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WPRT: The Financial Aspects of Westport Fuel Systems, Inc.


The alphaDIRECT Insight

We continue to believe that alternative fuel vehicles will play an important part of the new energy vehicle portfolio both in terms of passenger and commercial platforms. Westport Fuel Systems is well positioned to take advantage of that megatrend and the recent turnaround and operational excellence initiatives are positioning the company for a critical inflection point in 2018. Specifically, the company is making solid progress in our view towards their previously stated goal of being adjusted EBITDA positive by early 2018. Although we expect automotive will experience some growth, the real driver will be operational excellence, margins and the launch of Westport HPDI 2.0™. We also look to CWI to be a positive contributor on the back of new product launches and what should be lower R&D expenses. The Corporate and Technology segment should also be a positive factor as costs should come down meaningfully following the launch of HPDI 2.0. Overall 2018 is a key year for investors and is potentially a critical inflection point for the company.

Shawn Severson: First, I’d like to thank you, Ashoka, for taking the time to speak with us today. This is our second alphaDIRECT Management Series with Westport Fuel Systems and today we will discuss the financial aspects of the business and the economics of natural gas vehicles versus other technologies. However, before we get started, can you please give us a brief introduction of yourself and what brought you to Westport Fuel Systems?

Ashoka Achuthan: Thank you for giving us this opportunity, Shawn, and it is our pleasure to be able to talk about Westport Fuel Systems – where we have been and more importantly, where we are going.

I am a Chartered Accountant by training and have a Master’s degree in Business. After business school, I joined Siemens in New York where I spent 22 years of my career in various regions and businesses. My last job at Siemens was as CFO of their automotive business which was based in the Detroit area. I exited when Siemens decided to sell the automotive business to Continental. I then joined Cooper Power Systems as their CFO, a company which is now a part of Eaton after an acquisition four years ago. I left Cooper Power Systems in 2008 and joined a company in Chicago called ATC Technologies which operates primarily in third-party logistics and transmission remanufacturing. In 2011, I joined an electrical start-up in LA called CODA Electric as CFO which was privately funded by some very well-known names in the industry including Riverside Capital and Fortress. We launched our first electric car, the CODA 1.0 but by 2013 we were unable to get meaningful traction in terms of volumes. After we wound down the company, the CEO of CODA suggested that I talk to Westport Fuel Systems given my background and experience with transportation and alternative fuel companies. In 2013, I joined Westport Fuel Systems as Executive Vice President, Finance Operations. I was then appointed CFO in 2014, at a critical stage, transitioning from being a very engineering focused company into a company that was ready to commercialize a product. It’s been quite an exciting challenge since then.