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

Celanese Corporation ( CE)

Q4 2011 Earnings Conference Call

January 31, 2012 10:00 AM EST

Executives

Jon Puckett – VP, IR

Dave Weidman – Chairman and CEO

Steven Sterin – SVP and CFO

Mark Oberle – SVP, Corporate Affairs

Doug Madden – COO

Analysts

David Begleiter – Deutsche Bank

Bob Koort – Goldman Sachs

Frank Mitsch – Wells Fargo Securities

John McNulty – Credit Suisse

Duffy Fischer – Barclays Capital

Kevin McCarthy – Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Andy Cash – UBS

Laurence Alexander – Jefferies

Hassan Ahmed – Alembic Global

P.J. Juvekar – Citi

Mike Ritzenthaler – Piper Jaffray

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the fourth quarter 2011 Celanese Corporation earnings conference call.

My name is Lacy and I’ll be your coordinator for today.

At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later, we will facilitate a question-and-answer session towards the end of the presentation. (Operator Instructions). As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today’s call to Mr. Jon Puckett, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please proceed.

Jon Puckett

Thank you, Lacey, and welcome to the Celanese Corporation fourth quarter 2011 financial results conference call.

My name is Jon Puckett, Vice President, Investor Relations.

On the call today are Dave Weidman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Steven Sterin, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Also in the room today are Doug Madden, Chief Operating Officer; and Mark Oberle, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs.

The Celanese Corporation fourth quarter 2011 earnings release was distributed via BusinessWire this morning and is posted on our website, celanese.com. The PowerPoint slides referenced during this call are also posted on our website. Both items were submitted to the SEC and a current report on Form 8-K. Please note, we have made one update to slide seven of the PowerPoint presentation to clarify the outlook for the Advanced Engineered Materials was for the first quarter of 2012.

This call, management may make forward-looking statements concerning, for example, Celanese Corporation's future objectives and results, which will be made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The limitations inherent in such forward-looking statements are detailed in the earnings release referenced on Page five of the earnings release referenced during this call.

Celanese Corporation's fourth quarter 2011 earnings release references the performance measures, operating EBITDA, business operating EBITDA, affiliate EBITDA and proportional affiliate EBITDA, adjusted earnings per share and net debt as non-US GAAP measures. For the most directly comparable financial measures presented in accordance with US GAAP and our financial statements and for a reconciliation of our non-US GAAP measures to US GAAP figures, please see the accompanying schedules to fourth quarter earnings release posted on our website, celanese.com.

This morning Dave Weidman will briefly review the performance of the company and Steven Sterin will provide an overview of the business results for each segment and the financials. We have a question-and-answer period following with Dave, Steven, and Doug.

I’d like to now turn the call over to Dave Weidman. Dave.

Dave Weidman

Jon, thanks, and welcome everyone to today’s call. Because we released our preliminary 2011 results two weeks ago, I’ll keep my prepared remarks brief, so that we can allow ample time for Doug and Steve to answer your questions.

2011 was a record earnings year for Celanese. Additionally, we hit several significant milestones critical to our commitment to grow earnings 10% to 15% per year. I’d like to highlight a few of these achievements.

First, we remain on track with our TCX ethanol technology commercialization plants. Not only are we meeting targets for our plants, but a few days ago, we saw a legislation introduced to the US Congress, that if passed, would open up ethanol produced using TCX technology to the $40 billion US ethanol fuels market.

Second, innovative new products and applications are making a larger contribution. For example, our emulsion products can now be found in nontraditional applications in the paper and carpet markets, as well as paints sold at the leading big-box retailer. Also, we’re excited about the pipeline of new-generation products from Ticona, Nutrinova, and our other businesses.

Third, the recently completed capacity expansions in AEM and the acetyl chain provide us with the capacity needed to support growth. This is particularly critical as we anticipate that global markets will continue to experience steady growth.

Fourth, we completed the acquisition of two product lines that will support Industrial Specialties’ strategic growth objectives. We continued a pursued approach of strategic bolt-on acquisitions.

Fifth, our results in productivity were continuous and sustainable. Across the company, hundreds of projects focused on sustainable productivity allowed us to meet or exceed our target of $40 million to $60 million of annual productivity net of inflation.

And lastly, off my announced intent to retire from Celanese in early April. The Celanese Board chose Mark Rohr to become our next Chairman and CEO. I’m confident that under Mark’s leadership, Celanese will continue to be successful in its strategic pursuit of becoming a premier chemical company.

As this will be my last earnings call, I’d like to publicly recognize the Celanese team who accepted the invitation to pursuit premier, and whose contributions I’ve had the privilege of discussing with our shareholders for almost 12 years. I’d also like to thank our investors, whose trusts and confidence in us was exceeded only by their willingness to offer their perceptive business insights and share their thought for world views.

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