Cabot Corporation ( CBT)

F4Q 2011 Earnings Call

October 26, 2011 2:00 pm ET

Executives

Erica McLaughlin – Director, Investor Relations

Patrick M. Prevost – President and Chief Executive Officer

Eduardo E. Cordeiro – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Saul Ludwig – NorthCoast Research

John Roberts – Buckingham Research Group

Christopher Butler – Sidoti & Company

Laurence Alexander – Jefferies & Co.

David Begleiter – Deutsche Bank Securities

Jay Harris – Goldsmith & Harris

Christopher Willis – Impala Asset Management, LLC

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2011 Cabot Corporation Earnings Conference Call. My name is Jonathan, and I am your operator for today. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. After the prepared remarks, we will be hosting a Q&A session. (Operator Instructions) And as a reminder, this conference call is being recorded for replay purposes.

At this time, I’d like to hand the call off to Ms. Erica McLaughlin, Director of Investor Relations. You may proceed, ma’am.

Erica McLaughlin

Thank you. Good afternoon. I would like to welcome you to the Cabot Corporation earnings teleconference.

Here this afternoon are Patrick Prevost, Cabot’s President and CEO; Eddie Cordeiro, Cabot’s Chief Financial Officer; Dave Miller, General Manager of the Core Segment; Sean Keohane, General Manager of the Performance Segment; Fred von Gottberg, General Manager of the New Business Segment; Jim Kelly, Corporate Controller; and Brian Berube, General Counsel.

Last night we released results for our fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2011, copies of which are posted in the Investor Relations section of our website. For those on our mailing list, you received the press release either by e-mail or fax. If you are not on our mailing list and are interested in receiving this information in the future, please contact Investor Relations. The slide deck that accompanies this call is also available in the Investor Relations portion of our website, and will be available in conjunction with the replay of the call.

I will remind you that our conversation today will include forward-looking statements which are subject to risks and uncertainties, and Cabot’s actual results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. A list of factors that could affect Cabot’s actual results can be found in the press release we issued last night, and are discussed more fully in the reports we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, particularly in our last Annual Report on Form 10-K. These filings can be found in the Investor Relations portion of our website.

I will now turn the call over to Patrick Prevost, who will discuss the key highlights of the Company’s performance. Eddie Cordeiro will review the business segment and corporate financial details. Following this, Patrick will provide closing comments and open the floor to questions. Patrick?

Patrick M. Prevost

Thank you, Erica and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. As we close out our fiscal year 2011, we're pleased with the level of performance displayed as well as with our accomplishments.

First of all, we achieved the second straight year of robust results with $3 of adjusted earnings per share and 16% adjusted return on invested capital, and this confirms the new level of earnings for the company.

We achieved these targets through margin improvements, the introduction of new products, and successful business development efforts. We've been working on these areas for a few years now and if I look at our progress in profit for metric ton since 2008, we increased by 43% in Rubber Blacks and 11% in the Performance Segment. In addition, we have more than doubled our revenue and improved our EBIT by over $35 million in the new business segment over that same time period.

Second, excluding Supermetals, our assets resulted in an impressive segment earnings increase of $40 million over 2010. Now this represents a 32% improvement in Rubber Blacks and a 12% improvement in the Performance Segment.

Thirdly, during 2011, we announced a number of capacity expansions in carbon black in masterbatch, fumed silica and Inkjet Colorants, which will support our future growth.

Fourthly, we also upgraded our Global ERP system and established in Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in Switzerland. Additionally, we chose to close our Italian masterbatch plant in Grigno.

And then, finally, we set new targets for ourselves. With $4.50 in adjusted earnings per share, in 2014, all of that while maintaining return on invested capital in excess of 13%. These accomplishments are reflection of our continued efforts to execute our vision, which is to deliver earnings growth through leadership and performance materials.

The execution of our strategy is what has allowed us to deliver these strong results. Our strategic focus on margin improvement continues to be a critical driver of our strong financial performance.

We have been very successful at increasing our profitability by expanding unit margins across our portfolio. We continue to implement our value pricing concepts across the segments and we focus our efforts on higher margin products. We work closely with our customers to ensure that they have a clear connection between the value provided and the prices they pay.

In addition, our energy recovery and [newer] technology investments are also contributing to our results in the form of lower cost.

In fiscal 2011, we invested in capacity expansions in order to deliver volume and earning growths in the future. This work will start paying off in 2012 as we have a number of new installations that have been already commissioned or expected to come online in the near future. These include our new masterbatch plant in Tianjin, China, which was commissioned during the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

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