Allegheny Technologies (ATI)

Q4 2010 Earnings Call

January 26, 2011 1:00 pm ET

Executives

Dale Reid - Principal Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance

Dan Greenfield - Director of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications

Richard Harshman - President, Chief Operating Officer and Chairman of Corporate Pension Investment Committee

L. Hassey - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Analysts

John Tumazos - Independent Research

Gautam Khanna - Cowen and Company, LLC

Timna Tanners - UBS Investment Bank

David Martin - Deutsche Bank AG

Stephen Levenson - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc.

Luke Folta - Longbow Research LLC

Brian Yu - Citigroup Inc

Sal Tharani - Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Chris Olin - Cleveland Research Company

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2010 Allegheny Technologies Earnings Conference Call. My name is Keisha, and I'll be your operator for today. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to hand the call over to Mr. Dan Greenfield, Senior Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. Please proceed.

Dan Greenfield

Thank you, Keisha. Good afternoon, and welcome to the Allegheny Technologies earnings conference call for the fourth quarter and full year 2010. This conference call is being broadcast on our website at www.atimetals.com. Members of the media have been invited to listen to this call.

Participating in the call today are Pat Hassey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Rich Harshman, President and Chief Operating Officer; and Dale Reid, Senior Vice President, Finance and Principal Financial Officer.

All references to net income and earnings in this conference call mean net income and earnings attributable to ATI. Comments on our expectations for 2011 and beyond do not include any impact from our pending acquisition of Ladish. In addition, as I am sure you appreciate, we cannot comment or entertain questions regarding Ladish since the acquisition is not yet complete. After some initial comments, we will ask for questions. During the question-and-answer session, please limit yourself to two questions to be considerate of others on the line. Please note that all forward-looking statements this afternoon are subject to various assumption and caveats as noted in the earnings release. Actual results may differ materially.

Here is Pat Hassey.

L. Hassey

Thanks, Dan, and thanks to everyone for joining today's call. Overall, 2010 was a much better year than 2009 with sales up 33% to back over $4 billion in revenue. 2009 net income was up 125% to $0.72 a share. 2010 turned out to be the transition year we had forecasted. Improvements in our markets are the basis for our 2011 outlook. Disappointing as the fourth quarter may appear at $0.15 a share, it was a greatly improved bookings quarter and a good start for 2011. High-performance Metals has increased its backlog by over 40% to over $650 million, and Flat-Rolled Products revenues are forecasted up 15% for the first quarter of 2011. Engineered Products bookings are stronger and continue to grow.

It was a quarter where we were impacted by $19.5 million in LIFO inventory reserve charges for nickel and other raw materials, and it was the quarter where we took added one-time charges on startup delays at our Raleigh titanium facility of $20 million. Overall, a negative $0.26 per share impact.

Our key global markets are performing well. And 2010 was the transition year to resumption of strong secular growth in our key global markets beginning in 2011. We see the second half of 2011 as stronger than the first half due to a ramping aerospace market beginning in the third quarter and continuing in 2012.

For 2010, we saw strong year-on-year recovery in some key measures. ATI is now more global than ever before. Direct international sales were 32% of the total. Segment operating profit for 2010 was $356 million, a 26% increase compared to the previous year. 2010 results included a $60 million LIFO charge and $62 million of idle facility and start-up cost. Gross cost reductions in 2010 were $135 million. We generated positive cash from operations in 2010, and we rebuilt $318 million in working capital necessary to meet increasing market demand for 2011. We also continue to modernize our facilities and enhance our manufacturing capabilities by investing $219 million of new capital.

While start-up costs were a short-term headwind in 2010, we expect our strategic capital projects to benefit ATI performance in 2011 and beyond. The melt shop consolidation at our Brackenridge, Pennsylvania specialty metal shop reduces our footprint and is expected to provide up to $30 million of annualized cost reductions. Our Titanium and Superalloy Forge Facility in Bakers, North Carolina continues to obtain additional customer qualifications. It has much-needed forging and finishing capacity and new capabilities. The timing of the completion of this project looks good as demand increases from our aerospace, oil and gas and medical customers.

The ramp up of our Raleigh, Utah premium titanium sponge facility is continuing. The sponge chemistry is meeting premium-grade specifications. We are currently using Raleigh titanium production for industrial applications. We're focused on further reducing variability, standardizing the process and improving yields. We expect to be producing at a 20 million-pound annual rate by the second half of 2011.

As we look at growth opportunities in 2011, our strategy continues to increase our participation in selected market sectors that demonstrate long-term secular growth trends greater than the average global GDP. These global markets represented 67% of ATI sales in 2010. Aerospace and defense remained our largest market at over 25% of sales. Oil and gas, chemical processing industry grew to 20% of sales. Oil and gas stood out in this number, growing by over 50% compared to 2009.

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