Harsco's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Harsco Corporation ( HSC)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

January 26, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Salvatore D. Fazzolari – Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Eugene M. Truett – Vice President of Investor Relations and Credit

Stephen J. Schnoor – Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Chief Accounting Officer

Analysts

Michael Worley – Janney Capital Markets

Bryce Humphrey – BB&T Capital Markets

Glenn Wortman – Sidoti & Company

R. Scott Graham – Jefferies & Co.

Timothy Hayes – Davenport & Company

Presentation

Operator

Good morning. My name is Michele, and I will be your conference facilitator. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Harsco Corporation Fourth Quarter Release Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to avoid any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks there will be a question-and-answer period. (Operator instructions)

Also, this telephone conference presentation and accompanying webcast made on behalf of Harsco are subject to copyright by Harsco and all rights are reserved.

Harsco will be recording this teleconference. No other recordings or distributions of this telephone conference by any other party are permitted without expressed written consent of Harsco. Your participation indicates your agreement.

I would now like to introduce Mr. Sal Fazzolari, Chairman and CEO of Harsco Corporation. Mr. Fazzolari, you may begin your call.

Salvatore D. Fazzolari

Thank you very much. Good morning, everyone. I’d like to welcome you to Harsco’s fourth quarter 2011 conference call. I’ve here with me today Gene Truett, our Vice President of Investor Relations and Steve Schnoor, our Chief Financial Officer. Before we begin this morning, I will ask Gene to read the safe harbor statement. Gene?

Eugene M. Truett

All right. Thank you, Sal. Good morning, everyone. As we do at the beginning of all of our calls, we just want to let you know that we will be having forward-looking statements in our discussions with you today.

These statements relate to the future of our business, our operations, our results, economic expectations and other aspects relating to and affecting our business. What we say today is based on our best information available; it is possible that the results could differ from what we tell you today.

We've listed in our SEC statements reasons and risk factors that affect our businesses and these could be the reasons for any difference that could occur. We invite you to review the SEC filings at your convenience.

I would like to remind you that replay of this call and related information are available on our website. Please take the time to access this information at your convenience. Sal?

Salvatore D. Fazzolari

Okay thank you Gene. Our call this morning will commenced with some brief comments from me about the fourth quarter and the year and as well as the outlook for 2012. And then I'll turn the call over to Steve for some brief comments and details on the fourth quarter and then of course we will take your questions.

As noted in our press release this morning we were certainly pleased with our fourth quarter operating results. All four business segments actually posted improved fourth quarter performance exceeding the prior year of course excluding the restructuring charge. Considering the continued end market challenges that we faced in 2011, we are also pleased with the $1.38 in diluted earnings per share for the year and this is an improvement of some 50% from 2010 results again excluding all the one-time charges.

Now reflecting back on the year, we end our 2011 with cautious optimism and new momentum. At the end of 2010, we established a roadmap as you may recall at the December Annual Analyst conference to deliver $3 to $4 in earnings per share by 2015, and we look forward to 2011 as a transition year to a new period of growth and relative stability for Harsco. While we enjoyed some success in 2011, the European debt crisis created an interim roadblock in the amount of growth we could achieve in the year. We responded however by changing our path as the year progress, so that we could remain true to our long-term 2015 EPS roadmap.

We took a number of preemptive and substantive actions in 2011 to further drive our cost structure significantly lower, so we could achieve to critical mileposts. Accelerate Harsco Infrastructure's return to profitability and accelerate the return of Harsco Metals & Minerals to double-digit operating margins. These proactive measures culminated in a fourth quarter restructuring charge that we’ll carry-over to 2012 as well.

With respect to 2012, we again expect double-digit earnings growth excluding the carry-over restructuring charge, as we build momentum towards our 2015 EPS roadmap of $3 to $4 per share. As such, we are reaffirming the earnings guidance for 2012 we provided last month in the range of 155 to 170 and diluted EPS from continuing ops. However, as we clearly stated in December, and you may recall, the results for the first quarter of 2012 will be lower than those of the prior year due to several key factors that I will summarize in a moment.

First, however, I want to emphasize that, 2012 needs to be viewed as a year of three quarters of earnings progress year-over-year that is, and not simply a year of totally dependent upon the second half for growth. We expect our growth performance to be fairly balanced over the second, third and fourth quarters. The second quarter is expected to show considerable sequential improvement over the first quarter.

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