Molex (MOLX)

Q3 2012 Earnings Call

April 25, 2012 9:30 am ET


Steve Martens -

Martin P. Slark - Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Member of Executive Committee

David D. Johnson - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Treasurer


Amit Daryanani - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Shawn M. Harrison - Longbow Research LLC

Sherri Scribner - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Jim Suva - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Steven B. Fox - Cross Research LLC

Anil K. Doradla - William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division

Anthony C. Kure - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Craig Hettenbach - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Amitabh Passi - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Unknown Analyst

Wamsi Mohan - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division



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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Third Quarter 2012 Molex Incorporated Earnings Conference Call. My name is Pamela, and I will be your operator for today. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes. I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Steve Martens, Vice President of Investor Relations.

Steve Martens

Thank you, Pamela. Good morning and welcome to our March 2012 conference call. I'm here today with Martin Slark, our CEO; Dave Johnson, our CFO; and Liam McCarthy, our COO. We want to limit the call to 1 hour, so when we get to Q&A we ask for one question and one short followup.

Also, please visit the Investor Relations section of our website to download the presentation materials and to access a replay of this call.

The Safe Harbor statements are on Slides 1 and 2 of the presentation materials. During the course of this presentation, we will be providing forward-looking information and referring to non-GAAP measures. Please read carefully the forward-looking statements section of our press release and Form 10-K for an understanding of the risks and uncertainties associated with forward-looking information and a reconciliation of non-GAAP measures to GAAP. And now, I’ll turn the call over to Martin.

Martin P. Slark

Thank you, Steve, and welcome to everybody on the call. Overall, the March quarter, if you look at Slide 3, was a little weaker than we expected from a revenue perspective, stronger than we expected from a bookings perspective and at the high-end of our guidance for EPS.

The March quarter was impacted as usual by the Chinese New Year holiday with lower production during the period, particularly for mobile phones and consumer electronics. We expect production volumes in these markets to start to increase in our fiscal year Q4 and peak in the September-October period, when pre-Christmas builds usually end.

Revenue is typically down sequentially in the March quarter and then rebounds in the June quarter. From what we can see, we are following a normal seasonal pattern with some variation by end-markets which I'll discuss in more detail later. The book-to-bill ratio for the quarter was 1.04:1. Monthly bookings strengthened as the quarter progressed with March bookings being the strongest in the quarter. It appears that the period of inventory destocking, particularly in our distribution channel has ended. We experienced double-digit sequential bookings growth in all end-markets during the quarter except consumer and telecom. Our backlog increased 9% during the quarter, while lead times taken for shipments from Molex declined slightly over the period.

All of these data points, combined with a strengthening CRM pipeline and a very strong new product pipeline, give us cautious optimism as we head into the balance of this calendar year.

Molex has a strong history of generating cash. This is how we have self-funded growth throughout our history. Our goal is for free cash flow to approximate net income, and we have certainly achieved this objective for the last 3 quarters. We continue to view our dividend as integral to our capital allocation strategy. With the business environment stabilizing and cash flows very strong, our Board of Directors has authorized an increase of 10% to our quarterly dividend. Our balance sheet remains very strong, and we will continue with tuck-in M&A at opportunities. And in addition, we have more than sufficient liquidity available under our revolver to finalize the opportunities as they become available.

Now please turn to Slide 4. Revenue for the quarter was $837 million, 2.4% below the December 2011 quarter, and down 4.3% from the March 2011 quarter. And I just like to remind everybody, when you look back at the prior year quarter, that quarter benefited from stimulus packages particularly in Asia and inventory build in the infotech markets and distribution channels.

The March quarter is generally down 2 to 3% on a sequential basis, and we were right in this range this year even in what is perceived right now to be a fairly choppy environment. The order pattern was encouraging, with monthly bookings increasing each month in the quarter. All of the bookings growth was organic. As mentioned in my summary, orders increased by double digits in a year-over-year basis in all markets except for telecom and consumer, which were relatively flat. Issues in both the telecom and consumer markets have been well-documented. Key customers are dealing with delayed infrastructure spending and seasonally weak mobile and consumer markets.

Now turn to Slide 5, where we've shown a breakdown of our revenue and orders by industry. And I'll try and give you some additional color here on each of the end-markets that we sell into. Automotive continues to be a strong end-market. Revenue increased 12% sequentially and increased 5% year-over-year. From a seasonal perspective, March is generally stronger than the December quarter as productions schedules increased due to fewer holidays, particularly in North America and Europe. As a result, we saw the strongest growth both sequentially and year-over-year in the Americas. Europe was strong sequentially, however, production was lower than the prior year as growth in the region has stalled due to stimulus programs that pulled sales of Ford last year and an uncertain consumer environment. Asia also benefited from increases in production builds after Chinese New Year.

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