Allegheny Technologies' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Allegheny Technologies (ATI)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

January 25, 2012 1:00 pm ET

Executives

Dale G. Reid - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance

Dan L. Greenfield - Vice President of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications

Richard J. Harshman - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Analysts

Timothy P. Hayes - Davenport & Company, LLC, Research Division

John Tumazos

Daniel M. Whalen - Auriga USA LLC, Research Division

John Charles Tumazos - John Tumazos Very Independent Research, LLC

Brian Yu - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Richard Tobie Safran - Buckingham Research Group, Inc.

Gautam Khanna - Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division

Kuni M. Chen - CRT Capital Group LLC, Research Division

Michael F. Gambardella - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Sohail Tharani - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Mark L. Parr - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Stephen E. Levenson - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Timna Tanners - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Christopher David Olin - Cleveland Research Company

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fourth Quarter and Full Year End 2011 Allegheny Technologies Earnings Conference Call. My name is Keisha, and I will be your operator for today. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes. I would now like to hand the conference over to Mr. Dan Greenfield, Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. Please proceed.

Dan L. Greenfield

Thank you, Keisha. Good afternoon, and welcome to the Allegheny Technologies Earnings conference call for the fourth quarter and full year 2011. This conference call is being broadcast on our website at www.atimetals.com. Members of the media have been invited to listen to this call. Participating in the call today are Rich Harshman, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Dale Reid, Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

All references to net income and earnings in this conference call mean net income and earnings attributable to ATI.

[Operator Instructions] Please note that all forward-looking statements this afternoon are subject to various assumptions and caveats, as noted in the earnings release. Actual results may differ materially.

Here is Rich Harshman.

Richard J. Harshman

Thank you, Dan, and thanks to everyone for joining today's call. While the fourth quarter presented some short-term challenges, 2011 was a year of significant revenue and earnings growth for ATI. Revenues grew 28% compared to 2010 as growth in our key global markets combined with the May 2011 acquisition of ATI Ladish and higher raw material surcharges more than offset reduced demand and historically low base prices for our standard stainless products.

Looking at the growth by segment. In our High Performance Metals segment, 2011 sales increased to just under $2 billion, a 46% or $658 million increase compared to 2010. In our Flat-Rolled Products segment, 2011 sales increased to approximately $2.7 billion, an increase of approximately 17% or $388 million compared to 2010. And in our Engineered Products segment, 2011 sales increased to just over $1.5 billion, an increase of nearly 35% or $129 million. Total ATI segment operating profit, excluding inventory fair value accounting costs associated with the Ladish acquisition, was $640 million or nearly 12% of sales, an increase both in terms of dollars and as a percentage of revenue in each of our 3 segments compared to 2010.

Earnings per share, excluding special charges, was $2.23, 210% higher than 2010. Earnings per share including special charges was $1.97, nearly 175% higher than 2010. Our financial position remains solid with cash on hand of over $380 million at the end of the year and net debt to total capitalization of approximately 31%. Capital expenditures were $278 million in 2011, and we invested $273 million in managed working capital to support the growth in our businesses.

As we entered 2011, it was our view that the year would be marked by the resumption in secular growth in our key global markets. This was realized in spite of the mostly unanticipated Eurozone sovereign debt issues and a choppy recovery in U.S. GDP growth due in part to certain U.S. government economic and regulatory policies.

Looking at each of our key global markets. Sales to the aerospace and defense market grew 44%, or by $454 million, and represented 29% of total ATI sales. Sales to the oil and gas/chemical process industry grew 41%, or by $319 million, and represented 21% of ATI sales. Sales to the electrical energy market grew 16%, or by $108 million, and represented 15% of ATI sales. And sales to the medical market grew 8% by almost $20 million and represented 5% of ATI sales.

In total, these key global markets grew 33% or by $900 million and represented 70% of ATI sales in 2011. As a result of the combination of strong growth and demand from these key global markets and the acquisition of ATI Ladish, high-value differentiated products increased 75% of total ATI sales in 2011 compared to 70% in 2010. The focus on diversification and a higher-value product mix, both of which are key parts of ATI's strategy, enabled ATI to achieve solid profitable growth in spite of a very sluggish recovery in many of our short cycle markets, especially during the second half of 2011. Over the second half of 2011, shipments and base prices for our standard stainless products declined steadily and appeared to bottom at historically low levels in the fourth quarter of 2011. As a result, Flat-Rolled Products segment operating profit was negatively impacted in the fourth quarter as customers destocked during this period of economic uncertainty and falling raw material surcharges, which resulted from a significant decline in nickel raw material prices. In addition, these same factors, concerns about the Eurozone and the pace of the U.S. recovery and falling raw material prices, led customers of some of our high-performance metals segment products to keep inventories lean at year end. Unfortunately, this outcome was consistent with the cautious outlook we provided on our third quarter 2011 earnings release and conference call this past October.

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