BrightView Holdings, Inc.
10-K on 11/17/2021   Download
SEC Document
SEC Filing
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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 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 001-38579

 

BrightView Holdings, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

46-4190788

( State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

980 Jolly Road

Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

 

19422

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (484) 567-7204

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of Each Class

Trading Symbol

Name of exchange on which registered

Common Stock, Par Value $0.01 Per Share

BV

New York Stock Exchange

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

Indicate by check mark if 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, 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 ☒

As of March 31, 2021, the last day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second quarter, the aggregate value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates was approximately $687.4 million, based on the number of shares held by non-affiliates as of March 31, 2021 and the closing price of the registrant’s common stock on the New York Stock Exchange on that date.

The number of shares of Registrant’s Common Stock outstanding as of October 31, 2021 was 105,200,000.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

i


Portions of the Registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement relating to the Annual Meeting of Stockholders, scheduled to be held on March 8, 2022, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report.

 

 

ii


Table of Contents

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

7

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

17

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

30

Item 2.

Properties

30

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

30

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

31

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

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

32

Item 6.

Removed and Reserved

33

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

33

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

49

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

49

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

50

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

50

Item 9B.

Other Information

50

Item 9C.

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections

50

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

51

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

51

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

51

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

51

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

51

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

52

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

52

 

Signatures

57

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”) contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provision of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), which are subject to the “safe harbor” created by those sections. All statements, other than statements of historical facts included in this Form 10-K, including statements concerning our plans, objectives, goals, beliefs, business strategies, future events, business conditions, results of operations, financial position, business outlook, business trends and other information, may be forward-looking statements.

 

Words such as “believes,” “expects,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seeks,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” or “anticipates,” and variations of such words or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements are not historical facts, or guarantees of future performance and are based upon our current expectations, beliefs, estimates and projections, and various assumptions, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and beyond our control. Our expectations, beliefs, and projections are expressed in good faith and we believe there is a reasonable basis for them. However, there can be no assurance that management’s expectations, beliefs and projections will result or be achieved and actual results may vary materially from what is expressed in or indicated by the forward-looking statements.

 

There are a number of risks, uncertainties and other important factors, many of which are beyond our control, that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this Form 10-K. Such risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ include, among others, the risks, uncertainties and factors set forth under the heading “Business”, “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and elsewhere in this Form 10-K. New risk factors and uncertainties may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all risk factors and uncertainties. Some of the key factors that could cause actual results to differ from our expectations include those described below under “Summary of Risk Factors.”

 

We caution you that the risks, uncertainties, and other factors referenced above may not contain all of the risks, uncertainties and other factors that are important to you. In addition, we cannot assure you that we will realize the results, benefits, or developments that we expect or anticipate or, even if substantially realized, that they will result in the consequences or affect us or our business in the way expected. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, any change in assumptions, beliefs or expectations or any change in circumstances upon which any such forward-looking statements are based, except as required by law.

 

Summary of Risk Factors

 

The following is a summary of the principal risks that could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. You should read this summary together with the more detailed description of each risk contained below.

 

Risks Related to Our Business

Our business is affected by general business, financial market and economic conditions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and will likely continue to impact our business.
Our industry and the markets in which we operate are highly competitive and increased competitive pressures could reduce our share of the markets we serve.
Our business success depends on our ability to preserve long-term customer relationships.
We may be adversely affected if customers reduce their outsourcing.
Due to our operation across the United States, our operations may be materially adversely affected by inconsistent practices.
We may not successfully implement our business strategies, including achieving our growth objectives.
Future acquisitions or other strategic transactions could negatively impact our business.
Seasonality affects the demand for our services and our results of operations and cash flows.
Our operations are impacted by weather conditions and climate change.
Increases in raw material costs, fuel prices, wages and other operating costs, and changes in our ability to source adequate supplies and materials in a timely manner, could adversely impact our business.
If we are unable to accurately estimate the overall risks, requirements or costs when we bid on or negotiate contracts that are awarded to us, we may achieve lower than anticipated profits.
Our landscape development services have been, and may be, adversely impacted by fluctuations or declines in the new commercial construction sector, as well as in spending on repair and upgrade activities.

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Our results of operations for our snow removal services depend primarily on the level, timing and location of snowfall.
Our success depends on our executive management and other key personnel.
Our future success depends on our ability to attract, retain and maintain positive relations with workers.
Our business could be adversely affected by improper verification of employment eligibility.
Our use of subcontractors to perform work under certain customer contracts exposes us to liability and financial risk.
A significant portion of our assets consists of goodwill and other intangible assets, the value of which may be reduced if we determine that additional assets are impaired.
If we fail to comply with legal or regulatory requirements, we could become subject to lawsuits, investigations and other restrictions on our operations.
Compliance with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, as well as the risk of potential litigation, could result in significant costs.
Adverse judgments or settlements resulting from proceedings relating to our business operations could materially adversely affect our business.
Our employees use dangerous equipment, and an increase in accidents resulting from the use of such equipment could negatively affect our reputation, results of operations and financial position.
Any failure, inadequacy, interruption, security failure or breach of our information technology systems could harm our ability to effectively operate our business.
We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property, which could harm the value of our brand and adversely affect our business.

 

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

Our substantial indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition.
Our debt agreements contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business.
We may be unable to generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy our significant debt obligations.
We and our subsidiaries may still be able to incur substantially more debt, including off-balance sheet financing, contractual obligations and general and commercial liabilities.
Our variable rate indebtedness subjects us to interest rate risk, which could cause our debt obligations to increase significantly.
If the financial institutions that are part of the syndicate of our Revolving Credit Facility fail to extend credit under our facility or reduce the borrowing base under our Revolving Credit Facility, our liquidity and results of operations may be adversely affected.
We will be exposed to risks related to counterparty credit worthiness or non-performance of the derivative financial instruments we utilize.

 

Risks Related Ownership of Our Common Stock

Future sales, or the perception of future sales, by us or our existing stockholders, could cause the market price for our common stock to decline.
KKR BrightView Aggregator L.P. and MSD Partners have the ability to exert significant influence over us and their interests may conflict with ours or yours in the future.
Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents could delay or prevent a change of control.
Our Board of Directors is authorized to issue and designate shares of our preferred stock in additional series without stockholder approval.
Our certificate of incorporation provides, subject to limited exceptions, that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the sole and exclusive forums for certain stockholder litigation matters.

 

v


General Risk Factors

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other external events could adversely affect our business.
Our stock price may change significantly, and you may not be able to resell shares of our common stock at or above the price you paid or at all, and you could lose all or part of your investment as a result.
If securities analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they downgrade our stock or our sector, our stock price and trading volume could decline.
Maintaining the requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified Board members.
Failure to comply with requirements to maintain effective internal controls could have a material adverse effect on our business and stock price.

 

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PART I

Item 1. Business

BrightView Holdings, Inc. is a holding company that conducts substantially all of its activity through its direct, wholly-owned operating subsidiary, BrightView Landscapes, LLC (“BrightView”) and its consolidated subsidiaries. The holding company and BrightView are collectively referred to on Form 10-K (the “Annual Report”) as “we,” “us,” “our,” “ourselves,” “Company,” or “BrightView.” The Company was formed through a series of transactions entered into by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Inc. (“KKR”) to acquire the Company on December 18, 2013 (“the KKR Acquisition”). KKR and affiliates of MSD Partners, L.P. (“MSD Partners”), collectively referred to herein as the “Sponsors,” controlled a majority of the voting power of the Company’s common stock through May 13, 2021. On May 14, 2021, in accordance with the terms of the Stockholders Agreement, MSD Partners notified the Company of its election to terminate (i) its right to nominate a director pursuant to Section 2.1(a) of the Stockholders Agreement and (ii) the voting agreement pursuant to Section 2.1(j) of the Stockholders Agreement, effective immediately. As a result, the Company no longer qualifies as a “controlled company” within the meaning of the corporate governance standards of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”).

Our Company

We are the largest provider of commercial landscaping services in the United States, with revenues approximately 7 times those of our next largest commercial landscaping competitor. We provide commercial landscaping services, ranging from landscape maintenance and enhancements to tree care and landscape development. We operate through a differentiated and integrated national service model which systematically delivers services at the local level by combining our network of over 280 branches with a qualified service partner network. Our branch delivery model underpins our position as a single-source end-to-end landscaping solution provider to our diverse customer base at the national, regional and local levels, which we believe represents a significant competitive advantage. We believe our commercial customer base understands the financial and reputational risk associated with inadequate landscape maintenance and considers our services to be essential and non-discretionary.

We operate through two segments: Maintenance Services and Development Services. Our maintenance services are primarily self-performed through our national branch network and are route-based in nature. Our development services are comprised of sophisticated design, coordination and installation of landscapes at some of the most recognizable corporate, athletic and university complexes and showcase highly visible work that is paramount to our customers’ perception of our brand as a market leader.

 

 

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As the number one player in the highly attractive and growing $74 billion commercial landscape maintenance and snow removal market, we believe our size and scale present several compelling value propositions for our customers, and allow us to offer a single-source landscaping services solution to a diverse group of commercial customers across all 50 U.S. states. We serve a broad range of end market verticals, including corporate and commercial properties, Homeowners Associations (HOAs), public parks, hotels and resorts, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, educational institutions, restaurants and retail, and golf courses, among others. We are also the Official Field Consultant for Major League Baseball. Our diverse customer base includes approximately 9,000 office parks and corporate campuses, 8,000 residential communities, and 550 educational institutions. We believe that due to our unmatched geographic scale and breadth of service offerings, we are the only commercial landscaping services provider able to service clients whose geographically disperse locations require a broad range of landscaping services delivered consistently and with high quality. Our top ten customers accounted for approximately 15% of our fiscal 2021 revenues, with no single customer accounting for more than 3% of our fiscal 2021 revenues.

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Our business model is characterized by stable, recurring revenues, a scalable operating model, strong operating margins, limited capital expenditures and low working capital requirements that together generate significant Free Cash Flow. For the year ended September 30, 2021, we generated net service revenues of $2,553.6 million, net income of $46.3 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $302.3 million, with a net income margin of 1.8% and an Adjusted EBITDA margin of 11.8%.

 

Our Operating Segments

We deliver our broad range of services through two operating segments: Maintenance Services and Development Services. We serve a geographically diverse set of customers through our strategically located network of branches in 32 U.S. states and, through our qualified service partner network, we are able to efficiently provide nationwide coverage in all 50 U.S. states, as illustrated below.

 

img112161276_1.jpg 

Maintenance Services Overview

Our Maintenance Services segment delivers a full suite of recurring commercial landscaping services ranging from mowing, gardening, mulching and snow removal, to more horticulturally advanced services, such as water management, irrigation maintenance, tree care, golf course maintenance and specialty turf maintenance. Our maintenance services customers include Fortune 500 corporate campuses and commercial properties, HOAs, public parks, leading international hotels and resorts, airport authorities, municipalities, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, educational institutions, restaurants and retail, and golf courses, among others. The chart below illustrates the diversity of our Maintenance Services revenues:

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img112161276_2.jpg 

(1) Reflects the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021.

In addition to contracted maintenance services, we also have a strong track record of providing value-added landscape enhancements, defined as supplemental, non-contract specified maintenance or improvement services which are typically sold by our account managers to our maintenance services customers. These landscape enhancements typically have a predictable level of demand related to our amount of contracted revenue with a customer.

We have a strong maintenance presence in both evergreen and seasonal markets. Evergreen markets are defined as those which require year-round landscape maintenance. As part of our Maintenance Services growth plan, we are actively targeting evergreen geographies, such as California, Florida and Texas, where there are a number of secular demographic trends, such as population growth and business expansion, which represent a compelling growth opportunity.

In our seasonal markets, we are also a leading provider of snow removal services. These route-based snow removal services provide us with a valuable counter-seasonal source of revenues, allowing us to better utilize our crews and certain equipment during the winter months. Our capabilities as a rapid-response, reliable service provider further strengthens our relationships with our customers, all of which have an immediate and critical need for snow removal services. Property managers also enjoy several benefits by using the same service provider for snow removal and landscape maintenance services, including consistency of service, single-source vendor efficiency and volume discount savings. This allows us to actively maintain relationships with key customers in seasonal markets year-round. A portion of our snow removal business is contracted each year under fixed fee servicing arrangements that are subject to guaranteed minimum payments regardless of the season’s snowfall.

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The performance of our snow removal services business, however, is correlated with the amount of snowfall, the number of snowfall events and the nature of those events in a given season. We benchmark our performance against ten- and thirty-year averages, as annual snowfall amounts modulate around these figures.

img112161276_3.jpg 

 

(1) Reflects cumulative annual snowfall at locations where BrightView has a presence.

For the year ended September 30, 2021, in Maintenance Services, we generated net service revenues of $1,982.9 million, including $284.9 million from snow removal services, and Segment Adjusted EBITDA of $299.6 million, with a Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin of 15.1%.

Development Services Overview

Through our Development Services segment, we provide landscape architecture and development services for new facilities and significant redesign projects. Specific services include project design and management services, landscape architecture, landscape installation, irrigation installation, tree moving and installation, pool and water features and sports field services, among others. These complex and specialized offerings showcase our technical expertise across a broad range of end market verticals.

We perform our services across the full spectrum of project sizes, with landscape development projects generally ranging from $100,000 to over $10 million, with an average size of approximately $1.3 million.

Depending on the scope of the work, the contracts can vary in length from 2-3 months to up to 2-3 years. We largely self-perform our work, and we subcontract certain services where we have strategically decided not to allocate resources, such as fencing, lighting and parking lot construction. We believe that our capabilities as a single-source landscape development provider represent a point of comfort for our customers who can be certain that we are managing their landscape development project from inception to completion.

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In our Development Services business, we are typically hired by general contractors with whom we maintain strong relationships as a result of our superior technical and project management capabilities. We believe the quality of our work is also well-regarded by our end-customers, some of whom directly request that their general contractors utilize our services when outsourcing their landscape development projects. Similar to our maintenance contracts, we leverage our proven cost estimation framework and proactive cost management tactics to optimize the profitability of the work we perform under fixed rate development contracts.

For the year ended September 30, 2021, in Development Services, we generated net service revenues of $574.9 million and Segment Adjusted EBITDA of $65.2 million, with a Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin of 11.3%.

Our History

In 2013, affiliates of KKR acquired our predecessor business, Brickman Holding Group, Inc. In 2014, we acquired ValleyCrest Holding Co. (“ValleyCrest Acquisition”) and changed our name to BrightView. As a result of the ValleyCrest Acquisition, BrightView nearly doubled in size and gained national coverage. Our predecessor companies have long histories in the landscaping industry, with Brickman Holding Group, Inc. founded in 1939 and ValleyCrest Holding Co. founded in 1949.

In 2016, we reconstituted our senior leadership team, including hiring a new chief executive officer and a new chief financial officer. Our management team refocused our strategy to realign with the fundamental strengths of our business. BrightView has undergone an organizational transformation recentered around a branch-centric model, empowering leaders at the local and regional levels, and supporting branch locations with appropriate back office functions and an effective corporate framework.

In July 2018, we completed the initial public offering of our common stock (the “IPO”). Our common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BV”. Our principal executive offices are located at 980 Jolly Road, Suite 300, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania 19422.

Market Opportunity

Commercial Landscaping Services Industry

The landscape services industry consists of landscape maintenance and development services, as well as a number of related ancillary services such as tree care and snow removal, for both commercial and residential customers. BrightView operates only within the commercial sectors of each of the landscape maintenance, landscape development and snow removal industries. In 2021, commercial landscape maintenance, including snow removal, represents a $74 billion industry that is characterized by a number of attractive market drivers. The industry benefits from commercial customers’ need to provide consistently accessible and aesthetically-pleasing environments. Due to the essential and non-discretionary need of these recurring services, the commercial landscape maintenance services and snow removal services industries have exhibited, and are expected to continue to exhibit, stable and predictable growth.

Highlighting the consistency of this growth, the combined industry is expected to grow at a 1.9% CAGR from 2016 through 2025, as depicted in the chart below:

Growth in the U.S. Commercial Landscaping and Snow Removal Services Industry (US$ in billions) (1)

 

img112161276_4.jpg 

 

(1) Source: IBISWORLD-Landscaping Services in the U.S. (March 2021) IBISWorld—Snowplowing Services in the U.S. (April 2021). Presents commercial landscaping services and commercial snowplowing services as a share of the overall U.S. market at rates constant with IBISWorld figures for 2021.

 

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In addition to its stable characteristics, the industry is also highly fragmented. Despite being the largest provider of commercial landscaping services, we currently hold only a 2.7% market share, representing a significant opportunity for future consolidation. According to the 2021 IBISWorld Report, there are over 600,000 enterprises providing landscape maintenance services in the United States. Approximately three-quarters of the industry participants are classified as sole proprietors, with a limited set of companies having the capabilities to deliver sophisticated, large-scale landscaping services or operate regionally or nationally. The chart below illustrates the segmentation of the landscape maintenance industry and highlights BrightView’s coverage of the non-residential sectors of the industry:

 

img112161276_5.jpg 

 

(1)
Source: IBISWorld-Landscaping Services in the U.S. (March 2021)
(2)
Source: IBISWorld-Snowplowing Services in the U.S. (April 2021)

Steady growth in the commercial property markets has underpinned the commercial landscaping industry’s growth. Unlike individual residential customers, HOAs and military housing managers possess the same sophistication and expectation of high-quality services as corporations, and thus are more inclined to outsource landscaping needs to professional, scaled companies.

Key Trends and Industry Drivers

We believe we are well-positioned to capitalize on the following key industry trends that are expected to drive stable and growing demand for our landscaping services:

Outsourcing. To reduce expenditures and increase operational flexibility, businesses, institutions and governments are increasingly outsourcing non-core processes, such as landscape maintenance.
Sole-Sourcing. An increasing number of businesses have made an effort to lower costs and improve quality through a reduction in the number of suppliers or service vendors they hire. Companies have begun to award “sole-source” contracts to full-service vendors who are able to meet expanded requirements.
Enhanced Quality Demands. Customers are increasingly raising their expectations regarding the quality of the work performed by their landscape maintenance providers and on the variety of services offered. As demands continue to rise, market share will accrue to those providers who have the expertise, quality of service and institutional procedures to meet these enhanced expectations.

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Increased Focus on Corporate Campus Environments. Corporations have increasingly invested in creating a unique and welcoming atmosphere for employees, clients and tenants by enhancing their corporate campus environments. Irrespective of whether a headquarters or corporate campus is located in an urban area or suburban area, we believe that companies are increasingly viewing their exterior landscaping as a competitive differentiator and are making significant investments to create visually appealing outdoor spaces.
Growth of Private Non-residential Construction. Over the next five years, the overall U.S. landscape maintenance industry is projected to be supported by rising construction and economic activity. According to the 2021 IBISWorld Report, private non-residential construction is forecasted to grow at an annualized rate of 2.0% over the five years leading to 2026. We believe growth in commercial construction promotes growth in commercial landscape maintenance and development services.

Organization

Our core operating strategy is to systematically deliver our services on a local level. Our organization is designed to allow our branch-level management teams to focus on identifying revenue opportunities and delivering high quality services to customers, with the support of a national organization to provide centralized core functions, such as human resources, procurement and other process-driven management functions.

Our maintenance services model is grounded in our branch network. For example, a representative maintenance services branch typically serves 50-150 customers across 200-300 sites, generating between $4 million and $14 million in annual revenues. Each branch is led by a branch manager, who focuses on performance drivers, such as customer satisfaction, crew retention, safety and tactical procurement. Branch managers are supported by account managers, who focus on managing crew leaders, customer retention and sales of landscape enhancement services. In addition to our network of branch managers and account managers, our platform is differentiated by a highly experienced team of operational senior vice presidents and vice presidents, organized regionally, with an average tenure of 15 years. These team members are responsible for leading, teaching and developing branch managers as well as maintaining adherence to key operational strategies. Our senior operating personnel also foster a culture of engagement and emphasize promotion from within, which has played a key role in making BrightView the employer of choice within the broader landscape maintenance industry.

Our scale supports centralizing key functions, which enables our branch and account managers to focus their efforts on fostering deep relationships with customers, delivering excellent service and finding new revenue opportunities. As branches grow and we win new business, our branch model is easily scalable within an existing, well-developed market-based management structure with supporting corporate infrastructure.

 

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We supplement our branch network with our qualified service partner network, which is managed by our BrightView Enterprise Service team, or BES. Through our BES platform, we are able to provide landscape maintenance services in all 50 U.S. states. BES identifies qualified service providers in areas where we do not have branches, thereby extending our service area. Our qualified service partner screening process is designed to ensure that each of our service partners has the appropriate technical expertise, equipment and resources, including insurance coverage, to support the projects we assign to them.

Our Development Services organization is centered around 40 branch locations strategically located in large metropolitan areas with supportive demographics for growth and real estate development. Certain facilities used by our Development Services segment are shared or co-located with our Maintenance organization. Our Development Services branch network is supported by three design centers, as well as centralized support functions similar to our Maintenance Services organization.

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Human Capital

Employees

As of September 30, 2021, we had a total of approximately 20,500 employees, including seasonal workers, consisting of approximately 19,800 full-time and approximately 700 part-time employees in our two business segments. The number of part-time employees varies significantly from time to time during the year due to seasonal and other operating requirements. We generally experience our highest level of employment during the spring and summer seasons, which correspond with our third and fourth fiscal quarters. The approximate number of full-time employees by segment, as of September 30, 2021, is as follows: Maintenance Services: 17,000; Development Services: 2,500. In addition, our corporate staff is approximately 300 employees. Approximately 6% of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. We have not experienced any material interruptions of operations due to disputes with our employees and consider our relations with our employees to be satisfactory. Historically, we have used, and expect to continue to use in the future, a U.S. government program that provides H-2B temporary, non-immigrant visas to foreign workers to help satisfy a portion of our need for seasonal labor in certain markets. We employed approximately 2,100 seasonal workers in 2021, and approximately 1,100 seasonal workers in 2020, through the H-2B visa program.

Safety

We care about our employees and we believe that our commercial success is linked to a safe and healthy workforce. We strive for zero injuries and an incident-free workplace and have achieved significant progress towards this goal through risk reduction activities, safety audits, and more effective safety observation programs. Our care and concern for employee wellbeing is enhanced by the BrightView Landscapes Foundation, a nonprofit organization used to support employees during periods of personal and financial stress. Demonstrating our commitment to safety, beginning in March 2020, we mobilized our response to COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to adhering to or exceeding local government mandates and guidance provided by health authorities, we proactively implemented quarantine protocols, social distancing policies, working from home arrangements, travel suspensions, frequent and extensive disinfecting of our workspaces, and provision of personal protective equipment.

Compensation

Our compensation philosophy is designed to offer a compensation program that enables us to attract, motivate, reward and retain high-caliber employees who are capable of creating and sustaining value for our stockholders over the long-term and to design compensation and benefit programs that provide a fair and competitive compensation opportunity in order to appropriately reward employees for their contributions to our success. Among other things, we offer comprehensive health and wellness plans, retirement savings plans, and the opportunity to earn short-term and long-term incentive awards to eligible employees.

Training

We are committed to developing and unlocking the potential of our people and we make significant investments in training and professional development. BrightView University, our learning and development platform, underpins the development of leadership and professional skills.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

We are committed to creating and sustaining a diverse workplace that understands and values individual differences across demographics, experiences and perspectives. We want to ensure that collaborative and respectful business practices in a performance-based, supportive environment enable every employee to realize his/her/their career ambitions.

Competition

Although the United States landscaping, snow removal and landscape design and development industries have experienced some consolidation, there is significant competition in all the areas that we serve, and such competition varies across geographies. In our Maintenance Services segment, most competitors are smaller local and regional firms; however, we also face competition from other large national firms such as TrueGreen Inc., The Davey Tree Expert Company and Bartlett Tree Experts. In our Development Services segment, competitors are generally smaller local and regional firms. We believe that the primary competitive factors that affect our operations are quality, service, experience, breadth of service offerings and price. We believe that our ability to compete effectively is enhanced by the breadth of our services and the technological tools used by our teams as well as our nationwide reach.

Seasonality

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Our services, particularly in our Maintenance Services segment, have seasonal variability such as increased mulching, flower planting and intensive mowing in the spring, leaf removal and cleanup work in the fall, snow removal services in the winter and potentially minimal mowing during drier summer months. This can drive fluctuations in revenue, costs and cash flows for interim periods.

We have a significant presence in our evergreen markets, which require landscape maintenance services year round. In our seasonal markets, which do not have a year-round growing season, the demand for our landscape maintenance services decreases during the winter months. Typically, our revenues and net income have been higher in the spring and summer seasons, which correspond with our third and fourth fiscal quarters. The lower level of activity in seasonal markets during our first and second fiscal quarters is partially offset by revenue from our snow removal services. Such seasonality causes our results of operations to vary from quarter to quarter.

Weather Conditions

Weather may impact the timing of performance of landscape maintenance and enhancement services and progress on development projects from quarter to quarter. Less predictable weather patterns, including snow events in the winter, hurricane-related cleanup in the summer and fall, and the effects of abnormally high rainfall or drought in a given market, can impact both our revenues and our costs, especially from quarter to quarter, but also from year to year in some cases. Extreme weather events such as hurricanes and tropical storms can result in a positive impact to our business in the form of increased enhancement services revenues related to cleanup and other services. However, such weather events may also negatively impact our ability to deliver our contracted services, sell and deliver enhancement services or impact the timing of performance.

In our seasonal markets, the performance of our snow removal services is correlated with the amount of snowfall, the number of snowfall events and the nature of those events in a given season. We benchmark our performance against ten- and thirty-year averages.

Intellectual Property

We, primarily through our subsidiaries, hold or have rights to use various service marks, trademarks and trade names we use in the operation of our businesses that we deem particularly important to each of our businesses. As of September 30, 2021, we had marks that were protected by registration (either by direct registration or by treaty) in the United States.

Regulatory Overview

We are subject to various federal, state and local laws and regulations, compliance with which increases our operating costs, limits or restricts the services provided by our operating segments or the methods by which our operating segments offer, sell and fulfill those services or conduct their respective businesses, or subjects us to the possibility of regulatory actions or proceedings. Noncompliance with these laws and regulations can subject us to fines or various forms of civil or criminal prosecution, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

These federal, state and local laws and regulations include laws relating to wage and hour, immigration, permitting and licensing, workers’ safety, tax, healthcare reforms, collective bargaining and other labor matters, environmental, federal motor carrier safety, employee benefits and privacy and customer data security. We must also meet certain requirements of federal and state transportation agencies, including requirements of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, with respect to certain types of vehicles in our fleets. We are also regulated by federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations which are enforced by Departments of Agriculture, environmental regulatory agencies and similar government entities.

Employee and Immigration Matters

We are subject to various federal, state and local laws and regulations governing our relationship with and other matters pertaining to our employees, including regulations relating to wage and hour, health insurance, working conditions, safety, citizenship or work authorization and related requirements, insurance and workers’ compensation, anti-discrimination, collective bargaining and other labor matters.

We are also subject to the regulations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and we are audited from time to time by ICE for compliance with work authorization requirements. In addition, some states in which we operate have adopted immigration employment protection laws. Even if we operate in strict compliance with ICE and state requirements, some of our employees may not meet federal work eligibility or residency requirements, despite our efforts and without our knowledge, which could lead to a disruption in our work force.

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Environmental Matters

Our businesses are subject to various federal, state and local laws and regulations regarding environmental, health and safety matters, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Air Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act, each as amended. Among other things, these laws and regulations regulate the emission or discharge of materials into the environment, govern the use, storage, treatment, disposal, handling and management of hazardous substances and wastes and the registration, use, notification and labeling of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, and protect the health and safety of our employees. These laws also impose liability for the costs of investigating and remediating, and damages resulting from, present and past releases of hazardous substances, including releases by us or prior owners or operators, at sites we currently own, lease or operate, customer sites or third-party sites to which we sent wastes. During fiscal 2021, there were no material capital expenditures for environmental control facilities.

Information Technology

We have invested in technology designed to accelerate business performance, enhancing our ability to support standard processes while retaining local and regional flexibility. We believe these investments position BrightView at the forefront of technology within the commercial landscaping industry, enabling us to drive operational efficiencies throughout the business. Our IT systems allow us to provide a high level of convenience and service to our customers, representing a competitive advantage that is difficult to replicate for less technologically sophisticated competitors. As an example, our proprietary platform, BrightView Connect, allows customers to submit service requests and landscape pictures directly to their account manager and field team, ensuring that specific service needs are accurately delivered in a timely and efficient manner. Similarly, our mobile quality site assessment application, which is designed for account managers to capture and annotate customer feedback, provides us with the ability to “walk the site” with our customers, confirm our understanding of their needs and highlight future enhancement opportunities.

We have also made significant investments in our internal IT infrastructure, such as migrating to a consolidated enterprise resource planning system and enabling shared services for accounts payable, accounts receivable and payroll. Additionally, we have implemented an electronic time capture system, or ETC, for our crew leaders and supervisors in the field. ETC not only provides accurate information for compliance and payroll purposes, but also enables our leadership with granular, analytical insights into job costing and crew productivity.

In 2019 we invested in a Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, system for our account managers in the Maintenance Services segment. Among other benefits, the CRM system is accessible on mobile devices and enables account managers to spend more time with their customers, enhancing the quality of those relationships and supporting long-term customer retention.

Sales and Marketing

Our sales and marketing efforts are focused on both developing new customers and increasing penetration at existing customers. We primarily sell our services to businesses, commercial property managers, general contractors and landscape architects through our professionally trained core sales force. We have a field-based sales approach driven by our growing team of more than 170 business developers that are focused on winning new customers at a local level. We also have a separate 21-member sales team that is focused on targeting and capturing high-value, high-margin opportunities, including national accounts. Within our Maintenance Services segment, every customer relationship is maintained by one of our more than 700+ branch-level account managers, who are responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction, tracking service levels, promoting enhancement services and driving contract renewals. We believe our decentralized approach to customer acquisition and management facilitates a high-level of customer service as local managers are empowered and incentivized to better serve customers and grow their respective businesses.

Our marketing department is also integral to our strategy and helps drive business growth, retention and brand awareness through marketing and communications efforts, including promotional materials, marketing programs, and advertising; digital marketing, including search engine optimization and website development; and trade shows and company-wide public relations activities. Our field marketing teams focus at the branch level to make our corporate marketing strategies more localized. Given the local nature of our operations, we believe that a sizeable amount of our new sales are also driven by customer referrals which stem from our strong reputation, depth of customer relationships and quality of work.

Fleet

Our highly visible fleet of approximately 16,000 trucks and trailers foster the strong brand equity associated with BrightView. We manage our fleet with a dedicated centralized team, as well as regional equipment managers, who together focus on compliance, maintenance, asset utilization and procurement. We believe we have the largest fleet of vehicles in the commercial landscape maintenance industry.

Sourcing and Suppliers

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Our size and broad national network make us an attractive partner for many industry-leading manufacturers and suppliers, which has allowed us to maintain strong, long-term relationships with our supply base.

We source our equipment, supplies and other related materials and products from a range of suppliers, including landscaping equipment companies, suppliers of fertilizer, seed, chemicals and other agricultural products, irrigation equipment manufacturers, and a variety of suppliers who specialize in nursery goods, outdoor lighting, hardscapes and other landscaping products.

We generally procure our products through purchase orders rather than under long-term contracts with firm commitments. We work to develop strong relationships with a select group of suppliers that we target based on a number of factors, including brand and market recognition, price, quality, product support and service, service levels, delivery terms and their strategic positioning.

Where You Can Find More Information

We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Our SEC filings are available to the public over the internet at the SEC’s website at https://www.sec.gov. Our SEC filings are also available on our website at https://www.brightview.com as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed with or furnished to the SEC.

From time to time, we may use our website as a distribution channel of material company information. Financial and other important information regarding our company is routinely accessible through and posted on our website at https://investor.brightview.com. In addition, you may automatically receive email alerts and other information about us when you enroll your email address by visiting the Email Alerts section at https://investor.brightview.com. Our website and the information contained on or connected to that site are not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Item 1A. Risk Factors

You should carefully consider the following risk factors as well as the other information included in this Form 10-K, including “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto. Any of the following risks could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations. The selected risks described below, however, are not the only risks facing us. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or those we currently view to be immaterial may also materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

Risks Related to Our Business

Our business is affected by general business, financial market and economic conditions, which could adversely affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Our business and results of operations are significantly affected by general business, financial market and economic conditions. General business, financial market and economic conditions that could impact the level of activity in the commercial landscape services industry include the level of commercial construction activity, the condition of the real estate markets where we operate, interest rate fluctuations, inflation, unemployment and wage levels, changes and uncertainties related to government fiscal and tax policies including change in tax rates, duties, tariffs, or other restrictions, capital spending, bankruptcies, volatility in both the debt and equity capital markets, liquidity of the global financial markets, the availability and cost of credit, investor and consumer confidence, global economic growth, local, state and federal government regulation, the cost and availability of our supplies and equipment and the strength of regional and local economies in which we operate. New or increased tariffs may impact the costs of some of our supplies and equipment. The degree of our exposure is dependent on (among other things) the type of goods, rates imposed and timing of the tariffs. These factors could also negatively impact the timing or the ultimate collection of accounts receivable, which would adversely impact our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

During an economic downturn, our customers may decrease their spending on landscape services by seeking to reduce expenditures for landscape services, in particular enhancement services, engaging a lower cost service provider or performing landscape maintenance themselves rather than outsourcing to third parties like us or generally reducing the size and complexity of their new landscaping development projects.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and will likely continue to impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A pandemic outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to mitigate the health impact of the pandemic have profoundly and adversely affected economic activity. National, state and local governments have taken actions to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in a variety of ways, including by declaring states of emergency, issuing stay-at-home orders and ordering certain businesses to close or limit their operations. Although our Maintenance and Development operations are considered essential services, there are some jurisdictions that have periodically limited or halted our operations or the operations of the general contractors with which we work. Resurgences in the COVID-19 pandemic, including breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated population, the adoption and effectiveness of vaccines, and the impacts of COVID-19 variants may lead governments to reinstitute restrictions and social distancing measures. Amended or future governmental orders or other restrictions may limit or prohibit our

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Maintenance or Development operations in certain locations in the future. Further or re-implemented limitations could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition to limitations on our operations as a result of governmental orders or restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused and will likely continue to cause disruptions to our business and operations as a result of social distancing measures, restrictions on or consumer reluctance to travel and labor shortages as a result of illness and possible delays in H2-B visa processing in connection with government orders and regulations related to immigration. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused and may continue to cause disruptions in the business and operations of the general contractors with which we work and our suppliers. We may be unable to timely obtain the supplies we need to provide our services, which could have a material adverse impact on our ability to operate our business. As a result, we may lose business opportunities, have reduced revenues or have difficulty collecting payments from clients, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operation. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in reduced demand for our ancillary services which has, as a result, led to a decline in ancillary revenues. We expect ancillary revenues to continue to be adversely impacted by the pandemic. As a result of federal or other mandates that require employees to be vaccinated or be tested regularly, we may experience increased costs related to COVID-19 testing, or may experience attrition in relation to employees who do not wish to comply with the requirements of the mandate.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also resulted in material adverse national and global economic conditions that have impacted, and will continue to impact, our business. Such conditions may result in an economic recession or prolonged economic downturn, which could result in a material loss of business for the duration of the downturn. Actions taken to mitigate the pandemic and resulting economic conditions are likely to materially adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Although we took certain actions to ensure the continuity of our business and operations, we may need to take additional actions to ensure the continuity of our business, including use of a hiring freeze, furloughing or laying off employees and taking other actions to limit expenditures. We have drawn on borrowing facilities and may need to further extend borrowings and indebtedness in order to obtain additional liquidity. The COVID-19 pandemic caused severe disruption and volatility in the financial markets. Depending on the extent and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the price of our common stock on the NYSE experienced and may continue to experience declines and volatility which may negatively impact our ability to raise capital through the equity markets if necessary to increase our liquidity.

In addition to the risks specifically described above, the impact of COVID-19 is likely to implicate and exacerbate certain risks, including those related to our customers, demand for our services, reliance on workers, suppliers, our indebtedness, and potential additional impairment of our goodwill and other intangible assets.

Our industry and the markets in which we operate are highly competitive and increased competitive pressures could reduce our share of the markets we serve and adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

We operate in markets with relatively few large competitors, but barriers to entry in the landscape services industry are generally low, which has led to highly competitive markets consisting of entities ranging from small or local operators to large regional businesses, as well as potential customers that choose not to outsource their landscape maintenance services. Any of our competitors may foresee the course of market development more accurately than we do, provide superior service, have the ability to deliver similar services at a lower cost, develop stronger relationships with our customers and other consumers in the landscape services industry, adapt more quickly to evolving customer requirements, devote greater resources to the promotion and sale of their services or access financing on more favorable terms than we can obtain. In addition, while regional competitors may be smaller than we are, some of these businesses may have a greater presence than we do in a particular market. As a result of any of these factors, we may not be able to compete successfully with our competitors, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Our customers consider the quality and differentiation of the services we provide, our customer service and price when deciding whether to use our services. As we have worked to establish ourselves as leading, high-quality providers of landscape maintenance and development services, we compete predominantly on the basis of high levels of service and strong relationships. We may not be able to, or may choose not to, compete with certain competitors on the basis of price and accordingly, some of our customers may switch to lower cost services providers or perform such services themselves. If we are unable to compete effectively with our existing competitors or new competitors enter the markets in which we operate, or our current customers stop outsourcing their landscape maintenance services, our financial position, results of operations and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

In addition, our former employees may start landscape services businesses similar to ours and compete directly with us. While we customarily sign non-competition agreements, which typically continue for one year following the termination of employment, with certain of our employees, such agreements do not fully protect us against competition from former employees and may not be enforceable depending on local law and the surrounding circumstances. Consequently, we cannot predict with certainty whether, if challenged, a court will enforce any particular non-competition agreement. Any increased competition from businesses started by former employees may reduce our market share and adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Our business success depends on our ability to preserve long-term customer relationships.

Our success depends on our ability to retain our current customers, renew our existing customer contracts and obtain new business. Our ability to do so generally depends on a variety of factors, including the quality, price and responsiveness of our services, as well as

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our ability to market these services effectively and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. We largely seek to differentiate ourselves from our competitors on the basis of high levels of service, breadth of service offerings and strong relationships and may not be able to, or may choose not to, compete with certain competitors on the basis of price. There can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain new business, renew existing customer contracts at the same or higher levels of pricing or that our current customers will not cease operations, elect to self-operate or terminate contracts with us. In our Maintenance Services segment, we primarily provide services pursuant to agreements that are cancelable by either party upon 30-days’ notice. Consequently, our customers can unilaterally terminate all services pursuant to the terms of our service agreements, without penalty.

We may be adversely affected if customers reduce their outsourcing.

Our business and growth strategies benefit from the continuation of a current trend toward outsourcing services. Customers will outsource if they perceive that outsourcing may provide quality services at a lower overall cost and permit them to focus on their core business activities. We cannot be certain that this trend will continue or that customers that have outsourced functions will not decide to perform these functions themselves. If a significant number of our existing customers reduced their outsourcing and elected to perform the services themselves, such loss of customers could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Because we operate our business through dispersed locations across the United States, our operations may be materially adversely affected by inconsistent practices and the operating results of individual branches may vary.

We operate our business through a network of dispersed locations throughout the United States, supported by corporate executives and certain centralized services in our headquarters, with local branch management retaining responsibility for day-to-day operations. Our operating structure could make it difficult for us to coordinate procedures across our operations in a timely manner or at all, and certain of our branches may require significant oversight and coordination from headquarters to support their growth. In addition, the operating results of an individual branch may differ from that of another branch for a variety of reasons, including market size, management practices, competitive landscape, regulatory requirements and local economic conditions. Inconsistent or incomplete implementation of corporate strategy and policies at the local level could materially and adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

We may not successfully implement our business strategies, including achieving our growth objectives.

We may not be able to fully implement our business strategies or realize, in whole or in part within the expected time frames, the anticipated benefits of our various growth or other initiatives. Our various business strategies and initiatives, including our growth, operational and management initiatives, are subject to business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. The execution of our business strategy and our financial performance will continue to depend in significant part on our executive management team and other key management personnel, our ability to identify and complete suitable acquisitions and our executive management team’s ability to execute new operational initiatives. In addition, we may incur certain costs as we pursue our growth, operational and management initiatives, and we may not meet anticipated implementation timetables or stay within budgeted costs. As these initiatives are undertaken, we may not fully achieve our expected efficiency improvements or growth rates, or these initiatives could adversely impact our customer retention, supplier relationships or operations. Also, our business strategies may change from time to time in light of our ability to implement our business initiatives, competitive pressures, economic uncertainties or developments, or other factors.

Future acquisitions or other strategic transactions could negatively impact our reputation, business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

We have acquired businesses in the past and expect to continue to acquire businesses or assets in the future. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to identify and complete suitable acquisitions. For example, due to the highly fragmented nature of our industry, it may be difficult for us to identify potential targets with revenues sufficient to justify taking on the risks associated with pursuing their acquisition. The failure to identify suitable acquisitions and successfully integrate these acquired businesses may limit our ability to expand our operations and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.

In addition, acquired businesses may not perform in accordance with expectations, and our business judgments concerning the value, strengths and weaknesses of acquired businesses may not prove to be correct. We may also be unable to achieve expected improvements or achievements in businesses that we acquire. The process of integrating an acquired business may create unforeseen difficulties and expenses, including the diversion of resources away from our operations; the inability to retain employees, customers and suppliers; difficulties implementing our strategy at the acquired business; the assumption of actual or contingent liabilities (including those relating to the environment); failure to effectively and timely adopt and adhere to our internal control processes, accounting systems and other policies; write-offs or impairment charges relating to goodwill and other intangible assets; unanticipated liabilities relating to acquired businesses; and potential expenses associated with litigation with sellers of such businesses.

If management is not able to effectively manage the integration process, or if any significant business activities are interrupted as a result of the integration process, we may not be able to realize anticipated benefits and revenue opportunities resulting from acquisitions and our business could suffer. Although we conduct due diligence investigations prior to each acquisition, there can be no assurance that we will discover or adequately protect against all material liabilities of an acquired business for which we may be responsible as a successor owner or operator.

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In connection with our acquisitions, we generally require that key management and former principals of the businesses we acquire enter into non-competition agreements in our favor. Enforceability of these non-competition agreements varies from state to state, and may depend on the relevant facts and circumstances. Consequently, we cannot predict with certainty whether, if challenged, a court will enforce any particular non-competition agreement. Increased competition could materially and adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Seasonality affects the demand for our services and our results of operations and cash flows.

The demand for our services and our results of operations are affected by the seasonal nature of our landscape maintenance services in certain regions. In geographies that do not have a year-round growing season, the demand for our landscape maintenance services decreases during the winter months. Typically, our revenues and net income have been higher in the spring and summer seasons, which correspond with our third and fourth fiscal quarters. The lower level of activity in seasonal markets during our first and second fiscal quarters is partially offset by revenue from our snow removal services. In our Development Services segment, we typically experience lower activity levels during the winter months. Such seasonality causes our results of operations to vary from quarter to quarter. Due to the seasonal nature of the services we provide, we also experience seasonality in our employment and working capital needs. Our employment and working capital needs generally correspond with the increased demand for our services in the spring and summer months and employment levels and operating costs are generally at their highest during such months. Consequently, our results of operations and financial position can vary from year-to-year, as well as from quarter-to-quarter. If we are unable to effectively manage the seasonality and year-to-year variability, our results of operations, financial position and cash flow may be adversely affected.

Our operations are impacted by weather conditions and climate change.

We perform landscape services, the demand for which is affected by weather conditions, including impacts from climate change, droughts, severe storms and significant rain or snowfall, all of which may impact the timing and frequency of the performance of our services, or our ability to perform the services at all. For example, severe weather conditions, such as excessive heat or cold, may result in maintenance services being omitted for part of a season or beginning or ending earlier than anticipated, which could result in lost revenues or require additional services to be performed for which we may not receive corresponding incremental revenues. Variability in the frequency of which we must perform our services can affect the margins we realize on a given contract.

Certain extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and tropical storms, can result in increased enhancement revenues related to cleanup and other services. However, such weather events may also impact our ability to deliver our contracted services or cause damage to our facilities or equipment. These weather events can also result in higher fuel costs, higher labor costs and shortages of raw materials and products. As a result, a perceived earnings benefits related to extreme weather events may be moderated. Droughts could cause shortage in the water supply and governments may impose limitations on water usage, which may change customer demand for landscape maintenance and irrigation services. There is a risk that demand for our services will change in ways that we are unable to predict.

Climate change may increase in the frequency, duration and severity of extreme weather events and make weather patterns change or more difficult to predict. Such changes may impede our ability to provide services or make it difficult for us to anticipate customer demand. We have made certain commitments to mitigate against climate change, but it may take us longer than expected to meet these commitments, or we may not meet them at all.

Increases in raw material costs, fuel prices, wages and other operating costs, and changes in our ability to source adequate supplies and materials in a timely manner, could adversely impact our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Our financial performance may be adversely affected by increases in our operating expenses, such as fuel, fertilizer, chemicals, road salt, mulch, wages and salaries, employee benefits, health care, subcontractor costs, vehicle, facilities and equipment leases, insurance and regulatory compliance costs, all of which may be subject to inflationary pressures. While we seek to manage price and availability risks related to raw materials, such as fuel, fertilizer, chemicals, road salt and mulch, through procurement strategies, these efforts may not be successful and we may experience adverse impacts due to rising prices of such products. In addition, we closely monitor wage, salary and benefit costs in an effort to remain competitive in our markets. Attracting and maintaining a high quality workforce is a priority for our business, and if wage, salary or benefit costs increase, including as a result of minimum wage legislation, our operating costs will increase as they have in the past. We cannot predict the extent to which we may experience future increases in operating expenses as well as various regulatory compliance costs. To the extent such costs increase, we may be prevented, in whole or in part, from passing these cost increases through to our existing and prospective customers, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Our ability to offer a wide variety of services to our customers is dependent upon our ability to obtain adequate supplies, materials and products from manufacturers, distributors and other suppliers. Any disruption or shortage in our sources of supply due to unanticipated increased demand or disruptions in production or delivery of products such as fertilizer, chemicals, road salt and mulch, could result in a loss of revenues, reduced margins and damage to our relationships with customers. In addition, we source certain materials and products we use in our business from a limited number of suppliers. If our suppliers experience difficulties or disruptions in their operations or if we lose any significant supplier, we may experience increased supply costs or may experience delays in establishing replacement supply sources that meet our quality and control standards. The loss of, or a substantial decrease in the

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availability of, supplies and products from our suppliers or the loss of key supplier arrangements could adversely impact our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

If we are unable to accurately estimate the overall risks, requirements or costs when we bid on or negotiate contracts that are ultimately awarded to us, we may achieve lower than anticipated profits or incur contract losses.

A significant portion of our contracts are subject to competitive bidding and/or are negotiated on a fixed- or capped-fee basis for the services covered. Such contracts generally require that the total amount of work, or a specified portion thereof, be performed for a single price irrespective of our actual costs. If our cost estimates for a contract are inaccurate, or if we do not execute the contract within our cost estimates, then cost overruns may cause the contract not to be as profitable as we expected or could cause us to incur losses.

Our landscape development services have been, and in the future may be, adversely impacted by fluctuations or declines in the new commercial construction sector, as well as in spending on repair and upgrade activities. Such variability in this part of our business could result in lower revenues and reduced cash flows and profitability.

With respect to our Development Services segment, a significant portion of our revenues are derived from development activities associated with new commercial real estate development, including hospitality and leisure, which has experienced periodic declines, some of which have been severe, including recent and sustained declines associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The strength of these markets depends on, among other things, housing starts, local occupancy rates, demand for commercial space, non-residential construction spending activity, business investment and general economic conditions, which are a function of many factors beyond our control, including interest rates, employment levels, availability of credit, consumer spending, consumer confidence and capital spending. During a downturn in the commercial real estate development industry, customers may decrease their spending on landscape development services by generally reducing the size and complexity of their new landscaping development projects. Additionally, when interest rates rise, there may be a decrease in the spending activities of our current and potential Development Services customers. Fluctuations in commercial real estate development markets could have an adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

Our results of operations for our snow removal services depend primarily on the level, timing and location of snowfall. As a result, a decline in frequency or total amounts of snowfall in multiple regions for an extended time could cause our results of operations to decline and adversely affect our ability to generate cash flow.

As a provider of snow removal services, our revenues are impacted by the frequency, amount, timing and location of snowfall in the regions in which we offer our services. A high number of snowfalls in a given season generally has a positive effect on the results of our operations. However, snowfall in the months of March, April, October and/or November could have a potentially adverse effect on ordinary course maintenance landscape services typically performed during those periods. A low level or lack of snowfall in any given year in any of the snow-belt regions in North America (primarily the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States) or a sustained period of reduced snowfall events in one or more of the geographic regions in which we operate will likely cause revenues from our snow removal services to decline in such year, which in turn may adversely affect our revenues, results of operations and cash flow. In the past ten- and thirty-year periods, the regions that we service have averaged 3,187 inches and 3,350 inches of annual snowfall, respectively. However, there can be no assurance that these regions will receive seasonal snowfalls near their historical average in the future. Variability in the frequency and timing of snowfalls creates challenges associated with budgeting and forecasting for the Maintenance Services segment. Additionally, the effects of climate change may impact the frequency and total amounts of future snowfall, which could have a material adverse effect on our revenues, results of operations and cash flow.

Our success depends on our executive management and other key personnel.

Our future success depends to a significant degree on the skills, experience and efforts of our executive management and other key personnel and their ability to provide us with uninterrupted leadership and direction. The failure to retain our executive officers and other key personnel or a failure to provide adequate succession plans could have an adverse impact. The availability of highly qualified talent is limited, and the competition for talent is robust. A failure to efficiently or effectively replace executive management members or other key personnel and to attract, retain and develop new qualified personnel could have an adverse effect on our operations and implementation of our strategic plan.

Our future success depends on our ability to attract, retain and maintain positive relations with trained workers.

Our future success and financial performance depend substantially on our ability to attract, train and retain hourly and field workers, as well as trained workers, including account, branch and regional management personnel. The landscape services industry is labor intensive, and industry participants, including us, experience high turnover rates among hourly workers and competition for qualified supervisory personnel. In addition, we, like many landscape service providers who conduct a portion of their operations in seasonal climates, employ a portion of our field personnel for only part of the year.

We have historically relied on the H-2B visa program to bring workers to the United States on a seasonal basis. We employed approximately 2,100 seasonal workers in 2021 and approximately 1,100 seasonal workers in 2020, through the H-2B visa program. If

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we are unable to hire sufficient numbers of seasonal workers, through the H-2B program or otherwise, we may experience a labor shortage. In the event of a labor shortage, whether related to seasonal or permanent staff, we could experience difficulty in delivering our services in a high-quality or timely manner and could experience increased recruiting, training and wage costs in order to attract and retain employees, which would result in higher operating costs and reduced profitability.

As of September 30, 2021, we had approximately 20,500 employees, approximately 6.0% of which are represented by a union pursuant to collective bargaining agreements. If a significant number of our employees were to attempt to unionize, and/or successfully unionized, including in the wake of any future legislation that makes it easier for employees to unionize, our business could be negatively affected. Any inability by us to negotiate collective bargaining arrangements could result in strikes or other work stoppages disrupting our operations, and new union contracts could increase operating and labor costs. If these labor organizing activities were successful, it could further increase labor costs, decrease operating efficiency and productivity in the future, or otherwise disrupt or negatively impact our operations. Moreover, certain of the collective bargaining agreements we participate in require periodic contributions to multiemployer defined benefit pension plans. Our required contributions to these plans could increase because of a shrinking contribution base as a result of the insolvency or withdrawal of other companies that currently contribute to these plans, the inability or failure of withdrawing companies to pay their withdrawal liability, low interest rates, lower than expected returns on pension fund assets or other funding deficiencies. Additionally, in the event we were to withdraw from some or all of these plans as a result of our exiting certain markets or otherwise, and the relevant plans are underfunded, we may become subject to a withdrawal liability. The amount of these required contributions may be material.

Our business could be adversely affected by a failure to properly verify the employment eligibility of our employees.

We use the U.S. government’s “E-Verify” program to verify employment eligibility for all new employees throughout our company. However, use of E-Verify does not guarantee that we will successfully identify all applicants who are ineligible for employment. Although we use E-Verify and require all new employees to provide us with government-specified documentation evidencing their employment eligibility, some of our employees may, without our knowledge, be unauthorized workers. The employment of unauthorized workers may subject us to fines or penalties, and adverse publicity that negatively impacts our reputation and may make it more difficult to hire and keep qualified employees. We are subject to regulations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and we are audited from time to time by ICE for compliance with work authentication requirements. While we believe we are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, if we are found not to be in compliance as a result of any audits, we may be subject to fines or other remedial actions. See “Business—Regulatory Overview—Employee and Immigration Matters.”

Termination of a significant number of employees in specific markets or across our company due to work authorization or other regulatory issues would disrupt our operations, and could also cause adverse publicity and temporary increases in our labor costs as we train new employees. We could also become subject to fines, penalties and other costs related to claims that we did not fully comply with all recordkeeping obligations of federal and state immigration compliance laws. Our reputation and financial performance may be materially harmed as a result of any of these factors. Furthermore, immigration laws have been an area of considerable political focus in recent years, and the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch of the U.S. government from time to time consider or implement changes to federal immigration laws, regulations or enforcement programs. Further changes in immigration or work authorization laws may increase our obligations for compliance and oversight, which could subject us to additional costs and potential liability and make our hiring process more cumbersome, or reduce the availability of potential employees.

Our use of subcontractors to perform work under certain customer contracts exposes us to liability and financial risk.

In our Development Services segment and through our qualified service partner network in our Maintenance Services segment, we use subcontractors to perform work in situations in which we are not able to self-perform such work. If we are unable to hire qualified subcontractors, our ability to successfully complete a project or perform services could be impaired. If we are not able to locate qualified third-party subcontractors or the amount we are required to pay for subcontractors exceeds what we have estimated, we could incur losses or realize lower than expected margins. We may not have direct control over our subcontractors, and although we have in place controls and programs to monitor the work of our subcontractors, there can be no assurance that these programs will have the desired effect. The actual or alleged failure to perform or negligence of a subcontractor may damage our reputation or expose us to liability, which could impact our results of operations. Furthermore, if our subcontractors are unable to cover the cost of damages or physical injuries caused by their actions, whether through insurance or otherwise, we may be held liable for such costs.

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A significant portion of our assets consists of goodwill and other intangible assets, the value of which may be reduced if we determine that additional assets are impaired.

On December 18, 2013, an affiliate of KKR indirectly acquired a controlling interest in our company and on June 30, 2014, we acquired ValleyCrest Holding Co. As a result of the KKR and ValleyCrest acquisitions, we applied the acquisition method of accounting. Goodwill is recorded as the difference, if any, between the aggregate consideration paid for an acquisition and the fair value of the tangible and identifiable intangible assets acquired, liabilities assumed and any non-controlling interest. Intangible assets, including goodwill, are assigned to our segments based upon their fair value at the time of acquisition. In accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”), goodwill and indefinite lived intangible assets are evaluated for impairment annually, or more frequently if circumstances indicate impairment may have occurred. As of September 30, 2021, the net carrying value of goodwill and other intangible assets, net, represented $2,148.4 million, or 66.4% of our total assets. A future impairment, if any, could have a material adverse effect to our financial position or results of operations. See Note 7 “Intangible Assets, Goodwill, Acquisitions and Divestitures” to our audited consolidated financial statements included in Part II. Item 8 of this Form 10-K for additional information related to impairment testing for goodwill and other intangible assets and the associated charges taken.

If we fail to comply with requirements imposed by applicable law or other governmental regulations, we could become subject to lawsuits, investigations and other liabilities and restrictions on our operations that could significantly and adversely affect our business.

We are subject to governmental regulation at the federal, state, and local levels in many areas of our business, such as employment laws, wage and hour laws, discrimination laws, immigration laws, human health and safety laws, transportation laws, environmental laws, false claims or whistleblower statutes, disadvantaged business enterprise statutes, tax codes, antitrust and competition laws, intellectual property laws, governmentally funded entitlement programs and cost and accounting principles, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, other anti-corruption laws, lobbying laws, motor carrier safety laws and data privacy and security laws. We may be subject to review, audit or inquiry by applicable regulators from time to time.

While we attempt to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that we are in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations or interpretations of these laws and regulations at all times or that we will be able to comply with any future laws, regulations or interpretations of these laws and regulations. If we fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations, including those referred to above, we may be subject to investigations, criminal sanctions or civil remedies, including fines, penalties, damages, reimbursement, injunctions, seizures or disgorgements of the ability to operate our motor vehicles. The cost of compliance or the consequences of non-compliance could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. In addition, government agencies may make changes in the regulatory frameworks within which we operate that may require either the corporation as a whole or individual businesses to incur substantial increases in costs in order to comply with such laws and regulations.

Compliance with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including laws pertaining to the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, or liabilities thereunder, as well as the risk of potential litigation, could result in significant costs that adversely impact our reputation, business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

We are subject to a variety of federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to environmental, health and safety matters. In particular, in the United States, products containing pesticides generally must be registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and similar state agencies before they can be sold or applied. The pesticides we use are manufactured by independent third parties and are evaluated by the EPA as part of its ongoing exposure risk assessment and may be subject to similar evaluation by similar state agencies. The EPA, or similar state agencies, may decide that a pesticide we use will be limited or will not be re-registered for use in the United States. We cannot predict the outcome or the severity of the effect of the EPA’s, or a similar state agency’s, continuing evaluations. The failure to obtain or the cancellation of any such registration, or the partial or complete ban of such pesticides, could have an adverse effect on our business, the severity of which would depend on the products involved, whether other products could be substituted and whether our competitors were similarly affected.

The use of certain pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer products is also regulated by various federal, state and local environmental and public health and safety agencies. These regulations may require that only certified or professional users apply the product or that certain products only be used on certain types of locations. These laws may also require users to post notices on properties at which products have been or will be applied, notification to individuals in the vicinity that products will be applied in the future, or labeling of certain products or may restrict or ban the use of certain products. We can give no assurance that we can prevent violations of these or other regulations from occurring. Even if we are able to comply with all such regulations and obtain all necessary registrations and licenses, we cannot assure you that the pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers or other products we apply, or the manner in which we apply them, will not be alleged to cause injury to the environment, to people or to animals, or that such products will not be restricted or banned in certain circumstances. For example, we could be named in or subject to personal injury claims stemming from alleged environmental torts, similar to those that have been brought against certain manufacturers of herbicides. The costs of compliance, consequences of non-compliance, remediation costs and liabilities, unfavorable public perceptions of such products or products liability lawsuits could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

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In addition, federal, state and local agencies regulate the use, storage, treatment, disposal, handling and management of hazardous substances and wastes, emissions or discharges from our facilities or vehicles and the investigation and clean-up of contaminated sites, including our sites, customer sites and third-party sites to which we send wastes. We could incur significant costs and liabilities, including investigation and clean-up costs, fines, penalties and civil or criminal sanctions for non-compliance and claims by third parties for property and natural resource damage and personal injury under these laws and regulations. If there is a significant change in the facts or circumstances surrounding the assumptions upon which we operate, or if we are found to violate, or be liable under, applicable environmental and public health and safety laws and regulations, it could have a material adverse effect on future environmental capital expenditures and other environmental expenses and on our reputation, business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, potentially significant expenditures could be required to comply with environmental laws and regulations, including requirements that may be adopted or imposed in the future.

Adverse litigation judgments or settlements resulting from legal proceedings relating to our business operations could materially adversely affect our business, financial position and results of operations.

From time to time, we are subject to allegations, and may be party to legal claims and regulatory proceedings, relating to our business operations. Such allegations, claims or proceedings may, for example, relate to personal injury, property damage, general liability claims relating to properties where we perform services, vehicle accidents involving our vehicles and our employees, regulatory issues, contract disputes or employment matters and may include class actions. See Part I. Item 3 “Legal Proceedings”. Such allegations, claims and proceedings have been and may be brought by third parties, including our customers, employees, governmental or regulatory bodies or competitors. Defending against these and other such claims and proceedings is costly and time consuming and may divert management’s attention and personnel resources from our normal business operations, and the outcome of many of these claims and proceedings cannot be predicted. If any of these claims or proceedings were to be determined adversely to us, a judgment, a fine or a settlement involving a payment of a material sum of money were to occur, or injunctive relief were issued against us, our business, financial position and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

Currently, we carry a broad range of insurance for the protection of our assets and operations. However, such insurance may not fully cover all material expenses related to potential allegations, claims and proceedings, or any adverse judgments, fines or settlements resulting therefrom, as such insurance programs are often subject to significant deductibles or self-insured retentions or may not cover certain types of claims. In addition, we self-insure with respect to certain types of claims. To the extent we are subject to a higher frequency of claims, are subject to more serious claims or insurance coverage is not available, our liquidity, financial position and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

We are also responsible for our legal expenses relating to such claims. We reserve currently for anticipated losses and related expenses. We periodically evaluate and adjust our claims reserves to reflect trends in our own experience as well as industry trends. However, ultimate results may differ from our estimates, which could result in losses over our reserved amounts.

Some of the equipment that our employees use is dangerous, and an increase in accidents resulting from the use of such equipment could negatively affect our reputation, results of operations and financial position.

Many of the services that we provide pose the risk of serious personal injury to our employees. Our employees regularly use dangerous equipment, such as lawn mowers, edgers and other power equipment. As a result, there is a significant risk of work-related injury and workers’ compensation claims. To the extent that we experience a material increase in the frequency or severity of accidents or workers’ compensation claims, or unfavorable developments on existing claims or fail to comply with worker health and safety regulations, our operating results and financial position could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, the perception that our workplace is unsafe may damage our reputation among current and potential employees, which may impact our ability to recruit and retain employees, which may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Any failure, inadequacy, interruption, security failure or breach of our information technology systems, whether owned by us or outsourced or managed by third parties, could harm our ability to effectively operate our business and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.

We are dependent on certain centralized automated information technology systems and networks to manage and support a variety of business processes and activities. Our ability to effectively manage our business and coordinate the sourcing of supplies, materials and products and our services depends significantly on the reliability and capacity of these systems and networks. Such systems and networks are subject to damage or interruption from power outages, telecommunications problems, data corruption, software errors, network failures, security breaches, ransomware attacks, acts of war or terrorist attacks, fire, flood and natural disasters. Our servers or cloud-based systems could be affected by physical or electronic break-ins, and computer viruses or similar disruptions may occur. A system outage may also cause the loss of important data or disrupt our operations. Our existing safety systems, data backup, access protection, user management, disaster recovery and information technology emergency planning may not be sufficient to prevent or minimize the effect of data loss or long-term network outages.

We may periodically upgrade our existing information technology systems with the assistance of third party vendors, and the costs to upgrade such systems may be significant. Costs and potential problems and interruptions associated with the implementation of new

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or upgraded systems and technology or with maintenance or adequate support of existing systems could disrupt or reduce the efficiency of our operations. If we cannot meet our information technology staffing needs, we may not be able to fulfill our technology initiatives while continuing to provide maintenance on existing systems. We could be required to make significant capital expenditures to remediate any such failure, malfunction or breach with our information technology systems or networks. Any material disruption or slowdown of our systems, including those caused by our failure to successfully upgrade our systems, and our inability to convert to alternate systems in an efficient and timely manner could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position and results of operations.

We rely on commercially available systems, software, tools and monitoring to provide security for processing, transmitting and storing confidential information of our customers, employees and third parties. Unlawful or unauthorized activities by third parties, and failures in systems, software, encryption technology, or other tools may facilitate or result in a compromise or breach of these systems. We are subject to risks caused by data breaches and operational disruptions, particularly through cyber-attack, cyber-intrusion or ransomware attacks, including by computer hackers, foreign governments and cyber terrorists. Any unauthorized disclosure of confidential information could damage our reputation, interrupt our operations and could result in a violation of applicable laws, regulations, industry standards or agreements and potentially subject us to costs, penalties and liabilities The occurrence of any of these events could have a material adverse impact on our reputation, business, financial position, results of operations and cash flow. Although we maintain insurance coverage for various cybersecurity risks, there can be no guarantee that all costs incurred will be fully insured.

We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property, which could harm the value of our brand and adversely affect our business.

Our ability to implement our business plan successfully depends in part on our ability to further build brand recognition using our trademarks, service marks and other proprietary intellectual property, including our name and logos. While it is our policy to protect and defend vigorously our intellectual property, we cannot predict whether such actions will be adequate to prevent infringement or misappropriation of these rights. Although we believe that we have sufficient rights to all of our trademarks, service marks and other intellectual property rights, we may face claims of infringement that could interfere with our business or our ability to market and promote our brands. If we are unable to successfully defend against such claims, we may be prevented from using our intellectual property rights in the future and may be liable for damages.

Although we make a significant effort to avoid infringing known proprietary rights of third parties, we may be subject to claims of infringement by third parties. Responding to and defending such claims, regardless of their merit, can be costly and time-consuming, and we may not prevail. Depending on the resolution of such claims, we may be barred from using a specific mark or other rights, may be required to enter into licensing arrangements from the third party claiming infringement or may become liable for significant damages. If any of the foregoing occurs, our ability to compete could be affected or our business, financial position and results of operations may be adversely affected.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

Our substantial indebtedness could have important adverse consequences and adversely affect our financial condition.

We have a significant amount of indebtedness. As of September 30, 2021, we had total indebtedness of $1,141.0 million, and we had availability under the Revolving Credit Facility and the Receivables Financing Agreement of $207.7 million and $75.0 million, respectively. See Note 9 “Long-term Debt” to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

Our level of debt could have important consequences, including making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our debt, limiting our ability to obtain additional financing to fund future working capital, capital expenditures, investments or acquisitions, or other general corporate requirements, requiring a substantial portion of our cash flows to be dedicated to debt service payments instead of other purposes, thereby reducing the amount of cash flows available for working capital, capital expenditures, investments or acquisitions and other general corporate purposes, increasing our vulnerability to adverse changes in general economic, industry and competitive conditions, exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates as certain of our borrowings, including borrowings under the Credit Agreement, are at variable rates of interest, limiting our flexibility in planning for and reacting to changes in the industries in which we compete, placing us at a disadvantage compared to other, less leveraged competitors, increasing our cost of borrowing and hampering our ability to execute on our growth strategy.

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Our debt agreements contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business.

The Credit Agreement imposes significant operating and financial restrictions. These covenants may limit our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to, among other things, incur additional indebtedness; create or incur liens; engage in certain fundamental changes, including mergers or consolidations; sell or transfer assets; pay dividends and distributions on our subsidiaries’ capital stock; make acquisitions, investments, loans or advances; prepay or repurchase certain indebtedness; engage in certain transactions with affiliates; and enter into negative pledge clauses and clauses restricting subsidiary distributions.

The Credit Agreement also contains certain customary affirmative covenants and events of default, including a change of control. The Credit Agreement also contains a financial maintenance requirement with respect to the Revolving Credit Facility, prohibiting us from exceeding a certain first lien secured leverage ratio under certain circumstances. As a result of these covenants and restrictions, we are limited in how we conduct our business, and we may be unable to raise additional debt or equity financing to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities. The terms of any future indebtedness we may incur could include more restrictive covenants. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to maintain compliance with these covenants in the future and, if we fail to do so, that we will be able to obtain waivers from the lenders and/or amend the covenants.

Our failure to comply with the restrictive covenants described above as well as others contained in our future debt instruments from time to time could result in an event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could result in our being required to repay these borrowings before their maturity dates. In addition, any event of default or declaration of acceleration under one debt instrument could also result in an event of default under one or more of our other debt instruments. If we are unable to repay, refinance or restructure our indebtedness under our secured debt, the holders of such debt could proceed against the collateral securing that indebtedness. If we are forced to refinance these borrowings on less favorable terms or if we are unable to repay, refinance or restructure such indebtedness, our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We may be unable to generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy our significant debt service obligations, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our ability to make principal and interest payments on and to refinance our indebtedness will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future and is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. If our business does not generate sufficient cash flow from operations, in the amounts projected or at all, or if future borrowings are not available to us in amounts sufficient to fund our other liquidity needs, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

If we cannot generate sufficient cash flow from operations to make scheduled principal and interest payments, we may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness on or before maturity, sell assets, delay capital expenditures or seek additional equity. The terms of our existing or future debt agreements may also restrict us from affecting any of these alternatives. Any refinancing of our debt could be at higher interest rates and may require us to comply with more onerous covenants, which could further restrict our business operations. Further, changes in the credit and capital markets, including market disruptions and interest rate fluctuations, may increase the cost of financing, make it more difficult to obtain favorable terms, or restrict our access to these sources of future liquidity. In addition, any failure to make scheduled payments of interest and principal on our outstanding indebtedness would likely result in a reduction of our credit rating, which could harm our ability to incur additional indebtedness on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Our inability to generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy our debt service obligations, or to refinance or restructure our obligations on commercially reasonable terms or at all, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as on our ability to satisfy our obligations in respect of our indebtedness.

Despite our level of indebtedness, we and our subsidiaries may still be able to incur substantially more debt, including off-balance sheet financing, contractual obligations and general and commercial liabilities. This could further exacerbate the risks to our financial condition described above.

We and our subsidiaries may be able to incur significant additional indebtedness in the future, including off-balance sheet financings, contractual obligations and general and commercial liabilities. Although the Credit Agreement contains restrictions on the incurrence of additional indebtedness, these restrictions are subject to a number of qualifications and exceptions, and the additional indebtedness incurred in compliance with these restrictions could be substantial. In addition, we can increase the borrowing availability under the Credit Agreement by up to $303.0 million in the form of additional commitments under the Revolving Credit Facility and/or incremental term loans plus an additional amount so long as we do not exceed a specified first lien secured leverage ratio. If new debt is added to our current debt levels, the related risks that we now face could intensify.

Our variable rate indebtedness subjects us to interest rate risk, which could cause our debt service obligations to increase significantly.

Borrowings under our Credit Agreement and Receivables Financing Agreement are at variable rates of interest and expose us to interest rate risk. Moreover, borrowings under our Credit Agreement and Receivables Financing Agreement bear interest at a rate per annum of LIBOR plus a margin. On July 27, 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. On March 5, 2021, the ICE Benchmark Association (“IBA”) stated that it will

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cease the publication of all non-U.S. dollar LIBOR and the one-week and two-month U.S. dollar LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on December 31, 2021, with the publication of the remaining U.S. dollar LIBOR settings being discontinued on June 30, 2023. It is expected that a transition away from the widespread use of LIBOR to alternative rates will occur over the course of the next several years. Recent proposals for LIBOR reforms may result in the establishment of new methods of calculating LIBOR or the establishment of one or more alternative benchmark rates. Although our Credit Agreement and Receivables Financing Agreement provide for application of successor rates based on prevailing market conditions, it is not currently possible to predict the effect of any establishment of alternative reference rates or any other reforms to LIBOR that may be enacted in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. If interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on the variable rate indebtedness will increase even though the amount borrowed will remain the same, our ability to refinance some or all of our existing indebtedness may be impacted and our net income and cash flows, including cash available for servicing our indebtedness, will correspondingly decrease.

If the financial institutions that are part of the syndicate of our Revolving Credit Facility fail to extend credit under our facility or reduce the borrowing base under our Revolving Credit Facility, our liquidity and results of operations may be adversely affected.

We have access to capital through our Revolving Credit Facility, which is governed by the Credit Agreement. Each financial institution which is part of the syndicate for our Revolving Credit Facility is responsible on a several, but not joint, basis for providing a portion of the loans to be made under our facility. If any participant or group of participants with a significant portion of the commitments in our Revolving Credit Facility fails to satisfy its or their respective obligations to extend credit under the facility and we are unable to find a replacement for such participant or participants on a timely basis (if at all), our liquidity may be adversely affected.

We utilize derivative financial instruments to reduce our exposure to market risks from changes in interest rates on our variable rate indebtedness and we will be exposed to risks related to counterparty credit worthiness or non-performance of these instruments.

We have entered into interest rate swap instruments to limit our exposure to changes in variable interest rates. While our hedging strategy is designed to minimize the impact of increases in interest rates applicable to our variable rate debt, there can be no guarantee that our hedging strategy will be effective, and we may experience credit-related losses in some circumstances. See Note 10 “Financial Instruments Measured at Fair Value” to our audited consolidated financial statements included in Part II. Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock

Future sales, or the perception of future sales, by us or our existing stockholders, could cause the market price for our common stock to decline.

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that such sales could occur, could substantially decrease the market price of our common stock. As of September 30, 2021, we had approximately 105.2 million shares of our common stock outstanding, of which approximately 63.9 million are “restricted securities” within the meaning of Rule 144. While restricted securities generally may be sold in the public market only if they are registered under the Securities Act or are sold pursuant to an exemption from registration such as Rule 144, substantially all of these restricted securities can be sold without restriction pursuant to Rule 144 or pursuant with transactions covered by our effective SEC registration statements.

In addition, as of September 30, 2021, we had approximately 8.4 million shares of common stock reserved for future issuance under our incentive plans and our Employee Stock Purchase Plan.

The market price of our shares of common stock could drop significantly if the holders of these shares sell them or are perceived by the market as intending to sell them. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to raise additional funds through future offerings of our shares of common stock or other securities. In the future, we may also issue equity securities in connection with investments or acquisitions. The number of shares of our common stock issued in connection with an investment or acquisition could constitute a material portion of our then-outstanding shares of our common stock. Any issuance of additional securities in connection with investments or acquisitions may result in additional dilution to you.

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KKR BrightView Aggregator L.P. and MSD Partners have the ability to exert significant influence over us and their interests may conflict with ours or yours in the future.

As of September 30, 2021, KKR BrightViewAggregator L.P. beneficially own 48.1% of our common stock and MSD Partners beneficially own 11.2% of our common stock. As a result, they will have substantial influence over the election and removal of our directors and thereby exert significant influence over our policies and operations, including the appointment of management, future issuances of our common stock or other securities, payment of dividends, if any, on our common stock, the incurrence or modification of indebtedness by us, amendment of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and entering into extraordinary transactions, and their interests may not in all cases be aligned with your interests. In addition, KKR BrightView Aggregator L.P. and MSD Partners and their affiliates may have an interest in pursuing acquisitions, divestitures and other transactions that, in their judgment, could enhance their investment, even though such transactions might involve risks to you. For example, they could cause us to make acquisitions that increase our indebtedness or cause us to sell revenue-generating assets.

KKR BrightView Aggregator L.P. and MSD Partners and their affiliates are in the business of making investments in companies and may from time to time acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that none of KKR BrightView Aggregator L.P. and MSD Partners, any of their affiliates or any director who is not employed by us (including any non-employee director who serves as one of our officers in both his director and officer capacities) or his or her affiliates will have any duty to refrain from engaging, directly or indirectly, in the same business activities or similar business activities or lines of business in which we operate. The Sponsors and their affiliates also may pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us.

In addition, KKR BrightView Aggregator L.P. and MSD Partners and their affiliates are able to significantly influence the outcome of all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of our Board of Directors or acquisitions of our company. This concentration of voting power could deprive you of an opportunity to receive a premium for your shares of common stock as part of a sale of our company and ultimately might affect the market price of our common stock.

Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents could delay or prevent a change of control.

Certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may have an anti-takeover effect and may delay, defer or prevent a merger, acquisition, tender offer, takeover attempt, or other change of control transaction that a stockholder might consider in its best interest, including those attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for the shares held by our stockholders.

These provisions provide for, among other things, our Board of Directors to issue one or more series of preferred stock; advance notice requirements for nominations of directors by stockholders and for stockholders to include matters to be considered at our annual meetings; certain limitations on convening special stockholder meetings; the removal of directors only upon the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 66 23% of the shares of common stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors if the Sponsors and their affiliates cease to beneficially own at least 40% of shares of common stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors. In addition, certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may be amended only by the affirmative vote of at least 66 23% of shares of common stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors if the Sponsors and their affiliates cease to beneficially own at least 40% of shares of common stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors. These anti-takeover provisions could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us, even if the third party’s offer may be considered beneficial by many of our stockholders. As a result, our stockholders may be limited in their ability to obtain a premium for their shares.

Our Board of Directors is authorized to issue and designate shares of our preferred stock in additional series without stockholder approval.

Our certificate of incorporation authorizes our Board of Directors, without the approval of our stockholders, to issue 50,000,000 shares of our preferred stock, subject to limitations prescribed by applicable law, rules and regulations and the provisions of our certificate of incorporation, as shares of preferred stock in series, to establish from time to time the number of shares to be included in each such series and to fix the designation, powers, preferences and rights of the shares of each such series and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof. The powers, preferences and rights of these additional series of preferred stock may be senior to or on parity with our common stock, which may reduce its value.

Our certificate of incorporation provides, subject to limited exceptions, that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the sole and exclusive forums for certain stockholder litigation matters, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or stockholders.

Our certificate of incorporation provides, subject to limited exceptions, that unless we consent to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for any (i) derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of our company, (ii) action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any director, officer, or other employee or stockholder of our company to the Company or our stockholders, creditors or other constituents, (iii) action asserting a claim against the Company or any director or officer of the Company arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or the DGCL, or our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our

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amended and restated bylaws or as to which the DGCL confers jurisdiction on the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, or (iv) action asserting a claim against the Company or any director or officer of the Company governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Our certificate of incorporation further provides that, to the fullest extent permitted by law, the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the United States federal securities laws. While the Delaware Supreme Court has upheld the validity of similar provisions under the DGCL, there is uncertainty as to whether a court in another state would enforce such a forum selection provision. Our exclusive forum provision does not relieve us of our duties to comply with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder, and our stockholders will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with these laws, rules and regulations.

Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the forum provisions in our certificate of incorporation. These choice of forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or any of our directors, officers, other employees or stockholders which may discourage lawsuits with respect to such claims. It is possible that these exclusive forum provisions may be challenged in court and may be deemed unenforceable in whole or in part. If a court were to find the choice of forum provisions contained in our certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable with respect to one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

General Risk Factors

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other external events could adversely affect our business.

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other adverse external events could materially damage our facilities or disrupt our operations, or damage the facilities or disrupt the operations of our customers or suppliers. The occurrence of any such event could prevent us from providing services and adversely affect our business, financial position and results of operations.

Our stock price may change significantly, and you may not be able to resell shares of our common stock at or above the price you paid or at all, and you could lose all or part of your investment as a result.

You may not be able to resell your shares at or above your purchase price due to the factors described in this Risk Factors section. Other factors that may impact our stock price include: results of operations that vary from the expectations of securities analysts and investors or from those of our competitors; changes in expectations as to our future financial performance, including estimates and investment recommendations by securities analysts and investors; changes in market valuations, stock prices, or earnings and other announcements by peer companies or companies in the service sector; announcements by us, our competitors, and our suppliers related to significant contracts, acquisitions, joint ventures, other strategic relationships or capital commitments; investor perceptions of or the investment opportunity associated with our common stock relative to other investment alternatives; the public’s response to press releases, SEC filings or other public announcements by us or third parties, including our filings with the SEC; guidance, if any, that we provide to the public, and any changes in or our failure to meet this guidance; and the development and sustainability of an active trading market for our stock.

Furthermore, the stock market may experience extreme volatility that, in some cases, may be unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of particular companies. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, price volatility may be greater if the public float and trading volume of our common stock is low, such as that experienced in the period of July 1, 2018 to the date of this filing.

In the past, following periods of market volatility, or following periods or events unrelated to market volatility, stockholders have instituted securities class action litigation. If we were to become involved in securities litigation, it could have a substantial cost and divert resources and the attention of executive management from our business regardless of the merits or outcome of such litigation.

If securities analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they downgrade our stock or our sector, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our common stock will rely in part on the research and reports that industry or financial analysts publish about us or our industry. We do not control these analysts. Furthermore, if one or more of the analysts who do cover us downgrade our stock or our industry, or the stock of any of our competitors, or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the price of our stock could decline. If one or more of these analysts stop covering us or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the market, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

Maintaining the requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified Board members.

 

As a public company, we incur significant legal, regulatory, finance, accounting, investor relations and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company, including costs associated with public company reporting requirements. We are also required to comply with, and incur costs associated with such compliance with, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, (“the Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, (“the Dodd-Frank Act”), as well as rules and regulations implemented by the SEC and the NYSE. These rules and regulations have increased our legal and financial compliance costs and made some activities more

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time-consuming and costly. Our management devotes a substantial amount of time to ensure that we comply with all of these requirements, diverting the attention of management away from revenue-producing activities. These laws and regulations also could make it more difficult or costly for us to obtain certain types of insurance, including director and officer liability insurance, and we may be forced to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our Board of Directors, our board committees or as our executive officers. Furthermore, if we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to delisting of our common stock, fines, sanctions and other regulatory action and potentially civil litigation.

 

Failure to comply with requirements to maintain effective internal controls could have a material adverse effect on our business and stock price.

 

As a public company, we have significant requirements for financial reporting and internal controls. The process of maintaining effective internal controls is a continuous effort that requires us to anticipate and react to changes in our business and the economic and regulatory environments and to expend significant resources to maintain a system of internal controls that is adequate to satisfy our reporting obligations as a public company. If we are unable to maintain appropriate internal financial reporting controls and procedures, it could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations on a timely basis, result in material misstatements in our consolidated financial statements and harm our results of operations. In addition, we are required, pursuant to Section 404, to furnish annually a report by management on, among other things, the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. This assessment includes disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. The rules governing the standards that must be met for our management to assess our internal control over financial reporting are complex and require significant documentation, testing and possible remediation. Testing and maintaining internal controls may divert our management’s attention from other matters that are important to our business. Our independent registered public accounting firm is also required to issue an attestation report on effectiveness of our internal controls in each annual report on Form 10-K.

 

In the future, if we identify a control deficiency that rises to the level of a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting, this material weakness may adversely affect our ability to record, process, summarize and report financial information timely and accurately. Any material weaknesses could result in a material misstatement of our annual or quarterly consolidated financial statements or disclosures that may not be prevented or detected. In addition, we may encounter problems or delays in completing the remediation of any deficiencies identified by our independent registered public accounting firm in connection with the issuance of their attestation report.

 

We may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 or our independent registered public accounting firm may not issue an unqualified opinion. If either we are unable to conclude that we have effective internal control over financial reporting or our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to provide us with an unqualified report, investors could lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a material adverse effect on the trading price of our common stock.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2. Properties

Our corporate headquarters is a leased facility located at 980 Jolly Road, Suite 300, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania 19422.

We and our operating companies own and lease a variety of facilities primarily located in the United States, for branch and service center operations and for office, call center and storage space. Our branches are strategically located to optimize route efficiency, market coverage and branch overhead. The following chart identifies the number of owned and leased facilities, other than our headquarters listed above, used by each of our operating segments as of September 30, 2021. We believe that these facilities, when considered with our headquarters, are in good operating condition and suitable and adequate to support the current needs of our business.

 

Segment (1)

 

Owned
Facilities

 

 

Leased
Facilities

 

Maintenance Services

 

 

31

 

 

 

236

 

Development Services

 

 

3

 

 

 

13

 

Total

 

 

34

 

 

 

249

 

 

(1) 19 facilities are shared between our segments and each is counted once, in the Maintenance Services segment, to avoid double counting.

The information set forth in Note 14 “Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements under Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” is incorporated herein by reference.

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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

Market Information

Our common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BV”. As of October 31, 2021, there were 314 holders of record of our common stock. This stockholder figure does not include a substantially greater number of holders whose shares are held of record by banks, brokers, and other financial institutions.

Dividend Policy

We do not intend to pay cash dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our results of operations, cash requirements, financial condition, contractual restrictions contained in current or future financing instruments and other factors that our board of directors deem relevant. We did not declare or pay dividends to the holders of our common stock in the year ended September 30, 2021.

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities

None.

Company Repurchases of Equity Securities

None.

Stock Performance Graph

This performance graph shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or “filed” with the SEC for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act.

The graph below presents the Company’s cumulative total stockholder returns relative to the performance of the Russell 2000 (“R2000”) Index and the Russell 2500 Environmental Maintenance & Security Service (“R2500 Service”) Index from June 28, 2018 (the Company’s initial day of trading) through September 30, 2021. All values assume a $100 initial investment at the opening price of the Company’s common stock on the NYSE and data for the R2000 Index and the R2500 Service Index assumes any dividends were reinvested on the date paid. The points on the graph represent fiscal quarter-end values based on the last trading day of each fiscal quarter. The comparisons are based on historical data and are not indicative of, nor intended to forecast, the future performance of our common stock.

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img112161276_7.jpg 

Note: In prior reports, the Company has referenced the Russell 2500 Environmental Maintenance and Security Services Index. That index was discontinued and merged into the Russell 2500 Waste & Disposal Services Index. The graph above includes the full history for the Russell 2500 Waste & Disposal Services Index.

 

Item 6. Removed and Reserved

 

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

The following discussion contains management’s discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations and should be read together with our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

This section of this Form 10-K generally discusses the fiscal years ended September 30, 2021 and 2020 items and year to year comparisons between the fiscal years ended September 30, 2021 and 2020. The discussion around results of operations for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2019 and a comparison of our results for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020 and 2019 is included in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for fiscal year ended September 30, 2020, filed with the SEC on November 18, 2020 and is incorporated by reference herein (Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2020 10-K).

Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should review “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and the “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” sections of this Form 10-K for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis.

Overview

Our Company

We are the largest provider of commercial landscaping services in the United States, with revenues approximately 7 times those of our next largest commercial landscaping competitor. We provide commercial landscaping services ranging from landscape maintenance and enhancements to tree care and landscape development. We operate through a differentiated and integrated national service model which systematically delivers services at the local level by combining our network of over 280 branches with a qualified service partner network. Our branch delivery model underpins our position as a single-source end-to-end landscaping solution provider to our diverse customer base at the national, regional and local levels, which we believe represents a significant competitive advantage. We believe our commercial customer base understands the financial and reputational risk associated with inadequate landscape maintenance and considers our services to be essential and non-discretionary.

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Our Segments

We report our results of operations through two reportable segments: Maintenance Services and Development Services. We serve a geographically diverse set of customers through our strategically located network of branches in 32 U.S. states, and, through our qualified service partner network, we are able to efficiently provide nationwide coverage in all 50 U.S. states.

To align with changes in how we manage our business, in the second quarter of fiscal 2021, we reclassified Net service revenues and expenses related to a second quarter fiscal 2020 acquisition from the Maintenance Services segment to the Development Services segment. Prior period segment results have been reclassified with no significant impact on segment results. There were no changes to the Company’s consolidated financial statements.

Maintenance Services

Our Maintenance Services segment delivers a full suite of recurring commercial landscaping services in both evergreen and seasonal markets, ranging from mowing, gardening, mulching and snow removal, to more horticulturally advanced services, such as water management, irrigation maintenance, tree care, golf course maintenance and specialty turf maintenance. In addition to contracted maintenance services, we also have a strong track record of providing value-added landscape enhancements. We primarily self-perform our maintenance services through our national branch network, which are route-based in nature. Our maintenance services customers include Fortune 500 corporate campuses and commercial properties, HOAs, public parks, leading international hotels and resorts, airport authorities, municipalities, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, educational institutions, restaurants and retail, and golf courses, among others.

Development Services

Through our Development Services segment, we provide landscape architecture and development services for new facilities and significant redesign projects. Specific services include project design and management services, landscape architecture, landscape installation, irrigation installation, tree moving and installation, pool and water features and sports field services, among others. Our development services are comprised of sophisticated design, coordination and installation of landscapes at some of the most recognizable corporate, athletic and university complexes and showcase highly visible work that is paramount to our customers’ perception of our brand as a market leader.

In our Development Services business, we are typically hired by general contractors, with whom we maintain strong relationships as a result of our superior technical and project management capabilities. We believe the quality of our work is also well-regarded by our end-customers, some of whom directly request that their general contractors utilize our services when outsourcing their landscape development projects.

 

Components of Our Revenues and Expenses

Net Service Revenues

Maintenance Services

Our Maintenance Services revenues are generated primarily through landscape maintenance services and snow removal services. Landscape maintenance services that are primarily viewed as non-discretionary, such as lawn care, mowing, gardening, mulching, leaf removal, irrigation and tree care, are provided under recurring annual contracts, which typically range from one to three years in duration and are generally cancellable by the customer with 30-90 days’ notice. Snow removal services are provided on either fixed fee based contracts or per occurrence contracts. Both landscape maintenance services and snow removal services can also include enhancement services that represent supplemental maintenance or improvement services generally provided under contracts of short duration related to specific services. Revenue for landscape maintenance and snow removal services under fixed fee models is recognized over time using an output based method. Additionally, a portion of our recurring fixed fee landscape maintenance and snow removal services are recorded under the series guidance. The right to invoice practical expedient, defined within Note 4 “Revenue” to our audited consolidated financial statements, is generally applied to revenue related to landscape maintenance and snow removal services performed in relation to per occurrence contracts as well as enhancement services. When use of the practical expedient is not appropriate for these contracts, revenue is recognized using a cost-to-cost input method. Fees for contracted landscape maintenance services are typically billed on an equal monthly basis. Fees for fixed fee snow removal services are typically billed on an equal monthly basis during snow season, while fees for time and material or other activity-based snow removal services are typically billed as the services are performed. Fees for enhancement services are typically billed as the services are performed.

Development Services

For Development Services, revenue is primarily recognized over time using the cost-to-cost input method, measured by the percentage of cost incurred to date to the estimated total cost for each contract, which we believe to be the best measure of progress. The full amount of anticipated losses on contracts is recorded as soon as such losses can be estimated. These losses have been immaterial

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in prior periods. Changes in job performance, job conditions and estimated profitability, including final contract settlements, may result in revisions to costs and revenue and are recognized in the period in which the revisions are determined.

Expenses

Cost of Services Provided

Cost of services provided is comprised of direct costs we incur associated with our operations during a period and includes employee costs, subcontractor costs, purchased materials, operating equipment and vehicle costs. Employee costs consist of wages and other labor-related expenses, including benefits, workers compensation and healthcare costs, for those employees involved in delivering our services. Subcontractor costs consist of costs relating to our qualified service partner network in our Maintenance Services segment and subcontractors we engage from time to time in our Development Services segment. When our use of subcontractors increases, we may experience incrementally higher costs of services provided. Operating equipment and vehicle costs primarily consist of depreciation related to branch operating equipment and vehicles and related fuel expenses. A large component of our costs are variable, such as labor, subcontractor expense and materials.

Selling, General and Administrative Expense

Selling, general and administrative expense consists of costs incurred related to compensation and benefits for management, sales and administrative personnel, equity-based compensation, branch and office rent and facility operating costs, depreciation expense related to branch and office locations, as well as professional fees, software costs, goodwill impairment, gains and losses on divestitures, and other miscellaneous expenses. Corporate expenses, including corporate executive compensation, finance, legal and information technology, are included in consolidated selling, general and administrative expense and not allocated to the business segments.

Amortization Expense

Amortization expense consists of the periodic amortization of intangible assets, including customer relationships, non-compete agreements and trademarks, recognized when KKR acquired us on December 18, 2013 and in connection with businesses we have acquired since December 18, 2013.

Interest Expense

Interest expense relates primarily to our long term debt. See Note 9 “Long-term Debt” to our audited consolidated financial statements included in Part II. Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

Income Tax Expense (Benefit)

The benefit for income taxes includes U.S. federal, state and local income taxes. Our effective tax rate differs from the statutory U.S. income tax rate due to the effect of state and local income taxes, tax credits and certain nondeductible expenses. Our effective tax rate may vary from quarter to quarter based on recurring and nonrecurring factors including, but not limited to the geographical distribution of our pre-tax earnings, changes in the tax rates of different jurisdictions, the availability of tax credits and nondeductible items. Changes in judgment due to the evaluation of new information resulting in the recognition, derecognition or remeasurement of a tax position taken in a prior annual period are recognized separately in the period of the change.

Other Income (Expense)

Other income (expense) consists primarily of losses on debt extinguishment and investment gains and losses related to investments held in Rabbi Trust.

How We Assess the Performance of our Business

We manage operations through the two operating segments described above. In addition to our GAAP financial measures, we review various non-GAAP financial measures, including Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted Earnings per Share (“Adjusted EPS”), and Free Cash Flow.

We believe Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS are helpful supplemental measures to assist us and investors in evaluating our operating results as they exclude certain items whose fluctuations from period to period do not necessarily correspond to changes in the operations of our business. Adjusted EBITDA represents net (loss) income before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and certain non-cash, non-recurring and other adjustment items. Adjusted Net Income is defined as net income (loss) including interest and depreciation, and excluding other items used to calculate Adjusted EBITDA and further adjusted for the tax effect of these exclusions and the removal of the discrete tax items. Adjusted EPS is defined as Adjusted Net Income divided by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding for the period used in the calculation of basic EPS. We believe that the adjustments applied in presenting Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS are appropriate to provide additional

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information to investors about certain material non-cash items and about non-recurring items that we do not expect to continue at the same level in the future.

We believe Free Cash Flow is a helpful supplemental measure to assist us and investors in evaluating our liquidity. Free Cash Flow represents cash flows from operating activities less capital expenditures, net of proceeds from sales of property and equipment. We believe Free Cash Flow is useful to provide additional information to assess our ability to pursue business opportunities and investments and to service our debt. Free Cash Flow has limitations as an analytical tool, including that it does not account for our future contractual commitments and excludes investments made to acquire assets under finance leases and required debt service payments.

Management regularly uses these measures as tools in evaluating our operating performance, financial performance and liquidity, while other measures can differ significantly depending on long-term strategic decisions regarding capital structure and capital investments. Management uses Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EPS, and Free Cash Flow to supplement comparable GAAP measures in the evaluation of the effectiveness of our business strategies, to make budgeting decisions, to establish discretionary annual incentive compensation and to compare our performance against that of other peer companies using similar measures. In addition, we believe that Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EPS, and Free Cash Flow are frequently used by investors and other interested parties in the evaluation of issuers, many of which also present Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EPS, and Free Cash Flow when reporting their results in an effort to facilitate an understanding of their operating and financial results and liquidity. Management supplements GAAP results with non-GAAP financial measures to provide a more complete understanding of the factors and trends affecting the business than GAAP results alone.

Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS are provided in addition to, and should not be considered as alternatives to, net income (loss) or any other performance measure derived in accordance with GAAP, and Free Cash Flow is provided in addition to, and should not be considered as an alternative to, cash flow from operating activities or any other measure derived in accordance with GAAP as a measure of our liquidity. Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EPS, and Free Cash Flow have limitations as analytical tools, and you should not consider such measures either in isolation or as substitutes for analyzing our results as reported under GAAP. In addition, because not all companies use identical calculations, the presentations of these measures may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies and can differ significantly from company to company. Additionally, these measures are not intended to be a measure of free cash flow available for management’s discretionary use as they do not consider certain cash requirements such as interest payments, tax payments and debt service requirements.

For a reconciliation of the most directly comparable GAAP measures, see “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below.

 

 

Trends and Other Factors Affecting Our Business

Various trends and other factors affect or have affected our operating results, including:

Seasonality

Our services, particularly in our Maintenance Services segment, have seasonal variability such as increased mulching, flower planting and intensive mowing in the spring, leaf removal and cleanup work in the fall, snow removal services in the winter and potentially minimal mowing during drier summer months. This can drive fluctuations in revenue, costs and cash flows for interim periods.

We have a significant presence in geographies that have a year-round growing season, which we refer to as our evergreen markets. Such markets require landscape maintenance services twelve months per year. In markets that do not have a year-round growing season, which we refer to as our seasonal markets, the demand for our landscape maintenance services decreases during the winter months. Typically, our revenues and net income have been higher in the spring and summer seasons, which correspond with our third and fourth fiscal quarters of our fiscal year ended September 30. The lower level of activity in seasonal markets during our first and second fiscal quarters is partially offset by revenue from our snow removal services. Such seasonality causes our results of operations to vary from quarter to quarter.

Weather Conditions

Weather may impact the timing of performance of landscape maintenance and enhancement services and progress on development projects from quarter to quarter. For example, snow events in the winter, hurricane-related cleanup in the summer and fall, and the effects of abnormally high rainfall or drought in a given market may impact our services. These less predictable weather patterns can impact both our revenues and our costs, especially from quarter to quarter, but also from year to year in some cases. Extreme weather events such as hurricanes and tropical storms can result in a positive impact to our business in the form of increased enhancement services revenues related to cleanup and other services. However, such weather events may also negatively impact our ability to deliver our contracted services or impact the timing of performance.

In our seasonal markets, the performance of our snow removal services is correlated with the amount of snowfall and number of snowfall events in a given season. We benchmark our performance against ten- and thirty-year cumulative annual snowfall averages.

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Acquisitions

In addition to our organic growth, we have grown, and expect to continue to grow, our business through acquisitions in an effort to better service our existing customers and to attract new customers. These acquisitions have allowed us to execute our “strong-on-strong” acquisition strategy in which we focus on increasing our density and leadership positions in existing local markets, entering into attractive new geographic markets and expanding our portfolio of landscape enhancement services and improving technical capabilities in specialized services. As we continue to selectively pursue acquisitions that complement our “strong-on-strong” acquisition strategy, we believe we are the acquirer of choice in the highly fragmented commercial landscaping industry because we offer the ability to leverage our significant size and scale, as well as provide stable and potentially expanding career opportunities for employees of acquired businesses. In accordance with GAAP, the results of the acquisitions we have completed are reflected in our consolidated financial statements from the date of acquisition. We incur transaction costs in connection with identifying and completing acquisitions and ongoing integration costs as we integrate acquired companies and seek to achieve synergies. Since October 1, 2020, we have acquired eight businesses with approximately $158.6 million of aggregate annualized revenue, for aggregate consideration of $110.4 million, net of cash acquired. We anticipate incurring integration related costs in respect of these acquisitions of $9.2 million, of which $6.2 million had been incurred as of September 30, 2021, with the remainder to be incurred in fiscal 2022. Additionally, we incurred $7.8 million of integration costs during fiscal 2021 related to acquisitions completed prior to fiscal 2021. While integration costs vary based on factors specific to each acquisition, such costs are primarily comprised of one-time employee retention costs, employee onboarding and training costs, and fleet and uniform rebranding costs. We typically anticipate integration costs to represent approximately 7%-9% of the acquisition price, and to be incurred within 12 months of acquisition completion.

Industry and Economic Conditions

We believe the non-discretionary nature of our landscape maintenance services provides us with a fairly predictable recurring revenue model. The perennial nature of the landscape maintenance service sector, as well as its wide range of end users, minimizes the impact of a broad or sector-specific downturn. However, in connection with our enhancement services and development services, when demand for commercial construction declines, demand for landscape enhancement services and development projects may decline. When commercial construction activity rises, demand for landscape enhancement services to maintain green space may also increase. This is especially true for new developments in which green space tends to play an increasingly important role. Economic conditions, including fluctuations in labor markets, may impact our ability to identify, hire and retain employees. Increased labor costs, including recruiting, retention, and overtime expenditures, could adversely affect our profitability.

COVID-19 Update

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic conditions on the Company’s results continue to be highly uncertain and outside the Company’s control. Although our Maintenance and Development operations are considered essential services, future governmental orders or other restrictions may limit, restrict or prohibit operations in the future. Further limitations could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The scope, duration and magnitude of the direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are difficult or impossible to anticipate. Due to the uncertainty related to the extent of the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the Company’s results in the fourth quarter of 2021 may not be indicative of the Company’s future results. We have experienced and may experience a loss in revenue as a result of restrictions on our ability to operate our business. In addition, the economic deterioration resulting from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue to negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition. Although optimism for an economic recovery has increased in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, the degree of the impact on our business continues to be unpredictable as it will depend on factors such as the duration and spread of COVID-19, including new variants; the extent of vaccinations, vaccine mandates, the cost of complying with such mandates, and the extent to which a mandate impacts our workforce, including employee recruiting and attrition; inflationary pressures and increased costs for materials; and the timing and success of the reopening of the economy. For additional information on the risks posed by COVID-19, see “Item 1A – Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2021.

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Results of Operations

The following tables summarize key components of our results of operations for the periods indicated.

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended September 30,

 

(In millions)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Net service revenues

 

$

2,553.6

 

 

$

2,346.0

 

Cost of services provided

 

 

1,902.8

 

 

 

1,750.7

 

Gross profit

 

 

650.8

 

 

 

595.3

 

Selling, general and administrative expense

 

 

508.0

 

 

 

527.4

 

Amortization expense

 

 

52.3

 

 

 

55.8

 

Income from operations

 

 

90.5

 

 

 

12.1

 

Other income

 

 

2.7

 

 

 

1.3

 

Interest expense

 

 

42.3

 

 

 

64.6

 

Income (loss) before income taxes

 

 

50.9

 

 

 

(51.2

)

Income tax expense (benefit)

 

 

4.6

 

 

 

(9.6

)

Net income (loss)

 

$

46.3

 

 

$

(41.6

)

Adjusted EBITDA(1)

 

$

302.3

 

 

$

271.6

 

Adjusted Net Income (1)

 

$

126.3

 

 

$

94.7

 

Cash flows from operating activities

 

$

148.4

 

 

$

245.1

 

Free Cash Flow(1)

 

$

96.7

 

 

$

197.2

 

 

(1) See “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2021 compared to Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2020

Net Service Revenues

Net service revenues for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 increased $207.6 million, or 8.8%, to $2,553.6 million, from $2,346.0 million in the 2020 period. The increase was driven by increases in Maintenance Services revenues of $253.5 million partially offset by a decrease in Development Services revenues of $45.4 million as discussed further below in Segment Results.

Gross Profit

Gross profit for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 increased $55.5 million, or 9.3%, to $650.8 million, from $595.3 million in the 2020 period. Additionally, gross margin increased 10 basis points to 25.5% for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, from 25.4% in the 2020 period. The increase in gross profit was driven by the increase in revenues described above. This was partially offset by an increase in sub-contractor costs due principally to the increased snowfall experienced in the first half of the fiscal year, and by an increase in labor and material costs as a result of the increase in revenues described above.

Selling, General and Administrative Expense

Selling, general and administrative expense for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 decreased $19.4 million, or 3.7%, to $508.0 million, from $527.4 million in the 2020 period. This decrease was largely driven by a decrease of $22.2 million related to the sale of BrightView Tree Company in fiscal 2020, consisting principally of a goodwill impairment of $15.5 million and a loss on sale of $5.7 million. Additionally, in fiscal 2021, stock based compensation decreased $4.0 million. This was offset by an increase of $6.3 million for salaries and other employee related expenses, driven primarily by acquisitions. As a percentage of revenue, selling, general and administrative expense decreased 260 basis points for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 to 19.9%, from 22.5% in the 2020 period.

Amortization Expense

Amortization expense for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 decreased $3.5 million, or 6.3%, to $52.3 million, from $55.8 million in the 2020 period. The decrease was principally due to an $8.9 million decrease in the amortization of historical intangible assets recognized in connection with the KKR Acquisition and the ValleyCrest Acquisition, based on the pattern consistent with expected future cash flows calculated at that time, partially offset by a $5.3 million increase in amortization expense for intangible assets recognized in connection with our acquired businesses subsequent to the ValleyCrest Acquisition.

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Other Income (Expense)

Other income was $2.7 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 compared to $1.3 million of income in the 2020 period. The $1.4 million increase was due to a gain on investments held in the Rabbi Trust.

Interest Expense

Interest expense for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 decreased $22.3 million, or 34.5%, to $42.3 million, from $64.6 million in the 2020 period. The decrease was driven by a lower weighted average interest rate on our term loans in the 2021 period of 2.65% compared to 3.51% in the 2020 period, coupled with the impact of our interest rate swaps for the period.

Income Tax Expense (Benefit)

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, Income tax expense was $4.6 million, compared to an Income tax benefit of $9.6 million in the 2020 period. The change to an income tax expense from an income tax benefit is primarily attributable to the Company’s pretax income of $50.9 million in the current period compared to pretax loss of $51.2 million in the prior period. The increase in the tax expense is partially offset by the tax benefit from the CARES Act.

Net Income (Loss)

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, net income increased by $87.9 million, to $46.3 million, from a net loss of $41.6 million in the 2020 period. The increase in net income was primarily due to the changes noted above.

Adjusted EBITDA

Adjusted EBITDA increased $30.7 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, to $302.3 million, from $271.6 million in the 2020 period. Adjusted EBITDA as a percent of revenue was 11.8% and 11.6% for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The increase in Adjusted EBITDA was driven by an increase of $50.9 million, or 20.5% in Maintenance Services Segment Adjusted EBITDA and a decrease of $16.4 million, or 20.1% in Development Services Segment Adjusted EBITDA, as discussed further below in Segment Results.

Adjusted Net Income

Adjusted Net Income for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 increased $31.6 million to $126.3 million, from $94.7 million in the 2020 period due to the changes noted above.

Segment Results

We classify our business into two segments: Maintenance Services and Development Services. Our corporate operations are not allocated to the segments and are not discussed separately as any results that had a significant impact on operating results are included in the consolidated results discussion above.

We evaluate the performance of our segments on Net Service Revenues, Segment Adjusted EBITDA and Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin (Segment Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of Net Service Revenues). Segment Adjusted EBITDA is indicative of operational performance and ongoing profitability. Our management closely monitors Segment Adjusted EBITDA to evaluate past performance and identify actions required to improve profitability.

 

Segment Results for the Fiscal Years Ended September 30, 2021 and 2020

The following tables present Net Service Revenues, Segment Adjusted EBITDA, and Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin for each of our segments. Changes in Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin are shown in basis points, or bps.

Maintenance Services Segment Results

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended September 30,

 

Percent Change

(In millions)

 

2021

 

2020

 

2021 vs. 2020

Net Service Revenues

 

$1,982.9

 

$1,729.4

 

14.7%

Segment Adjusted EBITDA

 

$299.6

 

$248.7

 

20.5%

Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin

 

15.1%

 

14.4%

 

70 bps

 

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Maintenance Services Net Service Revenues

Maintenance Services net service revenues for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 increased by $253.5 million, or 14.7%, compared to the 2020 period. Revenues from landscape maintenance services were $1,698.0 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, an increase of $131.7 million over the 2020 period. Revenues from snow removal services were $284.9 million, an increase of $121.8 million over the 2020 period. The increase in landscape maintenance service revenues was driven by an increase in commercial landscaping revenues of $57.6 million underpinned by a combination of contract and ancillary revenue growth. In addition, acquisitions contributed $77.2 million of incremental landscape maintenance service revenues. The increase in snow removal services was primarily attributable to growth in our snow contract book of business coupled with the increased frequency of snowfall events and the higher relative snowfall compared to the 2020 period.

Maintenance Services Segment Adjusted EBITDA

Segment Adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 increased $50.9 million, to $299.6 million, compared to $248.7 million in the 2020 period. Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin increased 70 basis points, to 15.1%, in the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, from 14.4% in the 2020 period. The increase in Segment Adjusted EBITDA and Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin were due to the increase in net service revenues described above.

Development Services Segment Results

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended September 30,

 

Percent Change

(In millions)

 

2021

 

2020

 

2021 vs. 2020

Net Service Revenues

 

$574.9

 

$620.3

 

(7.3)%

Segment Adjusted EBITDA

 

$65.2

 

$81.6

 

(20.1)%

Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin

 

11.3%

 

13.2%

 

(190) bps

 

Development Services Net Service Revenues

Development Services net service revenues for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 decreased $45.4 million, or 7.3%, compared to the 2020 period. The decrease in Development Services revenues was principally driven by a $70.5 million reduction due to reduced backlog as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by $49.8 million of revenue contributions from acquired businesses. In addition, the sale of BrightView Tree Company in September 2020 reduced net service revenues by $24.7 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021.

Development Services Segment Adjusted EBITDA

Segment Adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 decreased $16.4 million, to $65.2 million, compared to $81.6 million in the 2020 period. Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin decreased 190 basis points, to 11.3%, in the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, from 13.2% in the 2020 period. The decreases in Segment Adjusted EBITDA and Segment Adjusted EBITDA Margin were primarily due to the decrease in net service revenues described above coupled with higher material costs experienced in the second half of the fiscal year, partially offset by a decrease in Selling, general, and administrative expenses due to cost containment actions.

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Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Set forth below are the reconciliations of net income (loss) to Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Net Income and cash flows from operating activities to Free Cash Flow.

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended September 30,

 

(in millions)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

 

$

46.3

 

 

$

(41.6

)

Plus:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest expense, net

 

 

42.3

 

 

 

64.6

 

Income tax expense (benefit)

 

 

4.6

 

 

 

(9.6

)

Depreciation expense

 

 

84.7

 

 

 

80.5

 

Amortization expense

 

 

52.3

 

 

 

55.8

 

Establish public company financial reporting compliance (a)

 

 

 

 

 

0.9

 

Business transformation and integration costs (b)

 

 

28.5

 

 

 

32.5

 

Offering-related expenses (c)

 

 

0.6

 

 

 

4.4

 

Equity-based compensation (d)

 

 

20.0

 

 

 

24.0

 

COVID-19 related expenses (e)

 

 

23.0

 

 

 

13.8

 

Changes in self-insured liability estimates (f)

 

 

 

 

 

24.1

 

Sale of tree company (g)

 

 

 

 

 

22.2

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

302.3

 

 

$

271.6

 

Adjusted Net Income

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

 

 

46.3

 

 

 

(41.6

)

Plus:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amortization expense

 

 

52.3

 

 

 

55.8

 

Establish public company financial reporting compliance (a)

 

 

 

 

 

0.9

 

Business transformation and integration costs (b)

 

 

28.5

 

 

 

32.5

 

Offering-related expenses (c)

 

 

0.6

 

 

 

4.4

 

Equity-based compensation (d)

 

 

20.0

 

 

 

24.0

 

COVID-19 related expenses (e)

 

 

23.0

 

 

 

13.8

 

Changes in self-insured liability estimates (f)

 

 

 

 

 

24.1

 

Sale of tree company (g)

 

 

 

 

 

22.2

 

Income tax adjustment (h)

 

 

(44.4

)

 

 

(41.4

)

Adjusted Net Income

 

$

126.3

 

 

$

94.7

 

Free Cash Flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from operating activities

 

$

148.4

 

 

$

245.1

 

Minus:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capital expenditures

 

 

61.2

 

 

 

52.7

 

Plus:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proceeds from sale of property and equipment

 

 

9.5

 

 

 

4.8

 

Free Cash Flow

 

$

96.7

 

 

$

197.2

 

 

(a) Represents costs incurred to establish public company financial reporting compliance, including costs to comply with the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley and the accelerated adoption of the revenue recognition standard (ASC 606 – Revenue from Contracts with Customers), and other miscellaneous costs.

(b) Business transformation and integration costs consist of (i) severance and related costs; (ii) business integration costs and (iii) information technology infrastructure, transformation costs, and other.

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended September 30,

 

(in millions)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Severance and related costs

 

$

0.3

 

 

$

3.8

 

Business integration (i)

 

 

14.0

 

 

 

13.4

 

IT infrastructure, transformation, and other (j)

 

 

14.2

 

 

 

15.3

 

Business transformation and integration costs

 

$

28.5

 

 

$

32.5

 

 

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(c)
Represents transaction related expenses incurred for IPO related litigation and completed or contemplated subsequent registration statements.
(d)
Represents equity-based compensation expense and related taxes recognized for equity incentive plans outstanding.
(e)
Represents expenses related to the Company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, principally temporary and incremental salary and related expenses, personal protective equipment and cleaning and supply purchases, and other.
(f)
Represents expenses related to changes in estimates and actuarial assumptions associated with the Company’s self-insured liability amounts for workers’ compensation, general liability, auto liability, and employee health care insurance programs, to reflect uncertainties associated with the current environment, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
(g)
Represents the goodwill impairment charge, realized loss on sale, and transaction related expenses related to the sale of BrightView Tree Company on September 30, 2020.
(h)
Represents the tax effect of pre-tax items excluded from Adjusted Net Income and the removal of the applicable discrete tax items, which collectively result in a reduction of income tax. The tax effect of pre-tax items excluded from Adjusted Net Income is computed using the statutory rate related to the jurisdiction that was impacted by the adjustment after taking into account the impact of permanent differences and valuation allowances. Discrete tax items include changes in laws or rates, changes in uncertain tax positions relating to prior years and changes in valuation allowances.

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended September 30,

 

(in millions)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Tax impact of pre-tax income adjustments

 

$

33.7

 

 

$

37.9

 

Discrete tax items

 

 

10.7

 

 

 

3.5

 

Income tax adjustment

 

$

44.4

 

 

$

41.4

 

 

(i)
Represents isolated expenses specifically related to the integration of acquired companies such as one-time employee retention costs, employee onboarding and training costs, and fleet and uniform rebranding costs. The Company excludes Business integration costs from the measures disclosed above since such expenses vary in amount due to the number of acquisitions and size of acquired companies as well as factors specific to each acquisition, and as a result lack predictability as to occurrence and/or timing, and create a lack of comparability between periods.
(j)
Represents expenses related to distinct initiatives, typically significant enterprise-wide changes. Such expenses are excluded from the measures disclosed above since such expenses vary in amount based on occurrence as well as factors specific to each of the activities, are outside of the normal operations of the business, and create a lack of comparability between periods.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Liquidity

Our principal sources of liquidity are existing cash and cash equivalents, cash generated from operations and borrowings under the Credit Agreement (as defined below) and the Receivables Financing Agreement (as defined below). Our principal uses of cash are to provide working capital, meet debt service requirements, fund capital expenditures and finance strategic plans, including acquisitions. We may also seek to finance capital expenditures under finance leases or other debt arrangements that provide liquidity or favorable borrowing terms. We continue to consider acquisition opportunities, but the size and timing of any future acquisitions and the related potential capital requirements cannot be predicted. While we have in the past financed certain acquisitions with internally generated cash, in the event that suitable businesses are available for acquisition upon acceptable terms, we may obtain all or a portion of the necessary financing through the incurrence of additional long-term borrowings.

Based on our current level of operations and available cash, we believe our cash flow from operations, together with availability under the Revolving Credit Facility under the Credit Agreement and the Receivables Financing Agreement (each as defined below), will provide sufficient liquidity to fund our current obligations, projected working capital requirements, debt service requirements and capital spending requirements for the next twelve months.

A substantial portion of our liquidity needs arise from debt service requirements, and from the ongoing cost of operations, working capital and capital expenditures.

 

 

 

September 30,

 

 

September 30,

 

(In millions)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

123.7

 

 

$

157.1

 

Short-term borrowings and current maturities of long-term debt

 

$

10.4

 

 

$

12.3

 

Long-term debt

 

$

1,130.6

 

 

$

1,127.5

 

Total debt

 

$

1,141.0

 

 

$

1,139.8

 

 

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The Company is party to a credit agreement dated December 18, 2013 (as amended, the “Credit Agreement”), a five-year revolving credit facility that matures on August 15, 2023 (the “Revolving Credit Facility”) and, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, a receivables financing agreement dated April 28, 2017 (as amended, the “Receivables Financing Agreement”). See “Description of Indebtedness”.

We can increase the borrowing availability under the Credit Agreement or increase the term loans outstanding under the Credit Agreement by up to $303.0 million, in the aggregate, in the form of additional commitments under the Revolving Credit Facility and/or incremental term loans under the Credit Agreement, or in the form of other indebtedness in lieu thereof, plus an additional amount so long as we do not exceed a specified first lien secured leverage ratio. We can incur such additional secured or other unsecured indebtedness under the Credit Agreement if certain specified conditions are met. Our liquidity requirements are significant primarily due to debt service requirements. See Note 9 “Long-term Debt” to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in Part II. Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

On July 17, 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, announced that it will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR to the LIBOR administrator after 2021. On March 5, 2021, the ICE Benchmark Association (“IBA”) stated that it will cease the publication of all non-U.S. dollar LIBOR and the one-week and two-month U.S. dollar LIBOR settings immediately following the LIBOR publication on December 31, 2021, with the publication of the remaining U.S. dollar LIBOR settings being discontinued on June 30, 2023. It is expected that a transition away from the widespread use of LIBOR to alternative rates will occur over the course of the next several years. The Credit Agreement and the Receivables Financing Agreement each provide that the Company and the applicable administrative agent may amend such Credit Agreement or Receivables Financing Agreement, as applicable, to replace the LIBOR definition with a successor rate based on prevailing market convention, subject to notifying the lending syndicate of such change and not receiving within 5 business days of such notification written objections to such replacement rate from (i) with respect to the Receivables Financing Agreement, lenders holding at least a majority of the aggregate principal amount of commitments then outstanding thereunder or (ii) with respect to any class of loans under the Credit Agreement, lenders holding at least a majority of the aggregate principal amount of loans and commitments then outstanding in such class. The consequences of these developments cannot be entirely predicted, but could include an increase in the interest cost of our variable rate indebtedness.

Our business may not generate sufficient cash flows from operations or future borrowings may not be available to us under our Revolving Credit Facility or the Receivables Financing Agreement in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our indebtedness, or to fund our other liquidity needs. Our ability to do so depends on, among other factors, prevailing economic conditions, many of which are beyond our control, including the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, upon the occurrence of certain events, such as a change in control, we could be required to repay or refinance our indebtedness. We may not be able to refinance any of our indebtedness, including the Series B Term Loan under the Credit Agreement, on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Any future acquisitions, joint ventures, or other similar transactions may require additional capital and there can be no assurance that any such capital will be available to us on acceptable terms or at all.

Cash Flows

Information about our cash flows, by category, is presented in our statements of cash flows and is summarized below:

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended September 30,

 

(In millions)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Operating activities

 

$

148.4

 

 

$

245.1

 

Investing activities

 

$

(158.7

)

 

$

(108.8

)

Financing activities

 

$

(23.1

)

 

$

(18.3

)

Free Cash Flow (1)

 

$

96.7

 

 

$

197.2

 

 

(1) See “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” above for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

Cash Flows provided by Operating Activities

Net cash provided by operating activities for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 decreased $96.7 million, to $148.4 million, from $245.1 million in the 2020 period. This decrease was primarily due to a decrease in cash provided by net working capital, including accounts payable and other operating liabilities, accounts receivable, unbilled and deferred revenue, and other operating assets. The decrease was partially offset by an increase in cash provided by net income (loss).

Cash Flows used in Investing Activities

Net cash used in investing activities was $158.7 million in the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, an increase of $49.9 million compared to $108.8 million for the 2020 period. This increased cash use was driven by an increase in consideration paid for acquisitions net of cash acquired of $20.1 million. Additionally proceeds from divestitures of $28.5 million were received in fiscal 2020.

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Cash Flows provided by (used in) Financing Activities

Net cash flows used in financing activities of $23.1 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 consisted of finance lease obligations repayments of $20.5 million, term loan repayments of $10.4 million, offset by net proceeds from our Receivables Financing Agreement of $9.9 million.

Net cash flows used in financing activities of $18.3 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020 included proceeds from our Receivables Financing Agreement of $80.0 million and proceeds from our Revolving Credit Facility of $70.0 million drawn principally in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both of which were fully repaid during the period. Additionally term loan repayments of $10.4 million and finance lease obligations repayments of $9.9 million were made during the period.

Free Cash Flow

Free Cash Flow decreased $100.5 million to $96.7 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021 from $197.2 million in the 2020 period. The decrease in Free Cash Flow was principally due to the decrease in cash flows from operating activities of $96.7 million as described above.

Working Capital

 

(In millions)

 

September 30, 2021

 

 

September 30, 2020

 

Net Working Capital:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current assets

 

$

710.8

 

 

$

633.1

 

Less: Current liabilities

 

 

496.1

 

 

 

450.1

 

Net working capital

 

$

214.7

 

 

$

183.0

 

 

Net working capital is defined as current assets less current liabilities. Net working capital increased $31.7 million, to $214.7 million, at September 30, 2021, from $183.0 million at September 30, 2020, primarily driven by an increase in accounts receivable of $59.7 million, an increase in unbilled revenue of $16.6 million, and an increase of $34.8 million in other current assets, partially offset by an increase in accrued expenses and other current liabilities of $23.7 million, an increase in accounts payable by $27.6 million, and a decrease in cash and cash equivalents of $33.4 million.

Description of Indebtedness

Series B Term Loan due 2025

On August 15, 2018, the Company entered into Amendment No. 5 to the Credit Agreement (the “Amendment”). The Credit Agreement was amended to provide for: (i) a $1,037.0 million seven-year term loan (the “Series B Term Loan”) and (ii) a $260.0 million five-year revolving credit facility. The Series B Term Loan matures on August 15, 2025 and bears interest at a rate per annum of LIBOR, plus 2.5%. The Company used the net proceeds from the Series B Term Loan to repay all amounts outstanding under the Company’s First Lien Term Loans. An original discount of $2.8 million was incurred when the Series B Term Loan was issued and is being amortized using the effective interest method over the life of the debt resulting in an effective yield of 2.5%.

In addition to scheduled payments, the Company is obligated to pay a percentage of excess cash flow, as defined in the Credit Agreement, as accelerated principal payments. The percentage varies with the ratio of the Company’s debt to its cash flow. The excess cash flow calculation did not result in any accelerated payment due for the periods ended September 30, 2021, September 30, 2020, and September 30, 2019.

Revolving credit facility

The Company’s five-year $260.0 million Revolving Credit Facility matures on August 15, 2023 and bears interest at a rate per annum of LIBOR plus a margin ranging from 2.50% to 2.00%, with the margin determined based on the Company’s first lien net leverage ratio. The Revolving Credit Facility replaces the previous $210.0 million revolving credit facility under the Credit Agreement. The Company had no outstanding balance under either facility as of September 30, 2021 and September 30, 2020. There is a quarterly commitment fee equal to either 12 of 1% or 3/8 of 1% of the unused balance of the Revolving Credit Facility depending on the Company’s leverage ratio. The Company had $52.3 million and $78.0 million of letters of credits issued and outstanding as of September 30, 2021 and September 30, 2020, respectively. There was no activity or outstanding balance on the Revolving Credit Facility for the year ended September 30, 2021. The interest rates on the Revolving Credit Facility and previous revolving credit facility were 2.3% and 2.5% for the years ended September 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. During the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020, the Company borrowed and fully repaid $70.0 million against the Revolving Credit Facility.

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Receivables financing agreement

On April 28, 2017, the Company, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, entered into the Receivables Financing Agreement. The Receivables Financing Agreement provides a borrowing capacity of $175.0 million through April 27, 2020. On February 21, 2019, the Company entered into the First Amendment to the Receivables Financing Agreement (the “Amendment Agreement”) which increased the borrowing capacity to $200.0 million and extended the term through February 20, 2022. On February 19, 2021, the Company entered into the Second Amendment to the Receivables Financing Agreement (the "Second Amendment") which extended the term through February 20, 2024 and increased the borrowing capacity to $235.0 million through September 20, 2021 and $250.0 million thereafter. All amounts outstanding under the Receivables Financing Agreement are collateralized by substantially all of the Accounts receivables and Unbilled revenue of the Company.

During the year ended September 30, 2021, the Company borrowed $34.5 million against the capacity and voluntarily repaid $24.6 million. During the year ended September 30, 2020, the Company borrowed and fully repaid $80.0 million against the capacity.

For additional information on our material indebtedness, including our First Lien Term Loans, Second Lien Term Loans, Series B Term Loans and Revolving Credit Facility and our outstanding borrowings under the Receivables Financing Agreement, see “Note 9 “Long-term Debt” in our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

As of September 30, 2021, September 30, 2020, and September 30, 2019, we were in compliance with all of our debt covenants and no event of default had occurred or was ongoing.

Contractual Obligations and Commercial Commitments

The Company’s primary contractual obligations include the payment of interest and principal on our outstanding long term debt, our operating and finance lease portfolios, and other operational purchase obligations

The Company has outstanding variable-rate debt through its Term loan and other debt instruments, which hold varying maturities. See Note 9, “Long Term Debt” to our audited consolidated financial statements included in Part II. Item 8 of this Form 10-K for further information, including the timing of principal and interest payments associated with the Company’s long term debt.

The Company has operating and finance leases for branch and administrative offices, vehicles, certain machinery and equipment, and furniture. The Company’s leases have remaining non-cancellable lease terms of month to month up to 10.5 years. See Note 12 “Leases” to our audited consolidated financial statements included in Part II. Item 8 of this Form 10-K for additional information, including the maturity schedule of future principal and interest payments associated with our finance and operating lease portfolios.

Purchase obligations include commitments for various products and services made in the normal course of business to meet operational requirements, including the procurement of capital assets. As of September 30, 2021, the Company had $46.5 million of operational purchase obligations, with $8.5 million payable within twelve months. These purchase obligation amounts represent only those items for which we are contractually obligated as of September 30, 2021.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We have no off-balance sheet arrangements that have or are reasonably likely to have a current or future material effect on our financial condition, changes in financial condition, revenues or expenses, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures or capital resources.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

Accounting estimates and assumptions discussed in this section are those that we consider to be the most critical to an understanding of our consolidated financial statements because they involve significant judgments and uncertainties. Management believes that the application of these policies on a consistent basis enables us to provide the users of the consolidated financial statements with useful and reliable information about our operating results and financial condition. Certain of these estimates include determining fair value. All of these estimates reflect our best judgment about current, and for some estimates, future economic and market conditions and their effect based on information available as of the date of these consolidated financial statements. If these conditions change from those expected, it is reasonably possible that the judgments and estimates described below could change, which may result in future impairments of goodwill, intangibles and long-lived assets, increases in reserves for contingencies, establishment of valuation allowances on deferred tax assets and increase in tax liabilities, among other effects. Also see Note 2 “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K, which discusses the significant accounting policies that we have selected from acceptable alternatives.

Acquisitions

From time to time we enter into strategic acquisitions in an effort to better service existing customers and to attain new customers. When we acquire a controlling financial interest in an entity or group of assets that are determined to meet the definition of a business,

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we apply the acquisition method described in ASC Topic 805, Business Combinations. In accordance with GAAP, the results of the acquisitions we have completed are reflected in our consolidated financial statements from the date of acquisition forward.

We allocate the purchase consideration paid to acquire the business to the assets and liabilities acquired based on estimated fair values at the acquisition date, with the excess of purchase price over the estimated fair value of the net assets acquired recorded as goodwill. If during the measurement period (a period not to exceed twelve months from the acquisition date) we receive additional information that existed as of the acquisition date but at the time of the original allocation described above was unknown to us, we make the appropriate adjustments to the purchase price allocation in the reporting period the amounts are determined.

Significant judgment is required to estimate the fair value of intangible assets and in assigning their respective useful lives. Accordingly, we typically engage third-party valuation specialists, who work under the direction of management, to assist in valuing significant tangible and intangible assets acquired.

The fair value estimates are based on available historical information and on future expectations and assumptions deemed reasonable by management, but are inherently uncertain.

We typically use an income method to estimate the fair value of intangible assets, which is based on forecasts of the expected future cash flows attributable to the respective assets. Significant estimates and assumptions inherent in the valuations reflect a consideration of other marketplace participants, and include the amount and timing of future cash flows (including expected growth rates and profitability), a brand’s relative market position and the discount rate applied to the cash flows. Unanticipated market or macroeconomic events and circumstances may occur, which could affect the accuracy or validity of the estimates and assumptions.

Determining the useful life of an intangible asset also requires judgment. All of our acquired intangible assets (e.g., trademarks, non-compete agreements and customer relationships) are expected to have finite useful lives. Our estimates of the useful lives of finite-lived intangible assets are based on a number of factors including competitive environment, market share, brand history, operating plans and the macroeconomic environment of the regions in which the brands are sold.

The costs of finite-lived intangible assets are amortized to expense over their estimated lives. The value of residual goodwill is not amortized, but is tested at least annually for impairment as described in the following note.

Goodwill

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair values of the underlying net assets acquired in an acquisition. Goodwill is not amortized, but rather is tested annually for impairment, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the asset may not be recoverable. We test goodwill for impairment annually in the fourth quarter of each year using data as of July 1 of that year.

Goodwill is allocated to, and evaluated for impairment at our three identified reporting units. Goodwill is tested for impairment by either performing a qualitative evaluation or a quantitative test. The qualitative evaluation is an assessment of factors to determine whether it is more likely than not that a reporting unit’s fair value is less than its carrying amount. We may elect not to perform the qualitative assessment for some or all reporting units and perform the quantitative impairment test. The quantitative goodwill impairment test requires us to compare the carrying value of the reporting unit’s net assets to the fair value of the reporting unit. The Company determined fair values of each of the reporting units using a combination of the income and market multiple approaches. The estimates used in each approach include significant management assumptions, including long-term future growth rates, operating margins, discount rates and future economic and market conditions.

If the fair value exceeds the carrying value, no further evaluation is required, and no impairment loss is recognized. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit, including goodwill, exceeds the estimated fair value, the excess of the carrying value over the fair value is recorded as an impairment loss, the amount of which not to exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to the reporting unit.

Our methodology for estimating the fair value of our reporting units utilizes a combination of the market and income approaches. The market approach is based on the guideline public company method, which measures the value of the reporting unit through applying valuation multiples of selected guideline public companies to the reporting unit’s key operating metrics. The income approach is based on the Discounted Cash Flow (“DCF”) method, which is based on the present value of future cash flows. The principal assumptions utilized in the DCF methodology include long-term future growth rates, operating margins, and discount rates. There can be no assurance that our estimates and assumptions regarding forecasted cash flow, long-term future growth rates and operating margins made for purposes of the annual goodwill impairment test will prove to be accurate predictions of the future. We believe the current assumptions and estimates utilized under each approach are both reasonable and appropriate.

Based on our most recent annual analysis as of July 1, 2021, the fair values for all three of our reporting units exceeded the carrying values, and therefore no indicators of impairment existed for our reporting units. See Note 7 “Intangible Assets, Goodwill, Acquisitions and Divestitures” to our audited consolidated financial statements included in Part II. Item 8 of this Form 10-K for additional information.

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Long-lived Assets (Excluding Goodwill)

Long-lived assets with finite lives are depreciated and amortized generally on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives. These lives are based on our previous experience for similar assets, potential market obsolescence and other industry and business data. Property and equipment and definite-lived intangible assets are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of an asset to estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to be generated by the asset. If the carrying amount of an asset exceeds its estimated future cash flows, an impairment charge is recognized for the amount by which the carrying amount of the asset exceeds the fair value. Changes in estimated useful lives or in the asset values could cause us to adjust our book value or future expense accordingly.

Net Service Revenues

We perform landscape maintenance and enhancement services, development services, other landscape services and snow removal services. Revenue is recognized based upon the service provided and the contract terms and is reported net of discounts and applicable sales taxes.

Maintenance Services

Our Maintenance Services revenues are generated primarily through landscape maintenance services and snow removal services. Landscape maintenance services that are primarily viewed as non-discretionary, such as lawn care, mowing, gardening, mulching, leaf removal, irrigation and tree care, are provided under recurring annual contracts, which typically range from one to three years in duration and are generally cancellable by the customer with 30-90 days’ notice. Snow removal services are provided on either fixed fee based contracts or per occurrence contracts. Both landscape maintenance services and snow removal services can also include enhancement services that represent supplemental maintenance or improvement services generally provided under contracts of short duration related to specific services. Revenue for landscape maintenance and snow removal services under fixed fee models is recognized over time using an output based method. Additionally, a portion of our recurring fixed fee landscape maintenance and snow removal services are recorded under the series guidance. The right to invoice practical expedient, defined within Note 4 “Revenue” to our audited consolidated financial statements, is generally applied to revenue related to landscape maintenance and snow removal services performed in relation to per occurrence contracts as well as enhancement services. When use of the practical expedient is not appropriate for these contracts, revenue is recognized using a cost-to-cost input method. Fees for contracted landscape maintenance services are typically billed on an equal monthly basis. Fees for fixed fee snow removal services are typically billed on an equal monthly basis during snow season, while fees for time and material or other activity-based snow removal services are typically billed as the services are performed. Fees for enhancement services are typically billed as the services are performed.

 

Development Services

For Development Services, revenue is primarily recognized over time using the cost-to-cost input method, measured by the percentage of cost incurred to date to the estimated total cost for each contract, which we believe to be the best measure of progress. The full amount of anticipated losses on contracts is recorded as soon as such losses can be estimated. These losses have been immaterial in prior periods. Changes in job performance, job conditions, and estimated profitability, including final contract settlements, may result in revisions to costs and revenue and are recognized in the period in which the revisions are determined.

Risk Management and Insurance

We carry general liability, auto liability, workers’ compensation, professional liability, directors’ and officers’ liability, and employee health care insurance policies. In addition, we carry umbrella liability insurance policies to cover claims over the liability limits contained in the primary policies. Our insurance programs for workers’ compensation, general liability, auto liability and employee health care for certain employees contain self-insured retention amounts, deductibles and other coverage limits (“self-insured liability”). Claims that are not self-insured as well as claims in excess of the self-insured liability amounts are insured. We use estimates in the determination of the required accrued self-insured claims. These estimates are based upon calculations performed by third-party actuaries, as well as examination of historical trends, and industry claims experience. We adjust our estimate of accrued self-insured claims when required to reflect changes based on factors such as changes in health care costs, accident frequency and claim severity. We believe the use of actuarial methods to account for these liabilities provides a consistent and effective way to measure these highly judgmental accruals. However, the use of any estimation technique in this area is inherently sensitive given the magnitude of claims involved and the length of time until the ultimate cost is known. We believe our recorded obligations for these expenses are consistently measured. Nevertheless, changes in healthcare costs, accident frequency and claim severity can materially affect the estimates for these liabilities.

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Equity-based Compensation

We account for equity-based compensation plans under the fair value recognition and measurement provisions in accordance with applicable accounting standards, which require all equity-based payments to employees and non-employees, including grants of stock options, to be measured based on the grant date fair value of the awards. We use the Black-Scholes-Merton valuation model to estimate the fair value of stock options granted to employees and non-employees. The model requires certain assumptions including the estimated expected term of the stock options, the risk-free interest rate and the exercise price, of which certain assumptions are highly complex and subjective. The expected option life represents the period of time that the options granted are expected to be outstanding based on management’s best estimate of the timing of a liquidity event and the contractual term of the stock option. As there is not sufficient trading history of our common stock, we use a group of our competitors which we believe are similar to us, adjusted for our capital structure, in order to estimate volatility. Our exercise price is the stock price on the date in which shares were granted.

Prior to our IPO, our stock price was calculated based on a combination of the income and market multiple approaches. Under the income approach, specifically the discounted cash flow method, forecasted cash flows are discounted to the present value at a risk-adjusted discount rate. The valuation analyses determine discrete free cash flows over several years based on forecast financial information provided by management and a terminal value for the residual period beyond the discrete forecast, which are discounted at an appropriate rate to estimate our enterprise value. Under the market multiple approach, specifically the guideline public company methods, we selected publicly traded companies with similar financial and operating characteristics as us and calculated valuation multiples based on the guideline public company’s financial information and market data. Subsequent to the IPO, the estimation of our stock price is no longer necessary as we rely on the market price to determine the market value of our common stock. For additional information related to the assumptions used, see Note 13 “Equity-Based Compensation” to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in Part II. Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

Income Taxes

The determination of our provision for income taxes requires management’s judgment in the use of estimates and the interpretation and application of complex tax laws. Judgment is also required in assessing the timing and amounts of deductible and taxable items. We establish contingency reserves for material, known tax exposures relating to deductions, transactions, and other matters involving some uncertainty as to the proper tax treatment of the item. Our reserves reflect our judgment as to the resolution of the issues involved if subject to judicial review. Several years may elapse before a particular matter, for which we have established a reserve, is audited and finally resolved or clarified. While we believe that our reserves are adequate to cover reasonably expected tax risks, issues raised by a tax authority may be finally resolved at an amount different than the related reserve. Such differences could materially increase or decrease our income tax provision in the current and/or future periods. When facts and circumstances change (including a resolution of an issue or statute of limitations expiration), these reserves are adjusted through the provision for income taxes in the period of change.

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements

Measurement of Credit Losses

In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments – Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurements of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, which was amended in May 2019 by ASU No. 2019-04, Codification Improvements to Topic 326, Financial Credit Losses, Topic 815, Derivatives and Hedging, and Topic 825, Financial Instruments and ASU No. 2019-05, Financial Instruments – Credit Losses (Topic 326): Targeted Transition Relief. These ASUs require entities to account for expected credit losses on financial instruments including trade receivables. The Company adopted the guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The adoption of ASU No. 2016-13 did not have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements and disclosures.

Fair Value Measurement

In August 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-13, Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Disclosure Framework – Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Fair Value Measurement which modifies the disclosures on fair value measurements by removing the requirement to disclose the amount and reason for transfers between Level 1 and Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy and the policy for timing of such transfers. The ASU expands the disclosure requirements for Level 3 fair value measurements, primarily focused on changes in unrealized gains and losses included in other comprehensive income. The Company adopted the guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. The adoption of ASU No. 2018-13 did not have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements and disclosures.

Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes

In December 2019, the FASB issued ASU No. 2019-12, Income Taxes (Topic 740): Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes which removes specified exceptions and adds requirements to simplify the accounting for income taxes. The guidance is effective for the Company in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 and early adoption is permitted. The Company does not expect the adoption to have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements.

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Reference Rate Reform

In March 2020, the FASB issued ASU No. 2020-04, Reference Rate Reform (Topic 848): Facilitation of the Effects of Reference Rate Reform on Financial Reporting which provides optional expedients and exceptions for the accounting for contracts, hedging relationships, and other transactions affected by reference rate reform if certain criteria are met. The guidance is effective for the Company upon issuance through December 31, 2022. The guidance in ASU 2020-04 is optional and may be elected over time as reference rate reform activities occur. During the third quarter of fiscal 2020 the Company elected to apply the hedge accounting expedients related to probability and the assessments of effectiveness for future LIBOR-indexed cash flows to assume that the index upon which future hedged transactions will be based matches the index on the corresponding derivatives. Application of these expedients preserves the presentation of derivatives consistent with past presentation. In January 2021, the FASB issued ASU 2021-01 to clarify the scope of certain optional expedients for derivatives that are affected by the discounting transition. The Company continues to evaluate the impact of the guidance on its consolidated financial statements and may apply other elections as applicable as additional changes in the market occur.

Business Combinations

In October 2021, the FASB issued ASU No. 2021-08, Business Combinations (Topic 805): Accounting for Contract Assets and Contract Liabilities from Contracts with Customers which requires that an entity (acquirer) recognize and measure contract assets and contract liabilities acquired in a business combination in accordance with Topic 606 as if it had originated the contracts. The guidance is effective for the Company in the first quarter of fiscal 2023. The Company is in the process of evaluating the impact of ASU No. 2021-08 on its consolidated financial statements.

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

Interest Rate Risk

We are exposed to interest rate risk as a result of our variable rate borrowings. We manage our exposure to interest rate risk by using pay-fixed interest rate swaps as cash flow hedges of a portion of our variable rate debt. We have historically targeted hedging between 30% and 50% of the principal amount outstanding under our Term Loans.

As of September 30, 2021, we had variable rate debt outstanding of $1.15 billion at a current weighted average interest rate of 2.65%, substantially all of which was incurred under our Senior Secured Credit Facilities and the Receivables Financing Agreement. Each of these loans bears interest based on LIBOR plus a spread.

We use interest rate swaps to offset our exposure to interest rate movements. These outstanding interest rate swaps qualify and are designated as cash flow hedges of forecasted LIBOR-based interest payments. At September 30, 2021, we were a fixed rate payer on fixed-floating interest rate swap contracts that effectively fixed the LIBOR-based index used to determine the interest rates charged on our LIBOR-based variable rate borrowings. See Note 10 “Fair Value Measurements and Derivative Instruments” to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

Based on the debt position and hedge contracts in place as of September 30, 2021, a 100 basis point change in interest rates on our variable rate debt would result in a change to our fiscal 2021 interest expense by approximately $6.5 million inclusive of the impact from the active hedge contracts. Actual interest rates could change significantly more than 100 bps.

Commodity Price Risk

We are exposed to market risk for changes in fuel prices through the consumption of fuel by our vehicle fleet and mowers in the delivery of services to our customers. We purchase our fuel at prevailing market prices. We manage our exposure through the execution of a documented hedging strategy. We have historically entered into fuel swap contracts to mitigate the financial impact of fluctuations in fuel prices when appropriate. We currently have open fuel-based derivative instruments.

During the year ended September 30, 2021 we purchased approximately 17.1 million gallons of fuel. Based on the hedging contracts in place during fiscal 2021, a ten percent change in fuel prices would have res