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Zebra Technologies Corporation (ZBRA)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 31, 2012 11:00 am ET


Anders Gustafsson - CEO

Mike Smiley - CFO

Mike Terzich - SVP, Global Sales and Marketing

Doug Fox - VP, IR


Michael Holt - Morningstar Equity

John Barta - Northcoast Research

Tim Mulrooney - William Blair

Jason Rodgers - Great Lakes Review

Vincent Tang - Lockwell Investments

Tony Kure - KeyBanc

Travis McCourt - Raymond James

Greg Halter - Great Lakes Review

Rich Glass - Lockwell Investments

Marty Moser - Northwestern Mutual



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Good morning, and welcome to the Zebra Technologies 2012 second quarter earnings release conference call. Joining us today from Zebra Technologies are Anders Gustafsson, CEO; Mike Smiley, CFO; Mike Terzich, Senior Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing; and Doug Fox, Vice President, Investor Relations.

(Operator Instructions) And now, I would like to introduce Mr. Doug Fox of Zebra Technologies.

Doug Fox

Good morning, thank you for joining us today. Certain statements made on this call will relate to future events or circumstances and they therefore will be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Words such as expect, believe and anticipate are a few examples of words identifying a forward-looking statement. Forward-looking information is subject to various risks and uncertainties, which could significantly affect expected results. Risk factors were noted in the news release issued this morning and are also described in Zebra's 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, which is on filed with the SEC.

Now, let me turn the call over to Anders Gustafsson for some brief opening remarks.

Anders Gustafsson

Thank you, Doug, and good morning everyone. For the second quarter Zebra reported sales of $247 million and earnings from continuing operations of $0.58 per share. Second quarter revenues reflect the constraints of the business environment in Europe, where parts of Western Europe were more challenged than had been expected.

At the same time, the execution of our strategies to take share, penetrate key industries more deeply and build stronger ties from strategic accounts resulted in our delivering year-over-year and sequential sales growth, including strong growth in several emerging regions, 10% sales growth in North America and a new record for printer shipments.

The operational resilience of our business helped sustain a high gross margin of nearly 49%. We also maintained operating expenses in line with guidance with some anticipated expenditures for M&A, and other meaningful investments that position Zebra for long-term success and improving investment returns. We generated a strong $45.2 million in free cash flow reflecting continued effective management of working capital.

During the quarter we returned $14.9 million to shareholders through the buyback of 409,000 shares. Shortly after the end of the quarter, we announced the acquisition of LaserBand, which substantially enhances Zebra's position in healthcare, an attractive area for growth with industry-leading patient identification solutions.

Even with the current economic challenges all companies faced, we continue to have great confidence in Zebra's future. As our accomplishments in the second quarter demonstrate, we continue to build greater value for our customers and shareholders.

Over the past year, we have sharpened our focus on key industries with significant opportunity, such as retail, healthcare and manufacturing. Our performance in North America and emerging regions demonstrates the effectiveness of these strategies.

Zebra together with our partners is working to create a smarter, more connected business community. We are pursuing this vision through five strategic pillars. First, intensify innovation. Second, expand into new markets. Third, maximize operational effectiveness. Fourth, penetrate existing markets further. And lastly, inspire our people and culture.

During the second quarter, we made progress in many of these areas. Let me highlight a few of our recent successes. First, innovation remains the corner stone in all aspects of our business at Zebra. Our enabling technologies and range of services are helping customers address real business needs and improve visibility within their supply chains. Our commitment to innovation is perhaps most visible in product development.

During the second quarter, we were very excited to introduce the ZT200 series of tabletop printers. This new platform highlights how we are delivering greater value to our customers, while also leveraging our enhanced R&D process to significantly increase the cadence of new product introductions.

The ZT200 is the second Zebra printer family using a common platform, from which we now offer five printer models to meet the range of customer performance and value needs, engineered for easy maintenance, setup and operation. The new design is optimized for using constraint spaces, another important customer benefit.

This new platform also incorporates Zebra's latest electronic architecture, which enables customers to more easily integrate, manage and maintain the printers. Our new operating system (Link OS) is the significant advancement that enables Zebra to more efficiently design and develop new products. With minimal modification, we will incorporate this system in future printer products to drive greater efficiencies in engineering and improved performance across our product line.

Customers have responded enthusiastically to the ZT200 and orders have well exceeded initial build plans. This series of printers is part of a total eight printer products introduced in the first half of this year and we remain on track to introduce at least 12 new printer products in 2012.

Second, our expansion into high growth markets took a major lead forward with the LaserBand acquisition. LaserBand provides Zebra an outstanding position in healthcare with a broad range of industry-leading high-margin laser and thermal wristbanding products. It makes Zebra more relevant to hospitals, regardless of their preference for wristband printing technology. LaserBand adds to their already positive momentum we have build with our Zebra HC100 wristband printer and other enabling solutions.

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