Information, to the Company’s consolidated financial statements for additional financial information regarding our reportable segments including the primary geographic areas in which we earn revenues.

Throughout this Report, we refer to the fiscal year ended October 2, 2021 as “fiscal 2021,” the fiscal year ended October 3, 2020 as “fiscal 2020” and the fiscal year ended September 28, 2019 as “fiscal 2019.” There were 52 weeks in fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2019, and there were 53 weeks in fiscal 2020.

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Our performance in recent years has been driven by the implementation of repeatable processes focused on product initiatives, continuous improvement of both competitiveness and manufacturing flexibility, and lowering our cost of capital, as described below:

1.Alternative Power Initiatives We believe Blue Bird is the clear leader in alternative powered school buses (defined as buses that do not operate on diesel fuel) and we continue to introduce new products to support growing consumer demand for these products.

Propane In fiscal 2012, we entered into our exclusive relationship with Ford Motor Company and Roush Clean Tech to offer propane powered Type C school buses. We have continued to lead the industry with this offering.
We launched the industry’s first .05g/bhp-hr nitrogen oxide ("NOx") propane engine in fiscal 2017. This engine operates four times cleaner than the current emission standard and is significantly better for the environment than competitors' published offerings.
We launched the industry’s first .02g/bhp-hr NOx propane engine in August 2018. This engine complies with Ultra Low NOx classification and has an emissions level at 10% of the current standard and competitive offerings.

Compressed Natural Gas ("CNG") Blue Bird was the first Original Equipment Manufacturer ("OEM") to introduce a CNG powertrain for the Rear Engine Type D bus using Cummins Westport technology. In 2016, we launched a new CNG product using a Ford engine and transmission and a Roush Clean Tech fuel delivery system to provide CNG in a Type C bus.

Electric — Blue Bird is the first major school bus manufacturer to market, and presently the clear leader in, electric bus sales among all major OEMs. We have partnered with Cummins, one of our long-standing engine suppliers, to design and develop our electric vehicle offering. We offer electric solutions in both our Type C and Type D buses and commenced delivery to customers in fiscal 2018. With demand and interest growing quickly, we have taken, and will continue to take, actions to expand our electric vehicle production capacity.

Gasoline — In fiscal 2016, we re-introduced gasoline engines in school buses, again using a Ford engine and transmission and a Roush Clean Tech fuel delivery. This product has been successful and continues to grow the Blue Bird customer base.

2.Diesel Blue Bird works closely with Cummins on diesel engines, which continue to be the power source for the majority of school buses sold.

3.Product Initiatives — We continue to update and improve our products.

During fiscal 2021, we successfully launched the all-new, Ford 7.3L V8 engine in our gasoline and propane powered offerings.

4.Manufacturing and Process Initiatives — We have commenced a number of initiatives to continue to build customer loyalty, reduce costs, and enhance competitiveness.

We launched our state-of-the-art 60,000 square foot paint facility in July 2019. Using robotic technology, the paint facility is designed to paint a bus three times faster than can be done manually, with a higher paint transfer rate and consistent, outstanding coverage. In keeping with Blue Bird's going green, the facility features a zero-to-landfill design. All paint over spray is captured, dried and sent to a power generation plant to be used as fuel.

We contracted with industry leaders to revise our production techniques in our plant. The result was a material increase in our electric powered bus capacity and the ability to transition to one operating shift from two, and still meet demand for the production of our buses during our peak manufacturing times. The single-shift operation was successfully run throughout fiscal 2021.

We commenced an initiative with industry leaders to make structural reductions in cost on existing and future products to enhance our cost competitiveness.

5.Access to Capital — We refinanced our term debt on substantially better terms in December 2016 (the "Credit Agreement"). Since then, the Credit Agreement has been amended on four different occasions and as of the date of this filing, provides total revolving commitments of $110.0 million. Additional details and discussion of these amendments can be found in the "Liquidity and Capital Resources" section of Item 7. "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" of this Report.
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On December 15, 2021, we issued and sold through a private placement an aggregate 4,687,500 shares of our common stock at $16.00 per share. The $75.0 million of net proceeds that we received from this transaction may be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes, which may include acquisitions, investments in technologies or businesses, operating expenses and capital expenditures. Refer to Note 19, Subsequent Events, to the Company’s consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding this transaction.

Additionally, on November 16, 2021, we filed a Registration Statement on Form S-3 that allows the Company to sell up to $200.0 million in the aggregate of any combination of common stock, preferred stock, warrants, debt securities and/or units from time to time in one or more offerings.

Our management believes that Blue Bird is in a leading position in the industry due to our range of alternative power offerings and our strong diesel offering. We believe that our alternative power options will continue to capture market share in the industry as customers realize benefits on the total cost of ownership and as the adoption of green technology gains traction. Furthermore, we believe that our product, process, and manufacturing initiatives are appropriately aligned with our long-term objectives.

As a result of the concentration of Blue Bird’s sales in the school bus industry in the United States of America ("U.S.") and Canada, our operations are affected by national, state, and local economic and political factors that impact spending for public and, to a lesser extent, private education. Unlike the discretionary portion of school budgets, the offering of school bus services is typically viewed as a mandatory part of the public infrastructure across the U.S. and Canada, ensuring that funding for new school buses receives some level of priority in all economic climates. All 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the 13 Canadian Provinces have fleets of school buses in operation.

Bus Segment

Our buses are sold through an extensive network of 50 U.S. and Canadian dealers that, in their territories, are exclusive to our Company on Type C and Type D school buses. We also sell directly to major fleet operators, the U.S. Government, state governments and authorized dealers in a number of foreign countries.

In fiscal 2021, we sold 6,679 buses throughout the world. Refer to “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for discussion of our unit volumes.

Approximately 94% of our buses sold in fiscal 2021 were sold through distributors and dealers. The Company holds no equity or control position in any of the distributors or dealers.

We design, engineer, manufacture, and sell three types of buses: (i) Type C school buses, (ii) Type D school buses, and (iii) specialty buses. Each of our Type C and Type D buses is manufactured and assembled on its own dedicated purpose-built chassis in Fort Valley, Georgia. Regardless of specifications, all school bus bodies that we manufacture include our signature 14-gauge one-piece steel bows roof system, complemented by a rugged and sturdy floor structure.
Specialty buses include school buses that are converted to suit applications required by the U.S. Government, state and local governments, and various customers for commercial and export markets.

The Blue Bird Micro Bird by Girardin Type A bus is produced through Micro Bird Holdings, Inc., an unconsolidated Canadian joint venture with Girardin Minibus JV Inc. (“Micro Bird”), and is sold through our dealer network. This is a smaller bus than the Type C or Type D bus and is produced on a traditional chassis provided by either Ford or GM or on an electric chassis provided by a smaller supplier.

Parts Segment
    
Parts are key for routine maintenance, replacement of parts that are damaged in service, and replacement of parts that suffer from wear and tear throughout the useful life of the vehicle.

In fiscal 2021, parts sales represented 8.6% of Company net sales.

We maintain a parts distribution center in Delaware, Ohio that fills demand for our Company specific and all-makes parts. Additional demand for parts is fulfilled by drop ship and direct sales. To fulfill demand for parts that are not maintained at the distribution center, we are linked to approximately 40 suppliers that ship directly to dealers and independent service centers.

Our 50 dealers have approximately 250 parts and service locations across the U.S. and Canada, the majority of which are owned by independent operators, to complement their primary locations. Field service engineers provide technical support to our dealer network.
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At the end of fiscal 2021, service engineers had an average of over 25 years of experience with our Company and are strategically placed throughout the U.S. and Canada to better serve both dealers and end-customers. The network leverages our parts inventory, technical training, and online warranty network to address customer service needs.

Our Industry

The school bus serves a critical role in the U.S. and Canadian education systems. In normal non-pandemic years, approximately half of the U.S. student population rides a school bus. School buses are distinguished from other types of buses by design characteristics associated with increased safety as mandated by federal, state, and municipal regulations.

Our management has developed a forecasting model using R.L. Polk vehicle registration data, population of school age children forecasts from the National Center for Education Statistics and bus ridership data collected and published by School Transportation News. Our management utilizes this and other models to assess historical experience and to predict demand for school buses in future periods. The ability to purchase new buses to fulfill predicted demand, however, is based on the assumption that funds will be available through property taxes and other state and federal sources.

The U.S. and Canadian school bus industry for Type C and Type D buses has averaged approximately 30,800 unit sales annually between 1985 and 2021. Unit sales for fiscal 2021 are projected to be about 27,800, a decrease of 2.5% when compared with fiscal 2020, primarily due to a combination of school closures and supply chain constraints, both resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

blbd-20211002_g1.jpg
Source: Historical registration data are based on R.L. Polk vehicle registration data.

The low point in the industry occurred in 2011, at approximately 23,800 units, and was the result of the decline in the U.S. economy and, in particular, the collapse of the housing market in 2008 and 2009. Property taxes are the primary source of funds for school bus purchases and were impacted in the 2010-2011 period as a result of the substantial recession in the U.S. economy in general, and housing market in particular, preceding and during that period.

The school bus industry fully recovered from the downturn in 2010-2011 and from 2016 to 2019 had been operating at levels approximately 10% higher than the long-term average, supported by positive demographic trends, pent-up demand from several years of below-trend bus sales, and a growing tax base for education-related spending. In 2020, countermeasures taken to battle the COVID-19 pandemic included virtual and hybrid schooling in many jurisdictions throughout the U.S. and Canada. The uncertainty of when and how schools would open materially affected the Type C and Type D school bus industry in 2020 and continued into the early part of 2021. However, demand for Type C and Type D school buses strengthened substantially throughout 2021 as COVID-19 vaccines were administered and many school jurisdictions returned to in-person learning environments. Nonetheless, the ongoing
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impact of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in supply chain shortages for certain components, such as microchips and products containing resins, that are critical to the manufacture of school buses, which depressed sales during fiscal 2021, particularly in periods that have historically been higher volume months resulting from seasonality. We expect that for so long as these significant supply chain challenges continue, the Company could continue to struggle producing sufficient units to meet the strong current demand for school buses, thereby making historical seasonality unpredictable.

Our management believes, based on our models, that Type C and Type D school bus registrations will return to a similar level as has been experienced over recent pre-pandemic years (2016-2019) once the supply chain constraints are addressed. We believe that (i) since the start of the pandemic, the industry has been operating below its historical long-term average of approximately 30,800 unit sales per year, (ii) there are over 175,000 buses in the U.S. and Canadian fleets that have been in service for 15 or more years, and (iii) the population of school age children is increasing.

Local property and municipal tax receipts are key drivers of school district transportation budgets. Budgets for school bus purchases are directly related to property tax receipts, which are projected to continue a recovery that began in 2012. Home prices have continued to climb during the pandemic as home-buyers have taken advantage of low mortgage rates and thus, put additional pressure on housing inventories. The forecast for continued appreciation in housing prices due to the national shortage of homes is expected to have a positive effect on property tax receipts in the near-term, and school transportation budgets are expected to directly benefit from larger municipal spending budgets. We believe that incremental demand may be achieved as a result of (i) the average age of a school bus in service and (ii) an increased student population (based on information from the most recent National Center of Education Studies Projection of Education Statistics, we expect total student enrollment in the U.S. to increase by 2%, or 1 million students, from 2016 to 2028).

In addition to strong property tax collections, additional funding for school buses is being made available in connection with the Volkswagen ("VW") settlement with the U.S. Government in regard to emissions violations. Of the $14.7 billion in settlement funds, $2.9 billion was allocated to the VW Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trust for state government projects to reduce NOx output from ten categories; school buses are one of the ten categories. Nearly $440 million of the $2.9 billion has been awarded thus far and many more millions are under review by state agencies but are not yet publicly available. Of the $440 million awarded, approximately $160 million has been issued to school bus projects and several states are continuing and/or increasing their focus on similar projects. Given the historical trend and future projections, we expect as much as $1 billion in additional VW settlement funds may ultimately be allocated, or have a high probability of allocation, to the purchases of "cleaner running" school buses through 2028.
Beyond the VW funds, traditional grant programs are expected to continue, including the U.S Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") National Clean Diesel Program and its various state versions. These are valuable programs for potential propane and CNG engine platform sales, as annual budgets for these programs usually range from $40.0 to $100.0 million. Additionally, in November 2020, the Bezos Earth Fund awarded a grant of $100 million, to be disbursed over a five-year period, to the World Resources Institute, a global research organization that focuses on climate initiatives, among others. A portion of this grant will be used to accelerate the adoption of zero emission school buses in the U.S.
Finally, in mid-November 2021, the U.S. Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act ("IIJA") was signed into law. The IIJA allocates $5 billion of federal funds to help local school jurisdictions purchase alternative powered school buses over the next five years. Specifically, $2.5 billion of the funds are allocated for the purchase of electric powered buses, while the remaining $2.5 billion of funds are allocated for the purchase of other "cleaner running" school buses, a relatively broad category that generally includes buses that are powered by propane and CNG.
We believe our leadership in alternative power options, coupled with this external funding, provides a strong foundation to continue to increase sales of our propane, gasoline, CNG and electric powered bus platforms.
Our Competitive Strengths

We believe that our competitive strengths are derived from the following factors:

Reputation for safety, product quality/reliability/durability, and drivability. Our longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made us an iconic American brand. We are the only principal manufacturer with chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications and the only school bus company to offer compliance with industry recognized safety tests - Altoona Testing, Colorado Rack Test and the Kentucky Pole Test - as a standard specification across our entire product line.

Alternative powered bus leadership. We believe we are the market leader in electric, propane, gasoline, and CNG powered buses, having sold approximately 67% of all alternative powered school buses from fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2021. In fiscal 2021, we sold 3,358 propane, gasoline, CNG, and electric powered buses, a decrease of 21% when compared with the prior year, primarily caused by supply chain constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Innovative product leadership. We believe we have consistently led the school bus industry with innovative product leadership through several industry firsts, including the first Type D CNG powered school bus, the first unique school bus chassis, and the first OEM-manufactured propane powered bus. In fiscal 2016, years ahead of our competition, we launched the industry's first gasoline powered Type C bus (utilizing an exclusive Ford and Roush CleanTech powertrain) and we were first-to-market with Electronic Stability Control. Also in 2016, we launched a new CNG powered product using a Ford engine and transmission and a Roush Clean Tech fuel delivery system in a Type C bus. In fiscal 2018, we sold our first Type D electric vehicles and in fiscal 2019 we introduced our Type C electric vehicle. In fiscal 2021, we sold 146 Type C and Type D electric vehicles.

Strong distribution model. We have built an extensive, experienced network of 50 dealers to distribute our buses across the U.S. and Canada, and during recent years have significantly enhanced our relationships with large fleet operators. Our dealers have an average tenure of more than 30 years with us and do not sell competing Type C or Type D school bus products in the areas assigned to them by us.

Highly-skilled and committed workforce. We benefit from a highly-skilled, committed hourly workforce of approximately 1,508 employees who support our customized assembly operations at our 900,000 square foot integrated chassis manufacturing and body assembly facility and 340,000 square foot component fabrication facility. Our employees are trained to maximize production efficiency by following customized processes developed by us.

Strong management team. We are led by a highly experienced and committed management team with an established track record in the U.S. and Canadian school bus and heavy-duty vehicle industries.

Sales Volume

In fiscal 2021, we sold 6,679 Type C and Type D buses, including 6,348 school buses, 156 commercial buses, 9 export buses and 166 Government Services Administration ("GSA") buses. Our Type C school bus accounted for 78% of unit sales and our Type D school bus accounted for 17% of unit sales. Commercial, GSA and export buses, which can be ordered with either the Type C or Type D chassis, accounted for the remaining 5% of unit sales.

Our Dealer Network

In fiscal 2021, we sold approximately 94% of our vehicles through our U.S. and Canadian dealer network, currently consisting of 50 dealers that, in their territories, are exclusive to us with Type C and D school buses. School buses sold in the U.S. and Canada through our dealer network are purchased by school districts and private schools, as well as small and medium size contractors that provide services to school districts on a fee basis. Bus purchases and contractor fees are funded through local school district budgets. Purchases of school buses are typically made through a bid process at the district or state level, with dealers coordinating this process. Dealers develop collaborative relationships with school districts, district transportation directors, and key officials in their states.

Our dealers have access to financing through Blue Bird Capital Services (“BBCS”), a private-label financing product maintained by an independent third party, TCF Inventory Finance, Inc. We do not assume any balance sheet risk with respect to this type of financing and do not receive any direct economic benefit from BBCS.

Other Distribution Channels

Fleet Operators. We also sell school buses directly to large national fleets that span multiple states and such sales are managed internally by our National Account Sales Team.

Export Dealers. We regularly monitor opportunities to sell our Type C and Type D buses in either school bus or other configurations in international markets and typically sell these products through dealers assigned to those territories.

U.S. Government; Other Specialty Sales. We also sell buses through our U.S. GSA contract, an expedited procurement procedure designed to meet the needs of bus customers authorized to purchase through the GSA contracting offices, including the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This full line of bus models is configured for adult or school bus use. In addition to the base GSA specifications, we offer several additional configurations to provide a wide range of passenger capacities and optional features. We also offer a full line of activity bus and Multi-Function School Activity Bus (“MFSAB”) products. With varying vehicle sizes, capacities, power choices, and engine types, our bus options enable our customers to tailor their transportation solutions to their specific needs, be it transporting a church congregation or shuttling workers to job sites.

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Government Contracts

As a U.S. government contractor, we are subject to specific regulations and requirements as mandated by our contracts. These regulations include Federal Acquisition Regulations, Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations, and the Code of Federal Regulations. We are also subject to routine audits and investigations by U.S. government agencies such as the Defense Contract Management Agency and Defense Contract Audit Agency. These agencies review and assess compliance with contractual requirements, cost structure, cost accounting, and applicable laws, regulations, and standards.

A portion of our existing U.S. government contracts extend over multiple years and are conditioned upon the continuing availability of congressional appropriations. In addition, our U.S. government contracts generally permit the contracting government agency to terminate the contract, in whole or in part, either for the convenience of the government or for default based on our failure to perform under the terms of the contract.

Suppliers

We purchase our engine and transmission components on a single-source basis from major OEM manufacturers with sophisticated engineering, production and logistics capabilities, as reflected in the table below:
ComponentOEM Supplier
Diesel enginesCummins Inc.
Diesel emissions kitsCummins Inc.
Propane, gasoline, and CNG (Type C) engines and transmissionsFord Motor Company
Diesel transmissionsAllison Transmission
Propane, gasoline, and CNG (Type C) fueling kits
Roush CleanTech

Our purchasing department continually works to improve our purchasing processes by rationalizing the supplier base and by implementing improved control processes. We regularly perform supplier audits and, when necessary, will meet with under-performing suppliers in order to enhance performance. At October 2, 2021, we had in place long-term supply contracts (addressing both component price and supply) covering nearly 64% of the value of our purchases from suppliers, including long-term agreements with our major single-source suppliers.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced significant supplier shortages of critical components, which has prevented the Company from initiating or completing, as applicable, the production process for certain units that were otherwise scheduled to be delivered to customers during fiscal 2021. For further details and discussion about the impact of COVID-19, refer to the "Impact of COVID-19 on Our Business" section of Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."

Competition

The school bus industry is highly competitive. Our two principal competitors are Thomas Built Bus and IC Bus. Thomas Built Bus is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America and IC Bus is a subsidiary of Navistar International.

We compete primarily on the basis of price, product diversification, school bus innovation, safety, quality, durability and drivability of our products, and the scope and strength of our dealer network. As our principal competitors are parts of larger corporations, our competitors may have greater access to financial capital, human resources, and business opportunities. Such access, in turn, may be used by such companies to compete with us and others in the industry.

Facilities

Our corporate headquarters are located in Macon, Georgia. Our Bus segment operates a fabrication plant and an integrated chassis manufacturing and body assembly plant in Fort Valley, Georgia, where components for Type C, Type D, and specialty buses are manufactured and assembled. Our Parts segment operates a parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. We own our facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia (approximately 1.5 million square feet). We lease facilities in Macon, Georgia (approximately 0.3 million square feet) and Delaware, Ohio (approximately 0.1 million square feet). Our Micro Bird joint venture leases its facility (0.2 million square feet) in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada.

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Intellectual Property and Technology

We seek trademark protection in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. where available and when appropriate. Among other trademarks, we have registered trademark rights in the principal names and designs used by us and Micro Bird in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere. We use these registered marks in connection with all aspects of our branding. However, we also rely on a number of significant unregistered trademarks and other unregistered intellectual property in the day-to-day operation of our business. Without the protections afforded by registration, our ability to protect and use our trademarks and other unregistered intellectual property may be limited and could negatively affect our business.

In addition to trademarks, we rely heavily on trade secrets and know-how to develop and maintain our competitive position. For example, significant aspects of our product designs, manufacturing processes and cost containment steps are based on unpatented trade secrets and know-how. Trade secrets and know-how can be difficult to protect. We seek to protect our proprietary technology and processes, in part, by confidentiality agreements with our employees, suppliers and other commercial partners. These agreements are designed to protect our proprietary information. We also seek to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of our data, designs and trade secrets by maintaining physical security of our premises and physical and electronic security of our information technology systems. While we have confidence in these individuals, organizations and systems, agreements or security measures may be breached, and we may not have adequate remedies for any breach. In addition, our trade secrets may otherwise become known or be independently discovered by competitors. To the extent that our suppliers or contractors use intellectual property owned by others in their work for us, disputes may arise as to the rights in related or resulting know-how.

Government Regulation

Our products must satisfy various legal, environmental, health and safety requirements at federal, state and municipal levels. Compliance with such requirements adds to the costs that must be incurred in order to manufacture a school bus. Failure to comply with such requirements could lead to substantial additional regulatory costs.

At the federal level, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (“FMVSS”) govern the safety of all motor vehicles sold for use in the U.S. More than half of the FMVSS regulations apply to school buses. For example, federal regulations require school buses to be painted “school bus yellow” and to be equipped with specific warning and safety devices. School buses are also built with the body on top of chassis frame rails. This so-called “high floor” construction moves the passenger compartment above the typical automotive “crash zone” and therefore provides an added measure of safety should a collision occur. Steel rollover cages and heavy-duty bumpers are designed to provide incremental protection, in contrast with standard transit buses with “low floor” construction that offer lower curb height access with limited or no steel reinforcement.

After a school bus is sold, regulation of the operation of the school bus becomes the responsibility of the state in which it operates. Today, each state has its own rules and regulations pertaining to the manufacture, design, operation and safety of the school buses operated in their jurisdictions. As a result, we cannot manufacture to a single set of specifications, but rather must assure that each manufactured bus conforms to the specifications of the particular jurisdiction in which it will be operated.

We must also consider the rules and regulations of foreign jurisdictions. In Canada, where our Micro Bird joint venture operates, school buses are governed by the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations. These regulations are patterned after the FMVSS regulations, although differences do exist between the two regulatory systems.

Seasonality

Historically, our business has been highly seasonal with school districts buying their new school buses so that they will be available for use on the first day of the school year, typically in mid-August to early September. This has resulted in our third and fourth fiscal quarters becoming our two busiest quarters, the latter ending on the Saturday closest to September 30. Our quarterly results of operations, cash flows, and liquidity have been and are likely to continue to be impacted by the seasonal patterns. Working capital has historically been a significant use of cash during the first fiscal quarter due to planned shutdowns and a significant source of cash generation in the fourth fiscal quarter.

With the COVID-19 pandemic impact on school systems and the uncertainty regarding (i) in-person schooling schedules and duration and (ii) the severity and duration of ongoing supply chain constraints, seasonality and working capital trends have become unpredictable. Accordingly, seasonality and variations from historical seasonality have impacted the comparison of working capital and liquidity results between fiscal periods.
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Environmental Matters

We are subject to various federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the protection of the environment and health and safety, including those regulating the following: soil, surface water and groundwater contamination; the generation, storage, handling, use, disposal and transportation of hazardous materials; the emission and discharge of materials, including greenhouse gases (“GHG”) into the environment; and the health and safety of our employees. We are also required to obtain environmental permits from governmental authorities for certain operations. We have taken various steps to comply with these numerous and sometimes complex laws, regulations and permits. Compliance with environmental requirements historically has not had a material impact on our capital expenditures, earnings, or competitive position. We have made, and will continue to make, capital and other expenditures pursuant to such requirements. If we violate or fail to comply with these requirements, we could be subject to fines, penalties, enforcement actions or lawsuits.

For additional information regarding potential environmental issues at Blue Bird’s Fort Valley, Georgia facility, refer to Item 1A. “Risk Factors - Risk Factors Relating to Our Business and Industry - Environmental obligations and liabilities could have a negative impact on our financial condition, cash flows and profitability."

Environmental laws, regulations, and permits and the enforcement thereof, change frequently and have become more stringent over time. Among other things, more rigorous GHG emission requirements are in various stages of development. For example, the U.S. EPA has promulgated the GHG Reporting Rule, which requires reporting of GHG data and other relevant information from large sources and suppliers in the U.S., and the GHG Tailoring Rule, which requires certain facilities with significant GHG emissions to obtain emissions permits under the authority of the Clean Air Act (typically limited to only the largest stationary sources of GHG). The U.S. Congress has also considered imposing additional restrictions on GHG emissions. Any additional regulation of GHG emissions by either the U.S. Congress and/or the U.S. EPA could include a cap-and-trade system, technology mandate, emissions tax, reporting requirement, or other program and could subject us to significant costs, including those relating to emission credits, pollution control equipment, monitoring, and reporting, as well as increased energy and raw material prices.

Our facilities and operations could in the future be subject to regulations related to climate change and climate change itself may also have some impact on the Company’s operations. However, these impacts are currently uncertain and the Company cannot presently predict the nature and scope of those impacts.

Research and Development

Refer to Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Recently Issued Accounting Standards, to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for information on research and development.

Warranty

We provide warranties on virtually all of the buses and parts we sell. Warranties are offered for specific periods of time and mileage, and vary depending upon the type of product and the geographic location of its sale. Pursuant to these warranties, we will repair, replace, or adjust certain parts on a bus that are defective in factory-supplied materials or workmanship during the specified warranty period. In addition to the costs associated with this warranty coverage provided on our vehicles, we also incur costs as a result of field service actions (i.e., safety recalls and service bulletins), and customer satisfaction actions. Component suppliers, in particular major component suppliers such as engines and transmissions, provide warranties on their products.

Legal Proceedings

We are engaged in legal proceedings in the ordinary course of our business. Although no assurances can be given about the final outcome of pending legal proceedings, at the present time our management does not believe that the resolution or outcome of any of our pending legal proceedings will have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, liquidity or results of operations.

Employees

At October 2, 2021, we employed 1,790 employees, of which 1,702 were full-time. Our workforce is non-union.


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Item 1A. Risk Factors

You should carefully consider the following risk factors in addition to the other information included in this Report, including matters addressed in the section entitled “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.” We may face additional risks and uncertainties that are not presently known to us, or that we currently deem immaterial, which may also impair our business. The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and notes to the financial statements included in this Report.

Risk Factors Relating to Our Business and Industry

The current COVID-19 pandemic continues to have, and other public health crises, epidemics or pandemics could have, a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows, particularly resulting from supply chain disruptions, reductions in demand for our products, disruptions or other developments negatively impacting our workforce or workplace conditions, and/or reduced access to capital markets and reductions in liquidity.

Beginning at the end of our second quarter of fiscal 2020 and continuing throughout fiscal 2021, the novel coronavirus known as "COVID-19" spread throughout the world, resulting in a global pandemic. The pandemic has, among other impacts:

negatively impacted demand for school buses due to schools operating totally or partially virtually;

triggered significant volatility in capital markets;

caused significant disruptions in global supply chains;

significantly altered global consumer demand;

halted a material number of global manufacturing operations resulting from permanent and temporary plant shut-downs; and

changed global workplace conditions resulting from "shelter-in-place" orders and "work from home" employer policies.

The degree to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our future business, results of operations and financial condition will depend on future developments, which are uncertain, including but not limited to the duration, spread and severity of the pandemic, government responses and other actions to mitigate the spread of and to treat COVID-19, and when and to what extent more normal business, economic and social activity and conditions resume and continue without further disruption. We are similarly unable to predict the extent to which the pandemic will continue to impact our customers, suppliers and other partners and their financial conditions, but adverse effects on these parties would likely also adversely affect us. Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic makes it challenging for management to estimate the future performance of our business.

The pandemic materially impacted our fiscal 2021 results, causing, among other matters, lower customer orders for both buses and bus parts, primarily during the first half of the fiscal year; supply chain disruptions, which became more prevalent and had a much more significant, unfavorable impact on our operations and results in the second half of the fiscal year; higher rates of absenteeism among our hourly production workforce and several temporary shutdowns of our manufacturing facilities as a result of an inadequate supply of critical components to allow us to initiate or complete, as applicable, the production process to fulfill sales orders. The continuing development and fluidity of the pandemic and its trailing impact precludes any prediction as to the ultimate severity of the adverse impacts on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and liquidity.

At the present time, we consider the following areas to be the most significant material risks to our business resulting from the current pandemic:

Supply Chain Disruptions

We rely on specialist suppliers, some of which are single-source suppliers, for critical components (including but not limited to engines, transmissions and axles) and replacement of any of these components with like parts from another supplier normally requires engineering and testing resources, which entail costs and take time. We also currently rely on a limited number of single-source suppliers and/or have limited alternatives for important bus parts such as diesel engines and emission components, propane and gasoline engines including powertrains, control modules, steering systems, seats, specialty resins, and other key components. Our manufacturing facilities shutdowns during fiscal 2021 were partially due to an inability to obtain critical components from our
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suppliers. Future delays or interruptions in the supply chain due to the COVID-19 pandemic expose us to the following risks which would likely significantly increase our costs and/or impact our ability to meet customer demand:

• we or our third-party suppliers may lose access to critical services and components, resulting in an interruption in the manufacture, assembly, and delivery or shipment of our products;

• we or our third-party suppliers may not be able to respond to unanticipated changes in customer orders;

• we or our suppliers may have excess or inadequate inventory of materials and components;

• we or our third-party suppliers may be subject to price fluctuations due to the pandemic and a lack of long-term supply arrangements for key components;

• we may experience delays in delivery by our third-party suppliers due to changes in demand from us or their other customers;

• fluctuations in demand for products that our third-party suppliers manufacture for others may affect their ability or willingness to deliver components to us in a timely manner;

• we may not be able to find new or alternative components or reconfigure our products and manufacturing processes in a timely manner if the necessary components become unavailable; and

• our third-party suppliers may encounter financial hardships unrelated to our demand, which could inhibit their ability to fulfill our orders and meet our requirements.

Disruptions or other developments negatively impacting our workforce or workplace conditions

Almost all U.S. states, including Georgia where our headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located, have issued “shelter-in-place” orders, quarantines, executive orders and similar government orders, restrictions and recommendations for their residents to control the spread of COVID-19. These orders may continue to be re-issued in the future and may introduce broader restrictions. Such orders, restrictions and recommendations have resulted in widespread closures of businesses, work stoppages, interruptions, slowdowns and delays, work-from-home policies and travel restrictions. While our business has been deemed "essential" by the State of Georgia, we have employed remote work policies when and where necessary to be responsive to the health risks that may impact our employees. Given the nature of our business, we do not have the ability to manufacture a bus without our on-site manufacturing personnel. While we have not experienced any pervasive COVID-19 illnesses to date, if we were to experience some form of outbreak within our facilities, we would take all appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of our employees, which could include a temporary halt in production. Any extended production halt or diminution in production capacity would have a negative impact on our ability to fulfill orders and thus negatively impact our revenues, profitability and cash flows.

Reduced profitability and liquidity, resulting in the restructuring of our credit facilities, and/or inadequate access to credit and capital markets

The COVID-19 pandemic has materially adversely impacted global commercial activity and has contributed to significant volatility in financial markets. The pandemic continues to have a materially adverse impact on economic and market conditions, potentially reducing our ability to access capital, which could in the future negatively affect our liquidity.

The continuing pandemic could cause a more severe contraction in our profits and/or liquidity which could lead to issues complying with the financial covenants in our credit facility. Our primary financial covenants are (i) for fiscal 2022, minimum consolidated EBITDA, which is an adjusted EBITDA metric that could differ from Adjusted EBITDA appearing in the Company’s periodic filings on Form 10-K or Form 10-Q as the adjustments to the calculations are not uniform, at the end of each fiscal quarter for the consecutive four fiscal quarter period most recently then ending; (ii) for fiscal 2022 and through April 1, 2023, minimum liquidity at the end of each fiscal month; (iii) when applicable during fiscal 2022, minimum school bus units manufactured calculated on a three month trailing basis at the end of each fiscal month; and (iv) beginning in fiscal 2023 and thereafter, Total Net Leverage Ratio ("TNLR"), defined as the ratio of (a) consolidated net debt to (b) consolidated EBITDA. We may need to seek amendment for additional covenant relief or even refinance the debt to a "covenant light" or "no covenant" structure. We cannot assure our investors that we would be successful in amending or refinancing our existing debt. An amendment or refinancing of our existing debt could lead to higher interest rates and possible up front expenses than included in our historical financial statements.

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General economic conditions in the markets we serve have a significant impact on demand for our buses.

The school bus market is predominantly driven by long-term trends in the level of spending by municipalities. The principal factors underlying spending by municipalities are housing prices, property tax levels, municipal budgeting issues and voter initiatives. Demand for school buses is further influenced by overall acquisition priorities of municipalities, availability of school bus financing, student population changes, school district busing policies, price and other competitive factors, fuel prices and environmental regulations. Significant deterioration in the economic environment, housing prices, property tax levels or municipal budgets could result in fewer new orders for school buses or could cause customers to seek to postpone or reduce orders, which could result in lower revenues, profitability and cash flows.

We may be unable to obtain critical components from suppliers, which could disrupt or delay our ability to deliver products to customers.

We rely on specialist suppliers for critical components (including engines, transmissions and axles) and replacement of any of these components with like parts from another supplier normally requires engineering and testing resources, which entail costs and take time. The lack of ready-to-implement alternatives could give such suppliers, some of which have substantial market power, significant leverage over us if these suppliers elected to exert their market power over us, which leverage could adversely impact the terms and conditions of purchase, including pricing, warranty claims and delivery schedules. We seek to mitigate supply chain risks with our key suppliers by entering into long-term agreements, by commencing contract negotiations with suppliers of critical components significantly before contract expiration dates, and by diversifying our suppliers of key components with contingency programs when possible.

If any of our critical component suppliers limit or reduce the supply of components due to commercial reasons, financial difficulties or other problems, we could experience a loss of revenues due to our inability to fulfill orders, as was the case in the second half of fiscal 2021. These single-source and other suppliers are each subject to quality and operational issues, materials shortages, unplanned demand, reduction in capacity and other factors that may disrupt the flow of goods to us or to our customers, which would adversely affect our business and customer relationships.

We have no assurance that our suppliers will continue to meet our requirements. If supply arrangements are interrupted, we may not be able to find another supplier on a timely or satisfactory basis. We may incur significant set-up costs, delays and lag time in manufacturing should it become necessary to replace any key suppliers. Our business interruption insurance coverage may not be adequate for any interruptions that we could encounter and may not continue to be available in amounts and on terms acceptable to us. Production delays could, under certain circumstances, result in penalties or liquidated damages in certain of our GSA contracts.

We rely substantially on single-source suppliers which could materially and adversely impact us if they were to interrupt the supply of component parts to us.

We currently rely on a limited number of single-source suppliers and/or have limited alternatives for important bus parts such as diesel engines and emission components, propane and gasoline engines including powertrains, control modules, air brakes, steering systems, seats, specialty resins, and other key components. Shortages and allocations by such manufacturers may result in inefficient operations and a build-up of inventory, which could negatively affect our working capital position, as was the case towards the end of fiscal 2021.

Our products may not achieve or maintain market acceptance or competing products could gain market share, which could adversely affect our competitive position.

We operate in a highly competitive domestic market. Our principal competitors are Thomas Built Bus (owned by Daimler Trucks North America) and IC Bus (owned by Navistar International), which, at the consolidated level, have potential access to more technical, financial and marketing resources than our Company. Our competitors may develop or gain access to products that are superior to our products, develop methods of more efficiently and effectively providing products and services, or adapt more quickly than we do to new technologies or evolving customer requirements. IC Bus and Thomas Built Bus both sell electric and propane powered school buses. This brings both competitors into direct competition with our electric and propane powered product offerings. Our competitors may achieve cost savings or be able to withstand a substantial downturn in the market because their businesses are consolidated with other vehicle lines. In addition, our competitors could be, and have been in the past, vertically integrated by designing and manufacturing their own components (including engines) to reduce their costs. The school bus market does not have “Buy America” regulations, so competitors or new entrants to the market could manufacture school buses in more cost-effective jurisdictions and import them to the U.S. to compete with us. Any increase in competition may cause us to lose market share or compel us to reduce prices to remain competitive, which could result in reduced sales, profitability and cash flows.

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Our business is cyclical, which has had, and could have future, adverse effects on our sales and results of operations and lead to significant shifts in our results of operations from quarter to quarter that make it difficult to project long-term performance.

The school bus market historically has been and is expected to continue to be cyclical. This cyclicality has an impact both on the school bus industry and also on the comparative analysis of quarterly results of our Company.

Customers historically have replaced school buses in lengthy cycles. Moreover, weak macroeconomic conditions can adversely affect demand for new school buses and lead to an overall aging of school bus fleets beyond a typical replacement cycle. To the extent the increase in school bus demand is attributable to pent-up demand rather than overall economic growth, future school bus sales may lag behind improvements in general economic conditions or property tax levels. During downturns, we may find it necessary to reduce line rates and employee levels due to lower overall demand. An economic downturn may reduce, and in the past, including 2020, has reduced, demand for school buses, resulting in lower sales volumes, lower prices and decreased profits.

Primarily as a result of the historical seasonal nature of our business, we operate with negative working capital for significant portions of our fiscal year. During economic downturns, this tends to result in our utilizing a substantial portion of our cash reserves.

Our ability to sell our products may be negatively affected by trade policies and tariffs.
 
We import some of our components from China and other foreign countries. Our purchases may be subject to the effects of the U.S. trade policy, including the imposition of tariffs and anti-dumping/countervailing duties on these components. We cannot assure you that our ability to sell our products at reasonable margins will not be impaired by the imposition of tariffs or other changes in trade policy which may make it more difficult or more expensive to purchase our products.

We enter into firm fixed-price school bus sales contracts without price escalation clauses which could subject us to losses if we have cost overruns or if our costs increase.

We often bid on contracts weeks or months before school buses are delivered and enter into school bus sales contracts with fixed prices per bus. The sales contracts generally do not have an indexed price escalation formula to account for economic fluctuations between the contract date and the delivery date. As a result, we typically are unable to pass along increased costs due to economic fluctuations to our customers, which is generally expected to occur for sales occurring in the first half of fiscal 2022 and could continue into future periods. We generally purchase steel one quarter in advance, but because we usually do not hedge our other primary raw materials (rubber, aluminum and copper), changes in prices of raw materials can significantly impact operating margins. Our actual costs and any gross profit realized on these fixed-price contracts could vary from the estimated costs on which these contracts were originally based.

New laws, regulations or governmental policies regarding environmental, health and safety standards, or changes in existing ones, may have a significant negative impact on how we do business.

Our products must satisfy various legal, environmental, health and safety requirements, including applicable emissions and fuel economy requirements. Meeting or exceeding government-mandated safety standards can be difficult and costly. Such regulations are extensive and may, in certain circumstances, operate at cross purposes. While we are managing our product development and production operations to reduce costs, unique local, state, federal and international standards can result in additional costs for product development, testing and manufacturing. We depend on third party single-source suppliers to comply with applicable emissions and fuel economy standards in the manufacture of engines supplied to us for our buses. Increased environmental, safety, emissions, fuel economy or other regulations may result in additional costs and lag time to introduce new products to market.

Safety or durability incidents associated with a school bus malfunction may result in loss of school bus sales that could have material adverse effects on our business.

The school bus industry has few participants due to the importance of brand and reputation for safety and durability, compliance with stringent safety and regulatory requirements, an understanding of the specialized product specifications in each region and specialized technological and manufacturing know-how. If incidents associated with school bus malfunction transpired that called into question our reputation for safety or durability, it could harm our brand and reputation and cause consumers to question the safety, reliability and durability of our products. Lost school bus sales resulting from safety or durability incidents could materially adversely affect our business.

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Disruption of our manufacturing and distribution operations would have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We manufacture school buses at facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia and distribute parts from a distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. If operations at our manufacturing or distribution facilities were to be disrupted for a significant length of time as a result of significant equipment failures, critical component shortages, natural disasters, power outages, fires, explosions, terrorism, adverse weather conditions, labor disputes, cyber-attacks or other reasons, we may be unable to fulfill dealer or customer orders and otherwise meet demand for our products, which would have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Any interruption in production or distribution capability could require us to make substantial capital expenditures to fulfill customer orders, which could negatively affect our profitability and financial condition. We maintain property damage insurance that we believe to be adequate to provide for reconstruction of facilities and equipment, as well as business interruption insurance to mitigate losses resulting from any production interruption or shutdown caused by an insured loss. However, any recovery under our insurance policies may not offset the lost sales or increased costs that may be experienced during the disruption of operations. Also, our property damage and business interruption insurance coverage may not be applicable or adequate for any such disruption and may not continue to be available in amounts and on terms acceptable to us.

Rationalization or restructuring of manufacturing facilities, including plant expansions and system upgrades at our manufacturing facilities, may cause production capacity constraints and inventory fluctuations.

The rationalization of our manufacturing facilities has at times resulted in, and similar rationalizations or restructurings in the future may result in, temporary constraints upon our ability to produce the quantity of products necessary to fulfill orders and thereby complete sales in a timely manner. In addition, system upgrades at our manufacturing facilities that impact ordering, production scheduling and other related manufacturing processes are complex, and could impact or delay production targets. A prolonged delay in our ability to fulfill orders on a timely basis could affect customer demand for our products and increase the size of our raw material inventories, causing future reductions in our manufacturing schedules and adversely affecting our results of operations. Moreover, our continuous development and production of new products will often involve the retooling of existing manufacturing equipment. This retooling may limit our production capacity at certain times in the future, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, the expansion, reconfiguration, maintenance and modernization of existing manufacturing facilities and the start-up of new manufacturing operations, could increase the risk of production delays and require significant investments of capital.

We may incur material losses and costs related to product warranty claims.

We are subject to product warranty claims in the ordinary course of our business. Our standard warranty covers the bus for one year and certain components for up to five years. We attempt to adequately price ongoing warranty costs into our bus purchase contracts; however, our warranty reserves are estimates and if we produce poor quality products, develop new products with deficiencies or receive defective materials or components, we may incur material unforeseen costs in excess of what we have provided for in our contracts or reserved in our financial statements.

In addition, we may not be able to enforce warranties and extended warranties received or purchased from our suppliers if such suppliers refuse to honor such warranties or go out of business. Also, a customer may choose to pursue remedies directly under its contract with us over enforcing such supplier warranties. In such a case, we may not be able to recover our losses from the supplier.

We may incur material losses and costs as a result of product liability claims and recalls.

We face an inherent risk of exposure to product liability claims if the use of our products results, or is alleged to result, in personal injury and/or property damage. If we manufacture a defective product or if component failures result in damages that are not covered by warranty provisions, we may experience material product liability losses in the future. In addition, we may incur significant costs to defend product liability claims. We could also incur damages and significant costs in correcting any defects, lose sales and suffer damage to our reputation. Our product liability insurance coverage may not be adequate for all liabilities we could incur and may not continue to be available in amounts and on terms acceptable to us. Significant product liability claims could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Moreover, the adverse publicity that may result from a product liability claim or perceived or actual defect with our products could have a material adverse effect on our ability to market our products successfully.

We are subject to potential recalls of our products from customers to cure manufacturing defects or in the event of a failure to comply with customers’ order specifications or applicable regulatory standards, as well as potential recalls of components or parts manufactured by suppliers that we purchase and incorporate into our school buses. We may also be required to remedy or retrofit buses in the event that an order is not built to a customer’s specifications or where a design error has been made. Significant retrofit
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and remediation costs or product recalls could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

A failure to renew dealer agreements or cancellation of, or significant delay in, new bus orders may result in unexpected declines in revenue and profitability.

We rely to a significant extent on our dealers to sell our products to the end consumer. A loss of one or more significant dealers or a reduction in the market share of existing dealers would lead to a loss of revenues that could materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Our dealer agreements are typically for a five-year term; however, the dealer can usually cancel the agreement for convenience without penalty upon 90 days’ notice. While most of our dealers have been purchasing from us for more than two decades, we can provide no assurance that we will be able to renew our dealer agreements on favorable terms, or at all, at their scheduled expiration dates. If we are unable to renew a contract with one or more of our significant dealers, our revenues and results of operations could be adversely affected until an alternative solution is implemented (e.g., a new dealer or combining the territory with another, existing Blue Bird dealer). If dealer agreements are terminated with one or more of our top 10 dealers, significant orders are canceled or delayed or we incur a significant decrease in the level of purchases from any of our top 10 dealers, our sales and operating results would be adversely impacted. In addition, our new bus orders are subject to potential reduction, cancellation and/or significant delay. Although dealers generally only order buses from us after they have a firm order from a school district, orders for buses are also generally cancellable until 14 weeks prior to delivery.

Changes in laws or regulations related to the manufacture of school buses, or a failure to comply with such laws and regulations, could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We are subject to laws and regulations enacted by national, regional and local governments, including non-U.S. governments, related to the manufacture of our school buses. Compliance with, and monitoring of, applicable laws and regulations may be difficult, time consuming and costly, which could negatively impact our business and results of operations. Our products must satisfy a complex compliance scheme due to variability in and potentially conflicting local, state, federal and international laws and regulations. The cost of compliance may be substantial in a period due to the potential for modification or customization of our school buses in any of the 50 plus jurisdictions in which our buses are sold. In addition, if we expand into more international jurisdictions, we could potentially incur additional costs in order to tailor our products to the applicable local law requirements of such jurisdictions. Further, we must comply with additional regulatory requirements applicable to us as a federal contractor for our GSA contracts, which increases our costs. GSA contracts are also subject to audit and increased inspections and costs of compliance. Any potential penalties for non-compliance with laws and regulations may not be covered by insurance that we carry.

Environmental obligations and liabilities could have a negative impact on our financial condition, cash flows and profitability.

Potential environmental issues have been identified at our facility in Fort Valley, Georgia, including the solid waste management units at the facility’s old landfill. Potential remediation costs and obligations could require the expenditure of capital and, if greater than expected, or in excess of applicable insurance coverage, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, liquidity or financial condition. We are cooperating with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and have conducted a site-wide investigation under the current hazardous waste management law. All investigations of suspect areas have been completed. Implementation of a corrective action plan is forthcoming, which will consist of re-surfacing the landfill cap, possible monitoring, and ground water use restrictions for the old landfill. There are currently no proposed remediation actions to be included in the corrective action plan. Based on the data generated from the latest site investigation, we believe our environmental risks have been reduced substantially, but not eliminated.

Our future competitiveness and ability to achieve long-term profitability depend on our ability to control costs, which requires us to improve our organization continuously and to increase operating efficiencies and reduce costs.

In order to operate profitably in our market, we are continually transforming our organization and rationalizing our operating processes. Our future competitiveness depends upon our continued success in implementing these initiatives throughout our operations. While some of the elements of cost reduction are within our control, others, such as commodity costs, regulatory costs and labor costs, depend more on external factors, and there can be no assurance that such external factors will not materially adversely affect our ability to reduce our costs.

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Our operating results may vary widely from period to period due to the sales cycle, seasonal fluctuations and other factors.

Our orders with our dealers and customers generally require time-consuming customization and specification. We incur significant operating expenses when we are building a bus prior to sale or designing and testing a new bus. If there are delays in the sale of buses to dealers or customers, such delays may lead to significant fluctuations in results of operations from quarter to quarter, making it difficult to predict our financial performance on a quarterly basis. Further, if we were to experience a significant amount of cancellations of or reductions in purchase orders, it would reduce our future sales and results of operations.

Our business is subject to seasonal and other fluctuations. In particular, we have historically experienced higher revenues during the third and fourth quarters when compared with the first and second quarters during each fiscal year. This seasonality is caused primarily by school districts ordering more school buses prior to the beginning of a school year. Our ability to meet customer delivery schedules is dependent on a number of factors including, but not limited to, access to components and raw materials, an adequate and capable workforce, assembling/engineering expertise for certain projects and sufficient manufacturing capacity. The availability of these factors may in some cases be subject to conditions outside of our control. A failure to deliver in accordance with our performance obligations may result in financial penalties under certain of our GSA contracts and damage to existing customer relationships, damage to our reputation and a loss of future bidding opportunities, which could cause the loss of future business and could negatively impact our financial performance.

Our defined benefit pension plan is currently underfunded and pension funding requirements could increase significantly due to a reduction in funded status as a result of a variety of factors, including weak performance of financial markets, decreasing interest rates and investments that do not achieve adequate returns.

Our defined benefit pension plan currently holds a significant amount of equity and fixed income securities. Our future funding requirement for our frozen defined benefit pension plan (“Pension Plan”) qualified with the Internal Revenue Service depends upon the future performance of assets placed in trusts for this plan, the level of interest rates used to determine funding levels, the level of benefits provided for by the Pension Plan and any changes in government laws and regulations. Future funding requirements generally increase if the discount rate decreases or if actual asset returns are lower than expected asset returns, as other factors are held constant. If future funding requirements increase, we would be required to contribute more funds, which would negatively impact our cash flows.

Our current or future indebtedness could impair our financial condition and reduce the funds available to us for growth or other purposes. Our debt agreements impose certain operating and financial restrictions, with which failure to comply could result in an event of default that could adversely affect our business.

We have substantial indebtedness. If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to fund the interest payments on our outstanding borrowings under our credit facility and other debt service obligations and keep us in compliance with the covenants under our debt agreements or to fund our other liquidity needs, we may be forced to reduce or delay capital expenditures, sell assets or operations, seek additional capital or restructure or refinance our indebtedness. We cannot assure investors that we would be able to take any of these actions, that these actions would permit us to meet our scheduled debt service obligations or that these actions would be permitted under the terms of our existing or future debt agreements, which may impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us and could adversely affect our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs; obtain standby letters of credit, bank guarantees or performance bonds required to bid on or secure certain customer contracts; make strategic acquisitions or investments or enter into alliances; withstand a future downturn in our business or the economy in general; engage in business activities, including future opportunities for growth, that may be in our interest; and plan for or react to market conditions or otherwise execute our business strategies.

If we cannot make scheduled payments on our debt, or if we breach any of the covenants in our debt agreements, we will be in default and, as a result, our lenders could declare all outstanding principal and interest to be due and payable, could terminate their commitments to lend us money and foreclose against the assets securing our borrowings, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.

In addition, we and certain of our subsidiaries may incur significant additional indebtedness, including additional secured indebtedness. Although the terms of our debt agreements contain restrictions on the incurrence of additional indebtedness, these restrictions are subject to a number of qualifications and exceptions, and additional indebtedness incurred in compliance with these restrictions could be significant. Incurring additional indebtedness could increase the risks associated with our substantial indebtedness, including our ability to service our indebtedness.
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Our profitability depends on achieving certain minimum school bus sales volumes and margins. If school bus sales deteriorate, our results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows will suffer.

Our continued profitability requires us to maintain certain minimum school bus sales volumes and margins. As is typical for a vehicle manufacturer, we have significant fixed costs and, therefore, changes in our school bus sales volume can have a disproportionately large effect on profitability. If our school bus sales decline to levels significantly below our assumptions, due to a financial downturn, renewed recessionary conditions, changes in consumer confidence, geopolitical events, inability to secure an adequate supply of critical components or any other reason that would limit our ability to produce sufficient quantities of school buses, limited access to financing or other factors, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows would be materially adversely affected.

If Blue Bird Capital Services cannot provide financial services to our dealers and customers to acquire our products, our sales and results of operations could deteriorate.

Our dealers and customers benefit from their relationships with BBCS, which provides (i) floorplan financing for certain of our network dealers and (ii) a modest amount of vehicle lease financing to school districts. Although we neither assume any balance sheet risk nor receive any direct economic benefit from BBCS, which is financed by TCF Inventory Finance, Inc., we could be materially adversely affected if BBCS was unable to provide this financing and our dealers were unable to obtain alternate financing, at least until a replacement for BBCS was identified. BBCS faces a number of business, economic and financial risks that could impair its access to capital and negatively affect its business and operations and its ability to provide financing and leasing to our dealers and customers. Because BBCS serves as an additional source of leasing and financing options for dealers and customers, an impairment of BBCS’ ability to provide such financial services could negatively affect our efforts to expand our market penetration among customers that rely on these financial services to acquire new school buses and dealers that seek financing.

We rely heavily on trade secrets to gain a competitive advantage in the market and the unenforceability of our nondisclosure agreements may adversely affect our operations.

Historically, we have not relied upon patents to protect our design or manufacturing processes or products. Instead, we rely significantly on maintaining the confidentiality of our trade secrets and other information related to our operations. Accordingly, we require all executives, engineering employees and suppliers to sign a nondisclosure agreement to protect our trade secrets, business strategy and other proprietary information. If the provisions of these agreements are found unenforceable in any jurisdiction in which we operate, the disclosure of our proprietary information may place us at a competitive disadvantage. Even where the provisions are enforceable, the confidentiality clauses may not provide adequate protection of our trade secrets and proprietary information in every such jurisdiction.

We require training sessions for our employees regarding the protection of our trade secrets, business strategy and other proprietary information. Our employee training may not provide adequate protection of our trade secrets and proprietary information.

We may be unable to prevent third parties from using our intellectual property rights, including trade secrets and know-how, without our authorization or from independently developing intellectual property that is the same as or similar to our intellectual property, particularly in those countries where the laws do not protect our intellectual property rights as fully as in the U.S. The unauthorized use of our trade secrets or know-how by third parties could reduce or eliminate any competitive advantage we have developed, cause us to lose sales or otherwise harm our business or increase our expenses as we attempt to enforce our rights.

Our intellectual property rights may not be successfully asserted in the future or may be invalidated, circumvented or challenged.

We rely on a number of significant unregistered trademarks and other unregistered intellectual property in the day-to-day operation of our business. Without the protections afforded by registration, our ability to protect and use our trademarks and other unregistered intellectual property may be limited, which could negatively affect our business in the future. In addition, while we have not faced intellectual property infringement claims from others in recent years, in the event successful infringement claims are brought against us, particularly claims (under patents or otherwise) against our product design or manufacturing processes, such claims could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operation.

Our business could be materially adversely affected by changes in foreign currency exchange rates.

We sell the majority of our buses and parts in U.S. Dollars. Our foreign customers have exposures to risks related to changes in foreign currency exchange rates on our sales in that region. Foreign currency exchange rates can have material adverse effects on our foreign customers' ability to purchase our products. Further, we have certain sales contracts that are transacted in Canadian Dollars.
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While we aim to hedge any such transactions, that may not always be the case. As a result, foreign currency fluctuations and the associated remeasurements and translations could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

The manufacture of our Type A buses is conducted by the Micro Bird joint venture that we do not control and cannot operate solely for our benefit.

The manufacture of Type A buses is carried out by a 50/50 Canadian joint venture, Micro Bird, which we do not control or consolidate. In joint ventures, we share ownership and management of a company with one or more parties who may not have the same goals, strategies, priorities or resources as we do and may compete with us outside the joint venture. Joint ventures are intended to be operated for the equal benefit of all co-owners, rather than for our exclusive benefit. Operating a business as a joint venture often requires additional organizational formalities as well as time-consuming procedures for sharing information and making decisions. In joint ventures, we are required to foster our relationships with co-owners as well as promote the overall success of the joint venture, and if a co-owner changes or relationships deteriorate, our success in the joint venture may be materially adversely affected. The benefits from a successful joint venture are shared among the co-owners, so that we do not receive all the benefits from our joint venture.

General Risk Factors

The inability to attract and retain key personnel could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Our ability to operate our business and implement our strategies depends, in part, on the efforts of our executive officers and other key employees. Our future success depends, in large part, on our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel, including manufacturing personnel, sales professionals and engineers. The unexpected loss of services of any of our key personnel or the failure to attract or retain other qualified personnel could have a material adverse effect on the operation of our business.

While we have enjoyed good relations and a collaborative approach with our work force, employment relationships can deteriorate over time. Given the extent to which we rely on our employees, any significant deterioration in our relationships with our key employees or overall workforce could materially harm us. Work stoppages or instability in our relationships with our employees could delay the production and/or development of our products, which could strain relationships with customers and cause a loss of revenues which would adversely affect our operations. In addition, local economic conditions in the Central Georgia area (where our principal manufacturing facilities are located) may impact our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel.

Our worker’s compensation insurance may not provide adequate coverage against potential liabilities.

Although we maintain a workers’ compensation insurance stop loss policy to cover us for costs and expenses we may incur resulting from work-related injuries to our employees over our self-insured limit, this insurance may not provide adequate coverage against potential liabilities as we incur the costs and expenses up to our self-insured limit. In addition, we may incur substantial costs in order to comply with current or future health and safety laws and regulations. These current or future laws and regulations may negatively impact our manufacturing operations. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations also may result in substantial fines, penalties or other sanctions.

We may need additional financing to execute our business plan and fund operations, which additional financing may not be available on reasonable terms or at all.

Our ability to execute current and future business plans, including the potential for future market and/or product expansion and opportunities for future international growth, may require substantial additional capital. We will consider raising additional funds through various financing sources, including the sale of our equity securities or the procurement of additional commercial debt financing. However, there can be no assurance that such funds will be available on commercially reasonable terms, if at all. If such financing is not available on satisfactory terms, we may be unable to execute our growth strategy, and operating results may be adversely affected. Any additional debt financing will increase expenses and must be repaid regardless of operating results and may involve restrictions limiting our operating flexibility. If we issue equity securities to raise additional funds, the percentage ownership of our existing stockholders will be reduced, and our stockholders may experience additional dilution in net book value per share. If the amount of capital we are able to raise from financing activities, together with our revenues from operations, are not sufficient to satisfy our capital needs, we may be required to decrease the pace of, or eliminate, our future product offerings and market expansion opportunities and potentially curtail operations.

Interest rates could change substantially, materially impacting our profitability.

Our borrowings under our credit facility are at variable rates of interest and expose us to interest rate risk. We monitor and manage this exposure as part of our overall risk management program, which recognizes the unpredictability of interest rates and seeks to reduce
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potentially adverse effects on our business. The majority of our debt interest payments are protected against increases in short-term rates; however, changes in interest rates cannot always be predicted, hedged, or offset with price increases to eliminate earnings volatility.

An impairment in the carrying value of goodwill and other long-lived intangible assets could negatively affect our operating results.

We have a substantial amount of goodwill and purchased intangible assets on our balance sheet, concentrated in our bus segment and specifically related to the dealer network and our trade name. These long-lived assets are required to be reviewed for impairment at least annually, or more frequently if potential interim indicators exist that could result in impairment. If any business conditions or other factors cause profitability or cash flows to significantly decline, we may be required to record a non-cash impairment charge, which could adversely affect our operating results. Events and conditions that could result in impairment include a prolonged period of global economic weakness, a further decline in economic conditions or a slow, weak economic recovery, sustained declines in the price of our common stock, adverse changes in the regulatory environment, adverse changes in the market share of our products, adverse changes in interest rates or other factors leading to reductions in the long-term sales or profitability that we expect.

Security breaches and other disruptions to our information technology networks and systems could substantially interfere with our operations and could compromise the confidentiality of our proprietary information, notwithstanding the fact that no such breaches or disruptions have materially impacted us to date.

We rely upon information technology systems and networks, some of which are managed by third-parties, to process, transmit and store electronic information, and to manage or support a variety of business processes and activities, including supply chain management, manufacturing, invoicing and collection of payments from our dealer network and customers. Additionally, we collect and store sensitive data, including intellectual property, proprietary business information, the proprietary business information of our dealers and suppliers, as well as personally identifiable information of our employees, in data centers and on information technology systems. The secure operation of these information technology systems, and the processing and maintenance of this information, is critical to our business operations and strategy. Despite security measures and business continuity plans, our information technology systems and networks may be vulnerable to damage, disruptions or shutdowns due to attacks by hackers or breaches due to errors or malfeasance by employees, contractors and others who have access to our networks and systems, or other disruptions during the process of upgrading or replacing computer software or hardware, hardware failures, software errors, third-party service provider outages, power outages, computer viruses, telecommunication or utility failures or natural disasters or other catastrophic events. The occurrence of any of these events could compromise our systems and the information stored there could be accessed, publicly disclosed, lost or stolen. Any such access, disclosure or other loss of information could result in legal claims or proceedings, liability or regulatory penalties under laws protecting the privacy of personal information, disrupt operations and reduce the competitive advantage we hope to derive from our investment in technology. Our insurance coverage may not be available or adequate to cover all the costs related to significant security attacks or disruptions resulting from such attacks.

Other Risk Factors Relating to an Investment in Our Common Stock

Our only significant asset is ownership of 100% of the capital stock of School Bus Holdings and we do not currently intend to pay cash dividends on our common stock. Consequently, stockholders' ability to achieve a return on their investment will depend on appreciation in the price of our common stock.

We have no direct operations and no significant assets other than the ownership of 100% of the capital stock of School Bus Holdings. We depend on School Bus Holdings and its subsidiaries for distributions, loans and other payments to generate the funds necessary to meet our financial obligations, including our expenses as a publicly traded company, and to pay any dividends with respect to our common stock, if any. Legal and contractual restrictions in agreements governing our current indebtedness, as well as our financial condition and operating requirements, may limit our ability to obtain cash from School Bus Holdings and its subsidiaries. While we are permitted to pay dividends in certain circumstances under our credit facility, as long as we are in compliance with our obligations under the credit facility, we do not expect to pay cash dividends on our common stock. Any future dividend payments are within the absolute discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our results of operations, working capital requirements, capital expenditure requirements, financial condition, level of indebtedness, contractual restrictions with respect to payment of dividends, business opportunities, anticipated cash needs, provisions of applicable law and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant.

Concentration of ownership of our common stock may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control.

At October 2, 2021, approximately 35% of our common stock was owned by ASP, an affiliate of American Securities LLC ("American Securities"). As a result, American Securities has the ability to significantly influence the outcome of corporate actions of
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our Company requiring stockholder approval. This concentration of ownership may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control and might adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

Shares of our common stock are reserved for current and future issuance, which would have the effect of diluting the existing shareholders.

On May 28, 2015 and March 12, 2020, we registered 3,700,000 and 1,500,000 common stock shares, respectively, representing the shares of common stock issuable under the Blue Bird Corporation 2015 Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan (the “Incentive Plan”) and, pursuant to Rule 416(c) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, an indeterminable number of additional shares of common stock issuable under the Incentive Plan, as such amount may be adjusted as a result of stock splits, stock dividends, recapitalizations, anti-dilution provisions and similar transactions. At October 2, 2021, there were 1,358,263 common stock shares remaining to be issued under the Incentive Plan.

On December 15, 2021, we issued and sold through a private placement an aggregate 4,687,500 shares of our common stock at $16.00 per share. The $75.0 million of net proceeds that we received from this transaction may be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes, which may include acquisitions, investments in technologies or businesses, operating expenses and capital expenditures. Refer to Note 19, Subsequent Events, to the Company’s consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding this transaction.

Additionally, on November 16, 2021, we filed a Registration Statement on Form S-3 that allows the Company to sell up to $200.0 million in the aggregate of any combination of several different type of securities, including shares of common stock, from time to time in one or more offerings. The number of shares is indeterminable and is dependent on whether or not common stock is a security being sold in a future offering and, if so, the amount of capital we are attempting to raise and the price at which the shares of common stock can be sold. Any such sale of shares may also be adjusted as a result of stock splits, stock dividends, recapitalizations, anti-dilution provisions and similar transactions.

Anti-takeover provisions contained in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could impair a takeover attempt.

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws contain provisions that could have the effect of delaying or preventing changes in control or changes in our management without the consent of our board of directors. These provisions include:

no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;

the exclusive right of our board of directors to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the board of directors or the resignation, death, or removal of a director with or without cause by stockholders, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on our board of directors;

subject to any rights of holders of existing preferred shares, the ability of our board of directors to determine whether to issue shares of our preferred stock and to determine the price and other terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquirer;

a prohibition on stockholder action by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders;

the requirement that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the chairman of the board of directors, the chief executive officer, or the board of directors, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors;

limiting the liability of, and providing indemnification to, our directors and officers;

controlling the procedures for the conduct and scheduling of stockholder meetings;

providing for a staggered board, in which the members of the board of directors are divided into three classes to serve for a period of three years from the date of their respective appointment or election;

permitting the removal of directors with or without cause by stockholders voting a majority of the votes cast if, at any time and for so long as, American Securities beneficially owns, in the aggregate, capital stock representing at least 40% of the outstanding shares of our common stock;

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advance notice procedures that stockholders must comply with in order to nominate candidates to our board of directors or to propose matters to be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of our Company;

requiring an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of our entire board of directors and by the holders of at least 66.67% of the voting power of our outstanding voting stock in order to adopt an amendment to our certificate of incorporation if, at any time and for so long as, American Securities beneficially owns, in the aggregate, capital stock representing at least 50% of the outstanding shares of our common stock; and

requiring an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of our entire board of directors or by the holders of at least 66.67% of the voting power of our outstanding voting stock to amend our bylaws if, at any time and for so long as, American Securities beneficially owns, in the aggregate, capital stock representing at least 50% of the outstanding shares of our common stock.

These provisions, alone or together, could delay hostile takeovers and changes in control of our Company or changes in our board of directors and management.

As a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to provisions of Delaware law, including Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which prevents some stockholders holding more than 15% of our outstanding common stock from engaging in certain business combinations without approval of the holders of substantially all of our outstanding common stock. Any provision of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws or Delaware law that has the effect of delaying or deterring a change in control could limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our common stock and could also affect the price that some investors are willing to pay for our common stock.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2.     Properties

Our corporate headquarters are located in Macon, Georgia. Our Bus segment operates a fabrication plant and an integrated chassis manufacturing and body assembly plant in Fort Valley, Georgia, where components for Type C, Type D, and specialty buses are manufactured and assembled. Our Parts segment operates a parts distribution center located in Delaware, Ohio. We own our facilities in Fort Valley, Georgia (approximately 1.5 million square feet). We lease facilities in Macon, Georgia (approximately 0.3 million square feet) and Delaware, Ohio (approximately 0.1 million square feet). Our Micro Bird joint venture leases its facility (0.2 million square feet) in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada.

Item 3.     Legal Proceedings

In the ordinary course of business, we may be a party to various legal proceedings from time to time. We do not believe that there is any pending or threatened proceeding against us, which, if determined adversely, would have a material effect on our business, results of operations, or financial condition.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not Applicable.

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PART II

Item 5.     Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Our common stock is currently quoted on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “BLBD.” At December 10, 2021, there were 75 holders of record of the Company’s common stock. Management of the Company believes that there are in excess of 3,000 beneficial holders of our common stock.

Dividends

We have not paid any dividends on our common stock to date. It is our present intention to retain any earnings for use in our business operations and, accordingly we do not anticipate that the board of directors will declare any dividends in the foreseeable future on our common stock. In addition, certain of our loan agreements restrict the payment of dividends.

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

The following table provides information for all equity compensation plans at October 2, 2021, under which the equity securities of the Company were authorized for issuance:
Plan Category (1)(a) Number of Securities to be Issued Upon Exercise of Outstanding Options, Warrants, and Rights(b) Weighted Average Exercise Price of Outstanding Options, Warrants and Rights(c) Number of Securities Remaining Available for Future Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans (excluding
securities
reflected in
column (a))
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders267,779 $17.85 1,358,263 
(1) There are no equity compensation plans not approved by stockholders.

Item 6.     [Reserved]

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations of the Company should be read in conjunction with the Company’s audited financial statements for the fiscal years ended October 2, 2021, October 3, 2020 and September 28, 2019 and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Report. Our actual results may not be indicative of future performance. This discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements and involves numerous risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those discussed or incorporated by reference in the sections of this Report titled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors.” Actual results may differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. Certain monetary amounts, percentages and other figures included in this Report have been subjected to rounding adjustments. Accordingly, figures shown as totals in certain tables may not be the arithmetic aggregation of the figures that precede them, and figures expressed as percentages in the text may not total 100% or, as applicable, when aggregated, may not be the arithmetic aggregation of the percentages that precede them.

Executive Overview

Blue Bird is the leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses. Our longevity and reputation in the school bus industry have made Blue Bird an iconic American brand. We distinguish ourselves from our principal competitors by dedicating our focus to the design, engineering, manufacture and sale of school buses, and related parts. As the only principal manufacturer of chassis and body production specifically designed for school bus applications, Blue Bird is recognized as an industry leader for school bus innovation, safety, product quality/reliability/durability, efficiency, and lower operating costs. In addition, Blue Bird is the market leader in alternative powered product offerings with its propane, gasoline, CNG, and electric powered school buses.

Blue Bird sells its buses and parts through an extensive network of U.S. and Canadian dealers that, in their territories, are exclusive to Blue Bird on Type C and Type D school buses. Blue Bird also sells directly to major fleet operators, the U.S. Government, state governments, and authorized dealers in a number of foreign countries.

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Impact of COVID-19 on Our Business

Beginning in our second fiscal quarter of 2020, the novel coronavirus known as "COVID-19" began to spread throughout the world, resulting in a global pandemic. The pandemic triggered a significant downturn in global commerce as early as February 2020 and the challenging market conditions are expected to continue for an extended period of time. In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, maintain the well-being of our employees and stakeholders, address the reduced demand from our customers and be responsive and efficient with supply chain constraints, management took decisive actions including closing our manufacturing facilities for two weeks in April 2020 and implementing stringent safety protocols, including administering COVID-19 testing for all manufacturing and office employees and requesting office employees to work from home. Management also decided to cease production for a full week in each of March and May 2021 due to supply chain disruptions that resulted in a shortage of critical components. Additionally, management closely monitors the expected receipt of critical components on a daily basis and has had to cease part or all of production for shorter periods of time as a result of supply shortages.

These temporary closures of our manufacturing facility did not materially impact our operations during fiscal 2020 or the first half of fiscal 2021 as we did not need to operate at full capacity to fulfill sales orders at those times. However, such supply chain disruptions did significantly impact our operations and results during the second half of fiscal 2021 due to higher purchasing costs, including freight costs incurred to expedite receipt of critical components, increased manufacturing inefficiencies and our inability to complete the production of buses to fulfill sales orders. Specifically, management estimates that the sale of approximately 2,000 units was deferred from fiscal 2021 into fiscal 2022 as a result of the shortage of critical components that prevented the Company from initiating or completing, as applicable, the production process for certain units that were otherwise scheduled to be delivered to customers during the year. Including these units, the Company's backlog exceeded 4,200 units as of October 2, 2021 as demand for our products remains strong, with no sales orders canceled as a result of delays in our production process. The Company has also experienced increased purchase costs for certain of its raw materials during the pandemic that have negatively impacted the gross profit it recognized on sales, particularly during the second half of fiscal 2021. The decreased gross profit is expected to continue into the first half of fiscal 2022 given the increased purchase costs we incurred acquiring the inventory that we accumulated at the end of fiscal 2021 as a result of our inability to build and sell buses due to critical component shortages. In response, in July 2021 the Company announced two sales price increases that will apply to new sales orders and are intended to mitigate the impact of rising purchase costs on our operations and results. In general, management believes that such supply chain disruptions will continue in future periods and will materially impact our results if we are unable to i) produce during quarters having higher sales volumes and/or ii) pass along rising costs to our customers. Additionally, although we have not experienced any pervasive COVID-19 illnesses to-date, if we were to experience some form of outbreak within our facilities, we would take all appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of our employees, which could include another temporary halt in production.

The pandemic has resulted, and is likely to continue to result, in significant economic disruption and has adversely affected our business. It will continue to adversely impact our business into fiscal year 2022 and perhaps beyond. Significant uncertainty exists concerning the magnitude of the impact and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the overall U.S and global economy. The duration of any demand reductions, production and supply chain disruptions, and related financial impacts on our business cannot be estimated at this time.

The continuing impacts from COVID-19 on the Company's operations in fiscal 2021 negatively affected our revenue, profit and cash flows. We continue to monitor and assess the level of future customer demand, the ability of school boards to make decisions regarding maintaining normal in-person learning in the foreseeable future, the ability of suppliers to resume and/or maintain normal operations and to provide parts and supplies in sufficient quantities to meet our production needs, the ability of our employees to continue to work, and our ability to maintain continuous production as we plan for fiscal 2022 and beyond. See PART I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors," of this Report for a discussion of the material risks we believe we face particularly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Company has also taken actions to control spending and secure adequate liquidity, including headcount rationalization, changes to the minimum required financial covenants resulting from the execution of a fourth amendment to the Credit Agreement in November 2021 and raising $75.0 million of net proceeds through the issuance and sale of an aggregate 4,687,500 shares of common stock at $16.00 per share in a private placement transaction on December 15, 2021. Further detail and discussion of the Credit Agreement amendment and private placement transaction can be found in this Report in the "Liquidity and Capital Resources" section of this Item 7. "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and in Note 19, Subsequent Events, to the Company’s consolidated financial statements, respectively. Even with adequate liquidity, we are evaluating and considering further actions to reduce costs and spending across our organization to be responsive to potential longer-term impacts on our business from the pandemic. Our actions may include reducing hiring activities, limiting discretionary spending, limiting spending on capital investment projects or other steps necessary to preserve adequate liquidity. We may also pursue raising additional capital via an equity or debt offering. We will continue to actively monitor the situation and may need to take further actions required by federal, state or local authorities, or enact measures we determine are in the best interests of our employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders. For further details and discussion about our liquidity, refer to the following "Liquidity and Capital Resources" section of this Item 7. "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" of this Report.
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Factors Affecting Our Revenues

Our revenues are driven primarily by the following factors:

Property tax revenues. Property tax revenues are one of the major sources of funding for school districts, and therefore new school buses. Property tax revenues are a function of land and building prices, based on assessments of property value by state or county assessors and millage rates voted by the local electorate.
Student enrollment and delivery mechanisms for learning. Increases or decreases in the number of school bus riders have a direct impact on school district demand. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving protocols for social distancing and public health concerns, the future form of educational delivery remains uncertain, and increased remote learning could reasonably be expected to decrease the number of school bus riders.
Revenue mix. We are able to charge more for certain of our products (e.g., Type C propane powered school buses, electric powered buses, Type D buses, and buses with higher option content) than other products. The mix of products sold in any fiscal period can directly impact our revenues for the period.
Strength of the dealer network. We rely on our dealers, as well as a small number of major fleet operators, to be the direct point of contact with school districts and their purchasing agents. An effective dealer is capable of expanding revenues within a given school district by matching that district’s needs to our capabilities, offering options that would not otherwise be provided to the district.
Pricing. Our products are sold to school districts throughout the U.S. and Canada. Each state and each Canadian province has its own set of regulations that govern the purchase of products, including school buses, by their school districts. We and our dealers must navigate these regulations, purchasing procedures, and the districts’ specifications in order to reach mutually acceptable price terms. Pricing may or may not be favorable to us, depending upon a number of factors impacting purchasing decisions.
Buying patterns of major fleets. Major fleets regularly compete against one another for existing accounts. Fleets are also continuously trying to win the business of school districts that operate their own transportation services. These activities can have either a positive or negative impact on our sales, depending on the brand preference of the fleet that wins the business. Major fleets also periodically review their fleet sizes and replacement patterns due to funding availability as well as the profitability of existing routes. These actions can impact total purchases by fleets in a given year.
Seasonality. Historically, our sales have been subject to seasonal variation based on the school calendar with the peak season during our third and fourth fiscal quarters. Sales during the third and fourth fiscal quarters are typically greater than the first and second fiscal quarters due to the desire of municipalities to have any new buses that they order available to them at the beginning of the new school year. With the COVID-19 pandemic impact on school systems and the uncertainty regarding (i) in-person schooling schedules and duration and (ii) the severity and duration of ongoing supply chain constraints, seasonality has become unpredictable. Seasonality and variations from historical seasonality have impacted the comparison of results between fiscal periods.

Factors Affecting Our Expenses and Other Items

Our expenses and other line items in our Consolidated Statements of Operations are principally driven by the following factors:

Cost of goods sold. The components of our cost of goods sold consist of material costs (principally powertrain components, steel and rubber, as well as aluminum and copper) including freight costs, labor expense, and overhead. Our cost of goods sold may vary from period to period due to changes in sales volume, efforts by certain suppliers to pass through the economics associated with key commodities, fluctuations in freight costs, design changes with respect to specific components, design changes with respect to specific bus models, wage increases for plant labor, productivity of plant labor, delays in receiving materials and other logistical challenges, and the impact of overhead items such as utilities.
Selling, general and administrative expenses. Our selling, general and administrative expenses include costs associated with our selling and marketing efforts, engineering, centralized finance, human resources, purchasing, and information technology services, along with other administrative matters and functions. In most instances, other than direct costs associated with sales and marketing programs, the principal component of these costs is salary expense. Changes from period to period are typically driven by the number of our employees, as well as by merit increases provided to experienced personnel.
Interest expense. Our interest expense relates to costs associated with our debt instruments and reflects both the amount of indebtedness and the interest rate that we are required to pay on our debt. Interest expense also includes unrealized gains or losses from interest rate hedges, if any, and changes in the fair value of interest rate derivatives not designated in hedge accounting relationships, if any, as well as expenses related to debt guarantees, if any.
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Income taxes. We make estimates of the amounts to recognize for income taxes in each tax jurisdiction in which we operate. In addition, provisions are established for withholding taxes related to the transfer of cash between jurisdictions and for uncertain tax positions taken.
Other income/expense, net. This balance includes periodic pension expense or income as well as gains or losses on foreign currency, if any. Other immaterial amounts not associated with operating expenses may also be included in this balance.
Equity in net income of non-consolidated affiliate. We include in this line item our 50% share of net income or loss from our investment in Micro Bird, our unconsolidated Canadian joint venture.

Key Non-GAAP Financial Measures We Use to Evaluate Our Performance

The consolidated financial statements included in this Report in Item 8. "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" are prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. (“U.S. GAAP”). This Report also includes the following financial measures that are not prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP ("non-GAAP"): “Adjusted EBITDA,” “Adjusted EBITDA Margin,” and “Free Cash Flow.” Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow are financial metrics that are utilized by management and the board of directors to determine (a) the annual cash bonus payouts, if any, to be made to certain members of management based upon the terms of the Company’s Management Incentive Plan, and (b) whether the performance criteria have been met for the vesting of certain equity awards granted annually to certain members of management based upon the terms of the Company’s Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan. Additionally, consolidated EBITDA, which is an adjusted EBITDA metric defined by our Amended Credit Agreement (defined subsequently herein) that could differ from Adjusted EBITDA discussed above as the adjustments to the calculations are not uniform, is used to determine the Company's ongoing compliance with several financial covenant requirements, including being utilized in the denominator of the calculation of the TNLR, as and when applicable. Accordingly, management views these non-GAAP financial metrics as key for the above purposes and as a useful way to evaluate the performance of our operations as discussed further below.

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income or loss prior to interest income; interest expense including the component of operating lease expense (which is presented as a single operating expense in selling, general and administrative expenses in our U.S. GAAP financial statements) that represents interest expense on lease liabilities; income taxes; and depreciation and amortization including the component of operating lease expense (which is presented as a single operating expense in selling, general and administrative expenses in our U.S. GAAP financial statements) that represents amortization charges on right-of-use lease assets; as adjusted for certain non-cash charges or credits that we may record on a recurring basis such as stock-compensation expense and unrealized gains or losses on certain derivative financial instruments; net gains or losses on the disposal of assets as well as certain charges such as (i) significant product design changes; (ii) transaction related costs; (iii) discrete expenses related to major cost cutting initiatives; or (iv) costs directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. While certain of the charges that are added back in the Adjusted EBITDA calculation, such as transaction related costs and operational transformation and major product redesign initiatives, represent operating expenses that may be recorded in more than one annual period, the significant project or transaction giving rise to such expenses is not considered to be indicative of the Company’s normal operations. Accordingly, we believe that these, as well as the other credits and charges that comprise the amounts utilized in the determination of Adjusted EBITDA described above, should not be used in evaluating the Company’s ongoing annual operating performance. We define Adjusted EBITDA Margin as Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of net sales. Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin are not measures of performance defined in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The measures are used as a supplement to U.S. GAAP results in evaluating certain aspects of our business, as described below.

We believe that Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin are useful to investors in evaluating our performance because the measures consider the performance of our ongoing operations, excluding decisions made with respect to capital investment, financing, and certain other significant initiatives or transactions as outlined in the preceding paragraph. We believe the non-GAAP measures offer additional financial metrics that, when coupled with the U.S. GAAP results and the reconciliation to U.S. GAAP results, provide a more complete understanding of our results of operations and the factors and trends affecting our business.

Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin should not be considered as alternatives to net income or loss as an indicator of our performance or as alternatives to any other measure prescribed by U.S. GAAP as there are limitations to using such non-GAAP measures. Although we believe that Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin may enhance an evaluation of our operating performance based on recent revenue generation and product/overhead cost control because they exclude the impact of prior decisions made about capital investment, financing, and certain other significant initiatives or transactions, (i) other companies in Blue Bird’s industry may define Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin differently than we do and, as a result, they may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies in Blue Bird’s industry, and (ii) Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA Margin exclude certain financial information that some may consider important in evaluating our performance.

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We compensate for these limitations by providing disclosure of the differences between Adjusted EBITDA and U.S. GAAP results, including providing a reconciliation to U.S. GAAP results, to enable investors to perform their own analysis of our ongoing operating results.

Our measure of Free Cash Flow is used in addition to and in conjunction with results presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP and it should not be relied upon to the exclusion of U.S. GAAP financial measures. Free Cash Flow reflects an additional way of evaluating our liquidity that, when viewed with our U.S. GAAP results, provides a more complete understanding of factors and trends affecting our cash flows. We strongly encourage investors to review our financial statements and publicly-filed reports in their entirety and not to rely on any single financial measure.

We define Free Cash Flow as total cash provided by/used in operating activities as adjusted for net cash paid for the acquisition or disposal of fixed assets and intangible assets. We use Free Cash Flow, and ratios based on Free Cash Flow, to conduct and evaluate our business because, although it is similar to cash flow from operations, we believe it is a more conservative measure of cash flow since purchases of fixed assets and intangible assets are a necessary component of ongoing operations. Accordingly, we expect Free Cash Flow to be less than operating cash flows.

Our Segments

We manage our business in two operating segments, which are also our reportable segments: (i) the Bus segment, which involves the design, engineering, manufacture and sales of school buses and extended warranties; and (ii) the Parts segment, which includes the sale of replacement bus parts. Financial information is reported on the basis that it is used internally by the CODM in evaluating segment performance and deciding how to allocate resources to segments. The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company has been identified as the CODM. Management evaluates the segments based primarily upon revenues and gross profit.

Consolidated Results of Operations for the fiscal years ended October 2, 2021 and October 3, 2020:
(in thousands)20212020
Net sales$683,995 $879,221 
Cost of goods sold611,854 783,021 
Gross profit
$72,141 $96,200 
Operating expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses65,619 74,206 
Operating profit
$6,522 $21,994 
Interest expense(9,682)(12,252)
Interest income11 
Other income, net1,776 738 
Loss on debt modification(598)— 
(Loss) income before income taxes$(1,978)$10,491 
Income tax benefit (expense)1,191 (1,519)
Equity in net income of non-consolidated affiliate498 3,213 
Net (loss) income$(289)$12,185 
Other financial data:
Adjusted EBITDA
$34,103 $54,681 
Adjusted EBITDA Margin
5.0 %6.2 %

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The following provides the results of operations of Blue Bird's two reportable segments:
(in thousands)20212020
Net Sales by Segment
Bus
$625,198 $822,616 
Parts
58,797 56,605 
Total$683,995 $879,221 
Gross Profit by Segment
Bus
$50,394 $76,059 
Parts
21,747 20,141 
Total
$72,141 $96,200 

Net sales. Net sales were $684.0 million for fiscal 2021, a decrease of $195.2 million, or 22.2%, compared to $879.2 million for fiscal 2020. The decrease in net sales is attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused supply chain constraints that have limited the availability of certain critical components and thus, limited the number of buses the Company could produce and deliver.

Bus sales decreased $197.4 million, or 24.0%, reflecting a decrease in units booked that was partially offset by higher sales prices. In fiscal 2021, 6,679 units were booked compared to 8,878 units booked for fiscal 2020. The decrease in Bus revenue and volumes reflects the constraints on the Company's ability to produce and deliver buses due to COVID-19 driven shortages of critical components. The 1.0% increase in unit price for fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020 mainly reflects pricing actions taken by management to partially offset increases in commodity costs, as well as product and customer mix changes.

Parts sales increased $2.2 million, or 3.9%, for fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020, largely due to higher sales volume. Both fiscal 2020 and 2021 were significantly impacted by lower school bus units in operation due to school closures from the second quarter of fiscal 2020 through the second quarter of fiscal 2021 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the last half of fiscal 2021 experienced large increases in sales volume as schools prepared to resume in-person learning, including preparing buses to be fully operational for the first time in over a year.

Cost of goods sold. Total cost of goods sold was $611.9 million for fiscal 2021, a decrease of $171.2 million, or 21.9%, compared to $783.0 million for fiscal 2020. As a percentage of net sales, total cost of goods sold increased from 89.1% to 89.5%.

Bus segment cost of goods sold decreased $171.8 million, or 23.0%, for fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020 due to reduced sales volumes. The average cost of goods sold per unit for fiscal 2021 was 2.3% higher compared to the average cost of goods sold per unit for fiscal 2020 due to increases in manufacturing costs from several COVID-19 related factors including hourly workforce absenteeism and supply chain disruptions that resulted in higher purchase costs for components and freight, all of which created manufacturing inefficiencies and higher costs.

The $0.6 million, or 1.6%, increase in parts segment cost of goods sold for fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020 largely aligned with the increase in sales volume noted above, with slight variations due to product and channel mix.

Operating profit. Operating profit was $6.5 million for fiscal 2021, a decrease of $15.5 million, or 70.3%, compared to $22.0 million for fiscal 2020. Profitability was negatively impacted by a decrease of $24.1 million in gross profit, as outlined in the revenue and cost of goods sold discussions above. This decrease was partially offset by a decrease of $8.6 million in selling, general and administrative expenses as we have taken actions to control spending during the pandemic.

Interest expense. Interest expense was $9.7 million for fiscal 2021, a decrease of $2.6 million, or 21.0%, compared to $12.3 million for fiscal 2020. The decrease was largely attributable to fluctuations in the fair value of the interest rate collar (a liability balance) recorded in interest expense. The fiscal 2020 balance included a $2.6 million net increase in the fair value of the interest rate collar, while the fiscal 2021 balance included a $1.6 million decrease in fair value, thus resulting in a net $4.2 million decrease in interest expense. This decrease was partially offset by increased effective interest rates on outstanding borrowings.

Income taxes. We recorded income tax benefit of $1.2 million for fiscal 2021, compared to income tax expense of $1.5 million for fiscal 2020. This fluctuation was primarily attributed to lower amounts of taxable income in fiscal 2021 due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on our operations as discussed above.

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The effective tax rate for fiscal 2021 differed from the statutory Federal income tax rate of 21.0%.  There were several items that increased the effective tax rate to 60.2% including the impacts of tax credits, return to accrual adjustments, and state taxes on the Federal rate. These increases were partially offset by a change in uncertain tax positions.

The effective tax rate for fiscal 2020 was 14.5%, which differed from the statutory Federal income tax rate of 21%. The minor items that lowered the effective tax rate primarily included the impacts of tax credits and state taxes on the Federal rate. These decreases were offset to a lesser degree by the recording of a partial valuation allowance for state taxes and minor return to accrual adjustments.

Adjusted EBITDA. Adjusted EBITDA was $34.1 million, or 5.0% of net sales, for fiscal 2021, a decrease of $20.6 million, or 37.6%, compared to $54.7 million, or 6.2% of net sales, for fiscal 2020. The decrease in Adjusted EBITDA was primarily the result of decreased revenues and gross profit, which was also unfavorably impacted by higher manufacturing costs, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, there were decreases in operational transformation initiatives, interest expense, and depreciation, amortization, and disposals, which were partially offset by an increase in share-based compensation expense.

The following table sets forth a reconciliation of net (loss) income to Adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal years presented:
(in thousands)20212020
Net (loss) income$(289)$12,185 
Adjustments:
Interest expense, net (1)
10,010 12,616 
Income tax (benefit) expense(1,191)1,519 
Depreciation, amortization, and disposals (2)
13,642 15,096 
Operational transformation initiatives
189 3,404 
Loss on debt modification598 — 
Share-based compensation
5,938 4,141 
Product redesign initiatives
3,483 4,068 
Restructuring charges
659 646 
Costs directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic (3)
1,024 1,000 
Other
40 
Adjusted EBITDA
$34,103 $54,681 
Adjusted EBITDA Margin (percentage of net sales)
5.0 %6.2 %
(1) Includes $0.3 million and $0.4 million for fiscal 2021 and 2020, respectively, representing interest expense on operating lease liabilities, which are a component of lease expense and presented as a single operating expense in selling, general and administrative expenses on our Consolidated Statements of Operations.
(2) Includes $0.8 million and $0.7 million for fiscal 2021 and 2020, respectively, representing amortization on right-of-use operating lease assets, which are a component of lease expense and presented as a single operating expense in selling, general and administrative expenses on our Consolidated Statements of Operations.
(3) Primarily costs incurred for third party cleaning services and personal protective equipment for our employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Consolidated Results of Operations for the fiscal years ended October 3, 2020 and September 28, 2019:
(in thousands)20202019
Net sales$879,221 $1,018,874 
Cost of goods sold783,021 885,400 
Gross profit
$96,200 $133,474 
Operating expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses74,206 89,642 
Operating profit
$21,994 $43,832 
Interest expense(12,252)(12,879)
Interest income11 
Other income (expense), net738 (1,331)
Income before income taxes
$10,491 $29,631 
Income tax expense(1,519)(7,573)
Equity in net income of non-consolidated affiliate3,213 2,242 
Net income$12,185 $24,300 
Other financial data:
Adjusted EBITDA
$54,681 $81,829 
Adjusted EBITDA Margin
6.2 %8.0 %

The following provides the results of operations of Blue Bird's two reportable segments:
(in thousands)20202019
Net Sales by Segment
Bus
$822,616 $952,242
Parts
56,605 66,632
Total$879,221 $1,018,874 
Gross Profit by Segment
Bus
$76,059$110,015
Parts
20,14123,459
Total
$96,200$133,474

Net sales. Net sales were $879.2 million for fiscal 2020, a decrease of $139.7 million, or 13.7%, compared to $1.019 billion for fiscal 2019. The decrease in net sales was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic which caused the unplanned and abrupt increase in remote learning arrangements and uncertainty in how school districts would administer schooling, resulting in decreased demand for school buses.

Bus sales decreased $129.6 million, or 13.6%, reflecting a decrease in units booked that was partially offset by slightly higher sales prices. In fiscal 2020, 8,878 units were booked compared to 11,017 units booked in fiscal 2019. The decrease in Bus revenue and volumes reflect the timing of orders being significantly impacted by COVID-19. The 7.2% increase in unit price for fiscal 2020 compared to fiscal 2019 mainly reflects the full-year impact of pricing actions taken in fiscal 2019 to partially offset commodity costs, as well as product and customer mix changes.

Parts sales decreased $10.0 million, or 15.0%, for fiscal 2020 compared to fiscal 2019, as we had lower sales volume, mainly from lower school bus units in operation due to school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay at home orders and school closures reduced bus repair and maintenance activities due to lower bus use.

Cost of goods sold. Total cost of goods sold was $783.0 million for fiscal 2020, a decrease of $102.4 million, or 11.6%, compared to $885.4 million for fiscal 2019. As a percentage of net sales, total cost of goods sold increased from 86.9% to 89.1%.

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Bus segment cost of goods sold decreased $95.7 million, or 11.4%, for fiscal 2020 compared to fiscal 2019 due to reduced sales volumes. The average cost of goods sold per unit for fiscal 2020 was 10.0% higher compared to the average cost of goods sold per unit for fiscal 2019 due to increases in manufacturing costs from several COVID-19 related factors including hourly workforce absenteeism and supply chain disruptions, each of which created manufacturing inefficiencies and higher costs.

The $6.7 million, or 15.5%, decrease in parts segment cost of goods sold for fiscal 2020 compared to fiscal 2019 aligned with the decrease in sales volume noted above.

Operating profit. Operating profit was $22.0 million for fiscal 2020, a decrease of $21.8 million, or 49.8%, compared to $43.8 million for fiscal 2019. Profitability was negatively impacted by a decrease of $37.3 million in gross profit, which was partially offset by a decrease of $15.4 million in selling, general and administrative expenses due in large part to several significant product development initiatives during fiscal 2019 as well as cost control measures implemented in fiscal 2020, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including headcount reductions and lower travel-related expense.

Interest expense. Interest expense was $12.3 million for fiscal 2020, a decrease of $0.6 million, or 4.9%, compared to $12.9 million for fiscal 2019. The decrease was primarily attributed to lower interest rates and a lower average borrowing level on the term debt.

Income taxes. We recorded income tax expense of $1.5 million for fiscal 2020, compared to income tax expense of $7.6 million for fiscal 2019. The reduction in expense was primarily attributed to lower amounts of taxable income in fiscal 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19 on our operations.

The effective tax rate for fiscal 2020 differed from the statutory Federal income tax rate of 21.0%. There were minor items that lowered the effective tax rate to 14.5%, primarily the impacts of tax credits and state taxes on the Federal rate. These decreases were offset to a lesser degree by the recording of a partial valuation allowance for state taxes and minor return to accrual adjustments.

The effective tax rate for fiscal 2019 was 25.6%, which differed from the statutory Federal income tax rate of 21.0%. The difference was mainly due to the unfavorable impact of valuation allowances, share-based and other compensation limitations, and state taxes, which included the application of tax credits claimed as offsets against our payroll tax liabilities. The valuation allowance increased mainly due to the accrual of income tax credits that were greater than our ability to utilize before expiration. These items were partially offset by benefits from federal and state tax credits.

Adjusted EBITDA. Adjusted EBITDA was $54.7 million, or 6.2% of net sales, for fiscal 2020, a decrease of $27.1 million, or 33.2%, compared to $81.8 million, or 8.0% of net sales, for fiscal 2019. The decrease in Adjusted EBITDA was primarily the result of decreased revenues and gross profit, which was also unfavorably impacted by higher manufacturing costs, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decrease was partially offset by lower selling, general and administrative expenses.

The following table sets forth a reconciliation of net income to Adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal years presented:
(in thousands)20202019
Net income
$12,185 $24,300 
Adjustments:
Interest expense, net (1)
12,616 13,279 
Income tax expense1,519 7,573 
Depreciation, amortization, and disposals (2)
15,096 11,102 
Operational transformation initiatives
3,404 10,594 
Foreign currency hedges
— 109 
Share-based compensation
4,141 4,273 
Product redesign initiatives
4,068 10,540 
Restructuring charges646 — 
Costs directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic (3)1,000 — 
Other
59 
Adjusted EBITDA
$54,681 $81,829 
Adjusted EBITDA Margin (percentage of net sales)
6.2 %8.0 %
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(1) Includes $0.4 million for both fiscal 2020 and 2019, representing interest expense on operating lease liabilities, which are a component of lease expense and presented as a single operating expense in selling, general and administrative expenses on our Consolidated Statements of Operations.
(2) Includes $0.7 million for both fiscal 2020 and 2019, representing amortization on right-of-use operating lease assets, which are a component of lease expense and presented as a single operating expense in selling, general and administrative expenses on our Consolidated Statements of Operations.
(3) Primarily costs incurred for third party cleaning services and personal protective equipment for our employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

The Company's primary sources of liquidity are cash generated from operations, available cash, and borrowings under the Amended Credit Agreement (defined below). At October 2, 2021, the Company had $11.7 million of available cash and cash equivalents (net of outstanding checks) and $48.7 million of additional borrowings available under the Revolving Credit Facility (defined below). The Company’s revolving line of credit is available for working capital requirements, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes. At October 2, 2021, the Company was in compliance with all covenants required by the Amended Credit Agreement.

Credit Agreement

On December 12, 2016 (the “Closing Date”), Blue Bird Body Company as the borrower ("Borrower"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, executed a $235.0 million five-year credit agreement with Bank of Montreal, which acts as the administrative agent and an issuing bank, Fifth Third Bank, as co-syndication agent and an issuing bank, and Regions Bank, as co-syndication agent, together with other lenders (the "Credit Agreement").

The credit facilities provided for under the Credit Agreement consisted of a term loan facility in an aggregate initial principal amount of $160.0 million (the “Term Loan Facility”) and a revolving credit facility with aggregate commitments of $75.0 million. The revolving credit facility included a $15.0 million letter of credit sub-facility and $5.0 million swingline sub-facility (the “Revolving Credit Facility,” and together with the Term Loan Facility, each a “Credit Facility” and collectively, the “Credit Facilities”). The borrowings under the Term Loan Facility, which were made at the Closing Date, may not be re-borrowed once they are repaid. The borrowings under the Revolving Credit Facility may be repaid and reborrowed from time to time at our election. The proceeds of the loans under the Credit Facilities that were borrowed on the Closing Date were used to finance in part, together with available cash on hand, (i) the repayment of certain existing indebtedness of the Company and its subsidiaries, and (ii) transaction costs associated with the consummation of the Credit Facilities.

The obligations under the Credit Agreement and the related loan documents (including without limitation, the borrowings under the Credit Facilities (including the Incremental Term Loan discussed below) and obligations in respect of certain cash management and hedging obligations owing to the agents, the lenders or their affiliates), are, in each case, secured by a lien on and security interest in substantially all of the assets of the Company and its subsidiaries (including the Borrower), with certain exclusions as set forth in a collateral agreement entered into on December 12, 2016.

Up to $75.0 million of additional term loans and/or revolving credit commitments may be incurred under the Credit Agreement, subject to certain limitations as set forth in the Credit Agreement, and which additional loans and/or commitments would require further commitments from the existing lenders or from new lenders.

The Credit Agreement contains negative and affirmative covenants affecting the Company and its subsidiaries including the Borrower, with certain exceptions set forth in the Credit Agreement. The negative covenants and restrictions include, among others: limitations on liens, dispositions of assets, consolidations and mergers, loans and investments, indebtedness, transactions with affiliates (including management fees and compensation), dividends, distributions and other restricted payments, change in fiscal year, fundamental changes, amendments to and subordinated indebtedness, restrictive agreements, sale and leaseback transactions and certain permitted acquisitions. Dividends, distributions, and other restricted payments are permitted in certain circumstances under the Credit Agreement, generally based upon our levels of excess Free Cash Flow and unrestricted cash (as defined in the Credit Agreement) and maintenance of specified TNLRs.

First Amended Credit Agreement

On September 13, 2018, the Company executed an amendment to the Credit Agreement (the "First Amended Credit Agreement"), by and among the Company, the Borrower, and Bank of Montreal, acting as administrative agent together with other lenders. The First Amended Credit Agreement provided for an aggregate lender commitment of $50.0 million in additional term loan borrowings (the
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“Incremental Term Loan”) that was intended to finance a portion of a tender offer up to $50.0 million, which transaction closed in October 2018.

After giving effect to the First Amended Credit Agreement, the initial $160.0 million Term Loan Facility, with a balance of $146.2 million at September 29, 2018, increased $50.0 million, and the initial $75.0 million Revolving Credit Facility increased $25.0 million. The amended Credit Facilities each mature on September 13, 2023, the fifth anniversary of the effective date of the First Amended Credit Agreement.

After giving effect to the First Amended Credit Agreement, the interest payable with respect to the Term Loan Facility was (i) from the first amendment effective date until the first quarter ended on or about September 30, 2018, LIBOR plus 2.25% and (ii) commencing with the fiscal quarter ended on or about September 30, 2018 and thereafter, dependent on the TNLR of the Company, an election of either base rate or LIBOR pursuant to the table below. The Company's TNLR is defined as the ratio of (a) consolidated net debt to (b) consolidated EBITDA, which is an adjusted EBITDA metric that could differ from Adjusted EBITDA appearing in the Company’s periodic filings on Form 10-K or Form 10-Q as the adjustments to the calculations are not uniform, at the end of each fiscal quarter for the consecutive four fiscal quarter period most recently then ending.
LevelTotal Net Leverage RatioABR LoansEurodollar Loans
ILess than 2.00x0.75%1.75%
IIGreater than or equal to 2.00x and less than 2.50x1.00%2.00%
IIIGreater than or equal to 2.50x and less than 3.00x1.25%2.25%
IVGreater than or equal to 3.00x and less than 3.25x1.50%2.50%
VGreater than or equal to 3.25x and less than 3.50x1.75%2.75%
VIGreater than 3.50x2.00%3.00%
 
Under the First Amended Credit Agreement, the principal of the Term Loan Facility must be paid in quarterly installments on the last day of each fiscal quarter, in an amount equal to:
$2,475,000 per quarter beginning on the last day of the Company’s first fiscal quarter of 2019 through the last day of the Company’s third fiscal quarter in 2021;
$3,712,500 per quarter beginning on the last day of the Company’s fourth fiscal quarter in 2021 through the last day of the Company’s third fiscal quarter in 2022;
$4,950,000 per quarter beginning on the last day of the Company’s fourth fiscal quarter in 2022 through the last day of the Company’s second fiscal quarter in 2023, with the remaining principal amount due at maturity.

There are customary events of default under the First Amended Credit Agreement, including, among other things, events of default resulting from (i) failure to pay obligations when due under the First Amended Credit Agreement, (ii) insolvency of the Company or its material subsidiaries, (iii) defaults under other material debt, (iv) judgments against the Company or its subsidiaries, (v) failure to comply with certain financial maintenance covenants (as set forth in the First Amended Credit Agreement), or (vi) a change of control of the Company, in each case subject to limitations and exceptions as set forth in the First Amended Credit Agreement.

The First Amended Credit Agreement contained customary covenants and warranties including, among other things, an amended TNLR financial maintenance covenant which required compliance as follows:
Period  Maximum Total 
Net Leverage Ratio
September 13, 2018 through the second quarter of the 2019 fiscal year 4.00:1.00
Second quarter of the 2019 fiscal year through the fourth quarter of the 2021 fiscal year 3.75:1.00
Fourth quarter of the 2021 fiscal year and thereafter 3.50:1.00

Second Amended Credit Agreement

On May 7, 2020, the Company entered into a second amendment to the Credit Agreement and First Amended Credit Agreement (the "Second Amended Credit Agreement"). The Second Amended Credit Agreement provided $41.9 million in additional revolving commitments bringing the total revolving commitments to $141.9 million. The revolving commitments under the Second Amended Credit Agreement mature on September 13, 2023, which is the fifth anniversary of the effective date of the First Amended Credit Agreement. The interest rate pricing grid remained unchanged, but the LIBOR floor was amended from 0% to 0.75%.
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Third Amended Credit Agreement

On December 4, 2020, the Company executed a third amendment to the Credit Agreement, First Amended Credit Agreement and Second Amended Credit Agreement (the "Third Amended Credit Agreement"). The Third Amended Credit Agreement, among other things, provided for certain temporary amendments to the Credit Agreement from the third amendment effective date through and including the first date on which (a)(i) a compliance certificate is timely delivered with respect to a fiscal quarter ending on or after March 31, 2022 demonstrating compliance with certain financial performance covenants for such fiscal quarter (the “Limited Availability Period”), or (ii) the Borrower elects to terminate the Limited Availability Period; and (b) the absence of a default or event of default.

Amendments to the financial performance covenants provided that during the Limited Availability Period, a higher maximum TNLR was permitted, and required the Company to maintain liquidity (in the form of undrawn availability under the Revolving Credit Facility and unrestricted cash and cash equivalents) of at least $15.0 million. For the duration between the fiscal quarter ended on or around December 31, 2020 and the fiscal quarter ended on or around September 30, 2021 that fell within the Limited Availability Period, a quarterly minimum consolidated EBITDA covenant applied instead of a maximum TNLR.

The pricing grid in the First Amended Credit Agreement, which is based on the ratio of the Company’s consolidated net debt to consolidated EBITDA, remained unchanged.  However, during the Limited Availability Period, an additional margin of 0.50% applied.

During the Limited Availability Period, the Third Amended Credit Agreement required that the Borrower prepay existing revolving loans and, if undrawn and unreimbursed letters of credit exceed $7.0 million, cash collateralize letters of credit if unrestricted cash and cash equivalents exceed $20.0 million, as determined on a semimonthly basis.  Any issuance, amendment, renewal, or extension of credit during the Limited Availability Period may not cause unrestricted cash and cash equivalents to exceed $20.0 million, or cause the aggregate outstanding Revolving Credit Facility principal to exceed $100.0 million. The Third Amended Credit Agreement also implemented a cap on permissible investments, restricted payments, certain payments of indebtedness and the fair market value of all assets subject to permitted dispositions during the Limited Availability Period.

For the duration of the Limited Availability Period, the Third Amended Credit Agreement sets forth additional monthly reporting requirements, and required subordination agreements and intercreditor arrangements for certain other indebtedness and liens subject to administrative agent approval.

Fourth Amended Credit Agreement

On November 24, 2021, the Company executed a fourth amendment to the Credit Agreement, First Amended Credit Agreement, Second Amended Credit Agreement and Third Amended Credit Agreement (the "Fourth Amended Credit Agreement" and collectively, the "Amended Credit Agreement"). The Fourth Amended Credit Agreement, among other things, provides for certain temporary amendments to the Credit Agreement from the third amendment effective date through and including (a) April 1, 2023 (the “Amended Limited Availability Period”), or (b) the first date on which Borrower elects to terminate the Amended Limited Availability Period, in each case, subject to (x) the absence of a default or event of default and (y) pro forma compliance with the financial covenant performance covenants under the Amended Credit Agreement.

With respect to the financial performance covenants, during the Amended Limited Availability Period for the fiscal quarters ending January 1, 2022 through October 1, 2022, the TNLR requirement is not applicable, although it continues to impact the interest rate that is charged on outstanding borrowings as discussed below. Instead, the minimum consolidated EBITDA that the Company is required to maintain during the Amended Limited Availability Period has been updated to include fiscal 2022 as set forth in the table below (in millions):

PeriodMinimum Consolidated EBITDA
Fiscal quarter ending January 1, 2022$14.5
Fiscal quarter ending April 2, 2022$(4.5)
Fiscal quarter ending July 2, 2022$(6.8)
Fiscal quarter ending October 1, 2022$20.0

However, in the event that Borrower elects to terminate the Amended Limited Availability Period in fiscal 2022, the maximum TNLR permitted is 3.50x.

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The minimum liquidity (in the form of undrawn availability under the Revolving Credit Facility and unrestricted cash and cash equivalents) that the Company must maintain during the Amended Limited Availability Period has been amended as set forth in the table below (in millions):

PeriodMinimum Liquidity
Fourth amendment effective date through January 1, 2022$10.0
January 2, 2022 through April 2, 2022$5.0
April 3, 2022 through July 2, 2022$15.0
Thereafter$20.0

Additionally, a new financial performance covenant was added to the Amended Credit Agreement, requiring that school bus units manufactured by the Company (“Units”) not fall below the pre-set thresholds set forth in the table below on a three month trailing basis (“Units Covenant”). The Units Covenant is triggered only if the Company’s liquidity for the most-recently ended fiscal month is less than $50.0 million during the Amended Limited Availability Period:

PeriodMinimum Units Manufactured
Three month period ending November 27, 20211,128
Three month period ending January 1, 2022776
Three month period ending January 29, 2022748
Three month period ending February 26, 2022727
Three month period ending April 2, 2022763
Three month period ending April 30, 20221,111
Three month period ending May 28, 20221,525
Three month period ending July 2, 20222,053
Three month period ending July30, 20222,072
Three month period ending August 27, 20222,199
Three month period ending October 1, 20212,306

If the Units during any three fiscal month period set forth above is less than the minimum required by the Units Covenant, Borrower may elect to carry forward up to 50% of certain applicable excess Units to satisfy the Units Covenant requirement. However, Borrower may not make such election in two consecutive three fiscal month periods.

The pricing grid in the Amended Credit Agreement, which is based on the TNLR, is determined in accordance with the amended pricing matrix set forth below:

LevelTotal Net Leverage RatioABR LoansEurodollar Loans
ILess than 2.00x0.75%1.75%
IIGreater than or equal to 2.00x and less than 2.50x1.00%2.00%
IIIGreater than or equal to 2.50x and less than 3.00x1.25%2.25%
IVGreater than or equal to 3.00x and less than 3.25x1.50%2.50%
VGreater than or equal to 3.25x and less than 3.50x1.75%2.75%
VIGreater than or equal to 3.50x and less than 4.50x2.00%3.00%
VIIGreater than or equal to 4.50x and less than 5.00x3.25%4.25%
VIIIGreater than 5.00x4.25%5.25%

During the Amended Limited Availability Period (notwithstanding the pricing grid set forth above), the applicable rate shall be (a) solely to the extent that the aggregate revolving exposures exceed $100.0 million, 5.75% with respect to such excess and (b) with respect to all other revolving exposures, the sum of the rate determined by the administrative agent in accordance with the pricing grid set forth above, plus 0.50%.

Additional allowances have been made in the Fourth Amended Credit Agreement for the Company to issue or incur up to $100.0 million of qualified equity interests issued by the Company, unsecured subordinated indebtedness or unsecured convertible indebtedness (collectively, “Junior Capital”). Upon the issuance or incurrence of any Junior Capital, the Company is required to
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prepay the outstanding revolving loans (with no permanent reduction in the revolving commitments) in an amount equal to the lesser of (a) 100% of the net proceeds from such Junior Capital and (b) the aggregate of revolving exposures then outstanding. Prior to the initial issuance or incurrence of any Junior Capital, any issuance, amendment, renewal, or extension of credit during the Amended Limited Availability Period may not cause the aggregate outstanding Revolving Credit Facility principal to exceed $110.0 million (“Availability Cap”). Following any issuance or incurrence of Junior Capital, the Availability Cap is permanently reduced to $100.0 million.

For the duration of the Amended Limited Availability Period, the Fourth Amended Credit Agreement sets forth additional monthly reporting requirements in connection with the manufactured school bus units required by the financial performance covenants, when applicable.

Short-Term and Long-Term Liquidity Requirements

Our ability to make principal and interest payments on borrowings under our Credit Facilities and our ability to fund planned capital expenditures will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future, which, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, regulatory and other conditions. The continuing adverse impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic materially impacted our fiscal 2021 results, causing lower customer orders for both buses and parts, significant supply chain disruptions, and higher rates of absenteeism among our hourly production workforce. The continuing development and fluidity of the pandemic precludes any prediction as to the ultimate severity of the adverse impacts on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and liquidity. See PART I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors," of this Report for a discussion of the material risks we believe we face particularly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic could cause a severe contraction in our profits and/or liquidity which could lead to issues complying with our Amended Credit Agreement covenants. Our primary financial covenants are (i) for fiscal 2022, minimum consolidated EBITDA, which is an adjusted EBITDA metric that could differ from Adjusted EBITDA appearing in the Company’s periodic filings on Form 10-K or Form 10-Q as the adjustments to the calculations are not uniform, at the end of each fiscal quarter for the consecutive four fiscal quarter period most recently then ending; (ii) for fiscal 2022 and through April 1, 2023, minimum liquidity at the end of each fiscal month; (iii) when applicable during fiscal 2022, minimum school bus units manufactured calculated on a three month trailing basis at the end of each fiscal month; and (iv) beginning in fiscal 2023 and thereafter, TNLR, defined as the ratio of (a) consolidated net debt to (b) consolidated EBITDA. If we are not able to comply with such covenants, we may need to seek additional covenant relief or even refinance the debt to a "covenant light" or "no covenant" structure. We cannot assure our investors that we would be successful in amending or refinancing our existing debt. An amendment or refinancing of our existing debt could lead to higher interest rates and possible up-front expenses than included in our historical financial statements.

On December 15, 2021, we issued and sold through a private placement an aggregate 4,687,500 shares of our common stock at $16.00 per share. The $75.0 million of net proceeds that we received from this transaction may be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes, which may include acquisitions, investments in technologies or businesses, operating expenses and capital expenditures. Refer to Note 19, Subsequent Events, to the Company’s consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding this transaction.

To increase our liquidity in future periods, we could pursue raising additional capital via an equity or debt offering as we filed a Registration Statement on Form S-3 with the SEC in November 2021. However, we cannot assure our investors that we would be successful in raising this additional capital, which could also lead to increased expense and larger up-front fees when compared with our historical financial statements.

Seasonality

Historically, our business has been highly seasonal with school districts buying their new school buses so that they will be available for use on the first day of the school year, typically in mid-August to early September. This has resulted in our third and fourth fiscal quarters representing our two busiest quarters from a sales and production perspective, the latter ending on the Saturday closest to September 30. Our quarterly results of operations, cash flows, and liquidity have been and are likely to be impacted by the seasonal patterns. Working capital has historically been a significant use of cash during the first fiscal quarter due to planned shutdowns and a significant source of cash generation in the fourth fiscal quarter. With the COVID-19 pandemic impact on school systems and the uncertainty regarding (i) in-person schooling schedules and duration and (ii) the severity and duration of ongoing supply chain constraints, seasonality and working capital trends have become unpredictable. Seasonality and variations from historical seasonality have impacted the comparison of working capital and liquidity results between fiscal periods.

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Cash Flows

The following table sets forth general information derived from our statement of cash flows for the fiscal years presented:
(in thousands)202120202019
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of year
$44,507 $70,959 $60,260 
Total cash (used in) provided by operating activities(54,241)3,459 55,706 
Total cash used in investing activities
(11,309)(18,803)(35,467)
Total cash provided by (used in) financing activities32,752 (11,108)(9,540)
Change in cash and cash equivalents
(32,798)(26,452)10,699 
Cash and cash equivalents, end of year
$11,709 $44,507 $70,959 

Total cash (used in) provided by operating activities

Cash flows used in operating activities totaled $(54.2) million for fiscal 2021, as compared with $3.5 million of cash flows provided by operating activities for fiscal 2020. The primary drivers of the $57.7 million decrease were the following:

A year over year reduction of $12.5 million in net income.

The effect of net changes in operating assets and liabilities negatively impacted fiscal 2021 operating cash flows by $47.1 million compared to fiscal 2020. The primary drivers in this category were the unfavorable changes in inventory, accounts receivable, and other assets of $91.0 million, $5.3 million, and $5.5 million, respectively. These unfavorable changes were partially offset by favorable changes in accounts payable of $54.3 million. The significant increase in the inventory balance at the end of fiscal 2021 when compared with the end of fiscal 2020 (net use of cash) primarily resulted from our inability to build and sell buses during the fourth fiscal quarter of fiscal 2021 due to shortages of certain critical components. Because we were still receiving other parts that were not in short supply that we were unable to utilize in our production process, we accumulated a significant amount of inventory at the end of fiscal 2021 that also resulted in a significant, but smaller, increase in the accounts payable balance at the end of fiscal 2021 when compared with fiscal 2020 (net source of cash).

The impact of non-cash items (net source of cash) was $1.8 million higher in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. Non-cash items impact net income or loss but do not have direct cash flows associated with them. The significant differences relate to the impact of higher amounts of share-based compensation of $1.8 million and lower equity in net income of non-consolidated affiliate of $2.7 million in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. These changes were partially offset by decreases in depreciation and amortization expense of $1.0 million, non-cash interest of $0.9 million, and deferred taxes of $1.0 million in fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020.

Cash flows provided by operating activities totaled $3.5 million and $55.7 million for fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019, respectively. The primary drivers of the $52.2 million decrease were the following:

A year over year reduction of $12.1 million in net income.

The effect of net changes in operating assets and liabilities negatively impacted fiscal 2020 operating cash flow by $35.0 million compared to fiscal 2019. The primary drivers in this category were the unfavorable changes in accounts payable and accrued expenses of $75.7 million as well as accounts receivable of $10.6 million, which were partially offset by improvements in inventory level changes of $43.8 million and other assets of $9.7 million.

The impact of non-cash items (net source of cash) was $5.1 million higher in fiscal 2019 compared to fiscal 2020. Non-cash items impact net income or loss but do not have direct cash flows associated with them. The significant differences relate to the impact of higher amounts of deferred taxes of $6.6 million, share-based compensation of $0.1 million, and pension amortization expense of $1.0 million in fiscal 2019 compared to fiscal 2020. These changes were partially offset by an increase in depreciation and amortization expense in fiscal 2020 of $4.0 million.

Total cash used in investing activities

Cash flows used in investing activities totaled $11.3 million and $18.8 million for fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2020, respectively. The $7.5 million decrease in cash used was primarily due to decreased spending on fixed assets in fiscal 2021 as compared to fiscal 2020.

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Cash flows used in investing activities totaled $18.8 million and $35.5 million for fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019, respectively. The $16.7 million decrease in cash used was primarily due to decreased spending on manufacturing assets associated with our paint facility in fiscal 2020 when compared to fiscal 2019.

Total cash provided by (used in) financing activities

Cash provided by financing activities totaled $32.8 million for fiscal 2021, as compared with $11.1 million of cash used in financing activities for fiscal 2020. In fiscal 2021, net borrowings under the revolving credit facility increased $45.0 million compared to fiscal 2020. This source of cash was partially offset by increased cash paid for debt costs of $1.5 million in fiscal 2021 as compared to fiscal 2020.

Cash used in financing activities totaled $11.1 million and $9.5 million for fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019, respectively. In fiscal 2020 we used more cash compared to the prior year on finance lease payments totaling $0.8 million, debt issuance costs totaling $0.9 million, and payments of employee taxes for share-based compensation activity totaling $2.9 million. These increased cash outflows were partially offset by approximately $2.7 million more in cash received for warrant exercises in fiscal 2020 when compared with fiscal 2019. All warrants have expired or been exercised so this component of cash flows from financing activities is not expected to repeat in future years.
 
Free cash flow

Management believes the non-GAAP measurement of Free Cash Flow, defined as net cash used in or provided by operating activities less cash paid for fixed assets and acquired intangible assets, fairly represents the Company’s ability to generate surplus cash that could fund activities not in the ordinary course of business. See “Key Measures We Use to Evaluate Our Performance” for further discussion. The following table sets forth the calculation of Free Cash Flow for the fiscal years presented:
(in thousands)202120202019
Total cash (used in) provided by operating activities
$(54,241)$3,459 $55,706 
Cash paid for fixed assets and acquired intangible assets
(12,212)(18,968)(35,514)
Free Cash Flow
$(66,453)$(15,509)$20,192 

Free Cash Flow for fiscal 2021 was $50.9 million lower than Free Cash Flow for fiscal 2020, primarily due to a $57.7 million decrease in cash provided by operating activities as discussed above. This decrease was partially offset by a reduction of $6.8 million in cash paid for fixed assets in fiscal 2021 as compared to fiscal 2020 as we limited capital expenditures in fiscal 2021 to mitigate the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations, financial results and cash flows.

Free Cash Flow for fiscal 2020 was $35.7 million lower than Free Cash Flow for fiscal 2019, primarily due to a $52.2 million decrease in cash provided by operating activities as discussed above. This decrease was partially offset by a reduction of $16.5 million in cash paid for fixed assets as we limited capital expenditures in fiscal 2020 and had significant capital expenditures related to our paint facility in fiscal 2019 that did not recur.

Off-Balance Sheet arrangements

We had outstanding letters of credit totaling $6.3 million at October 2, 2021, the majority of which secure our self-insured workers compensation program, the collateral for which is regulated by the State of Georgia.

We had a $3.0 million guarantee outstanding at October 2, 2021 which relates to a guarantee of indebtedness for a term loan obtained by one of our dealers with a remaining maturity up to 1.3 years. The $3.0 million represents the estimated maximum amount we would be required to pay upon default of all guaranteed indebtedness, and we believe the likelihood of required performance to be remote.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions. At the date of the financial statements, these estimates and assumptions affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities, and during the reporting period, these estimates and assumptions affect the reported amounts of revenues and expenses. For example, significant management judgments are required in determining excess, obsolete, or unsalable inventory; allowance for doubtful accounts; potential impairment of long-lived assets, goodwill and intangibles; and the accounting for self-insurance reserves, warranty reserves, pension obligations, income taxes, environmental liabilities and contingencies. Future events and their effects cannot be predicted with certainty, and, accordingly, the Company’s accounting
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estimates require the exercise of judgment. The accounting estimates used in the preparation of the Company’s consolidated financial statements may change as new events occur, as more experience is acquired, as additional information is obtained and as the Company’s operating environment changes. The Company evaluates and updates its assumptions and estimates on an ongoing basis, based on historical experience and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, and may employ outside experts to assist in the Company’s evaluations. Actual results could differ from the estimates that the Company has used.

The estimates that require management to exercise the greatest extent of judgment in establishing assumptions and that could have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements should they change significantly in a future period are defined as "critical" in nature and include the following:

Self-Insurance Reserves

The Company is self-insured for the majority of its workers’ compensation and medical claims. The expected ultimate cost for claims incurred as of the balance sheet date is not discounted and is recognized as a liability. Self-insurance losses for claims filed and claims incurred but not reported are accrued based upon estimates of the aggregate liability for uninsured claims using loss development factors and actuarial assumptions followed in the insurance industry and historical loss development experience. The establishment of the reserves utilizing such estimates and assumptions is based on the premise that historical claims experience is indicative of current or future expected activity, which could differ significantly. At October 2, 2021 and October 3, 2020, reserves totaled approximately $4.5 million and $5.0 million, respectively.
Goodwill and Intangible Assets

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price of acquired businesses over the fair value of the assets acquired less liabilities assumed in connection with such acquisition. In accordance with the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 350, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other (“ASC 350”), goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite useful lives acquired in an acquisition are not amortized, but instead are tested for impairment at least annually or more frequently should an event occur or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may be impaired. Such events or circumstances may be a significant change in business climate, economic and industry trends, legal factors, negative operating performance indicators, significant competition, changes in strategy or disposition of a reporting unit or a portion thereof. Although management believes the assumptions used in the determination of the value of the enterprise are reasonable, no assurance can be given that these assumptions will be achieved. As a result, impairment charges may occur when goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite useful lives are tested for impairment in the future.

We have two reporting units for which we test goodwill for impairment: Bus and Parts. In the evaluation of goodwill for impairment, we have the option to perform a qualitative assessment to determine whether further impairment testing is necessary or to perform a quantitative assessment by comparing the fair value of a reporting unit to its carrying amount, including goodwill. Under the qualitative assessment, an entity is not required to calculate the fair value of a reporting unit unless the entity determines that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount. If under the quantitative assessment the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, then the amount of the impairment loss, if any, must be measured under step two of the impairment analysis. In step two of the analysis, we would record an impairment loss equal to the excess of the carrying value of the reporting unit’s goodwill over its implied fair value should such a circumstance arise.

Fair value of the reporting units is estimated primarily using the income approach, which incorporates the use of discounted cash flow ("DCF") analysis. A number of significant assumptions and estimates are involved in the application of the DCF model to forecast operating cash flows, including markets and market shares, sales volumes and prices, costs to produce, tax rates, capital spending, discount rate and working capital changes. The cash flow forecasts are based on approved strategic operating plans.

During the fourth quarter of each fiscal year presented, we performed our annual impairment assessment of goodwill which did not indicate that an impairment existed.

In the evaluation of indefinite lived assets for impairment, we have the option to perform a qualitative assessment to determine whether further impairment testing is necessary, or to perform a quantitative assessment by comparing the fair value of an asset to its carrying amount. The Company’s intangible asset with an indefinite useful life is the Blue Bird trade-name. Under the qualitative assessment, an entity is not required to calculate the fair value of the asset unless the entity determines that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount. If a qualitative assessment is not performed or if a quantitative assessment is otherwise required, then the entity compares the fair value of an asset to its carrying amount and the amount of the impairment loss, if any, is the difference between fair value and carrying value. The fair value of our trade name is derived by using the relief from royalty method, which discounts the estimated cash savings we realize by owning the name instead of otherwise having to license or lease it.
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During the fourth quarter of each fiscal year presented, we performed our annual impairment assessment of our trade name which did not indicate that an impairment existed.

Our intangible assets with definite useful lives include customer relationships and engineering designs, which are amortized over their estimated useful lives of 2, 7, or 20 years using the straight-line method. These assets are tested for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of the assets may not be recoverable. No impairments have been recorded.

Pensions

We have pension benefit costs and obligations, which are developed from actuarial valuations. Actuarial assumptions attempt to anticipate future events and are used in calculating the expense and liability relating to our plan. These factors include assumptions we make about interest rates and expected investment return on plan assets. In addition, our actuarial consultants also use subjective factors such as mortality rates to develop our valuations. We review and update these assumptions on an annual basis at the beginning of each fiscal year. We are required to consider current market conditions, including changes in interest rates, in making these assumptions. Effective January 1, 2006, the benefit plan was frozen to all participants. No accrual of future benefits is earned or calculated beyond this date. Accordingly, our obligation estimate is based on benefits earned at that time discounted using an estimate of the single equivalent discount rate determined by matching the plan’s future expected cash flows to spot rates from a yield curve comprised of high-quality corporate bond rates of various durations. The expected long-term rate of return on plan assets reflects the average rate of earnings expected on the funds invested, or to be invested, to provide for the pension benefit obligation. In estimating that rate, appropriate consideration is given to the returns being earned by the plan assets in the fund and rates of return expected to be available for reinvestment and we consider asset allocations, input from an external pension investment adviser, and risks and other factors adjusted for our specific investment strategy. The focus is on long-term trends and provides for the consideration of recent plan performance.

The actuarial assumptions that we use may differ materially from actual results due to changing market and economic conditions as well as longer or shorter life spans of participants. These differences may result in a significant impact to the measurement of our pension benefit obligations, and to the amount of pension benefits expense we may record. For example, at October 2, 2021, a one-half percent increase in the discount rate would reduce the projected benefit obligation of our pension plans by approximately $9.1 million, while a one-half percent decrease in the discount rate would increase the projected benefit obligation of our pension plans by approximately $10.1 million.

Product Warranty Costs

The Company’s products are generally warranted against defects in material and workmanship for a period of one to five years. A provision for estimated warranty costs is recorded at the time a unit is sold. The methodology to determine the warranty reserve calculates the average expected future warranty claims using historical warranty claims by body type, by month, over the life of the bus, which is then multiplied by remaining months under warranty, by warranty type. The establishment of the reserve utilizing such estimates and assumptions is based on the premise that historical claims experience, both in terms of the volume of claims activity and related cost, is indicative of future expected claims activity. Management believes the methodology is reasonable (i) since the Company's product offerings and manufacturing processes do not change quickly or significantly and (ii) given the significant investments that the Company has made, and expects to continue making, to improve the quality, reliability and safety of the school buses it manufactures. Accordingly, while management believes that this methodology provides an accurate reserve estimate, actual claims incurred could differ from the original estimates, requiring future adjustments.

Income Taxes

The Company accounts for income taxes in accordance with ASC 740, Income Taxes (“ASC 740”), which requires an asset and liability approach to financial accounting and reporting for income taxes. Under this approach, deferred income taxes represent the expected future tax consequences of temporary differences between the financial statement and tax basis of assets and liabilities. The Company evaluates its ability, based on the weight of evidence available, to realize future tax benefits from deferred tax assets and establishes a valuation allowance to reduce a deferred tax asset to a level which, more likely than not, will be realized in future years.

The Company recognizes uncertain tax positions based on a cumulative probability assessment if it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained upon examination by an appropriate tax authority with full knowledge of all information. Recognized income tax positions are measured at the largest amount that is greater than 50% likely of being realized. Amounts recorded for uncertain tax positions are periodically assessed, including the evaluation of new facts and circumstances, to ensure sustainability of the positions. The Company records interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expense.
40



Recent Accounting Pronouncements

A discussion of recently issued accounting standards applicable to the Company is described in Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Recently Issued Accounting Standards, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements contained elsewhere in this Report, and we incorporate such discussion by reference herein.

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

The Company is exposed to market risk from changes in interest rates, currency exchange rates, and commodity prices.

Interest Rate Risk

In the first quarter of fiscal 2019, we entered into a four year interest rate collar contract with a notional value of $150.0 million to partially mitigate our exposure to interest rate fluctuations on our variable rate term loan debt. The collar establishes a range where we will pay the counterparty if the three month LIBOR rate falls below the established floor rate of 1.5%, and the counterparty will pay us if the three month LIBOR rate exceeds the ceiling rate of 3.3%. The collar settles quarterly through the termination date of September 30, 2022. No payments or receipts are exchanged on the interest rate collar contract unless interest rates rise above or fall below the contracted ceiling or floor rates. Throughout fiscal 2021, the three month LIBOR rate fell below the established floor, which required us to make $2.0 million in total cash payments to the counterparty.

Commodity Risk

The Company and its suppliers incorporate raw and finished commodities such as steel, copper, aluminum, and other automotive type commodities into its products. We often bid on contracts weeks or months before school buses are delivered and enter into school bus sales contracts with fixed prices per bus. The sales contracts generally do not have an indexed price escalation formula to account for economic fluctuations between the contract date and the delivery date. As a result, we are typically unable to pass along increased economic fluctuation costs to our customers. We generally purchase steel one quarter in advance, but because we generally do not otherwise hedge steel or the other primary commodities we purchase (rubber, aluminum and copper), changes in prices of raw materials can significantly impact future operating margins.

Currency Risk

The Company transacts substantially all of its sales in U.S. Dollars. Our foreign customers have exposure to risks related to changes in foreign currency exchange rates on our sales in that region, due in part to the time elapsed between a fixed price order date and delivery/payment for the order. Foreign currency exchange rates can have material adverse effects on our foreign customers' ability to purchase our products. Therefore, at times, we may allow them to pay in their local currency and we may utilize derivative instruments to hedge changes in foreign currency exchange rates for those transactions.




41


Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

Stockholders and Board of Directors
Blue Bird Corporation
Macon, Georgia

Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Blue Bird Corporation (the “Company”) and subsidiaries as of October 2, 2021 and October 3, 2020, the related consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income, stockholders’ deficit, and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended October 2, 2021, and the related notes and schedule (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at October 2, 2021 and October 3, 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended October 2, 2021, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of October 2, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”) and our report dated December 15, 2021 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.

Basis for Opinion

These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s consolidated financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud.

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the consolidated financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the consolidated financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Critical Audit Matter

The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the consolidated financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the consolidated financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of a critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.

Evaluation of Warranty Reserve

As discussed in Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company's warranty reserve is calculated based on the average expected warranty claims using warranty claims by body type, by month, over the life of the bus, which is then multiplied by remaining months under warranty, by warranty type. The total warranty reserve was $19 million as of October 2, 2021.

We identified the evaluation of certain assumptions related to the average warranty costs per unit and the average expected warranty claim payment patterns used in the evaluation of the warranty reserve as a critical audit matter.

The principal considerations for our determination were (i) the Company’s assumptions relating to the average warranty costs per unit and the payment patterns over the term of the warranty involved a higher degree of auditor judgment, and (ii) specialized actuarial skills were needed to assess the Company's process and evaluate the assumptions regarding the determination of the average expected warranty claims and the affect of those assumptions on the reserve.
42


The primary procedures we performed to address this critical audit matter included:

Testing the design, implementation and operating effectiveness of controls over the Company's warranty claim process, including the data, inputs, and assumptions utilized to estimate the warranty reserve;

Testing the warranty reserve calculation, including the mathematical accuracy of the calculation, the relevance, reliability, and sufficiency of the assumptions and the sources of data from which the assumptions were derived;

Involving actuarial professionals with specialized knowledge and skills to assist in: (i) reviewing the Company’s actuarial methodology in calculating the warranty reserve, (ii) evaluating certain key assumptions used, including average warranty costs per unit and payment patterns over the term of the warranty, in the determination of the average expected warranty claims, and (iii) determining whether the methodology, assumptions, and calculation were consistent with historical evaluations and the aggregate impact of any changes to assumptions.

/s/ BDO USA, LLP

We have served as the Company's auditor since 2016.

Atlanta, Georgia
December 15, 2021

43


Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

Stockholders and Board of Directors
Blue Bird Corporation
Macon, Georgia

Opinion on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

We have audited Blue Bird Corporation’s (the “Company’s”) internal control over financial reporting as of October 2, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (the “COSO criteria”). In our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of October 2, 2021, based on the COSO criteria.

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”), the consolidated balance sheets of the Company as of October 2, 2021 and October 3, 2020, the related consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive income, stockholders’ deficit, and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended October 2, 2021, and the related notes and schedule and our report dated December 15, 2021 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.

Basis for Opinion

The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying “Item 9A, Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting”. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audit of internal control over financial reporting in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audit also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

Definition and Limitations of Internal Control over Financial Reporting

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

/s/ BDO USA, LLP

Atlanta, Georgia
December 15, 2021

44


BLUE BIRD CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(in thousands except for share data)October 2, 2021October 3, 2020
Assets
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents$11,709 $44,507 
Accounts receivable, net9,967 7,623 
Inventories125,206 56,523 
Other current assets9,191 8,243 
Total current assets$156,073 $116,896 
Property, plant and equipment, net105,482 103,372 
Goodwill18,825 18,825 
Intangible assets, net49,443 51,632 
Equity investment in affiliate14,817 14,320 
Deferred tax assets4,413 4,365 
Finance lease right-of-use assets5,486 6,983 
Other assets1,481 1,022 
Total assets$356,020 $317,415 
Liabilities and Stockholders' Deficit
Current liabilities
Accounts payable$72,270 $57,602 
Warranty7,385 8,336 
Accrued expenses12,267 15,773 
Deferred warranty income7,832 8,540 
Finance lease obligations1,327 1,280 
Other current liabilities8,851 10,217 
Current portion of long-term debt14,850 9,900 
Total current liabilities$124,782 $111,648 
Long-term liabilities
Revolving credit facility$45,000 $— 
Long-term debt149,573 164,204 
Warranty11,165 13,038 
Deferred warranty income12,312 14,048 
Deferred tax liabilities3,673 254 
Finance lease obligations4,538 5,879 
Other liabilities14,882 14,315 
Pension22,751 47,259 
Total long-term liabilities$263,894 $258,997 
Guarantees, commitments and contingencies (Note 10)
Stockholders' deficit
Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value, 10,000,000 shares authorized, 0 issued with liquidation preference of $0 at October 2, 2021 and October 3, 2020
$— $— 
Common stock, $0.0001 par value, 100,000,000 shares authorized, 27,205,269 and 27,048,404 shares outstanding at October 2, 2021 and October 3, 2020, respectively
Additional paid-in capital96,170 88,910 
Accumulated deficit(33,753)(33,464)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss(44,794)(58,397)
Treasury stock, at cost, 1,782,568 shares at October 2, 2021 and October 3, 2020
(50,282)(50,282)
Total stockholders' deficit$(32,656)$(53,230)
Total liabilities and stockholders' deficit$356,020 $317,415 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
45


BLUE BIRD CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
Fiscal Years Ended
(in thousands except for share data)202120202019
Net sales$683,995 $879,221 $1,018,874 
Cost of goods sold611,854 783,021 885,400 
Gross profit$72,141 $96,200 $133,474 
Operating expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses65,619 74,206 89,642 
Operating profit$6,522 $21,994 $43,832 
Interest expense(9,682)(12,252)(12,879)
Interest income11 
Other income (expense), net1,776 738 (1,331)
Loss on debt modification(598)— — 
(Loss) income before income taxes$(1,978)$10,491 $29,631 
Income tax benefit (expense)1,191 (1,519)(7,573)
Equity in net income of non-consolidated affiliate 498 3,213 2,242 
Net (loss) income$(289)$12,185 $24,300 
(Loss) earnings per share:
Basic weighted average shares outstanding27,139,054 26,850,999 26,455,436 
Diluted weighted average shares outstanding27,139,054 27,086,555 27,043,814 
Basic (loss) earnings per share $(0.01)$0.45 $0.92 
Diluted (loss) earnings per share$(0.01)$0.45 $0.90 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

46


BLUE BIRD CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
Fiscal Years Ended
(in thousands)202120202019
Net (loss) income$(289)$12,185 $24,300 
Other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax
Net change in defined benefit pension plan13,603 (2,243)(17,727)
Total other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax$13,603 $(2,243)$(17,727)
Comprehensive income$13,314 $9,942 $6,573 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.


47


BLUE BIRD CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
Fiscal Years Ended
(in thousands)202120202019
Cash flows from operating activities
Net (loss) income$(289)$12,185 $24,300 
Adjustments to reconcile net (loss) income to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities:
Depreciation and amortization13,446 14,400 10,383 
Non-cash interest expense2,754 3,651 3,822 
Share-based compensation5,938 4,141 4,273 
Equity in net income of non-consolidated affiliate(498)(3,213)(2,242)
(Gain) loss on disposal of fixed assets (679)(76)
Deferred taxes(925)29 6,632 
Amortization of deferred actuarial pension losses1,861 1,720 2,758 
Loss on debt modification598 — — 
Foreign currency hedges— — 109 
Changes in assets and liabilities:
Accounts receivable(2,345)2,914 13,530 
Inventories(68,684)22,308 (21,497)
Other assets(409)5,068 (4,651)
Accounts payable14,081 (40,258)6,318 
Accrued expenses, pension and other liabilities(19,090)(19,410)9,707 
Dividend from equity investment in non-consolidated affiliate— — 2,259 
Total adjustments$(53,952)$(8,726)$31,406 
Total cash (used in) provided by operating activities$(54,241)$3,459 $55,706 
Cash flows from investing activities
Cash paid for fixed assets$(12,212)$(18,968)$(35,514)
Proceeds from sale of fixed assets903 165 47 
Total cash used in investing activities$(11,309)$(18,803)$(35,467)
Cash flows from financing activities
Net borrowings under the revolving credit facility$45,000 $— $— 
Borrowings under the term loan— — 50,000 
Repayments of the term loan(9,900)(9,900)(9,900)
Principal payments on finance leases(1,294)(945)(133)
Cash paid for debt costs(2,476)(935)— 
Net cash received (paid) for exercises and employee taxes on vested restricted shares and stock option exercises1,422 (3,568)(636)
Proceeds from exercises of warrants— 4,240 1,499 
Tender offer repurchase of common stock and preferred stock— — (50,370)
Total cash provided by (used in) financing activities$32,752 $(11,108)$(9,540)
Change in cash and cash equivalents(32,798)(26,452)10,699 
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of year44,507 70,959 60,260 
Cash and cash equivalents, end of year$11,709 $44,507 $70,959 
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Fiscal Years Ended
(in thousands)202120202019
Supplemental disclosures of cash flow information
Cash paid or received during the period:
Interest paid, net of interest received$11,568 $7,591 $10,408 
Income tax paid (received), net of tax refunds31 (1,542)4,586 
Non-cash Investing and Financing Activities:
Changes in accounts payable for capital additions to property, plant and equipment and other current assets for capitalized intangible assets$587 $(5,422)$8,040 
Cashless exercise of stock options2,299 5,246 481 
Cashless exercise of warrants— — 416 
Right-of-use assets obtained in exchange for operating lease obligations62 — 8,040 
Right-of-use assets obtained in exchange for finance lease obligations— 3,496 4,770 
Conversion of preferred stock into common stock— — 9,264 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

49


BLUE BIRD CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF STOCKHOLDERS' DEFICIT
Common StockConvertible Preferred StockTreasury Stock
(in thousands except for share data) SharesPar ValueAdditional Paid-In-CapitalSharesAmountAccumulated Other Comprehensive LossAccumulated DeficitSharesAmountTotal Stockholders' Deficit
Balance, September 29, 201827,259,262 $$70,023 93,000 $9,300 $(38,427)$(69,235)— $— $(28,336)
Adoption of revenue recognition standard (ASC 606) adjustment— — — — — — (714)— — (714)
Exercise of stock warrants144,996 — 1,499 — — — — — — 1,499 
Restricted stock activity51,195 — (596)— — — — — — (596)
Stock option activity3,836 — (40)— — — — — — (40)
Tender offer share repurchases(1,782,568)— (52)(364)(36)— — 1,782,568 (50,282)(50,370)
Preferred stock conversion799,615 — 9,264 (92,636)(9,264)— — — — — 
Share-based compensation expense— — 4,173 — — — — — — 4,173 
Net income— — — — — — 24,300 — — 24,300 
Other comprehensive loss, net of tax— — — — — (17,727)— — — (17,727)
Balance, September 28, 201926,476,336 $$84,271 — $— $(56,154)$(45,649)1,782,568 $(50,282)$(67,811)
Exercise of stock warrants368,712 — 4,240 — — — — — — 4,240 
Restricted stock activity94,724 — (1,623)— — — — — — (1,623)
Stock option activity108,632 — (1,945)— — — — — — (1,945)
Share-based compensation expense— — 3,967 — — — — — — 3,967 
Net income— — — — — — 12,185 — — 12,185 
Other comprehensive loss, net of tax— — — — — (2,243)— — — (2,243)
Balance, October 3, 202027,048,404 $$88,910 — $— $(58,397)$(33,464)1,782,568 $(50,282)$(53,230)
Restricted stock activity36,404 — (517)— — — — — — (517)
Stock option activity120,461 — 1,939 — — — — — — 1,939 
Share-based compensation expense— — 5,838 — — — — — — 5,838 
Net loss— — — — — — (289)— — (289)
Other comprehensive income, net of tax— — — — — 13,603 — — — 13,603 
Balance, October 2, 202127,205,269 $$96,170 — $— $(44,794)$(33,753)1,782,568 $(50,282)$(32,656)

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
50


BLUE BIRD CORPORATION
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

1. Nature of Business and Basis of Presentation

Nature of Business

Blue Bird Body Company ("BBBC"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blue Bird Corporation, was incorporated in 1958 and has manufactured, assembled and sold school buses to a variety of municipal, federal and commercial customers since 1927. The majority of BBBC’s sales are made to an independent distributor network, which in turn sells buses to ultimate end users. References in these notes to financial statements to “Blue Bird,” the “Company,” “we,” “our,” or “us” refer to Blue Bird Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, unless the context specifically indicates otherwise. We are headquartered in Macon, Georgia.

Basis of Presentation

The accompanying consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its wholly-owned subsidiaries. All significant inter-company transactions and accounts have been eliminated in consolidation.

The Company’s fiscal year ends on the Saturday closest to September 30 with its quarters consisting of thirteen weeks in most years. The fiscal years ended October 2, 2021, October 3, 2020 and September 28, 2019 are referred to herein as “fiscal 2021,” “fiscal 2020” and “fiscal 2019,” respectively. There were 52 weeks in fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2019, and there were 53 weeks in fiscal 2020.

COVID-19

Beginning at the end of our second quarter of fiscal 2020 and continuing throughout fiscal 2021, the novel coronavirus known as "COVID-19" spread throughout the world, resulting in a global pandemic. The pandemic significantly impacted our financial results for the second half of fiscal 2020, which continued throughout fiscal 2021, causing, among other matters, lower customer orders for both buses and bus parts, major supply chain disruptions, particularly in the second half of fiscal 2021, higher rates of absenteeism among our hourly production workforce and several temporary shutdowns of our manufacturing facilities during fiscal 2021 as we could not secure an adequate supply of critical components to allow us to initiate or complete, as applicable, the production process to fulfill sales orders. The continuing development and fluidity of the pandemic and its trailing impact precludes any prediction as to the ultimate severity of the adverse impacts on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and liquidity.
2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Recently Issued Accounting Standards

Use of Estimates and Assumptions

The preparation of financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("U.S.") (“U.S. GAAP”) requires management to make estimates and assumptions. At the date of the financial statements, these estimates and assumptions affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities, and during the reporting period, these estimates and assumptions affect the reported amounts of revenues and expenses. For example, significant management judgments are required in determining excess, obsolete, or unsalable inventory, allowance for doubtful accounts, potential impairment of long-lived assets, goodwill and intangible assets, the accounting for self-insurance reserves, warranty reserves, pension obligations, income taxes, environmental liabilities and contingencies. Future events, including the extent and duration of the COVID-19 related economic impacts, and their effects cannot be predicted with certainty, and, accordingly, the Company’s accounting estimates require the exercise of judgment. The accounting estimates used in the preparation of the Company’s consolidated financial statements may change as new events occur, as more experience is acquired, as additional information is obtained and as the Company’s operating environment changes. The Company evaluates and updates its assumptions and estimates on an ongoing basis and may employ outside experts to assist in the Company’s evaluations. Actual results could differ from the estimates that the Company has used.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

The Company considers all highly liquid investments purchased with an original maturity of three months or less to be cash equivalents. 

51


Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

Accounts receivable consist of amounts owed to the Company by customers. The Company monitors collections and payments from customers, and generally does not require collateral. Accounts receivable are generally due within 30 to 90 days. The Company provides for the possible inability to collect accounts receivable by recording an allowance for doubtful accounts. The Company reserves for an account when it is considered potentially uncollectible. The Company estimates its allowance for doubtful accounts based on historical experience, aging of accounts receivable and information regarding the creditworthiness of its customers. To date, losses have been within the range of management’s expectations. The Company writes off accounts receivable if it determines that the account is uncollectible.

Revenue Recognition

The Company records revenue when the following five steps have been completed:

1.Identification of the contract(s) with a customer;
2.Identification of the performance obligation(s) in the contract;
3.Determination of the transaction price;
4.Allocation of the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract; and
5.Recognition of revenue, when, or as, we satisfy performance obligations.

The Company records revenue when performance obligations are satisfied by transferring control of a promised good or service to the customer. The Company evaluates the transfer of control primarily from the customer’s perspective where the customer has the ability to direct the use of, and obtain substantially all of the remaining benefits from, that good or service.

Our product revenue includes sales of buses and bus parts, each of which are generally recognized as revenue at a point in time, once all conditions for revenue recognition have been met, as they represent our performance obligations in a sale. For buses, control is generally transferred and the customer has the ability to direct the use of and obtain substantially all of the remaining benefits of the product when the product is delivered or when the product has been completed, is ready for delivery, has been paid for, its title has transferred and it is awaiting pickup by the customer. For certain bus sale transactions, we may provide incentives including payment of a limited amount of future interest charges our customers may incur related to their purchase and financing of the bus with third party financing companies. We reduce revenue at the recording date by the full amount of potential future interest we may be obligated to pay, which is an application of the "most likely amount" method. For parts sales, control is generally transferred when the customer has the ability to direct the use of and obtain substantially all of the remaining benefits of the products, which generally coincides with the point in time when the customer has assumed risk of loss and title has passed for the goods sold.

The Company sells extended warranties related to its products. Revenue related to these contracts is recognized based on the stand-alone selling price of the arrangement, on a straight-line basis over the contract period, and costs thereunder are expensed as incurred.

The Company includes shipping and handling revenues, which are costs billed to customers, in net sales on the Consolidated Statements of Operations. Shipping and handling costs incurred are included in cost of goods sold.

See Note 12, Revenue, for further revenue information. See Note 3, Supplemental Financial Information, for further information on warranties.

Self-Insurance

The Company is self-insured for the majority of its workers’ compensation and medical claims. The expected ultimate cost for claims incurred as of the balance sheet date is not discounted and is recognized as a liability. Self-insurance losses for claims filed and claims incurred but not reported are accrued based upon estimates of the aggregate liability for uninsured claims, using loss development factors and actuarial assumptions followed in the insurance industry and historical loss development experience. See Note 3, Supplemental Financial Information, and Note 16, Benefit Plans, for further information.

Financial Instruments

The Company’s financial instruments consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents, trade receivables, accounts payable, revolving credit facility and long-term debt. The carrying amounts of cash and cash equivalents, trade receivables and accounts payable approximate their fair values because of the short-term maturity and highly liquid nature of these instruments. The carrying value of the Company’s revolving credit facility and long-term debt approximates fair value due to the variable interest rate. See Note 8, Debt, for further discussion.
52



Derivative Instruments

In limited circumstances, we may utilize derivative instruments to manage certain exposures to changes in foreign currency exchange rates or interest rates relating to variable rate debt. The fair values of all derivative instruments are recognized as assets or liabilities at the balance sheet date. Changes in the fair value of these derivative instruments are recognized in our operating results or included in other comprehensive income (loss), depending on whether the derivative instrument qualifies, and is appropriately designated, for hedge accounting treatment and if so, whether it represents a fair value or cash flow hedge. Gains and losses on derivative instruments are recognized in the operating results line item that reflects the underlying exposure that was mitigated either via a formal hedge accounting relationship or economically. The exchange of cash, if any, associated with derivative transactions is classified in the same category as the cash flows from the underlying items giving rise to the foreign currency or interest rate exposures.

Inventories

The Company values inventories at the lower of cost or net realizable value. The Company uses a standard costing methodology, which approximates cost on a first-in, first-out (“FIFO”) basis. The Company reviews the standard costs of raw materials, work-in-process and finished goods inventory on a periodic basis to ensure that its inventories approximate current actual costs. Manufacturing cost includes raw materials, direct labor and manufacturing overhead. Obsolete inventory amounts are based on historical usage and assumptions about future demand.

Property, Plant and Equipment

Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost, less accumulated depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization is calculated on a straight-line basis using the following periods, which represent the estimated useful lives of the assets:
Years
Buildings15 - 33
Machinery and equipment5 - 10
Office furniture, equipment and other3 - 10
Computer equipment and software3 - 7

Costs, including capitalized interest and certain design, construction and installation costs related to assets that are under construction and are in the process of being readied for their intended use, are recorded as construction in progress and are not depreciated until such time as the subject asset is placed in service. Repairs and maintenance that do not extend the useful life of the asset are expensed as incurred. Upon sale, retirement, or other disposition of these assets, the costs and related accumulated depreciation are removed from the respective accounts and any gain or loss on the disposition is included on our Consolidated Statements of Operations.

Leases

We determine if an arrangement is or contains a lease at inception. The Company enters into lease arrangements primarily for office space, warehouse space, or a combination of both. We elected to account for leases with initial terms of 12 months or less as straight-line expense and not record assets or liabilities. For a lease with an initial term greater than 12 months, the Company recognizes a right-of-use (“ROU”) asset and lease liability on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. ROU assets represent our right to use an underlying asset for the lease term and lease liabilities represent our obligation to make lease payments arising from the lease.

We determine whether the lease is an operating or finance lease at inception based on the information and expectations for the lease at that time. Operating lease ROU assets are included in property, plant and equipment and the lease liabilities are included in other current liabilities and other liabilities on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. Finance lease ROU assets are included in finance lease right-of-use assets and the lease liabilities are included in finance lease obligations (current) and finance lease obligations (long-term) on our Consolidated Balance Sheets.

Lease ROU assets and liabilities are recognized at commencement date based on the present value of lease payments over the lease term. As the leases recorded do not provide an implicit rate, we use our incremental borrowing rate based on the information available at commencement date in determining the present value of lease payments. Our lease terms may include options to extend or terminate the lease when it is reasonably certain that we will exercise that option. Operating lease ROU assets also include any base rental or lease payments made and exclude lease incentives.

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The two components of operating lease expense, amortization and interest, are recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term as a single expense element within selling, general and administrative expenses on the Consolidated Statements of Operations. Under the finance lease model, interest on the lease liability is recognized in interest expense and amortization of ROU assets is recorded on the Consolidated Statements of Operations based on the underlying use of the assets.

Impairment of Long-Lived Assets

The Company reviews its long-lived assets, including property, plant and equipment, for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. If we are required to analyze recoverability based on a triggering event, undiscounted future cash flows over the estimated remaining life of the asset, or asset group, are projected. If these projected cash flows are less than the carrying amount, an impairment loss is recognized to the extent the fair value of the asset less any costs of disposition is less than the carrying amount of the asset. Judgments regarding the existence of impairment indicators are based on market and operational performance. Evaluating potential impairment also requires estimates of future operating results and cash flows. No impairment charge was recognized in any of the periods presented.

Goodwill and Intangible Assets

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price of acquired businesses over the fair value of the assets acquired less liabilities assumed in connection with such acquisition. In accordance with the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification Topic ("ASC") 350, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other, goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite useful lives acquired in an acquisition are not amortized, but instead are tested for impairment at least annually or more frequently should an event occur or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may be impaired. Such events or circumstances may include a significant change in business climate, economic and industry trends, legal factors, negative operating performance indicators, significant competition, changes in strategy or disposition of a reporting unit or a portion thereof.

We have two reporting units for which we test goodwill for impairment: Bus and Parts. In the evaluation of goodwill for impairment, we have the option to perform a qualitative assessment to determine whether further impairment testing is necessary or to perform a quantitative assessment by comparing the fair value of a reporting unit to its carrying amount, including goodwill. Under the qualitative assessment, an entity is not required to calculate the fair value of a reporting unit unless the entity determines that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount. If, under the quantitative assessment, the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, then the amount of the impairment loss, if any, must be measured under step two of the impairment analysis. In step two of the analysis, we would record an impairment loss equal to the excess of the carrying value of the reporting unit’s goodwill over its implied fair value, should such a circumstance arise.

Fair value of the reporting units is estimated primarily using the income approach, which incorporates the use of discounted cash flow ("DCF") analysis. A number of significant assumptions and estimates are involved in the application of the DCF model to forecast operating cash flows, including markets and market shares, sales volumes and prices, costs to produce, tax rates, capital spending, discount rate and working capital changes. The cash flow forecasts are based on approved strategic operating plans and long-term forecasts.

In the evaluation of indefinite lived assets for impairment, we have the option to perform a qualitative assessment to determine whether further impairment testing is necessary, or to perform a quantitative assessment by comparing the fair value of an asset to its carrying amount. The Company’s intangible asset with an indefinite useful life is the "Blue Bird" trade name. Under the qualitative assessment, an entity is not required to calculate the fair value of the asset unless the entity determines that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount. If a qualitative assessment is not performed or if a quantitative assessment is otherwise required, then the entity compares the fair value of an asset to its carrying amount and the amount of the impairment loss, if any, is the difference between fair value and carrying value. The fair value of our trade name is derived by using the relief from royalty method, which discounts the estimated cash savings we realized by owning the name instead of otherwise having to license or lease it.

Our intangible assets with a definite useful life are amortized over their estimated useful lives, 2, 7, or 20 years, using the straight-line method. The useful lives of our intangible assets are reassessed annually and they are tested for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of the asset may not be recoverable.

Debt Issue Costs

Amounts paid directly to lenders or as an original issue discount and amounts classified as issuance costs are recorded as a reduction in the carrying value of the debt, for which the Company had deferred financing costs totaling $2.0 million and $2.2 million at October 2, 2021 and October 3, 2020, respectively, incurred in connection with its debt facilities and related amendments.
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All deferred financing costs are amortized to interest expense. The effective interest method is used for debt discounts related to the term loan. The Company’s amortization of these costs was $1.1 million, $0.9 million and $0.9 million for fiscal 2021, fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019, respectively, and is reflected as a component of interest expense on the Consolidated Statements of Operations. See Note 8, Debt, for a discussion of the Company’s indebtedness.

Pensions

The Company accounts for its pension benefit obligations using actuarial models. The measurement of plan obligations and assets was made at September 30, 2021. Effective January 1, 2006, the benefit plan was frozen to all participants. No accrual of future benefits is earned or calculated beyond this date. Accordingly, our obligation estimate is based on benefits earned at that time discounted using an estimate of the single equivalent discount rate determined by matching the plan’s future expected cash flows to spot rates from a yield curve comprised of high-quality corporate bond rates of various durations. The Company recognizes the funded status of its pension plan obligations on the Consolidated Balance Sheet and records in other comprehensive income (loss) certain gains and losses that arise during the period, but are deferred under pension accounting rules. Pension expense is recognized as a component of other income (expense), net on our Consolidated Statements of Operations.

Product Warranty Costs

The Company’s products are generally warranted against defects in material and workmanship for a period of one year to five years. A provision for estimated warranty costs is recorded at the time a unit is sold. The methodology to determine the warranty reserve calculates the average expected warranty claims using warranty claims by body type, by month, over the life of the bus, which is then multiplied by remaining months under warranty, by warranty type. Management believes the methodology provides an accurate reserve estimate. Actual claims incurred could differ from the original estimates, requiring future adjustments.

The Bus segment also sells extended warranties related to its products. Revenue related to these contracts is recognized on a straight-line basis over the contract period and costs thereunder are expensed as incurred. All warranty expenses are recorded in the cost of goods sold line on the Consolidated Statements of Operations. The current methodology to determine short-term extended warranty income reserve is based on twelve months of the remaining warranty value for each effective extended warranty at the balance sheet date. See Note 3, Supplemental Financial Information, for further information.

Research and Development

Research and development costs are expensed as incurred and included i