Advanced Energy Industries' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Advanced Energy Industries (AEIS)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

January 31, 2012 8:30 am ET

Executives

Annie Leschin -

Garry W. Rogerson - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Yuval Wasserman - President and Chief Operating Officer

Gordon Tredger -

Danny C. Herron - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Analysts

Krish Sankar - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Edwin Mok - Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division

Zach Larkin - Stephens Inc., Research Division

Mark Delaney - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Mark W. Bachman - Avian Securities, LLC, Research Division

Timothy M. Arcuri - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Colin W. Rusch - ThinkEquity LLC, Research Division

Joseph A. Maxa - Dougherty & Company LLC, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2011 Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes. I would now like to turn the conference over to Ms. Annie Leschin, Investor Relations. Please proceed.

Annie Leschin

Thank you, operator,, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us this morning for our fourth quarter 2011 earnings conference call. With me today are Garry Rogerson, Chief Executive Officer; Danny Herron, Executive Vice President and CFO; Yuval Wasserman, President of the Thin Films business unit; and Gordon Tredger, Executive Vice President of the Solar Energy business unit.

By now, you should have received a copy of the earnings release that was issued yesterday. For a copy of the release, please visit our website at www.advanced-energy.com or contact us at (970) 407-4670.

This quarter, Advanced Energy will be participating in the Pacific Crest Emerging Technology Summit Conference on February 15 in San Francisco, the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on February 16 in New York, the Jefferies Clean Tech Conference on February 22 in New York and the Semiconductor Summit hosted by Susquehanna on March 6 in New York. The company will announce additional events as they come up.

I'd like just to remind everyone that except for historical financial information contained herein, the matters discussed on this conference call contain certain forward-looking statements subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Statements that include the terms believes, expects, plans, objective, estimates, anticipates, intends, targets or the like should be viewed as forward looking and uncertain. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the volatility and cyclicality of the industries we serve, the timing of orders received from our customers and unanticipated changes in our estimates, reserves or allowances, as well as other factors listed in our press release. These and other risks are described in Forms 10-K and 10-Q and other reports filed with the SEC.

In addition, we assume no obligation to update the information that we provide you during this call, including the first quarter guidance provided during this call and in our press release. Guidance will not be updated after today's call until our next scheduled quarterly financial release.

I will now turn the call over to Garry Rogerson, CEO of Advanced Energy.

Garry W. Rogerson

Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining us this morning. I would like to begin with a few comments on the fourth quarter and then discuss our progress on our recently announced strategic plan. Fourth quarter results met our expectations. While sales of our large-scale inverters continue to climb, weak capital spending affected our Thin Films end markets to varying degrees.

Total revenues declined 12.5% sequentially to $112.5 million, and we achieved break even at $0.01 per share on a non-GAAP basis. We ended the quarter with $143.2 million in cash, having generated approximately $6 million during the quarter, excluding stock repurchases.

At our Analyst Day in November, we presented our strategic plan, including company-wide and business unit goals and long-term operating targets, in order to maximize shareholder value. We began executing on this plan immediately, and I'm pleased to report several accomplishments that should allow each business unit to remain more stable in difficult times while enhancing profitability as revenue grows.

Turn to Slide 5. Our company-wide effort to reduce costs and improve margins remains front and center. As you know, in the third quarter, we decreased our annual costs by approximately $6 million. Since then, we have completed several more steps in our planned restructuring. We consolidated our presence in Fort Collins, exiting 2 buildings primarily associated with Thin Films. Given our large footprint, we will continue to look for opportunities to combine facilities.

Similar to our actions in the fourth quarter in Thin Films, we streamlined our Solar Energy workforce in December, which will save us approximately $5.5 million annually. We also began transitioning the sub-assembly manufacturing for our Solar Energy products to our world-class production facility in Shenzhen, China. We are making good progress in clearing the production stage and preparing the operations area to receive sub-assemblies. Though this process would take some time, and until it is fully operational, it will set the stage for us to begin low-cost sourcing in the region, which will likely be the most significant area of cost savings.

Finally, we redesigned our executive compensation plan this quarter, more closely aligning it with the interest of our shareholders and reinforcing the Pay-for-Performance structure. While integrating the new plan into our 2012 to '14 strategic plan, we have reiterated the importance of long-term incentives in achieving our objectives and attracting, motivating and retaining key talent. Grants will now be provided over multiple years, testing only when certain company and business unit financial goals are achieved. This, over an extended period of time, should reduce the impact to stop remuneration, reduce dilution and significantly impact the P&L.

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