Federal Signal Corporation ( FSS)

Q3 2010 Earnings Call

November 03, 2010 10:00 am ET


Bill Barker - SVP and CFO

Dennis Martin - President and CEO


Charlie Brady - BMO Capital Markets

Walt Liptak - Barrington Research

Deane Dray - Citi

Ned Borland - Hudson Securities

Robert Becker - Keeley Asset Management

Steve Barger - KeyBanc Capital Markets

Brad Evans - Heartland Advisors



Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the third quarter 2010 Federal Signal earnings call. My name is Medaska and I will be your operator for today. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today Bill Barker, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Please Proceed.

Bill Barker

Good morning and welcome to Federal Signal's third quarter 2010 conference call. I'm Bill Barker Federal Signal's Chief Financial Officer. Joining me on the call today is Dennis Martin, Federal Signal's President and Chief Executive Officer and Jennifer Sherman, Federal Signal's General Council and Chief Administrative Officer.

We'll be using some slides in the presentation. The slides can be found by going to our website www.federalsignal.com. Clicking on the Q3 Investor Call Icon and selecting the webcast. We'll also post a slide presentation to our website after the call.

Before we get to the business review, I would like to remind you that some of our comments today may contain forward-looking statements that are subject to the Safe Harbor language found in today's news release and in Federal Signal's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These documents are available on our website. We will file our Form 10-Q shortly.

I will give a brief review of our results for the quarter then, I'll turn the call over to Dennis Martin for his comments. After that we'll have some time for your questions.

As discussed in our earnings release this morning, the company's markets remain mixed. Our industrial focused businesses continue to see strong orders in the quarter; all our businesses that are more focused on municipal markets continue to be challenged.

Total company orders for Q3 increased 11% versus last year. Excluding the impact of recent acquisitions which were not in our portfolio last year orders increased 6%. To illustrate the difference in our market several of our industrial businesses achieved double-digit order growth for the quarter and for the year-to-date.

Our core industrial safety products, JetStream waterblasters and our Vactor Guzzler division that would sell sewer cleaners and vacuum trucks. Combined that these businesses accounted for over 40% of the company's total Q3 orders.

However, we saw double-digit declines in Q3 orders for several of our municipal focused businesses including lightbars and sirens in both the U.S. and European markets and our Bronto Skylift business.

Q3 orders for Elgin street sweepers were flat to last year but were down more than 20% versus the order rate we saw in the first half of the year. Our FSTech businesses generated $27 million of revenue in the third quarter flat to what was achieved in the second quarter. While the timing has domestic projects are slipped, we expect these projects to come to fruition in the near future.

In addition, we have seen some good development in the international markets with revenue for the Thailand Electronic Vehicle Registration project accelerating. We've also received some initial orders from India. We expect to see continued growth in our industrial focused businesses and in our FSTech division in Q4 and into 2011 but we also expect to see a continuation of challenging conditions in municipal focused businesses.

I'll talk about our expectations for Q4 just later. But now, I'll go through our Q3 financial results. Q3 financial headlines include our EPS from continuing operations for the quarter of $0.05 and we generated $20 million cash flow from continuing operations. Looking at the P&L for the quarter, as I mentioned Q3 orders were $170 million up 11% versus last year. And sales of $182 million were up 12% versus last year.

Gross margin improved slightly in the quarter to 25.1%. Operating expenses or SG&A were $40 million up $7 million from last year. The increase in SG&A versus last year is due to inclusion of SG&A costs from the acquired businesses and the newly formed FSTech group which were not in last year's P&L as well as higher costs associated with the company's and hearing loss litigation.

The SG&A cost include $1.1 million increase in depreciation and amortization related to the acquisitions. Operating income excluding restructuring charges in both years was down about $2 million versus last year due to higher SG&A costs. Reported EPS from continuing operations was $0.05 for the quarter. The EPS comparison versus last year is impacted by the higher number of outstanding shares, as a result of the equity operating we completed in May.

On Slide 4, we show the results by segment for the quarter. For purposes of comparability we've excluded restructuring charges on the slide. The segment show reflect the new operating group structure we begin in Q2 and prior years have been restated for the transfer of our PIPS and Parking businesses from our safety and security group to the FSTech group.

Safety and security group or SSG generated $5.3 million of operating income in the quarter resulting in 10.4% operating margin, which was a slight improvement versus last year. Q3 orders and revenue for SSG were impacted by weakness in the domestic and European markets for lightbars and sirens, which more than offset growth in our core industrial safety products.

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