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S&P 500   4,550.58
DOW   35,430.42
QQQ   389.81
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S&P 500   4,550.58
DOW   35,430.42
QQQ   389.81
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[Investor Alert] Potential Breakthrough Medical Tech Investment Opportunity (Ad)
These are the top sectors for blue chip growth in 2024
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The 4 highest-shorted large-cap stocks
[Investor Alert] Potential Breakthrough Medical Tech Investment Opportunity (Ad)
The JD.com train is getting ready to leave the station again
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A. O. Smith Q2 2022 Earnings Call Transcript


Listen to Conference Call View Latest SEC 10-K Filing View Latest SEC 10-Q Filing

Participants

Corporate Executives

  • Helen E. Gurholt
    Vice President of Investor Relations and Financial Planning & Analysis
  • Kevin J. Wheeler
    Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer
  • Charles T. Lauber
    Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Presentation

Operator

Good day, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the A. O. Smith Second Quarter 2022 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Helen Gurholt. Ma'am, please go ahead.

Helen E. Gurholt
Vice President of Investor Relations and Financial Planning & Analysis at A. O. Smith

Good morning, and welcome to the A.O. Smith Second Quarter Conference Call. I'm Helen Gurholt, Vice President, Investor Relations and Financial Planning and Analysis. Joining me today are Kevin Wheeler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Chuck Lauber, Chief Financial Officer. In order to provide improved transparency into the operating results of our business, we provided non-GAAP measures. Free cash flow is defined as cash from operations less capital expenditures, adjusted earnings, adjusted earnings per share, adjusted segment earnings and adjusted corporate expenses exclude the impact of nonoperating, noncash pension income and expenses.

Reconciliations from GAAP measures to non-GAAP measures are provided in the appendix at the end of this presentation and on our website. A friendly reminder that some of our comments and answers during this conference call will be forward-looking statements that are subject to risks that could cause actual results to be materially different. Those risks include matters that we described in this morning's press release among others. [Operator Instructions] We will be using slides as we move through today's call. You can access them on our website at investor.aosmith.com.

I will now turn the call over to Kevin to begin our prepared remarks. Please turn to the next slide.

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Thank you, Helen, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. I'm on slide four and our second quarter results. Our team performed well throughout the quarter despite an uncertain macro environment to deliver strong sales and EPS performance. Second quarter sales improved 12% year-over-year driven by our 2021 inflation-related pricing actions, the acquisition of Giant Factories late last year as well as water treatment, boiler and commercial water heater volume growth in North America. Our Rest of World segment performance decreased 13% year-over-year driven by COVID-19-related lockdowns in China. However, we experienced sequential sales improvement in China through the quarter as restrictions begin to ease. The acquisition of Giant Factories added $31 million to quarterly sales and $0.01 to EPS. We are pleased with the performance of the team and our integration is on track.

We saw quarter-over-quarter improvement in our supply chain in the second quarter, which led to higher boiler and commercial water heater volumes. Please turn to slide five. Our global A.O. Smith team delivered second quarter 2022 adjusted EPS of $0.82, a 14% increase that was driven in part by a 12% increase in sales compared with the second quarter of 2021. Our strong second quarter performance resulted from our team's outstanding execution despite the backdrop of an uncertain macro environment, COVID-19 related lockdowns in China and softness in the residential water heater industry. I am proud of how my A.O. Smith colleagues work together to overcome many challenges to deliver value to our customers across the globe. Excluding the impact of Giant, North America water heater sales grew 19% in the second quarter of 2022 due to pricing actions implemented in 2021 in response to rising material and logistics.

Lower sales of residential water heaters partially offset sales growth in the quarter. The residential industry saw record orders in the second quarter of 2021 creating a difficult comparison for 2022. With that said, we saw order rate softness as we exited the second quarter and into July as customers rightsize their inventories.We saw quarter-over-quarter improvement in our commercial gas water heater shipments as supply chain constraints eased in the second quarter as well as our sales of commercial electric water heaters greater to 55 gallons as order rates normalized after the regulatory change impacted orders at the beginning of the year. Our North America boiler sales grew 27% in the quarter driven by pricing increases to offset higher material and transportation costs and strong demand. We again ended the quarter with a significant backlog, largely composed of commercial condensing boilers. We continue to see stable order rates for these market-leading energy-efficient products.

Our strategy to focus on innovation and decarbonization contributed to strong demand for our high-efficiency condensing boilers. North America water treatment sales grew 19% in the second quarter as our independent water quality dealers continue to outperform the market and gain share. We also benefited from strong demand in the wholesale channel. In China, sales decreased 14% in local currency compared to the second quarter of 2021, primarily due to the expected impacts of COVID-19 related lockdowns. Our sales improved sequentially through the quarter as lockdowns lessen and consumer demand improved. The steps that our China team have undertaken to right size of the business and manage discretionary spend paid dividends this quarter, as China held its operating margins flat to last year despite lower sales in the quarter. In the first half of July, we saw consumer demand down approximately 5% to 10% compared to last year, a sequential improvement from second quarter consumer demand levels.

Please turn to slide six. As I mentioned on our January call, one of our key strategic priorities in 2022 is to expand our water treatment business through innovation, new product development and strategic acquisitions. In May, we launched our redesigned Aquasana Clean Water machine, the first power countertop water filter to combine a sleek, compact, no-installed design with four different methods of advanced filtration technology. The new clean water machine is tested and certified to NSF standards with a removal of up to 99.9% of 77 contaminants, including lead, the ferro chemicals such as PFOS and many more. Aquasana's patented clarity and filtration ensures industry-leading contaminant removal while retaining the beneficial and naturally occurred in minerals in water, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium for optimal hydration.

In addition, we welcomed Atlantic Filter Corporation to the A.O. Smith family last month. Atlantic Filter is the fifth acquisition we made in the North America water treatment market since 2016. With a strong presence in Southern Florida, Atlantic Filter will expand our capabilities in this key area of the market.

I'll now turn the call over to Chuck, who will provide more details on our second quarter performance.

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Thank you, Kevin, and good morning, everyone. I'm on slide seven. Second quarter sales in the North America segment rose to $744 million, a 23% increase compared with 2021. Pricing actions largely on water heaters, represented approximately 89% of the increase. Sales in the quarter also benefited from higher volumes of water treatment products, boilers and commercial water heaters that more than offset -- that was more than offset by lower volumes of residential water heaters. Giant acquired in October 2021, added $31 million to North America sales. North America adjusted segment earnings of $163 million increased 17% compared with the same period in 2021. The earnings benefited of inflation-related price increases was partially offset by higher material and freight costs and lower residential water heater volumes. Adjusted segment operating margin of 21.8% decline compared with the 2021, primarily due to higher material and logistic costs, plant production and efficiencies and the inclusion of Giant, which had lower margins than our legacy water heater business. Moving to slide eight. Rest of the World segment sales of $230 million decreased 13% year-over-year.

Lower sales volumes, primarily driven by consumer demand headwinds in China related to COVID-19-related restrictions. Currency translation of China sales unfavorably impacted sales by approximately $5 million. Sales in India grew 79% in the second quarter of 2022 on strong demand compared to last year, which was negatively impacted by the pandemic. We view India as a long-term growth opportunity given its attractive growth characteristics and changes in demographics. Rest of the World segment earnings of $18 million decreased 18% compared to segment earnings in the second quarter of 2021.In China, the impact of lower volumes was partially offset by lower selling, advertising and engineering expenses. Rest of the World segment margin was 7.9%, down 60 basis points from the same period last year. Free cash flow of $24 million during the first half of 2022 decreased from the first half of 2021 due to higher 2022 earnings that were more than offset by lower customer deposits in China, higher incentive payments due to record 2021 sales and earnings and greater cash outlays for increased levels of safety stock and higher cost inventory.

Historically, we generate the majority of our cash in the second half of the year. Our cash balance totaled $459 million at the end of June, and our net cash position was $161 million. Our leverage ratio was 14% as measured by total debt to total capital. Our strong annual free cash flow and solid balance sheet allow us to continue to focus on capital allocation priorities and returning cash to shareholders. Earlier this month, our Board approved our next quarterly dividend of $0.28 per share. We repurchased 2.9 million shares of common stock in the first half of 2022 for a total of $190 million. Let's now turn to slide 10. In addition to returning capital to shareholders, we see opportunities for organic growth, innovation and new product development across all of our product lines and geographies. The strength of our balance sheet allows us to pursue strategic acquisitions even in the event of an economic downturn. We remain focused on identifying water heating and water treating assets that meet our financial metrics such as the recent acquisitions of Atlantic Filter and Giant Factories. Additionally, the strength of our balance sheet allows us to maintain a strong track record of delivering returns to shareholders.

This has been done through both our dividends that we have increased for 30 consecutive years as well as share repurchases that have totaled more than $550 million since 2021. Please turn to slide 11 and our 2022 full year earnings guidance and outlook. We reaffirm our 2022 outlook with an expected EPS range of $1.56 to $1.76 per share, and our adjusted EPS range of $3.35 to $3.55 per share. Our outlook is based on a number of key assumptions, including no further significant surges of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and that COVID-19-related restrictions in China remain approximately at the levels they are today and do not significantly impact our operations or our employees, customers or suppliers. Steel Indices began to stabilize at the end of 2021 and have moderated towards the end of the second quarter. Our guidance assumes that the average steel price in the second half of 2022 will approximate the average steel prices in the second half of 2021. We continue to see elevated materials and transportation costs.

We saw improvement in our supply chain in the second quarter, however, challenges still persist. We remain in close contact with suppliers and logistic providers to troubleshoot, manage and resolve bottlenecks but the environment remains unpredictable. We continue to see the benefit from multiple 2021 price increases compounding to approximately 50% for water heaters. We expect to generate free cash flow of approximately $450 million to $500 million. The range assumes that our inventories returned to year-end 2021 levels. For the year, capex is expected to be approximately $80 million. Corporate and other expenses are expected to be approximately $55 million. Our effective tax rate is estimated to be between 23.5% to 24%. And we expect to repurchase approximately $400 million of shares of our stock, resulting in outstanding diluted shares of $156 million at the end of 2022. Based on these assumptions, the midpoint of our adjusted EPS range remains an increase of 17% compared with 2021.

I'll now turn the call back to Kevin, who will provide more color on our key markets and our top line growth outlook and segment expectations for 2022, although staying on slide 11. Kevin?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Thank you, Chuck. We project revenue growth for 2022 of 12% to 14%, which is lower than our outlook in April as a result of softening demand in residential and commercial water heating. Our sales assumptions include: after approximately 8% growth in each of the last two years, which is well above the historical average growth rate. We estimate U.S. residential water heater industry unit volumes will be down approximately 4% to 6% from last year as industry demand normalizes. We project that commercial gas water heater industry shipments will be flat to slightly down for the year. However, we revised our full year outlook for the commercial water heater industry to be down 7% to 9%, primarily due to weakness in the large electric greater than 55 gallons. The commercial industry started the year weaker than expected, primarily due to a regulatory change that temporarily impacted orders in that product category. COVID-19-related restrictions paid out as we expected in the quarter. Therefore, we maintain our sales projection in China to be flat in local currency compared to last year.

As result of the economic headwinds we are experiencing from COVID-related restrictions. Due to our strong backlog and stable order rates, we have increased our full year boiler sales growth projection from 18% to 20% to 25% sales growth, driven by increased pricing in response to higher input costs and higher demand for our energy-efficient products. We project North America water treatment sales growth, inclusive of acquisitions to be approximately 15% in 2022 due to strong water quality dealer performance. Based on these factors, along with the full impact of our 2021 price increases, we expect our North America segment margin to be between 22.5% and 23%, and Rest of World segment margins to be approximately 9.5% to 10% or 50 or 100 basis points higher than 2021. Please turn to slide 12. 2022 continues to present challenges that our global teams are meeting head on. We are 148-year old company that has continued to grow and innovate through all economic cycles.

We believe A.O. Smith is a compelling investment because of our stable replacement business, combined with exciting growth opportunities in North America water treatment business as well as in China and India. We have premium brands and leading share positions in our major product categories. We estimate replacement demand represents 80% to 85% of U.S. water heater and boiler volumes. The strength of our balance sheet and free cash flow generation support our ability to continue investing for the long term and automation, innovation, new products and acquisitions as well as returning cash to shareholders even in times of economic uncertainty. As we have demonstrated throughout our long history, we are able to be successful in all economic cycles. We are focused on meeting the needs of our customers. Our portfolio of strong brands, combined with the investing in technology to drive innovation and new product development further enhance our market leadership. I'm confident in our ability to navigate the complex macro environment and capitalize on opportunities while continuing to execute our strategic objectives.

With that, we conclude our prepared remarks, and we are now available for your questions.


Questions and Answers

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Mike Halloran with Baird.

Michael Patrick Halloran
Analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.

Good morning everyone. A couple of questions here. First, on the China side, the margins and I think the demand have proven relatively resilient versus the magnitude of the lockdowns. Maybe just a little under the hood, how you're thinking about the inventory levels there, how that tracked through the quarter, how you're positioned in the back half of the year? And then just a comment on the capacity side and the resiliency, the incrementals, please?

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Sure. Sure. Mike, this is Chuck. Yes, we're really pleased how China performed for the quarter. We, on our last call, talked a little bit about consumer demand being down 35% to 40% in April. And as you recall, that was really the heart of some of the severe lockdowns in Shanghai and Beijing. But what we saw in consumer demand for the course of the quarter was that consumer demand was down about 20%. First quarter was down around 10%. So second quarter averaged down around 20%. And as we came out of the second quarter and what we're seeing in July is we're down about 5% to 10%. So the consumer demand went through pretty well to kind of back to the first quarter.

So our assumption and guidance is that it stays at that level kind of for the rest of the year. Inventories, they're flat to down a little bit in the channel from the first quarter to the second quarter. So they are in a really good position. There's about three to four weeks in the inventory in the channel, and that's pretty normal for us. It's at a decently low point. And I'd say we're pleased with 9% in operating margins for the quarter and that lower volume, some of that was helped by discretionary spending, as we mentioned, that's probably $3 million or so of help on discretionary spending, and I'm talking about promotions, advertising, very little travel for the quarter, as you can imagine, in the lockdown situation.

And we would expect through the second quarter -- our third quarter similar ability to kind of demonstrate controlling discretionary spending, probably back to spending in the fourth quarter. As you know, that's our largest typical quarter in China. And probably our projection is to turn that back on and we'd hope for a strong fourth quarter similar to last year.

Michael Patrick Halloran
Analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.

Great. Super helpful. And then Kevin, I think you were talking about the last couple of years being awfully strong in the North America residential water heater side and makes a lot of sense that the volume side is down for this year against your comparison. What's the house view on what that run rate is going to look like from an industry perspective? We're running high nine million-ish kind of units right now. Do you guys have a sense from an industry perspective on where that settles in from a downside and what that might look like?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Well, I think as we talked about, we're forecasting a 4% to 6% downturn. And we truly -- and we saw quite a bit of that in June where we saw many of our customers bringing inventories down. And again, as we go forward, this year, we look at it starting to normalize and begin into August, September and the rest of the year. Where it goes forward, I think it's going to depend upon some new construction, but it slowed down, but we think is going to come back.

And -- but it is going to normalize somewhere down towards the lower level of that nine million, I think, over time. It's just a matter of working through kind of some of the inventories and some of the economic disruptions that we're going through today. But still, if you look at it, it's still going to be 80%, 85% replacement, emergency is going to be very resilient. And there's always going to be potential upside on the new construction if we can kind of get through the supply chain interest rate issue that we're kind of navigating through today as a country.

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. Just a little more color on the tough comp, right? So that Q2 shipments last year were -- and Kevin mentioned it on the call, a record, but that's inclusive of 2006. So really strong 2021 Q2.

Michael Patrick Halloran
Analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.

Great. Really appreciate the color. Thank you.

Operator

And our next question comes from the line of Nathan Jones with Stifel.

Nathan Hardie Jones
Analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc.

Good morning everyone. Maybe just following up on Mark's question on the resi heated business in North America and related to the channel inventories. You talked about customers taking their inventory down. Do you think that inventory is corrected? How long do you think it takes to correct?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Well, I think it's in the correction right now. Certainly, we believe there was a big correction in June. We're seeing some of that in July. And you step back right now, you look at overall in the industry, production has improved. Lead times are down. So it's becoming a much more predictable environment. And so with that, I think all of our customers are going to reevaluate. I still think it will take part of July and maybe a little bit of August and then kind of normalize as we go through the balance of the year.

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes, just quantifying the lead times, too, because we came into the year at 25-day lead times, and we're pretty much on the residential side back to normal 15-day lead times. So kind of progression through the quarter, we went from 25 to 20 in Q1. And then at the end of Q2, we're in that 15-day range. So those normalizations have happened in the first half of the year.

Nathan Hardie Jones
Analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc.

Makes sense, people would need less inventory under those circumstances. I guess my follow-up question is going to be around steel prices and how that could impact the pricing on your products overall. Prices on water heaters are up a lot. They needed to be because steel was up a lot. Cold rolled and pipe rolled are down probably about 50% from peak prices now. Can you talk about your expectations for how price goes from here? Obviously, it will go on a lag, that should be accretive to margins. Just any comments you can have on how you're expecting that to go if steel prices kind of stable from where they are now?

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. Just a little background and color on the steel pricing because you're right, your reference of kind of the peak to where they've gone is a pretty big delta on steel pricing, but kind of the mechanics of what we see and what we see in cost is not necessarily the peak. It's kind of a weekly average monthly average, quarterly average that we see 90 to 100 days later. So we're never really at the peak. We're probably never really at the trough. So those are a bit muted from kind of the highlights, top and bottom head. And then we see that 90- to 120-day lag. So Q1, we had our highest cost.

Some of the improvement we saw in Q2 was the result of the improve steel cost -- steel pricing. And we do expect that to -- as you noted, we've seen indexes come down. We pretty much know what steel will be for Q3, and we project that in Q4, it will be down a bit, too. So we do expect to see some benefit on the steel pricing. It's a little muted from those peaks and troughs and comes a little delayed. And as far as pricing, we always consider the competitive nature in the marketplace and kind of look at a fade and some pressure not just for steel for other costs.

And I'll just say kind of the other costs we're experiencing have been pretty resilient, pretty stable that are still out there, including freight, logistics and the like.

Operator

And our next question comes from the line of Andrew Kaplowitz with Citi.

Andrew Alec Kaplowitz
Analyst at Smith Barney Citigroup

Quite significantly from flat to down to down 7% to 9%. I think you said last quarter that you were seeing your order volume.

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Hey, Andrew.

Andrew Alec Kaplowitz
Analyst at Smith Barney Citigroup

Yes. Can you hear me okay?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

No. You were muted for a while. So could you start over, please?

Andrew Alec Kaplowitz
Analyst at Smith Barney Citigroup

Yes, no problem. So you changed your outlook for commercial water heater volumes, you're down 7% to 9%, as you said. And I think you said last quarter that you were seeing your order volume stabilize after the early regulatory change. So can you give us more color to why the change in guidance? Are you seeing more of a significant change in customer demand there? Is it just a slow start to the year or maybe a destock there? Any more color would be helpful.

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes, I'll take that. And as we mentioned, we still think commercial gas is going to be flat to slightly down. So that's moving along. But the regulatory change that we experienced in the first quarter, we're seeing our orders normalize. But as we go forward, we believe of the 7% and 9% that we have forecasted being down almost 90% plus of it is going to be in that light service commercial electric. We just don't see the industry rebounding from a slow start in the quarter. So that's the backdrop of why we're going down. The rest of the commercial business is quite strong and doing well.

And maybe just kind of a reference point that the light service goes into homes and really kind of small businesses. And when you look at our commercial overall business, there's about a four times or five times to our commercial overall business, excluding the life service when it comes to price. So it's a -- on the lower end of our pricing curve but it does drive volume, and we just see now with better visibility that we need to bring the industry down from a unit standpoint, but feel pretty good about our commercial gas and condensing gas and where that's going.

Andrew Alec Kaplowitz
Analyst at Smith Barney Citigroup

Got it. That's helpful. And then Kevin or Chuck, maybe just I want to understand the puts and takes. Overall, you maintained your EPS guidance, but you did lower your revenue forecast a little bit, you maintain margins in North America, China looks pretty good versus expectations. So what are the puts and takes here? Is it -- what's the positive that you're seeing? Is it price versus cost that is the major offset to the lower volumes? Any help there?

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. I'll start out and Kevin may add on a little bit after that. But I mean the puts and takes, it's price versus cost, and it's what we are seeing a bit of softening on the steel pricing. So we're getting a little bit of help there. But it's not just the water heating side. It's also pricing that we're going to have implemented in the fourth quarter on both the boiler side of the business and water treatment side of the business. So we've got some second quarter announced price increases that are in the market that should help us a bit in the back half with the margins.

Also, we had a bit of destabilization during the quarter of order rates on the residential side, and we expect that the plants probably will run a little bit smoother during the back half of the year. During the quarter, of order rates on the residential side, and we expect that the plants probably will run a little bit smoother during the back half of the year. So we would expect a little bit of help there. And then there's a bit of mix opportunity, right? So residential is down in the quarter.

In residential, we see for the year, down 4% to 6%. But as Kevin mentioned, we still feel good about commercial -- particularly gas commercial product down 4% to 6%. Our backlog for boilers is still pretty resilient. And we expect -- and it's typical that the boilers are strongest as our boiler business is strongest volume in the third quarter. So we help -- we expect health on the mix side also.

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. The only thing I might add is even though China has gone through some COVID-related lockdowns, we've seen our new products do well. We've seen trade up continue to grow. It's grown over the last couple of years. So we have some positive mix issues here. It's not only in North America, but also we see that also in China.

Andrew Alec Kaplowitz
Analyst at Smith Barney Citigroup

Appreciate the color. Thanks guys.

Operator

And our next question comes from the line of Matt Summerville with D.A. Davidson.

Matt J. Summerville
Analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co.

Hi. A couple of questions. First, on China, if you gave this, I apologize, but what is your best estimate on the revenue impact you experienced in the second quarter from the lockdowns? And therein, did you see any sort of difference in out-the-door demand for water heaters versus water treatment in China? And then I have a follow-up.

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. I mean it's hard to call out exactly what's COVID and what's the overall economy in China. So it's really hard to parse that. But clearly, we were impacted negatively by COVID. And consumer demand out the door was down about 20%. So that was kind of out the door demand. I would say just kind of within our product categories, certainly, the residential products were challenged most. So I would say electric water heaters and water treatment were probably the most stalled during the quarter. Commercial water heating, commercial water treatment, the commercial side that's not sold through retail kind of offset some of that 20% down, which muted the number for overall sales volume.

Matt J. Summerville
Analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co.

Got it. And then just with respect to the boiler backlog, can you guys maybe put a final point on that? How does that compare to prior peaks, prior cycles? And can you maybe talk about the magnitude of pricing you're looking for in boilers, in treatment to what you just mentioned a couple of moments ago in the back half?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. I'll take the magnitude and maybe Chuck can jump in on any of the pricing side of it. Certainly, we haven't seen this type of backlog. We're in the three- to four-month range, to be honest with you. And it's mainly commercial. So what's important to note here in our backlog is we actually have ship dates for the vast majority of all our orders in-house. So there may be a put and take that we see where a job gets pulled in, maybe it gets kicked out a little bit.

But overall, we see nothing that would cause a material change to the backlog. The market remains very active. The jobs continue to move forward. Again, labor gets in the way a little bit. But overall, we have a lot of comfort in our backlog and primarily that it's mostly commercial condensing products, which are the heart of our business.

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

And on the pricing side, on the water treatment side, going forward in both for the boiler side and water treatment side, I kind of expect to see it come in end of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter. But water treatment kind of mid-single digits to 10% price increases depending upon a product category, similar for the boiler products in that 8% to 12%, depending upon the product category.

Matt J. Summerville
Analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co.

Got it. Thanks guys.

Operator

And our next question comes from the line of David MacGregor with Longbow Research.

David Sutherland MacGregor
Analyst at Longbow Research

Good morning. I wanted to just explore further around the residential water heater business and maybe some of the weakness that you've seen there. When I kind of think about that market as maybe at the risk of oversimplifying this a little bit is really consistent with three buckets, you've got new construction, the replacement demand and then, of course, just changes in the channel inventory. It sounds like the channel inventory is fairly transitory, and you expect that, as you pointed out, by August, you could see that kind of normalizing.

New construction, I guess, watch completions, and that will give us a good sense of water heater consumption there. But maybe just speak to replacement demand and what you're seeing there? And maybe not going to be really skeptical here, but to the extent you think you may have lost some share in replacement demand this quarter, what gives you confidence that your share position remains strong? Thank you.

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. Okay. When you talk about replacement demand, there's two components of it. You have kind of the proactive replacement and then you have the emergency replacement. The proactive side, which is the renovation probably driven by kind of remote work had been pretty strong. We saw that it's coming down a little bit. We test that every quarter and have a good read on that. As far as the overall emergency replacement, that will always remain resilient. I mean people just don't go without hot water for any length of time. So yes, the residential business has those components.

Again, I just want to remind people that 15% of our business is that new construction. So even if it drops a little bit, it's pretty nominal for us. But it's a nice upside and as we go forward. But that's how it plays out, and it would feel pretty comfortable with our 4% to 6%. And again, as I mentioned, the -- I think a lot of the channel inventory adjustments would come out in June and July and a little bit of August. From a share perspective, we have really good data on that. And we talked about this last year and ended the quarter that we were a little bit behind.

We really expected, I expected that it would normalize as production came up and lead times came down and that's actually playing out really well on the residential side. I would tell you we're slightly up moving towards our normal historic market shares. And I'll just into commercial, we're already back to our normal rates.

David Sutherland MacGregor
Analyst at Longbow Research

Good to hear. Thank you for that. And just as a follow-up, I guess everyone's concerned right now about the slowing macro. And so I'm thinking about sort of where the strength lies in your business, it seems to be in the boiler business has always been sort of one of the stronger elements in the model. How cyclical is that business? How should we be thinking about kind of 2023 is a soft year, and we see sort of pervasive weakness across the market. How stable should that business be?

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. It's historic -- well, we expect it to be pretty stable. I mean the replacement component of that business is very similar to the water heater side in that 80% to 85%. So the replacement piece continues to be resilient. It usually -- the commercial side would typically lag the residential side. You've got projects in progress. You've got quoting that's happening in advance. And so it's a little more stable and longer.

And I -- the last recession on the boiler side, which was 2006, 2007, the boiler business was impacted, but not as much as the rest of the business, particularly because of some of the underlying growth drivers that you have on the replacement and high efficiency. Most of our product, just as a reminder, is high efficient, energy-efficient product that's pretty resilient in downturns because of the energy efficiency nature that continues to want to drive a replacement.

David Sutherland MacGregor
Analyst at Longbow Research

So just to be clear, when you say it's resilient in terms of the cyclicality, are you talking about units? Or are you talking about profitability?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

All, they are very similar.

David Sutherland MacGregor
Analyst at Longbow Research

Okay. Thanks very much.

Operator

And our next question comes from the line of Jeff Hammond with KeyBanc.

Jeffrey David Hammond
Analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets

Hi, good morning. Just wanted to ask a similar question on, just Dave did on the water treatment business, it's a newer platform. And just trying to get -- it seems to be something maybe a little more discretionary than a water heater replacement. So just how you think that business would perform in a recession scenario?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. I guess the first point of some of our water treatment is much affordable, yes, much more affordable product. So this is our first time going through some type of cycle here. Certainly, it will be some discretion there with people. But the way we look at it is the penetration, the awareness is going to continue to go up. And there's a consumable part that we had that's continuing to grow is about 15% of our business today.

So it's not as -- maybe not as resilient as water heaters, it's not a must-have, but it's got some built-in components that help offset some of the downturns, but just people becoming more aware of having healthy and clean water. So we think it's going to perform fairly well through any type of economic cycle.

Jeffrey David Hammond
Analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets

Okay. And then seems like the new entrant in the water heater space kind of finally got their plant open. And I'm just wondering if you're seeing them in the marketplace at all? And if you think there's any pricing disruption around that, particularly as input costs roll over? Thanks.

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. I'll quickly touch base on that. Nothing new from our perspective. Yes, their plant is open, but their market activity from our perspective and what we're getting feedback hasn't changed. In fact, if anything, they're moving away from our customers, our retailers and wholesalers and trying to maybe look at more builders and that type of thing. So can't anticipate what the future is going to be with them. But right now, it's kind of the -- not a big change from what we saw other than they're manufacturing a few products in their U.S. plant.

Jeffrey David Hammond
Analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets

Okay. Thanks guys.

Operator

And our next question comes from the line of Scott Graham with Loop Capital.

Scott Graham
Analyst at Loop Capital Markets

Hi, good morning. To an earlier question, Kevin, I was very interested in your view on the residential water heater market kind of going from the nine, nine level. I think you said to the lower nines. So I'm curious if you could add maybe a little more color from your perspective as the market leader, how much of that do you think is the destock?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Again, that's going to be very speculative. The reason I feel confident in the water heater market, as I'd still go back to -- and again, I'm not sure when it's going to normalize, but new construction, there's still a deficit out there, and that's going to continue to grow and move forward. So that's what gives me confidence in the market. A stable replacement side of it, and again, and quite frankly, as things get a little tougher, people do more renovation. But I think it's -- if you look at our history, the growth rate in the residential water heater market, it's been at that couple percent range.

And I think as I go forward, I just think it's going to adjust down. We were in a very hyperinflated market, had a lot of money out there, and everybody benefited from it. But I think over time, that's going to just normalize to kind of a run rate that we've seen in the past. The great news of it, though there's more water heaters out there today, and that's going to -- you go out 10, 14 years, that's going to play really well for the industry and for our company. So that's kind of the high level, it's really hard to get in much more detail than that, Scott.

Scott Graham
Analyst at Loop Capital Markets

That's fine. That was helpful. Thanks. So in China, can you give us the sales split for the quarter in -- I know you combine both water heaters and treatment, upper middle price point versus premium?

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Sure, sure. I mean premium, I'll just -- premium side of the market is so at the low end is about 40% premium on the electric quality side. The high end is nearing 50% premium on the water and the gas -- on the gas tankless and then water treatment is kind of in between. So not a great deal of change, a little uptick on the electric side. We introduced a couple of new products, a good dual take slimline product on the electric that we're hoping to get some traction on, which bumped that up a bit.

Scott Graham
Analyst at Loop Capital Markets

Okay. So you are seeing that number continue to incrementally progress?

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Well, quarter-over-quarter for electric, it was up, and we think it is due to some new products. Hard to say a lot of movement, but when we track the upper part of the market and what the industry is telling us from a third party, still positive movement. So still an uptick from the last quarter. Not a large uptick, but only positive.

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes, Scott, I'd echo that. We talked about it. It's been about a couple of years now. And so a lot of our premium products have future benefit that still consumers in China are willing to pay for. So we're very pleased with our new products, and we're really pleased to see the upper end continue to move in that kind of northeast direction.

Scott Graham
Analyst at Loop Capital Markets

Got it. Just a follow-up then, the share repurchases, I know you still locked in at that $400 million. I'm just sort of wondering what the market weaker resi conditions, obviously, sliding yet you're still having some fairly stable sales based on the replacement nature of them, including in China, good cash flow, what's holding you back from going higher on the share repurchases this year?

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. I mean we did have an uptick of $400 million. I think last year, we're in $380-ish million or something like that and change. So we're still a little bit of an uptick to historically. I think as we go into this cycle, and we'll have to see how it plays out, but there could be some real opportunities on the M&A side. We want to make sure we're in a position to be able to capitalize on those opportunities.

So that's one weight against it. The other is we're projecting to be at that $400 million now. We don't have intentions to increase it on this call, but we'll continue to watch it as we have and see what the economy does and what our price does.

Scott Graham
Analyst at Loop Capital Markets

Chuck, I guess on that, I guess my whole thinking, of course, is that it's not just about the cash flow, but it's also about the balance sheet. You guys have been running in that cash position for like a decade. And it just seems like you have a lot of dry powder there and can still increase the share repurchasing. Is that -- are you looking at a couple of large-sized acquisitions? Is that kind of part of the equation?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

I'll jump in here is that's always a possibility. And so the way we looked at it as we go into the year and things have changed as this year started and kind of evolved to where we're at today. The $400 million is pretty much a locked-in number for us. Each year, we evaluate where we'd like to go. So we'll take another look, as Chuck said, in 2023. But we do think there's some opportunity as we get into the back half of this year with a number of our M&A targets. And things are changing, and we want to be prepared to have the balance sheet to take action if those opportunities come our way.

Scott Graham
Analyst at Loop Capital Markets

Okay. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from the line of Damian Karas with UBS.

Damian Karas
Analyst at UBS Investment Bank

Hi, good morning everyone. Thanks for all the detailed color around the market outlook. I have a follow-up question on margins. I was wondering if you could maybe just help us think about the bridge when you factor in some of the volume deleveraging, but the lower steel and input costs. Is there a good way to think about the decremental margins versus the price cost benefit? And I guess just any perspective you might be able to provide on additional margin you could capture later this year and next year if sort of steel costs basically hold stable from here?

Charles T. Lauber
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at A. O. Smith

Yes. This is Chuck. I won't go beyond this year. But when you think about kind of the decremental margins, and we're really just talking about residential water heater decremental margin and then with Kevin mentioned the light commercial. So you probably think of that in the 35% decremental margin range. Steel costs, we've kind of got those visibility -- we have visibility into those costs through the third quarter, for sure, and we're starting to see visibility into second. So we feel pretty good about that.

So that's probably the next largest driver. And then stabilization of order rates, as we expect, we had a little bit of a disruption in the end of June and in July here on residential order rates, we would expect plants to perform a little bit better during the back half of the year. And the commercial mix is also favorable. So we expect some help on commercial mix. And if you kind of think about the cadence for the back half of the year, we're going to -- our guidance is 22.5% to 23%, right?

And we're kind of tracking below that right now. So we do expect a decent uptick in the Q3 and incrementally Q4 as some of those price increases, I mentioned on water treatment and locked boilers come in, and as we see probably our most favorable steel for sure, in the fourth quarter. So that's how we kind of think about that margin expansion.

Damian Karas
Analyst at UBS Investment Bank

Okay. That's helpful. Now I want to ask you about your heat pump product. We're seeing heat pumps gain traction in the broader HVAC market kind of on the air side that's really picking up. I was wondering if you could maybe talk a little bit about what you're seeing, I guess, in theory, the economics have probably gotten a little bit worse just because of the steel inflation, if you compare that product to the tankless.

But maybe any idea -- maybe any thoughts on just how that is progressing? And do you think that the market -- that product could take off on its own? Or are you going to ultimately need some government stimulus?

Kevin J. Wheeler
Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer at A. O. Smith

Well, let me separate that to a residential heat pump versus commercial heat pump because I think they're both different markets. The residential heat pump is still an upsell product. It's one of the best value propositions we have in our company. But it's a three times to four times a regular electric water heater and there are some installation challenges. There are quite a bit of subsidies out there, whether it be at the state city, which is helping. And that's going to continue to grow. I mean, there's no doubt that it will grow. It will grow at a moderate pace, I believe, unless it's regulated in.

But it's going to continue to grow, and it's going to be a long-term product for our company and in our industry. but it's still a relatively small part of our overall volume. Commercial heat pump is even -- there's a lot of activity out there, but that's trailing the residential side just because it does have some size to the installation. It requires a tank. There's a number of things that have to go along with it, and it's better for new construction than it is for retrofit. But we see that growing. We see activity in it. We obviously have products that we participate in.

But I think both of those categories are going to grow at a percentage rate pretty high. But as an overall volume still going to be more of an upsell product, unless there's some regulatory changes that come.

Damian Karas
Analyst at UBS Investment Bank

Got it. That makes sense. Thanks and good luck.

Operator

I'm showing no further questions, and I would like to hand the conference back over to Helen Gurholt for any further remarks.

Helen E. Gurholt
Vice President of Investor Relations and Financial Planning & Analysis at A. O. Smith

Thank you for joining us today. Let me conclude by reminding you that our global A.O. Smith team delivered strong sales and earnings in the second quarter despite many challenges. We look forward to updating you on our progress in the quarters to come. In addition, please mark your calendars to join our presentations at four conferences in the third quarter. North Coast on August 8, Jefferies on August 9, Stifel on September seven and Davidson on September 22.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

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