Actuant (ATU)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

March 21, 2012 11:00 am ET


Karen Bauer - Director of Investor Relations

Robert C. Arzbaecher - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Andrew G. Lampereur - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Mark E. Goldstein - Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President


Deane M. Dray - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Charles D. Brady - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

Ingrid Aja - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Robert Barry - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Ajay Kejriwal - FBR Capital Markets & Co., Research Division

Jeffrey D. Hammond - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

R. Scott Graham - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Jamie Sullivan - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Mircea Dobre - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division



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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Actuant Corporation's Second Quarter Fiscal 2012 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded Wednesday, March 21, 2012. It is now my pleasure to turn the conference over to Karen Bauer, Actuant's Communications and Investor Relations leader. Please go ahead.

Karen Bauer

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Actuant's Second Quarter Fiscal 2012 Earnings Conference Call. On the call with me today are Bob Arzbaecher, Actuant's Chief Executive Officer; Mark Goldstein, Chief Operating Officer; and Andy Lampereur, Chief Financial Officer. I would like to point out that our earnings release and the slide presentation supplementing today's call are available in the Investors section of our website.

Before we start, let me offer the following cautionary note. During this call, we will be making forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain and that there are a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. These factors are outlined in our SEC filings.

Consistent with prior quarters, we will utilize the one question and one follow-up rule in order to keep today's call to an hour. Thank you in advance for following this practice. And with that, I'll turn the call over to Bob.

Robert C. Arzbaecher

Thank you, Karen, and thanks for taking the time to join us on our second quarter call today. We are very pleased with our performance in the second quarter, including robust core sales growth and a new record in terms of second quarter EPS. Our financial performance topped our expectations on a number of fronts including EPS, cash flow and higher core sales in Electrical. We had great execution, as evidenced by a 190-basis-point improvement in EBITDA margins. The recently acquired Mastervolt and Weasler businesses both exceeded expectations on the top and bottom line and Jeyco, which was acquired in February, added $1 million in sales in February that was not in our original guidance.

As I reflect on the first half of fiscal 2012, multiple factors are driving our performance right now and they bode well for the future. Our top line is experiencing strong growth. A combination of acquisitions, growth and innovation initiatives and a great mix of the Actuant portfolio of later cycle, Energy and Industrial businesses. We are generating strong year-over-year margin improvement driven by our lead OpEx process for continuous improvement, the benefit of our lowered cost structure from the 2009, 2010 restructuring initiatives as well as incremental growth contributions from our higher-margin businesses.

Finally, the combination of solid margin improvement and our asset light business model is driving huge cash flow, up significantly from last year. The strong cash flow has reduced our net leverage down to 1.6x pro forma EBITDA, giving us ample financial flexibility to fund our future growth.

With that overview, I'll turn it over to Andy to go through some specifics for the quarter and then I'll come back and go into a couple of other topics in detail. Andy?

Andrew G. Lampereur

Thank you, Bob, and good morning, everyone. We're really happy, as Bob mentioned, with the strong second quarter results from our businesses, and we're pleased to have momentum in our favor as we move into the second half of the fiscal year. Sales of $378 million were above our guidance range despite currency headwind. Three of our 4 segments generated double-digit core growth, each slightly better than forecasted. Our operating profit grew 33% year-over-year which is faster than sales, meaning we once again had profit margin expansion. Importantly, our 2 highest margin segments, Industrial and Energy, continued to generate year-over-year margin expansion.

Now similar to the last several quarters, the combination of the top line growth and the margin expansion resulted in strong EPS growth. We generated second quarter earnings per share of $0.43 a share compared to $0.30 a year ago from continuing operations, which was a 43% improvement.

So let's get a little bit more granular now on the income statement, starting first with the sales line. Our second quarter sales, in total, were up 14%, which included 8% core and 7% from acquisitions as well as a 1% headwind from currency. Our 8% core growth was a modest acceleration from the first quarter. Overall sales were ahead of our forecast, with favorable core variances from Industrial, Energy and Electrical.

From a geographic standpoint, North America led the way with double-digit second quarter sales growth. Europe grew in mid-single digits on a core basis, while the growth in the Energy -- with growth in Energy more than offsetting the declines in Europe that we saw in Engineered Solutions from the automotive and truck markets. Acquisitions added about $26 million to our second quarter sales, which included Weasler, Jeyco and Mastervolt, the latter of which has now passed its first anniversary with Actuant and will be included in our core sales measure starting in the third quarter.

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