Greif Inc (GEF)

Q3 2011 Earnings Conference Call

September 01, 2011 10:00 AM ET


Michael J. Gasser - Chairman & CEO

David Fischer - President & COO

Robert M. McNutt - SVP & CFO

Debra Strohmaier - VP of Corp. Communications


Mark Wilde - Deutsche Bank

Ghansham Panjabi - Robert W. Baird

Steve Chercover - D.A. Davidson

Gabe Hogede - Wells Fargo Securities

Walt Liptak - Barrington Research

Robert Faulkner - Babson Capital

Mike Meek - Atlantic Investment

Mark Wilde - Deutsche Bank



Greetings and welcome to the Greif Inc. Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Debra Strohmaier, Vice President, Corporate Communications for Greif Inc. Thank you, Ms. Strohmaier, you may now begin.

Debra Strohmaier

Thank you, Jackie and good morning. As a reminder, you may follow this presentation on the web at in the Investor Center under Conference Calls. If you don't already have the earnings release, it is also available on our website. We are on Slide 2. The information provided during this morning's call contains forward-looking statements. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those that may be expressed or implied. Some factors that could cause the results or outcomes to differ are on Slide 2 of this presentation, in the Company's 2010 Form 10-K, and in other Company SEC filings as well as Company earnings news releases.

As noted on Slide 3, this presentation uses certain non-GAAP financial measures, including those that exclude special items, such as restructuring charges and acquisition-related costs and EBITDA before and after special items. EBITDA is defined as net income, plus interest expense net, plus income tax expense, less equity earnings of unconsolidated subsidiaries, net of tax plus depreciation, depletion and amortization expense.

Management believes the non-GAAP measures provide a better indication of operational performance and a more stable platform on which to compare the historical performance of the Company than the most nearly equivalent GAAP data. All non-GAAP data in the presentation are indicated by footnotes. Tables showing the reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP measures are available at the end of this presentation and in the second quarter 2011 earnings release.

Giving prepared remarks today are Chairman and CEO, Mike Gasser; President and COO, David Fischer and Senior Vice President and CFO, Rob McNutt.

I will now turn the call over to Mr. Gasser.

Michael J. Gasser

Thank you, Deb. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining our call. For those of you following this presentation on the web, we are on Slide number 4.

I will begin by noting that this was the best third quarter in the company’s history. Credit for the quarter’s record net sales and EBITDA before special items goes largely to the continued execution of our growth strategy, which includes the 13 acquisitions we made over the last 12 months. In addition, higher selling prices coupled with the positive impact of foreign currency translation also contributed to our strong sales growth.

Following the first week in July however, the demand for Rigid Industrial Packaging in Western Europe and North America was lower than we had anticipated. We have seen some recovery in overall demand based on August orders and shipments on a seasonally adjusted basis, but in some specific geographies such as the Netherlands and Germany, there’s continued softness. We are responding with the appropriate level of mitigating action and have a tiered plan in place just as we’ve had in the past. We will respond proportionately and protect our long term growth prospects.

Please go to Slide 5. During the third quarter, we executed two Rigid Industrial packaging acquisitions with operations in EMEA Latin America that extend our global footprint and capabilities. Immediately following the end of the third quarter, we completed an acquisition in the reconditioning market in Europe that complements our existing North American reconditioning business. Dave will talk about these acquisitions and our growth platforms later. In addition, as you’re aware, we completed a €200 million senior note offering during the quarter to facilitate growth and maintain liquidity.

Now to Slide 6. Our sustainability efforts must enhance our profits as well as be good for people on the planet. We are on track to achieve our energy objective of 15% reduction per unit by 2015, which will save $18 million per year based upon current utility costs. Year-to-date, we’re tracking at just over half that at 8%, saving about $10 million.

Our carbon reduction results to date are commensurate with the reductions we’re seeing in energy. A number of renewable energy products have come online in 2011 that further reduced our carbon emissions.

During the quarter, we were honored by a major customer, DuPont, for developing a packaging innovation that reduces landfill waste and we continue our active involvement with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Clinton Global Initiative. These organizations provide venue to share best practices and strengthen relationship with world class corporations.

Now Rob will provide you with an update on our financial results.

Robert M. McNutt

Thanks, Mike. Please turn to Slide 7. It includes key line items of our performance for the third quarter of 2011 and comparative periods. The 22% increase in net sales for the third quarter was primarily due to acquisitions completed during the last year, higher selling prices and the positive impact from foreign currency translations.

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