Dun & Bradstreet (DNB)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 30, 2010 8:00 am ET

Executives

Anastasios Konidaris - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Sara Mathew - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Kathy Guinnessey - Leader, Treasury and IR

Analysts

Michael Meltz - JP Morgan Chase & Co

Daniel Leben - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated

Carter Malloy - Stephens Inc.

Peter Appert - Piper Jaffray Companies

Shlomo Rosenbaum - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc.

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to D&B's 2010 Second Quarter Teleconference. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the call over to Ms. Kathy Guinnessey, Leader, Treasury and Investor Relations. Ms. Guinnessey, you may begin.

Kathy Guinnessey

Thank you, Laura. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. In a moment, we will hear commentary on our second quarter 2010 performance, as well as our outlook for the remainder of the year and an update on our Strategic Technology Investment from Sara Mathew, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and Tasos Konidaris, our Chief Financial Officer.

To help our analysts and investors understand how we view the business, our remarks this morning will include forward-looking statements. Our Form 10-K and 10-Q filings, as well as the earnings release we issued yesterday, highlight a number of important risk factors that could cause our actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements. These documents are available on the Investor Relations section of our website, and we encourage you to review the material. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

During our call today, we will be discussing a number of non-GAAP financial measures, as that's how we manage the business. For example, when we discuss revenue growth, we'll be referring to the non-GAAP measure core revenue growth before the effect of foreign exchange, unless otherwise noted. When we discuss operating income, operating margin and EPS, these will all be on a non-GAAP basis, before non-core gains and charges. A reconciliation between these and other non-GAAP financial measures and the most directly comparable GAAP measures can be found in the schedules to our earnings release. They can also be found in the supplemental reconciliation schedule that we post on the Investor Relations section of our website. Later today, you'll also find a transcript of this call on our Investor Relations site.

With that, I'll now turn the call over to Sara Mathew. Sara?

Sara Mathew

Thank you, Kathy. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us. Here's what you're going to expect on the call today. I'll begin with a review of the state of the business. I'll share my assessment of what is working well and what must be improved. I'll also provide an update on the strategy we shared with you at Investor Day in May, the exciting new product launches we have planned for later in 2010. Then, Tasos will provide the quarterly financial detail, and we'll close with Q&A. So you will have clarity on our results, our strategy and our expectations for the rest of the year.

Let me begin by setting some context. As a reminder, 2010 is a transition year for D&B, as we work through the weak sales overhang from 2009 and embark on a strategic re-platform of our core data and technology asset. This investment will allow us to systemically lower costs and significantly ramp up the pace of innovation. In fact, we will share details of several new products that will be launched in the fourth quarter of this year later on the call.

With six months behind us and in what appears to be an uneven economic recovery, we're pleased to report that we are on track to meet our guidance for the year. We've also made good progress on the strategic re-platform. I'll provide more perspective on each of these beginning with the review of the second quarter.

Last night, we announced the second quarter earnings. Revenue was down 3%, due primarily to a 6% decline in North America and partially offset by 11% growth in International. Operating income was down 6%, a sequential improvement from the first quarter. EPS was up 2%, the first quarter of growth since the third quarter of 2009. And year-to-date, we've generated free cash flow of $173 million.

As we assess our performance so far, approximately 2/3 of our business is doing quite well, while the remaining 1/3 needs to improve. Let me begin with a discussion of the areas that are working well. We remained very pleased with our performance in International. Revenue was up 11%, in line with expectations and largely driven by acquisitions, ICC in Europe and RoadWay in China, both of which are delivering their acquisition economics. We're on track to deliver our third consecutive year of double-digit growth in the region, and we expect this trend to sustain into 2011.

Our success in the International is largely driven by our strategy of focusing on cross-border customers and investing through acquisitions to increase our exposure to high-growth markets in Asia Pacific. As context, Asia Pacific has more than tripled in size over the past five years. We also have a seasoned management team on the ground. And as I shared with you at Investor Day, we now have new real-time data in Europe, as we've completed the redesign of a data supply chain in that market. As such, we can better leverage data as the basis of differentiation, and our unique cross-border value proposition resonates well with customers.

Looking ahead, we see further runway for growth as we have just launched DNBi in Europe and the early read is very positive. With a strong pipeline of prospects for DNBi and have already closed two sales. Customers tell us that DNBi helps them improve productivity and makes our data more actionable in their workflow. We expect to enter 2011 on a strong note. We are seeing a slowdown in Japan, which we believe will be with us for the rest of the year and this is factored into our expectations. We're working to sharpen execution and improve our value proposition in the market to strengthen performance as the year progresses. So in summary, International is an area that is performing very well.

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