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Greif, Inc. (GEF)

F3Q12 Earnings Call

August 30, 2012 10:00 am ET


Debra Strohmaier - VP, Corporate Communications

Rob McNutt - SVP & CFO

David Fischer - President & CEO


George Staphos - Bank of America-Merrill Lynch

Phil Gresh - JPMorgan

Chris Manuel - Wells Fargo

Adam Josephson - KeyBanc

Matt Wooten - Robert W. Baird

Steve Chercover - D. A. Davidson

Walt Liptak - Barrington Research



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Greetings and welcome to the Greif Inc. third quarter 2012 earnings conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

It is now pleasure to introduce your host, Debra Strohmaier, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Greif. Thank you. You may begin.

Debra Strohmaier

Thank you, Christine. Good morning. As a reminder, you may follow this presentation on the web at and the investor center under conference calls. If you don’t already have the earnings release, it is also available on our website. We’re on slide two.

The information provided during this morning’s call contains forward-looking statements. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those that may be expressed or implied. Some factors that could cause the results or outcomes to differ are on slide 2 of this presentation in the company's 2011 Form 10-K and in other company SEC filings as well as company earnings news releases.

This presentation uses certain non-GAAP financial measures, including those that exclude special items, such as restructuring charges and acquisition-related costs and EBITDA before and after special items. EBITDA is defined as net income, plus interest expense net, plus income tax expense, plus equity earnings of unconsolidated subsidiaries, net of tax plus depreciation, depreciation and amortization expense.

Management believes the non-GAAP measures provide a better indication of operational performance and a more stable platform on which to compare the historical performance of the company, than the most nearly equivalent GAAP data. All non-GAAP data in the presentation are indicated by footnotes. Tables showing the reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP measures are available at the end of this presentation and in the third quarter 2012 earnings release.

Giving prepared remarks today are in order of speaking, Senior Vice president and CFO, Rob McNutt; and President and CEO, David Fischer.

I will now turn the call over to Mr. McNutt.

Rob McNutt

Thank you, Deb. I am on Slide 3. Our three priorities for fiscal 2012 include improving our working capital, increasing cash flow and integrating acquisition. We're also taking additional steps to counteract stubborn economic challenges. We achieved further progress on each of our priorities during the third quarter.

Working capital was $314 million as July 31, 2012 or $44 million below year end 2011. Recall that Q3 tends to increase our receivables due to the food and agriculture season and this year is no exception. However, continued improvements in other working capital items more than offset the impact of the food and ag season.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $152 million for the third quarter of 2012 compared with $35 million for the same period last year. Free cash flow was $113 million for the third quarter of 2012 compared with a negative $11 million for the third quarter of 2011. Free cash flow for the 2012 year-to-date period was $209 million versus a negative $99 million for the first nine months of 2011, which represent a positive swing of over $300 million during the past 12 months.

This improved free cash flow enabled us to reduce debt by a $142 million and return $73 million to shareholders in the form of cash dividends during the first nine months of 2012. Our third priority for this year, acquisition integration is gaining traction and positive contributions are being realized, although the economic headwinds in Europe have offset a lot of the good work that’s been done in these newly acquired businesses.

David will provide an update of our integration progress in his remarks. We made no acquisitions in the third quarter 2012.

Before reviewing our quarterly results, I want to note some specific challenges our company recently faced in Latin America. During our normal internal control review processes we identified weaknesses in our internal controls there which we are addressing. These issues did not impact our third quarter 2012 results or cash flows, but did involve matters dating back as far as 2000.

Internal controls have been strengthened and appropriate management changes have been made in the business in response to these matters. Further details will be included in our third quarter 2012 Form 10-Q and subsequent forms 8-K filing next month.

Please now turn to slide four. The financial summary presents our consolidated results for third quarter 2012 compared with the same period last year. Net sale of $1.1 billion were comparable for both periods. Net sale volumes including acquisitions increased 5% from a year ago and were 1% below the same period last year on a same structure basis.

Rigid industrial packaging and services and flexible products and services segments volumes were less than we had anticipated for the third quarter of 2012 and are also expected to remain below previous expectations for the fourth quarter.

Volumes in July, the final month of the quarter was especially soft and the impact was evident among more business units and geographic regions. It is now clear that the pace of global economic recovery is below our previous expectations for the later portion of this fiscal year.

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