VSE brings military hand-me-downs back into fashion. The company provides engineering, testing, and logistics services for the US Army, the US Navy, and other government agencies on a contract basis. VSE operates through various subsidiaries and divisions that comprise its core federal group segment (engineering, logistics, communications, and management services) and its international group (fleet maintenance and foreign military sales). Other segments include IT, energy, and management consulting (technical and consulting services for civilian government), and infrastructure (engineering and construction services). VSE generates about two-thirds of its revenue from the Department of Defense.
The company's federal group segment operates through divisions that are dedicated to serving major military customers. Its communications & engineering, engineering & logistics, field support services, and systems engineering divisions manage various aspects of its logistics and engineering contracts with the US Army, Army Reserves, and Marine Corps. VSE Services International, on the other hand, provides engineering, industrial, logistics and foreign military sales services primarily to the US military through its GLOBAL and fleet maintenance divisions. The GLOBAL division reactivates old Navy ships for transfer to other countries.
Conversely, VSE divides its work in its non-federal group and international segments between a handful of subsidiaries that serve mostly civilian government agencies. Its Energetics subsidiary, part of the IT, energy and management consulting segment, serves agencies concerned with energy and environmental issues. Another IT consulting subsidiary, Virginia-based G&B, provides information technology services to various civilian-based government agencies. The infrastructure group's ICRC unit offers diversified technical and management services to the US Department of Transportation and similar government agencies.
Revenue plummeted 29% in 2011 compared with 2010 as all but one of the company's divisions struggled with lower sales. A significant factor in the decrease is the federal government's new budget priorities. The international group's revenues dipped 21% in 2011 compared with 2010 mainly because of reduced work in Egypt caused by political unrest and an attendant decrease in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Federal group revenues fell 59% in 2011 vs. 2010 in reaction to the expiration of the company's largest contract, which was for the Rapid Response (R2) program for the US Army. IT, energy, & management consulting, however, enjoyed an uptick of 13% thanks in part to the contribution of newly acquired Akimeka. Infrastructure revenue fell 31% as the Port of Anchorage Intermodal Expansion Project struggled with funding delays and other issues. Created in 2011 through the acquisition of WBI, supply chain management didn't have a revenue record in 2010 for comparison. Amid the company's struggle with falling revenue, VSE recorded a decrease in net income of 13% in 2011 compared with 2010.
For the company, which offers very few of its services to commercial clients, relying on government contracts can be a bit like walking a mine field. VSE often faces funding delays, terminations, and political moratoriums and is subject to fluctuations in demand from its core customers. In an effort to curtail vulnerabilities inherent to such fluctuations, the company makes acquisitions of complementary businesses that help bring in new customers and expand its services. In 2011 VSE acquired Wheeler Bros., Inc. (WBI), a supply chain management company, for roughly $180 million. WBI provides vehicle parts primarily to the US Postal Service and the DoD. The takeover added fleet management for the USPS and expanded VSE's supply chain service offerings to existing customers. WBI also helps the company compensate for lost business from the DoD as it undergoes budget adjustments. The previous year the company bolstered its G&B unit with the acquisition of Hawaii-based Akimeka for $38 million. Akimeka is a health services information technology consulting group that came with a strong US government client base.
Besides acquisitions, the company has been pursuing growth by developing new contracts to succeed fading deals. Included among these new agreements is a 2011 award that will make up for lost work from the discontinued R2 contract.
Investor Calvin Koonce, a member of VSE's board, holds a stake of about 17% stake in the company. – less