Albemarle Corp. (
Q4 2011 Earnings Call
January 24, 2012 08:00 am ET
Lorin Crenshaw - Director, IR and Communications
Luke Kissam - President & CEO
John Steitz - EVP & COO
Scott Tozier - SVP & CFO
David Begleiter - Deutsche Bank
PJ Juvekar - Citigroup
Bob Koort - Goldman Sachs
Laurence Alexander - Jefferies & Company
Mike Sison - KeyBanc Capital Markets
Jeff Zekauskas - JPMorgan
Steve Schwartz - First Analysis
Edward Yang - Oppenheimer
Dimitry Silversteyn - Longbow Research
Todd Vencil - Sterne Agee
Aleksey Yefremov - Bank of America
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Good day ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the fourth quarter 2011 Albemarle Corp earnings conference call. My name is Suwanda and I’ll be your coordinator for today. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions).
As a reminder this conference is being recorded for replay purposes. I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Lorin Crenshaw, Director, Investor Relations and Communications. Please proceed.
Thank you, Suwanda and welcome everyone to Albemarle’s fourth quarter 2011 earnings conference call. Our earnings were released after the close of market yesterday and you’ll find our press release, earnings presentation and non-GAAP reconciliations posted on our website under the Investor Section at albemarle.com.
Joining me on the call today; are Luke Kissam, President and Chief Executive Officer; John Steitz, Chief Operating Officer; and Scott Tozier, Chief Financial Officer. Before we get started, I would like to ask everyone to please save the date for Albemarle’s 2012 Investor Day which will be held in New York City on Tuesday May 22nd. Registration and event details will be e-mailed in the coming weeks and we look forward to seeing many of you there. As a reminder, some of the matters discussed during the call may include forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Please note the cautionary language about our forward-looking statements contained in our press release. That same language applies to this call. Also, to the extent that we discuss any non-GAAP financial measures, you’ll find reconciliations in our press release we just posted on our website at albemarle.com.
With that, I’ll turn the call over to Luke.
Thank you Lorin and good morning everyone. We appreciate the opportunity to share our fourth quarter and full-year results with you today. I’ll begin today by commenting on the company’s quarterly and full-year results and we’ll share a few highlights of some of the major initiatives that we have previously discussed with you. John Steitz will then walk you through business segment performance before Scott Tozier reviews financial highlights.
As usual, at the end of our prepared remarks we will open it up for your questions. I am delighted to report that despite a challenging global operating environment in the fourth quarter, Albemarle closed 2011 on a strong note with fourth quarter net income of $99 million or $1.11 per share, up 21% year-over-year. This marks the ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year profitability improvement for us.
Net sales of $707 million were up 17% year-over-year while operating profits of $136 million were up 22%. Fourth quarter operations generated $209 million of cash flow and we ended the quarter at targeted inventory levels and better than expected working capital levels. Great results. In fact, from an earnings standpoint, it was the best fourth quarter in our history and prior to 2011, would have been the best quarter in our history.
These strong results capped a great 2011 for Albemarle. Full-year 2011 earnings were a record $436 million or $4.77 per share compared to $3.56 per share in 2010. Net sales for the year totaled $2.9 billion, up 21% year-over-year. Full-year EBITDA was a record $701 million and was up 29% year-over-year. Profitability as measured by either operating margins of 20% or segment margins of 24% respectively achieved new highs.
Great year and a great first step towards Vision 2015.
Scott will talk more in a moment about our financial results in detail. However, I want to highlight that we generated around $0.5 billion of cash this year. That allowed us to increase our capital expenditures and plan for future growth, fund our pension liabilities, repurchase 3 million shares of stock and increase dividends to shareholders for the 17th straight year.
Even with those cash expenditures, we ended the year with the strongest balance sheet in our history and the financial flexibility to fund the many opportunities that we have before us to grow our business and provide reasonable returns to our shareholders. 2011 was not only an exceptional year from a financial standpoint, but I am also very proud of how we went about delivering these results. From an operation standpoint, our safety and stewardship performance was one of our best ever.
From an innovation standpoint, we were excited to announce the development of a proprietary technology for lithium extraction from our Magnolia branch. We proved the technology is commercially viable and competitive, set up our power plant in Magnolia and are well along in the development and design phase of our commercial unit.
As a further testament to our innovation, 31% of our sales were from products that were commercialized within the last five years. That type of innovation has helped us continue to expand our margins over the years. I am very proud of our 4000 employees around the world whose talents and discipline allowed us to deliver such outstanding results.
As I look to 2012 and beyond, there's many reasons to be optimistic about our business prospects. I am happy to report that we've met each of the critical milestones that we outlined for our major capital projects. We broke ground and are proceeding on schedule with our TEA joint venture with SABIC in Saudi Arabia and our wholly-owned poly-olefin catalyst center in Korea.