Crown Holdings' CEO Discusses Q2 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Crown Holdings Inc. ( CCK)

Q2 2011 Earnings Call

July 20, 2011 9:00 am ET

Executives

John Conway – Chairman, Chief Executive Officer

Timothy Donahue – Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thomas Kelly – Senior Vice President, Finance

Analysts

George Staphos – Merrill Lynch

Mark Wilde – Deutsche Bank

Tim Thein – Citigroup

Peter Ruschmeier – Barclays Capital

Phil Gresh – JP Morgan Securities

Ghansham Panjabi – Robert W. Baird

Philip Ng – Jefferies

Alton Stump – Longbow Research

Alex Ovshey – Goldman Sachs

Chris Manuel – Keybanc Capital Markets

Chip Dillon – Vertical Research Partners

Presentation

Operator

Good morning and welcome to the Crown Holdings Second Quarter 2011 Earnings conference call. Your lines have been placed on a listen-only mode until the question and answer session. Please be advised that this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Timothy Donahue, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Donahue, you may begin.

Timothy Donahue

Thank you, Shirley, and good morning to everybody. Welcome to Crown Holdings Second Quarter 2011 conference call. With me on the call today are John Conway, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Tom Kelly, Senior Vice President, Finance.

Before we begin, I would like to point out that on this call, as in the earnings release, we will be making a number of forward-looking statements. Actual results could vary materially from such statements. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to vary is contained in the press release and in our SEC filings, including comments in the section titled Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, in Form 10-K for 2010, and in subsequent filings.

A reconciliation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to non-GAAP earnings can be found in our earnings release; and if you do not already have the earnings release, it is available on the Company’s website at crowncork.com. You will also find a reconciliation from net income to EBITDA, credit ratio computations, and supplemental cash flow data on the Company’s website.

I’ll first review the quarter and update guidance and then pass on to John for his comments.

Comparable diluted earnings per share were $0.84 versus $0.67 in last year’s second quarter. For the six months, comparable diluted EPS was $1.32 compared to $0.97 last year. As was the case in the first quarter, the operations are performing well and demand for our products remains strong. Despite volatility in many foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar, currency translation had a positive impact in the quarter and, if current rates hold, will continue to be positive over the balance of the year.

Net sales in the quarter improved 13% over the prior year due to global unit volume growth, the pass-through of higher raw material costs, and 119 million of currency translation. Global beverage volumes were up 3.5% in the quarter while our three-piece steel businesses – that is food cans, metal vacuum closures, and aerosol cans – also saw aggregate volumes up over the prior year.

Segment income at 271 million improved 12.9% over the prior year, and as a percentage to net sales was level to last year at 11.9%. The denominator effect of passing through higher steel and aluminum costs, while not affecting absolute margins, does have an impact on percentage margins, a little bit more than 0.5% in the quarter.

America’s Beverage revenue increased 8% in the quarter due mainly to the pass-through of higher aluminum costs and $8 million of currency translation. Segment income was up 5% in the quarter, reflecting positive mix and improvements to ongoing productivity at our new Ponta Grossa plant. Volume in the segment was up one-half of 1%, reflecting double-digit gains in Brazil, offset by a small decline in the much larger North American market. Our new plant in Ponta Grossa, Brazil, which began commercial production in January on line one and in April on line two, is running well and ahead of its learning curve. The second line in Estancia, Brazil commenced commercial production in late June.

In North America, volume was down 2% in the quarter and is down 1% for the six months, significantly better than the industry as a whole, reflecting our well-balanced customer portfolio. After a weak April, demand in the quarter was very firm in May and June with stronger volumes than the prior year. We are seeing more customer promotions and remain very positive on the outlook over the balance of the year.

Second quarter revenues in our North American food business were essentially flat, reflecting the pass-through of higher steel costs which offset a very small decline in unit sales. Segment income increased 5 million over the prior year to 38 million, reflecting the benefits associated with the closure of Canadian plants last year and the positive mix effect of increased vacuum closure sales.

Reported European beverage revenues were up 14% compared to 2010 due to 28 million from positive currency translation, 5% sales unit volume increases, and the pass-through of higher aluminum and steel prices. The segment’s income was down 5 million from the prior year and while improved from the first quarter, still reflects the Botrabi (phon) U.K. conversion and start-up in Slovakia.

In our European food business, revenues increased 88 million or 21% primarily due to $52 million in foreign currency translation and the pass-through of higher steel costs which offset a modest 2% volume decline associated with a since settled fisherman’s strike in Morocco and political turmoil in the Ivory Coast.

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