Energizer Holdings ( ENR) F1Q12 Earnings Call February 1, 2012 8:30 am ET Executives Jacqueline E. Burwitz - Vice President of Investor Relations Ward M. Klein - Chief Executive Officer, Director, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Finance & Oversight Committee Daniel J. Sescleifer - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Analysts William Chappell - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Wendy Nicholson - Citi Investment Research Christopher Ferrara - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division Jason Gere - RBC Capital Markets Connie Maneaty - BMO Capital Markets-U.S John A. Faucher - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division Ali Dibadj - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC Alice Beebe Longley - Buckingham Research Group, Inc William Schmitz - Deutsche Bank Presentation Operator
Any such statements are forward-looking statements, which reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions, and therefore are subject to risks and uncertainties. These risks, uncertainties, and other factors may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements.These risks and uncertainties include, without limitations, those described under the caption Risk Factors in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed November 22, 2011. We do not undertake or plan to update these forward-looking statements even though our situation may change. Therefore, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing our views as of any date subsequent to today. During this call, we will be referring to non-GAAP financial measures. These non-GAAP measures are not prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure is shown in the press release issued earlier today which is available in the Investor Relations section of our website, energizerholdings.com. Management believes these non-GAAP measures provide investors valuable information on the underlying growth trends of the business. With that, I’d like to turn the call over to Dan to review the financial highlights for the quarter. Daniel J. Sescleifer Thanks, Jackie. First quarters earnings per share were $2.15 versus $1.55 in the first quarter of fiscal 2011. Excluding unusual items, earnings per share were $2.05 in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 versus $1.68 in the first quarter of 2011. Net sales for the quarter increased $21 million or nearly 2% due to the inclusion of the American Safety Razor business. Organic sales declined $25.9 million or 2.2% as growth in Personal Care was more than offset by a decline in household products. Gross margin for the quarter was essentially flat at 47.1%, as favorable product mix in the quarter more than offset the unfavorable impact of the inclusion of the lower margin ASR products for the full quarter in 2012.
Advertising and promotion, as a percent of net sales, was 8% versus 10.9% last year. A&P spending was higher in the first quarter of 2011 due to significant global launch activities. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased $7.4 million versus last year's first quarter, due to the inclusion of a full quarter of American Safety Razor, higher compensation expense due to increased amortization on stock awards, and higher actuarial pension expense.Now turning to divisional results. In Personal Care, organic growth – organic sales growth was 1.4%, primarily due to higher shipments of disposables in sun care offset by lower sales of legacy men’s Wet Shave Systems products in international markets, Infant Care and Feminine Care. Sales of Schick Hydro were essentially flat in the quarter due to the significant pipeline fill in last year’s first quarter related to launches in European markets. Segment profit grew 59% operationally, reflecting lower A&P expense and higher gross margin on the sales growth noted above offset by higher overheads in the quarter due to the full quarter ownership of ASR. While the incremental sales for ASR in the current quarter have been separately disclosed, ASR segment profit is now included in overall Personal Care results. The company does not believe the full quarter impact for ASR was material to the segment profit results when compared to a partial quarter in the prior year. While A&P spending was low in the current quarter, we expect spending for the next two quarters to increase significantly due in part to the support of two new product extensions of the Hydro Technology. Schick Hydro Silk and Schick Hydro 5 Power Select, both are being launched in our second fiscal quarter. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com