Rockwood Holdings Inc. ( ROC)

F3Q11 Earnings Call

October 19, 2011 11:00 a.m. ET


Robert Zatta – Chief Financial officer

Timothy McKenna – Vice President of Investor Relations & Communications

Seifi Ghasemi – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer


David Begleiter – Deutsche Bank AG

Silke Kueck-Valdes - JP Morgan Chase & Co

Edlain Rodriguez – Lazard Capital Markets

Mike Harrison – First Analysis

Robert Court – Goldman Sachs

James Finnerty – Citi

Richard Phelan – Deutsche Bank

Leo Larkin - S&P Capital



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Rockwood Holdings 2011 Third Quarter Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] And as a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I'll now turn the conference over to Tim McKenna, Vice President, Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

Timothy McKenna

Thank you, Kathy. Good morning and welcome to Rockwood’s Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call. Seifi Ghasemi, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Bob Zatta, Chief Financial Officer will give a formal presentation after which, we will have Q&A. Our slides are available on our website at

Let me read the following statement before we begin. This conference call may contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, concerning the business operations and financial conditions of Rockwood Holdings and its subsidiaries. Although Rockwood believes the expectations reflected in such statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that its expectations will be realized.

Forward-looking statements consist of all non-historical information, including statements referring to the prospects and future performance of the Company. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements due to numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties including the risk factors described in our 10-K filings.

We do not undertake any obligation to publicly update forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

Before we begin, I just want to have a quick reminder that Rockwood is holdings Investor Meetings in New York and Boston on November 1st, and 2nd, respectively a lot of you have responded to the invitation, those who haven’t contact us or somehow you missed the invitation, please send me a note.

And with that I will turn it over to Seifi.

Seifi Ghasemi

Thank you, Tim and good morning everyone. Welcome to our conference call and we definitely look forward to answering your questions. For our initial presentation as Tim mentioned, we will be referring to the material we have posted on our website. I am very pleased to report that by any metric you want to measure our performance, we have an excellent performance during the third quarter of 2011.

This quarter’s strong results are further confirmation of the fundamental strength of Rockwood’s unique portfolio of inorganic specialty chemical businesses.

The strength of our portfolio combined with our constant focus on productivity and cash generation enabled us to achieve a record EBITDA to sales margin of 24.1% in the quarter and we also generated $135 million of free cash in the quarter. We did have a strong continued growth, volume growth in our Lithium, Surface Treatment and Clay Additives businesses.

Pricing was up in all of our business sectors and everyone of our businesses had an improved performance versus last year in the quarter and year-to-date. Also please note that we have more than doubled our earning per share.

Now please go to page 6 of our presentation material. Sales were up 17.4% versus prior year, on a constant currency basis sales improved 10.4%. As mentioned before volumes continue to grow in our Lithium, Surface Treatment and Clay-based Additives businesses specially due to the business that we have every supply month for drilling natural gas.

Prices continue to be up in all of our business sectors specially Lithium and TiO2. Our adjusted EBITDA was up 41.3% versus last year and as I said before we achieved the record EBITDA margin of 24.1%. With EPS being more than 100% ahead of last year for the quarter and for the year and a significant amount of free cash of $135 million.

As a result of this strong generation of cash, our net debt to EBITDA ratio now stands at 1.67 times, which is well below a goal of two times that we had set for ourselves two years ago.

Now please turn to page 7. I have already talked about the key numbers, but again, I would like to draw your attention to the last line where you see their significant more than doubling of our EPS for the quarter and for the year.

Please turn to page 8, now. As usual we do breakdown our topline growth into individual pieces so that you can see where the growth is coming from. As you know we had significant increase in prices and therefore the 12.3% for the quarter and 10.1% ahead for the year.

We did benefit from exchange rates, but then, I am sure lot of people are focused are on the volumes. Our volumes for Lithium, Surface Treatment and Clay-based Additives are key business did grow, our Lithium business continued to grow at least 10% a year.

The volume decrease that you see there is no surprise, it is related to our Color Pigment business where we have significant exposure to the housing market in the United States. We have said for the past three years that we do not expect any improvement in volumes in that business for 2012 and 2013. So, on one should be surprised about the volume decline there.

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