Rockwell Automation Inc. F3Q10 (Qtr End 06/30/2010) Earnings Call Transcript

Rockwell Automation Inc. F3Q10 (Qtr End 06/30/2010) Earnings Call Transcript
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Rockwell Automation Inc. (ROK)

F3Q10 (Qtr End 06/30/2010) Earnings Call

July 28, 2010 8:30 am ET


Rondi Rohr-Dralle - VP, IR

Keith Nosbusch - CEO

Ted Crandall - CFO


Robert Cornell - Barclays Capital

Mark Douglass - Longbow Research

Richard Eastman - Robert W. Baird

John Inch - Merrill Lynch

Nigel Coe - Deutsche Bank

Mark Koznarek - Cleveland Research

Steve Tusa - JPMorgan

Rich Kwas - Wells Fargo Securities

Jeff Sprague - Vertical Research Partners

Scott Davis - Morgan Stanley

Julian Mitchell - Credit Suisse



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Welcome to Rockwell Automation's quarterly conference call. (Operator Instructions) At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Rondi Rohr-Dralle, Vice President of Investor Relations.

Rondi Rohr-Dralle

Good morning and thank you for joining us for Rockwell Automation's third quarter fiscal 2010 earnings release conference call. Our results were released this morning and the press release and charts have been posted to our website at Please note that both the press release and charts include reconciliations to non-GAAP measures. Additionally, a webcast of this call is accessible at that website and will be available for replay for the next 30 days.

With me today are Keith Nosbusch, our Chairman and CEO; and Ted Crandall, our Chief Financial Officer. Our agenda includes opening remarks by Keith and that will include highlights of the third quarter and thoughts about our outlook for the remainder of fiscal 2010. Then Ted will provide more details around the third quarter financial performance and our revised 2010 guidance.

We'll take questions at the end of Ted's remarks and we want to get to as many of you as possible, so please limit yourself to one question and a follow-up. We expect the call today to take about an hour.

As is always the case on these calls, I need to remind you that our comments will include statements related to the expected future results of the company and are therefore forward-looking statements as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Our actual results may differ materially from our forecasted projections due to a wide range of risks and uncertainties that are described in our earnings release and detailed in all of our SEC filings.

So with that, I'll turn the call over to Keith.

Keith Nosbusch

Thanks, Rondi. Good morning and thank you for joining us on today's call. The economic recovery continued through our third fiscal quarter, even somewhat stronger than we expected, and our results reflect that in a very positive way.

Our revenue performance was outstanding with 25% year-over-year growth and 9% sequential growth. I was really pleased to see the broad-based nature of our revenue growth with all regions contributing to the strong year-over-year performance.

Product revenue in the quarter was once again better than our expectation. Year-over-year growth was over 35%, more than 10 points higher than the year-over-year growth rate in Q2.

We turned the corner in Q3 in our solutions and services business. As expected, we saw a year-over-year growth for the first time since the second quarter of fiscal 2009. And the solutions and services book-to-bill ratio was a healthy 1.1 this quarter. Operating margins improved 7 points year-over-year, primarily on the strength of volume leverage and we increased spending to fuel future growth.

There are some other highlights of the quarter. We had strong growth in emerging markets with exceptional 42% growth in China. Latin America had very strong year-over-year growth and solid sequential growth, and we exited the quarter with record backlog in this region.

We continue to make progress globally in our process business. Process revenue grew 16% in the quarter. Our process business in Asia grew over 40%. And we had significant wins in new applications for pharma, chemicals and power. And legacy DCS conversion opportunities continue to grow. Our momentum with OEM machine builders continued in Q3 as our revenues spanned the wider footprint of customers and machines.

We continue to generate considerable free cash flow in Q3. Our balance sheet remains very solid. And based on our confidence in our ability to generate cash throughout our business cycle, in June, we raised our dividend by 21%.

These great results are a testament to our talented and dedicated employees and partners and their steadfast commitment to our customers' success.

Let me set the stage for our outlook for the remainder of the fiscal year. There has been some noise in the macroeconomic indicators, but generally they remain at relatively healthy levels and we aren't expecting any significant changes in the near term. The is increased concern about sovereign debt issues in Europe, but we have not seen any slowdown in orders or frontlog activity to date.

In industrial markets, MRO, small and OEM demand is stable. While quotation activity for larger capital projects is kicking up, customers in developed markets are still cautious about committing to large capital spending. And we have not yet seen a pickup in larger capital project orders.

So with that as the backdrop, let me provide more specific expectations regarding our Q4 outlook. We are confident we will see sequential growth in solutions and services revenue in Q4, given the backlog coming into the quarter.

For our products businesses, we believe that Q4 revenue could be about flat compared to Q3 after the effects of normal seasonality in Europe and the end of restocking in our channel.

In total, we expect revenue to be up sequentially in the fourth quarter by about 4%. Given these expectations and with three quarters of solid performance under our belt, we are providing a revised outlook for fiscal 2010 full year earnings per share of $2.95 to $3.05 on revenues of approximately $4.8 billion.

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