TPC Group Inc. ( TPCG)

Q2 2011 Earnings Conference Call

August 11, 2011 10:00 AM ET


Scott Phipps - IR

Mike McDonnell - President and CEO

Miguel Desdin - SVP and CFO


Edward Yang - Oppenheimer

Gregg Goodnight - UBS

Wilson Jaeggli - Southwell

Jonathan Chung - Lord Abbett

Barry Haimes - Sage Asset Management



Good day ladies and gentleman and welcome to the TPC Group quarterly earnings conference call for quarter ended June 30, 2011. At this time, all lines are in a listen only mode, later we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will be given at that time. (Operator instructions) I would like to turn the conference over to your host Scott Phipps; Investor relations please begin.

Scott Phipps

Thank you John. Well good morning everyone and welcome to today’s conference call to discuss our second quarter of 2011 earnings results. With me today is Mike McDonnell, President and CEO along with Miguel Desdin, Senior Vice President and CFO.

While management will not be referencing slides today, we have posted a presentation online that include supplemental financial information about the quarter. These slides along with other quarterly financial results can be found in the Investor Relation sections on our website at

Please note the slide in the presentation which refers to the forward looking statements and the statements made during this call that refer to management’s expectations and/or future predictions are forward looking statement and tentative recover by the Safe Harbor provision of the security act as there are many factors which could cause the results that defer from our expectations.

We also do not plan to update any forward looking statements during the quarter. Please note that information recorded on this call speaks as of today on August 11, 2011, and therefore you are advised that time sensitive information may longer be accurate at the time of any replay. In addition, some of our comments may reference non-GAAP financial measures.

Reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures and other associated disclosures are contained in our earnings release and on our website, and with that I will turn the call over to Mike.

Mike McDonnell

Thanks Scott. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining the call. I am very pleased with our excellent performance in the second quarter. We posted record EBITDA of $71 million, double the EBITDA of the prior year’s quarter as we drove strong execution in favourable market conditions.

Earnings per diluted share were $2.12 versus $0.80 a year ago. The strong performance in the quarter validates TPC’s market leadership position, mission critical products, longstanding- customer and supplier relationships in our unique and well positioned infrastructure logistics capabilities.

I like to provide some colour on the significant profit drivers in the quarter. First; we executed very well on the quarter continuing our initiatives to improve volume and margins in our C4 Processing segment. These initiatives included ongoing improvements in our value added services model including aggregation, logistics and other infrastructure services for our customers.

Our operational excellent initiatives including our high return low-risk capital projects also contributed significantly to the quarter through cost reductions, reliability and productivity improvements and additionally logistics capabilities that bring greater value to our customers.

Second; crude C4 feed stock volumes were stable in the quarter. Our source of crude C4 feed stock supply is from US ethylene crackers. The global cost position has become more competitive though plentiful natural gas liquids such ethane, propane and butane, which are becoming cost advantage as a result of shell gas drilling.

Ethylene cracker operating rates in the United States for June were 91% and they continue to run at higher rates versus a year ago. The shift from heavier to lighter cracker feed slates over the last few years continues to drive a tight market for crude C4s and butadiene in particular over the short to medium term.

Our ability to source and secure crude C4 supply is a significant capability in the company and obviously very beneficial to our customers. Recently a number of companies announced plans for new scheme crackers and capacity increases in North America. We believe that this new capacity may offset further shits to light cracking ensuring a tight but stable level of crude C4s into the future and I will speak later about our strategies will address these type product supply conditions.

Third; the increase in butadiene market prices also benefitted the quarter significantly. Demand and pricing for butadiene derivative products such as synthetic rubber and nylon remain very strong, for example synthetic rubber use entire production continues to be driven by global growth and auto bills, the strong market for replacement tires and the penetration of higher performance tires. One of our largest butadiene customers in this market reported record sales in the quarter.

I have already discussed the constraint supply of butadiene due to light cracking. These factors have constrained supply and growing command drove increases in butadiene market prices to an average of a $1.39 a pound were 57% higher than a year ago and 41% higher than the average of the first quarter of 2011.

Natural rubber prices remain volatile but above synthetic rubber prices further supporting elevated butadiene prices. As a result of this increase in butadiene price during the quarter, we generated a favourable impact to EBITDA of $27 million due to the timing between procurement of crude C4 and the sales of finished butadiene. This compares with a benefit of $10 million in the prior year quarter. It is important to understand that if BD prices stay flat then we keep the EBITDA we earned.

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