Service Corp. International (SCI)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 29, 2010 10:00 am ET


Debbie Young - Director, IR

Tom Ryan - CEO and President

Eric Tanzberger - CFO, Sr. VP and Treasurer

Steve Tidwell


A J Rice - Susquehanna

Clint Fendley - Davenport

Robert Willoughby, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Nicholas Jansen - Raymond James & Associates



Good day ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the second quarter 2010 Service Corp. International earnings conference call. My name is Lisa and I will be your coordinator for today. At this time all participant are in a listen-only mode. We will be facilitating a question-and-answer session towards the end of today's conference. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would now like to turn the presentation over to SCI Management. Please proceed.

Debbie Young

Good morning everyone. This is Debbie Young, the Director of Investor Relations for SCI. We want to welcome you to our call this morning to discuss our second quarter results.

Our call today will include some forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause our results to differ materially from management’s current expectations. We encourage you to review the Safe Harbor statement contained in our earnings release published yesterday as well as our most recent SEC filings for a more complete description.

Additionally on the call today Tom and Eric may use terms like normalized EPS, normalized operating cash flows. These are non-GAAP financial terms. Please see our press release and 8-K that was filed yesterday where we have provided a detailed reconciliation of these measures in the appropriate GAAP terms.

Now, I will turn the call over to President and CEO, Tom Ryan.

Tom Ryan

Thank you Debbie and thanks everybody for being on the call today. As usual we are going to have kind of a quick overview of the quarter as to funeral operations, cemetery operations. Eric will add some comments on the financial side of the house and then some concluding comments. So for the overview of the quarter, second quarter again we delivered consistent positive performance. If you look at earnings per share, our normalized earnings per share were $0.15 versus the $0.12 in the prior year quarter with again normalized for both quarters.

So if you take about year-over-year improvements, it’s really driven through things continuing, one being the largest. The first thing that's really driving our results is the acquisition that occurred only in this year and late in last year. So the Keystone and Palm Mortuaries were big contributors to our improvement. And it predominantly benefits the funeral segment as we gathered thus and why that is so accretive as well is essentially we've funded this predominantly with cash.

So you can think about the alternatives of earning money and cash and the alternatives of these very accretive acquisitions shows up the nucleus pretty well. Secondarily we continue to see solid simultaneous sales production. We've been doing this for some time now and the comps are going to get harder and harder but again we delivered positive growth and that arena and lastly we continue to manage our expenses very prudently and every level of the organization, at the G&A line, the overhead line, the allocation of the field as well as in the field of expense so I want to congratulate everybody in the company for continuing to do that.

Now as you compare EPS to our internal expectations because obviously we had improvement of the party, we had a good quarter as well. This exceeded I think external expectations, analyst consensus as well as our own internal expectations. I mean you think about our internal expectations, even our comparable funeral revenues help offset some lower recognition rates on cemetery.

So if you think about year-over-year we expected cemetery to be better. We expected funeral to really be challenged and I would say intellectually performing a little ahead of probably we would expect it to be. Other key positives to take way from the quarter again I think are the big headline things, number one the acquisitions were very accretive and contribute meaningfully to core.

Houston and home combined contributed $37 million in revenue and $10 million of gross profit in the second quarter. Also Berkley’s announced that at the end of this quarter we completed the sale of the freight commission required properties from the Keystone acquisition. Those are 22 funeral homes and five cemeteries. And it generated about $35 million in proceeds.

With these proceeds along with our strong cash flow enables to return to you more than a $103 million a year-to-date in the form of share purchases and the dividends that we've paid out and I am actually including the dividend is going to be paid tomorrow so forgive me for predicting something but that's over $100 million back to you guys.

So I think what this all says as you look at the accretive acquisitions we are able to complete as you look at what we've given back to shareholders it really reiterates our confidence and our optimism and the long term future of SCI.

Now I'm going to move to the funeral operations and talk a bit there. We talked already really about Keystone so I am going to talk about comparable funeral operations. They generally reflect compared to prior year but as I said before they perform well relatively to our expectations.

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