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Molycorp, Inc. (



Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 23, 2012 4:30 PM ET


Brian Blackman – Senior Manager, IR

Mark Smith – President and CEO

Jim Allen – CFO and Treasurer

Jim Sims – VP, Corporate Communications


Anthony Young

Paretosh Misra – Morgan Stanley

Colin Rusch – ThinkEquity

Jagadish Iyer – Piper Jaffray

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Paul Forward – Stifel Nicolaus

Michael Gambardella – JPMorgan

John Christian Evensen – Strategist Newsletter



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Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. And welcome to the Molycorp Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2011 Earnings Conference Call. My name is Chris, and I will be your conference moderator for today. Presently, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will facilitate a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

And at this time, I would now like to turn the conference over to your presenter for today Mr. Brian Blackman, Senior Manager Investor Relations. Sir, you may proceed.

Brian Blackman

Thank you and good afternoon everyone. We just released our financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2011. If you have not yet seen the press release, you can find it posted on the Investor Relations section of our website, at

This call is being webcast and a replay will be archived on the company’s website. For those of you who have dialed into the call, a slide show that accompanies our prepared remarks is available on the Molycorp website in the investor’s section.

For those of you, who are listening by webcast, the slides will be presented in the webcast player. Please note that you need to advance the slides on your own.

Slide two, has our Safe Harbor statement. And as always, we need to advice you that some of the information discussed on this conference call will contain forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that are difficult to predict.

The company’s actual results could differ materially from those contained in such statements, because of variety of factors including those described in detail in the risk factor section of Molycorp’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011.

We also want to caution you that today’s presentation include discussions or adjusted – adjusted or non-GAAP financial measurements that reflect – which reflect how the managements and directors of Molycorp, analyze the business on a daily basis. The adjusted measurements segregate out certain non-cash items such as depreciation and amortization and stock based compensation and certain out of ordinary items. Internally, Molycorp management analysis our business on an operating income perspective and we want our shareholders to have access to the same information we use in understanding our business.

However, these non-cash and other out of ordinary items are important to understanding the company’s long-term performance. Therefore, listeners are highly encouraged to study the non-GAAP to GAAP reconciliation supply at the end of the earnings release which can also be found on our website.

On the call today is Molycorp’s, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Smith and our Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Jim Allen.

Let me now turn the call over to Mark Smith.

Mark Smith

Thank you, Brain. And thank you all for joining us today and for your continued interest in the company. Before I jump into our fourth quarter and full year 2011 results, let me first note three major accomplishments on slide four by our Molycorp family and this is an area that reflects one of our company’s values namely safety.

Today, marks day 2417, that our Mountain Pass rare earth facility has gone to that last time incident that is more than 6.5 years which is a remarkable achievement for any facility of this type. And our project Phoenix has now registered more than 1.2 million hours without a single last time incident as well.

And finally, our Molycorp metals and alloys facility in Tolleson, Arizona recently celebrated its 15 year without last time incident. I am very proud of our team’s achievement in these extraordinary milestones. And I wanted to take this opportunity in a public forum to commend the entire family of Molycorp for these extraordinary safety accomplishments.

Next slide please. 2011 was truly an outstanding year for Molycorp. If I had to sum up the performance of the Molycorp family in one sentence, it would be this. This company is all about execution, it’s about delivering along we said we would deliver. And I think we certainly did that in 2011.

On the call today, I will summarize our Q4 and full year 2011 results and accomplishments. And I’ll then provide some high level comments on these results and how they positively position Molycorp for the years ahead. I will also provide an update on Project Phoenix and discuss our market outlook and guidance for 2012.

Jim Allen will walk you through our financial results in greater detail. I’ll then close some of my observations on key issues. Our investors have raised in recent quarter. And then we’ll open up to call for you questions.

Starting on slide 7, during the fourth quarter we reported sales of $133 million and adjusted earnings per share of $0.41. For 2011, we achieved net revenues of $397 million and adjusted earnings per share of $1.73. Our net income increased by $169 million compared to 2010, and we generated $43 million in cash flow from operations.

This past year we assembled the components of our mine-to-magnet strategy by adding metal and alloy manufacturing capabilities and by signing a joint venture agreement to manufacture permanent magnets. We achieved our 2011 contracting goal for Phase 1 production, was 78% of Phase 1 now being signed in customer agreement or reserved for XSORBX production. And with regard to XSORBX, we sold a total of 55 metric tons of this product last year. We anticipate sale is rising strongly in 2012 and beyond.

Last but not least we’ve accelerated the Project Phoenix modernization and expansion of our flagship Mountain Pass facility, which remained on time for a Phase 1 production rate of 19,050 metric tons by the end of third quarter 2012. Mechanical completion of Phase 2 production capacity is still on target for the end of 2012.

Moving to slide eight. Since yearend, we have maintained the steady pace of activity against our goals. We have continued the qualification process to ensure our products meet customers’ specifications this ultimately allows us to proceed with signing additional agreements for Phase 1 capacity. We expect to strengthen our balance sheet and increase our strategic flexibility through a $390 million capital investment commitment from Molymet, and we succeeded in launching the formal start up of our new Project Phoenix facility this week with early stage operations such mining, crushing and initial cracking operations now underway.

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