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FTI Consulting (FCN)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 24, 2012 9:00 am ET


Daniel J. Slottje - Senior Managing Director

Jack B. Dunn - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Roger D. Carlile - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Dennis J. Shaughnessy - Executive Chairman

David G. Bannister - Executive Vice President and Chairman of the North American Region


Timothy McHugh - William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division

Daniel R. Leben - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Kevin D. McVeigh - Macquarie Research

Tobey Sommer - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division

Joseph D. Foresi - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division

Arnold Ursaner - CJS Securities, Inc.

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Good day, and welcome to the FTI Consulting Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. As a reminder, today's call is being recorded. Now, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Daniel Slottje of FTI Consulting. Please go ahead.

Daniel J. Slottje

Good morning. Welcome to the FTI Consulting conference call to discuss the company's fourth quarter 2011 results as reported yesterday. Management will begin with formal remarks, after which, we will take your questions.

Before we begin, I would like to remind everyone that this conference call may include forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 that involve uncertainties and risks. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events, future revenues, future results and performance expectations, plans or intentions relating to acquisitions or other matters, business trends and other information that is not historical, including statements regarding estimates of future financial results.

For discussion of risks and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements, investors should review the Safe Harbor statement in the earnings press release issued yesterday, a copy of which is available on our website at, as well as other disclosures under the heading Risk Factors and Forward-Looking Information in our most recent Form 10-K and in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as to the date of this earnings call.

During the call, we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures such as adjusted EBITDA, adjusted segment EBITDA and adjusted earnings per share. For discussion of these non-GAAP financial measures, as well as our reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most recently comparable GAAP measures, investors should review the press release we issued yesterday.

With these formalities out of the way, I would like to turn the call over to Jack Dunn, President and Chief Executive Officer. Jack, please go ahead.

Jack B. Dunn

Yes, thank you very much. Good morning, good afternoon or good evening to everyone, and thank you for joining us. With me today are Dennis Shaughnessy, our Chairman; Roger Carlile, our Chief Executive -- excuse me, our Chief Financial Officer; and David Bannister, the Chairman of our North America region.

Today, I'd like to continue our format of giving you 3 or 4 bullet points that we think are significant and then turn it over to your questions. This morning, however, if nothing more than a tribute to the people who produced them, I'd like to take a few minutes to talk about our results for 2011.

Let me begin with a brief overview of our fourth quarter results, which I think validates the strategic imperatives we implemented at the beginning of 2011. For the quarter, the company grew 10%. Our pro cyclical businesses again led the way with an aggregate of 15% growth, driven by continued strength in Economic Consulting, Technology and Forensic and Litigation Consulting. Our activities outside North America continued to be very, very strong.

Looking at fiscal 2011, I believe many of the steps that we have taken over the last months, quarters and year came together to demonstrate the power of the platform that we have built and the intellectual capital that we have brought together.

Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.93, up 79% over earnings per share in the fourth quarter last year. And before the reevaluation gain, which Roger will discuss in a moment, we were $0.70, up 34.6% over last year. Adjusted EBITDA was 20.7% of revenues, a 210-basis-point improvement over the same quarter last year, demonstrating the assimilation over the year of our new LECG professionals and the ramp-up of expenses associated with their transition and was also a great job of leadership in Corporate Finance/Restructuring, where margins improved almost 3.5%.

With regard to our pro cyclical businesses, as a whole, they grew 15%, and the organic growth for these businesses was 7%. The delta again represented mostly growth from the LECG transactions, which represented $23.3 million during the quarter. Highlights in the pro cyclical businesses include 39% revenue growth in Economic Consulting, of which 11% was organic; 12% growth in Technology, all of which was organic; and 11% growth in Forensic and Litigation Consulting, of which 4% was organic.

In Economic Consulting, strength in M&A in our financial economics practice continued from the third quarter, with Antitrust and M&A matters up 65% and 36% year-over-year, respectively. Looking to 2012, we believe our financial economic practice will continue to experience high utilization rates and increase client opportunities. We also expect to continue to book a meaningful number of strategic consulting assignments.

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