The Shaw Group Inc. ( SHAW)

F1Q2011 Earnings Call Transcript

January 6, 2011 5:00 pm ET

Executives

Gentry Brann – VP, IR and Corporate Communications

Jim Bernhard – Chairman, President and CEO

Brian Ferraioli – EVP and CFO

Analysts

Jamie Cook – Credit Suisse

Andy Kaplowitz – Barclays Capital

Steven Fisher – UBS

Scott Levine – JPMorgan

John Rogers – D.A. Davidson

Rob [ph] – Stifel Nicolaus

Sameer Rathod – Macquarie

Rob Norfleet – BB&T Capital Markets

Martin Malloy – Johnson Rice

Chase Jacobsen – Sterne, Agee

Presentation

Operator

Welcome to The Shaw Group Incorporated first quarter 2011 earnings conference call. My name is Christine, and I will be your operator for today's conference. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Please note that this conference is being recorded.

I will now turn the call over to Ms. Gentry Brann, Shaw's Vice President of Investor Relations. Ms. Brann, you may begin.

Gentry Brann

Thank you, Christine. Good afternoon and welcome everyone. Thank you for joining us on the call. Our focus today is on Shaw's financial and operating results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011. We will refer to the slides that are available on our website at www.shawgrp.com.

On the call with me today are Jim Bernhard, Shaw's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer and Brian Ferraioli, Shaw's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Before we get started, I ask that you please review the cautionary statement on slide two, which addresses the use of forward-looking statements and Regulation G disclosures to our non-GAAP items. Please consider this information appropriately with respect to today's call.

Now, I will refer you to slide three and turn the call over to Shaw's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Bernhard.

Jim Bernhard

Thanks. Good afternoon. I'd like to call the attention to a few key items that’s contained on them. Let's begin on slide three.

As most of you know, we announced an exclusive global partnership with Toshiba, which includes Shaw being named the EPC contractor for two nuclear power plants using the ABWR technology in South Texas. Our subsidiary, Nuclear Energy Holdings, is continuing to work with Toshiba to extend our Westinghouse put option agreement.

As well in November, in words of Standard & Poor's, “We are proud to announce that Shaw's credit rating has moved to investment grade.” We also continue to see solid operating performance in Environmental & Infrastructure as well as Plant Services. These segments were largely responsible for driving our earnings in the first quarter.

However, we had a one severe – I mean, one challenge here and that was significantly a split jury verdict on Xcel Energy's Comanche project resulting in a charge, which generated loss for the quarter. I want to be very clear that we strongly disagree with the overall outcome and we are contesting the award.

Let me turn it over to Brian on slide four and Brian Ferraioli will go over our financial results.

Brian Ferraioli

Thank you, Jim and good afternoon everyone. As Jim mentioned, Xcel Comanche charge that we previously announced related to a dispute that we had relating to a project in Pueblo, Colorado. This was a complicated matter and claims and counterclaims on both sides. The jury delivered a mixed verdict awarding Shaw a significant portion of our claim, but also the client most of its claim, which is not the result that we had anticipated. The verdict resulted in the accounting treatment that we had previously announced with a $38.7 million after-tax of $0.45 charge after-tax.

While we disagree with the overall jury verdict, we are pursuing post-trial remedies, such as asking the court to set aside the jury verdict and may include an appeal to the state court of appeals.

As a result of this, if the verdict were to stand, notwithstanding the accounting charge, we would still be collecting money – cash from Xcel as there are significant monies due to us and that would approximate $40 million in cash that would flow to Shaw.

As I said, no money has yet been transferred between either party, as we are contesting the verdict.

Moving on to the second item, Taiwan Power, we put out a press release yesterday. This was an international services contract signed in 2000 for construction of a nuclear power plant in Taiwan. And yesterday we received a favorable ruling from the Taiwan High Court affirming an arbitration award in our favor. The ruling follows a unanimous favorable decision in our favor from the local arbitration association and a favorable ruling from the Taipei District Court. The arbitration award orders TPC to pay Shaw approximately $27 million and denies TPC's counterclaims in their entirety.

However, at this time, we have not made any adjustments to our financial statements nor our guidance as TPC has the ability to appeal to the Taiwan Supreme Court, which may or may not elect to hear such appeal if one is asked. So this is something that we expect to play out over the next several weeks or months and we'll keep you advised as things develop.

Moving on to slide six, looking at the financials; as typical focus on the second column, the shaded column which excludes the financial results of Westinghouse, which continues to have currency fluctuation.

Starting with revenue; revenues were down from a year ago by a little over $300 million. However, roughly half of that is related to two items. The first is $92 million decline in pass-through revenues, pass-through revenues is where we don't earn any profit or loss, so it really generates no economic benefit. And the second item is the Comanche charge; approximately $62 million of revenues have been reduced as a result of the Comanche charge we previously discussed.

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