Lindsay (LNN)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

December 21, 2011 11:00 am ET


Richard W. Parod - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

James C. Raabe - Chief Financial Officer and Vice President


Carter B. Shoop - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

David L. Rose - Wedbush Securities Inc., Research Division

Christopher Schon Williams - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

Brian Drab - William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division

Unknown Analyst

Ryan M. Connors - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division

Michael E. Cox - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Jeffrey L. Beach - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division



Good morning. My name is David, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Lindsay Corporation First Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions]

During this call, management may make forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, which reflect management’s current beliefs and estimates of future economic circumstances, industry conditions, company performance and financial results. Forward-looking statements include the information concerning possible or assumed future results of operations of the company and those statements preceded by, followed by or including the words expectation, outlook, could, may, should or similar expressions. For these statements, we claim the protection of the Safe Harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Rick Parod, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Richard W. Parod

Good morning, and thank you for joining us today. Joining me on today's call are Jim Raabe, Lindsay Corporation's Chief Financial Officer; and Lori Zarkowski, our Chief Accounting Officer.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2012, we continued to experience growth in irrigation equipment demand in both domestic and international markets. We leveraged those sales gains into increased cash flows and higher margins from operations.

The margin gains were offset by an accrual in the quarter of $7.2 million or $0.37 per diluted share and expenses that we expect will be incurred in future years for environmental remediation at our Lindsay, Nebraska facility. Consolidated revenues for the quarter were a record $119 million, increasing 34% from $89 million in the same quarter last year. Net earnings were $2.9 million or $0.23 per diluted share, compared with $4.3 million or $0.34 per diluted share in the prior year's first quarter. Excluding the environmental accrual, net earnings were $7.7 million or $0.60 per diluted share.

I intend on devoting the majority of my comments to the underlying performance of our business, excluding the impact of the environmental accrual. Before doing so, let me spend a few minutes on the situation with our environmental liability. In 1992, the company entered into a consent decree with the EPA specifying monitoring and remediation actions regarding contamination that occurred in the '80s. Since that time, we have worked with Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA, including numerous 5-year reviews and adjustments to the monitoring and remediation actions.

We have accrued expenses over the years based on the discussions with the EPA and the plans developed from the 5-year reviews. As a result of the most recent review, we've been discussing potential actions that could result in more permanent remediation solutions on the site. Based on preliminary findings of our environmental advisors, we determined in recent days that it was appropriate to accrue $7.2 million of expense that we expect will be incurred over the next 5 to 10 years in remediation activity in accordance with appropriate accounting treatment.

The accrual is based on preliminary findings and plans which have not yet been finalized, nor have the specifics of the action plan been agreed to by the EPA or Lindsay. So this estimate is subject to change. I'm confident that the expenses required to address this environmental obligation will not materially impact the company's liquidity or financial resources or long-term trajectory for our growth, nor will this expense impact the extent to which we invest in growth for the advancement of our competitive position.

Now I'd like to move on to discuss the underlying performance of our business in the quarter as noted, exclusive of the $7.2 million in environmental expense. Global irrigation sales grew 68% to $101 million in the quarter with segment operating margins exclusive the environmental remediation expenses of 15.6%. U.S. irrigation revenues totaled $60.7 million for the first quarter, increasing 66% over the same period last year.

Commodity prices remained relatively high through most of the quarter and continue to support positive farmer sentiment. Projections of record U.S. farm income throughout 2011 along with Section 179 accelerated depreciation and write-off of equipment purchases continue to support positive economic conditions for U.S. farmers.

In the international irrigation market, revenues increased 71% to $40.1 million, a record for the first quarter. We have seen solid revenue increases in nearly all international markets with the most significant year-over-year gains in the Middle East, South America and China. Long-term market drivers of improving diets and growing worldwide population, combined with water use efficiencies available for mechanized irrigation systems, continue to be positive drivers for global irrigation equipment demand.

Infrastructure segment revenues were $18.4 million, decreasing 37% from the first quarter of last year due to lower QMB system sales. Importantly, we have made significant progress in our other infrastructure product lines, as our non-QMB infrastructure sales grew by 7% over the year-ago quarter despite a difficult environment for funding, highway and other infrastructure projects. Yet we are confident in the opportunity to drive significant profitability with QMB system sales over the long term as a superior solution to worldwide traffic congestion and improvement in driver and highway worker safety. QMB sales are likely to continue at some level of volatility due to the project nature of this business and the current funding environment.

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