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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 December 31, 2021
or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission file number   001-39729
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SOTERA HEALTH COMPANY
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware47-3531161
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
9100 South Hills Blvd, Suite 300
Broadview Heights, Ohio
44147
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
(440) 262-1410
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.01 par value per shareSHCThe Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
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 Exchange 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 filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller 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
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2021, based upon the last sale price of such voting and non-voting common stock on that date, was $2,402,917,037.
As of February 22, 2022, there were 282,929,097 shares of the registrant’s common stock, $0.01 par value per share, outstanding.


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DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Definitive Proxy Statement for the registrant’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.
Audit Firm PCAOB ID: 42
Auditor Name: Ernst & Young LLP
Auditor Location: Akron, Ohio


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SOTERA HEALTH COMPANY
- TABLE OF CONTENTS -
Page No.


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CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “projects,” “may,” “intends,” “plans” or “anticipates,” or by discussions of strategy, plans or intentions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause our actual results, performance, achievements, or industry results, to differ materially from historical results or any future results, performance or achievements expressed, suggested or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to:
disruption in the availability of, or increases in the price of, ethylene oxide (“EO”), Cobalt-60 (“Co-60”) or our other direct materials, services and supplies, including as a result of current geopolitical instability arising from U.S., Canadian and European Union relations with Russia and related sanctions;
adverse changes in industry trends;
changes in environmental, health and safety regulations or preferences;
health and safety risks associated with the use, storage, transportation and disposal of potentially hazardous materials such as EO and Co-60;
liability claims relating to health risks associated with the use of EO;
current and future legal proceedings;
competition we face;
market changes, including inflationary trends, that impact our long-term supply contracts with variable price clauses and increase our cost of revenues;
allegations of our failure to properly perform services and potential product liability claims, recalls, penalties and reputational harm;
compliance with the extensive regulatory requirements to which we are subject, the related costs, and any failures to receive or maintain, or delays in receiving, required clearance or approvals;
business continuity hazards, including supply chain disruptions and other risks associated with our operations;
the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;
our ability to increase capacity at existing facilities, build new facilities in a timely and cost-effective manner and renew leases for our facilities;
our ability to attract and retain qualified employees;
the risks of doing business internationally, including global and regional economic and political instability and compliance with numerous laws and regulations in multiple jurisdictions;
cyber security breaches, unauthorized data disclosures, and our dependence on information technology systems;
any inability to pursue strategic transactions, including our ability to find suitable acquisition targets, or our failure to integrate strategic acquisitions successfully into our business;
our ability to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting;
our reliance on intellectual property to maintain our competitive position and the risk of claims from third parties that we infringe or misappropriate their intellectual property rights;
our ability to comply with rapidly evolving data privacy and security laws and regulations and any ineffective compliance efforts with such laws and regulations;
the effects of unionization efforts and labor regulations in certain countries in which we operate;
our ability to maintain profitability in the future;
impairment charges on our goodwill and other intangible assets with indefinite lives, as well as other long-lived assets and intangible assets with definite lives;
adverse changes to our tax positions in U.S. or non-U.S. jurisdictions, the interpretation and application of recent U.S. tax legislation or other changes in U.S. or non-U.S. taxation of our operations;
our significant leverage could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, limit our flexibility in operating our business through restrictions contained in our debt agreements and prevent us from meeting our obligations under our existing and future indebtedness; and
uncertainty around LIBOR and certain other interest “benchmarks.”
These statements are based on current plans, estimates and projections, and therefore you should not place undue reliance on them. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update them publicly in light of new information or future events, except as required by law. The inclusion of this forward-looking information should not be regarded as a representation by us or any other person that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated by us will be achieved.
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You should carefully consider the above factors, as well as the factors discussed elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including under Item 1A, “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. If any of these trends, risks or uncertainties actually occurs or continues, our business, financial condition or operating results could be materially adversely affected, the trading prices of our securities could decline and you could lose all or part of your investment. All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.
Unless expressly indicated or the context requires otherwise, the terms “Sotera Health,” “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” in this document refer to Sotera Health Company, a Delaware corporation, and, where appropriate, its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis.
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Part I
Item 1. Business
General Information
We are a leading global provider of mission-critical end-to-end sterilization solutions, lab testing and advisory services for the healthcare industry. We are driven by our mission: Safeguarding Global Health®. We provide end-to-end sterilization as well as microbiological and analytical lab testing and advisory services to help ensure that medical, pharmaceutical and food products are safe for healthcare practitioners, patients and consumers in the United States and around the world. Our customers include more than 40 of the top 50 medical device companies and nine of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies (based on revenue). Our services are an essential aspect of our customers’ manufacturing process and supply chains, helping to ensure sterilized medical products reach healthcare practitioners and patients. Most of these services are necessary for our customers to satisfy applicable government requirements. We give our customers confidence that their products meet regulatory, safety and effectiveness requirements. With our industry-recognized scientific and technological expertise, we help to ensure the safety of millions of patients and healthcare practitioners around the world every year. Across our 65 facilities worldwide, we have over 3,000 employees who are dedicated to safety and quality. We are a trusted partner to approximately 5,500 customers in over 50 countries.
Sotera Health Company was incorporated in Delaware in November 2017 as the parent company for Sterigenics, Nordion and Nelson Labs. We completed our initial public offering and listed our shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) in November 2020 under the ticker symbol “SHC”.
Our Businesses
Sterilization Services
Our sterilization services business is comprised of Sterigenics and Nordion.
Sterigenics
We are a leading global provider of outsourced terminal sterilization and irradiation services and have provided sterilization services for over 90 years. We offer a globally integrated platform for our customers in the medical device, pharmaceutical, food safety, and advanced applications markets, with facilities strategically located to be convenient to their manufacturing sites or distribution hubs.
Terminal sterilization is the process of sterilizing a product in its final packaging; it is an essential, and often government-mandated, last step in the manufacturing process of healthcare products before they are shipped to end-users. These products include procedure kits and trays, implants, syringes, catheters, wound care products, medical protective barriers, including personal protective equipment (“PPE”), laboratory products and pharmaceuticals.
Sterilization Services
We offer our customers a complete range of terminal sterilization services, primarily using the three major commercial terminal sterilization technologies: gamma irradiation, EO processing and E-beam irradiation. We continue to invest in and develop our capabilities and our current methods of sterilization, as well as explore new alternative modalities and technologies. Our primary terminal sterilization technologies include:
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We provide gamma irradiation services at 23 of our facilities, EO processing services at 17 of our facilities and electron beam (“E-beam”) irradiation services at eight of our facilities.
In addition to the three major technologies, we invest in alternative modalities to serve our customers. X-ray irradiation is a process in which products such as medical devices and labware are exposed to machine-generated radiation in the form of X-rays for the purpose of sterilization and decontamination. X-rays are similar in performance to gamma rays and are useful for processing certain materials due to the high penetration capabilities of X-ray. We utilize X-ray irradiation at one of our sterilization facilities for bio-hazard reduction for the United States Postal Service, or USPS. In addition, we are also investing in NO2-based sterilization, which has been effective in the sterilization of prefilled syringes, drug-device combination products and custom implants.
Sterilization Applications
Sterigenics primarily provides sterilization services for medical device manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry. Sterigenics also provides decontamination services for the food industry. Additionally, Sterigenics provides various advanced applications for other organizations and companies including the USPS and semiconductor manufacturers. Our customers select the sterilization method that meets the needs of their products and requirements of regulators and we deliver sterilization services according to their customer-specific protocols. In most cases, customers are serviced from more than one facility.
Medical device sterilization. Medical device sterilization is a regulatory requirement in many jurisdictions and an important and last step in the manufacturing of healthcare products such as medical protective barriers, including PPE, procedure kits and trays, implants, syringes, catheters and wound care products. A broad range of single-use, prepackaged medical products, as well as certain consumer products, are required by government regulations to be sterile, or meet certain acceptable microbial levels when sold. These products are not manufactured in a “sterile” or “clean” environment and are thereby inhabited by potentially harmful microbes. Products must be treated as part of the production process before shipment to customers, either in-house by the manufacturer or by an outsourced sterilization provider, such as Sterigenics.
We have developed a consultative approach with medical device manufacturers that expands our service offerings beyond core product sterilization, as we believe they want value-added solutions from their outsourced sterilization partners that reach beyond the traditional scope of sterilization. We offer customers a comprehensive selection of advisory services in design, testing, production and supply chain management for sterile healthcare products before,
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during and after the sterilization process to ensure and improve a product’s speed to market and compliance with regulatory requirements.
Pharmaceuticals. We provide comprehensive outsourced terminal sterilization solutions to help our customers in the pharmaceutical industry meet regulatory requirements. Our sterilization expertise covers a variety of pharmaceutical drug products, such as active pharmaceutical ingredients, pre-filled syringes, drug components, excipients and primary packaging and components.
In addition, pharmaceutical companies are starting to market disposable delivery devices, such as auto-inject devices for epinephrine, which are combined medical device and pharmaceutical products. As these disposable delivery devices are subject to both medical device regulations and pharmaceutical regulations, we believe these companies are looking to leading outsourced sterilization providers like us for our expertise in sterilizing these complex devices. We believe that the complementary capabilities and expertise in our Nelson Labs business make Sterigenics an attractive sterilization partner to customers in the pharmaceutical industry. We can provide a full suite of services to help them throughout key stages in the lifecycle of these complex products.
Food and agricultural products. We provide microbial reduction and microbial remediation services for food and agricultural products. Generally, in a microbial reduction process, products are exposed to lower levels of treatment than in a sterilization process. This process is not intended to render a product free of viable organisms but rather to reduce their number. In connection with our microbial reduction services, we treat a wide array of products such as spices, herbs, animal feed and food packaging materials to address product liability concerns of our customers related to the health of the consumer or to extend shelf life. We currently irradiate a variety of food and food packaging products, ranging from orange juice to steaks, to guard against harmful bacteria, such as listeria, salmonella, E. coli and other pathogens. Microbial reduction and irradiation offer producers and processors a method to safeguard against bacteria from the time of the packaging of their products to the time they reach consumers. We also provide microbial remediation services that stop the progression of damage to products and help make the products safe for distribution.
Commercial, advanced and specialty applications. We provide a wide range of advanced applications services for industrial materials to customers that use ionizing radiation to modify materials or products. The advanced applications sterilization industry is comprised of a large number of distinct segments that can be addressed using our services for radiation processing. Materials that undergo advanced application processes include products such as power semiconductors, polymers and gemstones. In addition, we utilize our ionizing radiation services to provide bio-security services to the USPS by treating and protecting the mail against unwanted pathogens and biohazards. We believe we are the only provider of this service to the USPS. We also treat commercial products, such as cosmetics, with our microbial reduction services. In Canada and Europe, where recreational cannabis, medical cannabis, or both, are legal, we provide commercial gamma and E-beam irradiation services for decontamination of cannabis.
Sterigenics Customers
Sterigenics serves approximately 2,800 customers. We follow extensive validation procedures with our customers to determine the optimal sterilization method for each product, and to validate that the chosen method will achieve the sterility requirement for that product. Once a sterilization process has been validated, we adhere to our customers’ process specifications to treat their product.
Sterilization services are an essential element in our customers’ manufacturing processes but generally represent a small fraction of the total end-product cost of medical devices. We believe this means that our customers choose our services based on quality and consistency of service rather than solely on the cost. These deep, tenured customer relationships are supported by multi-year contracts with cost pass-through provisions, which have resulted in recurring revenue streams.
For many products, our customers are required to include the specific facility used to validate a product’s listing in the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) (or foreign equivalent) product registration and are typically required to re-register if they switch facilities, making switching locations for a particular product a difficult and expensive process for our customers. This dynamic contributes to low customer churn and long-term relationships within our business.
In addition, Sterigenics has achieved high historical customer retention and renewal rates—Sterigenics has 100% renewal rates of its top ten customers over the last five years, and an average tenure of over a decade with its top 25 customers over the last five years—and minimal customer concentration. We have also introduced innovative, advanced processing systems for outsourced sterilization that are designed to enhance operating efficiencies, improve turnaround times and provide for greater processing flexibility without sacrificing quality, consistency or reliability. More than 90% of our sterilization services revenues for the year ended December 31, 2021 were from customers under multi-year contracts.
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Sterigenics Competition
We compete globally with Applied Sterilization Technologies, a segment of STERIS plc, as well as other smaller or regional outsourced sterilization companies. In addition, some manufacturers have invested in in-house sterilization capabilities. We also face competition from other technologies, such as chemical cross-linking of polymers. Our services generally compete on the basis of the quality of technology and services offered, level of expertise in each of the major sterilization methods, level of expertise in the applicable regulatory requirements and proximity to customers.
Sterigenics Suppliers
We primarily purchase our supply of Co-60 sources, the key input into the gamma sterilization process, from Nordion. Our supply of Co-60 sources is at times impacted by the global availability of Co-60. Our supply of EO is sourced from various suppliers around the world. There is more than one supplier of EO in most of the countries in which we operate; however, in the United States, there is a single supplier for EO to our industry. We have not historically experienced any supply disruptions and our U.S. supplier has redundant production facilities to help ensure reliable EO supply. We also have a license in the United States to distribute EO to self-supply should the need arise and we determine the need to make the necessary investments.
Sterigenics Facilities
With 48 facilities in 13 countries, our global network of sterilization facilities represents a significant competitive advantage. We serve many of our sterilization customers at more than one facility, with more than 80% of Sterigenics’ net revenues attributable to customers using more than one of our facilities and more than 50% of Sterigenics’ net revenues attributable to customers using five or more of our facilities in 2021. Extensive capital, technical expertise and regulatory knowledge are required to build and maintain facilities like ours. We estimate that one new facility can cost over $30 million to build, on average, and require extensive and complex licensing approval and regulatory compliance processes. We estimate that the cost to replicate the facilities in our network alone could be as high as $1.5 billion or more, in addition to the technical and regulatory requirements.
Our global facility network, built and expanded over several decades, is strategically located convenient to customers’ manufacturing sites and distribution hubs or routes. For many of our customers, the location of our facilities is important because transportation and logistics costs can be meaningful. We also employ proprietary technology to provide customers with increased visibility into our processes. Sterigenics GPS™ enables customers to monitor the sterilization process in real-time and better manage their supply chain. These features improve the accuracy and visibility of customer order information and quality data, which in turn provide enhanced transparency to regulatory agencies around the world, further enhancing our reputation as a company with regulatory expertise. We are focused on continuing to leverage advanced technology and service offerings to better serve customers, and we believe our capital and resource commitment in this area drives customer loyalty and retention.
By leveraging a global operating system, we drive operational excellence across our network of facilities in order to achieve high levels of safety, quality, operating efficiency and customer satisfaction to provide a uniform customer experience. All facilities are either ISO 13485 certified, ISO 9001 certified, or both, as well as licensed and registered in all necessary jurisdictions to comply with government required regulations.
Nordion
Nordion is the leading global provider of Co-60 used in the sterilization and irradiation processes for the medical device, pharmaceutical, food safety, and high-performance materials industries, as well as in the treatment of cancer. In addition, Nordion is a leading global provider of gamma irradiation systems. Co-60 is a radioactive isotope that emits gamma radiation that sterilizes items by killing contaminating micro-organisms. Gamma irradiation systems are the units that house the Co-60 sources within a gamma sterilization facility. We estimate that gamma sterilization, which is a critical component of the global infection control supply chain, represents approximately 30% of single-use medical device sterilization worldwide. Nordion’s customers include both outsourced contract sterilizers, including Sterigenics, as well as medical device manufacturers that sterilize their products in-house.
We provide our customers with high quality, reliable, safe and secure Co-60 source supply at each stage of the source’s life cycle. We support our customers with handling and processing of Co-60, recycling of depleted sources and global logistics enabled by our licensed container fleet. We also provide regulatory and technical service expertise to improve the risk profiles and enhance effectiveness of gamma processing operations. Without this radioactive material, gamma sterilization would not be
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possible on the global scale at which it is used today. We are integral to our customers’ operations due to highly coordinated and complex installation processes.
Nordion has a long history in gamma technologies. Nordion designs, installs and maintains gamma irradiation systems. Nordion developed the first Co-60 based tele-therapy unit for cancer treatment in 1951 and the first panoramic irradiator in 1964. In addition to selling Co-60 sources for sterilization purposes, Nordion also sells high specific activity Co-60 (“HSA Co-60” or “medical Co-60”) used in stereotactic radiosurgery as a radiation source for oncology applications, specifically in the Gamma Knife® and other similar applications. Today, Co-60 is a critical part of treatment for brain and other cancers because it is noninvasive, reliable, effective and safe to use.
Co-60 Production Process
Nordion’s primary product is Co-60 sources. Co-60 is a radioactive isotope used in radiation sterilization that decays naturally at a rate of approximately 12% annually. Co-60 is produced by placing cobalt-59 (“Co-59”), the most common form of cobalt, into a nuclear power reactor to be activated.
The Co-60 production process requires high purity Co-59. Co-59 is produced globally, primarily as a byproduct of nickel and copper mining, and is used in a variety of industrial applications. The Co-59 used for sterilization accounts for a small portion of overall Co-59 demand. Co-59 is compressed into “targets,” which are pellets and slugs suitable to be activated into Co-60. These targets are then encapsulated and delivered to be installed in nuclear reactors. Depending on the type of reactor and the location of the Co-59 in the reactor, the conversion process can take between 18 months and five years. Once the conversion to Co-60 is complete, the targets are extracted from the nuclear reactor while the reactor is shut down and shipped to Nordion to be processed into Co-60 sources to be sold to customers. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—Safety risks associated with the use, storage and disposal of potentially hazardous materials, such as EO and Co-60, may result in accidents or liabilities that materially affect our results of operations.
Nordion Products
Co-60 is sold to customers by its level of radioactivity, measured in curies. Our customers typically buy low specific activity Co-60 (“LSA Co-60”) for industrial sterilization use and HSA Co-60 for medical use. At our Ottawa facility, we receive and process the targets to form the final Co-60 source product with the desired amount of radioactivity for each customer order. The Co-60 sources undergo stringent and sophisticated quality assurance testing at our facility. The final product is then placed in specialized containers, which Nordion uses to transport Co-60 to our customers.
We transport the Co-60 sources via proprietary lead and steel containers that are licensed to meet all applicable international shipping requirements. We believe we have the most extensive expertise in Co-60 logistics. There is a significant regulatory burden in the production, management and transportation of fleets of containers of Co-60 sources. Our transportation routes and carriers are highly controlled, and we provide regular and comprehensive training for employees and carriers who are involved in moving the Co-60 globally.
We also design, install and maintain gamma irradiation systems, which include radiation shielding, a series of conveyors and control systems that are designed to expose products to the correct gamma radiation dosage in a safe and efficient manner. A gamma irradiation system is the infrastructure that houses the Co-60 sources and makes up a part of a sterilization and warehousing facility. We have designed and built over 100 of the estimated 290 large scale irradiation systems active globally. Our installation, physics and engineering teams are comprised of highly trained professionals who provide fast and ongoing technical support from source installation to emergency response.
We also offer our customers a for-fee spent Co-60 source return service for depleted Co-60 sources that have reached the end of their useful life, which is often 20 or more years. We also have a source recycling program that extends the useful life of individual slugs from the decayed product up to an additional 20 years, pairing them with new slugs to make new Co-60 sources.
Nuclear Reactor Operators
Given the timeline required to produce Co-60, forecasting supply and working closely with nuclear power reactor operators to manage the amount and timing of shipments represents an important business capability of Nordion.
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The amount of Co-60 supply is ultimately determined by the number of nuclear reactors that are capable of producing Co-60 at a given point in time. Our access to Co-60 tends to vary on a quarterly basis, due primarily to the nuclear reactor maintenance schedule, length of time required to convert Co-59 into Co-60, the limited number of facilities that can generate Co-60 in an economically efficient manner, and the timing of the removal of Co-60 from reactors. While short-term variability in Co-60 supplier delivery timing can result in variability in our financial performance in one or more fiscal quarters, we work with multiple reactor sites that operate on consistent and predictable discharge and harvest schedules over the long-term.
Nordion currently has access to Co-60 supply at multiple nuclear reactors pursuant to multi-year contracts with three operators that cover 13 reactors at five generating stations, that extend to dates between 2024 and 2064, with our largest supplier under contract until 2064. See Item 1A, “Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—We depend on a limited number of counterparties that provide the materials and resources we need to operate our business.” The substantial majority of our Co-60 material has historically been produced under multi-year contracts with nuclear reactor operators in Canada and Russia. Nordion provides Co-59 targets to its Canadian and Russian reactor suppliers, manufactured to proprietary specifications customized for each supplier. In addition, we also acquire a portion of our Co-60 supply from reactors that produce Co-60 in Argentina, China and India.
The vertical integration of Nordion and Sterigenics has allowed us to more confidently make meaningful long-term investments to expand Co-60 supply for the medical products sterilization industry. See Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Trends and Key Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations.” Currently, approximately 9% of nuclear reactors worldwide are the type of reactors that have been capable of producing commercial quantities of Co-60. In December 2018, we acquired patents that may allow us to significantly increase our sourcing options for Co-60 and further expand the market for gamma sterilization. Additionally, in February 2020, we announced a collaboration with Westinghouse Electric Company to further develop the technology to produce Co-60 in Pressurized Water Reactors. We believe this collaboration could further diversify our supply with reliable U.S. domestic partners and encourage the implementation of this patented technology at other reactors around the world.
We continue to evaluate opportunities to increase Co-60 production, including through partnerships with CANDU reactor operators in Canada and Romania that would involve investing in their reactor infrastructure to enable long-term production of Co-60.
We also purchase Co-60 from regional suppliers in Argentina, China and India, and will continue to explore opportunities for supply in the global market.
Nordion Customers
Nordion supplies products and services to approximately 40 customers, including medical device manufacturers and gamma sterilization service providers. Co-60’s consumable nature results in annual natural decay at an approximately 12% annual rate, which creates stable, recurring demand as customers must purchase incremental supply in order to satisfy ongoing needs. We are integral to our customers’ operations due to highly coordinated and complex installation and service processes that require expertise in handling and shipping radioactive material as well as our deep knowledge of the relevant regulatory and compliance requirements. Customer relationships are typically governed by multi-year supply agreements.
One of Nordion’s customers is Sterigenics, which competes with several of Nordion’s other gamma sterilization service customers. When we acquired Nordion in 2014, we established information barriers between Nordion and Sterigenics with regard to certain customer information, which are still in place today, and we have certain agreements with Nordion’s customers requiring these barriers. These barriers prohibit us from managing a pricing strategy across our Sterigenics and Nordion segments with regard to customers.
We are a leading global supplier of HSA Co-60 used in oncology-related stereotactic radiosurgery devices, including the Gamma Knife®, which use directed gamma rays for certain oncology applications. We also supply other medical equipment manufacturers and sub-contractors in the industry who require the concentrated radiation dose capabilities of HSA Co-60.
Nordion Competition
Nordion’s two main competitors in the industrial LSA Co-60 sources supply market include a Russian Co-60 sources producer, which currently supplies certain regions in Europe and Asia, and a China-based producer, which currently supplies the domestic Chinese market. In addition, certain regional competitors have the capability to produce Co-60. These competitors could potentially increase their global competition capabilities in the future. Nordion also competes indirectly with other developing
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modalities of sterilization, such as X-ray technology, that can sterilize similar products as gamma sterilization, which use electricity to generate radiation and therefore do not require Co-60 sources.
Nordion’s main competitors in the HSA Co-60 industry include suppliers in China, Sweden and North America that have capability to produce medical Co-60. From 2017 to 2021, growth in our sale of medical Co-60 for the stereotactic radiosurgery device industry benefited from other competitors’ supply disruptions and lack of reliability.
Nordion Facilities
Nordion’s operations are supported by a facility in Kanata, Canada dedicated to processing and shipping cobalt, as well as a European distribution facility in Milton, United Kingdom.
Lab Testing and Advisory Services
Nelson Labs
Lab testing and advisory services are necessary across the medical device and pharmaceutical product lifecycles to evaluate and ensure a product’s safety and effectiveness. We are a global leader in outsourced microbiological and analytical chemistry testing services for the medical device and pharmaceutical industries. In addition to our testing services, our customers often call upon our experts for technical assistance and our advisory services. We go to market leveraging our global footprint and an extensive range of services under our Nelson Labs brand.
We have established ourselves as a critical partner for our customers through our delivery of high quality services, quick testing turnaround times, responsiveness, high-touch support and easy accessibility to our science and service teams. We have an industry-leading brand recognized for the quality and comprehensiveness of service, both of which can take many years to build. Further, we believe that our testing and advisory services offerings and experience across a broad array of products differentiate us from smaller laboratories, as we are able to provide testing and advisory services across the entire lifecycle of our customers’ multitude of products. Our scale combined with our global network enable us to undertake significant and time-sensitive projects for our customers that might typically require them to interface with multiple labs. This allows us to simplify complex issues for our customers and streamline communication and execution. Moreover, the integration across our services and facilities enables us to assist our customers in minimizing their business continuity risk by reducing capacity shortages, turnaround time delays and throughput issues.
Our microbiology and analytical chemistry services include over 800 tests. We also provide for-fee advisory services that position us as thought leaders in the industry and increase the demand for our testing offerings. These can be categorized into three broad categories that address different stages of customers’ product lifecycle:
Product Development and Validation. Prior to a new medical product or alteration to an existing product being submitted for regulatory approval, Nelson Labs provides a variety of tests to customers during the research and development stage. These include tests that assist the client in:
 Product design
Material selection
Biological safety evaluation
Toxicological risk assessment
Sterilization modality selection and sterilization validation
Cleaning and disinfection validation (for reusable devices)
Package barrier properties
Distribution simulation
Filtration efficiency and physical functionality of PPE (including surgical facemasks, N95 respirators, gowns, drapes and other PPE)
We provide sterilization modality selection and sterilization validation services for a variety of sterilization modalities, including the three major modalities offered by Sterigenics—gamma irradiation, EO processing and E-beam—allowing us to serve our customers in multiple areas.
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Expert Advisory. Bringing a medical product or drug to market can be a long and complex process, especially in the context of constantly evolving standards in a changing regulatory environment. Nelson Labs provides expert advisory services to aid customers in navigating the appropriate standards and regulatory environments. These services include:
 Study design
 Development and justification of acceptance criteria
 Onsite facility evaluation and validations
Technical troubleshooting and scientific problem solving
 Regulatory compliance related services, including supporting clients through the regulatory submission process
Our expert advisory services provide additional value and expertise at any stage of the product development life cycle. Nelson Labs offers these services on a standalone basis or as a combined offering with our lab testing services, which creates opportunities for cross-selling with our existing customers for both services. Our expert advisory services are also complemented by our ongoing education offerings conducted through webinars, seminars, tailored onsite education sessions and our website.
Routine Sterility and Quality Control Testing. Once a product has received regulatory approval and is in production, Nelson Labs provides ongoing quality control testing, including production batch verification testing and environmental testing of the client’s production systems and facilities, the requirements for which vary based on applicable standards. Nelson Labs performs bacterial endotoxin testing or quarterly dose audits for devices sterilized using irradiation, and biological indicator testing for devices sterilized with EO. Nelson also provides testing for producers of non-sterile products to ensure they are free of objectionable organisms. Often, Nelson Labs provides this ongoing routine quality control testing (based on production lot sizes) for the products for which it performed initial validation testing. These products are often sterilized by Sterigenics.
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The testing process commences when Nelson Labs receives samples and a testing request from the customer. Samples are triaged and assigned to specific lab departments, where laboratory analysts and study directors verify orders and interface with customers directly to clarify, adjust or enhance testing as needed to ensure compliance with regulatory standards. Once the sample has been tested, the order is closed out and results are verified by the study director and a technical reviewer prior to electronic delivery of the final customer report via a secure online customer portal.
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We operate in an industry that requires significant regulatory and specialized scientific expertise. At a minimum, providers must maintain the proper certifications and accreditations from key regulatory and accreditation bodies, as well as obtain qualification by each customer as a “qualified supplier,” which is often required at the corporate level and at each of the customer’s operating sites. We employ over 500 scientists, technicians and service specialists, creating a substantial competitive advantage in terms of expertise. Our experts serve in predominant roles on a number of standards writing organizations, including the United States Pharmacopeia, AAMI, American Society of Testing and Materials and ISO. We have established credibility and trust with regulators and standards writing organizations which helps us educate customers about the continually-changing testing requirements in a complex and evolving regulatory landscape. Our regulatory and scientific expertise in laboratory testing allows us to serve as thought leaders within the industry and provide high-quality service to our customers. We focus on providing highly-differentiated services that our customers can rely upon to ensure compliance of and enhance their products. For example, over the course of 15 years, we have developed a proprietary, world-class compound database with over 8,000 known elements which enables our extractables and leachables testing. This database allows us to provide analytical data that differentiates our capabilities from our competitors.
We provide microbiological and analytical chemistry laboratory tests across the medical device and pharmaceutical industries. Specifically, our medical device lab testing services include microbiology, biocompatibility and toxicology assessments, material characterization, sterilization validation, sterility assurance, packaging validation and distribution simulation, reprocessing validations, facility and process validation and performance validation and verification of PPE barriers and material. Our pharmaceutical lab testing services include microbiology, biocompatibility and toxicology assessments, extractables and leachables evaluations of pharmaceutical containers, sterilization validation, sterility assurance, packaging validation and distribution simulation and facility and process validation.
Nelson Labs benefits from many of the same underlying growth drivers as our sterilization business, including the global utilization of medical devices and pharmaceutical products and the importance of compliance with continuously evolving global regulatory requirements. In particular, recent global regulatory changes, such as the enactment of the European Union Medical Device Regulation 2017/745 (MDR) and the FDA’s modernization of the premarket notification process under Section 510(k) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, have increased the requirements for the testing and sterilization of medical devices. The COVID-19 pandemic also increased testing demand due to new FDA Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs), which define testing criteria necessary for the direct release of masks and respirators to hospitals and clinics without FDA submission. Because we provide product development and validation testing services to clients launching new products or altering existing products, this business benefits from the ongoing technological advances and increasing complexity of medical and pharmaceutical products.
Nelson Labs Customers
During the year ended December 31, 2021, Nelson Labs served approximately 3,500 customers, including many leading medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies. We have recurring and stable customer relationships and benefit from minimal customer concentration. The quantity of customers served in the year ended December 31, 2021 decreased from the prior year primarily due to the decline in short-term customers with one-time requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our services are an essential component in our customers’ research and development and ongoing quality control processes but represent a small portion of end-product cost, which allows us to maintain long-term customer relationships and provide services that are integral to the supply chains of our global customers. We support customers through solutions-focused relationship managers, dedicated service centers and a team-wide service ethic. Nelson Labs has developed a proprietary customer portal that provides our customers quick and convenient access to important product information and customer service. The portal allows our customers to see their tests, status of the tests, estimated completion date and final reports and includes a live chat system connected to our customer service team.
Nelson Labs Competition
We primarily compete in the global lab testing services market with a range of providers, from national or international players to other smaller regional or niche laboratories. Our products and services compete on the basis of the quality of services offered, breadth of services, level of expertise in each testing method, delivery time, level of expertise in the applicable regulatory requirements and our reputation with customers and regulators.
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Nelson Labs Suppliers
We purchase our lab testing supplies from a number of vendors mainly in the United States and occasionally throughout the world. In many cases we have redundant sources of supplies that minimize our risk of concentration. In addition, some crucial supplies are placed on reserve at specific vendors for our exclusive use.
Nelson Labs Facilities
We operate from a five building campus in Salt Lake City, Utah, with 85 laboratories including metrology, training, media prep labs, five ISO Class V certified clean rooms and customizable lab spaces. We also have facilities in Fairfield, New Jersey; Itasca, Illinois; Leuven, Belgium; Bozeman, Montana; Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin; Wiesbaden, Germany, and seven other laboratories embedded in our Sterigenics sterilization facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.
Nelson Labs Recent Acquisitions
On March 8, 2021, we acquired BioScience Laboratories, LLC (“BioScience”) with one location in Bozeman, Montana. BioScience is a provider of outsourced topical antimicrobial product testing in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and consumer industries. BioScience’s expertise in analytical testing and clinical trial services will complement Nelson Labs’ existing strengths in antimicrobial and virology testing.
On November 4, 2021 we acquired Regulatory Compliance Associates Inc. (“RCA”) headquartered in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. RCA is an industry leader in providing life sciences consulting focused on quality, regulatory, and technical consulting for the pharmaceutical, medical device and combination device industries. RCA will expand and further strengthen the technical consulting and expert advisory services capabilities of Nelson Labs.
Intellectual Property
Our businesses rely on certain proprietary technologies. Most of the proprietary technologies used in our businesses are unpatented. Some of our technologies, including certain processes, methods, algorithms and proprietary databases, are maintained by the business as trade secrets, which we seek to protect through a combination of physical and technological security measures and contractual measures, such as nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements. We also have limited proprietary technologies that are covered by issued patents or patent applications, in particular related to potential new Co-60 supply opportunities for our Nordion business.
The name recognition of our businesses is a valuable asset. Many of our business names are the subject of trademark registrations or applications in the United States or certain other jurisdictions, or part of registered domain names.
Human Capital Resources
As of December 31, 2021, we employed over 3,000 employees worldwide. None of our U.S. employees are represented by unions. There are employees outside of the United States that are represented by unions or works councils in Canada, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany and Mexico. One of our values is People. We value our people who are part of a global team that is diverse, respectful, passionate and collaborative. Our human capital strategy is aligned with our strategy and priorities and focuses on developing and delivering global solutions to attract, develop, engage and retain top talent. On an annual basis, we review our employees to assess performance and leadership potential. We also create succession plans and individual development plans to ensure we have the team needed for the future.
We are committed to providing a safe work environment for our employees and contractors. We have implemented a health and safety program to manage workplace safety hazards and to protect employees. The program encompasses performance, practices and awareness.
We are driven to fulfill our customers’ needs with highest quality and care to enable their success.
Governmental Regulation and Environmental Matters
We are subject to environmental, health and safety laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate, including laws, regulations and permit requirements with respect to our use of Co-60, EO and E-beam. These requirements limit emissions of and the exposure of workers to gamma radiation and EO. Nordion’s Kanata facility is licensed as a Class 1B nuclear facility in Canada, regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (“CNSC”), and is audited across various
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dimensions of this license on an annual basis. In addition to the nuclear aspect of our products, many of the products that we process or manufacture are medical devices directed for human use or products used in the manufacture of medical devices that are directed for human use. Our Nuclear Substance Processing Facility Operating License, CNSC Export license and CNSC Device servicing licenses for our Kanata facility were renewed in October 2015 for a 10-year period. Our facilities hold various International Organization for Standardization’s (“ISO”) certifications including ISO 9002, 9001, 13485 and 17025. We have device, facility, and specific product registrations with North American (Health Canada and the FDA) and European Drug and Device health regulators. These regulators exert oversight through requirements for a product registration and direct audit of our operations.
Additionally, our operations in the United States and the majority of our facilities outside the United States (to the extent we are processing a product in that facility that will end up in the U.S. market) are regulated by the FDA. We are also regulated by other health regulatory authorities in other countries. Specifically, these operations include some of our sterilization and product testing activities that may constitute “manufacturing” activities and are subject to FDA requirements. These requirements include site, contract drug manufacturer and supplier of active pharmaceutical ingredients registration and listing and manufacturing requirements. Regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the “NRC”) and other agencies also require that equipment used at our facilities be designed and operated in a manner that is safe and with proper safety precautions and practices when handling, monitoring and storing EO and Co-60.
While we strive to comply with these regulatory requirements, we may not at all times be in full compliance and, as a result, could be subject to significant civil and criminal fines and penalties. To reduce the risk of noncompliance, we employ engineering and procedural controls and pollution control equipment, and undertake internal and external regulatory compliance audits at our facilities. We have a proactive environmental health and safety (“EH&S”) program and a culture of safety and quality across all business units, and employ a Senior Vice President of Environmental, Health and Safety that reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer and has a team of more than 30 employees.
For additional information, please see Item 1A, “Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Company—We are subject to extensive regulatory requirements and routine regulatory audits in all of our operations. We must receive permits, licenses and/or regulatory clearance or approval for our operations. Failure to comply with all laws and regulations or to receive or maintain permits, licenses, clearances or approvals may hurt our revenues, profitability, financial condition or value” and Item 3, “Legal Proceedings.”
EO Regulatory Overview
In addition to general environmental laws and regulations, EO plants and the EO sterilization process are subject to specific regulatory requirements under federal laws in the United States as well as many of the countries in which we operate. Such additional regulations include specific requirements for permissible employee exposure limits, process safety program, approved EO containers and their transportation, facility security, quality system programs, emission control systems and emission limits and products allowed to be treated with EO. Some state and local governments have additional environmental laws, stricter regulations or other requirements including permitting programs that set forth operational parameters for EO sterilization facilities. In the United States, OSHA regulations limit worker exposure to EO. The use of EO for the reduction of bioburden on or sterilization of an approved list of products, including medical devices, pharmaceutical products, spices, and cosmetics is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”) and the Clean Air Act (“CAA”). In addition, FDA regulations dictate the acceptable amount of EO residue on different types of EO-processed products. Most other countries in which we operate have similar EH&S and worker exposure regulations.
Our EO sterilization facilities evacuate EO from the sterilization chambers and aeration rooms. Most countries in which we operate have varying emission control requirements for EO emissions from our facilities. We are investing in additional voluntary controls on EO emissions at our facilities to outperform current and expected future regulatory requirements and further reduce facility emissions. For example, we have implemented additional controls to meet new German EH&S standards of stricter EO occupational exposure limitations. In the United States, our supplier maintains FIFRA registrations for EO as a medical device sterilant for users of EO across the United States. The USEPA is in the process of reviewing EO’s FIFRA re-registration eligibility in accordance with the provisions of FIFRA. As a condition of continued registration, the USEPA will likely require enhancements to the processes and equipment for use of EO as a medical device sterilant. The USEPA is also expected to propose updated National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (“NESHAP”) air emission regulations for EO commercial sterilization facilities, which have not yet been published and with which sterilization facilities like ours will be required to comply. In certain U.S. states, including California, additional regulatory requirements and obligations exist,
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including requirements for the provision of notices regarding the release of or exposure to certain listed substances, including EO and radioactive sources. Bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress to further regulate EO sterilization activity. Each of our EO sterilization facilities utilizes a variety of control technologies (including wet scrubbers, catalytic oxidizers and dry bed scrubbers) to control these emissions, and we are investing in additional control features to further reduce emissions. For 2022 we expect capital expenditures of approximately $30.0 million related to environmental facility enhancements across all facilities within our business, and we anticipate similar investments in subsequent years. We consistently meet and outperform regulatory emissions control requirements, although we have experienced instances of emissions exceeding applicable standards, none of which we believe were material. We expect to be able to satisfy any changes to applicable regulatory requirements as they evolve.
In addition to government regulation, there are standards, guidelines and requirements established by industry organizations and other non-governmental bodies that may impact our operations such as the ISO’s limit on the permissible levels of residual EO on sterilized medical devices.
Gamma Irradiation Regulatory Overview
In the United States, Sterigenics is subject to NRC and state regulations that govern operations involving radioactive materials at gamma irradiation plants. These NRC and state regulations specify the requirements for, among other things, maximum radiation doses, system designs, safety features, alarms, employee and area monitoring, testing and reporting. Each of our U.S. gamma plants has a radioactive materials license from the NRC or the state in which it operates. Nordion also has NRC licenses to distribute radioactive material within the United States, which permits Nordion to install and remove Co-60 sources and provide other services to its customers, as well as a license to export radioactive material from the United States to Canada. The NRC recently implemented new security requirements for our U.S. gamma facilities.
Our Nordion segment operates through our subsidiary Nordion (Canada) Inc. in Canada and REVISS Services in the United Kingdom. Through Nordion, we are subject to additional Canadian regulations, including Transport Canada regulations for the Transportation of Dangerous Goods, CNSC regulations for the General Nuclear Safety and Controls, Health Canada requirements for drugs and devices and CNSC and Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade requirements for import and export.
Outside North America, the European Union and other national authorities have developed regulations pertinent to the operation of gamma irradiators that are similar to those of the NRC. While some specific requirements are different in the various other nations as compared to the United States, the fundamental concepts are consistent among the countries, since all are signatories to the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”) conventions and have adopted safety standards from the IAEA and recommendations from the International Commission on Radiological Protection (“ICRP”).
E-beam and X-ray Irradiation Regulatory Overview
In the United States, irradiators that use accelerators are regulated by the individual state in which a facility resides. While there is some variability in the content of regulations among states, all are patterned after the general regulations of the NRC. These regulations typically specify the requirements for radiation shielding, system designs, safety features, alarms, employee and area monitoring, testing and reporting. Some E-beam and X-ray facilities require environmental permits too.
Outside of the United States, accelerator regulations are similar among various nations. These regulations are based on the IAEA standards and ICRP recommendations, much like those for gamma irradiators.
Available Information
Our Annual Report, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are made available free of charge through the Investor Relations page of our internet website at www.investors.soterahealth.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after such documents are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains an Internet site, www.sec.gov, that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.
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Item 1A. Risk Factors
We describe below certain risks that could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. These risk factors may change from time to time and may be amended, supplemented or superseded by updates to the risk factors contained in our future periodic reports on Form 10-Q and reports on other forms we file with the SEC. All forward-looking statements about our future results of operations or other matters made by us in this Annual Report as well as our consolidated financial statements and notes, and in our subsequently filed reports to the SEC, as well as in our press releases and other public communications, are qualified by the risks described below.
Risk Factor Summary
Our business operations are subject to numerous risks, factors and uncertainties, including those outside of our control, that could cause our actual results to be harmed, including risks regarding the following:
disruption in the availability of, or increases in the price of, EO, Co-60 or our other direct materials, services and supplies, including as a result of geopolitical instability arising from U.S., Canadian and European Union relations with Russia and related sanctions;
changes in industry trends, environmental, health and safety regulations or preferences, and general economic, social and business conditions;
health and safety risks associated with the use, storage, transportation and disposal of potentially hazardous materials such as EO and Co-60;
the impact and outcome of current and future legal proceedings and liability claims, including lawsuits alleging personal injury, property devaluation and other injuries by purported exposure to emissions of EO from our facilities in Willowbrook, Atlanta and Santa Teresa, and the possibility that other claims will be made in the future relating to these or other facilities, and any inadequacy of our insurance coverage to pay any judgments rendered against us, including that our per occurrence limit for claims relating to Willowbrook’s EO emissions has been reached and our insurance for future alleged environmental liabilities excludes coverage for EO claims;
competition we face;
market changes, including inflationary trends in input costs such as labor, raw materials and energy, that impact our long-term supply contracts with variable price clauses and increase our cost of revenues;
allegations of our failure to properly perform our services and any potential product liability claims, recalls, penalties and reputational harm;
compliance with the extensive regulatory requirements to which we are subject and the related costs, and any failures to receive or maintain, or delays in receiving, required clearance or approvals;
business continuity hazards, including supply chain disruptions and other risks associated with our operations;
the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;
our ability to increase capacity at existing facilities, build new facilities in a timely and cost-effective manner and renew leases for our facilities;
our ability to attract and retain qualified employees;
the risks of doing business internationally, including global and regional economic and political instability and compliance with numerous laws and regulations in multiple jurisdictions;
cyber security breaches, unauthorized data disclosures, and our dependence on information technology systems;
any inability to pursue strategic transactions, including to find suitable acquisition targets, and our failure to integrate strategic acquisitions successfully into our existing business or realize anticipated cost savings or synergies;
our ability to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting;
our reliance on intellectual property to maintain our competitive position and the risk of claims from third parties that we infringe or misappropriate their intellectual property rights;
our ability to comply with rapidly evolving data privacy and security laws and regulations and any ineffective compliance efforts with such laws and regulations;
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our history of net operating losses, including a net loss attributable to Sotera Health Company of $38.6 million and $20.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, and the risk that we may not maintain profitability in the future;
the effects of unionization efforts and labor regulations in certain countries in which we operate;
our significant leverage could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, limit our flexibility in operating our business through restrictions contained in our debt agreements and prevent us from meeting our obligations under our existing and future indebtedness. As of December 31, 2021, our indebtedness totaled approximately $1,763.6 million, and our debt service obligations (principal and interest) represented approximately 17% of our net cash flows from operating activities (before giving effect to the payment of interest);
impairment charges on our goodwill and other intangible assets with indefinite lives, as well as other long-lived assets and intangible assets with definite lives;
adverse changes to our tax positions in U.S. or non-U.S. jurisdictions, the interpretation and application of recent U.S. tax legislation or other changes in U.S. or non-U.S. taxation of our operations;
risks associated with the uncertainty of LIBOR and other interest “benchmarks” which affect our debt finance instruments;
certain investment funds and entities affiliated with Warburg Pincus and GTCR, which we refer to collectively as the “Sponsors,” continue to have substantial control over us, which could limit stockholders’ ability to influence the outcome of key transactions, including a change of control; and,
the fact that we may be considered a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq corporate governance standards and would qualify for exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements, which means that our stockholders may not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such requirements.
Risks Related to the Company
We depend on a limited number of counterparties that provide the materials and resources we need to operate our business. Any disruption in the availability of, or increases in the price of, EO, Co-60 or our other direct materials, services and supplies, including as a result of current geopolitical instability arising from U.S., Canadian and European Union relations with Russia and related sanctions, may have a material adverse effect on our operating results.
We purchase certain direct materials, equipment and services necessary for the provision of our specialized products and services from a sole or limited number of suppliers and subcontractors, and purchase large quantities of product from an individual supplier in certain cases. If one or more of our significant suppliers or service providers were unable to meet their obligations under present arrangements, direct materials or equipment were to become unavailable within the geographic area from which they are now sourced, or supplies were otherwise constrained or disrupted for any reason (including as a result of a natural disaster or other adverse occurrence), we may incur increased costs for our direct materials or equipment and may be unable to accommodate new business or meet our current customer commitments. For example, in the United States there is a single supplier of EO for our sterilization business. Further, our reliance on a single or limited number of suppliers may limit our negotiating power, particularly during times of rising direct material costs.
We source a substantial portion of our Co-60 supply from three nuclear reactor operators and five reactor sites in Canada and Russia under contracts that extend to between 2024 and 2064. See Item 1,Business—Our Businesses—Nordion—Nuclear Reactor Operators.” If there were a decrease in output or disruption at any of these reactors (including as a result of a natural disaster or other adverse occurrence), the counterparties failed to perform under their agreements with us or declined to enter into renewal contracts with us for our future supply needs and we are unable to obtain supply from other sources, or if such sources begin to compete with us in one or more geographies, this could have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, a number of reactors that have the capacity to generate Co-60 are government owned. Priorities of governments can change. Any repurposing of a government-owned reactor that generates Co-60 for an alternative use has in the past and could in the future lead to a decrease in Co-60 availability, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
We estimate approximately 20% of our long-term supply of Co-60 will be generated by Russian nuclear reactors. Further, over the next few years, we expect that there will be periods when, due to planned or unplanned outages and variability in supply from individual reactors, the proportion of our supply from Russian reactors may increase to as much as approximately 50% for
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a given year. The United States, Canada and the European Union have imposed sanctions against Russian industries, Russian officials and certain Russian companies, banks, logistics providers and individuals. Russia has responded with countermeasures, including limiting the import of certain goods from the United States and other countries. Expanded sanctions could target government-owned operations, including Russian nuclear reactor operators, Russian government or private owned banks and Russian logistics providers, and could prevent us from doing business with them. In addition, some international logistics providers have voluntarily ceased doing business involving Russia. The U.S. government has also implemented certain sanctions targeting non-U.S. persons for activities conducted outside the United States that involve specific sanctions targets or certain activities related to sanctioned countries, any of which could prohibit us from conducting routine commercial transactions with Russian entities that are engaged in certain transactions related to sanctioned countries or sanctioned parties. If the U.S., Canada or the European Union broaden the scope of sanctions against Russia (whether through new sanctions or interpretations of existing sanctions) and prevent the importation or shipment of (or payment for) Russian-sourced Co-60, or if we are unable to identify international logistics providers needed for the supply of Co-60 from Russia, or the Russian government responds with further countersanctions, it may make it generally more difficult or impossible to do business with Russian entities. Any sanctions or countermeasures could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Any interruptions that we experience with our key suppliers, regarding the availability of Co-60 or EO, changes in regulatory requirements regarding the use of Co-60 or EO or unavailability or short-supply of raw materials or services, may disrupt or cause a shutdown of portions of our operations, materially increase our costs or have other adverse consequences on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Industry trends could impact the demand for our products and services and could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Industry trends that affect medical device, pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies affect our business. The medical device industry is characterized by frequent product development and technological advances, which may reduce demand for our sterilizing and testing services if our existing services no longer meet our customers’ requirements. Any significant decrease in life science research and development expenditures by medical device, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including as a result of a general economic slowdown, could in turn impact the volumes of medical products that require sterilization or lab testing services. Future demand for Co-60 or our sterilization services could also be adversely impacted by changes to preferred sterilization modalities. Our ability to adapt our business to meet evolving customer needs depends upon the development and successful commercialization of new services, new or improved technologies and additional applications of our technology for our customers’ new products. We can give no assurance that any such new services will be successful or that they will be accepted in the marketplace. Any failure to develop or commercialize new services and technologies and any decrease in demand for our products or services could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
If changes in healthcare regulations or other developments in the healthcare industry, including concerns around single-use medical devices or the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, were to lead to a material reduction in medical procedures or use of medical devices, demand for our services could be adversely affected. For example, during the pandemic, there has been an increase in deferred elective procedures, which negatively impacts demand for some of our products and services as a result of a decrease in the need for sterilized single-use medical devices used in these procedures. For more information, see Risk Factor “— The COVID-19 pandemic has had and could continue to have adverse effects on our business, financial condition and results of operations, which could be material.” Demand for our products and services may also be affected by changes from time to time in the laws and regulations that govern our operations and industry, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which in turn impact industry trends. New regulatory requirements could lead to changes in the medical device industry and the behavior of our customers that are difficult to predict but could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. Further, if any significant disposal restrictions or requirements are imposed that materially increase the cost or administrative burden of the disposal process for single-use medical devices, hospitals and other end-users of such devices might decrease their use of such devices in favor of reusable medical products, which would decrease the demand for our services, which could in turn have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Changes in environmental, health and safety regulations or preferences may negatively impact our business.

Federal, state and international authorities regulate all of our operations within the three business units, including the operation of our gamma irradiation and EO processing plants, as well as the operations of our customers. If any of the regulators that govern our operations or the operations of our customers were to institute severely restrictive policies or regulations that
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increase our costs or change the preferences or requirements of our customers, demand for our products and services may be materially affected. Additionally, certain regulators, including the FDA, have started initiatives to encourage development of sterilization alternatives to EO processing. We have taken part in some of these initiatives. We have also made proactive, voluntary investments to enhance the emissions controls within our EO facilities. However, new regulations or changes to existing or expected regulations may require additional investments in new emissions control technology or otherwise increase the cost of our gamma irradiation or EO processing. See related Risk Factor “—We are subject to extensive regulatory requirements and routine regulatory audits in our operations. We must receive permits, licenses and/or regulatory clearance or approval for our operations. Compliance with these regulations is costly, and failure to comply with all laws and regulations or to receive or maintain permits, licenses, clearances or approvals may negatively impact our revenues, profitability, financial condition or value.” Reconfiguring a gamma irradiation or EO processing plant so that it is suitable for a different sterilization technology, in response to changes in demand or other factors, would require significant capital investment and require us to suspend operations at the affected facility during the conversion. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Safety risks associated with the use, storage and disposal of potentially hazardous materials, such as EO and Co-60, may result in accidents or liabilities that materially affect our results of operations.
EO is flammable and potentially explosive. An explosion or fire could occur at the sterilization facilities at which we use EO, including due to an accidental ignition of EO in an uncontrolled environment. Particular care must be exercised in order to avoid inadvertently causing an explosion or fire, which could interrupt our normal operations at or cause a shut-down of the affected facility while repairs are made. Any EO explosion or similar incident could result in the closure of our facilities, workplace injuries, property damage or otherwise adversely affect our business.
Because Co-60 is radioactive, its containment and proper shielding is very important in preventing contamination or improper exposure. If the double-encapsulated Co-60 pencils were to become damaged or corroded, Co-60 sources could develop a source leak, leading to radioactive contamination requiring comprehensive clean-up of the storage pool. Similarly, physical damage to the protective stainless-steel covering during the process of adding or removing Co-60 rods from an irradiator could also result in a source leak and contamination incident. Clean-up and disposal costs for damaged Co-60 rods and radioactive contamination could be significant. If any liability claims are made against us in the future, we could be liable for damages that are alleged to have resulted from such exposure or contamination.
Potentially hazardous materials must be handled and disposed of properly. Accidents involving disposal or handling of these substances, including accidents resulting from employees failing to follow safety protocols, could result in injury to property, the environment and human health, as well as possible disruptions, restrictions or delays in production, and have in the past and could in the future result in claims relating to such events. For example, members of our workforce in the past have been injured in our facilities. Any injuries or damage to persons, equipment or property or other disruption in the disposal, production, processing or distribution of products could result in a significant decrease in operating revenue, a significant increase in costs to replace or repair and insure our assets and substantial reputational harm, which could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations, and could have legal consequences that affect our ability to continue to operate the affected facility. Our customers served by an affected facility could choose to switch to an alternative sterilization service provider.
Any incident at any of our EO, gamma or lab facilities that causes harm to workers or others or the interruption of normal operations at such facility could result in substantial liability to us. We are currently the subject of lawsuits alleging that purported EO emissions from certain of our current and former facilities have resulted in toxicological or health-related impacts on the environment, the communities that surround our facility and a customer’s employees. We deny these allegations and intend to vigorously defend against these claims. We have also from time to time been involved with workers’ compensation claims relating to potentially hazardous materials. We may be subject to similar claims in the future, and one or more adverse judgments could result in significant liability for us and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. See related Risk Factors “—We are currently defending certain litigation, and we are likely to be subject to additional litigation in the future” and “—Potential health risks associated with the use of EO may subject us to future liability claims and other adverse effects.”
Nordion contracts for the activation of Co-59 “targets” (cobalt pellets and slugs) into Co-60 in certain nuclear reactors in Canada and Russia. Our Co-59 targets (and in Canada, our adjuster rods provided to us by a supplier) function as part of the reactors’ reactivity control systems. While national laws or international conventions generally channel liability for nuclear incidents exclusively to reactor operators, equipment suppliers could be subject to lawsuits for damage to the nuclear installation or damages allegedly intentionally caused. While we make efforts to protect our interests through contractual
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provisions, quality assurance programs and the nature of our commercial relationships, there is no assurance that any of these measures will prove effective in shielding us from liability, and any such liability or consequences could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operation and financial condition.
We currently carry pollution liability insurance for all our facilities and related operations and liability insurance, including from third party bodily injury or property damage allegedly arising from the storage, use, transportation or accident involving Co-60 sources throughout our operations. However, such insurance may not cover all risks associated with the potential hazards of our business and is subject to limitations, including deductibles and maximum liabilities covered. We may incur losses beyond the limits, or outside the coverage, of our insurance policies. Additionally, our insurance for future alleged environmental liabilities excludes coverage for EO claims. Our ability to increase pollution liability insurance limits or replace any policies upon their expiration without exclusions for claims related to alleged EO exposure has been adversely impacted by claims against us, including current claims alleging that purported EO emissions from certain of our facilities have resulted in toxicological or health-related impacts on the environment, the communities that surround our facility and a customer’s employees. We deny these allegations and are vigorously defending against these claims. To the extent any pollution liability is not covered by our insurance or able to be recovered from other parties, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Potential health risks associated with the use of EO may subject us to future liability claims and other adverse effects.
Potential health risks associated with exposure to EO under certain conditions subject us to the risk of liability claims being made against us by workers, contractors and others, including individuals who reside or have resided near our EO sterilization facilities and employees of our customers. Assessments of the potential health risks of exposure to EO have evolved over time. For example, although EO is present in the environment from a variety of sources and naturally produced by the human body, the USEPA has identified a potential for increased risk of certain cancers from exposure to EO. In 2016, the USEPA published its Integrated Risk Information System toxicity assessment of EO (the “IRIS Assessment”), and in 2018, the USEPA published an updated National Air Toxics Assessment, which utilized the IRIS Assessment and data collected in 2014, identifying EO as a potential cancer concern in several areas across the country, including areas surrounding our Willowbrook facility and our facilities in Atlanta and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Another organization has disagreed with aspects of the IRIS Assessment on the carcinogenic potency of EO. We expect risk assessments related to EO will continue to evolve and be examined and that EO facilities, including Sterigenics facilities, will continue to be the subject of future air quality assessments. We can give no assurance as to the impact of current or future EO risk or air quality assessments on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. See related Risk Factor “—We are subject to extensive regulatory requirements and routine regulatory audits in our operations. We must receive permits, licenses and/or regulatory clearance or approval for our operations. Compliance with these regulations is costly, and failure to comply with all laws and regulations or to receive or maintain permits, licenses, clearances or approvals may hurt our revenues, profitability, financial condition or value.”
We are currently the subject of tort lawsuits alleging personal injury by purported exposure to emissions and releases of EO from our facilities in Willowbrook and Atlanta. Additionally, we are defendants in a lawsuit by certain employees of a contract sterilization customer in Georgia who allege personal injury by workplace exposure to EO. We are also defendants in lawsuits alleging that our Atlanta facility has devalued and harmed plaintiffs’ use of real properties they own in Smyrna, Georgia and caused other damages. Additional personal injury and property devaluation claims have been threatened. We are also defendants in a lawsuit brought by the State of New Mexico, ex rel. Hector Balderas, Attorney General alleging that emissions of EO from our Santa Teresa facility constitute a public nuisance, have materially contributed to increased health risks suffered by residents in the area, and that injunctive relief should be awarded requiring us to cease uncontrolled emissions of EO from the Santa Teresa facility, including by making certain modifications to sterilization processes at the facility. We deny the allegations and are vigorously defending these claims. See related Risk Factor “—We are currently defending certain litigation, and we are likely to be subject to additional litigation in the future,” Item 3,Legal Proceedings” and Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements. It is likely that we will be subject to other claims by or on behalf of similar groups of plaintiffs in the future relating to any of our current or former facilities. In addition, we have encountered and will likely continue to encounter resistance, protests or other actions in communities where our existing facilities are located or where we seek to establish or expand facilities based on the perceptions of the risk associated with exposure to EO held by some residents and officials of these communities. This publicity may also have other adverse impacts, including damage to our reputation and public pressure against our facilities that may affect our ability to conduct our business.
If we are the subject of other lawsuits related to emissions and releases of EO, that litigation, regardless of the merits of the claims at issue or the ultimate outcome of the case, could result in a substantial cost to us and could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
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We are currently defending certain litigation, and we are likely to be subject to additional litigation in the future.
Our business exposes us to significant potential risk from lawsuits, investigations and other legal proceedings. We are currently pursuing and defending various proceedings and will likely be subject to additional proceedings in the future, including potential litigation regarding the products and services we provide or which we or our predecessors have provided. We are currently the subject of tort lawsuits alleging personal injury by purported exposure to emissions and releases of EO from our facilities in Willowbrook and Atlanta. Jury trials in individual lawsuits related to our facility in Willowbrook are scheduled to begin in Cook County, Illinois in July 2022. Additionally, we are defendants in a lawsuit by certain employees of a contract sterilization customer in Georgia who allege personal injury by purported workplace exposure to EO. We are also defendants in lawsuits alleging that our Atlanta facility has devalued and harmed plaintiffs’ use of real properties they own in Smyrna, Georgia and caused other damages. Additional property devaluation claims have been threatened and additional personal injury claims may be filed. We are also defendants in a lawsuit brought by the State of New Mexico, ex rel. Hector Balderas, Attorney General alleging that emissions of EO from our Santa Teresa facility constitute a public nuisance and have materially contributed to increased health risks suffered by residents in the area. In June 2021, the Court in that lawsuit entered an Order Granting Preliminary Injunction prohibiting Sterigenics from allowing any uncontrolled emission or release of EO from the facility. In December 2021 the Court in that lawsuit further ordered certain protocols to monitor Sterigenics’ compliance with the injunction. We deny the allegations in these claims and are vigorously defending against them. However, one or more adverse judgments could result in significant liability for us and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we are involved in litigation in Georgia against local officials to allow us to resume operations at our Atlanta facility that had been suspended while we installed enhancements to our EO emissions control systems. See Item 3,Legal Proceedings” and Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements for more detail on our pending litigation.
In litigation, including those described above, plaintiffs may seek various remedies, including without limitation declaratory and/or injunctive relief; compensatory or punitive damages; restitution, disgorgement, civil penalties, abatement, attorneys’ fees, costs and/or other relief. Settlement demands may seek significant monetary and other remedies, or otherwise be on terms that we do not consider reasonable under the circumstances. In some instances, even if we comply with applicable laws and regulations, including those relating to emission standards, an adverse judgment or outcome may occur based on other applicable laws or principles of common law, including negligence and strict liability, and result in significant liability and reputational damage for us. Defense of litigation may result in diversion of management attention from other priorities. It is likely that we will be subject to other claims in addition to those described above by or on behalf of similar groups of plaintiffs in the future relating to any of our current or former facilities or activities. In addition, awards against and settlements by our competitors or publicity associated with our current litigation could incentivize parties to bring additional claims against us.
The financial impact of litigation, particularly class action and mass action lawsuits, is difficult to assess or quantify. If we are the subject of future lawsuits, regardless of the merits of the claims at issue or the ultimate outcome of a case, any litigation could be costly to defend, could result in an increase of our insurance premiums, and exhaust any available insurance coverage. Claims against us that result in entry of a judgment or we settle that are not covered or not sufficiently covered by insurance policies, or which fall within retained liability under our policies, could have a material adverse impact on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. Our current environmental liability insurance does not cover future claims related to EO. Even where we have coverage for claims brought against us, our insurance may not be adequate to cover all potential liabilities and losses arising from those claims, and we have significant self-insured retention amounts, which we would have to pay in full before obtaining any insurance proceeds. Additionally, even where a claim should be covered by insurance, an insurer might refuse coverage. To the extent our insurance coverage is inadequate and we are not successful in identifying additional coverage for such claims, we would have to pay any costs or losses in excess of policy limits, including potentially costs to defend such claims, and the amount of any settlement or judgment. For example, while our historical environmental liability insurance did cover litigation related to EO, like the litigation pending in Willowbrook, Atlanta and Santa Teresa described above, the policy under which we have received coverage has limits of $10.0 million per occurrence and $20.0 million in the aggregate. The per occurrence limit related to the Willowbrook litigation is fully utilized and the $10.0 million coverage remaining is currently being utilized for the ongoing legal costs associated with the EO claims related to our facilities in Atlanta and Santa Teresa. As of December 31, 2021, we have utilized approximately $2.2 million of the remaining $10.0 million limit. Any settlement or judgment against us arising out of the litigation pending in Willowbrook, Atlanta or Santa Teresa would likely exceed the remaining insurance recoveries available to us and could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. See Item 3, Legal Proceedings and Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements for more detail on our pending litigation.
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Safety risks associated with the transportation of potentially hazardous materials, such as EO and Co-60, may result in accidents or liabilities that materially affect our results of operations.
Our products, supplies and by-products are transported through a combination of ground, sea and air transport. Co-60 and EO are radioactive and potentially combustible, respectively, and must be handled carefully and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. An incident in the transportation of our raw materials, products and by-products or our failure to comply with laws and regulations applicable to the transfer of such products could lead to human injuries or significant property damage, regulatory repercussions or could make it difficult to fulfill our obligations to our customers, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Our EO and Co-60 raw materials are potentially hazardous and could make our facilities and transportation vehicles targets for terrorists, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations. We are subject to stringent requirements regarding how we secure these materials. If our failure to adequately secure these materials leads to their being stolen or materially damaged, our licenses to operate could be suspended resulting in a material adverse effect to our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. Any such incident could also have legal consequences, such as violations of regulatory requirements and/or lawsuits for personal injuries, property damage or diminution, and similar claims could result in substantial liability to us. Additionally, loss of control of Co-60 sources by a customer could result in contamination and significant public health consequences.
Our business is highly competitive, and if we fail to compete successfully, our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations may be adversely affected.
We face competition from other providers of outsourced sterilization and lab services. In addition, some manufacturers have in-house sterilization and lab testing and related capabilities, and further consolidation within our industry and within our customers’ industries could impact our ability to compete. Further, our competitors and potential competitors are attempting to develop alternate technologies, in particular improved x-ray sterilization technology, which would not be reliant on the availability of Co-60. If any of our competitors significantly expand their sterilization or lab testing facility capacity, including as a result of these alternative technologies, it could lead to price fluctuations and competitive pricing pressure, diminish our profitability or lead to changes in our customer relationships across our business segments. We generally compete on the basis of quality, reputation, the cost of sterilization services, the cost of transportation to and from the sterilization facility and processing turnaround time. If our services, supply, support, distribution or cost structure do not enable us to compete successfully, including against alternative technologies, or we are unable to successfully develop and adopt alternative technologies ourselves, our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected. The expansion of alternative sterilization technologies may require us to build new facilities, which can be time-consuming and costly.
If Co-60 source suppliers in other countries, including China, India, Argentina or Russia, significantly increase their involvement in the global Co-60 sources market, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. Additionally, several customers of our Nordion business are themselves providers of sterilization services and therefore are competitors of our Sterigenics business. If these customers were to shift to a different source for their supply of Co-60 sources, because they prefer to use a supplier not affiliated with us or for any other reason, it could materially adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. Further, if a Nordion customer were to lose market share to a competitor using an alternative sterilization provider, we would similarly lose sales volumes, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Additionally, Nelson Labs faces a wide variety of competitors, including small, specialized niche players, large, broad multinational corporations and internal laboratories that can perform the services that we provide. Shifts in the market that diminish our customers’ preference for outsourcing their testing and large, well-funded competitors entering more directly into the specialized lab services that we provide may adversely affect our business.
Certain of our long-term contracts include variable price clauses and are subject to market changes, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our aggregate direct input costs, including labor, raw materials and energy represents a significant portion of our cost of revenues. We have experienced and may continue to experience, volatility and increases in the price of certain of these costs as a result of global market and supply chain disruptions and the broader inflationary environment. For more information, see Risk Factor “—Inflationary trends in the price of our input costs, such as labor, raw materials and energy, could adversely affect our business and financial results.” The prices of the direct materials we utilize vary with market conditions and may be highly
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volatile. Additionally, the cost of energy for some of our facilities is regulated, and we are required to work with the local utility provider, which prevents us from contracting for a lower rate or seeking an alternate supplier. Although we have attempted, and will continue to attempt, to match increases in the prices of direct materials or energy with corresponding increases in prices for our products and services, our ability to pass through increases in our input costs is highly dependent upon market conditions and we may not be able to immediately raise such prices, if at all. Most of our customer contracts for sterilization services allow us to pass through our direct material costs, but we may not be able to immediately or completely implement increases in the prices of our products and services. Specifically, there is a risk that raising prices charged to our customers could result in a loss of sales volume. Reactions by our customers and competitors to our price increases could cause us to reevaluate and possibly reverse or reduce such price increases. Any increase in the price of labor, raw materials, or energy could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Allegations of our failure to properly perform our services may expose us to potential product liability claims, recalls, penalties and reputational harm or could otherwise cause a material adverse effect on our business.
We face the risk of financial exposure to product and other liability claims alleging that our failure to adequately perform our services resulted in adverse effects, including product recalls or seizures, adverse publicity and safety alerts. In our Sterigenics business, for example, while our customers are generally responsible for determining the cycle parameters (the levels of temperature, humidity and EO concentration to which products are exposed during the sterilization process and the duration of such exposure) or dosage specifications (the amount of gamma or E-beam irradiation to which products are exposed) for their products, we are required to certify that such cycle or dosage parameters were achieved. If we fail to process a customer’s product in accordance with the cycle parameters, dosage specifications or testing requirements prescribed by the customer, our standard contract requires us to inform our customer of the nonconformance, to reprocess or retest the product if that is a feasible alternative and to reimburse the customer (subject to a maximum) for the cost of any such product which is damaged as a result of the nonconformance. We could be held liable in the future for personal injury, contractual or other damages that are alleged to result from improper or incorrect processing, cycle parameters or dosage specifications, testing or product damage. Even where processing occurred within cycle parameters, we have faced in the past and may face in the future claims of personal injury resulting from processing. In our Nelson Labs business, if we fail to perform our services in accordance with regulatory requirements for medical products, regulatory authorities may take action against us or our customers. Regulatory authorities may disqualify certain analyses from consideration in connection with marketing authorizations, which could result in our customers not being able to rely on our services in connection with their submissions, may subject our customers to additional studies or testing and delays in the development or authorization process, and may lead our customers to take actions such as terminating their contracts with us. We could also face claims that we performed erroneous or out-of-specification testing or data integrity complaints, any of which could require retesting, and could result in claims of economic or other loss or personal injury.
In our Nelson Labs business, through the acquisition of BioScience in March 2021, we periodically engage in clinical trials or studies and are subject to additional regulatory requirements, including those relating to human subject protection, good clinical practices and data privacy. Any actual or perceived failure to meet such requirements may result in regulatory authorities taking action against us or our customers, and we may face claims or be held liable for harm caused to human subjects.
We derive limited revenue from government customers and our government contracts may contain additional requirements that may increase our costs of doing business, subject us to additional government scrutiny and expose us to liability for failure to comply with contractual requirements. In our Nordion business, our processing and sale of medical-grade Co-60 used for radiation therapy involve an inherent risk of exposure to product liability claims, product recalls and product seizures. In addition, our installation of irradiators for our customers could expose us to design defect product liability claims, whether or not such claims are valid. A product liability judgment against us could also result in substantial and unexpected costs, affect customer confidence in our products, damage our reputation and divert management’s attention from other responsibilities.
Although we maintain product and professional liability insurance coverage in amounts we believe are customary, there can be no assurance that this level of coverage is adequate or that we will be able to continue to maintain our existing insurance or obtain comparable insurance at a reasonable cost, if at all. In addition, insurance coverage is subject to exclusions, which change from time to time based on industry developments. Our product and professional liability insurance does not cover matters related to EO emissions, for example. A product recall or seizure or a partially or completely uninsured judgment against us could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
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We are subject to extensive regulatory requirements and routine regulatory audits in our operations. We must receive permits, licenses and/or regulatory clearance or approval for our operations. Compliance with these regulations is costly, and failure to comply with all laws and regulations or to receive or maintain permits, licenses, clearances or approvals may hurt our revenues, profitability, financial condition or value.
Our industry is characterized by evolving regulations, and our operations are subject to extensive regulation in the United States and other countries where we do business. We are regulated by national and local agencies with jurisdiction over a number of areas directly or indirectly related to our businesses, including environmental, nuclear safety, homeland or national security, worker safety and health, food, drug and device manufacturing, fire protection, research, and marketing, transportation, drug enforcement (governing the handling of controlled substances), protection against infectious diseases and pathogens and agriculture, fish and wildlife. These laws and regulations regulate our use of potentially hazardous materials, such as EO, Co-60 and E-beam, and can require us to carefully manage, control emissions of or limit human exposure to, these materials. For example, OSHA regulations and similar laws in other jurisdictions limit worker exposure to EO. In addition, FDA regulations dictate the acceptable amount of EO residue on different types of sterilized products. In most jurisdictions, we are required to maintain and operate pollution control equipment to minimize emissions and releases of EO. Regulations issued by OSHA, the NRC and other agencies also require that equipment used at our facilities be designed and operated in a manner that is safe. In the United States, the use of EO for medical device sterilization is regulated by the USEPA under FIFRA and the CAA. Our supplier maintains a FIFRA registration for the EO they sell in the United States that is used to sterilize or reduce the viable microorganisms on a listed group of products, including medical devices, pharmaceutical products, cosmetics and spice products. The USEPA is in the process of reviewing EO’s FIFRA re-registration eligibility in accordance with the provisions of FIFRA. In November 2020, the USEPA released a draft risk assessment for public comment regarding the re-registration review, stating that mitigation measures are necessary to protect the health of workers at facilities that use EO and surrounding communities. The next step in the FIFRA re-registration process would be to issue a proposed interim decision, which is used to outline the potential risk management options to address any potential risks of concern. As a condition of continued registration, the USEPA is likely to require enhancements to the processes and equipment for use of EO used for the listed applications. Any future failure of the USEPA to allow the FIFRA re-registration of EO would have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
There have been ongoing regulatory developments at USEPA relating to EO emissions, which could trigger additional community concerns and litigation regarding EO that could cause us to incur material defense costs, could result in diversion of management resources, and potentially could cause us to incur material liability or settlement costs or have other adverse effects on our business, financial condition, or operations. For example, in 2021 the USEPA Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) published multiple reports critical of the USEPA’s communications about risks related to EO facilities, including Sterigenics facilities in Willowbrook and elsewhere, and suggesting that the USEPA should conduct a new residual risk and technology review for EO emitting industrial source categories, which may lead to additional regulatory restrictions and oversight. In addition, in December 2021, the USEPA expanded the scope of reporting requirements to require most EO sterilization facilities in the U.S., including Sterigenics facilities, to report their EO emissions to a USEPA database, starting in 2022, a practice Sterigenics previously followed until 2017.
In January 2022, the USEPA proposed updated National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (“NESHAP”) regulations for EO emissions at miscellaneous organic chemical manufacturing facilities, including EO manufacturers. While the January 2022 NESHAP proposal does not regulate our facilities, the EPA is expected in a subsequent rulemaking in 2022 to propose new NESHAP regulations for commercial EO sterilization facilities, with which sterilization facilities like ours will be required to comply. The European Union also is reviewing the current regulations for the use of EO in EO sterilization facilities, which is expected to result in additional compliance obligations. We expect to incur capital costs for enhancements to our equipment and to implement process automation and emission control enhancements to comply with these and other changing requirements. If future regulations differ from our current expectation, they may require additional modifications and capital costs beyond what we have budgeted for, which could be material.
In the United States, our gamma irradiation facilities are heavily regulated, including by the NRC and state regulations. These laws and regulations specify the requirements for, among other things, maximum radiation doses, system designs, safety features and alarms and employee monitoring, testing and reporting. While some specific requirements are different in the various jurisdictions other than the United States, the fundamental concepts are consistent, since all are signatories to the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”) conventions and have adopted safety standards from the IAEA and recommendations from the International Commission on Radiological Protection. The design, construction and operation of sterilization and lab testing facilities are highly regulated and require government licenses, including environmental approvals and permits, and may be subject to the imposition of related conditions that vary by jurisdiction. In some cases, these approvals and permits entail periodic review. We cannot predict whether all licenses required for a new facility will be granted or whether
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the conditions associated with such licenses will be achievable. Changes in these laws and regulations have the potential to increase our costs.
Additionally, our operations in the United States and the majority of our facilities outside the United States (to the extent we are processing a product in that facility that will end up in the U.S. market) are regulated by the FDA. We are also regulated by other health regulatory authorities in other countries. Specifically, these operations include some of our sterilization and product testing activities that may constitute “manufacturing” activities and are subject to FDA requirements. The FDA may issue Form 483 findings or warning letters or take other administrative or enforcement actions for noncompliance with FDA laws and regulations and the issues raised by such warning letters require significant resources and time to correct. Failure to comply with regulatory requirements could have a material adverse effect on our business.
To the extent Nordion in the future ceases to operate its facility in Kanata, Canada, Nordion will be responsible for the radiological decommissioning of such facility, including in respect of the portion leased by BWX Technologies, Inc. (“BWXT”) in connection with its acquisition of the Medical Isotopes business to the extent any contamination precedes such transaction. In addition, if Sterigenics in the future ceases to operate any of its irradiation facilities, it will be responsible for decommissioning costs in respect of such facilities. We currently provide financial assurance for approximately $50 million of such decommissioning liabilities in the aggregate in the form of letters of credit, surety bonds or other surety. Such potential decommissioning liabilities may be greater than currently estimated if additional irradiation facilities are licensed, unexpected radioactive contamination of those facilities occur, regulatory requirements change, waste volume increases, or decommissioning cost factors such as waste disposal costs increase.
See Item 1,Business—Governmental Regulation and Environmental Matters” for more information on the regulatory requirements of our businesses.
Compliance with these regulations, as well as our own voluntary programs that relate to maintaining the safety of our employees and facilities as well as the environment, and the safety and competitiveness of our equipment, systems and facilities, may be difficult, burdensome or expensive. Any change in these regulations, the interpretation of such regulations as well as our customers’ perception of such changes will require us to make adaptations that may subject us to additional costs, and ultimate costs and the timing of such costs may be difficult to accurately predict and could be material. Regulatory agencies may refuse to grant approval or clearance or may require the provision of additional data, and regulatory processes may be time consuming and costly, and their outcome may be uncertain in certain of the countries in which we operate. Failure to secure renewal of permits or tightening of restrictions within our existing permits could have a material adverse effect on our business or cause us to incur material expenses. Regulatory agencies may also change policies, adopt additional regulations or revise existing regulations, each of which could impact our ability to provide our services or increase our costs. Additionally, local regulatory authorities may change the way in which they interpret and apply local regulations in response to negative public pressure about our facilities. For example, officials stopped operations at one of our facilities purportedly to review our fire and building code status and certificate of occupancy.
Our failure to comply with the regulatory requirements of these agencies and officials may subject us to administratively or judicially imposed sanctions. These sanctions include, among others, warning letters, notices of violation, fines, civil penalties, criminal penalties, injunctions, debarment, product seizure or detention and total or partial suspension of operations, sale and/or promotion. While we strive to comply with these regulatory requirements, we have not always been and may not always be in compliance and, as a result, can be subject to significant civil and criminal fines and penalties, including the shutdown of our operations or the suspension of our licenses, permits or registrations. See Item 3, Legal Proceedings and Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements and related Risk Factor “—Potential health risks associated with the use of EO may subject us to future liability claims and other adverse effects.” The failure to receive or maintain, or delays in the receipt of, relevant U.S. or international regulatory qualifications could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Our operations are subject to a variety of business continuity hazards and risks, including supply chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate-change and our reliance on the use and sale of products and services from single locations, any of which could interrupt production or operations or otherwise adversely affect our performance, results or value.
In addition to the other risks described, our operations and our supplier and customers’ operations are subject to business continuity hazards and risks that include explosions, fires, earthquakes, inclement weather and other natural disasters; utility, equipment or other mechanical failures; unscheduled downtime; labor difficulties; disruption of communications; terrorist,
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security breach or other workplace violence event; changes in the use of government-owned reactors, including repurposing nuclear facilities; other governmental action; and pandemics or other public health crises.
It can be costly to ship products long distances for the purpose of sterilization; therefore, our ability to offer a full range of sterilization services close to our customers’ manufacturing and distribution centers worldwide is critical for our business. An adverse occurrence at one of our facilities or the facilities of a supplier or customer could damage our business. While other facilities in our network may have the capacity to service our customers that had been served by an affected facility, we may not be able to transfer all interrupted services. The stringent regulations and requirements we are subject to regarding the manufacture of our products and provision of services and the complexities involved with processing of Co-60 may prevent or delay us from establishing additional or replacement sources for our production facilities. Any event, including those listed above or other circumstances that results in a prolonged business disruption or shutdown to one or more of our facilities, could create conditions that prevent, or significantly and adversely affect, our receiving, processing, manufacturing or shipping products at existing levels, or at all. Such events could adversely affect our sales, increase our expenses, create potential liabilities and/or damage our reputation, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Supply chain disruptions, such as the ones related to the COVID-19 pandemic, may impair or delay our ability to obtain sufficient quantities of certain materials through our ordinary supply channels and cause us to incur higher costs by procuring raw materials from other sources in order to compensate for such delays or lack of availability. Supply chain disruptions such as these may impair or delay our customers’ ability to provide us work or products for processing. At the same time, climate-change related disruptions may affect the availability, quality and pricing of materials used in the operation of our business or our customers’ businesses. There is growing evidence that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have an adverse impact on global temperatures, weather and precipitation patterns, and the frequency and severity of extreme weather and natural disasters, such as floods, wildfires, droughts and water scarcity. To the extent such climate change effects have a negative impact on our procurement of materials and supplies, it could impact the availability, quality and pricing of such raw materials. To the extent such climate change effects have a negative impact on our customers, it could impact the volume of work they provide to us. If we are not able to successfully mitigate such supply chain and climate-change related risks, we could experience disruptions in production or increased costs, which may result in decrease in our gross margin or reduced sales, and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
In addition, since we obtain Co-60 from a limited number of reactors, if any of their facilities were to be seriously damaged or have their production materially decrease due to a natural disaster or other adverse occurrence, our access to Co-60 would be materially affected and we may be unable to meet all the needs of our customers. See related Risk Factor “—We depend on a limited number of counterparties that provide the materials and resources we need to operate our business.”
Further, governmental action may disrupt the operations of our facilities that process potentially hazardous materials. For example, in October 2019, county officials precluded operations at our Atlanta facility until a new certificate of occupancy was obtained after a third-party code-compliance review. Although our Atlanta facility resumed operations under an April 2020 Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting county officials from interfering with normal operations, our facility could be forced to close again upon the resolution of related litigation. In addition, in June 2021, the Court in a lawsuit related to our facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, entered an Order Granting Preliminary Injunction prohibiting Sterigenics from allowing any uncontrolled emission or release of EO from that facility. In December 2021, the Court further ordered certain protocols to monitor Sterigenics’ compliance with that preliminary injunction. Although operations at the Santa Teresa facility comply with these orders, operations there may be negatively impacted if it is unable to comply in the future. The occurrence of any of these or other events might disrupt or shut down operations or otherwise adversely impact the production or profitability of a particular facility or our operations as a whole.
While we maintain insurance policies covering, among other things, physical damage, business interruptions and liability resulting from our services in amounts that we believe are customary for our industries, our insurance coverage may be inadequate or unavailable and we could incur uninsured losses and liabilities arising from such events.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had and could continue to have adverse effects on our business, financial condition and results of operations, which could be material.
The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the governmental responses, has had a negative effect on the global economy, disrupting the financial markets and creating increasing volatility, and has disrupted our operations. For example, during the pandemic, there has been an increase in deferred elective procedures, which negatively impacts demand for some of our products and services as a result of a decrease in the need for sterilized medical devices used in these procedures. Further,
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although our operations are considered “essential” in all locations where we operate, we have experienced, and may experience in the future, temporary facility closures while awaiting appropriate government approvals in certain jurisdictions or delays in delivering products or services to customers. The extent to which our operations will be impacted by the outbreak will largely depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be accurately predicted, including mandatory closures of our facilities imposed by government authorities, work-from-home orders and social distancing protocols, significant rates of employee infection or other currently unforeseen restrictions that could adversely affect our ability to adequately staff and maintain our operations, and those effects could be material. For example, during the pandemic we have experienced delayed deliveries at certain locations as a result of governmental travel restrictions enacted in response to COVID-19. We have implemented business continuity planning, including to transition staff off-site to decrease exposure risk and to manage supply chain risk for critical materials, but we cannot guarantee that these measures will be successful.
If the COVID-19 outbreak disrupts our supply chain or our customers’ supply chains, it could adversely impact our ability to secure supplies or customer work for our facilities, which could adversely affect our operations, and those effects could be material. During the pandemic customer supply chain disruptions have had an impact on operations at certain of our locations, including causing capacity constraints due to delayed deliveries of customer products for processing. The pandemic, and ongoing uncertainty related to new variants of COVID-19, and the response thereto, including vaccination and booster vaccination efforts, continue to evolve, and we cannot at this time forecast its ultimate duration, severity or the impact to our business, customers, our supply chain or our customers’ supply chains. This negative impact could continue for an extended period of time or more severely impact our financial condition and results of operations, and continued weak or worsening economic conditions could negatively impact consumer demand for our products and services. Additionally, compliance with vaccine mandates to the extent they are imposed in the jurisdictions in which we operate may lead to employee absences, resignations, or labor shortages. Any such mandates may also affect our suppliers or customers, which could disrupt our access to raw materials and customer product processing and exacerbate supply-chain related risks. Future pandemics and public crises could impact our business in a similar or worse manner. See related Risk Factor “—Our operations are subject to a variety of business continuity hazards and risks, including supply chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate-change and our reliance on the use and sale of products and services from single locations, any of which could interrupt production or operations or otherwise adversely affect our performance, results or value.”
Inflationary trends in the price of our input costs, such as labor, raw materials and energy, could adversely affect our business and financial results.
We have experienced and may continue to experience, volatility and increases in the price of certain input costs, such as labor, raw materials and energy costs, as a result of global market and supply chain disruptions and the broader inflationary environment.
If we are unable to increase the prices to our customers of our products or services to offset inflationary cost trends, or if we are unable to achieve cost savings to offset such cost increases, our profits and operating results could be adversely affected. For more information, see Risk Factor “—Certain of our long-term contracts include variable price clauses and are subject to market changes, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.” Our ability to price our services and products competitively to timely reflect higher input costs is critical to maintain and grow our sales. Increases in prices of our services and products to customers may lead to declines in sales volumes. Further, we may not be able to accurately predict the volume impact of price increases, especially if our competitors are able to more successfully adjust to such input cost volatility. Increasing our prices to our customers could result in long-term sales declines or loss of market share if our customers find alternative suppliers or choose to reformulate to rely less on our services or products, which could have an adverse long-term impact on our results of operations. 
If we are unable to increase capacity at existing facilities and build new facilities in a timely and cost-effective manner, we may not achieve our expected revenue growth or profitability or such revenue growth and profitability, if any, could be delayed.
Our growth strategy depends on expanding capacity in Europe, the Americas and Asia, which includes building new facilities and maintaining and expanding existing facilities. The construction or expansion of modern and safe sterilization facilities requires significant expenditures. Delay in the review and licensing process for a new facility could impair or delay our ability to develop that facility or increase the cost so substantially that the facility becomes unattractive to us. Any failure to procure and maintain the necessary licenses and equipment would adversely affect ongoing development, construction and continuing operation of our facilities. Additionally, even when we maintain the necessary licenses and equipment and are in compliance with applicable regulations, we may be unable to maintain or expand our operations at existing facilities, or otherwise execute on our growth strategy, due to negative publicity or community resistance. Suspensions and closures of our facilities have in the
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past and may continue to impact our results of operations, and the effects could be material. Those new facilities that are constructed and begin operations may not meet our return expectations due to schedule delays, diversion of management’s attention, cost overruns or revenue shortfalls, or they may not generate the capacity that we anticipate or result in the receipt of revenue in the originally anticipated time period or at all. We may not maintain revenue growth or profitability, or such growth, if any, could be delayed if we are not successful in continuing to expand capacity. Additionally, if future demand trends warrant capacity in geographic areas that we have not targeted for new growth, we may be unable to capitalize on opportunities in a timely manner.
We depend upon our ability to attract and retain highly skilled employees. If we fail to attract and retain the talent required for our business, our operations could be adversely affected and our business could be materially harmed.
We depend to a significant degree on our ability to hire and retain highly qualified personnel with expertise in our industries. The market for qualified employees in the industries in which we operate is competitive and our ability to operate, compete and grow our business depends on our ability to hire and retain qualified personnel in all areas of our organization. If our recruiting efforts are less successful, or if we cannot retain our key personnel, performance of our operations may suffer and we may be delayed or prevented from achieving our business objectives. If we are unable to attract and retain highly skilled employees, our inability to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.

We occupy many of our facilities under long-term leases, and we may be unable to renew our leases at the end of their terms.
Many of our facilities are located on leased premises. These leases vary in length up through 2040, most with options to renew for specified periods of time. All sterilization facility leases expiring in the next five years have extension options in place. We expect to renew or buyout such leases as they come due. At the end of the lease term and any renewal period for a facility, we may be unable to renew the lease without substantial additional cost, if at all. For example, in September 2019, we were unable to reach an agreement to renew the lease on our EO processing facility in Willowbrook, following community pressure resulting from negative publicity surrounding our Willowbrook facility. If we are unable to renew our facility leases, we may be required to relocate or close a facility. Relocating a facility involves significant expense in connection with the movement and installation of specialized equipment and any necessary recertification or licensing with regulatory authorities. Closing a facility, even briefly to relocate, would reduce the sales that such facility would have contributed to our revenues and could negatively impact our customer relations. Any such relocation or closure could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
We conduct sales and distribution operations on a worldwide basis and are subject to a variety of risks associated with doing business outside the United States.
We maintain significant international operations, including operations in China, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and other countries in Europe and Asia. As a result, we are subject to a number of risks and complications associated with international sales, services and other operations, as well as risks associated with U.S. foreign policy. These include:
difficulties associated with compliance with numerous, potentially conflicting and frequently complex and changing laws in multiple jurisdictions, e.g., with respect to environmental matters, intellectual property, privacy and data protection, corrupt practices, embargoes, trade sanctions, competition, employment and licensing;
general economic, social and political conditions in countries where we operate, including international and U.S. trade policies and currency exchange rate fluctuations;
tax and other laws that restrict our ability to use tax credits, offset gains or repatriate funds;
currency restrictions, transfer pricing regulations and adverse tax consequences, which may affect our ability to transfer capital and profits;
inflation, deflation and stagflation in any country in which we have a manufacturing facility;
foreign customers with longer payment cycles than customers in the United States; and
imposition of or increases in customs duties and other tariffs.
We operate in a number of countries throughout the world, including in countries that do not have as strong a commitment to anti-corruption and ethical behavior that is required by U.S. laws or by our corporate policies. Based on the nature of our products, these activities involve potential interaction with government agencies, public officials or state-owned enterprises. We are subject to the risk that we, our U.S. employees or our employees located in other jurisdictions or any third party that we
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engage to do work on our behalf may take action determined to be in violation of anti-corruption laws in any jurisdiction in which we conduct business. The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) and the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (the “CFPOA”) prohibit corruptly providing anything of value to foreign officials for the purposes of obtaining or retaining business or securing any improper business advantage. We may deal with both governments and government-owned business enterprises, the employees of which are considered foreign officials for purposes of the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws. The provisions of the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010 (the “Bribery Act”) extend beyond bribery of foreign public officials and are more onerous than the FCPA in a number of other respects. Any violation of the FCPA, the CFPOA, the Bribery Act or any similar anti-corruption law or regulation could result in substantial fines, sanctions or civil and/or criminal penalties, debarment from business dealings with certain governments or government agencies or restrictions on the marketing of our products in certain countries, which could harm our business, financial condition or results of operations. If these anti-corruption laws or our internal policies were to be violated, our reputation and operations could also be substantially harmed. Further, detecting, investigating and resolving actual or alleged violations is expensive and can consume significant time and attention of our senior management.
Compliance with multiple, and potentially conflicting, international laws and regulations, including anti-corruption laws and exchange controls may be difficult, burdensome or expensive. While our employees and agents are required to comply with these laws, our internal policies and procedures may not always prevent violations. Further, in connection with past and future acquisitions by us, there is a risk of successor liability relating to such laws in connection with prior actions or alleged actions of an acquired company. Such matters or allegations related to such matters could adversely affect our reputation and the burden and cost associated with defending or resolving such matters could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
 Further, as a result of our global operations, we generate a significant portion of our revenue and incur a significant portion of our expenses in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, including the euro, the Brazilian real, the British pound sterling, the Chinese yuan, the Thai baht, the Mexican peso, the Danish krone, the Costa Rica colon and the Canadian dollar. Our results of operations are impacted by currency exchange rate fluctuations to the extent that we are unable to match net revenues received in foreign currencies with expenses incurred in the same currency. For example, where we have significantly more expenses than net revenues generated in a foreign currency, our profit from operations in that location would be adversely affected in the event that the U.S. dollar depreciates against that foreign currency.
We may be adversely affected by global and regional economic and political instability.
We may be adversely affected by global and regional economic and political conditions. The uncertainty or deterioration of the global economic and political environment could adversely affect us. Customers may modify, delay or cancel plans to purchase our products and services and suppliers may significantly and rapidly increase their prices or reduce their output because of cash flow problems. Any inability of current or potential customers to purchase or pay for our products due to, among other things, declining economic conditions as a result of inflation, rising interest rates, changes in spending patterns at medical device, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and the effects of governmental initiatives to manage economic conditions may have a negative impact on our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. Overall demand for our products could be reduced as a result of a global economic recession or political unrest, especially in such areas as the medical device, pharmaceutical, food safety and other end markets that we serve.
We are subject to significant regulatory oversight of our import and export operations due to the nature of some of our product offerings.
Our products and materials needed to make our products are subject to U.S. and Canadian laws and regulations that may limit, restrict or require a license to import or export (or re-export from other countries). We are also subject to the export and import laws of those other foreign jurisdictions in which we operate, sell our products into and from which we source our materials, including Co-60. In addition, if we introduce new products or would like to participate in new capital investment projects, we may need to obtain licenses or approvals from the United States, Canada and other governments to ship products to or share technology or intellectual property with third parties located in foreign countries. Because of increasing security controls and regulations regarding the shipment of materials including Co-60, it is likely that we may encounter additional regulations affecting the transportation, storage, sale and import/export of radioactive materials. Further, any delay or inability to obtain these permits and licenses could delay or prevent us from fulfilling our obligations to our customers or suppliers, which could harm our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and other relevant agencies of the U.S. government administer certain laws and regulations that restrict U.S. persons and, in some instances, non-U.S. persons, from
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conducting activities, transacting business with or making investments in certain countries, or with governments, entities and individuals subject to U.S. economic sanctions. Our international operations subject us to these laws and regulations, which are complex, restrict our business dealings with certain countries, governments, entities and individuals and are constantly changing. Penalties for non-compliance with these complex laws and regulations can be significant and include substantial fines, sanctions or civil and/or criminal penalties and violations can result in adverse publicity, which could harm our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our business may be subject to system interruptions, cyber security breaches and unauthorized data disclosures.
We increasingly rely upon technology systems and infrastructure. Our technology systems and infrastructure are potentially vulnerable to breakdowns or other interruptions by fire, power loss, system malfunction, unauthorized access and other events. Likewise, data privacy breaches by employees and others with both permitted and unauthorized access to our systems may pose a risk that sensitive data may be exposed to unauthorized persons or to the public, rendered inaccessible or permanently lost. The increasing use and evolution of technology creates additional opportunities for the unintentional dissemination or intentional destruction of confidential or proprietary information stored in our systems or portable media or storage devices. We could also experience a business interruption, information theft or reputational damage from industrial espionage attacks, ransomware, other malware or other cyber incidents or data breaches, which may compromise our system infrastructure or lead to data breaches, either internally or at our third-party providers or other business partners. Such incidents could compromise our trade secrets or other confidential information and result in such information being disclosed to third parties and becoming less valuable. Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of our office employees continue to work remotely, which may increase the risk of cyber incidents or data breaches. Breaches in security, system interruptions and unauthorized disclosure of data, whether perceived or actual, could adversely affect our businesses, assets, revenues, brands and reputation and result in fines, litigation, regulatory proceedings and investigations, increased insurance premiums, remediation efforts, indemnification expenditures, lost revenues and other potential liabilities. We have taken steps to protect the security and integrity of the information we collect and have policies and procedures in place dealing with data privacy and security, but there can be no assurance that our efforts will prevent breakdowns, system failures, breaches in our systems or other cyber incidents or otherwise be fully effective. Any such breakdown, breach or incident could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations, and our cyber insurance may not cover such risks or may be insufficient to compensate us for losses that may occur.
Part of our growth strategy is to pursue strategic transactions, including acquisitions, which subjects us to risks that could harm our business and we may not be able to find suitable acquisition targets or integrate strategic acquisitions successfully into our existing business.
As part of our strategy, we have in the past and may in the future seek to grow our business through acquisitions, and any such acquisition may be significant. Any future growth through acquisitions will depend in part upon the continued availability of suitable acquisition candidates at favorable prices and upon advantageous terms and conditions, which may not be available to us, as well as sufficient funds from our cash on hand, cash flow from operations, existing debt facilities and additional indebtedness to fund these acquisitions.
Not only is the identification of such suitable acquisition candidates difficult and competitive, but these transactions, including the acquisitions completed in recent years also involve numerous risks, including the diversion of management’s attention and their ability to:
successfully integrate acquired facilities, companies, products, systems or personnel into our existing business, especially with respect to businesses or operations that are outside of the United States;
minimize any potential interruption to our ongoing business;
successfully enter categories and markets in which we may have limited or no prior experience, and ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements for such categories and markets;
achieve expected synergies and obtain the desired financial or strategic benefits;
detect and address any financial or control deficiencies of the acquired company;
retain key relationships with employees, customers, partners and suppliers of acquired companies as well as our own employees, customers, partners and suppliers; and
maintain uniform compliance standards, controls, procedures and policies throughout acquired companies.
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Companies, businesses or operations acquired or joint ventures created may not be profitable or may not achieve revenue and profitability levels that would justify the investments made. Recent and future acquisitions could also result in the incurrence of indebtedness, subject to the restrictions contained in the documents governing our then-existing indebtedness. See related Risk Factor “—Our significant leverage could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, expose us to interest rate risk to the extent the interest rate on variable rate debt increases and prevent us from meeting our obligations under our existing and future indebtedness.”
Recent and future acquisitions could also result in the assumption of contingent liabilities, material expenses related to certain intangible assets, increased operating expenses and compliance issues under international laws and regulations, including antitrust laws, anti-corruption laws, the FCPA and similar anti-bribery laws, which could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, to the extent that the economic benefits associated with any of our acquisitions diminish in the future, we may be required to record additional write-downs of goodwill, intangible assets or other assets associated with such acquisitions, which could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
Certain of the acquisition agreements by which we have acquired companies require the former owners to indemnify us against certain liabilities related to the operation of the company before we acquired it. In most of these agreements, however, the liability of the former owners is limited, and certain former owners may be unable to meet their indemnification responsibilities. We cannot assure you that these indemnification provisions will protect us fully or at all, and as a result we may face unexpected liabilities that adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. Our ability to realize the benefits we anticipate from our strategic transactions, including acquisition activities, anticipated cost savings and additional sales opportunities, will depend in large part upon whether we are able to integrate such businesses efficiently and effectively. If we are unable to successfully integrate the operations of acquired businesses into our business or on the timeline we expect, we may be unable to realize the sales growth, cost synergies and other anticipated benefits we expect to achieve as a result of such transactions and our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our internal controls over financial reporting may not be effective and our independent registered public accounting firm may not be able to certify as to their effectiveness, which could have a significant and adverse effect on our business and reputation.
Pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we furnished a report by our management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021 beginning with the filing of our Annual Report on Form 10-K with the SEC for the year ended December 31, 2021. This assessment is required to include disclosure of any material weaknesses identified by our management in our internal control over financial reporting. Our independent registered public accounting firm attested to the effectiveness of our internal controls as of December 31, 2021.
In future periods, if we identify a material weakness in connection with our ongoing assessment and we fail to remediate the identified material weakness within the prescribed period, we will be unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective. We cannot be assured that there will not be material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting in the future. Any failure to maintain internal control over financial reporting could severely inhibit our ability to accurately report our financial condition or results of operations. In addition, we may be required to incur costs in improving our internal control system and the hiring of additional personnel. If we are unable to conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our independent registered public accounting firm determines we have a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, the market price of shares of our common stock could decline and we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the Nasdaq, the SEC or other regulatory authorities. Failure to remedy any material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, or to implement or maintain other effective control systems required of public companies, could also restrict our future access to the capital markets.
We rely on intellectual property rights to maintain our competitive position and third parties may claim that we infringe or misappropriate their intellectual property rights.
We rely on proprietary technology and are dependent on our ability to protect such technology. We rely primarily on trade secrets and non-disclosure and confidentiality arrangements to protect our intellectual property rights, including such rights as related to our Nelson Labs business and its lab testing services. The efforts we have taken to protect our intellectual property and proprietary technology may not be sufficient or effective. Third parties, including current or former employees, consultants, contractors, customers or partners, who have access to our confidential information (including our trade secrets and know-how), may unintentionally or willfully disclose our confidential information to others, and there can be no assurance that our trade
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secret rights and non-disclosure and confidentiality arrangements will provide meaningful protection of our proprietary technology. There can also be no assurance that others will not independently develop similar or superior technologies or duplicate any technology developed by us. Effective protection of intellectual property rights may not be available in every jurisdiction in which our products and services are made available, and monitoring unauthorized use and disclosures of our proprietary technology or confidential information can be difficult and expensive. Actions to enforce our intellectual property rights could lead to disputes with third parties, including our customers, and could impact our future ability to gain business. Furthermore, legal proceedings to protect or enforce our intellectual property rights could result in narrowing the scope of our intellectual property rights or substantial cost to us, and they may be time consuming and divert resources and the attention of management and key personnel, and the outcomes of such actions may be unpredictable.
Additionally, we cannot be certain that the conduct of our business does not and will not infringe or misappropriate intellectual property rights of others. From time to time, we may become subject to claims, allegations and legal proceedings, including by means of counterclaims, that we infringe or misappropriate intellectual property or other proprietary rights of third parties. Such legal proceedings involving intellectual property rights are highly uncertain, can involve complex legal and scientific questions and may divert resources and the attention of management and key personnel. Our failure to prevail against infringement or misappropriation claims brought against us could also result in judgments awarding substantial damages against us, including possible treble damages and attorneys’ fees, and could result in reputational harm. Judgments that result in equitable or injunctive relief could cause us to delay or cease selling or providing certain products or services or otherwise harm our operations. We also may have to seek third party licenses to intellectual property, which may be unavailable, require payment of significant royalties or be available only at commercially unreasonable, unfavorable or otherwise unacceptable terms.
If we are unable to adequately protect, establish, maintain or enforce our intellectual property rights or if we are subject to any infringement or misappropriation claims, our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations may be adversely affected.
We are subject to complex and rapidly evolving data privacy and security laws and regulations and any ineffective compliance efforts with such laws and regulations may adversely impact our business.
We must comply with laws and regulations in federal and state governments in multiple jurisdictions governing the collection, dissemination, retention, access, use, protection, security and disposal of personal data, which mostly consists of our employees’ data. The interpretation and application of many existing or recently enacted privacy and data protection laws and regulations in the United States, the European Union and elsewhere are uncertain and fluid, and it is possible that such laws and regulations may be interpreted or applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our existing practices. Companies are under increased regulatory scrutiny relating to data privacy and security. Any actual or perceived breach of such laws or regulations may subject us to claims and may lead to administrative, civil or criminal liability, as well as reputational harm. Moreover, these laws are evolving and are generally becoming stricter. For example, activities conducted from our EU facilities or related to products and services that we may offer to EU users or customers are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) (“GDPR”), which provides for enhanced data privacy obligations and fines of up to the higher of 4% of annual worldwide revenues or €20 million. The GDPR was transposed into United Kingdom domestic law following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. This is known as the UK GDPR and it supplements the United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act of 2018. The UK GDPR mirrors the compliance requirements and fine structure of the GDPR. Outside of the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union, many jurisdictions have adopted or are adopting new data privacy laws that impose further onerous compliance requirements, such as data localization, which prohibit companies from storing outside the jurisdiction data relating to resident individuals. The proliferation of such laws may result in conflicting and contradictory requirements and there can be no assurance that the measures we have taken will be sufficient for compliance with such various laws and regulations. Complying with these various laws is an ongoing commitment and could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices in a manner adverse to our business. Privacy-related claims or lawsuits initiated by governmental bodies, employees, customers or third parties, whether meritorious or not, could adversely affect our businesses, assets, revenues, brands and reputation and result in fines, litigation, regulatory proceedings, regulatory investigations, increased insurance premiums, remediation efforts, indemnification expenditures, lost revenues and other potential liabilities. We take steps to comply with applicable data privacy and security laws, regulations and standards and applicable privacy policies, but there can be no assurance that our compliance efforts will be effective. Any such failure to comply could adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
We have a history of net losses and may not maintain profitability in the future.
We have a history of net operating losses, including a net loss attributable to Sotera Health Company of $38.6 million and $20.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Although we reported net income attributable to Sotera
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Health Company of $116.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, we may not be able to maintain profitability in future fiscal years. Our ability to maintain profitability depends on a number of factors, including the growth rate of the sterilization and lab services industries, the price of our products and services, the cost to provide our products and services and the competitiveness of our products and services. We may incur significant losses in the future for a number of reasons, including due to principal and interest expense related to our indebtedness and the other risks described herein, and we may encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications and delays and other unknown events. As a result, our operations may not maintain or increase profitability in the future.
We may incur impairment charges on our goodwill and other intangible assets with indefinite lives as well as other long-lived assets and intangible assets with definite lives, which could negatively impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We are subject to Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 350, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other, which requires that goodwill and other intangible assets that have an indefinite useful life be evaluated at least annually for impairment. Goodwill and other intangible assets with indefinite lives must also be evaluated for impairment between the annual tests if an event or change in circumstance occurs that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of the asset below its carrying amount. We have substantial goodwill and other intangible assets. If in the future, we determine that there has been an impairment, our financial results for the relevant period would be reduced by the amount of the non-cash impairment charge, net of any income tax effects, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
Similarly, pursuant to ASC Topic 360—Property, Plant, and Equipment, long-lived assets, such as property, plant and equipment and intangible assets subject to amortization, must be reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset or asset group may not be recoverable. If in the future, we determine that there has been an impairment of long-lived assets or intangible assets subject to amortization, our financial results for the relevant period would be reduced by the amount of the non-cash impairment charge, net of any income tax effects, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
Unionization efforts and labor regulations in certain countries in which we operate could materially increase our costs or limit our flexibility.
Certain of our employees in non-U.S. markets are represented by works councils or labor unions and work under collective bargaining or similar agreements, some of which are subject to periodic renegotiation. Efforts have been made from time to time to unionize portions of our workforce in the United States and we may experience similar efforts in the future. In October 2021, a labor union filed a petition with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) seeking to represent our employees at the Sterigenics facility in Gurnee, Illinois. In December 2021, the NLRB held an election and certified that a majority of employees did not vote for the union and that no union was the exclusive bargaining representative of employees in Gurnee. Unionization efforts, new collective bargaining agreements or work stoppages could materially increase our costs, reduce our net revenues or limit our flexibility. Certain legal obligations in these markets require us to contribute amounts to retirement funds and pension plans and restrict our ability to dismiss employees. Future regulations or court interpretations established in the countries in which we conduct our operations could increase our costs and materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. The collective bargaining agreements applicable to our employees in Brazil and Mexico expire annually. The collective bargaining agreement applicable to Nordion’s Canadian employees located in Kanata expires on March 31, 2024. Failure to renew the agreements on similar terms could result in labor disruptions and/or increased labor costs, which could negatively affect our business and operations.
Our business is subject to a variety of laws involving the cannabis industry, many of which are unsettled and still developing and which could subject us to claims or otherwise harm our business.
We provide bioburden reduction irradiation services for the processing of cannabis, primarily in Canada and certain European countries. The commercial recreational cannabis industry is a relatively new industry in Canada, and in Canada, the Cannabis Regulations is a regime that has only been in effect in its current form since October 2018. Likewise, laws and regulations governing cannabis in European countries have evolved rapidly over recent years. In the United States, marijuana (all parts of the cannabis plant other than those parts that are exempt) is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. Our activity related to marijuana in the United States is de minimis and has been limited to activity in compliance with applicable U.S. federal law. In other countries in which the cultivation and use of marijuana is legalized, most notably in Canada, our operations include irradiation services for recreational and medical marijuana. As laws in the United States, Canada, Europe and other jurisdictions evolve, our activities in these spaces may face additional regulations that may be costly or burdensome to be in compliance.
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 Government or private civil antitrust actions could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
The antitrust laws prohibit, among other things, any joint conduct among competitors that would lessen competition in the marketplace. We believe that we are in compliance with the legal requirements imposed by the antitrust laws. However, a governmental or private civil action alleging the improper exchange of information, or unlawful participation in price maintenance or other unlawful or anticompetitive activity, even if unfounded, could be costly to defend and could harm our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.
We may have greater than anticipated tax liabilities, which could harm our business, revenue and financial results.
We operate in a number of tax jurisdictions globally, including in the United States at the federal, state and local levels, and in many other countries, and we therefore are subject to review and potential audit by tax authorities in these various jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities, and tax authorities may disagree with tax positions we take and challenge our tax positions. Successful unilateral or multi-jurisdictional actions by various tax authorities, including in the context of our current or future corporate operating structure and third-party and intercompany arrangements, may increase our worldwide effective tax rate, result in additional taxes or other costs or have other material consequences, which could harm our business, revenue and financial results.
Our effective tax rate may also change from year to year or vary materially from our expectations based on changes or uncertainties in the mix of activities and income allocated or earned among various jurisdictions, changes in tax laws and the applicable tax rates in these jurisdictions (including future tax laws that may become material), tax treaties between countries, our eligibility for benefits under those tax treaties and the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities. Such changes could result in an increase in the effective tax rate applicable to all or a portion of our income, impose new limitations on deductions, credits or other tax benefits or make other changes that may adversely affect our business, cash flows or financial performance. For example, if we are unable to fully realize the benefit of interest expense incurred in future periods as a result of recent tax law changes (as discussed below), we may need to recognize a valuation allowance on any related deferred tax assets, which would impact our annual effective income tax rate.
Additionally, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), enacted on March 27, 2020, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 and its consequences, introduced substantial changes to the U.S. tax code. For example, among other changes, the CARES Act increased interest expense deductibility limitations and waived certain limitations on the use of net operating losses, in each case, for certain years prior to 2021.
Finally, on July 23, 2020, final regulations were published that exempt certain income subject to a high rate of foreign tax from inclusion under GILTI for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.
The cumulative impact of these and other changes in tax law is uncertain and our business and financial condition could be adversely affected.
 Risks Related to Our Indebtedness and Liquidity
Our significant leverage could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, expose us to interest rate risk to the extent the interest rate on our variable rate debt increases and prevent us from meeting our obligations under our existing and future indebtedness.
As of December 31, 2021, our total indebtedness was approximately $1,763.6 million, all of which is indebtedness of Sotera Health Holdings, LLC (“SHH”) that is guaranteed by the Company and certain of our other subsidiaries. We also had an additional $347.5 million of unutilized capacity under our Revolving Credit Facility (as defined herein) at that date (without giving effect to $113.8 million of letters of credit that were outstanding). See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
Our indebtedness is variable interest rate debt. Our estimated debt service obligations for the next 12 months, which are comprised solely of interest payments, are $58.4 million, based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) benchmark interest rate and the outstanding principal amount of indebtedness of $1,763.6 million, each as of December 31, 2021. For the year ended December 31, 2021, our cash flow used for debt service totaled $58.8 million, which was comprised solely of interest payments on our debt. This excludes the early redemption premium and principal amount repaid in connection with the early redemption of the senior secured first lien notes due 2026 (“First Lien Notes”) described below. There were no other principal payments due on our debt obligations for the year ended December 31, 2021.
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In November and December 2020, we repaid $341.0 million aggregate principal amount of the Term Loan and redeemed in full all of the $770.0 million aggregate principal amount of outstanding senior secured second-lien notes (“Second Lien Notes”) of SHH. In connection with the redemption of the Second Lien Notes, we paid a $15.4 million early redemption premium. In addition, on August 27, 2021, we redeemed in full all of the $100.0 million aggregate principal amount of the First Lien Notes. In connection with this redemption, the Company paid a $3.0 million early redemption premium. For the year ended December 31, 2021, our cash flows from operating activities totaled $281.5 million, which includes interest paid of $58.8 million. As such, our cash flows from operating activities (before giving effect to the payment of interest) amounted to $340.3 million. For the year ended December 31, 2021, cash payments used to service our debt represented approximately 17% of our net cash flows from operating activities (before giving effect to the payment of interest).
Our high degree of leverage could have important consequences, including:
making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations;
increasing our vulnerability to general economic and industry conditions;
requiring a substantial portion of cash flow from operations to be used to pay off principal and interest on our indebtedness, thereby reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, capital expenditures and future business opportunities;
exposing us to the risk of increased interest rates as our indebtedness is at variable interest rates;
restricting us from making strategic acquisitions or causing us to make non-strategic divestitures;
limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, product development, debt service requirements, acquisitions and general corporate or other purposes;
limiting our ability to adjust to changing market conditions and placing us at a disadvantage compared to our competitors that are less highly leveraged; and
causing us to pay higher rates if we need to refinance our indebtedness at a time when prevailing market interest rates are unfavorable.
We and our subsidiaries may obtain substantial additional indebtedness in the future, subject to the restrictions contained in SHH’s senior secured credit facilities (the “Senior Secured Credit Facilities”). If new indebtedness is added to our current debt levels, the related risks that we now face could intensify.
 Because we are exposed to interest rate risk through our variable-rate borrowings, we have entered into and may, in the future, enter into additional interest rate swaps that involve the exchange of floating for fixed rate interest payments in order to reduce interest rate volatility and interest rate cap agreements. However, we may not maintain interest rate swaps with respect to any of our variable rate indebtedness, and any swaps we enter into may not fully mitigate our interest rate risk. Further, current interest rates are relatively low. If interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on any variable rate indebtedness will increase even if the amount borrowed remains the same, and our earnings and cash flows, including cash available for servicing our indebtedness, will correspondingly decrease. Based on our indebtedness outstanding as of December 31, 2021 and the interest rate under our Term Loan that was in effect on December 31, 2021, a 1% increase in the LIBOR benchmark interest rate would result in an approximately $1.9 million increase in total annual interest expense under our outstanding debt obligations. Refer to Note 10, “Long-Term Debt” to our consolidated financial statements.
Our debt agreements contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business.
The Senior Secured Credit Facilities contain various covenants that limit our ability to engage in specified types of transactions. These covenants limit our ability and our restricted subsidiaries’ ability to, among other things:
incur additional indebtedness or issue certain shares of preferred stock;
pay dividends on, repurchase or make distributions in respect of our capital stock or make other restricted payments;
make certain investments and acquisitions;
sell or transfer assets;
grant liens on our assets;
consolidate, merge, sell or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets; and
enter into certain transactions with our affiliates.
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In addition, under certain circumstances we are required to satisfy and maintain specified financial ratios and other financial condition tests under certain covenants in our Senior Secured Credit Facilities. See Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources.” Our ability to meet those financial ratios and tests can be affected by events beyond our control, including prevailing economic, financial market and industry conditions, and we cannot give assurance that we will be able to satisfy such ratios and tests when required.
A breach of any of these covenants could result in a default under each of our Senior Secured Credit Facilities. Upon the occurrence of an event of default, the lenders could elect to declare all amounts outstanding under the Senior Secured Credit Facilities immediately due and payable and terminate all commitments to extend further credit. If we were unable to repay those amounts, the lenders under the Senior Secured Credit Facilities could foreclose on the collateral granted to them to secure each such indebtedness. We have pledged substantially all of our assets as collateral under the Senior Secured Credit Facilities.
Our cash flows may not be sufficient to service our indebtedness, and if we are unable to satisfy our obligations under our indebtedness, we may be required to seek other financing alternatives, which may not be successful.
Our ability to make timely payments of principal and interest on our debt obligations, including our obligations under the Senior Secured Credit Facilities, depends on our ability to generate positive cash flows from operations, which is subject to general economic conditions, competitive pressures and certain financial, business and other factors beyond our control. If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to make these payments, we may be required to seek additional financing sources, reduce or delay capital expenditures, sell assets or operations or refinance our indebtedness. These actions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions and results of operations. In addition, we may not be able to take any of these actions, and even if successful, these actions may not permit us to meet our scheduled debt service obligations. Our ability to restructure or refinance our existing indebtedness will depend on, among other things, the condition of the capital markets and our financial condition at the time. We may not be able to restructure or refinance any of our indebtedness on commercially reasonable terms or at all. If we cannot make scheduled payments on our debt, we will be in default and the outstanding principal and interest on our debt could be declared to be due and payable, in which case we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation or required to substantially restructure or alter our business operations or debt obligations.
A lowering or withdrawal of the ratings assigned to our debt by rating agencies may increase our future borrowing costs and reduce our access to capital.
Any rating assigned to our debt by a rating agency could be lowered or withdrawn entirely if, in that rating agency’s judgment, future circumstances relating to the basis of the rating, such as adverse changes to our ability to service our debt obligations or our general financial condition, so warrant. Any future lowering of our ratings likely would make it more difficult or more expensive for us to obtain additional debt financing. Additionally, we enter into various forms of hedging arrangements against currency, interest rates or commodity price fluctuations. Financial strength and credit ratings are also important to the availability and pricing of any hedging activities we decide to undertake, and a downgrade of our credit ratings may make it more costly for us to engage in these activities.
LIBOR and certain other interest “benchmarks” are subject to regulatory guidance and reform that will cause interest rates under our current or future debt agreements to perform differently than in the past or could cause other unanticipated consequences.
Because our Senior Secured Credit Facilities bear interest at variable interest rates, based on the LIBOR and certain other benchmarks, fluctuations in interest rates could have a material effect on our business. We currently utilize, and may in the future utilize, derivative financial instruments such as interest rate swaps or interest rate caps to hedge some of our exposure to interest rate fluctuations, but such instruments may not be effective in reducing our exposure to interest fluctuations, and we may discontinue utilizing them at any time. As a result, we may incur higher interest costs if interest rates increase. These higher interest costs could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and the levels of cash we maintain for working capital.
In addition, LIBOR and certain other interest “benchmarks” are subject to regulatory guidance and reform that will cause interest rates under our current or future debt agreements to perform differently than in the past or cause other unanticipated consequences. In March 2021, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, confirmed that publication of all of the LIBOR settings for Euro, Sterling and Swiss Franc and some of the LIBOR settings for Japanese Yen and U.S. dollars would cease beginning January 2022 and the remainder of the LIBOR settings for U.S. dollars will cease in June 2023. To identify a successor rate for LIBOR, financial regulators in various countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Switzerland, have formed working groups with the aim of recommending
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alternatives to LIBOR denominated in their local currencies. Some of the financial regulators have identified the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) as their preferred alternative rate for LIBOR.
SOFR is observed and backward-looking, which stands in contrast with LIBOR under the current methodology, which is an estimated forward-looking rate and relies, to some degree, on the expert judgment of submitting panel members. Given that SOFR is a secured rate backed by government securities, it will be a rate that does not take into account bank credit risk (as is the case with LIBOR). Although certain financial regulators have indicated their preference for SOFR as the preferred replacement rate for LIBOR, it is unclear if other benchmarks may emerge or if other rates will be adopted.
Even if the financial instruments transition to using SOFR or another alternative benchmark successfully, the new benchmarks are likely to differ from LIBOR, as the alternative benchmark rate will likely be calculated differently. Borrowings under our revolving credit and term loan facilities are at variable interest rates based on LIBOR. Although our Senior Secured Credit Facilities include mechanics to facilitate the adoption by us and our lenders of an alternative benchmark rate in place of LIBOR, no assurance can be made that such alternative rate will perform in a manner similar to LIBOR and may result in interest rates that are higher or lower than those that would have resulted had LIBOR remained in effect.
A change from LIBOR to SOFR or any of the other proposed alternative reference rates could result in interest obligations that are more than or that do not otherwise correlate over time with the payments that would have been made on this debt if U.S. dollar LIBOR had remained available in its prior form. Any of these proposals or consequences could have a material adverse effect on our financing costs. We have elected to apply the optional expedients for the assessment of hedge effectiveness to cash flow hedges affected by reference rate reform pursuant to Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 848, Reference Rate Reform. When applying this guidance, the phaseout of LIBOR is not expected to adversely affect our assessment of hedge effectiveness or measurement of ineffectiveness for accounting purposes.
Sotera Health Holdings, LLC is a holding company, and therefore its ability to make any required payment on our credit agreements depends upon the ability of its subsidiaries to pay it dividends or to advance it funds.
SHH, the borrower under our Senior Secured Credit Facilities, has no direct operations and no significant assets other than the equity interests of its subsidiaries. Because it conducts its operations through its operating subsidiaries, SHH depends on those entities to generate the funds necessary to meet its financial obligations, including its required obligations under our Senior Secured Credit Facilities. The ability of our subsidiaries to make transfers and other distributions to SHH will be subject to, among other things, the terms of any debt instruments of such subsidiaries then in effect and applicable law. If transfers or other distributions from our subsidiaries to SHH were eliminated, delayed, reduced or otherwise impaired, our ability to make payments on the obligations under our credit agreements would be substantially impaired.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
The market and trading volume of our common stock may be volatile, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
The market price of our common stock may fluctuate or decline significantly in the future. Some of the factors that could negatively affect our share price or result in fluctuations in the price or trading volume of our common stock include those listed in the related Risk Factor “—Risks Related to the Company,” “—Risks Related to Our Indebtedness and Liquidity” and the following, some of which are beyond our control:
volatility or economic downturns in the markets in which we, our suppliers or our customers are located caused by pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and related policies and restrictions undertaken to contain the spread of such pandemics or potential pandemics;
developments in our litigation matters and governmental investigations or additional significant lawsuits or governmental investigations relating to our services or facilities;
regulatory or legal developments in the jurisdictions in which we operate;
adverse publicity about us or the industries in which we participate;
variations in our quarterly or annual results of operations, or in those of our competitors or of companies in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries;
the financial projections we may provide to the public, any changes in these projections or our failure to meet these projections;
sales of our common stock by us or our stockholders in the future or the perception that such sales may occur;
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publication of research reports about the industries in which we participate;
changes in analysts’ estimates, investors’ perceptions, recommendations by securities analysts, our failure to achieve analysts’ estimates or failure of analysts to maintain coverage of us;
volatility in the trading prices and trading volumes of companies similar to us;
changes in operating performance and stock market valuations of companies in our industry;
changes in accounting principles, policies, guidance, interpretations or standards; and
general market conditions and other factors unrelated to our operating performance or the operating performance of our competitors.
Certain broad market and industry factors may decrease the market price of our common stock, regardless of our actual operating performance. The stock market in general has from time to time experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations, including in recent months. In addition, in the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies. This litigation, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or publish negative reports about our business, our share price and trading volume could decline.
The trading market for our common stock depends in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business, our market and our competitors. We do not have any control over these analysts. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our shares or change their opinion of our business, our share price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause our share price or trading volume to decline.
The future issuance of additional common stock in connection with our incentive plans, acquisitions or otherwise will dilute all other stockholdings.
As of February 22, 2022, we had an aggregate of 886,109,800 shares of common stock that are not currently reserved for issuance under our 2020 Omnibus Incentive Plan (“2020 Plan”), as well as 3,052,633 treasury shares. We may issue all of these shares of common stock without any action or approval by our stockholders, subject to certain exceptions. We also intend to continue to evaluate acquisition opportunities and may issue common stock in connection with these acquisitions. Any common stock issued in connection with our incentive plans, acquisitions or otherwise would dilute the percentage ownership held by the investors who own our common stock.
Future offerings of debt or equity securities by us may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
In the future, we may attempt to obtain financing or to further increase our capital resources by issuing additional shares of our common stock or offering debt or other equity securities. Future acquisitions could require substantial additional capital in excess of cash from operations. We would expect to finance any future acquisitions through a combination of additional issuances of equity, corporate indebtedness, asset-backed acquisition financing and/or cash from operations.
Issuing additional shares of our common stock or other equity securities or securities convertible into equity may dilute the economic and voting rights of our existing stockholders or reduce the market price of our common stock or both. Upon liquidation, holders of such debt securities and preferred shares, if issued, and lenders with respect to other borrowings would receive a distribution of our available assets prior to the holders of our common stock. Debt securities convertible into equity could be subject to adjustments in the conversion ratio pursuant to which certain events may increase the number of equity securities issuable upon conversion. Preferred shares, if issued, could have a preference with respect to liquidating distributions or a preference with respect to dividend payments that could limit our ability to pay dividends to the holders of our common stock. Our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, which may adversely affect the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus, holders of our common stock bear the risk that our future offerings may reduce the market price of our common stock and dilute their stockholdings in us.
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A sale of a substantial number of shares of our common stock, or the perception that such sales might occur, may cause the price of our common stock to decline.
Future sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that such sales might occur, could cause the trading price of our common stock to decline. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate.
In connection with our initial public offering (“IPO”), we entered into a stockholders’ agreement with certain holders of our common stock, including investment funds and entities affiliated with either Warburg Pincus or GTCR and members of our management team, which we refer to as the “Stockholders’ Agreement.” Under the Stockholders’ Agreement, stockholders party to the agreement (other than the Sponsors and their affiliates) are subject to contractual restrictions on transfer of shares of our common stock. Those restrictions apply to approximately 27,432,909 shares as of February 22, 2022, but may be waived at any time by a majority of the members of the compensation committee of the board of directors.
 Further, as of February 22, 2022, the Sponsors own approximately 62.1% of our outstanding common stock and have rights to require us to file registration statements covering their shares. The Sponsors and certain other stockholders could also require us to include their shares in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or our stockholders. Additionally, the Sponsors and our officers and directors may sell shares into the public markets in accordance with the requirements of Rule 144 under the Securities Act.
Any sales of securities by any of our stockholders described above could have a material adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.
In the future, we may also issue securities in connection with investments or acquisitions. In particular, 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 such issuance of additional securities in the future may result in additional dilution to you or may adversely impact the price of our common stock.
Although we do not currently rely on the “controlled company” exemption, if we are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq corporate governance standards we would qualify for exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements.
Because the Sponsors own a majority of our outstanding common stock, we may be considered a “controlled company” as that term is set forth in the Nasdaq corporate governance standards. Under these rules, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power is held by another person or group of persons acting together is a “controlled company” and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements, including:
the requirement that a majority of our board of directors consist of independent directors;
the requirement that our director nominations be made, or recommended to the full board of directors, by our independent directors or by a nominations committee that is comprised entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities;
the requirement that our compensation committee be composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities; and
the requirement that we conduct an annual performance evaluation of the nominating and corporate governance and compensation committees.
These requirements would not apply to us as long as we remain a “controlled company.” Although we may qualify as a “controlled company”, we are not currently relying on this exemption and intend to fully comply with all corporate governance requirements under the Nasdaq corporate governance standards. However, if we were to utilize some or all of these exemptions, our stockholders may not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the Nasdaq corporate governance requirements. The Sponsors’ significant ownership interest could adversely affect investors’ perceptions of our corporate governance.
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If the ownership of our common stock continues to be highly concentrated, it may prevent minority stockholders from influencing significant corporate decisions and may result in conflicts of interest.
As of February 22, 2022, the Sponsors own approximately 62.1% of our outstanding common stock. As a result, the Sponsors own shares sufficient for the majority vote over all matters requiring a stockholder vote. Our Stockholders’ Agreement contains agreements among the parties with respect to certain matters, including the election of directors; mergers, consolidations and acquisitions; the sale of all or substantially all of our assets and other decisions affecting our capital structure; the amendment of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws; the termination of our chief executive officer or designation of a new chief executive officer; changes in the composition of committees of our board of directors; entry into or changes to certain compensation agreements; and the issuance of additional shares of our common stock. This concentration of ownership, together with the Sponsors’ rights under our Stockholders’ Agreement, may delay, deter or prevent acts that would be favored by our other stockholders. The interests of the Sponsors may not always coincide with our interests or the interests of our other stockholders. For example, because the Sponsors purchased their shares at prices substantially below the price at which shares were sold to the public in our IPO and have held their shares for a longer period, they may be more interested in selling our Company to an acquirer than other investors or may want us to pursue strategies that deviate from the interests of other stockholders. In addition, under the Stockholders’ Agreement we have agreed, subject to certain exceptions, to indemnify the Sponsors, and various affiliated persons and indirect equity holders of the Sponsors from certain losses arising out of any threatened or actual litigation by reason of the fact that the indemnified persons is or was a holder of our common stock or of equity interests in Sotera Health Company. Public stockholders will not benefit from this indemnification provision.
This concentration of ownership, together with the Sponsors’ rights under our Stockholders’ Agreement, may also have the effect of delaying, preventing or deterring a change in control. As a result, the market price of our common stock could decline or stockholders might not receive a premium over the then-current market price of our common stock upon a change in control. In addition, this concentration of ownership, together with the Sponsors’ rights under our Stockholders’ Agreement, may adversely affect the trading price of our common stock because investors may perceive disadvantages in owning shares in a company with significant stockholders.
Certain of our stockholders have the right to engage or invest in the same or similar businesses as us.
The Sponsors have other investments and business activities in addition to their ownership of us. The Sponsors have the right, and have no duty to abstain from exercising such right, to engage or invest in the same or similar businesses as us, do business with any of our customers or suppliers or employ or otherwise engage any of our officers, directors or employees. If the Sponsors or any of their officers, directors or employees acquire knowledge of a potential transaction that could be a corporate opportunity, they have no duty, to the fullest extent permitted by law, to offer such corporate opportunity to us, our stockholders or our affiliates. This right could adversely impact our business, prospects, financial condition or results of operations if attractive business opportunities are procured by the Sponsors or another party for their own benefit rather than for ours.
In the event that any of our directors and officers who is also a director, officer or employee of any Sponsor acquires knowledge of a corporate opportunity or is offered a corporate opportunity, such person is deemed to have fully satisfied such person’s fiduciary duties owed to us and is not liable to us, to the fullest extent permitted by law, if such Sponsor pursues or acquires the corporate opportunity or does not present the corporate opportunity to us, provided that this knowledge was not acquired solely in such person’s capacity as our director or officer and such person acts in good faith.
The requirements of being a public company, including compliance with the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have increased and are expected to continue to increase our costs and occupy management, and we may be unable to comply with these requirements in a timely or cost-effective manner.
As a public company with shares listed on a U.S. exchange, we need to comply with new laws, regulations and requirements, certain corporate governance provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, related regulations of the SEC, the requirements of the Nasdaq and other applicable rules and regulations, with which we were not required to comply with as a private company. Complying with these statutes, regulations and requirements will occupy a significant amount of time of our board of directors and management and will significantly increase our legal and financial compliance costs and expenses. We have or are in the process of:
instituting a more comprehensive compliance function;
complying with rules promulgated by the Nasdaq;
preparing and distributing periodic public reports in compliance with our obligations under the federal securities laws;
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establishing new internal policies, such as those relating to insider trading; and
involving and retaining, to a greater degree, outside counsel and accountants in the above activities.
Anti-takeover provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, amended and restated bylaws and our Stockholders’ Agreement, as well as Delaware law, could discourage a change in control of our company or a change in our management.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws, our Stockholders’ Agreement and Delaware law contain provisions that might discourage, delay or prevent a merger, acquisition, or other change in control that stockholders may consider favorable, including transactions in which our stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for shares of our common stock. These provisions may also prevent or frustrate attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our management. These provisions include:
limiting the liability of, and providing indemnification to, our directors and officers;
establishing a classified board of directors with three-year staggered terms, which could delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of our board of directors;
providing that directors may be removed only for cause by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% of the voting power of our outstanding common stock; provided that so long as investment funds and entities affiliated with either Warburg Pincus or GTCR, collectively, hold at least 50% of the outstanding shares of our common stock, a director designated by investment funds and entities affiliated with either Warburg Pincus or GTCR, respectively, may be removed with or without cause by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least a majority of the votes that all the stockholders would be entitled to cast in any annual election of directors or class of directors and with the consent of Warburg Pincus or GTCR, respectively;
limiting the determination of the number of directors on our board of directors and the filling of vacancies or newly created seats on the board to our board of directors then in office; provided that for so long as investment funds and entities affiliated with either Warburg Pincus or GTCR have the right to designate at least one director for election to our board of directors, (i) any vacancies will be filled in accordance with the designation provisions set forth in the Stockholders’ Agreement and (ii) the number of directors shall not exceed eleven without the consent of Warburg Pincus or GTCR;
advance notice requirements applicable to stockholders for matters to be brought before a meeting of stockholders and requirements as to the form and content of a stockholders’ notice; provided that no advance notice shall be required for nominations of candidates for election to our board of directors pursuant to the Stockholders’ Agreement;
requiring the affirmative vote of at least 66 2/3% of the voting power of our outstanding common stock to amend certain provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws; provided that so long as investment funds and entities affiliated with either Warburg Pincus or GTCR, collectively, hold at least a majority of our outstanding capital stock, only a majority stockholder vote requirement would apply to such matters;
providing that for so long as investment funds and entities affiliated with either Warburg Pincus or GTCR have the right (individually) to designate at least three directors for election to our board of directors, certain board approvals, including amendments to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or amended and restated bylaws and certain specified corporate transactions, including certain acquisitions, mergers, other business combination transactions and dispositions, may be effected only with the affirmative vote of 75% of our board of directors, in addition to any other vote required by applicable law;
providing that for so long as investment funds and entities affiliated with Warburg Pincus have the right to designate at least one director for election to our board of directors and for so long as investment funds and entities affiliated with GTCR have the right to designate one director for election to our board of directors, in each case, a quorum of our board of directors (and committees of the board of directors on which a director designated by Warburg Pincus or GTCR will serve) will not exist without at least one director designee of each of Warburg Pincus and GTCR present at such meeting; provided that if a meeting of our board of directors (or a committee of the board of directors) fails to achieve a quorum due to the absence of a director designee of Warburg Pincus or GTCR, as applicable, the presence of a director designee of Warburg Pincus or GTCR, as applicable, will not be required in order for a quorum to exist at the next duly noticed meeting of our board of directors (or a committee thereof);
the right to issue blank check preferred stock without stockholder approval, which could be used to dilute the stock ownership of a potential hostile acquirer or adopt a stockholder rights plan;
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a requirement that our stockholders may only take action at annual or special meetings of our stockholders and may not act by written consent; provided that, for so long as investment funds and entities affiliated with either Warburg Pincus or GTCR, collectively, beneficially own a majority of our outstanding capital stock, a meeting and vote of stockholders may be dispensed with, and the action may be taken without prior notice and without such meeting and vote if a written consent is signed by the holders of outstanding stock having not less than the minimum number of votes that would be necessary to authorize or take such action at the meeting of stockholders;
limiting the ability of stockholders to call and bring business before special meetings; provided that for so long as investment funds and entities affiliated with either Warburg Pincus or GTCR, collectively, beneficially own a majority of our outstanding capital stock, special meetings of our stockholders may be called by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting stock; and
limiting the forum to Delaware or Federal Court for certain litigation against us.
In addition, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation contains a provision that provides us with protections similar to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”), and prevents us from engaging in a business combination with a person (excluding the Sponsors and any of their respective direct or indirect transferees and any group as to which such persons are a party) who acquires at least 15% of our common stock for a period of three years from the date such person acquired such common stock, unless board or shareholder approval is obtained prior to the acquisition.
These provisions might discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company or a change in our management. For example, because investment funds and entities affiliated with either Warburg Pincus or GTCR together own a majority of the voting power of our common stock, they could prevent a third party from acquiring us, even if the third party’s offer may be considered beneficial by many of our stockholders. The existence of these provisions could adversely affect the voting power of holders of common stock and limit the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation designates specific courts as the exclusive forum for certain litigation that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ abilities to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the sole and exclusive forum, to the fullest extent permitted by law, for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our current or former directors, officers or other employees or stockholders to us or our stockholders, (3) any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors or officers or other employees or stockholders arising pursuant to, any action to interpret, apply, enforce any right, obligation or remedy under, any provision of the DGCL our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or amended and restated bylaws, (4) any action asserting a claim that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine, or (5) any other action asserting an “internal corporate claim” under the DGCL shall be the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or any state or federal court located within the State of Delaware if the Court of Chancery does not have jurisdiction) (the “Delaware Forum Provision”). Notwithstanding the foregoing, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Delaware Forum Provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act. Section 27 of the Exchange Act creates exclusive federal jurisdiction over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation further provides that unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States of America shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act (the “Federal Forum Provision”).
The Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees. Alternatively, if a court were to find the Delaware Forum Provision or the Federal Forum Provision to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could harm our business, financial condition or results of operations. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in our shares of capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the Delaware Forum Provision and the Federal Forum Provision, but will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder.
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We do not anticipate paying any dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future, and, consequently, stockholders’ ability to achieve a return on their investment will depend on appreciation in the price of our common stock.
We do not expect to declare or pay dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. We currently expect to use any cash flow generated by operations to pay for our operations, repay existing indebtedness and grow our business. Any decisions to declare and pay dividends in the future will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our results of operations, financial condition, cash requirements, contractual restrictions, restrictions imposed by applicable law and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant. Our ability to pay dividends on our common stock is limited by the terms of the Senior Secured Credit Facilities. As a result, capital appreciation, if any, of our common stock will be the sole source of potential gain for the foreseeable future, and stockholders will have to sell some or all of their common stock holdings to generate cash flow from their investment.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Not applicable.
Item 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters is in Broadview Heights, Ohio, our Sterigenics headquarters is in Oakbrook, Illinois, our Nordion headquarters is in Kanata, Ontario and our Nelson Labs headquarters is in Taylorsville, Utah. As of December 31, 2021, we operated 65 facilities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The following table identified the number of owned and leased facilities, other than our headquarters listed above. We believe that our facilities are adequate for our current needs and that suitable additional or substitute space will be available as needed to accommodate planned expansion of our operations.
Segment(1)
Owned Facilities
Owned/Leased
Facilities(2)
Leased Facilities
Sterigenics28416
Nelson Labs519
Nordion11
(1)Seven of our Sterigenics and Nelson Labs facilities are located at the same address but are considered separate facilities because they require separate infrastructure. Two of our Sterigenics facilities are located at the same address but are considered separate facilities because they provide different sterilization modalities and require separate infrastructure.
(2)Owned/leased facilities are comprised of multiple buildings, with some leased and some owned.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
From time to time, we may be subject to various legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of our business, including claims relating to personal injury, property damage, workers’ compensation and employee safety. In addition, from time to time, we receive communications from government or regulatory agencies concerning investigations or allegations of noncompliance with laws or regulations in jurisdictions in which we operate. At this time, and except as is noted herein, we are unable to predict the outcome of, and cannot reasonably estimate the impact of, any pending litigation matters, matters concerning allegations of non-compliance with laws or regulations and matters concerning other allegations of other improprieties, or the incidence of any such matters in the future. Information regarding our legal proceedings is included below.
Legal Proceedings Described in Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” of Our Consolidated Financial Statements
Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2021 contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K includes information on legal proceedings that constitute material contingencies for financial reporting purposes that could have a material effect on our financial condition or results of operations. This item should be read in conjunction with Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” for information regarding the following legal proceedings, which information is incorporated into this item by reference:
Business Interruption Claim (NRU Outage)
Ethylene Oxide Tort Litigation – Illinois and Georgia
Georgia Facility Operations Litigation; and
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New Mexico Attorney General Litigation
Legal Proceedings That Are Not Described in Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” to Our Consolidated Financial Statements
In addition to the matters that are identified in Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2021 contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and incorporated into this item by reference, the following matter also constitutes a material pending legal proceeding, other than ordinary course litigation incidental to our business, to which we are or any of our subsidiaries is a party.
Zoetermeer, Holland Criminal Proceedings and Criminal Financial Investigation
In 2010, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service started criminal proceedings against DEROSS Holding B.V. (“DEROSS”), in relation to alleged environmental permit violations for EO emissions in the period from 2004 to 2009 at its Zoetermeer processing facility. On the basis of the final indictment issued in April 2017, assuming a rarely applied increasing mechanism is not applied in this case, fines in the amount of €0.8 million (US$0.9 million) may be imposed. We have also agreed to defend and indemnify the two individuals overseeing environmental compliance during the time period of the alleged claims by the Public Prosecutor. Assuming a rarely applied increasing mechanism is not applied in this case, the possible monetary penalties relating to the individuals currently are estimated at a maximum of €0.2 million (US$0.2 million).
In November 2010, the Public Prosecution Service also started a criminal financial investigation against DEROSS to determine whether it obtained illegal advantages by committing the alleged criminal offenses noted above. Any illegally obtained advantage could then be recovered from DEROSS in subsequent confiscation proceedings. The Public Prosecution Service estimates the illegally obtained advantage by DEROSS to be €0.6 million (US$0.7 million).
In February 2018, DEROSS and the two individuals received favorable judgments from the trial court, which did not hold any of them responsible for the alleged criminal offenses. In March 2018, the Public Prosecutor filed an appeal against the favorable judgments. The appeal procedure is still pending.
An escrow account was established in 2011 to satisfy indemnity claims for losses related to this matter. The balance of the special escrow as of December 31, 2021, was approximately $1.9 million and additional cash collateral held by ABN Amro to provide security for the claims was approximately €2.4 million (US$2.7 million) as of December 31, 2021. At this time, we expect that the appeal of this matter will likely take several years to resolve; however, we believe the indemnification receivable continues to be recoverable and plan to ensure escrow funds remain in place to cover outcomes of an appeal.
It is possible that individuals living in the vicinity of our former Zoetermeer facility may file civil claims at some time in the future. While we have received letters from a small number of individuals claiming to live or work in the vicinity of the Zoetermeer facility, no civil claims have been filed against DEROSS or us. We have not provided for a contingency reserve in connection with any civil claims as we are unable to determine the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome and no reasonable estimate of a loss or range of losses, if any, can be made.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.
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Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information for Common Stock
The Company’s common stock is listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “SHC.”
Holders
As of February 22, 2022, we had approximately 82 holders of record of our common stock. This does not include the number of stockholders who hold shares of our common stock through banks, brokers or other financial institutions.
Dividends
We do not currently expect to pay any dividends on our common stock. Instead, we intend to use any future earnings for the operation and growth of our business and the repayment of indebtedness.
Future cash dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon, among other things, our financial condition, earnings, capital requirements, level of indebtedness, statutory and contractual restrictions applicable to the payment of dividends and other considerations that our board of directors deems relevant. The timing and amount of future dividend payments will be at the discretion of our board of directors.
Because we are a holding company and have no direct operations, we will only be able to pay dividends from our available cash on hand and any funds we receive from our subsidiaries. The agreements governing our existing indebtedness contain negative covenants that limit, among other things, our ability to pay cash dividends on our common stock, and the terms of any future loan agreement into which we may enter or any additional debt securities we may issue are likely to contain similar restrictions on the payment of dividends. In addition, Delaware law may impose requirements that may restrict our ability to pay dividends.
Stock Performance Graph
The following graph compares the cumulative total return to stockholders on our common stock relative to the cumulative total returns of the NASDAQ Composite Index and the Standard and Poors (“S&P”) 500 Global Health Care Index. An investment of $100 (with reinvestment of all dividends) is assumed to have been made in our common stock and in each index on November 20, 2020, the date our common stock began trading on the Nasdaq, and its relative performance is tracked through December 31, 2021. The returns shown are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance.
https://cdn.kscope.io/a9b651d9219a198e1d46cb40badd10ae-shc-20211231_g4.jpg
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The graph and other information furnished under this Part II Item 5 of this annual report on Form 10-K shall not be deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C under, or to the liabilities of Section 18 of, the Exchange Act.
Item 6. [Reserved]
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion and analysis in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements that are based on management’s current expectations, estimates and projections about our business and operations. Our actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated and expressed in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including the factors we describe in Item 1A, “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
OVERVIEW
We are a leading global provider of mission-critical end-to-end sterilization solutions and lab testing and advisory services for the healthcare industry. We are driven by our mission: Safeguarding Global Health®. We provide end-to-end sterilization as well as microbiological and analytical lab testing and advisory services to help ensure that medical, pharmaceutical and food products are safe for healthcare practitioners, patients and consumers in the United States and around the world. Our customers include more than 40 of the top 50 medical device companies and nine of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies (based on revenue). Our services are an essential aspect of our customers’ manufacturing process and supply chains, helping to ensure sterilized medical products reach healthcare practitioners and patients. Most of these services are necessary for our customers to satisfy applicable government requirements. We give our customers confidence that their products meet regulatory, safety and effectiveness requirements. With our industry-recognized scientific and technological expertise, we help to ensure the safety of millions of patients and healthcare practitioners around the world every year. Across our 65 facilities worldwide, we have over 3,000 employees who are dedicated to safety and quality. We are a trusted partner to approximately 5,500 customers in over 50 countries.
We serve our customers throughout their product lifecycles, from product design to manufacturing and delivery, helping to ensure the sterility, effectiveness and safety of their products for the end user. We operate across two core businesses: sterilization services and lab services. Each of our businesses has a longstanding record and is a leader in its respective market, supported and connected by our core capabilities including deep end market, regulatory, technical and logistics expertise. The combination of Sterigenics, our terminal sterilization business, and Nordion, our Co-60 supply business, makes us the only vertically integrated global gamma sterilization provider in the sterilization industry. This provides us with additional insights and allows us to better serve our customers. For financial reporting purposes, our sterilization services business consists of two reportable segments, Sterigenics and Nordion, and our lab services business consists of one reportable segment, Nelson Labs.
For the year ended December 31, 2021, we recorded net revenues of $931.5 million, net income of $117.1 million, Adjusted Net Income of $245.8 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $481.2 million. Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA are financial measures not based on any standardized methodology prescribed by U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”). For the definition of Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA and the reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures from net income (loss), please see “Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”
TRENDS AND KEY FACTORS AFFECTING OUR RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
We expect that our performance and financial condition will continue to be driven by the key trends impacting our industries, customers and their end markets as outlined in Item 1, “Business”. In addition, we believe the following trends and key factors have underpinned our recent operating results and may continue to affect our performance and financial condition in future periods.
Continue to drive organic growth. During the year ended December 31, 2021, we continued to drive organic growth through increasing utilization of our existing capacity and expanding our capacity and service offerings. In our Sterigenics business, we made strategic investments to expand capacity at existing facilities and build new facilities. In our Nordion business, we remain focused on developing new supply relationships and expanding our capabilities to source Co-60 from additional reactors. In our Nelson Labs business, we continue to expand capacity to meet demand for microbiological testing and extractables and leachables testing. We are making investments to expand our geographic reach, technical expertise and regulatory know-how to stay ahead of the dynamic and increasingly stringent
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regulatory landscape in the healthcare industry. Nelson Labs and Sterigenics also launched an Expert Advisory Services organization designed to drive growth in our advisory services offering.
Disciplined and strategic M&A activity. During the year ended December 31, 2021, we completed two business acquisitions that expanded our addressable market and enhanced our global capabilities and footprint. In March 2021, we acquired BioScience Laboratories, LLC based in Bozeman, Montana, bringing expertise in antimicrobial and virology testing to our Nelson Labs segment. On November 4, 2021 we acquired Regulatory Compliance Associates Inc. (“RCA”) headquartered in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. RCA is an industry leader in providing life sciences consulting focused on quality, regulatory, and technical consulting for the pharmaceutical, medical device and combination device industries. RCA will expand and further strengthen the technical consulting and expert advisory capabilities of Nelson Labs. We are continuing to pursue strategic acquisitions to grow our footprint and expand our capabilities.
Litigation related costs and exit activities. We are currently the subject of a series of tort lawsuits alleging personal injury by purported exposure to EO emitted by our facilities in Willowbrook, Illinois and Atlanta, Georgia. We are also the subject of litigation with local officials in Georgia to allow us to resume operations at our Atlanta EO facility. In addition, we are defendants in a lawsuit brought by the State of New Mexico Attorney General alleging that emissions of EO from our Santa Teresa facility constitute a public nuisance and materially contributed to increased health risks suffered by residents in the area. We deny these allegations and are vigorously defending against these claims. We expect that our litigation costs will increase during the pendency of these cases, particularly as the per occurrence limit of our environmental liability insurance was reached for the Willowbrook litigation in the second quarter of 2020 and as we prepare for the commencement of the first personal injury trials for the Willowbrook litigation currently scheduled to occur in 2022. See Item 3, “Legal Proceedings” and Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements. For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 and 2019, we recorded costs of $45.7 million, $36.7 million and $11.2 million, respectively, representing professional fees related to litigation associated with our EO sterilization facilities and other related professional fees. On September 30, 2019, we announced plans to exit our EO sterilization operations in Willowbrook and recorded a fixed asset impairment and have continued to incur certain transitional costs during the closure process including lease costs, payroll and utility expenses. For the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, we recorded costs of $2.3 million, $2.6 million and $1.7 million, respectively, relating to the closure of our Willowbrook facility.
 
Impacts of our IPO and other public company costs. We completed the initial public offering of our common stock in November 2020. The IPO generated net proceeds of $1.2 billion after deducting underwriting discounts, commissions and other offering costs. As a newly public company we incurred significant expenses during the year ended December 31, 2021 that we did not incur as a private company. Those costs include additional board fees and director and officer liability insurance expenses, as well as third-party and internal resources related to accounting, auditing, Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance, legal, and investor and public relations expenses. These costs are generally classified as Selling, General & Administrative (“SG&A”) expenses. Additionally, in connection with our IPO, we implemented the 2020 Plan (as previously defined in Item 1A, “Risk Factors”), a long-term equity incentive plan to align our equity compensation program with public company plans and practices. We expect to grant additional stock-based awards to employees under the 2020 Plan in the first quarter of 2022.
Borrowings, financing costs and financial leverage. We paid $58.8 million of cash for interest on long-term debt for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to $211.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. A combination of lower outstanding borrowings and reduced pricing on our debt resulted in this reduction of $152.5 million year over year. On January 20, 2021 we amended our Term Loan to reduce the interest rate spread over LIBOR from 4.50% to 2.75%, and the LIBOR floor from 1.00% to 0.50%. For 2021, the changes resulted in an effective reduction in current interest rates of 2.25%. Interest savings in 2021 were offset by cash and non-cash charges associated with the repricing amendment. On March 26, 2021, we amended our Revolving Credit Facility to reduce the interest rate spread over LIBOR applicable to revolving loans from 3.50% to 2.75%. In addition, on August 27, 2021, we redeemed in full all of the $100.0 million aggregate principal amount of the First Lien Notes.
In connection with this activity, we incurred total costs of $20.7 million, which includes the write-off of debt discounts and issuance costs and an early redemption premium. Based on the current principal balance of our long-term debt and current market interest rates, we expect cash interest in 2022 to be approximately $58.4 million.
Foreign currency exchange rates. As a result of our global operations, we generate a significant portion of our revenue and incur a significant portion of our expenses in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. We translate the assets, liabilities, net revenues and expenses of all of our operations into U.S. dollars at applicable exchange rates, and therefore we experience gains and losses related to exchange rate fluctuations. See Item 7A. “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Foreign Currency Risk.” From time to time, as and when we determine it
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is appropriate and advisable to do so, we may seek to mitigate the effect of exchange rate fluctuations through the use of derivative financial instruments. In the fourth quarter of 2020 we began to enter into foreign currency forward contracts to manage foreign currency exchange rate risk of our intercompany loans in certain of our European and Canadian subsidiaries. The foreign currency forward contracts expire and renew on a monthly basis. The fair value of the outstanding foreign currency forward contracts was zero as of December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020.
Impact of COVID-19 pandemic. We remain subject to risks and uncertainties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our business continuity plans remain in effect and we have maintained certain measures to decrease exposure risk and manage our supply chain for critical materials. The extent to which our operations will continue to be impacted by the pandemic will largely depend on future developments, which still remain uncertain and cannot be predicted.
COMPONENTS OF OUR RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Net Revenues
Service revenues consist of revenue generated from contract sterilization and lab testing and advisory services within our Sterigenics and Nelson Labs segments, respectively. Service revenues also consist of Co-60 installation and disposal revenues and gamma irradiation system refurbishments and installation services within our Nordion segment. Product revenues consist of revenues generated from sales of Co-60 radiation sources and gamma irradiation systems. Provisions for discounts, rebates to customers, and other adjustments are provided for as reductions in net revenues. Refunds, returns, warranties and other related obligations are not material to any of our business units, nor do we incur material incremental costs to secure customer contracts.
Cost of Revenues
Our cost of revenues consists primarily of direct materials, utilities, labor and related benefit costs, and depreciation and amortization. Although the cost of utilities and direct materials can fluctuate, the remaining components of cost of revenues are generally more stable. Direct material costs relating to service revenues primarily includes EO gas, nitrogen gas and Co-60. The physical decay of Co-60 assets is included within depreciation expense as a cost of revenue. Direct material costs relating to product revenues also include the costs associated with acquiring Co-60 in finished or semi-finished form, acquiring Co-59 in a form ready for insertion into reactors for conversion into Co-60, the reactor time and associated services to convert Co-59 into Co-60, and parts and equipment associated with building and maintaining gamma irradiation systems.
Operating Expenses
SG&A Expenses
SG&A primarily consists of compensation and benefits costs and general operating and administrative expenses, including professional service fees (which include finance and legal costs), travel and entertainment expenses, and other general and administrative expenses. Share-based compensation expense is also included in SG&A.
 Amortization of Intangible Assets
Amortization of intangible assets primarily consists of expense associated with customer relationship intangibles, the majority of which relate to the fair values attributed to these assets upon the recapitalization of the Company in connection with the acquisition by the Sponsors in 2015. These customer relationship intangibles were initially assigned a weighted average useful life of ten years and have a remaining useful life of approximately four years. These customer relationship intangible assets account for $49.3 million of our current annual amortization expense and are expected to be fully amortized in 2025. Amortization expense fluctuates when we have an acquisition, disposition, impairment charge, or as their useful lives expire. We expect intangible assets related to future acquisitions and the associated amortization expense to increase over time as we execute on our strategy to pursue acquisition targets that are complementary to our businesses.
Impairment
We review tangible and intangible assets for impairment on a regular basis. Impairment charges recorded in 2019 were incurred primarily in connection with the closure of the Willowbrook facility.
Operating Income
Operating income represents gross profit, less SG&A, amortization of intangible assets and impairment charges.
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Interest Expense, Net
Interest expense, net, represents interest paid or accruing on our outstanding indebtedness and the amortization of debt discount and debt issuance costs. Interest expense is affected by changes in average outstanding indebtedness (including finance lease obligations) and variable interest rates. We present interest expense net of interest income, which primarily consists of interest earned on cash on hand.
Other Income, Net
Other income, net primarily consists of changes in the fair value of the embedded derivatives in Nordion’s contracts, the net impact of pension related benefits and income related to deferred income on a lease associated with the 2018 divestiture of the Medical Isotopes business.
Provision (Benefit) for Income Taxes
Provision (benefit) for income taxes consists primarily of income taxes in foreign jurisdictions and U.S. federal and state income taxes.
Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Noncontrolling Interests
We conduct our operations through our subsidiaries. As of December 31, 2021, our consolidated subsidiaries were wholly owned by us. In the second quarter of 2021, we purchased the outstanding noncontrolling interests of 15% and 33% in our two China subsidiaries. Prior to our acquisition of these noncontrolling interests, we consolidated the results of operations of these subsidiaries with our results of operations and reflected the noncontrolling interests on our Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Income (Loss) as net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests.
On March 11, 2021, we purchased the 15% noncontrolling interest that remained from the August 2018 acquisition of Gibraltar Laboratories, Inc. (now known as Nelson Laboratories Fairfield, Inc.) (“Nelson Labs Fairfield”). As the purchase of this noncontrolling interest was mandatorily redeemable, no earnings were allocated to this noncontrolling interest.
In July 2020, we acquired a 60% equity ownership interest in a joint venture to construct an E-beam facility in Alberta, Canada in connection with our acquisition of Iotron Industries Canada, Inc. (“Iotron”). Refer to Note 4, “Acquisitions” of our consolidated financial statements for additional information. We have determined this to be an investment in a variable interest entity (“VIE”). The investment is not consolidated as the Company has concluded that we are not the primary beneficiary of the VIE. The Company accounts for the joint venture using the equity method. The investment is reflected within “Investment in unconsolidated affiliate” on the Consolidated Balance Sheets within our consolidated financial statements.
Constant Currency Sales Growth (Non-GAAP)
“Constant currency” is a non-GAAP financial measure we use to assess performance excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rate changes. Constant currency sales growth is calculated by translating prior year sales in local currency at the average exchange rates applicable for the current period. The translated results are then used to determine year-over-year percentage increases or decreases. We generally refer to such amounts calculated on a constant currency basis as excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rates. These results should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, results reported in accordance with GAAP. Results on a constant currency basis, as we present them, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies and are not measures of performance presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA (Non-GAAP)
We use Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA, non-GAAP financial measures, as the principal measures of our operating performance. Management believes Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA are useful because they allow management to more effectively evaluate our operating performance and compare the results of our operations from period to period without the impact of certain non-cash items and non-routine items that we do not expect to continue at the same level in the future and other items that are not core to our operations. We believe that these measures are useful to our investors because they provide a more complete understanding of the factors and trends affecting our business than could be obtained absent this disclosure. In addition, we believe Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA will assist investors in making comparisons to our historical operating results and analyzing the underlying performance of our operations for the periods presented. Our management also uses Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA in their financial analysis and operational decision-making and Adjusted EBITDA serves as the metric for attainment of our primary annual incentive program. Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted
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EBITDA may be calculated differently from, and therefore may not be comparable to, a similarly titled measure used by other companies.
For more information regarding our definition and calculation of Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA, including information about its limitations as a tool for analysis and reconciliation to the most directly comparable financial measures calculated in accordance with GAAP, please see “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” within this Item.
Segment Income
Segment income is the primary earnings measure we use to evaluate the performance of our reportable segments, as disclosed in Note 22, “Segment and Geographic Information” to our consolidated financial statements. Costs associated with support functions that are not directly associated with one of the three reportable segments, such as corporate operating expenses for executive management, accounting, information technology, legal, human resources, treasury, corporate development, tax, purchasing, and marketing, are allocated to the segments based on net revenue. Corporate operating expenses that are directly incurred by a segment are reflected in each segment’s income. Segment income excludes certain items which are included in “Income (loss) before taxes” as determined in our Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Income (Loss).
CONSOLIDATED RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following section summarizes the consolidated results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020. The discussion of the consolidated results of operation for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 are presented within our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 under “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Consolidated Results of Operations.”
Year Ended December 31, 2021 as compared to Year Ended December 31, 2020
The following table sets forth the components of our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020.
(thousands of U.S. dollars)
20212020
$ Change
% Change
Total net revenues
$931,478$818,158 $113,320 13.9 %
Total cost of revenues
412,806374,586 38,220 10.2 %
Total operating expenses
261,939237,554 24,385 10.3 %
Operating income
256,733206,018 50,715 24.6 %
Net income (loss)
117,121(37,491)154,612 412.4 %
Adjusted Net Income(1)
245,78299,124 146,658 148.0 %
Adjusted EBITDA(1)
481,229419,859 61,370 14.6 %
(1)Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA are non-GAAP financial measures. For more information regarding our calculation of Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA, including information about their limitations as tools for analysis and a reconciliation of net income (loss), the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP, to Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA, please see the reconciliation included below in “Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”
 
Total Net Revenues
The following table compares our revenues by type for the year ended December 31, 2021 to the year ended December 31, 2020. Results from Iotron are included in the Sterigenics segment for the post-acquisition period beginning July 31, 2020. Results from the BioScience Labs and RCA acquisitions are included in the Nelson Labs segment for the post-acquisition periods beginning March 8, 2021 and November 4, 2021, respectively.
(thousands of U.S. dollars)
Net revenues for the year ended December 31,
20212020
$ Change
% Change
Service$805,501 $713,520 $91,981 12.9 %
Product125,977 104,638 21,339 20.4 %
Total net revenues
$931,478 $818,158 $113,320 13.9 %
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Net revenues were $931.5 million in the year ended December 31, 2021, an increase of $113.3 million, or 13.9%, as compared with the prior year. Net revenues in the year ended December 31, 2021 increased approximately 12.2% compared with the same period in 2020 on a constant currency basis.
Service revenues
Service revenues increased $92.0 million, or 12.9%, to $805.5 million in 2021 as compared to $713.5 million in 2020. The growth in net service revenues was driven by volume growth of $34.1 million in the Sterigenics segment and a $27.7 million increase from the incremental contribution of the Iotron, BioScience Labs and RCA acquisitions. In addition, service revenue growth stemmed from favorable pricing of $18.7 million and $7.0 million in the Sterigenics and Nelson Labs segments, respectively, and a $7.7 million benefit from changes in foreign currency exchange rates across all segments. The remainder of the increase was largely attributable to an increase in service revenue volume in the Nordion segment. Offsetting these factors was an overall decline of $8.0 million in revenue related to personal protective equipment testing in the Nelson Labs segment.
Product revenues
Product revenues increased $21.3 million, or 20.4%, to $126.0 million in the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to $104.6 million in the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in product revenues was attributable to higher organic sales volumes of $7.9 million, largely driven by shipments of industrial use Co-60 in our Nordion segment, and the contribution of favorable pricing and changes in foreign currency exchange rates of $7.3 million and $6.2 million, respectively.
Total Cost of Revenues
The following table compares our cost of revenues by type for the year ended December 31, 2021 to the year ended December 31, 2020. Results from Iotron are included in the Sterigenics segment for the post-acquisition period beginning July 31, 2020. Results from the BioScience Labs and RCA acquisitions are included in the Nelson Labs segment for the post-acquisition periods beginning March 8, 2021 and November 4, 2021, respectively.
(thousands of U.S. dollars)
Cost of revenues for the year ended December 31,
20212020
$ Change
% Change
Service$357,205 $333,359 $23,846 7.2 %
Product55,601 41,227 14,374 34.9 %
Total cost of revenues
$412,806 $374,586 $38,220 10.2 %
Total cost of revenues accounted for approximately 44.3% and 45.8% of our consolidated net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Cost of service revenues
Cost of service revenues increased $23.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to the prior year. The increase was attributable to an incremental contribution of $11.6 million from the Iotron, BioScience Labs, and RCA acquisitions and approximately $10.2 million of incremental costs associated with increased sales volumes, primarily in the Sterigenics segment, as referenced above.
 Cost of product revenues
Cost of product revenues increased $14.4 million, or 34.9%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to the prior year. The increase was primarily driven by an $8.1 million increase in Co-60 supply costs, driven by higher sales volumes. An unfavorable impact from foreign currency exchange rates of $3.0 million also contributed to the increase in cost of product revenues.
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Operating Expenses
The following table compares our operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2021 to the year ended December 31, 2020:
(thousands of U.S. dollars)
Operating expenses for the Year Ended December 31,
20212020
$ Change
% Change
Selling, general and administrative expenses$198,158 $178,525 $19,633 11.0 %
Amortization of intangible assets63,781 59,029 4,752 8.1 %
Total operating expenses
$261,939 $237,554 $24,385 10.3 %
Operating expenses accounted for approximately 28.1% and 29.0% of our consolidated net revenues for the year ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
SG&A
SG&A increased $19.6 million, or 11.0%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to the prior year. The increase was driven primarily by the following:
an $11.5 million increase in corporate expenses largely attributed to costs associated with being a public company. This includes $7.2 million in incremental costs attributable to public company director and officer liability insurance;
a $9.0 million increase in litigation and other professional services expenses associated with EO sterilization facilities; and
a $2.9 million increase in share-based compensation expense attributable to awards granted under the 2020 Omnibus Incentive Plan.
Partially offsetting the above increases was a $3.4 million favorable settlement related to an insurance claim for Nordion.
  Amortization of intangible assets
Amortization of intangible assets was $63.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, an increase of $4.8 million or 8.1% above the prior year. The change was attributable to a full year of amortization of Iotron’s intangible assets in 2021, compared to five months of amortization in 2020, as well as the amortization of the intangible assets acquired in 2021 in connection with the BioScience and RCA acquisitions.
Interest Expense, Net
Interest expense, net decreased $141.1 million, or 65.5%, for the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to the prior year. The decrease was driven largely by the paydown of the Term Loan and Second Lien Notes with IPO proceeds in the fourth quarter of 2020, the redemption of the First Lien Notes in August 2021, and lower interest rates subsequent to the January 2021 Term Loan refinancing. The weighted average interest rate on our outstanding debt was 3.25% and 5.58% at December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Foreign Exchange Loss (Gain)
Foreign exchange loss was $1.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to a gain of $5.2 million in the prior year period. In the year ended December 31, 2020, foreign exchange loss (gain) related primarily to U.S. dollar denominated intercompany indebtedness with certain of our European and Canadian subsidiaries. Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2020, we entered into monthly U.S. dollar-denominated foreign currency forward contracts to manage this foreign currency exchange rate risk. The foreign currency forward contracts expire and renew on a monthly basis. As a result, the majority of our foreign exchange loss recorded in the year ended December 31, 2021 relates to short-term losses (offset by short-term gains) on sales denominated in currencies other than the functional currency of our operating entities.
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Other Income, Net
Other income, net was $15.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 and $9.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. The fluctuation was primarily driven by a $5.1 million non-cash gain arising from derecognition of an asset retirement obligation (“ARO”) liability no longer attributable to Nordion pursuant to the terms of the sale of the Medical Isotopes business in 2018. A $1.2 million gain on our purchase of the 15% mandatorily redeemable noncontrolling interest of Nelson Labs Fairfield in the second quarter of 2021 also contributed to this fluctuation.
Provision (Benefit) for Income Taxes
Provision for income taxes was $58.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared to a $1.4 million benefit in the prior year. The change was principally attributable to pre-tax income of $175.7 million in the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to a pretax loss of $38.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Provision for income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2021 differed from the statutory rate of 21% primarily due to an increase in the partial valuation allowance against our excess interest expense carryforward balance, the addition of valuation allowances against certain foreign net operating loss carryforward balances, the impact of the foreign rate differential, and tax on Global Intangible Low Taxed Income (“GILTI”). The benefit for income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2020 differed from the statutory rate of 21% primarily due to impact of the CARES Act and final 951A regulations, the partial valuation allowance against our excess interest expense carryforward balance, the foreign rate differential, state tax benefits and the removal of valuation allowances against certain foreign net operating loss carryforward balances.
Net Income (Loss), Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA
Net income for the year ended December 31, 2021 was $117.1 million, as compared to a net loss of $37.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 largely driven by the decrease in interest expense. Adjusted Net Income was $245.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to $99.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, due to the factors described above. Adjusted EBITDA was $481.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, as compared to $419.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, due to the factors described above. Please see “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below for a reconciliation of Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA to their most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP.
NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
To supplement our consolidated financial statements presented in accordance with GAAP, we consider Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA, financial measures that are not based on any standardized methodology prescribed by GAAP.
We define Adjusted Net Income as net income (loss) before amortization and certain other adjustments that we do not consider in our evaluation of our ongoing operating performance from period to period as discussed further below. We define Adjusted EBITDA as Adjusted Net Income before interest expense, depreciation (including depreciation of Co-60 used in our operations) and income tax provision applicable to Adjusted Net Income.
We use Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA, non-GAAP financial measures, as the principal measures of our operating performance. Management believes Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA are useful because they allow management to more effectively evaluate our operating performance and compare the results of our operations from period to period without the impact of certain non-cash items and non-routine items that we do not expect to continue at the same level in the future and other items that are not core to our operations. We believe that these measures are useful to our investors because they provide a more complete understanding of the factors and trends affecting our business than could be obtained absent this disclosure. In addition, we believe Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA will assist investors in making comparisons to our historical operating results and analyzing the underlying performance of our operations for the periods presented. Our management also uses Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA in their financial analysis and operational decision-making and Adjusted EBITDA serves as the key metric for attainment of our primary annual incentive program. Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA may be calculated differently from, and therefore may not be comparable to, a similarly titled measure used by other companies.
Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered in isolation from, or as a substitute for, financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP. There are a number of limitations related to the use of Adjusted Net Income
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and Adjusted EBITDA rather than net income (loss), the nearest GAAP equivalent. For example, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA exclude:
certain recurring non-cash charges such as depreciation of fixed assets, although these assets may have to be replaced in the future, as well as amortization of acquired intangible assets and asset retirement obligations;
costs of acquiring and integrating businesses, which will continue to be a part of our growth strategy;
non-cash gains or losses from fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, and the mark-to-fair value of embedded derivatives relating to certain customer and supply contracts at Nordion;
impairment charges on long-lived assets and intangible assets;
expenses and charges related to the litigation and other activities associated with our ethylene oxide sterilization facilities, including those in Willowbrook, Illinois, Atlanta, Georgia and Santa Teresa, New Mexico, even though that litigation remains ongoing;
in the case of Adjusted EBITDA, interest expense or the cash requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments on our indebtedness; and
share-based compensation expense, which has been, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, a significant recurring expense and an important part of our compensation strategy.
In evaluating Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA, you should be aware that in the future, we will incur expenses similar to the adjustments in this presentation. Our presentations of Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as suggesting that our future results will be unaffected by these expenses or any unusual or non-recurring items. When evaluating our performance, you should consider Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA alongside other financial performance measures, including our net income (loss) and other GAAP measures.
The following table presents a reconciliation of net income (loss), the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP to Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EBITDA, for each of the periods indicated:
Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)202120202019
Net income (loss)$117,121 $(37,491)$(20,425)
Amortization86,742 80,255 80,048 
Impairment of long-lived assets and intangible assets (a)
 — 5,792 
Share-based compensation(b)
13,870 10,987 16,882 
Capital restructuring bonuses(c)
 2,702 2,040 
(Gain) loss on foreign currency and embedded derivatives(d)
(58)(8,454)2,662 
Acquisition and divestiture related charges, net(e)
(6,018)3,932 (318)
Business optimization project expenses(f)
948 2,524 4,195 
Plant closure expenses(g)
2,327 2,649 1,712 
Loss on extinguishment of debt(h)
20,681 44,262 30,168 
Professional services relating to EO sterilization facilities(i)
45,656 36,671 11,216 
Accretion of asset retirement obligations(j)
2,252 1,946 2,051 
COVID-19 expenses(k)
761 2,677 — 
Income tax benefit associated with pre-tax adjustments(l)
(38,500)(43,536)(35,637)
Adjusted Net Income245,782 99,124 100,386 
Interest expense, net74,192 215,259 157,729 
Depreciation(m)
64,160 63,309 66,671 
Income tax provision applicable to Adjusted Net Income(n)
97,095 42,167 55,146 
Adjusted EBITDA(o)
$481,229 $419,859 $379,932 
(a)Impairment charges related to the decision to not reopen the Willowbrook, Illinois facility in September 2019
(b)Includes non-cash share-based compensation expense. 2019 also includes $10.0 million of one-time cash share-based compensation expense related to the pre-IPO Class C Units, which vested in the third quarter of 2019. See Note 16, “Share-Based Compensation” for further information.
(c)Represents cash bonuses for members of management relating to the IPO and the December 2019 refinancing.
(d)Represents the effects of (i) fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, and (ii) non-cash mark-to-fair value of embedded derivatives relating to certain customer and supply contracts at Nordion.
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(e)Represents (i) certain direct and incremental costs related to the acquisitions of RCA, the noncontrolling interests in our China subsidiaries, and BioScience Labs in 2021; Iotron in July 2020; Nelson Labs Fairfield in 2018 (including the first quarter 2021 gain on the mandatorily redeemable noncontrolling interest), and certain related integration efforts as a result of those acquisitions, (ii) the earnings impact of fair value adjustments (excluding those recognized within amortization expense) resulting from the businesses acquired, (iii) transition services income and non-cash deferred lease income associated with the terms of the divestiture of the Medical Isotopes business in 2018, (iv) a $3.4 million gain recognized in the third quarter of 2021 related to the settlement of an insurance claim for Nordion, and (v) a $5.1 million non-cash gain arising from the derecognition of an ARO liability no longer attributable to Nordion pursuant to the terms of the sale of the Medical Isotopes business in 2018.
(f)Represents professional fees, contract termination and exit costs, severance and other payroll costs, and other costs associated with business optimization and cost savings projects relating to the integration of acquisitions, the Sotera Health rebranding, operating structure realignment and other process enhancement projects.
(g)Represents professional fees, severance and other payroll costs, and other costs including ongoing lease and utility expenses associated with the closure of the Willowbrook, Illinois facility.
(h)Represents expenses incurred in connection with the repricing of our Term Loan in January 2021, full redemption of the First Lien Notes in August 2021, paydown of debt following the November 2020 IPO, and refinancing of our debt capital structure in December 2019, including accelerated amortization of prior debt issuance and discount costs, premiums paid in connection with early extinguishment and debt issuance and discount costs incurred for the new debt.
(i)Represents professional fees related to litigation associated with our EO sterilization facilities and other related professional fees. See Note 20, “Commitments and Contingencies”.
(j)Represents non-cash accretion of asset retirement obligations related to Co-60 and gamma processing facilities, which are based on estimated site remediation costs for any future decommissioning of these facilities (without regard for whether the decommissioning services would be performed by employees of Nordion, instead of by a third party) and are accreted over the life of the asset.
(k)Represents non-recurring costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, including incremental costs to implement workplace health and safety measures. For the year ended December 31, 2020, costs also included donations to related charitable causes and special bonuses for front-line personnel working on-site during lockdown periods.
(l)Represents the income tax impact of adjustments calculated based on the tax rate applicable to each item. We eliminate the effect of significant changes to income tax valuation allowances, tax rate changes as applied to tax assets and liabilities, and unusual items from our presentation of adjusted net income.
(m)Includes depreciation of Co-60 held at gamma irradiation sites.
(n)Represents the difference between income tax expense or benefit as determined under U.S. GAAP and the income tax benefit associated with pre-tax adjustments described in footnote (l).
(o)$85.3 million, $82.6 million and $86.7 million of the adjustments for the year ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively, are included in cost of revenues, primarily consisting of amortization of intangible assets, depreciation, and accretion of asset retirement obligations.
SEGMENT RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
We have three reportable segments: Sterigenics, Nordion and Nelson Labs. Our chief operating decision maker evaluates performance and allocates resources within our business based on segment income, which excludes certain items which are included in income (loss) before tax as determined in our consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive income (loss). The accounting policies for our reportable segments are the same as those for the consolidated Company.
Our Segments
Sterigenics
Our Sterigenics business provides outsourced terminal sterilization and irradiation services for the medical device, pharmaceutical, food safety and advanced applications markets using three major technologies: gamma irradiation, EO processing and E-beam irradiation.
Nordion
Our Nordion business is a leading global provider of Co-60 used in the sterilization and irradiation processes for the medical device, pharmaceutical, food safety, and high-performance materials industries, as well as in the treatment of cancer. In addition, Nordion is a leading global provider of gamma irradiation systems.
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As a result of the time required to meet regulatory and logistics requirements for delivery of radioactive products, combined with accommodations made to our customers to minimize disruptions to their operations during the installation of Co-60, Nordion sales patterns can often vary significantly from one quarter to the next. However, timing-related impacts on our sales performance tend to be resolved within several quarters, resulting in more consistent performance over longer periods of time. In addition, sales of gamma irradiation systems occur infrequently and tend to be for larger amounts.
Results for our Nordion segment are impacted by Co-60 mix, harvest schedules, as well as customer, product and service mix.
Nelson Labs
Our Nelson Labs business provides outsourced microbiological and analytical chemistry testing and advisory services for the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.
For more information regarding our reportable segments please refer to Item 1. “Business” and Note 22, “Segment and Geographic Information” to our consolidated financial statements.
 
Segment Results for the Years Ended December 31, 2021 and 2020
The following section summarizes the segment results for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020. The discussion of the segment results for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 are presented within our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 under “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Segment Results for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.”
The following tables compare segment net revenue and segment income for the year ended December 31, 2021 to the year ended December 31, 2020:
 
Year Ended
December 31,
  
(in thousands)20212020
$ Change
% Change
Net Revenues    
Sterigenics
$571,829 $498,773 $73,056 14.6 %
Nordion
140,507 114,745 25,762 22.5 %
Nelson Labs
219,142 204,640 14,502 7.1 %
 
Segment Income
Sterigenics
$310,470 $266,639 $43,831 16.4 %
Nordion
82,673 66,803 15,870 23.8 %
Nelson Labs
88,086 86,417 1,669 1.9 %
 
Segment Income Margin
Sterigenics
54.3 %53.5 %
Nordion
58.8 %58.2 %
Nelson Labs
40.2 %42.2 %
Net Revenues
Sterigenics net revenues were $571.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, an increase of $73.1 million, or 14.6%, as compared to the prior year. The increase reflects organic volume growth of 6.8%, a favorable impact from pricing of 3.8%, a 2.9% increase in revenues from the July 31, 2020 acquisition of Iotron, and favorable impacts from changes in foreign currency exchange rates of 1.1%.
Nordion net revenues were $140.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, an increase of $25.8 million, or 22.5%, as compared to the prior year. The increase was driven by higher volume of 10.4%, favorable pricing of 6.3% and a 5.8% impact from the strengthening of the Canadian dollar compared to the U.S. dollar during 2021.
Nelson Labs net revenues were $219.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, an increase of $14.5 million, or 7.1%, as compared to the prior year. The net revenue increase was driven primarily by 6.3% of revenue growth from the acquisitions of
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BioScience Labs and RCA in 2021 and positive impacts from pricing of 3.4%. Offsetting these growth factors was a 3.9% decline in revenue related to the testing of personal protective equipment.
Segment Income
Sterigenics segment income was $310.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, an increase of $43.8 million, or 16.4%, as compared to the prior year. The increase in segment income was primarily a result of organic volume growth coupled with the contributions of the Iotron acquisition and favorable pricing, as referenced above. This was partially offset by incremental overhead costs associated with being a public company.
 Nordion segment income was $82.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, an increase of $15.9 million, or 23.8%, as compared to the prior year. The increase in segment income was due to the favorable impacts of sales volume, customer pricing and changes in foreign currency exchange rates, as referenced above.
Nelson Labs segment income was $88.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, an increase of $1.7 million, or 1.9%, as compared to the prior year, primarily attributable to the incremental contribution of BioScience Labs and favorable pricing. This increase was partially offset by declines in the testing of personal protective equipment. The 2.0% decrease in segment income margin was attributable to the aforementioned decline in personal protective equipment testing, which generated favorable margins in 2020.
LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
Sources of Cash
The primary sources of liquidity for our business are cash flows from operations and borrowings under our credit facilities. As of December 31, 2021, we had $106.9 million of cash and cash equivalents. This is an increase of $4.5 million from the balance at December 31, 2020. Our foreign subsidiaries held cash of approximately $87.9 million at December 31, 2021 and $88.8 million at December 31, 2020, to meet their liquidity needs. No material restrictions exist to accessing cash held by our foreign subsidiaries notwithstanding any potential tax consequences.
Uses of Cash
We expect that cash on hand, operating cash flows and amounts available under our credit facilities will provide sufficient working capital to operate our business, meet foreseeable liquidity requirements, including debt service on our long-term debt, make expected capital expenditures including investments in fixed assets to build and/or expand existing facilities, and meet litigation costs for at least the next twelve months.
Our primary long-term liquidity requirements beyond the next twelve months will be to service our debt, to make capital expenditures, and fund selective business acquisitions. Our significant categories of contractual cash obligations required to operate our business that extend beyond December 31, 2021 are described in “Contractual Obligations and Commercial Commitments” below.
We expect to use cash provided by operations in excess of amounts needed for capital expenditures, to fund potential acquisitions, or for other general corporate purposes. Our ability to meet future working capital, capital expenditures and debt service requirements will depend on our future financial performance, which will be affected by a range of macroeconomic, competitive and business factors, particularly interest rates and changes in our industry, many of which are outside of our control.
Capital Expenditures
Our capital expenditure program is a component of our long-term strategy. This program includes, among other things, investments in new and existing facilities, business expansion projects, Co-60 used by Sterigenics at its gamma irradiation facilities and information technology enhancements. During the year ended December 31, 2021, our capital expenditures amounted to $102.2 million, compared to $53.5 million in 2020. This amount includes approximately $10.1 million related to environmental facility enhancements.
In 2022, we expect to continue to invest in facility expansions, ongoing routine maintenance for existing facilities, and acquisition of Co-60 for use by our Sterigenics segment in its gamma irradiation facilities. In addition, we expect to invest in
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special projects related to development of new Co-60 supply sources and facility enhancements at our EO sterilization facilities. We currently expect our capital expenditures to be higher in 2022 than in recent years and remain elevated over the next several years as we execute on those special projects in addition to our normal growth and maintenance related investments. For 2022, considering our typical growth and maintenance projects, along with the special projects, we expect capital expenditures to exceed $140.0 million, of which approximately $30.0 million and $32.0 million relate to environmental facility enhancements and cobalt development projects, respectively. We expect similar investments in environmental facility enhancements and cobalt development projects in subsequent years.
We may choose to temporarily defer planned capital expenditures due to fluctuations in demand for our products and services resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the needs of our customers.
Debt Facilities
Senior Secured Credit Facilities
On December 13, 2019, Sotera Health Holdings, LLC (“SHH”), our wholly owned subsidiary, entered into senior secured first lien credit facilities (the “Senior Secured Credit Facilities”), consisting of both a prepayable senior secured first lien term loan (the “Term Loan”) and a senior secured first lien revolving credit facility (the “Revolving Credit Facility”) pursuant to a first lien credit agreement (the “Credit Agreement”). The Revolving Credit Facility and the Term Loan mature on June 13, 2026 and December 13, 2026, respectively. On December 17, 2020, we increased the capacity of our Revolving Credit Facility from $190.0 million to $347.5 million. The Senior Secured Credit Facilities also provide SHH the right at any time and under certain conditions to request incremental term loans or incremental revolving credit commitments based on a formula defined in the Senior Secured Credit Facilities. As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, total borrowings under the Term Loan were $1,763.1 million and $1,763.1 million, respectively, and there were no borrowings outstanding on the Revolving Credit Facility. The weighted average interest rate on borrowings under the Term Loan for the year ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 was 3.44% and 5.67%, respectively.
On January 20, 2021, we closed on an amendment repricing our Term Loan. The interest rate spread over the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) on the facility was reduced from 450 basis points to 275 basis points, and the facility’s LIBOR floor was reduced from 100 basis points to 50 basis points. The changes result in an effective reduction in current interest rates of 225 basis points. In connection with this amendment, we wrote off $11.3 million of unamortized debt issuance and discount costs and incurred an additional $2.9 million of expense related to debt issuance costs attributable to the refinancing. These costs were recorded to “Loss on extinguishment of debt” in our Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Income (Loss).
Borrowings under the Revolving Credit Facility bear interest at a rate per annum equal to an applicable margin, plus, at our option, either (a) an alternative base rate “ABR” or (b) a LIBOR rate. In addition to paying interest on any outstanding borrowings under the Revolving Credit Facility, SHH is required to pay a commitment fee to the lenders under the Revolving Credit Facility in respect of the unutilized commitments thereunder and customary letter of credit fees. The Revolving Credit Facility contains a maximum senior secured first lien net leverage ratio covenant of 9.00 to 1.00, tested on the last day of each fiscal quarter if, on the last day of such fiscal quarter, the sum of (i) the aggregate principal amount of the revolving loans then outstanding under the Revolving Credit Facility, plus (ii) the aggregate amount of letter of credit disbursements that have not been reimbursed within two business days following the end of the fiscal quarter, exceeds the greater of $139.0 million and 40.0% of the aggregate principal amount of the revolving commitments then in effect.
On March 26, 2021, we amended the Revolving Credit Facility, to (i) decrease the Applicable Rate (as defined in the Credit Agreement) related to any Revolving Loans (as defined in the Credit Agreement) from a rate per annum that ranged from an ABR plus 2.50% to ABR plus 3.00% depending on SHH’s Senior Secured First Lien Net Leverage Ratio to ABR plus 1.75%; and in the case of Eurodollar Loans (as defined in the Credit Agreement) from a rate per annum which ranged from the Adjusted LIBOR plus 3.50% to the Adjusted LIBOR plus 4.00% depending on SHH’s Senior Secured First Lien Net Leverage Ratio (as defined in the Credit Agreement), to the Adjusted LIBOR (as defined in the Credit Agreement) plus 2.75%, and (ii) extend the maturity date of the Revolving Facility from December 13, 2024 to June 13, 2026. The other material terms of the Credit Agreement are unchanged and the amendment does not change the capacity of our Revolving Credit Facility, which is $347.5 million. No unamortized debt issuance costs associated with the Revolving Credit Facility were written off and direct fees and costs incurred in connection with the amendment were immaterial.
As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, there were no borrowings outstanding on the Revolving Credit Facility. SHH borrowed $50.0 million on the Revolving Credit Facility during the first quarter of 2020 which was repaid in the second quarter of 2020. The interest rate on the borrowings under the Revolving Credit Facility during 2020 averaged approximately 5.0%.
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As of December 31, 2021 and 2020 capitalized debt issuance costs totaled $2.7 million and $3.4 million, respectively, and debt discounts totaled $17.3 million and $31.6 million, respectively, related to the Senior Secured Credit Facilities. Such costs are recorded as a reduction of debt on our Consolidated Balance Sheets and amortized as a component of interest expense over the term of the debt agreement.
The Senior Secured Credit Facilities contain additional covenants that, among other things, restrict, subject to certain exceptions, our ability and the ability of our restricted subsidiaries to engage in certain activities, such as incur indebtedness or permit to exist any lien on any property or asset now owned or hereafter acquired, as specified in the Senior Secured Credit Facilities. The Senior Secured Credit Facilities also contain certain customary affirmative covenants and events of default, including upon a change of control. As of December 31, 2021, we were in compliance with all the Senior Secured Credit Facilities covenants.
All of SHH’s obligations under the Senior Secured Credit Facilities are unconditionally guaranteed by the Company and each existing and subsequently acquired or organized direct or indirect wholly-owned domestic restricted subsidiary of the Company, with customary exceptions including, among other things, where providing such guarantees is not permitted by law, regulation or contract or would result in material adverse tax consequences. All obligations under the Senior Secured Credit Facilities, and the guarantees of such obligations, are secured by substantially all assets of the borrower and guarantors, subject to permitted liens and other exceptions and exclusions, as outlined in the Senior Secured Credit Facilities.
Outstanding letters of credit are collateralized by encumbrances against the Revolving Credit Facility and the collateral pledged thereunder, or by cash placed on deposit with the issuing bank. As of December 31, 2021, the Company had $113.8 million of letters of credit issued against the Revolving Credit Facility, resulting in total availability under the Revolving Credit Facility of $233.7 million. Due to the overlap of a letter of credit with a termination date of January 6, 2022 and its replacement with a letter of credit with a commencement date of December 16, 2021 in similar amount, our availability under the Revolving Credit Facility was abnormally low for a brief period including December 31, 2021 and continuing through January 6, 2022. As of January 6, 2022, our availability under the Revolving credit facility increased to $278.4 million.
Term Loan Interest Rate Risk Management
The Company utilizes interest rate derivatives to eliminate the variability of cash flows in the interest payments associated with the Term Loan due to changes in LIBOR (or its successor). For additional information on the derivative instruments described above, refer to Note 21, “Financial Instruments and Financial Risk”, “Derivatives Instruments.”
First Lien Notes
On July 31, 2020, SHH issued $100.0 million aggregate principal amount of senior secured first lien notes due 2026 (the “First Lien Notes”), which were scheduled to mature on December 13, 2026. On August 27, 2021 SHH redeemed in full the $100.0 million aggregate principal amount of the First Lien Notes. In connection with this redemption, the Company paid a $3.0 million early redemption premium, in accordance with the terms of the First Lien Notes Indenture, and wrote off $3.4 million of debt issuance and discount costs. The Company recognized these expenses within “Loss on extinguishment of debt” in our Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Income (Loss) for the year ended December 31, 2021.
Prior to the redemption, the First Lien Notes bore interest at a rate equal to LIBOR subject to a 1.00% floor plus 6.00% per annum. Interest was payable on a quarterly basis with no principal due until maturity. The weighted average interest rate on the First Lien Notes during 2021 up to the August 27, 2021 redemption date was 7.00%.
Second Lien Notes
On December 13, 2019, SHH issued $770.0 million of Second Lien Senior Secured Notes (the “Second Lien Notes”), which had a maturity date of December 13, 2027. The Second Lien Notes bore interest at a rate equal to LIBOR subject to a 1.00% floor plus 8.00% per annum. On December 14, 2020, SHH redeemed in full all of the $770.0 million aggregate principal amount of the First Lien Notes (as described below in “2020 Debt Repayments”). The weighted average interest rate on the Second Lien Notes through the redemption date of December 14, 2020 was 9.35%.
SHH was entitled to redeem all or a portion of the Second Lien Notes, at any time and from time to time, subject to certain premiums depending on the date of redemption. Any time prior to December 13, 2020, a customary make-whole premium applied and, thereafter, specified premiums that declined to zero applied (in each case as described in the indenture governing the Second Lien Notes). In addition, under certain circumstances, such as an initial public offering or certain changes of control, SHH had certain additional redemption rights (as described in the indenture governing the First Lien Notes).
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2020 Debt Repayments
Almost all of the net proceeds of the Company’s IPO were used to redeem all of the outstanding aggregate principal amount of the Second Lien Notes and to repay a portion of the outstanding indebtedness under our Term Loan. In November 2020, the Company repaid $341.0 million aggregate principal amount of the Term Loan. In December 2020, the Company redeemed in full all of the $770.0 million aggregate principal amount of its then outstanding Second Lien Notes. For these two transactions combined, we wrote off $28.9 million of debt issuance and discount costs and recognized $15.4 million in premiums paid in connection with the early extinguishment of the Second Lien Notes. We recognized these costs within “Loss on extinguishment of debt” in our Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Income (Loss).
2019 Refinancing
In conjunction with the December 2019 refinancing, the Company redeemed, in full, the previously outstanding $1,659.0 million aggregate Term Loan due 2022, its $450.0 million Senior Notes due 2023 and $425.0 million Senior PIK (“paid in kind”) Toggle Notes due 2021. In total, we wrote off $13.5 million of debt issuance and discount costs and recognized $14.6 million representing premiums paid in connection with the early extinguishment of the Senior Notes. In connection with the refinancing, we also recognized an additional $2.1 million of expense related to debt issuance and discount costs. We recognized these costs within “Loss on extinguishment of debt” in our Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Income (Loss). Any additional proceeds were used to fund a dividend to shareholders of $275.0 million.
 Cash Flow Information
The following section summarizes cash flow information for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020. Cash flow information for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 are presented within our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 under “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources.”
Year Ended December 31, 2021 compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2020  
(thousands of U.S. dollars)
20212020
Net Cash Provided by (Used in):  
Operating activities$281,545 $120,585 
Investing activities(159,833)(158,694)
Financing activities(117,286)73,432 
Effect of foreign currency exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents44 4,106 
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash, during the period$4,470 $39,429 
 
Operating activities
Cash flows provided by operating activities increased $161.0 million to net cash provided of $281.5 million in the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to $120.6 million for the prior year. Higher cash flows from operating activities in 2021 compared to the prior year were principally driven by a decrease in cash paid for interest of $152.5 million and an increase in operating income of $50.7 million, offset by an increase in cash paid for income taxes of $28.0 million.
Investing activities
Cash used in investing activities increased $1.1 million to net cash used of $159.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to $158.7 million for the prior year. An increase in cash paid for capital expenditures of $48.7 million offset by a decrease in cash paid for business acquisitions of $48.2 million resulted in an insignificant change in net cash outflows used in investing activities in the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to the prior year.
Financing activities
For the year ended December 31, 2021, net cash used in financing activities was $117.3 million compared to net cash provided of $73.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. For the year ended December 31, 2021, the principal uses of cash in financing activities were $100.0 million for the full redemption of the First Lien Notes, $8.4 million for the acquisition of the noncontrolling interests in our China subsidiaries and $6.8 million of debt issuance costs and prepayment premium incurred in
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connection with our refinancing of the Senior Secured Credit Facilities and the early redemption of the First Lien Notes, respectively.
CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS AND COMMERCIAL COMMITMENTS
The following table describes our significant contractual cash obligations as of December 31, 2021:  
 Payments due by period
(thousands of U.S. dollars)
Total
Less than
1 Year
2-3 Years
4-5 Years
More than 5
Years
Long-term debt (a)
$2,061,522 $58,420 $116,965 $1,886,137 $— 
Lease obligations:
Finance (b)
63,859 3,433 7,531 7,577 45,318 
Operating (c)
51,438 11,461 16,189 9,387 14,401 
Supply and service obligations (d)
1,687,474 46,801 104,102 86,121 1,450,450 
Direct material costs (e)
128,912 14,168 27,458 28,082 59,204 
Total
$3,993,205