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Greenhill's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

I would now like to turn the call over to Scott Bok.

Scott Bok

Thank you, Richard. Focusing on our first quarter results we are very pleased with our strong performance in what continues to be a challenging transaction environment. Our advisory revenue for the quarter was up 51% compared to 2011. It is fair to note that the first quarter of 2011 was our lowest revenue quarter for that year and that's helped year-over-year comparisons, but nonetheless we see this as a very solid performance in a very difficult environment.

Similar to advisory revenue, our total revenue was also up meaningfully benefiting from positive movements in the value of our remaining principal investments in addition to our strong advisory revenue results. For the first quarter our pre-tax profit margin was 30% and we had earnings per share of $0.53.

As we've said previously our results are best viewed over longer periods of time and when taken together, the last four quarters' advisory revenue of $328 million is our strongest trailing 12-month performance since the first quarter of 2008, which reflects the growing strength of our global franchise.

You'll recall that we have consistently talked about having four main objectives for the firm. One to increase our market share of the global pool of advisory fees, two, to consistently achieve the highest profit margin among our closest peers, three, to maintain the strong dividend policy, and four, to maintain a flat or even declining share count. I will focus on the first of those and then turn it back Richard for the others.

In terms of increasing our market share, our first quarter 51% increase in advisory revenue far outpaced the market's statistics for global M&A activity as well as the first quarter results announced today by the big bank.

Globally, M&A completed volume for Q1 was down 42% versus the prior year and M&A announced volume was down 32% in 3 of our 9 Global large bank competitors have reported first quarter result so far and their aggregate advisory revenue was down versus last year.

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