Dun & Bradstreet (DNB)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 28, 2011 8:00 am ET


Byron C. Vielehr - Head of Strategic Technology Investment and President of North America Operations

Richard H. Veldran - Chief Financial Officer

Kathy Guinnessey - Leader, Treasury and IR

Sara Mathew - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President


Manav Patnaik - Barclays Capital, Research Division

William A. Warmington - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Carter Malloy - Stephens Inc., Research Division

Daniel R. Leben - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Edward J. Atorino - The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division

George K. Tong - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Shlomo Rosenbaum - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Michael A. Meltz - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division



Good morning, and welcome to D&B's 2011 Third Quarter Teleconference. This conference is being recorded at the request of D&B. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the meeting over to Ms. Kathy Guinnessey, Leader, Treasury and Investor Relations. Ms. Guinnessey, you may begin.

Kathy Guinnessey

Thank you, Sherrie. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. With me on the call this morning are Sara Mathew, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Rich Veldran, our Chief Financial Officer; and in addition, Byron Vielehr, our President of North America; and Manny Conti, our President of International and Chief Administrative Officer. Byron and Manny will be available to handle any questions you have.

Here's what you can expect on the call this morning. Sara will open the call with an overview of our third quarter results, followed by a brief update on the progress of our Strategic Technology Investment. Next Rich will discuss our third quarter performance in more detail, after which Sara, Byron, Rich, Manny and I will be happy to take your questions.

To help our analysts and investors understand how we view the business, our remarks this morning will include forward-looking statements. Our Form 10-K and 10-Q filings, as well as the earnings release we issued yesterday, highlight a number of important risk factors that could cause our actual results to differ from those forward-looking statements. These documents are available on the Investor Relations section of our website, and we encourage you to review this material. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

During our call today, we will be discussing a number of non-GAAP financial measures, as that's how we manage the business. For example, when we discuss revenue growth, we will be referring to the non-GAAP measure, core revenue growth before the effect of foreign exchange, unless otherwise noted. When we discuss operating income, operating margin and EPS, these will all be on a non-GAAP basis before non-core gains and charges. A reconciliation between these and other non-GAAP financial measures, and the most directly comparable GAAP measure, can be found in the schedules to our earnings release. They can also be found in the supplemental reconciliation schedule that we post on the Investor Relations section of our website. Later today, you will also find a transcript of this call on our Investor Relations site.

With that, I'll now turn the call over to Sara Mathew. Sara?

Sara Mathew

Thank you, Kathy, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. By now, I'm sure you've had the chance to review our earnings release from last night. Across all metrics, our results were either in-line or better than expected. Specifically, core revenue was up 8%, up 3% organically. Operating income was up 14%. EPS was up 17%, and year-to-date free cash flow was approximately $231 million. North America's top line growth accelerated to 2% in the third quarter, all of which was organic. International was up 28%, up 5% organically due to stronger-than-expected growth in Europe and continued momentum in China. This translated into strong bottom line results, a testament to our scalable business model. As you would expect, we're pleased with this performance.

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, the largest in terms of revenue, we expect to sustain top line growth in North America and exit 2011 on a strong note. As such, we are confirming 2011 guidance of core revenue growth of 5% to 8%, operating income growth of 2% to 6%, EPS growth of 6% to 10% and free cash flow between $240 million and $270 million.

In addition, we announced a $500 million discretionary share repurchase program, the largest in recent history. We believe that our stock represents a great investment opportunity at this time. As we enter 2012, we will begin to reap the benefits of our Strategic Technology Investment, which will translate into more rapid product innovation and sustained top line growth in North America. We don't believe this upside is reflected in our stock and the creating the flexibility to take advantage of the current pricing.

Moving to our Strategic Technology Investment, we have branded this initiative as MAX CV as we intend to maximize customer value with every dollar that we spend on this project, which is beginning to benefit from this investment and all the customer feedback on our product roadmaps are encouraging. Let me provide a few examples focusing on the new product launches in the third quarter and planned releases for the fourth quarter of 2011.

In the third quarter, we had 5 new product launches, most of which were focused on Sales & Marketing Solutions, or S&MS, where our strategy is rapidly evolving. More specifically, we intend to make D&B data available to our customers whenever and wherever they need it. This Data-as-a-Service, D-A-A-S or DaaS strategy represents a large untapped opportunity for us. Customers will have easy access to D&B data, realtime and embedded in their workflow. We expect to see better pricing when we sell our data this way as customers generate strong ROI on the investments they make with us.

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