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W.R. Grace & Co.'s CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

We will also discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures, which are described in more detail in this morning's release and on our website. Reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures and other associated disclosures are contained in our earnings release and on our website.

Our comments on forward-looking statements and non-GAAP financial measures apply both to the prepared remarks and to the question and answer. We want to remind everyone that this webcast contains time-sensitive information that is accurate only as of today. Any redistribution, retransmission or reproduction of this call without company consent is prohibited.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Fred.

Alfred E. Festa

Good. Thanks, Mark. Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us this morning. We're off to a good start in 2012. We performed well in the quarter led by the results in our Catalyst Technologies and Construction Products segments.

For the quarter, sales increased 8% to $754 million, gross margins improved 40 basis points to 36.7%, adjusted EBIT increased 16% to $111 million and adjusted EBITDA margin improved 70 basis points to 18.7%.

We also saw good sequential improvement across our businesses. Hudson will walk you through the details shortly.

It was a busy first quarter. First, we divided the Grace Davison business into 2 operating segments; Catalysts Technologies and Material Technologies. We are now reporting our financial results in 3 operating segments, these 2, plus the Construction Products group. Catalysts Technologies is now the home for all of our catalysts businesses, including refining catalysts and additives, polyolefin catalysts and chemical catalysts. Our ART hydroprocessing joint venture is managed in this segment as well.

By combining all of our catalyst activities into a single unit, we have enhanced our critical mass in terms of research, innovation and customer reach. And this will enable us to do what we do best: anticipate customer needs and increase the value of their business. Additionally, we believe this will increase the public recognition of Grace as the industry-leading innovator and manufacturer of specialty catalysts.

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