Carpenter Technology Corporation (CRS)
F4Q10 Earnings Conference Call
July 29, 2010 10:00 AM
Mike Hajost – VP and Treasurer
Greg Pratt – Chairman
Bill Wulfsohn – President and CEO
Mike Shor – EVP, Advanced Metals Operations and Premium Alloys Operations
Doug Ralph – CFO and SVP, Finance
Chris Olin – Cleveland Research
Edward Marshall – Sidoti & Company
Steve Levenson – Stifel Nicolaus
Gautam Khanna – Cowen & Co
Mark Parr – KeyBanc Capital Markets
Dan Valine (ph) – Capstone Investments
Previous Statements by CRS
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Good morning and welcome to Carpenter Technology’s fourth quarter earnings conference call. My name is Stacey and I will be your conference coordinator for today. At this time, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. After the speakers’ remarks, you will be invited to participate in the question-and-answer session towards the end of the call. If at any time during the call, you require audio assistance, please key star followed by zero and an operator will be happy to assist to. I would now like to turn the call over to your host for today’s call, Mr. Mike Hajost, Vice President and Treasurer. Please proceed.
Thank you, Stacey. Good morning, everyone and welcome to Carpenter’s earnings conference call for the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2010. This call is also being broadcast over the Internet. With us today are Greg Pratt, Chairman, Bill Wulfsohn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mike Shor, Executive Vice President, AMO and PAO Operations, and Doug Ralph, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Statements made by management during this conference call that are forward-looking statements are based on current expectations. Risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements can be found in Carpenter’s most recent SEC filings including the company’s June 30, 2009 10-K, its September 30, 2009, December 31, 2009, and March 31, 2010 10-Qs and the exhibits attached to those filings.
I will now turn the call over to Greg.
Thank you, Mike. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us on our fourth quarter earnings call. Let me start by saying that we are encouraged by the strength and the momentum in our business. Our foreword order book is robust, our utilization rates are increasing, and we are hiring production workers. It is critical that we position ourselves appropriately in order to meet the growing customer demand as the lumpy recovery unfolds.
To this point, we made a decision during the fourth quarter to increase our production and inventory levels. This Lean Forward initiative enables us to respond more quickly to near-term customer demand for shorter lead times. This was the right decision for the business but contributed to lower operating margins in the fourth quarter. We estimate the impact from these actions to be about $0.10 per share. Adjusting for Lean Forward impacts, and $2.6 million in fixed asset write-offs, our operating margin would have met our previously communicated 10% goal.
Our top financial goals for the year were to deliver positive peak cash flow and protect the strength of our balance sheet. We exceeded our expectations in this area and generated $23 million of free cash flow in the fourth quarter and $40 million for the full year.
Taking into account the challenging market conditions we faced at the beginning of the year, and the senior leadership changes we endured, I speak for the whole management team when I say we are very proud of what we accomplished and how well the company is positioned for future growth.
For example, we increased our share in key markets by enhancing our relationships with key customers and diversifying our customer base. We invested further in R&D, which will lead to a more robust new product pipeline and make an important contribution to overall growth. We have increased our external collaboration efforts to position ourselves at the forefront of new technology and innovation. This will help us grow the strategic parts of our business.
And finally, we strengthened our financial position, which enables us to be more choiceful in pursuing growth opportunities. Looking forward as a management team, we have never been more excited about the outlook for our business. We are especially enthusiastic about the demand curve we see stretching out ahead of us in our key aerospace and energy markets.
At this point, I’m going to turn the call over to the person who will lead the company into the future, our new President and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Wulfsohn.
Thank you Greg, and good morning. I am really excited to be heading up Carpenter Technology. And like Greg, I’m very enthusiastic about the company’s prospects for the future. I started my new role as CEO on July 1, and since then I have been spending my time on the job listening; listening to employees, listening to customers, to our suppliers and to our investors. I believe this feedback is essential to determining where I should put my focus in the future to enable Carpenter to grow possibly and to deliver strong shareholder value.
Today I would like to share with you the reasons why I decided to join Carpenter. There are three. First, I believe Carpenter’s strengths and market focus match the global megatrends in manufacturing today. Having spent my career working in specialty materials, I understand the Carpenter’s competitive advantages, its people, its world-class manufacturing capabilities, its focus on technology differentiation and its global presence position the company extremely well for the future. Leveraging these strengths along with Carpenter’s strong financial position, I believe that we have tremendous opportunities to compete more aggressively and grow rapidly in the future.